Comrades! For your reading pleasure I bring you the first part of my Faction rundown of the Retribution of Scyrah (RoS) It is by no means exhaustive and I welcome input via the comments, even if its to disagree!
The Retribution of Scyrah is the first “New” faction that Privateer released for the Warmachine game. They are very different to any of the other factions both in appearance (really VERY different from the other factions in appearance) as well as the way they play on the table. Some think they do not belong in the aesthetic of Warmachine but I feel they have a place. Elves are always more advanced either spiritually, magically or technologically anyway so their “Space Elf” appearance is not badly out of place in my opinion.
The character of the faction is very much one of extreme xenophobia. Its important to realise that the RoS does not represent a full nation of Elves, rather they are a faction within the nation of Ios. They have risen in prominence because of more recent events and the deaths/disappearance of their gods. The RoS believes that humanity or more specifically, human spell casters, are responsible for the death of their missing gods as well as the weakening of Scyrah, the only elven god still located within Ios. They believe that these humans are somehow drawing on the life force of Scyrah to power their spells. The reason they think this is that the disappearance of the gods coincides with humanity gaining access magic. Whether they are right or not is unknown. Recently though, there has been word of another of the missing gods of the Elves, Nyssor. This stirred up a hornets nest and spurred the rapid growth of the RoS, especially with the discovery that Nyssor lay on the hands of humans. So a form of war has begun. Conquest is not the goal, without the full strength of the Iosan nation it wouldn’t be realistic but there is purpose.
Wrath, the most recent Warmachine book, features the recovery of Nyssor from the clutches of humans and Cryxian agents working under Goreshade, a former Elven lord, now Eldritch, who’s beliefs vary wildly to the rest of his former nation. Once head of the House Vyre, Goreshade conducted horrible experiments to try and find out why his people were dieing out. Some new born Iosan children were born without a soul. These Soulless were the focus of Goreshades experimentation but he didn’t focus purely on them. He made extensive study of the occult forbidden lores within Ios. The Soulless themselves were undesirable to say the least. Many were out down at birth. They were more or less hollow shells of people with no ambition or interest in anything of which to speak. The Retribution has taken some of them in to train in whatever aptitudes they can pick up, but mainly for the effect they have upon enemy spell casting. That is a brief overview of the fluff situation anyway.
Probably the most important thing to remember about RoS is that the prefer a combined arms approach. Certainly you can go all guns or all melee but you will find yourself outclassed in one way or another. The RoS has some great strengths and some terrible weaknesses. The main strength they have is their fantastic infantry. There is no dud unit amongst them. Seriously, the only thing that comes close is the Cavalry unit. They aren’t poor per-se, despite being a little counter intuitive, but in a faction stocked to the gills with awesome they fall below par. The major weakness of the faction is Stealth. There are a very limited number of ways RoS can mitigate Stealth, sprays and templates being the main ones. The faction as a whole is heavily into assassination, with a leaning towards ranged assassianation. There are more ranged units and solos, be they magic or gun based, than melee at present and every Myrmidon (Iosan name for a Warjack) bar 1 or 2 has a ranged attack as well as their melee weapons (See, combined arms). All the heavies do certainly, I think the Griffon and Aspis Light Myrmidons may be without them but this is not an issue for their functions. So I will now move on to the models in the game themselves…
Why Solos first? because everything else is Juicier than Solos. Save the best till last. That said RoS has some utterly devastating Solos. Being assassination oriented there are some extremely “killy” solos as well as some excellent support pieces. I’ll start with my favourite:
Mage hunter assassins (MHA) are the masters of psychological warfare. They are absolute terrors to your opponent. The main reasons for this are 4 inch reach during their activation, Weaponmaster and Decapitation. Which means they can hit you from far enough away that even reach models cannot hit back without moving, they will use four damage dice on the charge attack and double any damage they cause. There are many stories of one-shotted casters from a surprise charge. At 2pts a piece you may well shout “Broken” but they are not masters of hitting. Most casters have a high enough DEF that the average MAT of the MHA means that they are unlikely to hit casters. The danger is ever present though and that will make your opponent focus alot of aggrivation on any that you have. They are fast and have Stealth so the ranged focus on them will mostly have to be AOEs. Keep them away from your other infantry and that means your rank and file are left alone unexploded while your opponent hopes for a lucky deviation. Though that deviation will likely kill them if it catches them. I like to have 2 of these where ever possible personally as the fear factor is just fantastic.
These on a flanking manouver will leave your opponent unable to ignore them. I have had an opponent focus his caster and a character jack on eliminating them, leaving them way out of position. If your enemy ignores them however, then they can strike unhindered, lopping heads off left, right and centre. They are very good at hunting low DEF solos and whilst Warjacks are not the ideal target necessarily they can still receive a lot of damage. Warcasters are my favourite targets but they need help to hit warcasters. Luckily, RoS have a number of ways to do this as will be revealed.
My second favourite Solos available. The function of these guys is fairly straight forward. They have large long ranged rifles. They pop opposing solos. But wait! Theres more! Their rifles have a special shot. This shot deals 3pts of damage automatically, without a damage roll required. This means that things like the Menites book, whose abilities mean they only ever take 1pt of damage from a damage roll, will take all 3. A second shot finishes that particular nuisance nicely. If you hit a Jack or Beast then you can choose the coloumn/spiral that takes the points. Take 2, add Eiryss1, who has the option of a similar ability, and you can guarantee 9pts of damage per turn to whatever you like. These guys have a good RAT and RNG as well as some reasonable survivability through Prowl, though as with a lot of RoS stuff, AOEs = Death. Not much else to say here really. This 2pt solo speaks for itself. Another solo I like to take 2 of if its viable.
House Shyeel Magisters…
These guys look like they are wielding a pair of powerfists, and in a way, they are. Though they are not the strongest hitters out their they make wonderful Slam factories with their Combo-Smite ability. They have a decent defensive ability called Force Barrier that adds to their defense against ranged attacks Added to that you have 2 magic ranged spells. One lets you move another model D3 inches, called Whip-Snap its a handy one for getting a bit of extra threat range from something nasty, like a MHA or Garryth. A model can only be effected once though so no double tapping that one. The other is a standard magic missile that causes a push toward or away on a hit, with crits causing a knockdown. If you can get range on an enemy this one could be the better option depending on how likely you are to have your man within the RNG 6 required for Whipsnap. Generally I suspect that the Force Bolt will be used more often unless you need to setup some funky positioning for a charge. On the other hand the force bolt can effect the same model multiple times so taking more than one Magister means you can drag models quite far out of position.
The Scyir is one of the less often seen solos of this faction. He has a limited use in this faction where he would find a lot of use in other factions. Thats not to say he is a bad model. Firt thing I will mention is his CMD 10 and Commander. This seems to have limited use but the majority of casters in the faction are only CMD 8 and with the prolific amount of CMD check causing effects out there you could find him useful for keeping your models in the fight. Next he has reach which is always useful, especially when we come to his Jack Marshall ability. This is mainly useful as he has Flank with any faction warjack. He also has Iron Sentinal which puts him in the harder to hit range of solos and gives him a decent ARM. To accompany his jack marshalling he has the Drive Reroll, which is not much to write home about but has its uses, since its free to use you may as well. Finally we have the Coordinated Strike ability. This allows this model and his Warjacks to see and move through friendly Dawnguard models. With 3 units that have the Dawnguard moniker, that can only be useful. He is also a faily high MAT model with the strength to seriously hurt casters so long as you get the Flank as well.
Dawnguard Destor Thane
The Destor Thane is a model that was initially derided as being of limited use. But he has come to be invaluable to many now. He is another Commander at CMD 10. He is a Gunfighter and Virtuoso which will be of limited use should you charge with them. He is Unyielding which can make charging more desirable but don’t be fooled. The Destor Thane is not for charging into combat. His Lance Cannon is what makes his so utterly useful. With its Multi-Fire and the Thanes RAT 7 you can expect some reasonable troop clearing ability without buffs from casters. His ARM 17 and 10 damage boxes make him very survivable and you can start to see why they are 4pts a piece. Alongside casters such as Rayvn and Ossyan these guys can be really accurate or devastatingly hard hitting
The Retributions premium support Solo. every faction would kill to get their hands on this level of 1pt solo. He is squishy, to be sure and is a 1 damage pt to balance out his usefulness. His abilities are Concentrated Power, which grants a friendly faction warjack +2 to its melee damage for one turn, Power Booster which is not a new ability but clears Disruption and allocates a focus point. Finally Repair, which speaks for itself. Most people to not wait for a spare point to take at least one of these guys. Often they will take 2 if they have more than 1 warjack. He’s unlikely to kill anything but he makes the faction warjacks much more effecient and effective. A decent little package all round.
House Shyeel Artificer
This chap is very new and I have had no real experience with him. He is more of a defensive/support piece than offensive. He has the Force Barrier ability like the Magister and has a spell that can grant this to everyone within 3 inches of himself. His second spell is Magno Blast which is a POW 13 magic attack with some control elements. It pushes models within 2 inches of the model hit 1 inch toward of away but his low Magic ability means this is unlikely to happen often. Finally we have Polarity Field which prevents enemies from charging it. The main purpose of this model is grant Force Barrier to as many models as possible. I didn’t mention in the Magisters section that the Force Barrier makes models immune to blast damage. The squishy nature of the majority of the mage hunter type models makes this guy a very tempting prospect but his medium base gives pause for thought as he looks to be difficult to block LOS to, making him an easy 3pts for your enemy to take out.
The first version of Eiryss is considered the most filthy dirty model in all of christendom. For 3 points she is a steal. An advanced deploy, Fearless Pathfinder with Stealth, high DEF and a crossbow that strikes fear in to the hearts of men and Gods alike! Make no mistake. People will bend over backwards to eliminate the threat this models poses to warcasters. She has Camouflage making that high DEF crazy whilst in concealment or cover. Although she is a Mercenary model that anyone can take she is a Retribution Partisan, meaning she counts as a Retribution model in a retribution army. This can be important for some of the buffs out there that require a faction model. Her major disadvantage does not apply in a retribution army so I won’t go into it now. She is a squishy model to be sure so you have to be careful with her. Keep her safe and the psychological threat alone can cause your opponent to make mistakes.
Her crossbow allows you to choose one of 3 abilities per normal attack: Death Bolt – makes her a good team up with a couple of Ghost Snipers. Death bolt causes 3 damage points to her target so with the Ghost Snipers they can dish out 9 points per turn to whatever they can all hit. Warbeasts and Warjacks will end up with targeted columns going down. Phantom Seeker is the second ability which allows Eiryss to ignore LOS and concealment and cover for her shot. This can be situationally useful against some Solos but it is rare that you will use it. Finally, the reason for the fear, Disruptor Bolt. This causes a model hit to lose all Focus points on it. Warcasters hit cannot replenish their focus in their next turn. Warjacks hit are disrupted. This is deadly for Warmachine as being left without focus leaves a caster vulnerable. They cannot even upkeep spells. This is the reason your opponent will commit a lot of resources to taking it out.
The Epic incarnation has overtaken the Prime version as the most often used, for one reason, Upkeep and Animi Removal through hitting a model. She can still drain a warcasters focus by hitting it but they can replenish it now. Warjacks still get disrupted. She gains Sniper and Whiplash as basic abilities and gets Technological Interference which prevents allocation of focus and channeling from non-Myrmidon warjacks. This incarnation sees more table time mainly for the upkeep and Animi removal but otherwise has some mildly useful abilities the determined use of which will likely get her killed so look out for that particular trap.
Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen
Issyen is something of an unknown quantity for me, never having had the required cash to buy him. So I will run through his stats etc and postulate regarding his ability. The first thing that springs to mind is that he is a Weapon Master that can make 2 attacks. He is as survivable as many of the other Dragoon Solos and his Righteous Fury ability adds to that durability as well as buffing his strength. He has Reach and a magical weapon so going for the incorporeal models has some benefit his weapon, that looks somewhere between a Lance and a Halberd is Blessed. Who doesn’t like to ignore Arcane Shield? In short I think his speed will make him a good Solo hunter and her can finish off a warcaster fairly well. I would not count on him to take one down on his own though.
Nayl, Mage Hunter Soulless
Nayl is a walking bomb. Unfortunately this bomb can be triggered by an enemy attack. This means you can use him to tie some stuff up and his reasonable MAT and P+S 13 sword means freestrikes are dangerous. However he also has an inherent danger. Because your opponent triggers his death your opponent can attempt to do so before Nayl gets to him, while he is still amongst your own troops. This matters against warbeasts Warjacks and casters since the explosive area prevents spell casting, channeling, Animi use as well as the loss of any Fury/Focus. In the hands of a power attacking warjack/beast he can literally be used as a grenade against you since his effects are not specific to enemy models. For this reason, there is likely a better way to spend 2pts.
Narn, Mage Hunter of Ios
Narn is walking death. He is a Weapon Master, with Acrobatics, Sprint, Arcane Assassin, Advance Deployment, Fearless, Pathfinder and Stealth. He can get there fast, slice something up, ignoring spell based buffs to DEF and ARM, then get out of dixie. He is another squishy Solo but another one that cannot be ignored. If your opponent ignore his then their caster is toast. Simple as that really. Only high DEF casters have little to worry about but if they do get hit they tend to have less armor. He is another strong psychological threat as well as a physical one.
And that, as they say, is that! The first part of my Retribution Write up. Please feel free to comment if I have something wrong, or you have some other ideas you think are relevant and I will look at adding them. The next section will be about the Warjacks and I have no idea when it will be done. This section took what feels like a lifetime!