Sharpshooters required – only the best will be considered…
Authors: Tim Franklin, Jake Wilstrop, Jamie Cook-Rodgers and Brett W
There is some pretty stiff competition among the Warcasters of Western Immoren in terms of who brings the biggest, bestest gun to the knife fight. There are a number of poster boys (and girls) that are legitimately vying for the honour so let’s spend some time exploring some of the main protagonists from the perspectives of the players themselves…
Captain Kara Sloan – Author Jake Wilstrop
If you are going to bring a gun to a knife fight why not bring the biggest and best? Captain Kara Sloan is the perfect person for the job. What makes her the best is pretty simple apart from being a weapon master on a range 14 POW 12 gun (just let that sink in for the moment). Her best asset is removing targets from ‘down town’ with her and the battle group threatening over 20″ with naturally mobile gun platforms, decent base range and Fire Group as a spell (+2 range). With true sight there are very few places to hide and with guided fire making the battle group reliably hit DEF 17/18 using the Feat Firing Squad to double the amount of shots they get makes running at Sloan’s gun line no easy task.
What I think pushes her to the next level is that on her own she can do work on feet turn with Reinholdt the Gobber Speculator giving her a third weapon master POW 12 shot, which are potentially all boostable. She makes an excellent scalpel for them hard to find solos and with refuge she can back out of any opponent’s threat with relative ease or scuttle into cover making her rather hard to kill.
So to summarize she can hit you reliably from down town and with multiple high value shots your Warcaster is never safe from her and if they are she will just play the attrition game and grind you down. That is why Sloan is the best gun in the game and if you do bring a knife to fight her it better be a big one!
Captain Allister Caine – Author: Brett W
The lone gunslinger, the antihero capable of walking into any spaghetti Western with the necessary swagger and steely glare to make the bar go quiet and the music stop playing. He is still the fastest draw in Town, the machine gun fuelled assassin he has always been and as such is a gun that demands respect.
Like any good Western hero Caine works best with a small posse of other reprobates and questionable characters. Reinholdt, a Gun Mage Captain Adept, a Ranger, Gorman Di Wulfe and Ragman complete the all star team minimum requirements to win any game. A potential -6 DEF debuff, a potential -4 ARM debuff, a +2 RAT buff and an additional shot provides the tools to win any game or remove any key piece in the attrition trade. The Spellstorm pistols may only be POW 12 but at any critical moment the feat Overkill can resolve that issue with cumulative +1 damage rolls for each subsequent shot. The magical ‘infinity’ rule next to his reload ability ramps up the potential damage Caine can dish out.
Then there are the attack type special rules that bring a whole further dimension to his game play. Black Penny, Grievous Wounds and Trick Shot enable the attrition war to be won with infantry massacred with brutal efficiency, Jacks and Beasts limited in their repair and healing capacity and shooting into combat against Death Fielded enemies as easy as taking sweets from a child.
Unlike the others Caine doesn’t need anyone else; the remaining points can be spent however you feel, safe in the knowledge that the core identified above will give you a fighting chance.
The Hunters Grim – Author: Tim Franklin
Beyond the fact they boast one of the most entertaining ‘origin’ tales to be told around the camp fires of Immoren their part in this debate should not be overlooked. Grim can bully most Warcasters and squishier Warlocks with the threat of a ranged assassination from miles downtown.
In isolation Grim’s gun brings a respectable Range 13 POW 13 rifle with Blood Lure allowing battlegroup to charge without being forced. Muggs armed with the old cast off Snare Gun provides a Range 8” knockdown with Krump finishes the units armaments off with a POW 12 Blunderbuss culminating in a pretty handy arsenal of weaponry.
His feat On my Mark gives friendly Faction models in control area Snipe, giving Troll units an unparalleled threat range, as well as Mark Target to bump ranged accuracy. With several faction guns with knockdown or arcing fire, Janissa Stonetide’s hill to stand on, a possible aiming bonus and the incredible accuracy and damage buff in Mortality Grim’s army threatens all but the most well defended Warnouns. Thank goodness you might think, for the additional terrain that is so prevalent in Mark 3 allowing ‘Casters to be shielded from a barrage of fire… sorry you have what now… uurrgghh Mage Sight!
Projecting this threat lets you dictate where your opponent can safely put their Warnoun or valuable units. Force your opponent away from zones and flags and you have the start of a scenario win. As with most ranged casters, once Grim’s feat is gone he’s immediately less scary – but unlike Caine2 and Ossyan, Grim shrinks in threat range, not damage output.
Mortality pumps up Grim’s army every turn and makes any unit in faction very very scary. Applying this spell to the right target, repositioning Grim to safety, then deleting the target with the rest of your army is the core of his attrition game. If your feat doesn’t offer a credible assassination threat, you can simply start the attrition at the bottom of turn one, using your insanely long range to take away key pieces your opponent thought was safe.
Lord Arcanist Ossyan – Author: Brett W
He is neither the scalpel (Grim), the sniper (Sloan), the assassin (Lylyth) or the solo gunslinger (Caine) when it comes to this discussion. He is however the Sith Lord of DPS output. As we would expect with the shadowy yet elite nature of the Retribution. Ossyan brings personal as well as faction wide tech that the others simply do not have access to. The Chronophage Cannon at range 12 POW 13 is reasonable. Temporal Distortion (-2 SPD and DEF) is an enabler… an enabler for the rest of his army.
That -2 DEF enables the mobile artillery of the Stormfall archers to hit with their Brutal damage warheads and saves the necessity to cast multiple Deadeyes around his ranged forces. In need of further debuffs then his bonded Warjack Hypnos can usually contribute by virtue of his LOS ignoring Phase Gun that Shadow Binds enemy models resulting in a further -3DEF bonus.
Then perhaps most salient of all considering the meta shift in Mark 3 there is the Feat: Gravity Well which results in ranged attacks gaining an additional damage dice. Suddenly opponents are faced with Mage Hunter Strike Force blasting Jacks with 4D6 damage, Stormfall archers doing similar with POW12 Brutal Damage shots and any Warjacks in the battlegroup ramping up the damage with 4D6 POW 14 (Hypnos / Banshee / Discordia / Imperatus) Cannons. The feat is akin to being hit by an army of charging Weapon Masters, only when the dust settles and the wreckage is cleared that army of weapon masters are still half a board’s length away.
All of this lays out an incredibly viable attrition game style without forgetting that at any moment those spell Quickened Mage Hunter Strike Force could be shooting your Warcaster though the virtue of Phantom Barrage (ignoring LOS blocking forests, models and clouds) with Deadeye from a position that was originally 20” away from your commander.
It is difficult to pick an outright winner, they all have the capacity to ‘headshot’ your caster from an age away, they will all attrition effectively if the kill shot doesn’t present itself and they all bring unique and signature strategic elements to the board. While we haven’t been able to confidently pick a winner we can be confident that you will see some of these ‘Casters on the opposite side of the table to you. At that point let us hope you brought something more than a knife to the gun fight they are expecting!