April 12th, 2010
Retribution of Scyrah Overview
I've played Warmachine on and off since it debuted, and I was one of the first people to offer an in-depth review of it online. The review I did on Warmachine at GamingReport.com stayed in their top 25 most popular articles of all time all the way up until they shut the site down, and I don't recall it ever leaving the top 10. The game has stayed that popular, and has continued to grow into the behemoth game that it is today. Who'd have thought eh?
Back then I owned all four BattleGroup boxed sets, plus all of the warcasters, and even picked up the Magnus The Traitor set in a white box, and Vlad before anyone else too at Origins and Gen Con that year. Good times. It was new, refreshing, and loads of fun. A true change of pace from all the other games out there.
I however quit for a few years in between then and now, and I recently picked it back up in early '09. A lot has changed, but with MKII now they've taken it back to its' roots somewhat. MKII encourages it to be more of a colossal robots smashing each other to a pulp game again, and this is what I like most! When it started out, before they released all the infantry, cavalry, solos and all that... it was just warcasters and warjacks. That was the #1 reason I found myself interested in it to begin with.
Having said that, I find it ironic that I end up now concentrating on assembling, painting and playing an army now that is filled with amazing units, and that relies more on those units, than the warjacks alone. The warjacks I just don't like much visually. I've said this before, and I'll say it again... the Myrmidons are the most butt-ugly pieces they've made for the entire range. I hate them, but I love the majority of the rest of the army.
Retribution of Scyrah is a really unique army. I'm by far no expert on it, and I don't yet know all of its strengths, and weaknesses, but I can tell you what I do know. I like playing them, because it's not at all like playing Cygnar or Khador, which are the two armies I'm most used to playing. It's completely different.
So many of the units have Pathfinder and Stealth, so with many of them, you don't have to worry a lot about being shot at, unless the foes are within 5-inches of you (some do ignore stealth tho, gotta watch out for those buggers!). Others even have Advanced Deployment, Pathfinder AND Stealth! If you add the Mage Hunter Commander Unit Attachment to your Mage Hunter Strike Force, now you have Adv Deployment, Pathfinder and Stealth for the entire unit, and you can ignore cover and concealment on ranged targets.
Some even have Telekinesis, to really mix things up. A bunch of these guys are WeaponMasters too, gaining an extra D6 die on Damage rolls. The Mage Hunter Strike Force are 'Jack Hunters, so they are just like being a WeaponMaster, because if they're damaging a jack, they gain an extra damage die too both Ranged and Melee damage rolls. Did I mention that they had 12 inch range too?
The melee monster units are by far the Sentinels. They have no ranged attack. They're purely melee beasts. Reach and WeaponMaster x10 pieces in the unit, 11 if you add the Unit Attachment. They cost as much as a heavy warjack, but in many ways are as useful. They all gain +2 ARM for being B2B with each other, making them effectively as armored as some heavy warjacks. Adding the UA grants Vengeance, allowing the unit to move 3-inches during the maintenance phase, and make one attack, if any models from the unit were killed on the previous turn.
I want to say these Retribution guys in general are just Tricksy more than anything, because they use so many different unique abilities, and take care of business in a somewhat different way than most of the other factions. In melee some of them also get to push you back, and on critical rolls, knock you down even. These are all units I'm talking about so far, not Warjacks.
While I'm visually not all that pleased with Myrmidons, they do bring some neat abilities to the table. Many have Force Fields. These are extra boxes which soak up damage, before moving on to the regular damage grid. However the heavies have okay DEF and ARM at 12/18 respectively, but a lot less main damage boxes in the damage grid overall, due to the Force Field. If they loose the Force Generator boxes they loose some of their best abilities too, so it's somewhat of a trade off, and makes playing them a little challenging.
The Hydra has Focus Battery, allowing you during the Maintenance phase to keep any focus sitting on him from the previous turn. He also gains a focus point for every melee or ranged attack resolved successfully on him. For every point of focus the Hydra spends he gains +1 RNG and POW too boot. That can stack up nicely.
The Phoenix is by far my favorite heavy. He can remove D6 points from his Force Field during the maintenance phase every turn, has Reach for 2-inch melee range, does fire continuous effect, plus has a 10-inch range, AOE 3 ,POW 14 ranged weapon with fire critical and fire continuous effects. Oh did I mention he also has an Arc node, so warcasters can channel spells through him?
The warcasters are equally as interesting. While many will argue all day long that Rahn is the only caster to use competitively in the game... I think by what I've seen that at least three or four of them are quite effective in their own way. Not everyone who plays, will play for the tournament scene alone too. I certainly don't bother with the tournaments, mostly because there are none in my area.
Rahn does gain a whopping eight focus points per turn though, which makes running some warjacks incredibly insane with him. Since many Myrmidons are focus efficient, and some can gain some focus on their own, this leaves Rahn a lot of focus left over to spread more of the spell love across the table.
Others like Dawnlord Vyros might not be the best choice, but brings a few neat spells to the table like Hallowed Avenger, allowing a model in the Control Area to charge an enemy model, when an enemy kills any units within 5-inches of the friendly unit who the spell is cast on. That's also an upkeep spell.
Mobility is nice for +2 spd and pathfinder, the later isn't as needed for most of these models, but +2 spd is nice on the charge for only 2 focus points spent. Kaelyssa Nights Whisper's spells are mostly about denial, even her Feat grants the entire Control Area friendly models Stealth, and they cannot be charged for one turn.
Garryth Blade of Retribution is probably my 2nd favorite warcaster. He brings Pathfinder and Stealth, plus WeaponMaster with his melee attacks, and a 12 inch range with 12 POW ranged weapon to the table. His Feat is really nice, as all enemy models in his control area for one round can't spend focus, cast spells, channel spells, or be moved by place effects.
His spell Death Sentence allows for one attack reroll, per attack for a round at the cost of just 2 focus to be cast. Psychic Vampire is nasty too, it causes one damage point to the caster for every spell or animus used in his control area, and heals you for one in the process.
The solos I think are amazingly impressive too. Narn The Mage Hunter of Ios has Adv Deployment, Pathfinder and Stealth, is WeaponMaster, plus has a 12-inch range crossbow, and if he kills a model, he can Sprint full advance away at the end of the activation. Three points of evil combined with 8 MAT.
Of course old faithful (prime or epic) Eiryss is from Ios, and is the original Mage Hunter, and counts as a Retribution model in a Retribution army, making her a Friendly Faction model. The prime version of her with Disruptor Bolt is soooo annoying.
The Ghost Sniper solo is another favorite with Pathfinder, Camouflage and Stealth. Combined with Deadly Shot, he can choose to simply inflict 3 points of damage and where on the grid, at 14 inch range without ever rolling for damage. If he destroys a model with a ranged attack, he can then move 2-inches afterwards as well. With a RAT of 7, he will hit most targets too.
The Mage Hunter Assassin has 4-inch melee range, plus WeaponMaster, Adv Deployment, Pathfinder and Stealth. Any damage over the ARM value is doubled as well, and a Disabled model can't make a Tough roll either with her Decapitation ability. She's just 2 points. Groovy!
The Arcanist is the 1 point unit, which is essentially the Myrmidons mechanic. If your Myrmidon is within 5-inches of him, they gain +2 on melee dmg rolls, or if the target warjack has no focus, they can gain one focus point. Stand base 2 base with him, and he can attempt to remove D6 damage points.
Granted many of the units don't have high DEF or ARM values, but if they can get close enough and get a few rolls in, they can do some serious damage to most anything in the game, even the amazingly higher ARMed Khador jacks.
I could go on about the dedicated ranged units too, like the Invictors, Stormfall Archers and Houseguard Rifleman, and the other solos and units we didn't touch upon, but I won't. This is still the newest army, and there's a lot to learn about them yet, and I don't own every model yet to comment on them all.
All of the stats and abilities look great on paper, but utilizing them to the fullest is another thing altogether. As a player I'd have to say that no matter what army I use... I probably loose far more games than I'll ever win. I've always been more of a hobbyist, than a tactical wizard, but with this army I'm getting better. Retribution of Scyrah is that good. I have a chance now, at least until others learn more about them, and how to deal with their Tricksy ways. lol
If you want to learn more about the Retribution of Scyrah, they do have an army book available. Personally, it's not my cup of tea. I'm not into the fluff and story-side of things, but to have all the stats would be nice to see what I want to buy next. I just paint and play games, and the $30+ for the book is better off spent on more models the way I see it since you end up with all the unit stats with each piece you buy anyway. Others' mileage definitely varies, because those books seam to sell well.
As for the models... visually I feel that aside from the goofy Myrmidons (and Mage Hunter Strike Force doesn't inspire me much), almost every other model in the entire Retribution range is beautiful, by far the nicest models in all of Warmachine, and quite possibly Hordes even. At first glance many, myself included, felt otherwise. This is the only army out of all the factions, that you either love, or totally hate based on the look of the models alone. There's no in-between with these models.
Tactically, they're a lot of fun to learn how to play. They function so differently than every other faction, and are amazingly powerful to play when the dice rolls are on your side. Don't let their unique looks deceive you. There's a lot more to this army than pointy ears, and funky looking warjacks alone. The Retribution of Scyrah deserves a closer look.
It's funny too, because I've never liked playing Elves in any other game. These ones just ooze coolness I guess. This is the last army I ever thought I would play, and never thought I'd end up liking as much as I do now. Take a good look at them, you too might be pleasantly surprised by the Retribution of Scyrah.
Game System: Warmachine