Monday, May 28, 2012

Thinking Cap: The Stormwall

By now if you haven't already heard, Privateer Press released the cards for the Cygnar Stormwall and we get our first official peek at a Colossal!  We now know a lot about the direction Privateer Press took with these large models and they aren't the crazy unkillable machines that some initially thought.  In fact, the Stormwall has less ARM than Ol' Rowdy.  So, naturally, I want to jump right into designing a list around such an awesome centerpiece model, and now that we have the cards, we can actually start planning - making some assumptions of course about how the rules will work for these guys.  So let's break down the rules for the Stormwall and look at which warcasters would make the most of a giant robot with lightning fists!

So let's breakdown some of the features of the Stormwall:
  • DEF 10, ARM 19, 56 damage boxes.  What's really interesting about the Stormwall is that the systems are a greater percentage of the damage boxes and more spread out.
  • MAT 6, RAT 6.  Hardly impressive levels of accuracy, but RAT 6 is actually pretty great considering the Stormwall sports two POW 15 cannons and 2d3 POW 12 shots on any given turn.
  • SPD 5 is pretty impressive for a Colossal but not terribly surprising considering it's Cygnar.
  • Lots of electricity to kill off lots of infantry - between the Lightning Pods and Electro-leap on the fists.
  • P+S 20 on his melee attacks offers some great melee damage for wrecking enemy heavies.
From taking a look at the stats on the Stormwall we can really get a good indication of what Privateer Press intends for these models to be.  The Stormwall is hardly broken or OP as some claimed these models might be.  They sport a large number of damage boxes but the rest of their stats are relatively normal.  Honestly, I expected as much and many people were convinced that they'd be ARM 22+ or something like that when I figured they'd just have more damage boxes and more weapons.  They already can only have 3 focus and they do benefit from battlegroup spells to give them some fantastic advantages, but with only 3 focus I doubt they'll be lighting the world on fire... well, except for the Judicator.

So which Cygnar warcasters can make the most from the Stormwall?  Well we first need to consider more than just the raw statline or abilities.  We should also consider that this model is really expensive at 19 points.  Essentially, we need to find a warcaster that could turn this model into something more than just a replacement for a Stormclad and a Defender (same cost).  So what should we be looking for?  Warcasters...
  • ...with efficient, single-model spells
  • to give lots of focus points 
  • ...capable of making the warjack more efficient
  • ...which can keep vital systems active and repaired
Since you're investing so much into one model, you want to make sure your investment is protected.  Here are 3 warcasters that I think will be very interested to see the Stormwall in their battlegroup:

pNemo - Nemo doesn't usually get much positive attention but I think he might have some fun with the Stormwall, provided you have enough magic-using models in your list to keep him loaded with focus.  As long as you can have 3 other models cast spells in your control area before your turn, you can have 10 focus points and you can load 5 focus onto the Stormwall.  Ouch!  If you really want to wreck multiple heavies you can even throw out Disruption Field onto him to make it even more ridiculous with P+S 22 melee attacks with Electro-leap AND Disruption!  Yikes!  You can even take advantage of the huge base and cast Chain Lightning onto the Stormwall and have the lightning arc onto enemy models without any worry of damage to it.  Do note, however, that Locomotion will not work on the Stormwall since the Colossals can't move outside of their activations.  It might be better just to take a Lancer along as well for that and the arc node, but one Stormwall will be plenty of heavy-hitting for pNemo!

Darius - This shouldn't be so surprising since he's Cygnar's preeminent 'jack 'caster.  Darius will make the Stormwall sing for you, as Darius can offer it a number of great things.  Fortification will give the Stormwall a much-needed ARM boost as well as a huge footprint to keep lots of models nearby to keep them from getting knocked down.  While Darius' Crane won't work on the Stormwall, he will be able to move other warjacks to better positions to move around the huge base.  Also having Full Throttle can be great for letting the Stormwall clear out swaths of models with his Sweep power attack and boosted melee attack rolls, and making a free slam and knocking back the target an extra 2" will be great!  Jackhammer will be invaluable with the Stormwall since it can't be allocated more than 3 focus points.  Instead, you can just keep casting Jackhammer to have it make additional attacks and get the most out of your one warjack.  If your opponent tries to simply tie it up you can even cast Jackhammer a couple of times to clear out anything engaging you and then activate the Stormwall later in the turn to wreck even more face.  Lastly, since he's rocking 58 damage boxes, don't you think your opponent will cry a little when you are able to repair the Stormwall back to full health?  Oh, I can't wait!

Sloan - Kara Sloan might not be the first model you consider when looking at the Stormwall, but in this case I think the Stormwall offers Kara Sloan some great opportunities.  While she might not offer the Stormwall much at first, it's worth thinking of the model as almost the equivalent of 2 Defenders and a Cyclone with the guns it can bring to bear.  Granted, you would get more out of Sloan's feat from having those three warjacks (an extra POW 15 and POW 12) but you get so much in return for 8 points less.  In the case of Sloan you'll probably really want those two Covering Fire templates to keep the enemy at bay from the rest of your army while you shell them with ranged firepower, but you still get the benefit of having two POW 15 shots.  Sloan's Fire Group spell will be very helpful here as it slightly extends the range of the Stormwall so that it can stay just a little further back.  Additionally, with such a huge target like a Colossal, Return Fire will be a great little upkeep to throw onto it to punish your enemy from trying to take pot-shots at it from range.  The best part is that after all of this this, you can still throw out a Lightning Pod each turn to zap some models!  Sloan and a Stormwall will be quite a suprising combination on the battlefield, methinks!
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