Warmachine – Thunderstruck #7: Cygnar and Mercenary Solos
Cygnar seems to have a greater inclination towards Mercenaries than other Warmachine factions. While models like Epic Eiryss are fairly ubiquitous throughout all factions that will allow her, it often goes beyond that for Cygnar for a number of reasons, which I’ll be hitting on in my next couple of articles.
Starting with solos, there are several solid options that Cygnar can incorporate. Many Mercenary solos offer valuable support abilities to the faction, many of which are only available through that avenue.
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord – Rhupert brings a few powerful buffs to Cygnar. Pathfinder is pretty important, particularly for melee-oriented infantry armies. Since the only Cygnar unit that natively has Pathfinder is the Ranger cadre, the Piper brings the tool necessary to navigate terrain that might otherwise slow your army to a crawl while it gets picked apart at range. While the recently-released Lord Runewood does provide Pathfinder as well, Rhupert has another ability that makes him an attractive choice instead of, or even in addition to Runewood, which is Heroic Call, providing Tough and Fearless to a unit. Since most of Cygnar’s models err on the expensive side, granting them Tough is a good way to help keep them around while also messing with your opponent’s execution. It’s especially worth noting that Rhupert’s Heroic Call combined with Runewood’s Reveille can be quite the effective pairing.
Lastly, Rhupert has Dirge of Mists, which increases the target unit’s DEF and makes them cause Terror. This is a particularly solid ability since it is not a spell effect, and consequently not ignored by things like Blessed or Arcane Assassin.
Rhupert is a great choice for any army that uses melee infantry, most notably Precursors since his buffs are not presupposed by Spell Ward. Armies built around the full, 11-man unit of Stormblades would be well served by Rhupert’s presence as well due to the unit’s cost of 11 points.
Gorman d’Wulfe – With a full notable exceptions, Cygnar will occasionally struggle with dealing with high-ARM warjacks. Unlike the Protectorate with their access to the Choir of Menoth, Khador with their hard-hitting, melee standards, or Cryx with their cavalcade of warcasters with Parasite and Dark-Shrouded Banes, Cygnar doesn’t always have a reliable in-faction means of crushing warjacks that creep above ARM 21. Gorman helps to fill this hole with his Rust Bomb, which reduces a warjack’s ARM by two, making those extremely high-ARM threats a viable target for your Ironclads and lower-ARM warjacks a meal for your ranged models. Acid Bomb is another great ability, giving Cygnar an AOE that corrodes all beneath it. While Cygnar isn’t hurting for methods of destroying single-wound models, Gorman’s Acid Bomb is certainly a nice tool to have. Finally, Black Oil is fantastic for Cygnar. As a faction built very much around assassination, the ability to reduce a target’s DEF by four is huge. The added bonus of MAT debuffing and action/movement denial is a huge bonus as well, making it a fine tool for shutting down high-ARM, multi-wound infantry like bunched-up Cetrati or Champions.
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator – Cygnar has several very solid ranged warcasters, so access to a second mid-activation shot via the gobber’s Reload ability is nothing to be scoffed at. This makes the Reinholdt a valuable addition to any Caine, eCaine, Siege, or Sloan list. Lucky Charm is a boost for spell slingers as well, particularly when paired with the Squire’s Arcane Realignment ability.
Anastasia di Bray – Cygnar armies relying on tactics where in a single turn you must deliver a crushing blow to the opponent’s army can benefit well from Anastasia di Bray. While this type of play style isn’t necessarily Cygnar’s forte, certain warcasters, like eStryker, can get a lot out of Ana’s presence. Combined with his feat and Ana’s Espionage ability, melee armies can get up to a total of three attacks, an extra full move, and an additional 3″ move.
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution – Probably the most commonly-used Mercenary solo in the game, Epic Eiryss is an especially common sight for Cygnar players. Since Cygnar relies strongly on assassination in lieu of attrition or scenario victory as a staple means of winning games, eEiryss brings two very important things to the table. The first thing is her ability to strip upkeeps and animi. Since there are several upkeep spells and animi that make assassination difficult, being able to negate them is often crucial for success. The second thing she does is remove Focus from enemy warcasters that are camping in order to boost their ARM values.
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan – This is another model that helps to enable warcaster-based assassination, making her quite attractive to ‘casters like eStryker or eCaine. The ability that allows her to do this is Intrigue, which grants a friendly warrior model a free 3″ move during the Maintenance Phase whenever she begins the turn with enemy models in her command range. She additionally has Seduction, a special action which forces an enemy model in base-to-base with her to move and make an attack of her controlling player’s choice. This can be a nice, little wildcard against troublesome, front-line solos like Dartan Vilmon.
Ragman – As mentioned earlier, Cygnar sometimes has a bit of trouble with hitting power. Ragman is yet another choice for boosting this up a bit by granting friendly models within 5″ of him Dark Shroud. This can be a great buff to any melee-centric model, particularly large-based ones. Storm Lances in particular get a lot of mileage out of Ragman, as it gives them an effective POW 14 ranged attack, P+S 17 charge attack, and the two accompanying POW 12 Electro Leaps (provided that the models hit by the Electro Leaps are within 2″ of the Lances) on an Assault move. That’s in addition to their effective POW 12 impact attacks. Cygnaran warjacks also get a much-loved bump in damage output as well, making even the modest Ironclad an effective P+S 20 in with its Quake Hammer.
Sylys Wyshnalyrr – Cygnar players love the Squire and with good reason. It’s amongst the best warcaster attachments in the game, and it is arguably an auto-include in every army. So when Wyshnalyrr was released, despite his bizarre name, Cygnar players approached him with apprehension. That said, Sylys offers up a solid attachment alternative for a few Cygnaran warcasters. While the Squire brings an extra focus point on three turns, Sylys allows for a single spell to be upkept for free. The Squire allows a reroll on an offensive spell while Sylys gives you Signs and Portents for an offensive spell. The Squire gives your warcaster an extra 2″ of control area while Sylys gives him or her an extra 2″ on non-channeled spells.
These two models are very similar, but certain warcasters will often be better off with Sylys than with the Squire. Epic Nemo is a great example with his multitude of upkeep spells, non-preference towards arc nodes, and no real need for extra control range. A Stryker or Nemo army without a Lancer in it would also do quite well with Sylys. Caine lists are somewhat of a toss-up. The extra 2″ from Spirtual Conduit gives him a 15″ range with Thunder Strike and he also gets to upkeep Blur or Snipe for free, while the extra 2″ of control area from the Squire gives him extra threat range with his feat.
That’s it for solos. Cygnar players, what other Mercenary solos are on your payroll? Next time I’ll be looking at Mercenary Units in Cygnar.