Wednesday, July 25, 2012

List Building Advice: eCaine 35 points

The Steam-Powered Gamer received a message last night from a fan asking for some advice:
Hey! Love your blog. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions about list building - I'm just starting out, going to be playing eCaine, and I like both Alexia models. At 35 points, how would you try to build an eCaine list which also contained one of the versions of Alexia?

(If you don't answer specific questions, I totally understand that, but I figured I'd ask.)
Well, fortunately, I'm willing to answer specific questions!  eCaine is a great warcaster to start out with.  He's fairly simple to use while still maintaining some depth and useful options for a variety of situations.  We'll start by looking at what eCaine has at his disposal (starting with his feat) and then I'll share a list that I created.

The feat for Captain Allister Caine is very simple: after each shot that hits an enemy model, Caine gets +1 damage (cumulative) to the next shot he fires.  Not only that, but for each model he kills, they explode (removed from play) and a 3" AOE gets placed and models in the AOE take a POW 10 damage roll.  What this means is that in order to make the most of his feat, Caine will want to have as much focus on him as possible (since his pistols are ROF ∞).  Note that he does have 2 pistols still, so that means that with 6 focus he could make a total of 8 shots, with the last shot being a whopping POW 20.  This means that on your feat turn, Caine could take down heavies by himself!  As far as I know, he also has the highest native RAT in the game (RAT 9) and that means that he can even kill off the highest DEF warcasters in the game.  Caine is no pushover!

He's pretty badass, actually.
Caine's spells are pretty great too, although again, you'll probably want to drop your upkeeps on the turn you plan on popping your feat so that you can make more shots.  He has three upkeeps of note: Blur, Heightened Reflexes, and True ShotBlur is a stock spell that many Cygnar warcasters have and although ranged/magic attacks are less common than sheer melee brutality these days, you'll be thankful you have this spell when you do come across those armies.  Heightened Reflexes is fairly situational, but again you'll be glad you have it and Caine will probably be the most likely target for this spell so he can keep his amazing DEF 17 all of the time.  Lastly True Shot is another upkeep for Caine that makes him flexible against even the toughest match-ups and make sure your foes can't hide from your pistols.  This is probably the only upkeep you might want to keep during your feat turn.

Other than that, you can basically ignore Arcane Bolt since you'll literally never cast itGate Crasher is a really expensive and highly situational spell that's extremely close range.  As awesome as it looks, you'll probably never use it since a wary opponent will stay further than 8" away from you.  It can get you out of some sticky situations and I guess could be used to hit-and-run behind terrain, but don't try to set it up.  Magic Bullet also seems pretty nice for a spell but, again, it's very situational and should only be used to remove support solos from behind enemy lines.  This can be fairly useful for killing off mechanics or warwitch sirens or other support solos that might hamper your ability to win the game.  You'll probably also want to use this spell on a model which has a long range so you can harass your foe from fairly far away.
Blur could be great on Alexia and the Risen

The last abilities you should know are that Caine has magical weapon pistols, has Gunfighter (hence why you'll never cast Arcane Bolt), gives Gunfighter to Gun Mages, and his spells get +5 RNG when he's not channeling them.  I guess with Range Amplifier he could potentially cast Arcane Bolt (24" threat range) but that might only be useful on the first turn because after that, you'll probably just be within pistol range.

I tried to come up with a list for our friend that not only would be competitive and fun, but since he's just starting out, it was important to design a list that would feature models and units that could see some use in the future for him, as well as including Alexia - who he specifically mentioned.  I came up with something quickly last night, but after considering it again, I decided I didn't like it after all. Heavy armor was too difficult to deal with and Alexia and her risen take up a lot of space on the battlefield and you need to keep your fire lanes open with Caine.  Thus, I created a new list that I like much better:

I think eAlexia will be better since she takes
up less space on the battlefield...
eCane (+5)
- Hunter (6)
- Squire (2)
Reinholdt (1)
Gun Mages (6)
Gun Mages (6)
- Officer (2)
 - Cyclone (9)
Aiyanna & Holt (4)
eAlexia (4)

This list still tries to play into eCaine's strengths but has capitalized on some of Caine's strengths.  The hunter is a fantastic warjack for its efficiency and, since Caine wants to hold onto a lot of focus, he'll play well with the gunslinger.  Every Cygnar player should get a squire and Caine will love it for getting that extra focus for his feat turn.  The Gun Mages are an auto-include with Caine as he shores up one of their greatest weaknesses - getting engaged.  Two units of Gun Mages works great with Caine since one unit can be a little more forward than they other, since they can still shoot in melee (and take Rune Shots!).  The Officer is also huge for one of the units being able to shoot targets with Stealth and then a Cyclone is his best friend.  With Rune Shot the Cyclone becomes quite the toolbox.

I mentioned in my response that the Cyclone could throw Covering Fire templates out using the Snipe rune shot, but I was mistaken since the wording on Rune Shot is only when it makes ranged attacks.  Even still, Covering Fire can be quite effective at keeping your models from getting attacked by enemy infantry, and the Rune Shot effects can be brutal (pun intended) when you throw out 2d3 ranged attacks.  My favorite shot to take is Thunderbolt so you can push away enemy heavies so they have more ground to cover next turn!

One could replace Aiyanna & Holt with the Black 13th if you really want to, but I think Aiyanna's spell Kiss of Lyliss is just so powerful with ranged armies - especially against high-ARM targets.  It means that suddenly your Gun Mages will be more likely to kill high-priority targets like Bane Thralls or Trolls under the effect of the Krielstone.  The switch to eAlexia was important because she takes up much less space on the battlefield and can still threaten a wide range of targets with her abilities.  I've also included Reinholdt for the point we saved switching pAlexia for eAlexia and I think the free extra shot each turn for Caine will be quite welcome.

This also means that when you pop your feat you can shoot up to 10 times (2 initial + 1 reload + 1 bought from Squire focus + 6 regular focus) - that means that your last shot is hitting at an effective POW of 21 and that can be up to 23 if the target has Kiss of Lyliss on it!  Let's put it another way.  If you had Caine shoot at an ARM 20 target, he would deal an average of 36 points of damage - that's enough to wreck an untouched Behemoth!  This is also the equivalent of throwing Kiss of Lyliss onto an Arcane Shielded Stormwall, by the way.  Even Terminus should be scared of that kind of potential damage!

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If you'd like some list building advice, I'd be glad to offer my assistance!  Just head over to the Steam Powered-Gamer facebook page and send me a message and I'll try to get back to you!
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