Cygnar: The First Chapter

I’m back from the most epic tournament I’ve ever played in, and we finished dead last. We lost every round, lost all but three games, and probably achieved the worst score of any team in Danish WTC history. Team Pigs Might Fly even lost the very last game against Team The Grill, which couldn’t be more appropriate if we planned it.

Pretty much how the weekend went

With nine games under my belt I feel ready to talk about starting Cygnar, which has been a bumpy road to say the least. During my first vacation with Circle in 2012 I read up on them for months, prowled their forums, and watched Circle players with the intent of learning their tricks instead of simply countering them.

In 2013 when I had my stint with Legion I did exactly the same, but with Cygnar I just sort of stumbled into it during the tournament in Lund about three weeks ago. I’ve played against Cygnar for years but there’s a vast difference between facing them and running them, as I was soon to learn.

I looked through my chest of goodies I’ve won over the years, rummaged through bits boxes, and called up a friend who quit the hobby back in 2011, to scrape together as much Cygnar/Mercs as I possibly could in order to field something even remotely playable, and I got down to business.

  • Cain2 vs. Vayl2

It was an infantry list with Jakes + Centurion to add some beef. I should probably have won this game but a Ravagore lit Caine on fire and two turns later he burned to death. I didn’t lean much but I think I had the game under control until the fire-incident. (Loss)

  • Haley1 Vs. Rahn

Having decided to play some Haley1 – since she’s the caster who annoyed me the most with Cryx – I face up against Rahn and get almost completely annihilated. The list was all about the Steelhead package and didn’t work at all. (Loss)

  • Cain2 vs. Skarre2

This game was against one of the danish top players but it still felt like a real game, instead of just getting wiped or burning to death. I had tweaked my list a bit but I really needed those Stormcallers to lock down Nightmare and Deathjack, which I didn’t get until two days later. (Loss)

  • Interlude

At this point I had been analyzing my games, and figured out that being stuck in the Cryx way of thinking was doing me no favors at all when running standard Cygnar casters. I took a quick look around and noticed Stryker3. I know a lot of people think he’s bottom tier in Cygnar but that’s because he looks more like a Cryx caster, so I decided to play him like one to ease the transition into Cygnar.

  • Stryker3 vs. Grimm2

the Stryker list was Gun Mages, Nyss Hunters + Murdoch, Alexia, and a bunch of other stuff to abuse high defense and accurate shooting while lining up for the inevitable charge as they approached my lines. It worked fairly well and I won the game, but if my opponent had been 10 minutes faster I think I would have lost on attrition. (WIN!)

  • Interlude2

Time to face the music. I needed an anchor in my lists and the deadline for WTC Qualifier lists was coming up fast. I called around and got the go ahead to borrow a Stormwall for the tournament. There’s really no substitute for having that big fat bastard anchoring down the line, and it’s great with both Haley1 and Stryker3 no matter how much I wanted to play without it.

I also called around for a Galleon as I thought it could be fun to drop the double Colossal Haley1, despite never having actually played her with even one Colossal, but at the very last moment I found a loaner and locked in my lists.

Captain Victoria Haley
– Stormwall
– Squire
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Gastone Crosse
– Galleon
Journeyman Warcaster
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile

Objective: Bunker

Lord General Coleman Stryker
– Stormwall
– Squire
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
– Captain Jonas Murdoch
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
Journeyman Warcaster
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
Stormsmith Stormcaller
Stormsmith Stormcaller

Objective: Effigy of Valor

The Haley1 list is should have been with Stormcallers and B13 instead of Gun Mages, but that’s something I learned about two hours after the deadline for list submissions had passed. The Stryker3 list received several tweaks during the weekend which I’m implementing in the final weeks of MK2 and then starting over once MK3 drops. We then drove to Roskilde – home of the legendary Roskilde Festival – and got down to losing.

  • Haley1 vs. The High Reclaimer

The game was a fierce grind on the middle which I ultimately lost. My opponent was violated by his dice but I also failed some critical rolls, and especially Eiryss2 surviving three Gun Port shots from the Galleon with artillerist (rerolls on deviation), and three focus to boost blast damage, meant that I lost the full use of both Colossals for one very critical turn.

Lined up to receive

In the end I managed to gather up four control points by casting scramble on his remaining jack and shooting infantry with my surviving Journeymen, while keeping Temporal Barrier up, but I got lit on fire once more and burned for boxcars, after which a Vanquisher put a direct hit on her and I lost. I really hate continuous fire. (Loss)

  • Stryker3 Vs. Doomshaper1 (Runes)

I was pretty sure this was a match-up I could win. This was on outflank so if I could win the ranged battle without losing most of my models he would have to leave his little castle and come take my charge. I lined up the mini-feat Nyss at one zone and the Gun Mages with Arcane Shield + Dirge of Mist in the other.

Come at us bro’s!

Dig In meant that his Runeshapers needed direct hits against DEF 19 to hit, and Gun Mages with Arcane Shield meant 8+ to kill them on blast damage where the dice were on my side for once. I annihilated his Runeshapers with long range fire, and then punched Mulg to death with the Stormwall.

The Earthborne then tore the Stormwall a new one but that was all according to plan, as it lined him to up to receive a Fury-fueled Nyss charge with Kiss to back it up. He was down two heavies, and his Mauler was on it’s way to save the second zone – and his three remaining Runeshapers – from the big bad Gun Mages.

I was considering my options for an assassination (maybe 40%) when instead of shooting ineffectually at the Gun Mages he charges them with the two units of Runeshapers (1 & 2 members), and BOTH units break because of Dirge. They didn’t rally either, and since the Mauler was trying to punch Eiryss he wasn’t in the zone, so I basically got two free points and instantly switched to scenario mode.

Got him now

The Nyss annihilate the Axer as well, and Stryker3 moves into the zone opposite of the Mauler, where nothing can really threaten him personally, after which I just need to mop up which I do. (Win)

  • Stryker3 Vs. Doomshaper1 (Runes)

This was not going to end as well as the game before, because the scenario was Fire Support and I had no way of forcing him to break up his little party in the middle. I knew that going in but I still needed to try, as I was the one with the best shot at doing it.

I do almost exactly the same thing against the Runeshapers and again that ARM 14 on the Gun Mages protects them from blast damage, but I roll really poorly on the return fire where I need to roll well and I lose the other way of making him break up the brick.

Then I fuck up. I’ve decided to send in the Stormwall on Mulg, switch Fury to the Nyss and go in hoping for spikes, but first I forget to shoot the Animus off Mulg with Eiryss and then I activate Stryker3 first to feat, which was completely backwards. Then to make matters worse my Stormcallers fail to nuke the Stone so the aura is still up.

not going to end well this is…

Stormwall then has to go in and and do it himself, but even though I landed all four hits on Mulg – which on average dice should have killed him – I roll poorly on damage and leave him on 10 boxes, and also the pod failed to nuke the stone again. From there it’s all down hill as I get torn apart with no way of breaking through his armor. (Loss)

  • Haley1 Vs. Ravyn Tier

I refuse to play a third game against Runes of War – which was what I would be facing if we did the matchup phase right – and instead willingly jump under the buss and grab the Ravyn tier list. I really hope they’ll get rid of all those bloody awful and boring tier lists in MK3, because even facing Ravyn tier is more fun than facing three Runes of War in a row.

He wins the roll and runs up a bit too far. It’s not a kill box scenario so I feat and wipe out 12 MHSF with a combination of Gun Mages and Galleon. I’ve also shifted my entire list to the left flank and put Haley waaaay back to avoid the worst of the assassination attempt.

This might work!

The first unit only brings her down to half health and he can’t get snipe on two units so I survive. There is one problem though, as the Fane Knight has run down to me and since I had to save Gaston from being shot I couldn’t assign the Galleon any focus.

If I moved Haley to the corner of my deployment zone and didn’t kill the Fane Knight he could simply walk down and clip her half. If I moved her sideways I could get away from him, but if I rolled poorly on the MHSF in front of her she would be taking more hits.

Juuust have to survive this turn

I decide on chancing the MHSF instead of the Fane Knight. He then rolls 8+ on all three aiming MHSF and kills her, but I wasn’t really counting on winning that match in the first place. If he had missed one of those 8+ shots I think I could have won the game, as he would have had almost nothing left and two angry Colossals engaging what he had. (Loss)

  • Stryker3 Vs. Lylyth2

The last round of the tournament and we’re faced up against the other bottom tier team. These are still fairly skilled players but my opponent was also quite new to his faction, and so he made a mistake. He goes first so I can have some cover, thinking that either he tries an assassination against DEF 19 Stryker and fails, or he doesn’t which is also alright.

When my first turn comes around I run the Nyss full speed ahead and mini-feat, putting all my eggs in one basket by throwing Dirge on them as well. They are now DEF 20 and immune to blast damage, well spread out and here’s where the mistake comes into play.

What will he do…

My opponent pops his feat and goes on the offense instead of backing up a bit and lighting Nyss on fire with his beasts. He has a Blightbringer and two Ravagores, so even with spacing I’m expecting to lose half the Nyss hunters for the price of gaining position, and then hopefully spiking hard on damage with the remaining to get back in the game.

Instead he goes for the Stormwall – which miraculously survive – but that means all his big baddies are in Nyss charge range. He also messed up his activation sequence so only the two Ravagores ignored the Arcane Shield on the SW so that helped a lot.

BOOM HEADSHOT

One feat and Fury-fueled round on Nyss charges later and both Ravagores are dead, while the still operational Stormwall walks up and shoots both his Forsaken, ending the game right there because he had no way of clearing out enough Nyss in one turn without them. I then proceed to table him completely. I don’t remember the last time I tabled an opponent, but it was a fitting end to the tournament.

Bjarke no liky being tabled… understandably :D

With that fitting end to the tournament I walked away with two thirds of our combined wins and three quarters of our control points, which sounds a LOT more impressive than it is. I almost felt like I won half my games since the Ravyn Tier list is like Cygnar kryptonite, and I more than achieved my personal goal of winning a game.

The future!

Since MK3 is so close I’ve decided to cool it a bit and enjoy the coming months of Cygnar just playing around with what I have. I don’t feel the need to run out and get a bunch of models – and I don’t have the finances either – so for now I’ll be using what I have while hopefully getting the most important things painted.

I began forming the basics of my new Stryker3 list on the way home, having learned sooo much over the weekend, and considering what I have available. I’m going to have to proxy Stryker3 though, because no way am I buying him now, as he could change radically so soon after purchase.

Lord General Coleman Stryker
– Centurion
– Squire
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
– Captain Jonas Murdoch
Captain Maxwell Finn
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
Journeyman Warcaster
Professor Victor Pendrake
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord

The Centurion is going to have to handle the Stormwalls melee duties, however unlikely that is to work, but with Escort he can at least get to where he’s needed and handle the big baddies that survive my feat turn.

Maxwell fin has joined the fray to increase the threat range on Nyss Hunters to make it more likely that I can pull a solid ‘pop feat an charge’ turn, while Pendrake has joined up to make sure those Fury-Nyss can land hits on Warbeasts in non-feat turns as well (or Gun Mages that can KD them at range). That leaves me with 11 points to play with, and no more really obvious choices.

I would like more models that can both shoot and abuse his feat, but most Cygnar ranged models are either not in my collection or have really low melee power. I would also love some reach models in the list, as terrain and walls have been giving me fits when it was time to engage.

The completely obvious choice would be Stormlances who can both shoot, hit like trucks, abuse Fury, and gain reform with Stryker3 – but finding a unit of Stormlances for free might not be that easy. Instead I’ve been looking at what I have available and coming up pretty much empty.

  • Hunter

I could include a Hunter which would work well on the Journeyman Warcaster, who can load it with the two focus it needs each turn, or I could add it to the Gun Mage UA for the added range. The thing about Hunters is that one of them really doesn’t do that much against the targets I intend to throw this list at so I kept on looking.

  • Trencher Infantry

More Dig-In and shooting certainly fits with the theme, and being a whole two POW above the other ranged options make them slightly more appealing. Maxwell Finn can Desperate pace them and provide Veteran Leader, and it’s another CRA unit to add to the Nyss Hunters. It’s also another assault unit and the ability to place smoke bombs could make life a little easier for the Gun Mages as well.

In my games the real heavy lifting has been done by the Nyss Hunters, and even with the Centurion I might be lacking punch if I go with this option but I think I’ll try. This does present a wee problem as I can’t really afford the full package as Trenchers are stupidly expensive (13 points for the full package, cmon MK3 help these guys out). I could however go for the minimum unit with UA, and have enough left over for a two point solo.

Lord General Coleman Stryker
– Centurion
– Squire
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
– Captain Jonas Murdoch
Trencher Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Trencher Infantry Officer & Sniper
Captain Maxwell Finn
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
Journeyman Warcaster
Professor Victor Pendrake
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord

With AD + Desperate pace they can join the Nyss Hunters in a Dig In line pretty far up the field, where they can either shoot or change on the following turn. With Fury on them they’re POW 12 weapon masters with automatic hits on feat turn, which is quite respectable.

The Sniper is another long range gun that might pick out a solo with a bit of luck, but more likely he’ll just end up charging with fixed bayonet instead. With this addition I also retain some semblance of offensive power even if Murdoch eats it early on to long range fire. Now for a two point solo we turn to the mercenaries.

  • Alten Ashley

Actually an interesting choice in this list as I expect it to go up against hordes, but ultimately not a utility solo with the synergy I’m looking for.

  • Anastasia Di Bray

Espionage is epic and +1 to the starting roll will allow me to get in position more often, but in quite a few matchups my list actually likes going second. If I go second I can Dig In inside the zones and thus force people into my rather devastating charges. Still, winning the roll means picking if I go second as well, so she’s certainly on the list.

  • Gorman di Wulfe

I already have accuracy enhancers, clouds, and enough punch against single wound infantry. In addition I’m expecting this list to handle Hordes and Gorman might be better at home in my other list, assuming there’s even more MK2 tournaments ahead of us.

  • Lanyssa Ryssyl

Now here’s something interesting. Hunter’s Mark has some great synergy with Desperate Pace, turning Nyss threat up to 14.5″ which is darn good. Hunter’s Mark would also turn the unreasonably slow Centurion up to fast, and with Escort the lumbering jack suddenly threatens thirteen inches. Hunter’s Mark is highly unreliable though, but she’s on the list.

  • Ragman

I would love another ARM swing in the list but Ragman becomes a liability when everyone else is waaay higher DEF than he is. Without a Shield Guard, a spell, or a great sac-pawn target I just don’t see him staying alive when all the guns on the other side have trouble hitting anything else.

I think I’ll try Anastasia Di Bray first, as I’ve used Lanyssa quite extensively back in my Circle days and she mostly let me down by missing when it was most important or dying to random fire. Anastasia can be held in Ambush and wait for the right time, thus keeping he safe from all the shooters with nothing better to do, and even doing nothing she still helps out winning deployment.

The final option is two Stormsmith Stormcallers. They’re really useful when they work and would give me some game against Warmachine lists as well, but I feel I need more reliable models and nuking the occasional Krielstone might not be worth it. It feels really weird putting together lists when the days of them being likely to work are numbered, but I guess it’s good practice for MK3 anyway.

 

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4 Responses »

  1. What about Stormblades as the shooting / melee unit? Sure, the shooting is short ranged, but like the Trenchers it’s another assault unit. Then again, you’ve probably got the same problem with finding a unit for free as you do with the Stormlances.

    I’m enjoying reading about your Cygnar side-quest. It’s been good to see you having fun with the game again since you went on the Full Moron experiment.

    • I actually had found a guy willing to trade me Stormblades for some surplus Cryx, but then MK3 was announced and we agreed to wait and see :)

      • Stormblades an interesting unit in a list like this. They hit hard, have assault, can clear both infantry and heavy targets, and with Arcane Sheild they go up to ARM 18 which can be quite good for negating the opponents low power shooting.

  2. I like the list and look forward to hearing about it in action. After last weekend, I’m surprised that not more Cygnar players like Stryker3 :)

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