Wednesday, January 18, 2012

List Building: The Minuteman!

I don't like to use my blog to spam news posts, like the Minuteman model being announced by Privateer Press.  I imagine that all of my readers will either check for themselves or see it elsewhere and I strive to post something more meaningful for my readers daily (not trying to take a stab at any other blogs here!).  That said, I'm really excited that the Minuteman was announced and I decided that instead of just writing "YAYAYAYAYAY" over and over again, I would include a little more substance.  I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this model since Wrath came out and is easily my favorite model in that book.  In honor of its impending release, I have decided to write an article about the theory behind this bugger for when he comes out and a list that I think will put him to his best use.

As we always do, let's start by looking at his stats and rules.  His stats are relatively mediocre and you might cringe at his defensive stats - while he sports a healthy DEF for a warjack, his ARM is the same as Stormguard - ouch.  However, what should jump out at you (pun!) is the fact that he has jump jets which give him the Bounding Leap ability found on the likes of the Shadowhorn Satyr, meaning that at the end of his movement he can spend a focus to be placed completely within 5" of his position.  This allows him to have a silly threat range for a warjack since he already sports SPD 6.  Interesting, but what does he have at his disposal with which to threaten the enemy?

Well he has both a Flak Field which hits models within 2" with a POW 6 hit and anything in B2B gets hit with a POW 12.  It's nothing to write home about, but it's certainly nice for clearing out infantry.  Finally, he sports two open-fists - making him look a little bit like the Circle Griffon in purpose - and two short-ranged slug guns (POW 14!).  This model is a great example why I love Warmachine - the rules totally fit the vision of what the model actually does!  This guy moves up, jumps high into the air, lands on the ground with an explosion of shrapnel, and then fires two cannons right into the face of its target... badass.

So how do we want to use this guy?  Well clearly we need to make sure that he's well-protected, as it'll be difficult to keep him alive since his defensive stats are pretty terrible.  This guy will certainly want to hit-and-run as much as possible and try not to stay engaged, and Bounding Leap can help with that.  He's also very clearly intended for taking down infantry models, even if POW 14 ranged attacks are fairly rare.  Naturally, we'll want to take him with a warcaster who can make him most efficient, as you'll likely want to put focus on other, harder-hitting, warjacks and use this guy for clearing out infantry and possibly getting some shots on a low-ARM warcaster/warlock.  The first two warcasters that come to mind for me are Kara Sloan and Kraye.

What does Sloan offer the Minuteman?  Specifically she offers it the two spells of Fire Group and Refuge as well as the obvious feat.  The feat is an obvious synergy, allowing the Minuteman free boosted ranged attacks (which is nice), but also let's not overlook the added benefit of the extra shot.  That extra shot could mean that after the Minuteman has moved and popped his two (boosted) shots at the enemy warcaster, he's already in position to take advantage of another shot later that turn out of activation to hopefully finish them off.  With two, you have a potential of 6 boosted-to-hit POW 14s that can likely get to the enemy warcaster.  Yikes!  Also consider that Fire Group is great because it affects Sloan's entire battlegroup anyway and she will likely be casting it every turn for herself, so the Minuteman will benefit a lot from getting some added range on those very short-ranged guns, allowing him to threaten more targets.  Refuge is nice too in the early phases of the game as it will allow the Minuteman to essentially behave light light-cavalry and hit-and-run, but since Sloan is usually such a focus hog, you should have a really good reason to use Refuge.

On an iron horse they ride
Speaking of light-cavalry, I think that Kraye can get the most out of the Minuteman, especially because of his tier list (which I'll get to).  Because of Kraye's Iron Horse rule, the Minuteman will behave exactly like light cavalry without the need for a spell, meaning that they can move up, Bounding Leap if they need to, pop their Flak Field and a couple of slug gun shots, then move away!  Brilliant!  Add into that equation that Kraye has Guided Fire and you realize that those Minutemen can be even more silly with Kraye than they were with Sloan.  Granted, they won't get those extra shots but the consistent light-cav movement and the upkeep spell which gives them boosted ranged attacks more than make up for it, in my opinion.  Kraye can keep these guys nice and simple and loves to run a nice warjack wall anyway for heavy hitting, so these guys will be a perfect addition to deal with pesky infantry.

Here's a list for your consideration:
Mobile Strike Force (Tier 4) - 35 points
Kraye (+6)
- Hunter (6)
- Hunter (6)
- Minuteman (5)
- Ironclad (7)
- Centurion (9)
Rangers (4*)
Rangers (4*)
Theme Force Benefits:
1) Cheaper Rangers
2) +1 to starting roll
3) Place a wall or forest for each Ranger unit
4) Advance Deploy for Heavy Warjacks

While this list only has one Minuteman, he is a huge addition as he allows Kraye to now deal with infantry spam better than he did before and instead lets his Ironclad, Centurion, and Hunters deal with any heavy targets.  The Rangers can help with the anti-infantry role with their rifles but they can also make sure that the ranged threats are easier to hit the ranged firepower present in the list.  If you expect even more infantry you can even swap the Centurion for a Cyclone, but I think that having the polarity field is huge for keeping Kraye safe from charges and to take advantage of some of Kraye's movement buffs and his feat.  At 35 points you won't see much infantry anyway, but at 50 points you can feel free to take at least two Minutemen for all kinds of fun shenanigans!  Just be careful not to use Bounding Leap every turn because it's probably not the most efficient use of Kraye's focus, since he only has 6 to play with each turn.
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