Friday, March 01, 2013

List Building: Constance Blaze

I've been buying and collecting some models for the past 6 months but I have not done a lick of painting. Between school and planning for the wedding and new computer/video games, I've been so distracted from Warmachine/Hordes. I have been playing games, though, and even gotten some prize support at tournaments so I've been collecting models nonetheless. Yesterday I spent a good couple of hours putting some of these models together, followed by some list building. In the next couple of weeks I plan on sharing some of these list ideas as this year I want to focus on playing with Mercenaries! Today I want to share a list I created for using Constance Blaze as a mercenary warcaster and I have to say, I'm pretty amused by it. I will also share why I like taking the idea of taking Connie as a Mercenary warcaster instead of a Cygnarian one.

Highborn Covenant - 35 points
Constance Blaize (+6)
- Gallant (9)
Harlan Versh (2)
Madelyn Corbeau (2)
Gorman di Wulfe (2)
Rhupert Carvolo (2)
Lanyssa Ryssyl (2)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (full, 8)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4)
Precursor Knights (full, 8)
- Precursor Knight Officer & Standard (2)

So why am I amused by this list? Well because of the potential threat range on Constance. While she might not be typically considered a melee threat, this list has the potential to launch her a crazy distance and potentially kill an opposing warcaster. How close does she need to get to kill her target? She's SPD 6 + 3" for charging + 2" if she casts Crusader's Call + 2" if Lanyssa can hit with Hunter's Mark + 3" if enemy models are nearby with Corbeau + 2" from Reach. That's a potential of hitting a target 18" from her starting location! Now, I will admit that some pieces need to fall in place for this to happen but there are plenty of tools to make sure that she can get where she needs. It's important also to recognize that even if models are up in your grill trying to clog you up, Corbeau's ability can get her into a position where she can use Flashing Blade to clear out infantry before she delcares her charge. She can also lay down some serious hurt in melee between Flank (which there are many Morrowan models to trigger off of) and Kiss of Lyliss. If you can time it just right, she'll be able to sit on a bunch of focus from her feat and the following turn just go crazy and beat down even the tankiest of warcasters - although I imagine this list will be best against Hordes factions (particularly Legion).

While the list might seem like it's solely designed around Connie, the rest of the list still packs a lot of bite. The Precursors and Forge Guard both offer some solid punch and great ARM which will force my opponent to devote a lot of resources to remove them when I've popped my feat, and if they refuse to play the game, I will still have two really threatening units in great positions. The Precursors in shield wall will also be great for screening the Forge Guard and both units will be immune to enemy spells (Banishing Ward will go on Forge Guard) and have ranked attacks (the advantage of playing Connie as a Mercenary) and will be charging with 4 damage dice (although for the Precursor's it's a mini-feat). This will let me advance upfield without worrying about the low-SPD of both units.
Still a threat

Basically, I'm forcing my opponent to choose from two bad options: give Connie lots of focus or let her keep her infantry roll forward. This means that I'm not even afraid of some Warpwolf Stalkers, since Berserk just means more souls for Connie to go stomping with in the following turn and/or give to surviving models via Transference. While I wish I could use it with ranged attacks, the surviving Precursors and Forge Guard will appreciate being able to boost to hit against high-DEF models like annoyingly-high-DEF warbeasts with their solid melee attacks.

"Only Morrow himself could guard me better."
- Constance Blaze
Well, what if my opponent tries to kill Connie? Her defensive stats aren't exactly the best in the game, right? Well let's look at what I can do to keep her alive until I deliver her safely. Assuming that I probably won't hit with Lanyssa's Hunter's Mark and if my opponent kills Corbeau (although it's unlikely), Connie still only needs to stay 13" away from her target - just outside of her control range. That, alone, means that a lot of targets won't be able to get to her but let's look at how else I can keep her safe. First, I can always cycle Banishing Ward onto her if I'm up against a spell-slinging warcaster/warlock. If I'm up against a ranged threat then Gorman's smoke cloud will bump her DEF to 17 thanks to concealment, or can simply block LOS if needed. Even if I'm up against Legion, Gallant will stay nearby so he can just shield guard a powerful shot headed her way, and that will likely be enough to keep her alive from most ranged threats (along with some camped focus). The only thing she really has to worry about is getting knocked down or made stationary but I'm hoping that her extreme threat range will also limit how close my opponent gets to levy those threats against her, and again, hopefully she can sit on ARM 19+ most turns, and higher during her feat.

Naturally, theorymachine can only go so far, but I'm really excited to be able to play this list on the table. I tried playing Connie's theme force, and although fun, it lacked a certain amount of bite. Being able to take her as a Mercenary means that I have a lot more options than I have playing Cygnar, and those options are awesome Mercenary infantry and solos. It's my hope that I can propel Connie not only really far, but if I can get a morrowan model to run into melee range of the enemy warcaster/warlock, she can not only scream across from a third of the length of the board, but also be swinging at MAT 9 and potentially with P+S 15 (if the target was hit with Kiss of Lyliss) + 4d6. Oh, and her melee weapon has blessed too. Yeah. She can totally wreck stuff in melee, you just have to have the tools available to do so, and I'm hoping that this list has enough of those tools.
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