Tuesday, January 17, 2012

List Building: Broadsides Bart - 35 points

I was struck with inspiration today.  Usually I love tier lists, as they are easy to make and generally offer some neat benefits.  I've also been in love with Broadsides Bart for well over a year now, and I love the piratey theme that he's got going on.  However, with the arrival of Wrath, no one new really came around for the Privateers (except Ragman, I guess), and so I was a little sad.  While contemplating warcasters to talk about for this blog post I decided to take a look at Mercenaries again.  While I've already done an article on making Fiona work, I decided to take another look at Bart, this time without the lens of tier lists (his is great - don't get me wrong!) and realized something beautiful was about to happen.  Let's start by looking at Bart first (as we always do) to see where his strengths lie.

Let's start with his feat: Typhoon.  This is a fantastic defensive feat as it means that advancing models are knocked down and they suffer -3 on their attack rolls.  This is great as it can stop most charges in their tracks and those that are standing still are having a tough time hitting you.  Typically this is popped on 2nd turn to make sure that you get an extra round of shooting in against your enemy while keeping your shooting warjacks unengaged - which we'll want to take because of Broadside, what used to be his signature spell.

Broadside is somewhat pricey for a 6 focus warcaster, but it allows each model in the battlegroup (including himself!) to make a free ranged attack, ignoring ROF.  This means that Bart wants to take several warjacks (at least three) to make the most use of this spell.  Be careful, though, as you can't spend focus on these attacks to be boosted (except for Bart's) since they're outside of their normal activation.  An important spell to also consider in light of this is Hot Shot, an upkeep which gives boosted damage rolls - even if it's from Broadside.  In order to make the most of this, it should really be cast on a model with an AOE ranged attack so that way all of the blast damage rolls are boosted.

While Bart does have some offensive spells, with Focus 6, he's not going to be using them too often, so I'll overlook them unless a situation comes up where he might want to use them.  For now, the last spell to consider is Batten Down the Hatches.  This spell is fantastic, and another reason to run a fairly large battlegroup with Bart.  All models in the battle group cannot be knocked down (nice!) and gain +3 ARM for -2 DEF.  This is a great spell for your battlegroup but you need to be careful because Bart also gets slapped with the -2 DEF and while there are some benefits to having it, if you're low on warjacks you might be better off holding onto the 3 focus and keeping your DEF relatively high.

The last thing I saw was that Bart is pretty good in melee.  While he's no Terminus, if he has the opportunity, he can clear through a bunch of infantry and, in doing so, he can get +1 STR and ARM for each model he kills.  With Overtake, this means that Bart can even threaten opposing warcasters, which is strange on a warcaster who looks to be heavier on the ranged support at first.

Shield cannon: apply directly to the forehead!
Then I took a look at Wrath and saw one model that just "clicked" for me with Bart: the Rover.  This new warjack for Mercenaries seems pretty lackluster, with its only special ability being Point Blank with it's shield cannon.  While it can only shoot in melee on it's activation (Broadside happens outside of its activation), the possibilities and flexibility for only an 8 point warjack are pretty great.  You can effectively give the guy the ability to Bushwhack or even give him an effective Quick Work if he kills his target in melee.  Add into the mix that it's also a great warjack to benefit from Batten Down the Hatches (making its ARM an obnoxious 23), and you have a pretty solid choice.  Now, you'll definitely want a Mule to benefit from Hot Shot and Broadside too, and it's also a solid melee beatstick if you need it to be.  While it's also short-ranged, it'll fit in the theme of the rest of the list since it seems most of your warjacks will be up in people's faces.  Lastly, I looked at Damiano's character warjack Rocinate.  While you will not benefit from the affinity, Broadside can effectively give him Quick Work anyway, and he has a decently high melee output (with reach!) and Guard Dog means that Bart can throw out Batten Down the Hatches and stay relatively safe from assassination by negating the DEF penalty.

So far we have a theme of a tough melee brick of warjacks which fits my recently discovered playstyle of attrition, so let's round this out even more!  We'll be playing fairly aggressively with this battlegroup, as we'll have an aggressive close support from the Mule, Bart can be in the thick of it thanks to some defensive synergy, and this means that he can be right up front when he pops his feat to make the most of it and casting a pretty wide net.  We should have some support models to match, so let's take the Highborn Covenant so that we can take Boomhowler & Co. as they are one of the best tarpit units out there and provide some defense against tramples.  Also, on your feat turn, you can use your Rage Howler fell call to give a hilarious -5 on attack rolls to warjacks and warbeasts.  Naturally, we'll also want Dougal McNaile too, as his Artillerist ability will be priceless on that Mule, and that leaves us with 4 points to fill, which is easy to do with Mercs, but tough to make a final decision on.
Boomhowler, attrition is thy name
Personally, I see Bart playing very aggressively with this list - moreso than I have in the past.  Since he will be up front I figure I need someone who can shut down troublesome threats to me and who will benefit from having a large block of medium-based models to shield it - naturally I need Gorman di Wulfe!  That leaves me with 2 points, and this was a tough decision.  Do I support Boomhowler & Co. with Rupert?  I decided to actually go with Sylys Wyshnalyrr.  "Wait... what!?"  Yes.  Having a free upkeep (Hot Shot) is very important to Bart because now it means he can cast both Broadside and Batten Down the Hatches.  With Rocinate nearby, he'll still be sitting at DEF 15 but now ARM 19 (which is better than camping focus anyway) and can't be knocked down.  Additionally, while Bart doesn't have many offensive spells, they can be pretty powerful if used appropriately, but they suffer from poor range and being hard to hit with since he's only Focus 6 - which both are alleviated by Sylys making the average rolls on a 2d6 become 8.5 (instead of 7), meaning Bart can now more reliably threaten DEF 14 warcasters and has a betterchance to get that critical hit for Powder Keg!
Yes.  Really!

Here's the final list:
Highborn Covenant - 35 points
Bartolo "Broadsides Bart" Montador (+5)
- Rocinate (9)
- Mule (8)
- Rover (8)
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr (2)
Greygore Boomhowler & Co. (full, 9)
Gorman di Wulfe (2)
Dougal McNaile (2)
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