Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wrath Expansion, Cygnar Review: Constance Blaize

CONSTANCE BLAIZE




Looking back at my predictions for some of the new Wrath Warcasters, here I was pretty far off with my predicitions. But now that I have the rules for Constance in my hands, what can I gather from this interesting new Cygnar Warcaster......................................




MORROWANS, LOTS OF MORROWANS

Looking at the new warcaster, I can clearly see that Constance really, really likes Morrowan units. For those of you who are not familiar, a Morrowan is a type of unit class that has specific traits. As a result Morrowans are restricted from joining armies that include Undead or Thamarite models. This is mostly because this would go against their faith(The Religion of Morrow) and beliefs. What does this mean on the table top? Well Constance can not be included in an army with those specific types of units and therefore limits her choices in a mercenary list. Which brings me to my next point, she's a Morrowan Ally Warcaster, which means she can be taken as a Merc Warcaster. Theres tons of potential for conversation there, but what does she offer her Cygnar forces on the board.

FEAT

Her feat titled, Divine Intervention basically means that if a friendly warrior models in her control area gets killed, they give her a soul token. For each soul token on Constance every friendly model gets 1+ to their armour (she does as well). At the start of her next turn those souls can then be transferred into focus. I have mixed feelings about this feat, while it can be a decent attrition feat it, does rely on several models dying in order to be truly affective. Whats to stop an opponent from killing a couple important solo characters and then popping their feat? This feat also requires that you take alot of infantry which can be problematic when your control area is 12 inchs. On the plus side if your infantry have decent armour already this feat makes them more survivable.





SPELLS

There are a variety of interesting spells within this list and while some are more useful then others, she has a decent collection that will help her in most games. The first one on the list is Banishing Ward. This spell is fairly handy as a friendly upkeep spell; can prevent enemy spells from having any effect on your target unit and can remove enemy spells on the target unit as well. She also has Crusader's Call, which as alot of players will already know is an awesome spell. Basically "any" friendly model making a charge move gets an extra 2 inchs to their movement. The third spell is Flashing Blade, which is fairly simple, spend a focus and Constance gets to hit every enemy model in her melee range(Which has Reach) of 2 inchs. The next one is Sunburst which is her only magic attack spell, but is a really good one allowing her to dish out a POW 13 AOE 3, that only hurts enemy models...sweet. The last spell is Transference which is another upkeep that allows friendly warrior models to spend her focus to boost melee attack or damage rolls. Having only 6 focus Constance is starving for focus, so she will be relying on only a couple spells a turn. For instance Crusader's call and Sunburst cost 3 focus each, which already takes half of her focus. Players will have to prioritize what spells are more important at the time and what upkeeps are worth leaving on.

BUILT IN ABILITIES

Constance gains a nice little flank bonus(2+ to hit, Extra damage dice) once theres a friendly Morrowan attacking in her melee range. Next any Morrowans that are fleeing automatically rally and are basically fearless, while in her command area. As already mentioned she has Reach, a Magic weapon and the Blessed special rules. I find it strange that she does not have Weapon Master as well, but oh well :).


TIER LIST

Well her tier list is very much the typical list you can expect. The Precursor Knights gain FA U and Harlan Versh gains advance deploy. Once you take 2 units of Knights then you gain a free UA for one of your units and it follows the typical tier format from there. It's a fairly decent tier list and allows for her army of knights to surge up the table early on; allowing her to jam up control zones. 




GALLANT

Her personal warjack that was released alongside the warcaster for this expansion(comes seperately though). Gallant is an interesting Warjack because of his Accumulator and Shield Guard special rules. The Accumulator allows Gallant to recieve a free focus from one or more friendly Morrowan units within 3 inchs. This allows Gallant to be more focus efficient, without removing Constance of her all important focus. Shield Guard is pretty neat as well, because it allows him to take a ranged hit for Constance. This allows him to cover Constance as she travels up the board, away from random snipers. Constance does have an Affinity with Gallant, giving him Purgation(Against Upkeeps an extra dice for attacks/damage rolls). Having a Reach Weapon and Armour 19(Buckler) he can dish out some hurt, while being fairly durable. 

THOUGHTS ON PLAYSTYLES AND BATTLEGROUP PAIRING

On the surface Constance seems like a model that would like to be a frontline warcaster like pButcher, but taking a closer look this does not seem to be the case. Having only Def 15 and Arm 16, and no buffing spells theres very little chance of her surviving long on the frontline. Instead she works better as a midline warcaster amongst her troops. Allowing her to support her army directly and dealing with any potential threats. Most of her spells have a range of self, so it makes sense for her to be with the majority of the army. 

Gallant really only works well with Constance; even then he seems rather average for what he provides at 9pts. You can take him with other warcasters, but its really only for the Accumulator and Shield Guard. He's not a terrible warjack by any means, but in reality a Sentinel can perform the same role; is cheaper with a decent ranged attack. Purgation is a nice bonus, but against enemy warjacks and infantry it seems minor. The hit will auto-kill most one wound models and warjacks will take several hits to wipeout. Where this ability really shines is against enemy warcasters and Tough models because compared to warjacks, these models tend to have lower armour; so you can deal out more damage. Not a bad battle group, but not really a great one either. For story driven players I would still recommend the pair.




THREE CONCEPTS TO BUILD AROUND
1- Constance/Gallant work well with Precusor Knights, but thats no reason to avoid taking some of the other great Cygnar Melee options, like Sword Knights, Storm Guard and Storm Blades. She really only needs a couple Morrowans to gain some benefits, but they are rather minor ones. Storm Blades add some area control, while Sword Knights and Storm Guard can be effective tarpit units.

1- Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the new Merc Warcaster Attachement works rather well with Constance. I compared him with the other Cygnar option, which is the Squire and heres my thoughts. The biggest advantage by far that the Squire has is granting an extra 2 inchs to the warcasters control area. Seeing how most of her spells have a range of Cntl or Self, this would make the Squire an obvious choice right? Well not exactly.....Sylys Imo adds more bang for your buck. For starters he allows Constance to upkeep one of her spells for free, which is fantastic because focus is her biggest problem. The next ability he has allows Constance an extra magic attack and damage dice(discard the lowest die in both cases), this is fantastic because she can spend 3 focus on sunburst and not have to boost to hit. Focus 6+2D6 is pretty poor against high defence models, so this helps out alot. The last benefit he grants, is an extended RNG of 2+ on all her spells, which is really only Banishing Ward and Sunburst, but you know..... thats alright. Banishing Ward is really only for your own guys anyway, so this bumps that up to 8 inchs. Sunburst goes up to 12 inchs, which is also ok, because she will be amongst her army for most of the game.

1- She will want focus efficient warjacks for the most part, because she is limited from her average focus stat. The other problem is that she will want to camp most of her focus and will be limited with regards to how she can spend it. Warjacks like the Stormclad,(Make sure to take Storm Guard/Blades) will be useful for their accumulators and decent melee punch. Cheap warjacks like the Hunter, Minuteman and Sentinel can have their uses as well. Remember she can also be used as Mercenary Warcaster, so keep that in mind when your designing potential lists.






THREE TRAPS TO AVOID
0- Arc-Nodes. Since Sunburst is her only offensive spell with a range other then self, I don't really see the point of taking an Arc-node. Unless you have extra points and prefer to use Lancers, however most players should look at other warjacks

0-Thinking that melee is the only way to go. While she is easily one of the more combat focused Cygnar casters in the game, it's not smart to think thats all she does. She can get her feet dirty from time to time, but she's no pButcher.

0- Too many warjacks. While Constance likes warjacks as much as the next warcaster, her real focus is on supporting the foot soldiers of the faith. Instead of the army supportng the warjacks, the warjacks should be the backup for the army. Therefore once your forces have crowded control points, your second line jacks engage the tougher foes and setup a counter attack. Too many warjacks will also put a strain on her limited focus as well.

TIME FOR A THEME?

All of the factions have recieved significant support in one shape or another, but what is the main themes that seem to be occurring? Well with Cygnar I have no doubt that what they have gained with the Wrath Expansion is Attrition. Constance is all about grinding down her enemy with warrior tarpits and then using her feat to make them tougher. Gallant helps keep Constance around longer and hopefully avoiding an early caster kill. I will explore this concept with the other factions as well and see have this is reflected with their Battle Engine as well. 


As always make sure to check out other topics on my homepage "War and More" for more reviewing content. You can also contact me Via Twitter @ATT64 or on Rankings HQ under the Daily D6.


Until Next Time



Adam Tremblay

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