My first thoughts upon seeing the Mk. 3 version of Caine2 was that this model is going to be a beast! While I'm not completely on the other end of the scale just yet, he hasn't impressed me as much on the tabletop, unfortunately. Caine2 is a caster I played for a good while earlier this year leading up and including NM, where the list performed amazingly well given the right matchups. One thing that was always a no-go for Caine2 was an opposing list with too much armor. He's just not equipped to deal with it and outside of his feat he is very inefficient at bringing down anything but light-to-medium armored models. One ability which offset this in Mk. 2 was Aiyana's Kiss. Now that has becoming harder to get: In terms of building the list her points have increased significantly and in terms of delivering the ability in a game her Magic Ability has gone down, as well as her defense.
In Mk. 2 I typically played Caine2 with a single Warjack: Ace. He complemented him amazingly well and his innate True Sight often allowed me to put Magic Bullet on him to take out MVP-targets far away from Caine himself. In Mk. 3 I think this is by and large unnecessary as Caine got the abilities innate, which means taking Ace as well is overkill. At least that's my thinking at the moment, I could of course be wrong. Furthermore Caine2 now has to take a sizeable battlegroup to make the most out of his Warjack points. This forces him to play something he as a caster isn't designed to do particularly well: Neither of his abilities stand out as excellent jack spells (possibly aside from Bullet Dodger). On top of that he wants to spend the focus himself.
Caine2 has evolved into an anti-infantry monster. His main problem is cracking armor. One of the big problems of that, in turn, is his lack of support for our strong armor crackers. He does next to nothing to help neither Ironclads, Stormclads, Stormblades or Storm Lances. As such the rest of his army has to be self-sustained. The good news is that we have a lot of this going around now, the bad news is that I haven't found a list I believe in yet. The shortcomings of the Stormwall was made painfully clear in yesterday's game where my opponent consistently took advantage of my fixed 10" threat-range to simply gradually push me away. Now I'm not saying that the Stormwall itself is necessarily a problem, but I found it unable to perform the task I needed it to, by far. It could be as easy as making points for Lanyssa, I don't know. I'll have to re-think my approach to Caine2. At the same time however I am also considering the possibility that Vyros2 might be a caster he simply cannot play into. With the changes to Vyros2 in Mk. 3 he might be one of the innately strongest casters against Caine2 in the entire game.
Having dojo'd extensively I am having more and more faith in Sloan however. As I have yet to field her it's about time anyway, isn't it? Part of the problem Sloan presents I feel is an ever-present assassination threat. Coupled with her ability to seemingly trivially remove models from a long distance she appeals to my preferred playstyle as well. While I'm not completely sold on her concept yet as it feels kind of static on paper I at least need to try it out first.
I've been debating whether to add support to her or run her with basically a full battlegroup. In the end I decided to go with the same philosophy that led me to the Haley2 list I finished Mk. 2 with: Take all the firepower! I think it's good to explore extremes before tightening in rather than to go the other way around because it pushes the limits and forces you to consider what is or isn't working well. I often find that if you aren't willing to try the extremes you often miss out on potentially powerful combos. Especially with shooting you can reach certain thresholds in this game that are just very, very hard to play against.
Enough talk, onto the list itself:
SloanAs of now, this list is meant as a direct replacement for Caine2. We'll see how that evolves. Thinking pairs is important I believe, but it's too early to fixate anything just yet. A couple of thoughts on the choices: The idea is to blast stuff apart, quite straight-forward really. The Stormwall in this list will hopefully be able to be a stalwart defending piece that cannot be ignored. The idea is that if you stay outside of its 10" threat range your army will be quite literally shot away. I don't expect this list to be able to shoot through e.g. Vyros2 so I've resigned myself to the fact that certain Retribution pairings might simply result in list chicken situations (if I take Haley2/Sloan at least).
Alten Ashley is there because I have a feeling we will see a lot of repairs/heals in this game. On top of that she is quite deadly vs Warbeasts and I can see myself dropping this into a number of Hordes pairings. In particular I think this list is very strong vs Legion, and I just can't wait to feel like I have the upper hand in the ranged game against them.
Playtesting will commense as soon as possible!