Cain2: The list

I’ve had a few requests for a walk through of my Caine2 list, since it’s somewhat different from what most other people run. Now I’m not sure the evolution of the list is finished, but who am I to let the people down.

Captain Allister Caine (Caine2)
– Reinholdt
– Centurion
– Centurion
Journeyman Warcaster
– Charger
Lieutenant Allison Jakes
– Charger
– Charger
Rangers (Leader & 5 Grunts)
Field Mechaniks (Crew Chief & 3 Grunts)
Ragman
Captain Arlan Strangeways
Rhupert Carvolo
Gun Mage Captain Adept

Objective: Bunker

The core concept of the list was my wish to make games go as long as possible, as each additional turn means more shooting from Caine, which in turn – usually – means a greater attrition advantage for me. I needed something to hold zones though, preferably something that didn’t just keel over, because having my opponent score, even once or twice, would put me under extreme scenario pressure, and then I found the Centurions.

Centurions

Traditionally I’ve been pretty darn poor at using heavies, because I always get them killed, or feel that I don’t get enough work out of them, but with Centurions I get both. The ability to run and Polarity Field at the same time, means that even with their pathetic speed I can put them in the zones on turn two, and opponents generally can’t kill them. I ran into a nightmare of Snipers just yesterday that actually gave me some issues (sniped out Cortex, Alten hit it with Grievous Wounds, and then it got charged the following turn), but that’s the only time I’ve felt like I had any trouble keeping them alive and operational.

One Centurion has Arcane Shield, and the other one has a unit of Mechaniks following it around. If Caine isn’t shooting anything on the first turn, I use Arlan to pop Evasion on the non-shielded Centurion, to deter opponents from taking shots and hoping to spike. If Caine has shots on anything Arlan Empowers instead, limiting the drain on Caine to 1 focus, which I think is reasonable all things considered. This often gets opponents fired up to kill Arlan which is pretty good for me, considering he’s a total bad-ass and way behind the Centurions, so I usually gain from that exchange.

Centurions then spend the game jostling for position, taunting enemy heavies. Infantry coming for them run into Caines guns and die horribly, while heavies almost always have to take their charge to the face which hurts with Ragman to back them up. The sheer amount of tech that relies on getting the charge is quite astonishing, and almost every game they thwart my opponents evil plans by just saying ‘nope’. I did have quite a few incidents where I accidentally supplied opponents with charge targets he could use to circumvent Polarity Field, but the high ARM of the Centurions pulled me through those, and I’ve gotten more careful (I even lured one in faking to forget it once).

Lieutenant Allison Jakes + Chargers

Jakes is my girl, and she’s in almost every list I make these days. Once Charger has Sidekick, and the other often has Bullet Dodger if Caine isn’t using it. They find a little castle of cover/concealment and turn into gun platforms that are absurdly hard to kill. In my last game I had a piece of cover placed perfectly, and two DEF 19 chargers just owned the center of the table. Even opposing heavies coming for them need to land hits against DEF 17 across such an obstacle, and if they do I have Centurions ready to repay the – usually unsuccessful – attempt.

Cosplay never does anything for me, but every rule has an exception: https://www.facebook.com/AllieCatCos

Cosplay never does anything for me, but every rule has an exception: https://www.facebook.com/AllieCatCos

Jakes upkeeps Sidekick (1), assigns one to each Charger (2), and camps the last one while staying safe. It’s fairly easy keeping her safe with her high stats, and Rhupert can put concealment on her if I feel unsure of her survival. To this day I’ve only lost her once with Caine, and that was because I needed her to run in and score a point, so not exactly something I expected her to survive. The Chargers are insanely accurate in the list, with both Rangers and a Gun Mage Captain Adept in the list, and if going all in she can Energizer and assign to the Chargers by dropping Sidekick and getting naked (only done this once).

The Sidekick charger also serves as backup zone denial in case the non-shielded Centurion goes down, and as a zone holder against push feats. It can also be used to block for Caine when he has to hide, but this only really happens in scenarios with objectives, as he really needs a Bunker objective to avoid death by blast damage when staying so close to other models and close to the front. The same thing can be said about having Jakes herself camp in base to base with both the Sidekick Charger and the Bunker Objective, which makes her insanely hard to kill.

Journeyman Warcaster + Charger

His job is obvious. Arcane Shield a Centurion, assign one to his charger, camp one, DON’T DIE! His Charger has another job though, as a mobile target for Caines trick shots. Every once in a while it’s impractical to shoot directly at enemies, and I need a beacon to bounce shots into important models hiding behind buildings or in cover. This also extends the range at which Caine can apply pressure across the board, but usually costs me the Charger.

This leads to a weird situation where my Chargers effectively ‘push’ back enemy infantry, as they work as pseudo Thunderheads that can run into position and almost automatically inflict POW 10 hits on squishy models within 16″ of the Charger (18″ of Jakes chargers). Even if Caine is on the other side of the table, the 19″ range + medium base +4″ Trick Shot gives him an immense presence against squishy infantry and solo characters.

Rangers

Rangers are great. With Rhupert in the list they get stealth in the first round or two, and they make both Caine and the Chargers extremely accurate. Not much more to say about them other than to remember that they actually have guns. I keep forgetting they can do more than run around pointing at things. I’ve also quite often ended up having them engaged in melee, when people charge them and fail to connect, but man do they suck in melee.

Field Mechaniks

These guys make people really curios. Comments range from “Those guys suck balls” to “I see the need for repairs, but you could have Gobber Tinkers!” so here’s the basics of Field Mechaniks: They rock. Two Gobber Tinkers cost 4 points, and repair an average of 7 damage each round. A minimum unit of Field Mechaniks is 3 points and repair an average of 9.5 points of damage. The odds of two Tinkers rolling max is better, but the average and maximum repair/turn is higher from the FM.

The Field Mechaniks can repair more jacks each turn, which is important when you have five in the list, and you can spread them out more despite their poor CMD. The Mechaniks have more bodies for the Gobber maneuver, and despite their five boxes the Tinkers go SPLAT to blast damage almost as easy (honestly can’t remember the last time one survived). The only thing the Tinkers really have on the Mechaniks is the built in cover, which I admit to missing every now and then.

Rhupert Carvolo

Why Rhupert you ask… well you did (shut up, you did!), so here’s why. The first couple of turns he pops Dirge of Mist on the Rangers, turning them from hard to downright impossible to nail directly. I still usually lose a couple to blasts or lucky shots, but in general they’re invisible ninjas. The secondary but often more important task is to use March on Caine when he hides behind woods, using March to go one way, and Gate Crash the other way. The third option is to use Bullet Dodger and Dirge on Caine, allowing him to be DEF 21 while standing ass naked in a field somewhere (assuming you’re 100% sure he can’t get knocked down somehow). Not many casters can sport those numbers even while in cover, so it’s pretty darn impressive.

Gun Mage Captain Adept

Ah the Captain Adept. The first thing I do in most games is cast Fire For Effect on him, because that’s just too much fun. 3d6+8 to hit (+10 with Rangers) so those shots usually land. Once they land they roll four dice for damage when using brutal damage, and since most people have written him off as a support dude that can shoot some infantry, they get real bug-eyed when he shoots an arm of their heavy.

With FFE and Rangers he also usually lands the Flare where it’s needed, which turns every other gun in the list into laser guided evil when combined with Rangers. DEF below 16 becomes a non-issue on single models, since the Chargers land shots on boosted 6s, end DEF below 18 generally speaking isn’t enough either. I’ve also shot objectives with him, but that does require a spike on the roll. FFE GMCA is a god, but he has issues with survivability, and sadly he can’t have both Bullet Dodger and FFE, because Caine usually can’t be arsed to cast FFE on him after round 1.

Playing the list

The list plays extremely slowly, and the longer a game goes the better it becomes. One Centurion gets arcane shield and moves to one zone/flag, and the other has a dedicated group of Mechaniks following it to the other zone/flag, and still has solid defenses. I’ve been using Arlan to pop Evasive on the one without AS, as people tend to shoot it and hope for spikes. With Evasive on the Centurion they don’t bother shooting at it, because that only gives me more momentum for a weak payout. Sometimes I want them shooting at it, if I feel like my Mechaniks are safe and Grievous Wounds is nowhere nearby, and with all the repairs those shots are really just wasted actions from my opponent.

An older Caine build, but it illustrates the Centurions doing their job.

An older Caine2 build, but it illustrates the Centurions doing their job.

The Chargers build castles in the middle, depending on scenario, terrain, and what spells they have available (primarily Bullet Dodger). They also make sure to be available as trick shot targets, in order to extend Caines presence on the table. Caine finds somewhere to hide, preferably in a central position where his personal threat can give me the maximum amount of pseudo control, and where the least amount of blast damage can get to him. There he hangs out with Reinholdt and Rhupert, sipping tea in relative safety, and only venturing out to shoot and Gate Crash back to his comfy chair. I’ve had quite a few spikes of adrenaline when people actually go for him, but DEF 21+ makes it a losing move for my opponents so far.

The Cain bunker

The Cain bunker

The Captain Adept hangs out in cover looking for opportunities, and the Rangers with Dirge of Mist try their best not to get wiped out. I usually keep one or two of them back with Caine, as they have the same range of engagement (running 14+5″ to Mark the Target), but having a few in advanced positions allows the Chargers to benefit as well. Ragman plays super defensively in this list as well, staying back and usually keeping Arlan in sac range. Arlan is a monster of iron and flesh, so he can tank a lot of the shots that come for Ragman without dying.

More Caine2 bunker building

More Caine2 bunker building

Colossals in particular really don’t like the Centurions, as they can’t usually gain out of activation movement, and most in-activation movement is limited to +2 inches. They also rely a lot on getting the charge in, and usually can’t shoot through the ARM 24 Centurion (the ARM 21 Centurion takes a beating from anti-tank fire though). Quite a few Colossals can’t even take down the ARM 24 Centurion, especially when their support models have been nuked with trick shots, and then take a serious beating back when Ragman ups the damage and the Centurion(s) strike back.

I’ve considered taking out two Chargers on Jakes, and subbing in a shooting heavy, bringing me to three heavies total, but none of the current shooting heavies really feel right for the build. Dynamo is short ranged his aggressive style and would interfere with the long game, while the Defender doesn’t bring enough shots or damage at range to force the engagement when I want it, and Thunderhead is beyond the budget (and have the same issues as Dynamo). I’ve also been coerced into trying two Hunters instead of three Chargers, but I don’t see that being an upgrade, and I foresee having problems with some cavalry units if I do (three chargers wipe out most cavalry units in a single volley).

Games

I’ve played enough games to get a feel for Caine2 now (14-1), despite the list being different every game for a while. The list does well into most Retribution drops, but I think Vyros2 might just steamroll it. It does well into other Cygnar lists, and it does well into most Khador drops except probably Karchev. I’ve had a few games into Menoth with an older version of the list which were rough, but they were all wins and the current list should do better there anyway. Cryx should just run away. I don’t have any games into Convergence.

I think it has game into Circle as well, with both Wurmwood, Kaya2, and Baldur2 being playable match-ups. Trollbloods in general should fear him, Legion could be an issue (no games there yet), Skorne seems doable (no games yet), and Minions seem doable (only faced Barnabas, but Rask seems doable).

Sure there are games that are hard to win, but with the very few exceptions mentioned above I haven’t seen lists where I think I would be run over completely. Caine2 always has the assassination option to fall back on, and his attrition game – with this list – is quite impressive, especially when the terrain is favorable.

 

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8 Responses »

  1. Great write-up. My first impression was that Jakes seemed out-of-place, but I totally get it now. I never have luck with Rangers, but maybe that’s because I’m not putting Rhupert on them. I’ve been using the Repair crew a lot recently (Nemo1!) but I’ve been having trouble keeping them safe.

    • I think I would pick Tinkers with most other casters as well, but all the little attacks that usually kill Mechaniks just aren’t there because Caine kills them all. Snipers (dead), ranged solos (dead), ranged units (dead), and anything they dedicate which could have hurt my Chargers is sort of indirect healing on the jacks (damage prevention). Sure that POW 12 shot killed my Mechanik, but it would have dealt an average of 3 damage to my Charger, so so by dying the Mechanik actually just rolled max for repairs.

  2. Txs for nice write up. Isnt keeping the juniors safe, a problem against legion and ret shooting ?

    • – sorry for the late response, somethings wrong with my addons –

      Not really. The Charger has 12″ range, medium base, 6″ control range, so Junior is more than 19″ from the enemy – assuming the Charger is even on offense. In this list the charger on Junior often plays a tad more defensively, but seeing as most lists have to come to me (if they don’t Caine will just shoot them) there’s plenty of targets.

      If I need a sacrificial Charger, his is often the first to go though, so I can keep him completely safe, but being DEF 14 means he’s hard to kill in Cover, and camping one means he often tanks the first heavy hit anyway. I can’t remember actually losing him before the extreme end-game (when he’s running to score or contest a super tight game).

  3. – sorry for the late response, somethings wrong with my addons –

    Disclaimer: Long time lurker, first time poster. I really like this list!
    Most of the time I stumble over interesting lists but then I find a couple of models in said lists that I do not like to play. Your list inspired me to finally paint Jakes who was waiting on the painting table far too long.

    So yesterday I got to play your list for the first time. Of course I still have a lot to learn and playing Caine2 after more than 18 months didnĀ“t help either. The match was vs. Horgle2 on Incursion.
    Mistakes were made (by me) and after re-reading your article I know that I could have for example gone for his Stone Bearer by running a Charger next to him and let Caine shoot him with Trick Shot and I should have prioritized the Fire Eaters to make applying his Feat much harder.

    The only thing that really bothered me was his Glacier King. I could not control it. It had too high ARM and too many boxes and was surrounded by Shield Guards (Warders) as was his Caster. Otherwise I could have gone for the assassination (this is another aspect I really like concerning this list. You can always go for the assassination).
    What I really like to know though is how this list deals with an ARM buffed colossal. Especially when the really hard hitting models, e.g. the Centurions, have a shorter threat range than all of my opponentĀ“s hard hitting stuff.

    • Well your Centurions might not have a longer threat range, but they have a longer threat range than most walking enemies, and since they can’t get charged they usually end up getting the first strikes in. Dealing with an ARM buffed Garlossal can be tricky, but two fully loaded Centurions with Ragman should easily bash at least one aspect of a MK, and then you GW it with Caine2, and it’s more or less useless. It might punch the non-AS Centurion for some damage, unless you managed to nuke the Spirit, but it’s not doing anything to the other one (especially since you’ve killed the Stone with Trick Shots and denied him the aura permanently).

      I’ve been up against Hyperion (Issyria, ARM buff) and Baldur2 (extreme ARM all over), and I’ve had no problems punching through it. He HAS to take the first hits, unless you’ve lost the scenario game – which is a risk of course – but two turns of punching, or punching + feat and a bit of punch, should be able to clear almost anything. To be fair i haven’t played that specific match-up, and warders could be annoying. I might dedicate the Chargers to messing up that unit, but I might need to play it to be sure.

  4. As you know I love this list. It is your creation, so I’d like to know what you think of the errata concerning
    this exact list.

    Best wishes,
    T7

    • Hard to say. I know the Doom Cannon just went from surplus anti-infantry to ‘much needed help with anti-infantry’ but testing will be needed. I think the triple charger list is now lacking in infantry removal, and perhaps a few tweaks will be needed.

      Caine2 is still playable, but I think he might just barely make top5 now.

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