Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tournament Prep: Circle or Cygnar? Part 1

The New England Team Tournament is coming!  This past weekend I held a gaming weekend at my apartment for my friends where we played games, grilled up some food, and had some fun.  I own two gaming tables and so we were able to get a few games in between the lot of us (although we could have played more).  One of the questions that I've been wrestling with is whether I should bring my Circle or my recently-beloved Cygnar.  The New England Team Tournament will look a little different this year than it did last year, with only two lists at 35 points.  While it means that certain factions will have an easier time participating (Mercenaries, Minions), it does limit the options for certain Hordes factions which can handle the 50 point limit better than most Warmachine armies.  The meta has also shifted with the arrival of Domination, several models from Wrath, and the Stormwall since last year's team tournament.  In other words, this year's team tournament will be completely different.  So which lists would I bring?  Today I'll look at my Cygnar options and tomorrow I'll share what I'm thinking for Circle.

Since I've been playing a lot more with my Cygnar lately, I figured that I'd discuss them first.  I stand by my previous statements that Sloan loves the Stormwall.  While everyone has been saying that pHaley offers the most, I've been undefeated with Sloan and the Stormwall.  Needless to say, she would be my first pick for a warcaster and I think that the list handles Hordes really well, since I can simply blow apart warbeasts at range and keep whatever infantry they have at range with Covering Fire.

Sloan (+6)
- Stormwall (19)
- Minuteman (5)
Reinholdt (1)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (6)
- Officer (2)
Black 13th Strike Team (4)
Harlan Versh (2)
Stormsmith (1)
Stormsmith (1)
Minuteman (5)
Arlan Strangeways (2)

I really like the list that I've been using and I've been having some great success with it.  Harlan Versh is amazing at either preventing my opponent from using upkeeps on their troops or punishing them heavily for doing so.  The Black 13th are amazing with Sloan too and help me mitigate a wide array of threats while offering some extra damage output with Brutal Damage shots or Black Penny if my Gun Mages get tied-up.  The Gun Mages and Stormsmiths can deal with any Stealth targets and the Stormwall and Minuteman throw out a blistering amount of firepower during feat turn.  I love the Minuteman, but it's even better as a reinforcement since it gets 3 free focus.  What I'm bringing for my second list is still up to debate, however.
LOVE this guy!

While Sloan can handle Hordes reasonably well, I'll want a warcaster which can alternatively deal with Warmachine lists and large amounts of infantry.  Sloan is great and all, but she's much more adept at bringing down big targets than she is at dealing with swarms of infantry.  For that, I'm considering my epic Nemo list.  No, I mean General Adept Nemo.  While I certainly see the appeal for "threemo", I think he's just a little too gimmicky and easy to shut down.  All it takes is for someone to snipe out Finch and the list loses a lot of potential.  Plus, I feel like if I come across a bunch of lightning-immune models (like another Cygnar player), I feel like General Nemo will be better equipped at dealing with them than his older self.

The Weathermen, Tier 4
General Adept Nemo (+6)
- Firefly (5)
- Firefly (5)
- Hammersmith (8)
- Ironclad (7)
Stormguard (min, 6)
Stormguard (min, 6)
Storm Tower (*free)
Stormsmith (1)
Stormsmith (1)
Stormsmith (1)
Stormsmith (1)
Ironclad (7)
Stormsmiths gain Advance Deploy
Fireflies gain Advance Move
Models/Units begin the game affected by Nemo's upkeeps

This theme list is actually what got me to start playing Cygnar in the first place and has a special place in my heart.  While it's a little bit different in this form than in its previous incarnations, I think it'll be highly effective against most Warmachine armies.  The Elite Cadre benefit for Stormsmiths is an amazing one and it makes their lightning capable of damaging even light warjacks.  With the Fireflies for Triangulation, this list is great at setting up a network of lightning and clearing out all kinds of infantry.  I can hit absurdly-high DEF or Stealth models since stormcalls are made on skill checks instead of hitting, and at POW 12 they even have a good chance against Shield Wall infantry.

Stormsmiths FTW!
I really love the benefits of this theme list and since Nemo has 4 upkeeps, having them all out for free means a savings of 10 focus.  In other words, it normally takes 2 turns for Nemo to throw all of his upkeeps out there and by that time you'd want to start throwing focus onto warjacks or you'd rather cast Energizer to get into better position.  Now this means that on turn 1 I have focus to run all 4 of my warjacks and cast Energizer to get into position.  Depending on what I'm up against, Fail Safe and Lightning Shroud will be equally appreciated on the Ironclad or Hammersmith and Polarity Shield will be great on a unit of Stormguard which will want to run out to claim an objective or zone early.  Overall, I really love the theme list and I think that it would be at home against most infantry-heavy Cryx lists, but any Warmachine player will groan about all of that Disruption out there.  The real question is: "Is it enough?" 

I plan on playtesting as much as possible before I make my final decision, but last night I managed to get a game in with epic Nemo.  Despite the fact that I was playing against a Hordes player (specifically, Skorne), I managed to just barely pull out a win, despite losing all of my warjacks to a crazed Bronzeback.  With the help of some Stormcalls and Stormguard hitting each other to Electro-leap onto pMorghoul, I was able to secure a win, despite a terrible match-up.  I definitely have hope for my Cygnar!
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