Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sloan Tournament List

So I've had the opportunity to play quite a few games with Sloan at this point and I finally got a model for Viktor Pendrake and am very pleased with his addition to the list.  Indeed, since I intend this list to be used regularly against Hordes opponents, his usage specifically against warbeasts is hardly a limitation.  As such, I feel very confident with the list that I have developed for 35 point tournaments... for the most part.  I am fairly comfortable with the list and I have already begun painting the models that needed to be finished so that I can compete with it this weekend, if I can make it to The Battle Standard's tournament.  I'll quickly share my finalized list and expand on some of my rationales for the choices made and at the end I'll share my only apprehension for the list: reinforcements.  Let's start with the list:

Sloan (+6)

- Stormwall (19)
- Minuteman (5)
Reinholdt (1)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (6)
- Officer (2)
Black 13th Strike Team (4)
Harlan Versh (2)
Viktor Pendrake (2)

The Stormwall is a fairly obvious choice for Sloan.  The feat makes it quite scary with the big guns, Covering Fire protects many of the vulnerable elements key to Sloan's success, and it sports efficient melee capabilities should the situation present itself.  While many would suggest a Hunter, I find the Minuteman to be far more useful.  Sloan and the Stormwall are more than capable of dealing with heavy targets at range, but having a Minuteman allows me to target models that might be more difficult to reach at range, as well as being able to clear out models with its flak field.  What of the other choices?

Well the Gun Mages are an obvious choice for Sloan, since their UA lets them ignore Stealth - necessary for the success of a shooting list.  The Black 13th is present for a similar reason, although they're needed more to allow the rest of the list (like the Stormwall) shoot at Stealth models.  Gun Mages are also a great unit for their utility, but with a major weakness: POW 10.  Anything higher than ARM 17 is difficult for Gun Mages to deal with, and the rest of the list can only do so much.

This is where Pendrake will be useful - should I need to deal with multiple warbeasts, being able to trigger their critical effects (Critical Brutal Damage or even the critical knockdown on Thunderbolt) will be huge against warbeasts which will often have ARM 18+.  Even if that won't help, being able to give boosted attack rolls on Sloan to make sure she hits higher-DEF warbeasts could help too.  Even if Beast Lore becomes irrelevant, Sloan's feat does apply to Pendrake (since he's a Cygnar Ally) so I could even throw a boosted Bola shot to knock down a key target, should I need to.  He offers so much utility to the list that he's invaluable.

So why Harlan Versh?  I hear that a lot.  He's a mercenary so he won't benefit from Sloan's feat, but he does offer something unique: upkeep mitigation.  Typically Hordes factions rely on upkeep spells to bolster defensive stats for warbeasts and/or infantry.  Having Harlan Versh around helps deal with that a ton since he has Blessed weapons that also have Purgation so he can deal massive damage to those under an upkeep spell.  With Multi-Fire on Malleus, he can also potentially clear out 4 models per turn - and that can't be underestimated.

Okay, so where things start to become difficult is choosing 7 points of reinforcements.  I've written about reinforcements before and it's important to choose models which will not eat up a significant amount of clock time.  For Warmachine, you also need to remember that warjacks will enter with 3 focus points on them immediately, and since Sloan is often strapped for focus as it is, I'll want to take advantage of the opportunity to get 3 guaranteed focus for one turn.  I'll also want to consider Sloan using Fire Group or potentially using my feat on the same turn that the reinforcements enter.  Here are the options I'm considering:

Reinforcements Option 1:
Minuteman (5)
Arlan Strangeways (2)

Strangeways can benefit from the feat with his gauntlet, which could be fun entering from the flanking edge of the board.  He also offers the opportunity to throw Evasive onto the Minuteman to both allow it to get into optimal position to jump, as well as protecting it a bit from reprisal on my opponent's turn since it's DEF 14.  The Minuteman is obviously great with 3 focus on it - allowing it to jump and boost damage rolls with the other focus points.  On feat turn that means fully boosted ranged attacks as well as potentially shooting 3 shots into a target if the activation order is right.

Reinforcements Option 2:
Charger (4)
Journeyman Warcaster (3)

The Charger loves the 3 focus granted to it when it enters and it also has a significant threat range on the turn it enters, being able to reach nearly across the entire half of the board (placed within 3" of the edge + 6" move + 12" range = ~22" threat) and still shooting 2 fully boosted ranged attacks.  Plus, it's totally capable of doing all of that prior to Sloan activating her feat, which is significant difference from the Minuteman.  Granted, it's shots are only POW 12, but it will have a longer reach than the Minuteman and since I already have a Minuteman in the regular list, having a Charger provides some added flexibility.  In addition, the Journeyman will be a welcome addition from reserves since he offers some extra flexibility in being able to use focus as well as potentially throwing Arcane Shield onto something like, say, the Stormwall.

I'm still not exactly sure which option I wish to choose so I'll have to do some playtesting to find out.
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