Friday, March 23, 2012

Debriefing: Fiona

Yesterday I wrote up a battle report for my first time playing Fiona.  It was a lot of fun and was a really close game considering that I was matched up against eHaley, who is traditionally considered a top-tier warcaster for Cygnar.  While there was a couple 'Oops' moments we realized after the game where both me and my opponent forgot some rules (that you can't headbutt a larger base, Storm Striders have 360 LOS, etc.) the dice were really on my side and I shouldn't have won.  Even still, the experience itself was valuable and I was able to reflect on the list as a whole and how to use it in the future.  So now I'd like to debrief the battle report and reflect back on what I learned from the experience.

Fiona was a lot of fun and it was easier than I thought to get all of her upkeeps out there on first turn since they're all so cheap.  This is proved my initial thoughts regarding her theme force - having all of the upkeeps out on turn 1 is not difficult to achieve and is hardly a benefit.  I also found myself able to do a lot with my 7-8 focus and didn't feel like I needed any more.  I threw out one Influence and I can see how it'd be easy for me to be tempted to throw that spell out there more.  If I really wanted to, I probably could've also tried to assassinate eHaley with a couple of fully-boosted Soulfires at the end, but Fiona definitely has the feel of a support warcaster.

This guy was awesome.  I know that many suggest a Mule instead but I still think that this guy is gold, especially considering he has a much longer range.  With Dougal present, I can effectively gain the aiming bonus even on the move, which allows me a greater threat range than the Mule could ever hope to achieve even if it was aiming.  This allows the Mariner to stay well outside of the threat range of any enemy fire and keep lobbing cannonballs at the enemy caster's face.  I could certainly see the benefit to having a mule, but the mariner was so successful for me that I want to keep giving him a chance before I decide to try something different.  I will say that it's a bit tough without having access to focus, as I can only choose to boost the hit or damage, so it left me relying on some lucky rolls to deal so much damage to eHaley instead of sheer power.  While the Mule can hit harder, it has to be much closer and I'd rather be able to hit the caster over 3 turns instead of 2.

Rutger Shaw
I don't know why I ever considered Dirty Meg over this guy.  He's brutal with this list, especially since I really want to knock stuff down with the Buccaneer's net.  Shaw is a great 'jack marshall and he's really hard to kill with dodge and tough, and he makes Taryn similarly difficult to put down - especially during Fiona's feat turn.  While he wasn't instrumental in my success, I can see him being very important in the future and I am glad I decided to pick him up instead.  Flank with a [cheap] warjack with reach is absolutely gold and these guys make a fantastic duo, regardless of what the Freebooter does.

Gun Mages
The really didn't do too much this game but being able to hit targets from 16" away when Dougal is using his Double Powder Ration can at least extend their life a bit.  Also, their POW 10s are great for solos and warcasters but not so good against anything ARM 18+, so I need to make sure I cast Affliction appropriately so that way I can at least try to cripple warjacks/warbeasts if I see them.  I'm not sure about these guys yet, although the officer's rune shot for the Mariner proved to be quite useful, letting him shoot 21" away at Haley on turn 2.  Are they necessary in the future, though?  Well I guess their high accuracy and flexibility with their shots makes them really useful, but I'm not convinced that they will be significantly better than Long Gunners yet.  I'll try them out again and hopefully I can get a better picture.

He died too soon to be effective, but even then I'm not convinced that he's a good fit for this list.  I really only use him because he can make Press Gangers a little more scary and he can generally avoid ranged attacks with Sacrificial Pawn.  Unfortunately, as cool as he is, I'd need to use a melee-centric list in order to really take advantage of him, and I don't think I'll need him again in the future.  I think I will be replacing Ragman in the list with Sylys Wyshnalyrr, but the store didn't have the model so I couldn't pick him up.  I think Sylys will work much better with Fiona, able to give her an extra focus a turn (free upkeep) and should she want to throw out a Soulfire, she can be more accurate and powerful with it, softening up the enemy warcaster/warlock.  A fully boosted Soulfire would be hitting DEF 19 with a POW 24 on average.

I had fun and it was a close game.  I thought I was surely doomed and perhaps I could have been if my opponent had focused more on taking down the Gun Mages by hitting warjacks, but who knows.  It was a close game and I thought that he surely had it in the bag, but that just goes to show how we all need to know our rules and how fickle the dice can be at times.  I am still a little worried about my Fiona list because there are some real weaknesses and challenges that it faces over the long game, but I'm determined to make it work, dammit!

I'm not really sure how I'll fare against warlocks.  Warlocks tend to be squishier but they also have access to transfers.  While some might be dumb, most players are smart enough to give them transfers and after I hit them once with the mariner, they'll be careful to hold onto those transfers.  While that means less fury manipulation for them, it means it'll be much more difficult for me to kill Hordes players, but seeing as they're typically more melee-centric, I might get lucky by pinging down their warbeasts enough to really deal them damage.  I suppose I'll have to try a couple of games against a Hordes player to really see how it'll work, but for now it remains a concern of mine.  Alternatively, I see myself having some difficulties against focus campers who can get ARM 20+ consistently.  While they're generally easier to hit and I can probably rely more on hitting them, dealing damage can still be tough with merely a POW 14 ranged shot.  Perhaps the Long Gunners are worth considering after all?  Their CRAs can deal some brutal damage to focus campers and could really punish Hordes from a distance, so I'll have to try a couple of games with Long Gunners to again compare results.
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