I’m currently tinkering with the 35 point list I’ll be taking to SmogCon in February. The two events I’m going to be entering are Hydra (35 points with a random caster from a pool of five chosen by myself – four rounds so someone’s gonna get benched – assume 5 warjack points) and Scalpel (35 points with a sideboard – can swap anything represented by a whole card in or out, so no min units for max units).
The core of the list is pretty much decided:
10 Houseguard Halberdiers
10 Dawnguard Invictors
While I wanted so so badly to take the Hydra to Hydra, I’ve been forced to accept that the sheer utility of the Phoenix puts it ahead. In the first three games of the club league, it’s carved up a Dire Troll (freeing up my infantry to finish off Mulg in the same turn) and enabled me to arc some doom spells onto Epic Doomshaper’s stupid troll face; it’s let me Arcantrik Bolt Kraye’s battlegroup from a position of safety; and it’s dealt the killing blows to both the Black 13th and Mr. Kraye himself in short order. The arc node and gun on the same chassis also means it can be set up in the second wave and still, well, get to do something, although I haven’t actually fired the gun yet – it’s always been easier to charge the target and hit it slightly more reliably.
Sylys is in because some of the casters need him and I think everyone at least wants him if he’s available – and he is. The Houseguard are, to my mind, one of the best chaff units in the game; they have absolutely everything they need on their cards (Set Defence, Shield Wall and Ranked Attack – Brutal Charge and CMA are very tasty gravy that mean the survivors are very likely to do some good). Likewise, the Dawnguard get in for their sheer utility and their in-Faction status (I was tempted by the Nyss Hunters for the same points, but the thought of replacing the unit again made my fingers cramp up in terror). The Stormfalls are, well, they’re Stormfalls, they run, then they Snipe, then they either set you on fire or Brutal Damage you until your eyes drop off.
The ‘caster pool I’m thinking of is Kaelyssa, Ravyn, Garryth and Ossyran, with the final slot tied between Vyros and Rahn. Rahn seems to need more stuff with ‘House Shyeel’ in its name than not, for the sake of his feat; but then, Vyros seems to demand a decent-sized battlegroup and at the moment I’m only rocking one ‘jack.
Which brings me to the rest of the list. By my calculation I have six points left. Combinations of possibilities throng before my mind, chiefly around a 4:2 split.
For 4 points I can get UAs for both units, a Griffon or Aiyana and Holt (the budget option since I already own them). The Griffon is most tempting; it gives me something to set up Flank on the Dawnguard, and a second ‘jack to ensure some mileage out of Vyros’ feat. Does mean spending money, of course, but I’m pretty much resigned to that.
For 2, the options are a single UA, or one of the oddball solos – a Mage Hunter Assassin or House Shyeel Magister or Ghost Sniper. A pair of Arcanists seems slightly redundant when I only have two warjack; although there is the prospect of an Arcanist and a Soulless Escort, I guess?
As Unit Attachments go I’m torn; if I had to pick one I’m not sure whether I’d go for the Dawnguard’s or the Houseguard’s. The Houseguard have been surprisingly effective combatants, so I’m edging toward theirs, but the Dawnguard seem to need the UA more in order to do what I want them to do, i.e. drop scary Combined Ranged Attacks from a reasonable distance away.
There’s also the outsider option in a 5:1 split – a second unit of Stormfall Archers, or a unit of Battle Mages (I’d consider running Rahn instead of Vyros, in that case) and an Arcanist. It’s not often that I put my hand up to wanting two units of something, but I am very fond of Stormfall Archers.
So, bearing in mind the whole ‘random caster’ thing, what would you do? How would you spend those last six points, and would Rahn or Vyros occupy your last slot?