Tuesday, April 03, 2012

List Building: Amon Ad-Raza - 35 points

I'm really excited about the new store that I've been attending.  Everyone has been really nice, cool, and I've been able to get a couple of games in against some great dudes.  This has also been great for me getting more excited about Warmachine lately, as I've mostly focused on Hordes for the past couple of months.  Today I want to share with you all some recent thoughts that I have had regarding a particular warcaster: Amon Ad-Raza.  Did you know that there are only two warcasters who do not have steam-powered armor?  I want to talk about Amon because he seems to be another one of those warcasters that is often overlooked for his more "tournament worthy" brethren, and Amon has a special place in my heart because he piqued my interest back in Mk I when I originally played Menoth.  While I don't play Menoth, I do try to stay aware of every faction's abilities and capabilities and it's a good exercise to do list building for another army, so here we go!  This time we'll start with Amon's feat.

Amon's feat is very interesting indeed and it sets the tone for the rest of how his force will play.  Amon's feat has two effects: the first states that he grants warjacks in his battlegroup Perfect Balance and the second states that for each focus point he spends, he can allocate one focus point to a warjack in his battlegroup.  This feat is great both offensively and defensively, as Perfect Balance means that your warjacks won't suffer from free-strikes and they cannot be targeted with a combined attack (melee or ranged!).  It also means that for a focus 6 warcaster, he doesn't have to choose on his feat turn whether he wants to cast spells or allocate focus - he can do both!  This practically gives him an extra 6 focus points for one turn, but with some obvious limitations.  What this basically means is that in order to make the most of his feat turn, we'll want to utilize two particular solos: the Hierophant (to make a spell cheaper) and Wracks (to get an extra focus point).  By essentially giving him 7 focus and making one spell cheaper, Amon is able to make the most of his feat and potentially sit on a couple too if you're worried that he might get damaged.
The Hierophant can also heal
random blast damage on Amon

To make the most of the feat, Amon will probably want to activate early in your turn so that you can cast some spells and allocate focus to your warjacks so they can do what they do best (kill stuff).  This actually works out well for Amon because his spell list also suggests that Amon will be activating early in many of your turns.  Convection is a pretty straight forward offensive spell but on your feat turn it can be fun to give yourself even more focus to allocate to your warjacks on your feat turn, if you have the focus to spend on the spell to begin with.  However, Amon will usually be more interested in casting his other spells.   

Mobility is a great spell where you get the most mileage out of having a large battlegroup, giving everyone +2 SPD (including Amon!).  This is a solid spell and will generally allow you to be more mobile (heh, imagine that) which is huge considering Menoth 'jacks are notorious for their low SPD values.  This can also bump Amon to SPD 8, giving himself a 13" threat range alone, suggesting that he might even go for the assassination run by himself.  Flagellation goes even further to suggest that Amon is capable of assassinating a foe, but you should not rely on it!  If the opportunity arises, it might be worth trying, depending on your target, but usually Amon will be better off letting his warjacks do the heavy lifting for him.  That leaves us with his last, and signature spell: Synergy.  This spell is fairly straight forward but with some interesting implications, coming back to the issue of activation order.  Naturally, you'll want to activate a member(s) of the battlegroup that will have an easier time hitting or damaging their targets first, so that later members can hit more easily.  Thankfully, Menoth does have Choir to help their warjacks with efficiency, but this spell can cause Menoth 'jacks to wreck most anything with relative ease.

While Amon's spell list is relatively short, he does have some other great abilities which give him potential to stay survivable or kill enemy warcasters by himself.  First, he automatically has Perfect Balance, giving him resistance to CRA/CMA (situationally useful) but it also means that he ignores free strikes - solid in case someone tries to tie you down.  While Amon can stand up for free, he can still technically be knocked down, but combined with Groundwork, however, being knocked down is less of an issue for Amon, meaning he'll be even more difficult to take out with your standard array of assassination tricks.

Okay before we actually make a list with Amon, what do we learn from his abilities?  Well he has zero spell support for infantry and a lot of spells to help his battlegroup.  He has some defensive abilities against tricks, but against targets who rely on their high MAT anyway, he'll be suffering with only DEF 16 and a low ARM, as he can potentially get killed with one boosted damage roll from a heavy.  Essentially, Amon wants to stay in the mid-field and let his warjack wall smash things to pieces and wait for the opportunity to throw himself into the mix or just out-maneuver your opponent.  This is tricky, however, when you only have Mobility and Synergy to keep your jacks from dealing damage.  Choir will be crucial here, and any Amon list should probably include two units of these suckers.  Beyond that, the more warjacks the better!
I love his model!  I only wish it were plastic.

Amon Ad-Raza (+6)
- Crusader (6)
- Crusader (6)
- Crusader (6)
- Reckoner (8)
- Templar (8)
- Heirophant (2)
Choir (min, 2)
Choir (min, 2)
Wracks (1)

Cheap and effective!
If anyone can run multiple heavy warjacks, it will be Amon.  With the two (requisite) units of Choir, you can make sure that all of your warjacks are able to hit fairly reliably - especially later in the activation with Synergy up.  Mobility will be great at improving the typically low-SPD of Menoth warjacks and allows them to threaten targets as if they were warbeasts.  The Crusader is an awesome warjack for only 6 points.  While it might not seem very focus efficient, Mobility and Choir go a long way to make these guys hit like tons of bricks, and they're fairly difficult to damage to boot.  Even while damaged, with Choir support they can do a real number on most heavies and it'll be difficult for most armies to finish off 5 heavy warjacks at only 35 points.  The Templar only adds to that difficulty, rocking ARM 21 and between Reach and Beat Back, the Templar will make really good use of Amon's feat and might even be able to dive deep into the enemy lines and go for an assassination.  Lastly, the Reckoner is just too good to not include and can add a little survivability for Amon against infantry and warjacks.  Plus, the Reckoner's flare on it's gun will be huge to make sure that your other warjacks can hit whatever they want.

This guy will be great with Amon, methinks!
You might ask why I decided to go with heavy warjacks instead of spamming Dervishes for their mobility.  It's because of Power Attack: Trample.  While Dervishes are great, they still will have problems dealing with lots of infantry.  Between Choir, Synergy, and Amon's feat, a bunch of trampling heavy warjacks will ruin pretty much any infantry line and your warjacks will be immune to any free-strikes resulting therein during your feat turn!  Can you just imagine three crusaders smashing through a line of infantry and just beating down a warcaster?  I certainly can!  Crusaders are fantastic warjacks with the support that Amon gives them and they will be able to dish out the pain to opposing heavies and infantry alike.

Granted, I think that the success of this list will come down to how it's used, but it's something that I've shuddered to think what I'd have to do against it, so I figured I'd share it.  Will there be great options instead?  Absolutely.  Perhaps a mechanik or vassal would be great additions to the list, but I also think that 5 heavy warjacks are tough to deal with at 35 points, and while the mechanik and vassal are great at improving the quality of a warjack, I think Amon would do best with quantity.

What do you think?
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