Battle 041 – Cygnar vs Legion, pHaley vs eLylyth: A Study in Destroying Stormwalls at Range

Last week, Nick and I managed to get in a 50 point game… for me, it was preparation for the Guelph tournament, while for Nick it was just an excuse to destroy Cygnar models. Really, what other reason does one need in life? IMG_4928 copy It turned out to be a really solid game, and very educational for me as well… I was worried about my chances against a good Legion player, and after the game… I was more worried! Preparing for the Saturday tournament means trying to figure out good tournament pairings. As I have discussed (ad infinitum), Siege doesn’t really work well with pHaley (at least not as well as he does with eHaley), and Stryker3 is right out. I decided to go with Kraye, since he works well against Circle and Skorne as an ARM-cracker… but this means leaving everything else to Haley.

Including Legion.

So when Nick and I faced off across the 4×4 table, I knew in my heart that this would be my greatest challenge… can pHaley deal with the guns, bombs, and movement insanity of Legion? Would my Stormwall and Strider weather the assault long enough to take out the key pieces Legion relies on to survive and thrive?

Nick decided to go with eLylyth because he likes easy-buttoning his games… and also because she out-Cygnars Cygnar. His list was as follows:

Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight (“eLylyth, Lylyth2”)
– Succubus
– Ravagore
– Ravagore
– Angelius
– Angelius
– Shredder
Shepherd
Shepherd
Forsaken
Strider Deathstalker

Not too much different from the norm… some people might drop an Angelius for a 3rd Ravagore, others might swap a Forsaken for another Deathstalker (or vice versa), but basically, lots of Fury management, lots of big guns, and a Feat that abuses both those facts.

Up against this was my Tournament Haley list, which is as follows:

Captain Victoria Haley (“pHaley, Haley1”)
– Squire
– Stormwall
Storm Strider
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers (“ATGM”)
– Officer (“The Dude”)
Tempest Blazers (max)
Aiyana and Holt
Stormsmith Stormcaller
Anastasia di Bray

I like the list, but A&H are out for the next iteration, and probably a Journeywoman Warcaster and another Stormcaller are in. If 12 magic guns (ATGM and Blazers) isn’t enough to kill something, then 2 more aren’t going to help, and it was always a struggle to get Aiyana where she was needed anyway. Besides, Kraye can get better use out of her in his ARM-cracking list. I could already tell something critical, though… the Stormwall had to survive. I could lose the Strider (it would be tragic, but acceptable), but the loss of the Stormwall would likely be almost insurmountable. And “Shadow Pack” was going to be a problem…

We rolled up a scenario, which was “Incoming” (a Friendly objective that gives boosted damage to Light Artillery, and a Friendly and an Enemy zone that is a 12×6″ rectangle near the middle of the table. Killbox).

We rolled for initiative, which thanks to my +1 from Anastasia… I lost anyway. But Nick elected to go 2nd and take the better side of the table (a wise move on his part, I think), so I got to go first regardless… in this particular matchup, not so critical, but still I think Nick made the right call.

Deployment

I set up my Blazers on the left flank, my ATGM on the right, the Strider and Stormwall flanking Haley, and Haley right in the middle. I have learned to leave a large enough gap between Haley and the ATGM that the Stormwall can trample up first turn if it wants (and it usually does) without killing either my warcaster or my ATGM… that was a rough lesson, I tell you what! Aiyana and Holt went near the Strider (because reasons). Anastasia went to the side of the table with my Stormpods, waiting to Ambush, and I was set! IMG_4927 copy As for Nick, he put his Ravagores in extreme flanking positions, his Angeli to either side closer to the middle, and Lylyth with her support smack across the table from Haley. Basically he had 2 heavy warbeasts for each of my huge bases… would it be enough? IMG_4929 copy IMG_4930 copy Time to get this party started! IMG_4926 copy Cygnar, Turn 1

I’ve got to close the distance to Nick’s stuff as quickly as possible, since only my feeble POW10s have Stealth-ignoring capabilities. Towards that end, I allocate 1 to the Stormwall and camp the rest.
– The Stormwall and Strider both run forward their full distance. I place them flanking the Objective on my side of the table, realizing immediately that it is going to cause me considerable problems, since it is exactly where I want Haley to be standing next turn.
– I feign indecision over which of the two huge bases should get my 1 Arcane Shield in this list… in reality, I know the Stormwall is *way* more important, I’m just trying to smoke-screen that from Nick. Either way, Haley walks forward and puts it on the Stormwall.
– The Tempest Blazers run forward and spread out as much as I possibly can in a U formation (a Flying V, I suppose?). Hopefully Nick doesn’t get cute and kill the Unit Leader at the appex of the V, because that would leave at least 1 Blazer out of Formation… alternatively, here’s hoping he uses his entire Feat to wipe out my Light Cav. I would be okay with that!
– The ATGM run forward and spread out, with a few (including The Dude) hiding behind rocks, but the majority moving up as aggressively as I can.
– The Stormcaller moves up behind the ATGM (his sole mission is solo removal this game… maybe I can get lucky and use him to take out a Shepherd!).
– Aiyana and Holt move up, with Aiyana behind the Strider and Holt out front, trying to pull fire away from my Blazers.
– With that, I’m done! IMG_4931 copy IMG_4932 copy Legion, Turn 1

Let’s see if Legion’s usual capability to ignore the rules will help Nick this early in the game… As is usual with an eLylyth player, Nick starts by considering the Assassination potential. Thankfully, Haley is completely out of LoS of anything on his side of the table, and 2 of the 3 blocking pieces are non-trivial to take away (the third, the objective, can’t actually be hurt this turn!). So then he decides if it’ll be Feat turn or not… and it comes down on the side of “Not Yet”.
– Nick’s left-most Ravagore moves up onto a hill, uses its Animus, and pumps a shot into my closest Blazer (in the forest). He hits and vapourizes it. A Shepherd moves up and removes the Fury.
– The left Angelius moves up and takes a shot at another Blazer… it boosts, hits and kills it as well. So far, so good!
– The Naga moves up slightly towards the left side of the table. A Forsaken moves up behind it.
– The Shredder heads towards the Angelius on the left and gives it Tenacity.
– The right Angelius moves up and takes a shot at an ATGM. Thankfully, the shot is *just* out of range.
– The Ravagore on the right moves up, uses its Animus, and pumps a shot into the same ATGM. This time it’s in range, but he misses! It scatters away harmlessly. The other Shepherd moves up and pulls off the Fury.
– Lylyth moves forward, putting Tenacity on the other Angelius and herself, and then casting “Shadow Pack”.
– The Succubus moves forward, as does the other Forsaken. Done! IMG_4933 copy IMG_4934 copy IMG_4935 copy IMG_4936 copy Cygnar, Turn 2

I’m looking at the table, and I notice something very important… that left Ravagore is pretty far away from Lylyth. Turns out that it is, indeed, out of her CTRL, and therefore *not* Stealth! Woo! If I can take one of Nick’s Big Guns(tm) off the table before his Feat, my life will get longer! And I think I can do this! 3 Blazers with range, no question, plus Feat, plus the Strider’s shots… plus the Stormwall if I’m lucky! I might be able to do this! Haley pulls from the Squire and upkeep Arcane Shield, and then gives 1 to the Stormwall.
– Due to reasons, I can’t get Haley close enough to the Ravagore on the left to Temporal Barrier it without moving one of my huge bases first… and I’d really like to. Therefore, the Storm Strider, sadly, has to sacrifice its Feat Shots to activate first. It walks towards the Ravagore and pumps both shots into it, hitting both times and inflicting light damage… but, most importantly, it fries the Shepherd (unavoidable for Nick: it has to be within 3″ to work, and the electroleaps are within 4″)! The second electro-chain goes into the Angelius and then the Objective, doing no damage to either.
– Now Haley has the room to activate. She tries to stay close enough to the Stormwall to Arcane Vortex it, but I realize that I can’t *quite* get close enough to the Ravagore still… so she curls away from the Stormwall and manages to get the Ravagore within CTRL. She pops her Feat, casts Temporal Barrier, and camps her last 2 Focus.
– The Stormwall activates next, moving up and trying to shoot the non-Stealth Ravagore… sadly, it’s out of range (by about 1-2″)… stupid Objective getting in the way! It throws down a lightning pod between it and the closest Angelius and pumps out Covering Fire templates.
– Holt moves up and pumps 2 shots into the Ravagore, inflicting light damage. Aiyana hangs back safely(ish).
– The Blazers (all within Feat range) move up and pump 6 Brutal Shots into the Ravagore… sadly, I miss his DEF13 with my RAT7 a total of twice (gah!), but still manage to get him pretty hurt. They use their follow-up CAV moves to position themselves in such a way to engage the Ravagore and Angelius with 1 Blazer that won’t be trivial to Repulse away.
– The ATGM activate and move up. They fire Snipe shots and kill the Succubus and Deathstalker (woo!), but are then unable to get much else done due to a total lack of Criticals. I send a shot at Lylyth that tags her for a few points of damage, though, so that’s nice.
– Lastly, Anastasia and the Stormcaller move up a little (trying to draw fire away from the more important pieces!), and I call it a day. IMG_4938 copy IMG_4939 copy IMG_4941 copy IMG_4940 copy Legion, Turn 2

Nick is lucky (although we didn’t realize it at the time!). Those two shots I missed on the Ravagore were both 4s (2,2 and 1,3 on the dice)… and I forgot about Temporal Barrier! Gah! They both should’ve hit… and the Ravagore was a few points of damage away from something being crippled! Which would’ve been a HUGE deal… Lylyth only has 5 Fury, and if she has to heal even 1 aspect on the Ravagore, she is now down to only 4 Fury, and then she has to upkeep Shadow Pack (since I dropped the Succubus!), which means either Pincushion OR Wraithbane, and not both! And on Feat Turn, that’s significant! Oh well. Lylyth pulls in all her Fury, upkeeps Shadow Pack, and we’re off.
– Lylyth goes first, moving forward and casting Pincushion at the Stormwall… and, sadly, I’ve out of 3″ from it so I can’t Arcane Vortex it (stupid!). Nick debates for a solid minute about whether to boost to hit (she needs a 5, after all) but elects not to. She rolls… and hits! With that done, she pops her Feat. She then fires at the closest ATGM, hits and kills… she Snap Fires Anastasia, hits and manages to drop her (boo), but then misses her Feat shot (yay!). She Swift Hunters back a few inches and puts Wraithbane on the right Ravagore.
– Easy stuff next. The right Ravagore moves up and pumps two shots into the Stormwall… even with Pincushion, it only inflicts a total of 14 damage between its two boosted shots!
– The right Angelius moves forward and opens fire on the Stormwall, and it inflicts slightly more damage, but my colossal warjack is still over half health. I’m starting to think I may yet survive this…
– Nick goes into the tank to try and figure out how to unenage his Ravagore without wasting critical shots on my Stormwall… he Rabids his Shredder, who then walks up to my Blazer… he needs 10s to hit… and misses! Buys an attack… and also misses! Phew!
– Naga goes next. It moves up to engage my Blazer, boosts to hit… and hits! He needs to roll a hard 6 to kill me… and rolls a 4, leaving me on 2 boxes! Phew! Nick elects not to use any more attacks, and instead puts “Wraithbane” on his Ravagore.
– The Angelius walks out of melee-engagement range with the Blazer (I put it within 2″ so he couldn’t aim, but not within 0.5″) and pumps two shots into the Stormwall. It is now pretty obviously I will survive this unless Nick SUPER-spikes his next 2 shots.
– The Ravagore walks out of melee with the Blazer, and I pump another Brutal shot into him… and fail to wound (damnations!). It then fires on the Stormwall, hitting once and inflicting moderate damage… but the 2nd shot misses (triple 1s!). Nick fails to cripple anything, leaving the Stormwall on 18 boxes.
– The Forsaken move up and pull off some Fury, as does Nick’s remaining Shepherd. But Lylyth is sitting on no Fury, and thats never a good spot to be against Cygnar. IMG_4942 copy IMG_4944 copy IMG_4943 copy Cygnar, Turn 3

It could be argued that I was lucky… and in some ways, yes.
In other, *more accurate* ways, definitely yes. Nick needed to cripple, or ideally destroy, my Stormwall, and missing once and not spiking any of the damage rolls (they were all very mediocre) didn’t help. Getting Wraithbane on only 2 of his guns wasn’t enough either… the Angelius were hitting at dice-7 or dice-9. And the Ravagores, even at dice-4, couldn’t do enough on their own. So, I survived. Lets make sure the same doesn’t happen on the OTHER side of the table, shall we? Haley drops Arcane Shield, gives 2 to the Stormwall, and pulls from the Squire.
– Stormwall goes first. I briefly consider Charging, but after hmmming and hawwing for awhile, realize that it’s almost impossible to get electroleaps through the Angeli onto Lylyth (I’d have to kill both the Angeli and the objective first). Instead, I just Trample forwards, popping out a Stormpod behind Lylyth and boosting the damage (inflicting 7 points right off the hop… also known as “A Very Good Start”).
– The Strider goes next, walking forward. There’s a moment of concern as I realize I need to stay further than 5″ from the Angelius (since it has Stealth, I can ignore it for LoS purposes UNLESS I’m within 5″!)… but I use the Stormwall’s base to judge and manage to get it safely far enough away. First shot pumps into the Lightning Pod electroleaps once (straight into Lylyth) and leaves her on 2 boxes. Second shot electroleaps twice… and manages to drop the Legion warlock!

Victory to Cygnar! IMG_4945 copy IMG_4948 copy IMG_4947 copy IMG_4946 copy Post Game Analysis

That was about as picture-perfect an ending as it gets for a Cygnar player… sure, killing warcasters with fire is satisfying, and getting that last point of damage through Corrosion can be lucky… but for my money, killing fragile, high-DEF models through electroleaps is where its at!

Nick looked at the board after the game and said “I don’t think you understand, Marc… Legion is broken. We’re not allowed to lose!”

All joking aside, though, this was not a favourable matchup for him. He *needs* to take that Stormwall off the table, and there’s almost no way it’s happening without really, REALLY lucky rolls. A good player (not me, obviously) would keep Haley within 3″ of the Stormwall at all times to Arcane Vortex Pincushion away all day long, and even without being able to shoot his stuff, I just need to plant my 2 big guys in Nick’s zone and start scoring… he will have to commit a warbeast to contest, I kill that warbeast (while contesting with Blazers and ATGM for my own zone), and eventually he runs out of warbeasts.

This was still more satisfying, though!

So I felt confident that this particular Haley list was at least not a BAD drop against Legion. Could she handle eThags or Absylonia2? I don’t know… taking the Charge off the table is good, no question, and without Shadowpack I’m taking a Heavy off at range every turn or two (4 POW15s, with a couple boosted, can do wonders when your dice don’t abandon you!), plus electroleaping into soft underbelly-models (Shepherds, Shredders, Forsaken, etc…). Add in the flexibility of the Blazers and the spot-removal (and pushing) of the ATGM… well, let’s say I was confident.

But it did teach me that I have to be WAY more careful with my placement of Haley. Would I be able to keep her in the right spot during the tournament… well, you’ll just have to read my Tournament Report when it goes live (hopefully later this week!).

Thanks for reading! Comments, criticisms, mockery… all are welcome!

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7 thoughts on “Battle 041 – Cygnar vs Legion, pHaley vs eLylyth: A Study in Destroying Stormwalls at Range

  1. Great battle report! I really didn’t expect this battle to last very long (which it really didn’t) and I didn’t expect the outcome. Cygnar does have some good tools to deal with legion (namely eleaps). I look forward to seeing how you did at the tourney

    • Thanks, Twitch! Yeah, I was a little surprised by how effective my pHaley drop was against Legion… I really was expecting far more damage from eLylyth’s Feat (I’ve heard enough horror stories!). I think the trick would be for Nick to bring my Ravagores… or Nagas, I suppose!

      Still writing up the Tournament report… with any luck it will go live Saturday, failing that… next Wednesday!

  2. Hi, I have a couple of questions for you. First off is the strider in the list solely to help block line of sight to your caster? Or do you have another use for it normally? Is pHaley going to be your normally legion drop? And who set that table up lol, that seems awful to play cygnar or legion on.
    I found your podcast about 6 months ago and have enjoyed listening to it, keep up the good work.

    • Hey Krell! Thanks for the comments and questions!

      First, let me say this about the table setup: the location we play at is notorious for overloading tables with terrain. Most of the time I suffer in silence… some times I will just quietly remove 2 or 3 pieces from the table when people aren’t looking before the game starts. But most of the time it at least looks pretty, so that’s something? I guess?

      Secondly, the Strider is in the list both to block LoS to Haley, and as an attrition piece. 2 POW15s that can reach out and touch models 14″ away (when aiming) or 19″ away when it walks shouldn’t be underestimated… add to that 1d3 chain lightning targets from each hit (which can be boosted with power tokens!), and now you have a device capable of taking 2d3 light infantry or support pieces off the table a turn while simultaneously pounding on heavies! Add to that the Stormwall’s Lightning Pod for the ability to hit Stealth models, or to place it next to a high-DEF, low-ARM warcaster/warlock, and man, the Strider is a *fantastic* piece. So much so that I’m considering trying out bringing 2! Lastly, it’s nice that it occasionally distracts fire from the Stormwall and is capable of holding a zone on its own in a pinch (with Arcane Shield it can get up to ARM21, and the Push-Back-When-Hit thing tends to keep it safer than many people expect!).

      As it stands, pHaley has performed very, very well as a Legion drop. She’s outshot Lylyth and that’s definitely something… I haven’t used her against any of the heavy ARM-cracking Legion drops, but I’m not sure Haley will run into those too often…

      Coincidentally, the Battle Report we’re publishing on Monday is another Cygnar-Legion game… this time Haley versus eVayl! That one goes *very* differently! Something to look forward to for Monday!

      Wow, wall of text… sorry about that! Thanks for the questions!

      • Thanks for the reply, I played cygnar for a year plus and enjoyed my time with them but I was never sold on the strider. That being said I was looking for the opinion of someone that had played it. If you where to bring 2 of them I guess you’d look at the NQ tier list she has?
        As for Haley against legion I can see how the temporal barrier would work to help out the match up, the no running or charging and -2 def is a huge plus but I’d be scared of the beast still having the ability to boost the damage roll even with out charging. And with legions movement tricks and just flat out fast army I’d be worried that the beasts would make it to my lines before I could do enough damage to them. I guess that makes it more of a case of consantrating Fire on one beast at a time to bring them down as fast as possible. Is this what you where going for?
        Sorry to ask so many questions, however I’m thinking of getting back into cygnar and for any army legion is a problem, I had thought about trying pHaley out as my legion drop and your insight is welcomed.
        And I will look forward to Monday’s cast.
        Thanks again
        Krell

      • All valuable comments and questions, Krell, and I’m happy to give you my input! Just keep in mind that I am not a top-tier player (yet), and with everything in WarMachine, your individual mileage will depend on your meta.

        That stated: what pHaley does is basically give you an extra round of shooting. An Angelius can charge 12″ on its own, and it can be sped up to 14″ with minimal effort (Slipstream from a Seraph) and up to 16″ in some cases. The Temporal Barrier trumps the majority of that threat: the Angelius can still threaten 9-11″ walking, but most of the time you can be a little careful to keep your warjacks further than 9″ for a turn. WAY easier with smaller warjacks, but not impossible with a Stormwall.

        Thankfully, Legion beasts tend to be fragile, and so if you can concentrate firepower on one, it’s going down. And as you remove beasts from the list, you remove utility from the Legion warlock, and they become increasingly less scary.

        The “trick”, as far as I can tell, is to:
        1. Take out the support pieces as quickly as possible, from as long range as possible. Succubi, Shepherds, and Forsaken *need* to be dead by the end of Turn 2 if at all possible: thankfully, ATGM are remarkably effective at this, as is anything with electroleap (most of the models need to be within 4″ to do their magic, so prime leap targets!).
        2. Concentrate firepower on a single warbeast at a time. General advice for Hordes, doubly so for Legion. They’ve gotta come off the table.
        3. Make them come to you. Careful with your threat ranges, and pump every shot from maximum range you can manage.

        They’re a great Faction, and it’s tough to beat them… but be patient, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and you’ll get ’em.

        And, of course, stay tuned for tomorrow’s podcast! Just editing it now… it’s a good one, full of additional advice for beating (and being beat by) Legion!

  3. Pingback: Podcast 054 – Cygnar vs Legion, pHaley vs eVayl: Second Verse, Same as the First! | Combo Smite

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