mandag 21. desember 2015

List Musings - Haley2 + Caine2?

For a while now, a select few matchups have given me headaches. They are Legion, Circle (solely because of Wold War) and Retribution (solely because of Will of the Nine Voices). While I've found a decent reply to these in the shape of Stryker1, I believe there are multiple inherent weaknesses in this approach. First, Stryker doesn't want to play into Krueger for example, a common pairing for Bradigus. This leads to a list chicken situation. Likewise I believe Haley2 is better into Vayl1 than Stryker is (probably Vayl2 as well). Second, having a primary list and a secondary list can force you to play an unfavourable list if the secondary list is meant to counter just a select few opponents. Lastly, given the nature of the lists and the counter-play inherent in sending up the bricks that are Stryker's Stormwalls, there are a few matchups that fall awkwardly in-between my areas. MMM-lists with tricks is at the very top: Stryker lacks mobility and is incredibly dependent on upkeeps whereas Haley sometimes simply lacks the hitting power to grind it out or contest the scenario in time. 

Based on this I've been wanting to try Haley2 double colossal for a while. Originally I was thinking double Stormwall but thinking about it I believe Stormwall + Hurricane is better. The ability to blast things away -and- keep an arc node seems to play very well into my idea of this being primarily a scenario list with an attrition game that is strong. At first I thought that the push being mandatory was a huge setback. Of course it would be better if it had not been mandatory, but I believe that in practice you can often counter this in different ways: I find that when I shoot with the Stormwall early on it's to soften things up in which case blasting back as well simply helps me. If I'm going in for the kill perhaps I can simply pod behind the target etc. There are lots of options and I believe that this can be played around with with experience. The big problem however is of course that the Hurricane isn't out yet, nor do we know when it's coming. As such I'll be sticking to double Stormwall for a while at least. If I miss the Arc Node too much I'll just leave the list until the Hurricane's out. 

Speaking of Warjacks, half the reason I'm even considering this is because a very important little guy just got out: Ace. His infiltrate ability is what I believe makes Caine go from a decent Retribution counter to a downright scary one. Against Ravyn for example the pair can both simply run up and laugh at the otherwise-lethal MHSF being absolutely harmless for a turn. Good luck getting out of Caine's threat range and keep your army intact! It's not as easy as I make it sound here of course but I'm positive that Caine with Ace has game into Scyrah. 

So my list design behind pairing these 2 is to have them go into specific factions rather than lists. I've also tried to make them less extreme than my current Haley2/Stryker1 pairing to allow them to face more varied lists and reduce their list-lock/list-chicken weaknesses. Haley's primary goal is to have a super-strong scenario list that can handle arm-skew. Caine's primary goal is to have a lethal attrition game with an assassination run that rarely fails to impress. Before I continue this discussion, let's take a look at the lists:

Hurricane Haley
Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5 (fuel cache)
- Squire
- Stormwall - PC: 19 (bonded)
- Lightning Pod
- Hurricane - PC: 18
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Gobber Tinker - PC: 1
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer - Officer 2
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Caine's Cohort
Captain Allister Caine - WJ: +5 (arcane wonder)
- Squire
- Ace - PC: 7
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire - PC: 4
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Gastone Crosse - PC: 3
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator - PC: 1
Savio Montero Acosta - PC: 3
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt: 4
Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr - Lynus & Edrea: 3
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Greygore Boomhowler & Co. - Boomhowler and 9 Grunts: 9
Rangers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
As mentioned above, Haley has to stick with double Stormwall for the time being. The Tinker makes room for this. Caine also has to make due without Lynus and Edrea for a while. This is less impactful on how the list plays as Murdoch on Boomies is a great swap. The idea behind Lynus and Edrea is to use collaboration on that one important attack: Frequently Eiryss2 but could also be Acosta for example or even Caine himself.

Both lists incorporate the Tactical Arcanist Corps. Frankly I find this to be an absolutely amazing unit and I'm struggling to exclude them when I write my lists (basically any list more or less). Their defensive utility alone is insane, more than half the armies in the game can do absolutely nothing against their clouds. On top of that you get Pow13 in both combat and magic form. Their big weakness is of course hitting things but then again their primary role is to protect that which matters most, which allows casters that are greedy to actually play really greedy.

Haley's list incorporate ATGM. This unit is not an obvious choice given the list's anti-arm role (ATGM, for all their strengths, are not effective at blasting apart high-arm stuff). It is included because the primary role is to play scenario and in this capability with Deadeye from Haley I believe they are a super-important inclusion. I don't see any other choice performing this role so well. Furthermore, with double colossal my abilities to pinpoint-remove threats at a distance inherently decreases, meaning their Snipe is crucial.

Caine has taken just about every good solo choice available to us and crammed them into the same list. The flexibility between Heightened Reflexes, Blur and Arcane Shield allow Alexia and Acosta to truly shine for example. This list does not include ATGM because this list's focus is on killing stuff very, very dead. In this role I believe 8 points are better spent elsewhere. Aiyana + Holt and Gastone combined for example has 4 less shots but the shots and flexibility I get in return are of way higher quality. Counting the shots in this list, assuming a conservative ~3 from Caine, puts the number above 30. Considering the majority of these are high-quality shots the attrition potential here is pretty strong. Caine's feat being remove from play also allows for some plays that I've not been able to do before.

Overall I am strongly considering this pair for Norwegian Masters in place of my current one. It depends if I can get enough games and paint up the missing pieces (which are, unfortunately, quite a few). I think it's an interesting duo to play where both casters are full of potential, angles and tricks. I also believe they cover all bases about as well as can be expected. All that remains then is to play some games!

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