Monday, 25 February 2013

List Theory - The Caster

When creating a list for Warmachine or Hordes the best place to start is the caster/warlock, being the most important model in your force he/she we determine you tactics during the game and what other models complement this.

There are many way to decide which caster/warlock to take normally it's the caster that generally determine which faction you want to play but not always as style and look of the army can play a part, I know I wanted Retribution because of the different look they have to other warmachine factions.

Here is a great article from Rot & Roll blog site (Great Minions Site - tactics and painting)

JS has created a nice break down of what to look for when selecting a caster, I'll repeat it here:
(With my own thoughts and examples)

1. Movement buff - Being able to project threats, use unexpected angles and out threat range an opponent.

2. Damage buff - this is what the games all about, can I hit it? Can I kill it? Can my caster make this happen?

3. Denial / Control - Part of the game I hate the most, can I take controll of the game and stop my opponent doing what they want to do.

4. Answers - If you’re in the middle of you first or second turn and you think "I don't know how to deal with that" - "or my army cannot stop that model/unit it’s just too good" this is probably an example of not having the answers (or in my case needing more practice)

5. Survivability - this can be looked at in two ways

a) My caster can take a hit or is really hard to hit

b) My caster needs plenty of support to stay on the table

6. Metaskew: the Unknown Factor - This is really interesting, in Australia are meta changes slowly, it's not a dig at Australian players it's just the size of the meta and the lack of influence from other groups.

I get many great ideas from podcasts and Blog sites but by the time I get a chance to put a metaskew list down on the table it usually old hat.

Right now big heavy armor seems to be big internationally but in my meta we are still building infantry jam armies or shooting galleries armies.

So some examples from our slow grow tournament

Aris is playing Captain Phinneus Shae

1. Movement buff - Yes and more yes (Coup de main and Godspeed) and this isn't a slow force to start with, it's really hard to image the pirates not getting an alpha strike (Veil of mists as a possibility)

2. Damage buff - Maybe, "Blow the man down" to make the hitting part easier and "Storm rager" on an individual model for more damage but it isn't really his thing (but pirates have other answers, practically when facing infantry)

3. Denial / Control - No not really, the army can jam and the Commodore Cannon is scary but hard control? no. Not from Shae.

4. Answers - He provides the answers to infantry jam type armies and can deal with shooting galleries with the speed but heavy armor (No) or Hard Control (No) I'd say 50/50 and look to you second list to help with these match ups.

5. Survivability - Maybe, his personal defense is excellent but no stealth. Storm rager and Ground work will make it hard to hit him but Shae cannot take too many hits.

6. Metaskew: the Unknown Factor - In my meta no we all got a good understanding of what he does and how his tier list works (It’s brilliant) but in the larger community this can be a nightmare match up - especially a noob "the pirate move how fast now?"

So how does Shae stack up? Few too many Maybe's and No's, good players can mitigate this with practice but what to do when facing the double Galleons or Stormwalls type lists?

I’m playing Ashlynn Delyse

1. Movement buff – “Quicken” nice spell but no other movement abilities.

2. Damage buff – Ashlynn covers the hitting part better than most but dealing out the damage can be a real issue and your army should provide the muscle (Look for critical effects to use with her feat)

3. Denial / Control – Yes the feat is real option for taking control of the game, one of the best defensive and offensive feats in the game. No help really from her spells but that would be too much to ask for.

4. Answers – I think she creates more questions than answers, her tier list loves high defense or stealth type forces but she can suffer against high armor, I think she can take on the control caster by being one herself but I haven’t tested this myself.

5. Survivability – Yes but like Shae above don’t let her get hit!

6. Metaskew: the Unknown Factor – She brings mercs and cygnar together in her tier list and this can be very scary to face.

So how does Ashlynn stack up? I’m too much of a fan to objective, she is my favorite caster and I never feel it’s her fault when I lose games playing her, normally it’s me making a noob errors. Many sites rate her very high in the caster ratings.

One of the most important things about this game is take something you enjoy playing – Practice and understanding your force is the most important factors IMO.