Friday, May 11, 2012

Thinking Cap: The Minutemen

I recently ordered some stuff on eBay and the store I ordered from accidentally sent me duplicates of the same order.  So instead of only having 2 Minutman light warjacks, I now have four.  While I certainly got my money's worth out of the deal, it has left me scratching my head.  When would I ever need to use 4 of these guys?!  Today I want to look at the implications of spamming these warjacks in order to make them more viable and the considerations that need to be made it taking them.  Like anything else in the game, spamming is not really as great as it might seem, so I face a unique challenge in getting these guys to work.

As with spamming any number of warjacks in Warmachine, the first consideration you need to think about is focus.  As focus is quite the limited resource, you need to make sure that whichever warcaster you take will be able to either give the warjacks the focus they need or otherwise make them run efficiently.  Fortunately, Cygnar is a faction which generally runs its warjacks fairly efficiently anyway and so it can be pretty easy to find a warcaster with some kind of spell which can bolster your battlegroup.  The only problem is that Minutemen will be looking for a warcaster which can bolster their offensive effectiveness in regards to their slug guns, which are POW 14.  This limits our options and leaves us with only a couple of warcasters which might be capable of helping out.

Here are the warcasters to consider when spamming Minutemen in particular:
Kraye - Definitely considered the optimum choice at first glance.  First, he turns the Minutemen into light cavalry and they can run for free, allowing them to be very mobile and get into position quickly.  Similarly, he has the spell Guided Fire which will boost all of their ranged attack rolls!  You can easily see how 4 Minutemen would really love to have 8 (!) boosted hit rolls on their slug guns!  The only catch?  Kraye has a lowly focus stat of 6.  If he wants to cast Guided Fire, that means that those Minutemen will be lacking focus to do what they're really love to do - Bounding Leap (which costs one focus).  Without being able to leap, the Minuteman has a threat range of only 10" and boosted attack rolls don't mean anything if you can't get to the warcaster.

General Nemo - Nemo2 is another interesting option for spamming Minutemen as his feat automatically generates 3 focus for each model.  This would allow each Minuteman to leap as well as potentially boost - attack or damage - giving some flexibility about how you'd like to use your Minutemen.  That said, however, another, cheaper warjack can pull the same trick but potentially do a better job with it: the Charger.  For the cost of 4 Minutemen you can take 5 Chargers, and while they won't be leaping around, they already have a fairly long range with their dual cannons and with 3 focus they can not only fire two shots, but two fully boosted shots thanks to their special rule.  Granted, POW 12s are not as great as POW 14s, but the fact that these shots are boosted to hit and damage means they are far more efficient.  Five Chargers can unload a frightening payload of 10 shots that can hit DEF 16 fairly easily and boosted POW 12s can even deal damage to heavies fairly well.  With General Nemo, anything a Minuteman benefits from will benefit a Charger as much, if not more.

Sloan - I've been interested in Sloan ever since she came out with Cygnar Mk II.  She's a really interesting warcaster (albeit a bit one-dimensional) and Cygnar's only real weaponmaster - on her gun.  That said, I think she offers some great function to the Minutemen.  Her feat can be quite interesting with these warjacks.  The most obvious benefit is that they will gain boosted ranged attack rolls.  While this might at first seem like you'd have the same problem as you'd have with Kraye, remember that this feat wouldn't use any focus, and as such, she could still allocate enough focus (although she'd be running dry) to allow her Minutemen to leap as well as gain the boosted attack rolls.  On top of that, her feat allows them to make additional ranged attacks with some wonky conditions.  Even still, if you were able to leap all 4 Minutemen in range of, and shoot at the opposing warcaster, you could have a potential of 12 (!) POW 14 shots right into their face!  Additionally, she has Fire Group as a cheap spell which lets her add +2" to the RNG of any of the battlegroup's guns.  This extends the Minuteman threat to a whopping 17", albeit with some focus investment.

So who did I finally decide upon?  Well since I'm already going with a fairly spammy list, I decided to try something interesting.  I'm not sure if it'll work or not, but I think it's certainly different...

Captain Kara Sloan (+6)
- Minuteman (5)
- Minuteman (5)
- Minuteman (5)
- Minuteman (5)
- Squire (2)
Rangers (5)
Rangers (5)
Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt (4)
Harlan Versh (2)
Gorman Di Wulfe (2)
Reinholdt (1)

I don't currently own any Rangers or LA&MH but I do own everything else in this list.  This is something that I'm not sure will work but will certainly be fun to try, for sure.  The idea I wanted to build into this list is maximizing debuffs to essentially boost my ranged damage rolls.  This list is built entirely around killing off the warcaster in one swoop, although it could be quite capable of picking off the opponent's key heavies piece by piece thanks to Kiss of Lyliss providing a flat +2 damage buff to all attacks (including ranged!).
The theory goes that Sloan, Versh, Master Holt, and the Rangers can do a pretty good job of dealing with various solos and infantry units, with the Rangers buffing all kinds of ranged attack rolls to save me some focus.  Versh will be great for dealing with buffed units but more specifically making the opponent be less likely to use them or risk getting punished by Malleus.  Between Aiyanna and Gorman I can do a pretty good job of shutting down key heavies, both lowering DEF and also ARM.  If it's a warjack, even better!  Gorman's Rust Bomb combined with Kiss of Lyliss means that my Minutemen can now throw out effectively POW 18 slug gun shots (!) and Sloan can hit with an effective POW 16 + 4d6 (with boosted damage).  Brutal!

Plus, if the opportunity arises, Sloan can load up each Minuteman with 1 focus each, the Rangers can run to within 5" of the enemy warcaster/warlock, Sloan pops feat, casts Fire Group, and those Minutemen can get within 17" of the enemy warcaster/warlock to unleash hell!  If I can tag them with Kiss of Lyliss then that's even better, but even that many POW 14 shots will punch holes into pretty much anything.

That's the theory, anyway.
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