-By: Stephen W.
From humble beginnings, the Retribution of Scyrah (often simply called the Retribution) has risen in popularity over the course of Mk2 and become one of the top factions in the first year of the new edition. So, what are the keys to this success and what has made the forces of the elves so popular? The short answer is versatility.
In tactically based games like Warmachine and Hordes, part of out maneuvering your opponent is knowing how to bring the strengths of your force against the weakness of theirs. To do this it is not only important to know what tools you have at your disposal, but also to have some of those tools on the same unit or model, such that it can shift from one role to the other as the turn, round, or game demands. Take for example one of our most used units, the Dawnguard Sentinels with their Command Attachment. You have a unit of MAT 7, RNG 2, P+S 12 Weapon Masters that gain Pathfinder when they charge. They also are ARM 17 while in base to base with another model of the unit with access to Iron Zeal for one round (ARM 20 and immunity to knock down and stationary). The result is you have unit that can either hold a line or break it depending on what you need them to do and what support tools you choose to put behind them.
However, our versatility is also a weakness. The multi-use roles of many of our models means that these models are not experts in any one area or you are paying a premium point cost for those that are. In addition, the faction has a higher than average skill level and it takes time to figure out where the variety of tools we have are best employed.
When it comes to our warcasters, the Retribution has fewer than most other factions, and while we have some that at present are considered better than others, the span on a scale between our strongest and weakest is not as wide as other factions. We do lack a forward brawler type caster (such as the Butcher in Khador or Kromac in Circle), with our casters preferring to play more of a support role and bring tools to the army to deal with a range of threats. This is not to say that we lack warcasters that can go toe to toe with the enemy, but rarely do you see a Retribution list where delivering a warcaster assassination run is your primary strategy. Instead it is another tool available to you.
If you want to play a warcaster who can move forward on the front lines with their army, then look to either version of Vyros or Thyron, the Blade of Truth. Do you like tricks and manipulating the battlefield, then Adeptis Rahn is your man. Do you want to support a combined arms force with a tool box of spells and abilities, we have Lord Arcanist Ossyan and Kaelyssa, the Night’s Whisper. Do you prefer to debuff your opponent’s forces before hurling yours into them, I give you Elara, Death’s Shadow.
The Retribution has a little something for almost any play style, so pick a warcaster whose style and abilities interest you and have fun.
Warjacks (aka Myrmidons)
With our myrmidons the theme of multi-role versatile models continues. For this we generally pay higher point costs then other Warmachine factions with our cheapest two heavy myrmidons coming in at 13 and 14 points. In trade, all of our heavy myrmidons, in addition to one light and one colossal, carry a magical ranged weapon. This gives us a wide access to magical weapons that is not enjoyed by any other faction.
Most of our myrmidons are sub-typed on their card as being Shyeel. These myrmidons carry force fields, a Generator system, and a deceptively small damage grid. The size of the grid is offset by having 6-10 force field boxes that are filled first, giving it a comparable number of boxes to other warjacks of their weight class. The fact that damage goes to these first also reduces the chance of a first big hit taking out a system. In addition, the Shyeel myrmidons generally have lower P+S melee weapons then similar warjacks, a weakness that needs to be offset with support solos or spells from the warcaster.
Four of our heavy myrmidons are the product of House Vyre. These are slower (SPD 5 vice SPD 6), have +1 STR and ARM, and no force fields. Their ranged weapons are also tied to the right side vice the Generator system on the Shyeel chassis, so a loss of the system does not render the weapon completely inoperable. This is advantageous since all Vyre ranged weapons carry a secondary effect which is applied to the target on the weapon hitting. Finally, these myrmidons carry a small and a large weapon, giving them better melee damage output compared to other heavy warjacks in the game.
The greatest strength of our faction has always been our units. We have a wide variety of melee, ranged, and dual purpose units that can cover most of the threats we may face on the field of battle. When supported by their Command Attachments and a warcaster, many quickly go from good to amazing. In addition, almost all can perform both a primary and secondary role, such as the Dawnguard Invictors and the Mage Hunter Strike Force which are both effective ranged combat units that also can effectively attack the enemy in melee.
The question to ask when list building comes down to what is the focus of your list, and then picking units that support that plan. If you need to take down heavy armor, you will be best off reaching for Dawnguard Sentinels and Stormfall Archers. If you are looking to control the board, then Battle Mages are a good choice for moving enemy models with support from Houseguard Halberdiers to hold the lines. Are you looking to bring a fire storm of ranged damage? Then we have options in the Dawnguard Invictors, Mage Hunter Strike Force, and Houseguard Riflemen. The most import thing is to bring units that will be supported by your warcaster’s abilities and allow you to push your chosen victory conditions.
Solos in the faction can generally be classified as support or combat, though many can fill either role as with the rest of the models in the faction. With a wide number of good options in the 3-4 point range, it is usually easy for us to fit in the last few solos we need or want.
Our combat solos are there to put damage on specific targets. Options include primarily the Ghost Sniper and the Mage Hunter Assassin. Dawnguard Scyirs and Dawnguard Destor Thanes are potent combatants who also provide support to friendly Dawnguard models at the same time.
Support solos will rarely if ever be relied upon to deal damage, but instead enable the rest of your army to be more effective. Sylys Wyshnalyrr provides excellent spell support to you warcaster, a Lys Healer can be used to heal friendly models or protect from knock down and stationary effects, and three Arcanist Mechaniks are a staple in almost any Retribution list for myrmidon support. House Shyeel Magisters and Artificers bring useful support tools to either manipulate your opponent’s models or protect your own forces, however should not be overlooked for their combat abilities either.
That is an overview of the faction. Next time I will present some specific lists to look at different ways that you can use the options that we have on the table.