-By: Patrick M.

200px-caine3It was about three years ago when I first started playing warmachine. I was looking for a cleaner game that lent itself to competitive play. My local Press Ganger gave me a few demo games and I was sold. The only thing I needed to do was pick a faction. While flipping through the Prime book I saw a artist rendering of several Gun Mages and knew that I wanted to play whatever faction let me have gun wizards. I knew nothing about them other than they looked incredibly cool. After buying a unit of gun mages I started looking for a warcaster to play. I saw Lieutenant Allister Caine, who was practically a gun mage caster, and knew he was the one. During Mark 2 I played around 300 games with Caine1 and Caine2. Caine2 was and still is my favorite warcaster in the game. (Just check out the Caine pin I have on my Warmachine bag.)  When I heard Caine3 was coming out, I was over the moon with excitement. Now that I have gotten twenty or so games in with him I am going to share my thoughts about him.

Caine3 is a super fun warcaster to play, he has many abilities that are unique to him in Cygnar so I was very excited to explore them. Let’s start with the stuff on his card.

Caine3 is a warcaster unit, he comes with Ryan and Watts, what is left of the Black 13th. His stat line is unchanged from his previous iteration. He keeps his high speed of 7, which gives him a fantastic personal threat of 19 inches, and his RAT is still 9, so he doesn’t miss very often. His defensive stats are still his weakest point, DEF 17 is great at keeping him alive some of the time, but he lives in constant fear of being knocked down, or hit with electro leaps, or hit with blast damage, since his ARM is only 13. His focus remained 6 since granting a warcaster with incredibly high personal threat focus 7 would probably not have been okay. Having gunfighter is a great advantage, so when someone tries to jam him up it will help him extricate himself.

He is still carrying his two Spellstorm pistols, which are RNG 12 and POW12, which each have reload 1, allowing him to make 4 shots a turn. He does come with two new shot types for his pistols, Blast and Witch Mark. Blast makes his Spellstorm pistol attacks AOE 3, and Witch Mark allows him to target and automatically hit a model with a spell that has been hit with a Witch Mark attack this turn. This ignores LOS and range restrictions. This one is very interesting because of a certain spell he has, so, onto the spell list!

51bxc4zidzl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Caine3 has a first for Cygnar! A armor debuff spell in Calamity. Calamity is a cost 3 RNG 10 upkeep that causes the target enemy model/unit to suffer -2 DEF and -2 ARM. This is a fantastic spell to have access to in cygnar. Essentially giving any model in your army plus two to attack and damage rolls against a target is amazing. This also synergies well with his Witchmark shot type. He can shoot a target from 12 inches away, and then cast a auto hitting Calamity onto whatever he hits, as long as the model hit by the attack doesn’t die. This is great for two reasons, the first is at Focus 6 Caine will struggle to actually cast and hit things with a spell, but he is RAT 9, so landing a Calamity becomes much easier with Wtichmark. Also getting plus 2 to the range of the spell due to Which Mark ignoring the range restriction on the spell extends his threat range. It is only two inches, but that can be a big deal.

His next spell is Flicker. Every version of Caine has had some kind of movement spell, and this is Caine3’s. It is a cost 2 spell, that allows him to place each member of his unit completely within 2 inches of their current locations. If models are out of command they are not affected by this spell. It can only be cast once per turn. This spell is kind of interesting. It is nothing like his previous spells of Teleport or Gatecrasher, but I don’t think it is useless. Flicker can get Caine or his unit unengaged before they start moving or shooting, since you activate the entire unit together, and Caine3 can cast a spell before any of them move. It is ⅓ of his focus to cast it making it very hard to cast most of the time, but it isn’t useless.

Continuing the movement theme of his spell list is his next spell, Locomotion. Locomotion allows you to target a warjack in your battle group, and spend up to three focus and advance the warjack one inch for each focus spent, a warjack can only be targeted by Locomotion once per turn. If Caine has a dead spell on his card I think this is it. Locomotion is the worst warjack movement spell that Caine3 could have. It is very focus hungry, which means Caine, who wants to spend his stack buying shots, or boosting damage, or casting calamity will have to spend up to half his focus to move a jack three inches. This just isn’t going to be worth it most of the time. In my twenty or so games I used it once, to move Dynamo three extra inches and get range onto a opponents heavy warjack. It was neat, but it isn’t really worth the focus.

His last spell is what makes him a truly scary assassination warcaster, Mage Sight. Mage Sight is a 2 cost spell that allows you to place a 5 inch AOE completely with Caine’s control range. While a model is within the AOE models in Caine’s battlegroup ignore forests and cloud effects when drawing line of sight and ignore Stealth while attacking it. This spell, combined with other abilities that he has access to in faction, (which I will go over later) make it almost impossible for a enemy warcaster to hide from Caine. If you end your activation within 19 inches of Caine, he can get to you and kill you. This is also helped by his feat, which is also unique in Cygnar, and even unique to the game.

His feat is Reap the Whirlwind. While in Caine’s control range, models in his battlegroup gain a cumulative plus one bonus on ranged attack and ranged damage rolls for each other model in the battle group that hit an enemy model with a ranged attack this turn. It caps at plus 3. So his feat is basically Synergy for guns. It is so cool, and so good. But before I gush about all the cool things this does let’s explain how it works with his unit first.

Since his unit is part of the battle group, they can trigger, and benefit from the feat as well! So Caine’s unit activates, Caine feats, and the the first model in the battle group, let’s say Watts fires and hits a target. He would receive no bonus from the feat since he is the first to hit an enemy model. However the next model in the unit, lets say Ryan, to shoot gains plus 1 to hit and plus 1 to damage on their ranged weapon rolls. So by the end of all three models in Caine’s unit making ranged attacks, including Caine himself, you can have the maximum benefit of plus 3 before any of your jacks have fired. This is an amazing benefit, considering Cygnar has the best ranged warjacks in the game. Chargers, Grenadiers, Defenders, Stormwalls, Hurricanes, Dynamo, even Fireflys all become insane when they are given plus 3 to hit and plus 3 damage to their ranged attacks. It really starts to sink in when you realize you can stack this with Calamity, to have essentially plus 5 to hit and plus 5 damage against a single model or unit. This is how Caine kills warcasters, by featuring, witchmarking calamity onto them, and then having his battle group gun them down. But how do you do this if they are hiding? Use magesight to ignore forests and clouds. But they are bunkered down behind a bunch of their models? Well Caine’s unit can help out with that, and they are next!

Caine comes with two other members of his unit, Ryan and Watts. They are the same Ryan and Watts from the Black 13th, they joined Caine because of (FLUFF SPOILERS) and stuff. So when playing Caine3 you can’t use the Black 13th since Ryan and Watt are characters and you can’t have two iterations of the same character in the same list. But that is okay, these guys are pretty cool without Lynch.

Ryan has kept her two Magelock pistols. They are the normal RNG 10 POW 10 that all the gun mages carry, but she has some unique shot types. She comes with Black Penny, Brutal Damage, and Shadowfire. Black Penny and Brutal Damage are the same thing she had in her previous iteration, (Black Penny allows you to ignore the in melee penalty when shooting at a engaged model, and Brutal Damage gives you an extra die on ranged attack damage rolls.) but shadowfire is new. Shadowfire makes a model you hit with a ranged attack invisible, so it doesn’t block line of sight anymore. This is another big piece of the assassination puzzle Caine can put together, combined with mage sight, an opponent’s warcasters can’t hide behind clouds, forests, stealth, or their own models. The real kicker is she can use it twice since she has two guns. I can’t say enough how hard it is to hide a caster from Caine3 and his unit. Ryan is often an essential part of his kit, since she can start the feat turn off by making whatever the opponent’s warcaster was hiding behind invisible, with the bonus of probably being easy to hit, since warcaster tend to block line of sight to themselves with models that have a larger base size than them, like warjacks or warbeasts, and yes this works on colossals and gargantuans. So they can’t even hide behind them.

Watts is the other member of his unit. Watt has ditched his magelock pistol for a super cool magelock rifle. It is still only POW 10, but it is RNG 14, making him a great way to start the feat turn off. He also comes with three shot types, he shares Black Penny, and Brutal Damage with Ryan, his unique shot type is Grievous Wounds. This ability removes tough, and the model hit by it can’t remove damage for one round. This means the model hit can’t heal, and can’t be repaired. This ability isn’t great for the assassination run, but if you have disabled a warbeast with other shots that turn, he can shoot it and prevent the warbeast from being healed during your opponent’s turn, which is nice in a pinch. The primary way I use Watts is to start the feat turn off, both Ryan and Watts are RAT 8, so they pretty reliably hit targets without needing the bonus from the feat, and I use him to prevent repair or healing on a warjack or warbeast that I have damaged. He is also fairly good at finishing off a pesky solo that has tough, since he can ignore it.

So now that we have covered the details of The Hellslingers, let’s look at how this all comes together on the table. Some warcasters can take time to figure out how to get the most out of their abilities. Caine3 isn’t one of those, his strengths are very obvious. He buffs his battle groups ranged attacks, and he debuffs enemy units. This leads, in my opinion, to two natural list building conclusions. You either take a lot of light warjacks with guns, to get as many shots off benefiting from the feat as possible, or you take a couple or even a single very powerful jack, and use the feat and Calamity to put its output through the roof. Let’s look at an example of both kinds.

 

  • Caine3  Heavy Metal
    • Squire
    • Ace
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
  • Journeyman Warcaster
    • Charger
  • Captain Arlan Strangeways
  • Archduke Alain Runewood

 

31108_ace_webThis list only has one purpose, to pop feat, and shoot Rat 9, Pow 15 charger shots at everything. It doesn’t even care if you can’t fuel the jacks with Caine, the free power up focus means you get 8 fully boosted RAT 9 POW 15 shots, and 8 that are not boosted. More than enough to kill just about anything on the table. This list will win you games, but it will also lose you games. It has one trick, it is a good trick, but it is just one trick. The threat range is very static. If you are within 18 inches of the Chargers then you are in for a bad day. This list is also very dependent on the feat turn. Outside of feat it can do a lot of work combining Calamity and the Chargers powerful shot, but in the end, they are still just chargers, if your opponent gets to you, you are probably in trouble.

This list also does very little to keep Caine alive, other than Ace using his mini feat to give Caine stealth and Arcane Shield from the Journeyman Warcaster. Caine always wants to be at the front, and having little defensive tech means people will go for the assassination against you. As I said, this list will win you games, but I think it suffers from the same thing that Sloan does. It wins games based on match ups, if it is a good match up, it will win, and when you double down and spam out the most efficient choices you typically just tend to win the good match ups harder, and don’t do anything to help you in the instance when you get a bad match up. One thing I do want to mention is why Runewood is in the list. Giving Caine3’s unit pathfinder is actually a really good thing. Since Caine is always afraid of dying, he likes to be behind things like forests that block line of sight to him. Runewood is effectively a threat range extender, allowing Caine to use his natural speed to move through the forest and get the drop on people.

Building a list towards a single powerful activation requires you to choose what that single activation is, in my opinion it can only be a Stormwall or Hurricane. The damage output of these models becomes amazing with Feat and Calamity.

 

  • Caine3  Storm Division
    • Stormwall
    • Ace
  • Journeyman Warcaster
    • Firefly
  • Captain Arlan Strangeways
  • Max Storm Lances
  • Min Storm Lances

 

This list provides a more balanced approach to playing Caine3. Calamity makes Storm Lances hit very hard, and also fixes their low RAT of 5. Standing behind the Stormwall is a great way to keep Caine safe, and since you have shadowfire, you can just shoot your own Stormwall, make it invisible, shoot through it with Caine, and then since Shadowfire is only active for a single turn, the Stormwall will block line of sight to Caine again. A feated Stormwall can really put out alot of damage. Taking it’s big guns to RAT 9 POW 18 or even RAT 11 POW 20 with feat and calamity sounds amazing. Add in the mini guns that hit at POW 15 under feat and Calamity and that model can mow down heavies.

The big weakness of this list is the very low number of activations, and the low model count. You only have 8 activations with this list. So you have to get work out of everything. This also highlights one of the issues Caine3 has, which is he only has 20 warjack points, so his lists are naturally smaller than most. This is offset by the fact he gets two solos in his unit, but it does still cause him to struggle in a piece trading environment.

I want to share one more list, one that I haven’t played, but have read many battle reports on.

 

  • Caine3  Heavy Metal
    • Squire
    • Hurricane
    • Ace
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
    • Charger
  • Captain Arlan Strangeways
  • Journeyman Warcaster
    • Firefly

 

The Courage of Caspia blog has many battle reports using this list, and I think it might be one of the better lists I have seen played with Caine3. It is kind of a mix between the two list types I laid out and I think it covers its weaknesses well. When I find the time I am going to give this list a shot.

To conclude, Caine3 is an amazingly fun warcaster to play. He follows in the footsteps of Caine2, being a fantastic assassin, but he offers something unique to the faction in Calamity. I have had a blast playing him, and I have dug Warcasters out from behind SO much defensive tech with him. Combining Shadowfire, Mage Sight, Calamity, and his feat makes it almost impossible for a enemy Warcaster to hide. This is why I like him, because deep down, my favorite thing to do in this game is surprise my opponent by killing his Warcaster when he thought he was perfectly safe. If you have Caine3 you should take him for a spin, he really is fun and a unique play experience in Cygnar.

Advertisements