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Warmachine: Lord Commander Stryker Tactica (part 2)

8 Minute Read
Nov 10 2014
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The second installment of the article series in which I gush about how handsome and manly the Lord Commander of the Storm Brigade is.

What’s up guys!?  This is Trevy the Great back again from Way of the Swan to talk about some Cygnar!  In my last article I wrote about my man-crush, Lord Commander Stryker and some units that work well with him.  This time let’s talk about putting some of those troops into awesome lists and making them hum like storm chambers!

The All Comers

One of the great things about Stryker2 is that he can do just about anything!  Depending on how you build your list, Stryker has a tool for any situation so he can be teched to deal with many different problems; here are some of my favorite lists with the Lord Commander.

Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)* Lancer (6pts)* Squire (2pts)Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)* Captain Jonas Murdoch (2pts)Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)Storm Lances (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)Captain Maxwell Finn (3pts)Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

This is my favorite Stryker list and is a pretty good example of a middle of the road list that can take all comers.  This is one of my tournament lists and I feel pretty comfortable with it in just about any matchup; so let’s go into what exactly it does, shall we?

I spoke about the core of this list in my previous article; the Forge Guard+Murdoch+Finn combo gives you a solid front-line unit that, with Arcane Shield from the Journeyman Warcaster giving them +3 ARM can take a lot of punishment while still being relatively speedy with Desperate Pace from Finn giving them +2” of movement and hitting hard with their big hammers. Complimenting them are lots of ranged units; namely the Arcane Tempest Gun Mages and Black 13th that take out enemy infantry blocking the way of the Dwarf brick trundling up the table. With Murdoch making the Forge Guard Faction Cygnar models, their Ranked Attacks allows the Cygnaran guns to draw Line of Sight through the Forge Guard, letting them take cover behind the stout Dwarves while clearing their way with Thunderbolt or Snipe rounds.

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Que William Tell Overture
The Storm Lances are a unit I especially like with Stryker; like the Forge Guard, he supports everything they want to do.  Even with a hefty ARM 17 and 5 hit boxes, Storm Lances tend to fall down to shooting attacks or charges; but Stryker is there to rescue them with +2 ARM against those annoying guns from Deflection and Rebuke blunting follow-up attacks by infantry by stopping their charges dead.  Additionally, when they do make it into melee, Positive Charge on the Lancer is very easy to effect the ‘Lances with because of their Reach and Large bases, and Rolling Thunder lets them use their Reach and Electro-Leaps to great effect scything through swarms of enemy infantry.  One of my favorite things about Storm Lances in any list is how multi-purpose they can be; on one hand, they hit at a hefty P+S 15 with their Lances on the charge, which can be buffed up to 19 in this list by Positive Charge and Lady Ayanna’s Kiss of Lylyss.  On the other hand, Cavalry Charge puts them at MAT 9 on charge attacks, while the Electro-Leaps they generate automatically hit; they can receive an additional +4 to hit with Runewood’s Path to Victory and Positive Charge, putting them at a staggering MAT 13!  One of my favorite tactics is to buff the unit’s accuracy with Positive Charge or Path to Victory (or both!) and charge into a particularly high-defense unit such as Khadoran Winterguard Infantry, each successful hit netting 2 casualties because of the Electro-Leaps they generate, then using the movement from Rolling Thunder to reposition and attack each other, generating 5 additional POW 10 hits, which should shred all that remains of the unit!  As you can see, Storm Lances are a very versatile unit that Stryker buffs readily and can bolster any weakness the list has in a particular matchup.

The Prontoclad

Sword Knights happen to both be one of the best infantry with Stryker2 and one of the best ‘jack marshals in the game.  This high status is due both to the Sword Knight Officer’s Drive: Pronto, which lets his ‘jacks make a full advance on a passed CMD test (and with CMD 9 and a Standard, that’s pretty often!) and the unit’s innate Flank: Faction Warjack ability.  Flank is a big deal; it lets Warjacks move up into charge range before they activate, move back after they shoot or lay down the beats, or reposition during the unit’s turn to maximize the benefit of Flank across the unit.  Compounding this utility is the humble Stormclad; possibly the most easily marshaled ‘jack in the game.  With a nearby unit of Stormblade Infantry and the expert mechanik Arlan Strangeways, a marshaled ‘clad can get the equivalent of 3 “Focus” every turn, without any input from your Warcaster.  This little module has been affectionately dubbed the “Prontoclad” by the online community and fits into almost any list, but Stryker takes this cool little ‘unit’ and cranks it all the way up to 11.  Between Positive Charge increasing the damage output of both the Stormclad and its attendant knights and Reform+Rolling Thunder allowing them a second chance to get to grips with the enemy, this package can deal tons of damage under Stryker2!  Not to mention Deflection helping all that infantry get up the field, and Stryker’s natural affinity for Stormblade Infantry via his Elite Cadre, giving them Advanced Move.
“Is my resculpt out yet?”
The downside of putting this module into a list is that you need to build the rest of the list around it, adding units that either support it or act entirely independently.  One version of this list embraces the module completely, trusting the Sword Knights with a second Stormclad to compliment the first:

Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)* Lancer (6pts)Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)Sword Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)* Stormclad (10pts)* Stormclad (10pts)* Sword Knight Officer & Standard (2pts)Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)Captain Arlan Strangewayes (2pts)Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)

The issue with this sort of list is that it all hinges on those Sword Knights.  If the Officer goes down (admittedly pretty difficult) or the unit is crippled, it loses a lot of hitting power.  On the other hand, it hits like a Mack truck; the ability to almost-fully fuel two heavy Warjacks that possess a 15” threat range with Pronto, and push them up to a possible P+S 23 if Kiss of Lylyss is in play lets it crush through heavies and Colossals like paper bags, especially with the Feat involved.  It has 3 targets for triggering Positive Charge and Flank, all three of which can received the spell in one turn because Stryker doesn’t need to fuel those heavies.  After the two Stormclads go in and blow stuff up, Stryker can hang back and tank the game out, killing whatever ends up killing the big ‘jacks.
This sort of list relies very heavily on those two Stormclads doing all the work; but one Stormclad is often enough to add just enough punch to a list to support other infantry; I am a fan of a list like this one, that combines the might of the Stormclad with a strong infantry presence that delivers a punishing alpha-strike:

Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)* Lancer (6pts)* Squire (2pts)Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)* Captain Jonas Murdoch (2pts)Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)* 3 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (3pts)Sword Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)* Stormclad (10pts)* Sword Knight Officer & Standard (2pts)Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)Captain Arlan Strangewayes (2pts)Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)

This list enschews the speed and flexibility of an all-comers type of list and delivers a pure, unadulterated pile of dudes.  With Deflection and Arcane Shield pushing all the infantry to the ARM 18-20 range, the list is very difficult to kill on the way into melee, and once it gets there multiple Positive Charge bubbles, Flank and Rolling Thunder will decimate almost anything it touches.  Some shuffling of points allows you take Maxwell Finn in order to allow the Forge Guard to keep up with the rest of the army, presenting a more unified front.
Something that seems obvious but it sometimes easy to forget when building lists including the Prontoclad module is that it’s not just ~25 points for a fast Stormclad; the other pieces of the “unit” are useful tools in their own right; in addition to powering the Warjack, Sword Knights are an excellent jam that can deliver the hard-hitting Stormblade Infantry behind them and deal significant damage on their own.  Arlan Strangeways, when not powering the Stormclad himself, can repair crucial systems on your other Warjacks or increase Stryker’s Focus efficiency by powering his Battlegroup ‘jacks.

The Gunline

Something that I’ve experimented with a little bit but definitely don’t have enough tabletime with is the idea of running Stryker with a heavy gunline; this is a pretty common idea with ‘casters that heavily buff the offensive output of their troops like Stryker does; an enemy will be forced to move into the waiting teeth of Cygnaran guns, slowed by Rebukes and shot up the whole way.  When they get close, Positive Charge goes down, Thunder Rolls and they’re broken by the thunderous charge of Cygnar’s powerful hybrid melee/ranged troops.
In Cygnar, even our swords shoot at you!
Multi-purpose soldiers is something that Cygnar does exceptionally well; lots of Storm Knights such as Storm Lances and Stormblade Infantry hit extremely hard in melee while shooting reasonably well with any sort of accuracy buff.  With Deflection to protect from return fire, Stryker can help these guys lay waste to enemy formations with powerful blasts of their voltaic weaponry.  Add a duo of Defenders to heavy trade with enemy armor or a Stormwall fill out Stryker’s battlegroup as big guns to support infantry and punch things to death when they get too close and you get a list that looks like this:

Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)* Lancer (6pts)* Defender (9pts)* Defender (9pts)* Squire (2pts)Rangers (5pts)Silver Line Stormguard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)* 2 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (2pts)Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)

Alternatively, lighter anti-troop weapons can take the place of the heavier Storm Knights; such as Nyss with Murdoch for their POW 10 bows and CRA to lawnmower lighter infantry before they make contact.
The greatest merit of a build like this is how hard it hits after it shoots for a couple turns; Defenders come in swinging at MAT 9, P+S 18 with Positive Charge and cain gain an additional attack from Rolling Thunder if necessary or another Focus (and an additional die to hit!) with Stryker’s Warjack Bond.  A Stormwall gets up to a mighty MAT 8, P+S 22; enough to pulverize just about anything it gets its big, mechanikal fists on.  As if that isn’t enough; all those infantry can come swinging in and Stryker can close things up if he needs to.
These are only a couple of the many ways to play Stryker2; with his control effects and buffs for both infantry and Warjacks, he can support a variety of forces utilizing a wide variety of Cygnar’s troops, as befits an officer bearing the title Lord Commander.  In a future article I’ll talk a little about yet another popular Stryker2 build; his Theme Force, Charge of the Storm Brigade.
Are you a Stryker2 player?  What do you like to play with him?  Remember, you can read more about the Lord Commander on my blog at www.wayoftheswan.com!  Stay classy, swans!

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Author: Trevy the Great
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