Every faction has its strengths and weaknesses. Every faction *can* play pretty much every playstyle, but they definitely have some they’re better at than others. It’s difficult for a Trollblood list NOT to be good at attrition, while their gunlines are more challenging to play. Cygnarans are the reverse, with a very solid ranged game, but muscling their way through a protracted engagement can make for some Morrowan sadface. Incidentally, I have no problem with this 😉
Swing it around to my current main faction and the Retribution of Scyrah has a very solid gunline and a generally solid assassination theme running, with some attrition tossed in thanks to nifty folks like Houseguard Halberdiers, but as with the others, the Retribution has some glaring holes.
The first of these is Stealth and how to deal with it. Until Vengeance, the Retribution were a little light in the Carpet Bombing arena, and Kaelyssa was the sole model that could circumvent Stealth. Then, of course, we got the Houseguard Thane (who whispers such nice words into the ears of the Houseguard Riflemen) and Issyria, who cares not at all for stealthy shenanigans.
The other weak point, at least in my play experience, was dealing with high Defense.
Now, the faction isn’t completely without solutions. Ravyn’s feat allows for more accurate shooting… but does nothing for melee or magic. Garryth has Death Sentence… but he has to tag the target himself first. Ossyan packs Temporal Distortion… but relies on hitting the desired target. Dawn’s Light on Issyra gives you one turn of higher than average rolls.
Rahn has both Feat and Telekinesis to turn targets around, presenting back arcs…
Of the three, Rahn has for some time been the only reasonably reliable solution turn over turn, with his boostable Magic . The others rely on a feat or otherwise risking overexposing your warcaster. The faction has not, until now, has an actual MAT buff.
This is, of course, a very big deal. Mage Hunter Assassins alone are capable of one-shotting most of the warcasters in the game (Warlocks, of course, get transfers). Their unbuffed MAT of 7 means that against more than half of the warcaster models in the game they need to roll above average to hit. This means that, strictly on averages, your opponent can prioritize other models over the Assassins (or Narn, or Skeryth) but they’re generally taking a significant risk in letting an Assassin run around the back lines. Yes, more often than not, the Assassin will miss, but they can’t afford for that Chain Blade to hit. This has, of course, been a key component of my goofing around with Garryth’s theme force, but back to the point…
With the introduction of Thyron, Sword of Truth, the game just changed for the Retribution.
All of a sudden, thanks to Storm Rager, Mage Hunter Assassins and their ilk suddenly hit harder, hit more accurately, and as a bonus aren’t quite as susceptible to carpet bombing. Oh, and there’s an additional dice on attack rolls under his Blades Of Vengeance feat as well.
Your Mage Hunter Assassin will now hit, on average dice, DEF 19.
Your Mage Hunter Assassin will not do, on average dice against (for argument’s sake) ARM 15, a total of 20 damage.
Oh, and since I played against Deneghra2 last Monday night, consider also Spellpiercer, so not only don’t I care if you’re camping FOC for armour, not only don’t I care about any spells you might be running that buff your ARM or DEF, I have a means of circumventing Incorporeal as well.
Thyron is pretty damn solid in his own right – his medium base concerns me and I’ll be wanting a Voidtracer and an Artificer or Aspis tagging along more often than not – but the Mage Hunter Assassin hasn’t really been feared for some time, maybe since the initial release of Forces of Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah and the initial hubbub about their Decapitating Chain Strike, but I can smell change on the wind…
… I still haven’t figured out Nayl yet though 😉