The Machine Stops: Dealing with Convergence, Part I

autojack80Good evening, all!

So if you’ve had some time on the battlefields of Western Immoren at all at this point, you’re probably well aware that the new kid on the block, Convergence of Cyriss, is leveling a barrelfull of challenges heretofore unseen at you. Nothing to be afraid of, but the more astute of you may have noticed also that the Iron Gauntlet final was played a few weeks ago between Cygnar and (you guessed it) Convergence of Cyriss. Now, were this any other battle of the bands closer to Convergence’s release date, it could easily be chalked up to being the new kid, no one planned for it or expected it. But it’s been a solid while now. Convergence has had time to make its mark, and now those who took up the challenge have had their claws sharpened. There’s a possibility that those forced to play those fortunate few will have not logged the table time to adjust, but there are many who have.

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While I myself have not been taken by the enthusiasm for the clockwork cavalcade, I have been one of those fortunate enough to play them from an early stage, with good players at the helm. Now, they’ve all made some mistakes along the way, and suffered from the releases yet to have been enjoyed, but at this stage, they’ve got what they need. With the release of the Enigma Foundary, Convergence can now level its best guns at you, and being prepared is always a good thing. Once they get the ball rolling, it can be tough to stop.

In part one of this multi-part series, we will be looking at general Convergence army composition. Later segments will discuss their strengths they can leverage and the weaknesses they suffer from, a more in-depth look at each of the casters in the faction, and how they can be considered and fought down.

Every Tool in the Box: Convergence of Cyriss Army Composition

When the faction debuted, they had little in the way of troops. Furthermore, they had a thematic and mechanical emphasis on their unique vectors. Vectors ruled the table, and Convergence quickly gained a reputation for being a giant wall of steel. Those of us who read the book quickly realized this wouldn’t last. Like Menoth, their negotiation of table space was not generally speed-based. Vectors can be propelled under the right conditions at high enough speeds, but reach is a very limited asset in the vector arsenal. On top of that, the first wave of heavy vectors don’t have pathfinder, and at a conservative speed stat of 4, they are clearly more about remaining durable than outpacing the enemy.

This makes sense with the frequency of the repair skill in the faction, the Menoth-comparable defensive stats, the steady rule, and the combined arms approach of most of their jacks. This approach is just fine, and many factions will struggle to overcome even this basic repairable jack wall approach, but there are many (like Skorne for instance) who will be able to charge in and demolish even these.

1-2Before infantry were available, the faction often used Cyphers to stymie assaults by factions that had a hard time coming by pathfinder. Many, however, did not, and from these they did suffer. Skorne, Trollbloods, Orboros and Everblight, as well as the boundless charge options in Khador, and mercenary options for everyone else could provide pathfinder easily enough that it was not enough, and Convergence needed an infantry screen.

Fortunately for them, they have access to some of the best. Obstructors are designed to do just this, if the name wasn’t a complete give-away. They boast low defence, high arm with shield wall, low speed as well, but a cheap cost and reach make them some of the best jamming troops in the game. They would merely be average if not for a mechanic that stands head and shoulders above most–the Enigma Foundary. This handy tool is durable, collects the souls of the slain, and rebuilds them into new bodies at the rate of three a turn. They are not quite returned with the same alarming frequency as Cryx’s necrosurgeons are able to with their mechanithralls, because unlike the surgeon, the foundary has a cap on the number of souls is can retain. A player should still expect to see one of these marvels across the board, however, because unlike the surgeon, the foundary can also replace the models in Convergence’s formidable arsenal of heavy infantry.

So what have we learned so far about a Convergence army? Well, it has grown from a giant jack wall into a leaner, more refined jack wall, down from five heavies to 3/4 with the addition of some infantry running interference. That infantry will be either a swarm of cheap small-based models backed up by 1-2 foundaries (likely only 1, they’re expensive enough that two is an investment). It should be also noted that some Convergence players will invest in both obstructors and their sister unit, reductors, to take advantage of the infantry clearing potential of the sprays they deliver. Those sprays have Clear!, and so can spray right through the formidable shield walls of Convergence infantry to shred whatever comes too close. The reductors are fielded to great effect, but less often when coupled with the heavy infantry of choice that seems to have taken hold of many Convergence players–reciprocators. These beefy customers come equipped with their own shield wall that makes them a considerable arm 19 with eight wounds against encroaching enemies, and a unique addition to the Convergence arsenal, the variable weaponry.

Convergence heavy infantry boast weapons that can change function from activation to activation. When facing charging enemies, the reciprocators’ reach polearms take the form of long spears that give them set defense, making hitting them just hard enough that a few will miss–a big problem for these damage sponges. On the following turn, they become powerful halberds, bringing their respectable pow 12s up to formidable pow 14s. The expense of a full medium-based heavy infantry unit generally precludes the cost of accompanying reductors, but not that of the enigma foundary, which can for the cost of each soul it accumulates, return one of these mighty troops to the table. This ability, combined with their impressive durability, and the fact that any model with repair can in fact fix them, means that more often these days, canny players must bring an answer to this extremely durable heavy infantry unit.

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While many Convergence players will no doubt play and find success with the other two very impressive heavy infantry units, the special emphasis the faction’s synergies provide for with reciprocators seems to have meant that more often, these are the units seeing competitive play. There are certain faction warcasters that provide many enticing options to both eradicators and perforators, and in discussing those particular casters we will find an opportunity to explore each in greater depth. Until then, when approaching a Convergence army, expect to deal with the iron wall of reciprocators!

Next, we’ll look at the major operators Convergence can bring to the table, the mighty vectors! From the tiny inscrutable corollary to the mighty monolithic inverter, Convergence has access to a vast array of stompy robots!

Until next time. 😉