Wrath is upon us. The book's been selling, apparently too. I was at a store just yesterday and had gotten the second-to-last copy, and was hearing about a lot of stores selling out right away! There's quite a bit of good stuff in here, too. Let's take a look at this faction-by-faction. (I'm going to just look at models not already released, plus the warcasters that just came out.) I'm going to divide it into 3 parts. Today I'm going to look at Cygnar and the Protectorate. Next time will be Khador and Cryx, and then we'll finish off with Retribution and Mercs.
Constance Blaize is a completely different flavor of Cygnar than almost any caster they've gotten so far. She is also a massive troop caster, with little support for her own warjacks. Crusader's Call and Transference are the highlights of her spell list, which further cement her as a troop caster. I can see her being fairly good with Trenchers on the front line, giving them that extra movement for their Assault, bringing some heavier infantry (Sword Knights, her obligatory Precursors, or Stormnouns) behind. Her feat brings a similar flavor to Terminus'. It actually supports the wave tactic fairly well; you can send the squishy troops in first, let them die, while letting your shield walled Precursors get to insane ARM levels with all of her souls. Then she has plenty of focus for the next turn that she can either hand off to 'jacks or use for the next wave to boost with Transference.
I'm not sure how Blaize is going to end up working, but I like the new warjacks Cygnar got. The Minuteman is a beast of a light, and while squishier since it uses the Hunter chassis, it boasts a solid threat range and is able to get out of melee pretty easily while still being able to damage heavy targets. I can especially see Kraye getting good use out of him. The Avenger is another simple but effective heavy. The Centurion chassis makes it survivable, and like most Cygnaran 'jacks can fight well in melee (with its good-POW Stun Blade) or at range (with a great knockdown effect on the seismic cannon). Triumph is actually relatively basic compared to what I thought he'd be, but with reach and Purgation with Blaize he's nothing to sneeze at. Precursors also help ease the focus load off your 'caster.
Cygnar's new goodness concludes with Archduke Runewood who brings a bit more support to the Sword Knight side. You're probably going to want to take a 'jack with him, since it makes him that much more survivable due to Sacrificial Pawn. Cygnar will probably come with many debates as to whether it's better to use Runewood or Rhupert to support its troops. Arguably, you could use both; Rhupert can give them defensive buffs (through Dirge of Mists or Heroic Call), while Runewood can give them that offensive punch (through Overcome or Path to Victory).
And then there's the Storm Strider. This makes up for everything. It just shoots lightning everywhere. While its RAT is nothing spectacular, the cannons are devastating when they actually do hit. It's also no slouch if it gets stuck in melee; first off, it can get boosts off of attacks against it. Next, it sends those melee threats away with its Revenger-like Repulsor Field. The +2 to hit on close models with its own Gunfighter ability then pays the attacker back in full. Did I mention that field also works for Stormblade blasts, or the Firefly's gun? This thing can be a toolbox under the right circumstances. (I'm looking at you, Nemo...)
I think Cygnar got a few tools, but I think the other factions may have come out a bit better. They got a melee warcaster in a faction that prefers to stay at range, but they still have ways of getting to melee. Meanwhile, they got a 'jack that can get out of melee and wreak havoc (as well as a light that can make two-handed throws). Nothing seems that overpowered, though, and nothing really jumps out at me and says “TARGET ME!” like some things out of other factions. It's not that I think their stuff is bad, but I think it could be better. (*coughTriumphcough*)
Protectorate of Menoth
Thyra is a solid melee toolbox for the Menites. Her feat will be tricky to predict, because not only does it increase her threat range, but it also messes with threat angles. Charge lanes that were nonexistant exist now. Throw in Carnage and you have a massive melee threat coming in, whether it's her army or Thyra herself. And she can hold her own. Carnage also combines nicely with Silence of Death, so enemy casters have to look out when that combo starts coming close.
The Protectorate didn't get a light warjack this time around, but they did get a couple of nice heavies. The Sanctifier doesn't need much focus investment from its warcaster, since it's going to get souls that become focus. Throw it behind some squishies and watch it counterattack, and likely win due to support from the Choir. (You're taking Choir, right?) It's only a shame there are no 'jack marshals in Protectorate to take advantage of this. Meanwhile, Blood of Martyrs is what I'd like to call the “heavy Dervish.” Thyra gives it side-step, and regardless it makes a great partner for the aforementioned Sanctifier. With Choir support, Blood of Martyrs is suddenly MAT 10 with two POW 20's if something died near it. I personally don't want to be anywhere near that, especially if Silence of Death is on it.
Nicia works a lot like the Retribution's Narn. She is a pinpoint assassin solo with a gun you're going to use occasionally. Acrobatics helps her get to her target, Quick Work nets an extra kill, and Sprint helps her live to fight another day. (Useful, since if she's hit, she's not going to survive. At all.) She's simple and effective, and that's all she needs to be.
And then there's the Vessel. Oh God, the Vessel of Judgment is insane. For 2 damage, you have a fully boosted POW 15 gun, which is going to leave a dent (not including the boostable Ashes-to-Ashes effect added to it). On top of that, while it does take damage, the miracles are just amazing. Doors of Judgment is one last middle finger, especially if they manage to take out an important solo such as Nicia or Vilmon. Its other miracles aren't bad either, fitting into Protectorate's denial and fire themes, as well as keeping it safe. It will be taking a ton of damage to do this, but considering their access to mechaniks now, I don't think taking damage will be that much of a problem.
It's a preliminary judgment for sure, but I'm tempted to call the Protectorate the winners of Wrath. Thyra is a great assassin caster and will make enemies that rely on tough like Trollbloods or Privateers pay. All 3 'jacks in the book can hit like absolute trucks, and I can see the Sanctifier being a solid addition to just about any force. And the Vessel of Judgment is just stupid good. I don't play Protectorate, and I never will, but Wrath gave them a lot of good stuff.
Next time, I'll look at what Wrath brings to the Reds and the Undeads!