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Warmachine – Thunderstruck #8: Cygnar and Mercenary Units

5 Minute Read
Oct 20 2011

Last time we gave common Mercenary solos a look concerning their usefulness to Cygnar.  Today, we look at Mercenary Units.

Boomhowler & Co. – Cygnar isn’t exactly well known for their ability to take a hit, particularly where their trooper models are concerned.  Well, Boomhowler and Co. are here to bring the medicine.

If there’s anything that Boomhowler can do, it’s get in the way.  With their medium bases and 4+ Tough thanks to Call of Defiance, this unit is great at holding down the enemy while your more expensive or vital elements can get into position to strike a killing blow.  Offensively, they’re not terribly exciting, armed with a single P+S 12 melee attack at MAT 6 and a RNG 8, POW 12 Blunderbuss at RAT 4.  Fortunately, Cygnar can help them here.  There are a wealth of accuracy-boosting buffs for those Blunderbusses like Dead Eye, Temporal Barrier, or Time Bomb.  Additionally, if you attach Murdoch to the unit they get access to the Assault order, granting them the ability to charge and in attach with both weapons.  Murdoch also makes Boomhowlers a Faction unit, meaning that they can benefit from other abilities like Mark Target and various feats like Rolling Thunder, Blitz, or Firing Squad.  Murdoch also makes Boomhowler and Co. a bit more survivable as well, granting them a once-per-game use of Dig In.

Boomhowler and Co. pair quite well with Epic Caine thanks to Heightened Reflexes, which makes them ridiculous to wipe out.  4+ Tough and immunity to Knockdown is rough.  Armies that concentrate on ranged firepower would benefit well from Boomhowler’s presence, as he’s fantastic at getting out there and holding troublesome elements in place while the rest of your army destroys the enemy from range.

The Devil Dogs – Sam and the Devil Dogs aren’t fantastic on the surface, but they do a few pretty interesting things for Cygnar players.  The first is that they bring anti-warjack/warbeast abilities for a fairly modest price.  They can charge in with their nets to knock a big target down and then pound on it with their pick axes, getting an additional damage die from Trash.  Effective POW 10 Weapon Masters aren’t terribly impressive, but for the cheap cost of 5/7, it’s certainly not bad.  RAT 4 on their Slug Guns is pretty low, but Cygnar certainly isn’t lacking for ranged accuracy buffs that aren’t faction-specific.  Add Murdoch to the unit, and they can use both their Slug Guns and Nets/Pick Axes on the charge.  RAT 4 isn’t a big deal when you’re shooting something that’s knocked down.

In addition to these abilities, Sam and friends can bring a Mercenary warjack with access to the Pronto drive.  Mules in particular love this, as it lets them advance via Pronto, while still aiming, getting the Steam Pressure bonus, and boosting the attack roll. 

Alexia Ciannor & The Risen – Now that Runewood has finally arrived, Cygnar players are breaking out the Sword Knights in big ways.  If there’s anything better than a cheap, effective melee unit, it’s being able to recycle those troopers.  Alexia allows you to do this quite well.  Since you can get two full units of Sword Knights (on with the Unit Attachment) for only 14 points, Alexia’s presence for 5 points more will let you put those 22 bodies on the table twice.  Not only does this horde of Risen make for an excellent tar pit, they can also act as fuel for Alexia herself, as she can use them to boost attacks or damage rolls, buy attacks, or sacrifice them to keep her alive.  Due to the faction’s inherent leaning towards more expensive models, Alexia doesn’t really apply to all builds, but if you’re planning on taking an army of Sword Knights, she’s a good investment.

Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters – Cylena and friends are a favorite amongst Cygnar players.  They’re fast, effective, hard to kill, and versatile.  They bring a lot of things to the table that aren’t available elsewhere in the faction.  The combination of Pathfinder, Tactics: CRA, Hunter, Weapon Master, DEF 15, and SPD 7 make this unit well worth their points.  They’re a bit fragile, so you’ll need to be wary of AOE spams or bouncing spell effects like Ashes to Ashes.  Any warcaster with accuracy buffs/defense debuffs will get good mileage out of Cylena.  Hell, even those without will benefit.  Add Murdoch, and they get better.  Once-per-game access to Dig In makes them immune to the aforementioned AOEs, Assault increases their offensive output, and faction status lets them enjoy the love of Blitz, Rolling Thunder, Firing Squad, Deflection, Positive Charge, and more. 

Lady Aiyana and Master Holt – This pair brings some well-received buffs to Cygnar in the form of open access to Magical Weapons and increased damage output.  Lurynsar’s Touch, which grants Magical Weapon to a model/unit for turn, is great tool for helping things like Defenders, Hunters, or Long Gunners deal with Incorporeal models or the many Protectorate models that are immune to non-Magical ranged attacks like warjacks under Safe Passage or Paladins with Impervious Wall.  Kiss of Lyliss is an offensive spell which increases damage rolls against the target model/unit.  The point is often made that Cygnar sometimes struggles with their low damage output.  Aiyana is a fantastic tool to combat this.  Master Holt brings a little bit of extra ranged firepower to the table as well. 

Ogrun Assault Corps – As a Mercenary unit the Assault Corps never excited me much, particularly in the context of the Searforge Commission.  When taken with Cygnar, however, they get a bit more interesting.  With easy access to a wealth of non-faction-specific buffs that benefit them quite well, the Assault Corps can get a bit scary.  Between Arcane Shield for increased survivability, Snipe for increased range, Dead Eye, Temporal Barrier, Time Bomb, or Earthquake for more accuracy, there are more than a few reasons to give this unit a look.  Murdoch brings a few things to this unit, but he’s far from a mandatory choice.  I would only attach him if there are some specific abilities that you really want them to benefit from, like Haley’s Blitz, or a Ranger’s Mark Target.


Which Mercenary units are you bringing with your Cygnar, folks?

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