This time on Thememachine; the crazy, tricorn-obsessed Gun Mages of Lieutenant Allister Caine’s Sons of the Tempest!
What’s up folks!?It’s Trevy the Great here again from Way of the Swan to talk about another awesome Theme Force, one that is very near and dear to my heart.Today’s installment of Warmatheme will cover the infamous Sons of the Tempest, Lieutenant Allister Caine’s Theme!
The Harrison Ford of the Iron Kingdoms
Unlike many theme forces which, while great for the occasional pallete cleanser, aren’t super competitive, Sons of the Tempest is a regular sight in the tournament scene.At GenCon Keith Christianson piloted the list to victory in Iron Gauntlet, using a variant that featured 6 Hunter Light Warjacks!So, what makes this Theme Force so super cool?Let’s dive under the hood and take a look!
From the outset, we see that this force is just as restrictive as Blaize’s Army of Light that I covered in the last installment of Thememachine; you get non-character Warjacks sporting firearms, Lancers and anything with Arcane Tempest in the name; this means Gun Mage Pistoleers, the Black 13th, Gun Mage Captain Adepts and Tempest Blazers.
Tier 1 If you take only those things you get FA: U Gun Mage Pistoleers and a point cost reduction on them, bringing these powerful units down to the low-low cost of 5 points!Already that’s super cool!
Tier 2 Gun Mage Pistoleers become even cooler, one unit getting a free UA if you bring at least two units, which allows you to have two UAs on the table; a grim prospect for any Cryx player!
Tier 3 You gain +1 on your starting game roll if you take three or more warjacks, which is great because lists with the number of ranged attacks you’ll be packing into this one tend to want to win the first turn in order to take positions to start shooting on turn 2.
Tier 4 Caine and all your Gun Mages gain Stealth during the first round if you take the Black 13th; not generally useful unless you go first and your opponent has long range or Advanced Deploying guns, but a nice thing to have nonetheless.
Learn to love these guys; you’ll be seeing a lot of them
Before the advent of Colossals, I bemoaned the fact that this Theme Force didn’t allow me to take any beefy models that could sit in front of all the Gun Mages I get and stop me from losing on scenario.Then the Stormwall came out and I got just that, although it should be noted that, unlike Army of Light, this list doesn’t have the benefit of a swarm of relatively robust infantry and the support of a Journeyman Warcaster to keep your stuff alive.You just need to shoot everyone to death before they can get to you.Fortunately, this list can do just that.Here’s the version I normally play:
Subtlety is a thing this list doesn’t have; it slowly advances up the field like an inexorable steamroller, blasting away with the four big Stormwall guns and picking off stragglers or pushing whatever doesn’t die back with its 14 Pistoleers.I can’t take full credit for this list, but it’s definitely my favorite version.It was crafted by another New England player who piloted it into the Masters event at CaptainCon this past summer.Although I personally have never played it in a tournament, I could see this list easily slotting into a pairing with an infantry-heavy, melee oriented list to provide your opponent with a variety of threats they need to select against (such as Army of Light, if you want to go all themey!).
The issue with this list, and the Theme Force in general, is that everything is incredibly squishy.Even the Stormwalls will fall down to some good guns and a couple random infantry charges if you’re not careful.I like to think of the two Colossals as a single, 112-box entity rather than two separate models; if you’re up against fast melee or hard-hitting ranged attacks, one of them will often go down, but hopefully not before the other one has the chance to take out most threats to its safety.
The unofficial weapon attachment to Gun Mage Pistoleers
The variant I mentioned before using 6 Hunters that was used to great effect at GenCon’s Iron Gauntlet qualifier by Keith Christianson fulfills a similar role; it is a little more tricksy than the double-Stormwall version since Hunters can dance around the board quite annoyingly (and in true Gun Mage fashion!) and protect themselves using Snipe and Thunderbolt ammunition types if they’re marshaled to the Pistoleer units.This type of list usually looks something like this:
A pretty scary prospect for any army without very heavy ranged denial, to be sure!With so many Armor Peircing Thunderbolt shots, a force like this one can easily never become engaged, and Caine usually finds himself at the rear of the force handing out Deadeye’s to boost the accuracy of the Marshalled Hunters.The one thing a theme force like this lacks is strong scenario presence, which a list like the Stormwall build I talked about earlier has in spades.Regardless, it can usually shoot down whatever it needs to before scenario becomes a problem.
Commonly, the Hunters in Caine’s battlegroup will be swapped out in favor of a Heavy Warjack or two to give the list a little in the way of staying power.Dual-purpose heavies such as the Stormclad and Avenger are allowed in the Theme Force (seeing as they have ranged weapons!) and can be included to give the list a little bit of staying power.Unfortunately, Caine won’t slow down long enough to let the slower heavy armor get to the battlefield, so big bruisers like the Centurion aren’t allowed, which would make the list much more interesting with their scenario presence.Still, light Warjacks such as the Sentinel can be swapped in in place of big contesters; these little guys are cheap (4 points for a DEF 13, ARM 18 chassis is just fine with me!) and come with their own anti-infantry firepower so they can contribute as well.A couple of these duders in place of some Hunters can deny scenario while being difficult to remove so your guns can blow up everything!
Any way you run the list, Sons of the Tempest is an incredibly enjoyable Theme Force to put on the table.Let’s face it; pistol-brandishing gun wizards in tricorn hats and trench coats are a new level of awesome, and with this list you can put tons of them on the table!
Are you an Arcane Tempest fan? How do you field your Sons of the Tempest?
Remember to tune in to Way of the Swan to read more about super cool Cygnar stuff!