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a wargaming blog (plus some other stuff)

Three Warcasters


Warmachine is a game where matchups between different casters/lists are really important. To account for this, most Warmachine tournament allow/require multiple army lists. This is quite a big difference coming from Warhammer 40000 tournaments where the trick is to produce a single army list that has an answer for everyone.

Typically, most Warmachine events require three lists, and each one has to be played at least once. In addition to this there are normally restrictions on characters so they can only be included once across all the lists a player brings.

At SPIF we are starting to play more tournament style games and recently more games at 50 points. Combined with the fact I like practising specific lists, this all seems like a good excuse to choose three warcasters and three lists to concentrate on. But whom?

So far, I have all the Retribution casters except Garryth and Epic Vyros painted, so I have some good options. The first warcaster I always reach for is Kaelyssa so that seems a very good place to start. Although she is perhaps not as powerful as some other Retribution warcasters, she does not have any specific awful matchups (apart from Epic Lylyth, but everyone else has the same problem).

What she does have, is the ability to assassinate most warlocks or warcasters at range which is something I really like. And she is also the warcaster I have had the most table time with so I at least know how she works.

Unfortunately she is also really squishy, but I have plans to cover that problem with a different caster (more on that later). Her list is an expansion of the existing 35 point army I have been playing since the beginning of the year.

kaelyssa-nights-whisperKaelyssa, Night’s Whisper
Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker

Dawnguard Invictors (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Dawnguard Invictor Officer & Standard
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Mage Hunter Commander

Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen
Mage Hunter Assassin
Mage Hunter Assassin

With the flexible, slightly assassination orientated warcaster out of the way, my second caster is more of a dilemma. One of the big strengths of Retribution is its ranged game, and there are two casters that really abuse this, although in different ways, Ossyan and Ravyn.

Ravyn plus Mage Hunter Strike Force is a horrible matchup for a lot of the most powerful warcasters in the game. Against warlocks, the transfer mechanic kills this tactic dead, but Hordes armies can be relent on support staff so they can still do work. The problem with Ravyn in my experience is cracking armour, which bring us to Lord Arcanist Ossyan…

Ossyan has the opposite problem. For one turn he can make his army hit really hard, but he lacks the tools to hit accurately. Both casters have tools to cover each others’ weaknesses and both have options to extend threat ranges. I think out of the two, I prefer Ravyn, but Ossyan has more potential, especially with Epic Morvahna trotting around club.

I was ready to go with Ravyn, and then I used Ossyan for the first time in ages last night. Shall we just say Shatterstorm and his feat (when it works) is brutal. Although it took me a long time to play the feat turn, I managed to remove from play three heavy warbeasts in a single round. This is a very new experience for me.

Unfortunately I screwed up on the scenario side (we were playing the SR2013 Outflank scenario) so I forced myself into having to assassinate my opponents warlock. I obviously have a lot of learn with this warcaster so I think he gets the second slot.

His list is fairly straightforward, although this is already the second version in as many days. The basic theory is to cram in lots of ranged weapons so no surprises there.

OssyanLord Arcanist Ossyan

Dawnguard Invictors (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Dawnguard Invictor Officer & Standard
House Shyeel Battle Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
Stormfall Archers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Stormfall Archers (Leader and 3 Grunts)

House Shyeel Magister
Mage Hunter Assassin
Mage Hunter Assassin

The final list is a straight up contest between attrition and scenario control, Dawnlord Vyros and Adeptus Rahn. Out of the two, I think Vyros has some dark horse potential and plays very differently to the other two casters. The other thing is while Rahn is good, stuff that shuts him down, completely kills his game. This can be a big problem.

I’m tempted to go more jack heavy with Vyros because some jacks such as the Banshee can be very focus efficient and make good use of Bird’s Eye, but to begin with I will just take the Banshee and Hyperion with him.

The rest of his list will have to be self sufficient, although I am going to include a few tools to help deliver Vyros himself. With the right solos, in theory he can threat further than a Mage Hunter Assassin. This might have some late game potential although I suspect this sort of behaviour is likely to get him killed. This said, it seems fun.

dawnlord-vyrosDawnlord Vyros

Dawnguard Invictors (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Dawnguard Invictor Officer & Standard
Houseguard Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Houseguard Halberdiers Officer & Standard

House Shyeel Magister
Lanyssa Ryssyll, Nyss Sorceress
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan

So there you have it, three warcasters I want to learn to use well at 50 points before the end of the year. In all likelihood, all of these lists will change and evolve a lot as I play them.

I’m I missing some tools? Probably. But the aim is to play past these. Actually, in fairness, the aim is to just play some games!

2 thoughts on “Three Warcasters

  1. I’m curious by the omission of soulless escorts. Aren’t they almost an auto include, especially when dealing with Circle or Cryx?

    • I have a Soulless escort, but he only tends to get fielded when I have one point spare. and I already have an arcanist.
      Kaelyssa is my normal matchup for Circle or Cyrx, and she already over doses on magic hate so a Soulless escort isn’t really necessary.
      This said, could be useful in the other lists.

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