Saturday, December 08, 2012

Winter 2012 Holiday Bundles: Warmachine

As you may already know, Privateer Press has put out some 25-point holiday bundles for purchase on their online store.  They've been doing this with increased frequency the past couple of years and this time it's good to see that these bundles include warcasters outside of the normal battlegroup boxes (kinda).
It's cute that they're including metal ornaments with the bundles, but I'm sure most people will be glad to have a good starting point for adding another faction.  Also, each bundle includes a mini-copy of the rulebook (40k fans have been calling for this for their game for literally a decade) and the tokens for the faction.  On top of the discount for the models themselves, this is a pretty nice chunk of stuff to receive for free, so keep that in mind with my value rankings.  I will include the tokens in the discount calculation, but there's currently no $-value attached to the mini-rulebook so keep that in mind.  Also, it's worth considering that with the exception of the Retribution and Mercenary sets, each of the deals includes the battlegroup box for the faction, meaning that you do get 2 warcasters out of the deal so you have some options.

Like I've done in the past, I will be reviewing these boxes for their monetary value, power level on the table, and longevity (how good it is for building a force in the future) and instead of giving an objective score, I will instead give them rankings relative to each other.

Cryx Holiday Bundle ($141.95):
Savings - $11.99
Power Level - #4
This is an okay list for 25 points.  While I didn't expect the "OMG BROKEN" list that people often bring with Skarre, the Satyxis work well with her and while she usually prefers more infantry, the list is pretty solid and will work fairly well.  Unfortunately, her Sacrificial Strike ability is mostly wasted with the Satyxis and the Sea Witch might have been a better addition to the list instead of the Captain, but all around it's solid without being great.  Ironically, this list would probably be better if you just used pDenny from the battlebox that you get in the deal.
Longevity - #5
If you're looking to build more Cryx in the future the deal might be good depending on which route you take.  The Skarlock will always be useful and the Satyxis and 'jacks might be useful depending on the direction you want to take.  Unfortunately, the Slayer really is only an "okay" warjack unless you're spamming them with Mortenebra.  It's not that the models aren't useful (there's very little that isn't useful in Cryx) but it's that most Cryx lists will use Banes because they are simply some of the best infantry units in the game.  Satyxis are great, but they are not the most common unit for a wide range of lists.  Unless you plan on expanding on pSkarre, you probably will need to buy more models regardless of the direction you go.

Cygnar Holiday Bundle ($138.95):
Savings - $11.99
Power Level - #3
This deal could have been so much better if they had included the Stormblade box instead of the Stormguard!  Stormguard are, unfortunately, one of the less impressive Cygnar melee units.  Yes, they have Reach and Electro-leap, but they don't take advantage of Stryker's Elite Cadre bonus and will probably confuse some new players, thinking that it does.  This list will still be pretty effective, however, but mostly because of how awesome Stryker is despite the models included.  Unfortunately, eStryker doesn't really want to use that Lancer much (while he has the spells that could use it, he'd rather spend focus elsewhere) so it's a bit of wasted points, but otherwise the list is pretty good.  The Ironclad will be good with the warjack bond and Positive Charge and the feat will give the Stormguard some extra mileage since they have Reach.  Again, it would be sooo much better with Stormblades (especially since Privateer Press reboxed the Stormblades!), but it's still a reasonably good list.  Oh, and I'd actually recommend putting the Charger under the Journeyman's control so it can actually get some focus.
Longevity - #6
Much like the Cryx bundle, the longevity of this set is pretty bad.  The warjacks can be useful but rarely all together.  Stormguard unfortunately need some love for their high cost and you'll rarely use them in a list outside of an eNemo theme force or Threemo.  Still, the Journeyman will be awesomely useful in a wide range of lists and you can't go wrong with the Squire.  Cygnar unfortunately suffers from being a faction that is awefully specialized.  While this characteristic is great in a tournament setting, it means that building up a collection can be quite expensive.  This bundle is good if you're willing to commit to a wide range of Cygnar warcasters, but if you just want one or two, this bundle probably isn't going to be all that helpful since the models included are not the most commonly used in the faction (Jr. and Squire excepted).

Khador Holiday Bundle ($135.95):

Savings - $11.99
Power Level - #6
Don't get me wrong!  It's not that the items included in the list are bad, per se, but it's just that they aren't going to be doing Vlad any favors.  pVlad likes having some warjacks for his feat and Boundless Charge, but a Destroyer really is a bad decision for him compared to the breadth of warjack options available in Khador (especially if he considers casting Wind Wall).  Besides, I'd think of his feat more as a way to keep his warjacks in front of Vlad as he tanks with Blood of Kings and this list just doesn't help him do much of anything very well.  Sure, Signs and Portents could be good with the Widowmakers, but with Sniper anyway, they don't need the extra damage and the Demo Corps. need additional survivability - not hitting power.  Again, this list is just not impressive at all.
Longevity - #4
Again, it's not that the models are bad but the Widowmakers and the War Dog are the models you'll be most likely to use again in future lists.  The Demo Corps. are pretty great but they really depend on the type of list you want to run, and usually that list is light on warjacks.  So either your warjacks in this deal are going to be useless in list building or the Demo Corps. will.  At first I was going to rank it lower but then I realized that a lot of people who start Khador are attracted by two things: heavy warjacks and man-o-war troopers.  This deal has both and it will probably appeal to a lot of people who want to start Khador.

Menoth Holiday Bundle ($157.94):

Savings - $11.99
Power Level - #1
The Menoth battlegroup box isn't usually as great as it could be because Menoth jacks really miss out on their potential without the choir around to buff/protect them.  This 25 point list consequently is great because you get the effectiveness of the warjacks to their full potential with the choir around.  Add to that pSevy's awesome Eye of Menoth spell, one of the best tarpit units in the game in the exemplar bastions, an arc node in the Repenter (far more useful for pSevy than pKreoss), and a vassal to make sure that Crusader stays safe until he's delivered and you have an effective list.  While it probably won't win you any tournaments, this list is the best of the bunch but especially since...
Longevity - #2
...the longevity of this list is really good!  Every Menoth player needs choir.  No exceptions.  The vassal is also a solid inclusion for a Menoth player since he's great for boosting damage output of 'jacks (especially ranged) and Enliven is just so awesome that you'll find yourself wanting the vassal in every list.  Bastions are also a great unit in a wide range of lists.  While there are ways around their brotherhood abilities, they force the opponent to take longer to deal with them regardless.  The fact that they are also weaponmasters with reach makes them an awesome infantry unit.  The only items of the list which will see limited use are the warjacks, but the revenger is actually a solid warjack that could see some play with other warcasters who could use an arc node and the crusader is a cheap and powerful warjack that can see play in certain lists.

Mercenaries Holiday Bundle ($159.93):
Savings - $11.99
Power Level - #4
I had to go back and forth between this list and the Cygnar list to make a final decision.  In the end I think that this list lacks the tools to take the most advantage of Ashlynn's spells and abilities.  This an interesting list for Ashlynn because normally she plays an aggressive melee game, but with the Mule, Rover, and the Riflemen, it seems like Privateer Press is trying to get you to play a ranged game.  The problem is that outside of Ashlynn's feat turn, this list will really struggle.  The good news is that your feat turn will be ahhhmazing with the ranged attacks that you do have.  Ashlynn's feat is just so good and a ranged list definitely takes good advantage of it and an opponent could find themselves without much of an army and being unable to deal significant damage back.  Ashlynn is pretty amazing and all, but she will have a hard time finding the focus needed to fuel two warjacks - let alone ranged ones.  It's an interesting list that could have some real solid potential in the future with the addition of a 'jack marshall and a melee unit (to benefit from Quicken).
Longevity - #3
I feel like Privateer Press included Gorman and Rhupert in this list just to sweeten the pot, as it were.  Both are amazing solos and are staples for any Mercenary general (or other factions, for that matter).  Sylys will also find in a home in a variety of lists (or factions) and it's too bad that the discount on this "deal" isn't any better because otherwise it might be worth supplementing your existing factions.  If you want to add the Mercenary faction to your collection, this deal might be worth it, but the Riflemen have limited usage and the Rover is really only good at removing low-ARM models with it's mediocre-POW attacks (although he does have 3 initials).

Retribution Holiday Bundle ($139.95):

Savings - $6.99
Power Level - #2
This list is a curious one and I've teetered back and forth on whether I think it was #1 or #2.  While you might think that two very expensive heavy warjacks tooled out for melee combat might be bad when paired with a ranged-focused warcaster, you'd be wrong.  Yes, the Banshee and Phoenix are both amazingly awesome melee warjacks, but they do both sport some effective ranged attacks - especially the Banshee being able to use Momentum against a smaller-based model and still getting the additional damage die on the feat.  Chronomancer will also be useful for keeping those 'jacks efficient so you can manage your limited focus resources better.  You don't even have to worry about using your feat for ranged damage output because your melee potential in this list is silly.  Invictors have flank with your warjacks and since both of them have Reach, your invictors are going to trash pretty much anything they come in contact with.  You can afford to play this list very aggressively - which is a bit strange for Retribution - since Ossyan has some great tools to mitigate the enemy's return damage with his feat, Admonition for himself or a warjack (probably good for the Banshee), and Quicken for the invictors.  Let's also not forget how awesome his Chronophage Cannon is, it's just too bad it's range isn't longer.
Longevity - #1
Yeah.  It's also pretty good for the long haul.  While you might graduate from Ossyan eventually, you will find yourself fielding either a Banshee or a Phoenix again in another list.  They're both such solid warjacks that they will see play in a wide variety of lists.  Invictors are also pretty amazing infantry with both great ranged attacks, combine ranged attack, AND flank!?  Yikes.  These guys will be used a lot.  Oh, and the only reason why an arcanist is only 1 point is because it's too good that having all of its abilities in one model is a limitation in and of itself.  You'll use him again.  It's too bad the $$$ savings of this list is so crappy, but at least you do still get that free mini-rulebook, right?
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