I'm positive that the Minuteman is one of the best cheap lights we can possibly take vs Wurmwood. He is certainly better than the Firefly in my Haley2 list for example. When it comes to tweaking the smaller points of a list, I like to do it so that I get more utility in the hard matchups. A bigger problem than one might think though is finding the 1 point to make this upgrade happen. I mean really, the list is super tight. It boils down to either Lanyssa, Lances or Ironclad getting the boot. After debating this with myself and my opponent for a while I ended up settling to go without Lanyssa first.
:: Lists ::
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]Opponent:
- Thorn 
- Stormwall 
- Squire 
- Ironclad 
Journeyman Warcaster 
- Minuteman 
Captain Arlan Strangewayes 
Gobber Tinker 
Storm Lances (min) 
Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn - WJ: +29
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker - PC: 4
- Hyperion - PC: 36 (Battlegroup Points Used: 29)
- Chimera - PC: 8
Arcanist Mechanik - PC: 2
Arcanist Mechanik - PC: 2
Arcanist Mechanik - PC: 2
Elara, Tyro of the Third Chamber - PC: 4
- Discordia - PC: 18
Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen - PC: 8
Dawnguard Invictors - Leader & 9 Grunts: 16
- Dawnguard Invictor Officer & Standard - Officer & Standard: 4
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
Same map and scenario and this time Retribution went first. He deployed centrally ish and I skewed slightly right so as to force him to deal with the water. Besides, with Hyperion going right of the objective I can run Stormwall to the left of mine T1 (he can't charge through his own objective) and force him into a tricky proposition: How do you prevent Cygnar from going 3-0?
:: Game ::
Retribution runs up. The Chimera on the right moves quite aggressively up. I tell my opponent that it likely dies there but he reasons that with admonition I can't charge it so he's happy to have it around.
Thorn runs right. I intend to kill the Chimera. An actual advantage of losing Lanyssa is that I get the Tinker which allows Thorn to play more aggressively without my constant fear of losing the Arc Node. So anyway. TK Thorn + Reaction drive into Trench, over 12" away from Hyperion. Dominate Chimera. Minuteman moves up, jumps into the forest for DEF16 and shoots it with 2x boosted POW14s. Stormwall kills it with boosted big gun shots.
As my opponent starts his turn I realize that in killing the Chimera I also gave away the strategical advantage my Stormwall would otherwise have had. Since I shot it I didn't get the 'wall into the position I originally intended to the left of my objective. As such the Hyperion was now free to move up and reliably contest the scenario. Discordia rolled a huge 16 (!) damage on the Minuteman which crippled its movement and the Hyperion was able to follow up and clear it out easily. It shot up Thorn a bit as well and Invictors minifeated for a couple more boxes. Eventually one CRA missed and I moved away to dodge the last shot. Skeryth sets up for the objective next turn.
I figure that while the Stormwall might not be able to get into the Hyperion, I can send in a couple of Lances and the Ironclad and TK them out again. I do this and it loses a little over half its boxes. 2 Lances engage the Invictors. Thorn is repaired a bit by Tinker and is back in his trench. Haley feats to cover the Stormwall moving up (it adds its shooting to the Hyperion combat).
I didn't have focus left for Temporal due to my TK shenanigans. The TK shenanigans here is probably a mistake. If he decides to stand and fight during feat I'm pretty sure he goes down horribly to the 'wall next turn and that is just game right there. In any case this meant that my Stormwall was unable to get within 7" of the Hyperion, which in turn meant it was able to simply backpedal 5" and be outside my threat range. Due to my oh-so-clever triple TK he didn't even tank any free strikes either. Ever felt like you're too clever for your own good? I certainly did.
The idea for me now is to send the Stormwall into Discordia and the 2 Lances + Ironclad into Hyperion again. I figured Hyperion would probably survive but he'd lose all his arcanists (he tried to repair it and thus they were all B2B and vulnerable to electro leaps) and possibly have a crippled cortex or 2 crippled arms or whatever. Even with all systems go he'd be looking for pretty crazy dice to one-round the wall without Concentrated Power. Haley puts up Temporal on the Stormwall and it charges in. My opponent had cleverly placed Skeryth B2B with the objective to get a free strike if I chose to do this, however his dice did not cooperate:
The Stormwall killed Discordia and then it was the Lances' turn to follow up after the Ironclad. To my surprise the Hyperion died despite average dice!
Now I hadn't done the math on this and I was thoroughly surprised: 2 Ironclad charges average 15 damage,4 Lance charges average 20 damage. We get 4 more Ironclad hits on top of that for 16 more damage. The Stormwall shot it at dice minus 8 for another 5 boxes. That brings the total to 15+20+16+5 = 56 boxes, leaving just 8 left. Between impacts, assault shots, the open fist attacks from the Ironclad it's actually not that unlikely to happen.
With this happening my opponent simply called the game, no reason to play on when he is this much down on attrition. I certainly have a new-found respect for my non-colossal damage dealers in this list!
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
The more I think about the Turn 1 move the more I think I walked into a trap. I don't see how the Chimera is that significant here. The Stormwall will rarely be shooting T2 anyway and there are no other prime targets for Blinding Light. I simply don't really care that much about it and, as the Hyperion demonstrated, not having the Stormwall run up diagonally opposite it allowed my opponent to block me out of any scenario plays. I think the opportunity for a 3-0 here is huge and I don't see how Issyria can effectively prevent that without taking big attrition risks.
Having the Tinker follow Thorn was liberating. I have often missed being able to play him offensively in fear of the arc node going down to a lucky spike or column rolled for damage. I don't miss Lanyssa in this matchup obviously because of Arcane Vortex but I'm sure I will eventually.
The Minuteman performed its job well and set up the piece trade and forced out Issyria's heavy hitters which I was able to capitalize on. I actually think it may have survived as well if only Discordia hadn't gone absolutely mental and at that point it would've been painful for Issyria having to deal with.
The big wtf moment of the game was how much damage output the Ironclad and the Lances did on an ARM21 target though. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this and what it means for how I can play these models in the future. A big eye opener for me for sure!