First of all bases came in yesterday, so I can finally put all my models on bases.
It isn’t entirely clear since they are not painted, but the bases look like pure clockwork, like the inside of a watch. This isn’t ‘realistic’, but I thought it’d make the finished models have their own flavour if they are on these very steampunk looking bases rather than sand or grass. They were purchased over ebay from http://www.foundationsofwar.co.uk/ – it took maybe a week or two for them to be delivered, and they definitely needed cleaning after I got them (they also smelt quite strong, so I’m guessing they might’ve been freshly made, not knowing anything about resin production!).
Alas I won’t get to paint them over next week since any free time for painting will be spent painting more models for Smogcon (which I can never get to the end of! I’ll be painting models for Smogcon long after the damn con!). However I’m really looking forward to doing so; painting metal monsters will be such a pleasant change after doing various forms of zombies, which my painting skill level struggles with.
But on to analysis – there’s an awful lot to think about with a new crew (and a new faction), so I’m going to go through the theory step by step. This will help me understand the crew better before going into my first game.
First up, a quick analysis of what I have already. I’ll go through each model in terms of Defensive, Ranged, Melee, Movement, Control and Support abilities, before going through the upgrades.
Defensive: Has an okay amount of wounds and Armour +2, which is useful, plus WP6 which is quite good. However a lack of Hard/Impossible to Wound or Hard to Kill, which I’m used to my masters having, makes me feel a bit nervous. DF4 is also a bit low. However, his Repulsion trigger would be very useful for escaping charges, and whilst the trigger isn’t automatic it should be easy to soulstone in. I think so long as I pull him out of dodge when charged by particularly fearsome foes, he should be okay. Opportunist is a nice extra boost to health recovery, especially as Ramos has useful means of killing his own robots.
Ranged: His Electrical Fire attack doesn’t randomise targets and hits for a respectable 2/3/4 ignoring armour. That’s not bad in itself. Uncontrolled Detonation looks like mobile Corpse Bloat, and forcing DF duels instead of a WP duels. I’m not entirely convinced that sacrificing models I want handling schemes is all that good an idea, plus that’s one less potential scrap marker on the table and it won’t trigger Opportunist as that requires a kill. There are bound to be situations when that is useful, though. Plus, as I learnt with Corpse Bloat, it is always a good scare tactic.
Melee: Just one action here, Clockwork Fist. 1” engagement range, MI5 which is respectable, very wild damage of 1/2/7. Extreme damage is rare enough that I won’t bank on it unless I’m using Focus. Situational, but then melee isn’t why you play Ramos.
Movement: He has a slow Walk but his AP0 attack Magnetism lets him push 6” towards a target Construct. I can see this working well in conjunction with Opportunist and Summon the Swarm – Magnetize towards an injured Arachnid, killing the Arachnid and healing Ramos, then summoning MORE Arachnids straight afterwards. I don’t see him being very good at scheme running, though.
Control: Nope, other than the threats of the described powers I don’t think he has much board control shenanigans.
Support: Naturally summoning this is Ramos’s strongest suit. For 1AP, he can summon up to three Arachnids upon just one scrap marker; the more Arachnids summoned the harder the cast (from only needing a 5 of tomes for 1, 8 for 2 and 11 for 3), and they take one wound per arachnid summoned minus armour when they do. That seems like a good deal, only needing 1 scrap marker to make three Arachnids, even if they would be one half health.
Overall Ramos looks powerful but not necessarily as powerful as his reputation might suggest. He seems slightly tricky to kill but no worse than some other masters I’ve seen. His ranged combat abilities are respectable. Whilst he is a slow walker, Magnetism could prove rather useful to get him to places, or out of places! Summoning is his main strength, and combined with his upgrades that push him more into the group-buffer territory, I can see him being very similar to Nico in playstyle.
Defensive: Armour +2, Hard to Kill, 9 Wounds, can use soulstones. Sounds good enough to me, even if his Df is only 5. WP is 6, which is pretty good.
Ranged: Arc Blast is an average enough attack doing 2/2/4. Not a lynchpin power but could find use if there’s a low wound target I can quickly turn into a corprse marker out of range.
Melee: Arc Axe is MI6 and does 3/4/4, ignoring Armour, Hard to Wound and Hard to Kill and ignores DF triggers. That sounds fantastic. Pneumatic Fist does 5/8/10 but doesn’t have the ignores and costs 2AP, so I’m less excited about that. For an additional crow it could cause Paralysis though. Overall Arc Axe looks more like a staple, but with the right setup a hard hitting Pneumatic Fist attack could prove a real problem. I can imagine one-shotting a Viktoria if Joss is Fast, Focuses and then does extreme damage; leaving no room for damage reduction unless a red joker is hit.
Movement: No tricks but WK5 is okay.
Control: Paralysis on Pneumatic Fist is the only option Joss has.
Ramos’s number one bodyguard; like most henchmen, Joss has some obvious synergy with his associaed master, in particular his ability Creative Salvage, which drops an additional scrap marker whenever he kills a target. How I’m expecting Joss to work is Joss will head forward, be a difficult foe to take down whilst taking plenty of foes down himself, and producing plenty of scrap markers in the process. Whilst he is taking the lead, Ramos will clean up and produce Arachnids to either handle schemes and objectives, or ultimately become Arachnid Swarms to add more offense. Overall Joss looks like a key player in any Ramos list, and his hitting power probably makes him desirable in other Arcanist lists too!
Defensive: Armour +1 is less exciting than the Armour +2 given to Ramos and Joss, but he has a sizable 11 wounds. However being an Enforcer, and not having Hard to Kill, makes him less sturdy than Joss in my opinion. The nice addition of Steam Cloud, which gives soft cover to him and everyone in 4”, will be useful during early turns where I expect to take fire from ranged types. Terrifying (Living) 12 is a high number, but obviously will only be effective against certain crews. Again, WP of 6, which is very good. Ramos only hires strong-willed individuals apparently.
Ranged: Does not exist.
Melee: Can Flurry which is always good, and his single attack Executioner Claws is MI7 and does a heavy 4/5/6. Rams will cause a Decapitate that is also useful. Pretty much a melee machine!
Movement: Walk of 5 AND has Nimble so can move pretty damn quick for such a big guy. That makes him useful for schemes in a pinch, but more importantly lets him move in and THEN Flurry; that’s very handy!
Control: Just his Terrifying; otherwise not much.
Support: Providing some cover is useful.
At 12ss Howard Langston is incredibly expensive, whether he is actually worth that high cost is definitely a big question. He does a devastating amount of damage and even works quite well as an over-priced scheme runner when he isn’t engaged. How I’d use him is as a flanker for Joss, perhaps blocking LOS paths to Ramos and providing soft cover. We’ll see if this high priced beatstick is worth the cost.
Defensive: Armour +1, DF 6; a low WP which could be an issue, and poor wounds. This model might spend a lot of time hiding.
Melee: Buzzsaw is a weak MI4, 1/3/3. I’m not expecting this to be in combat unless I’m desperate.
Movement: Only WK4, no tricks to speak of.
Support: Brass Arachnid may as well be called ‘Reactivate Bot 9000’. Stoke lets me reactivate a construct, and Rewire lets me do that without needing the right suit. I still need a 10 or more to do this though.
Overall the Brass Arachnid is a bit disappointing, especially considering how creepy and terrifying the model is. However being able to reactivate Joss or Howard is incredibly valuable – both of those models are worth at least 2ss per activation, so if the Brass Arachnid can get at least 2 Stokes in a game, it has earned its SS back. At the very worst, it is a mobile scrap marker ready to be turned into more Steam Arachnids.
Defensive: Exactly as Brass Arachnid; because the Steam Arachnids can be summoned in the need to hide them is less; creating more scrap markers just adds more resources to Ramos. What the Steam Arachnid does have over the Brass Arachnid is it does have Evasive, protecting it from damage caused by pulse effects (which itself can produce)
Melee: Iron Claw is similar to Buzz Saw, but for an extra tomb I can overheat the Arachnid and sacrifice it, causing models in 2” to take 2 damage. This is a pulse, so other Steam Arachnids are not affected.
Movement: WK5; okay. Does have Unimpeded so can run through severe terrain without any trouble.
Support: Latch On lowers the DF by 1 of any enemy model in base contact with, so there is the potential to assist Howard/Joss should they not be needed elsewhere. In addition, 3 Arachnids can combine together for 1AP and become a Swarm. However, for month 1 I won’t have any swarms, so I’m ignoring this for now.
At only 4ss, and the possibility for Ramos to mass produce them, Arachnids are pretty much the building blocks of a successful strategy. Joss and Howard might be dealing the damage, but the Arachnids will be needed to offer support through lowering defences, adding additional models and running schemes.
Imbued Protection (Pass)
Neither Ramos, Joss or Howard are at a loss for defensive strength and at the high price of 2ss, whilst this upgrade would have benefit giving an additional +1DF it doesn’t seem like the benefits are good enough to warrant a slot or the price.
Imbued Energies (High Consideration)
A one-off use of Fast is pretty good for when Howard or Joss need to really hit hard, and giving 4 cards when the model is killed is rather nice too. At only 1ss seems worth taking. Imaine the possibilities of a Howard suddenly getting Fast, then sprinting 10″ across the board and THEN flurrying! Imbued Energies giving me 4 cards if the model is killed is just a bonus on top.
The Philosopher’s Stone (Low Consideration)
I’m not too sure on the Echo of Souls ability that the Stone upgrades have, but Moment of Insight looks vaguely useful for when Ramos doesn’t have a good hand. Worth thinking about, but I’m not terribly convinced.
Arcane Reservoir (High Consideration)
2ss is a lot but drawing 7 cards per turn sounds incredibly good and worth the cost, especially as I’m wanting a lot of high Tomes cards.
Recharge Soulstone (Moderate Consideration)
Gives me a soulstone when the model kills a living target of 4SS or more. As it only works with living models this is of situational use, and wouldn’t be worth taking when fighting Rezzers, nor against some Neverborn crews. However it might work well for Joss who I expect to be in the thick of it a lot.
Field Generator (Low Consideration)
1AP for +1 flip to DF duels within 6″ of Ramos, Pulse. Seems rather useful but quite costly when compared to Nicodem’s similar Necrotic King upgrade, which does more for his crew than this does. I suspect I won’t be using this early on, but once I’ve gotten a better idea as to how Ramos’s crew fares it would be worth considering further.
Combat Mechanic (Moderate Consideration)
Accomplice is always good to have, healing is good to have as well especially with the low target number. Fairly costly though, and I think there are upgrades of higher priority.
Electric Summoning (Pass)
Without an Electrical Creation model, this isn’t worth considering yet.
Under Pressure (High Consideration)
Counterspell will greatly enhance Ramos’s defensive abilities, especially against annoying abilities like Lure. Overdrive is a nice bonus on top of that giving +1 flip to MI duels, and since (for now) everything I’m fielding is a construct everything will benefit. Also this is an abliity not an action, so always on unlike Field Generator. Worth 2ss.
Open Current (High Consideration)
A 0AP action that has the chane to give a negative flip to DF duels should a TN15 WP duel be failed to all non-constructs in 5″. Obviously less useful against construct crews like Arcanist Mei Feng or even against a Flesh Construct-heavy Rezzer crew, but otherwise this sounds utterly devastating. A Joss who is affected by Ramos’s Overdrive, is fast from discarding Imbued Energies and then hitting targets who may not be able to cheat could make him extremely dangerous.
Bleeding Edge Tech (Moderate Consideration)
New Research, givin Regen to all models in 8″, is obviously a very nice boon that will benefit all my models. Disruption Field is a 0AP action that makes models in 3″ have a -1 flip to CA actions. This could be good in some instances without being particularly negative to my own models (since most CA actions would be at a distance, as is from Ramos or the Brass Arachnid). I can see this being put on Howard Langston, who could use Disruption Field regularly (as opposed to Joss who I want using Open Current)
Powered by Flame (Low Consideration)
A bit expensive, and could backfire in Reckoning if Burning manages to kill a model. Worth thinking about, but I don’t think Burning gives me that much of an advantage beyond small amounts of extra damage.
Warding Runes (Moderation Consideration)
Counterspell for Joss could turn out to be rather good, and it is pretty cheap.
So in conclusion, assessment of each of these models, what upgrades I’d pick first for them, and what roles they’ll fill in my initial strategies:
Ramos: Buffing; AP generation through summoning; Secondary Damage Dealer
Brass Arachnid: AP generation through reactivation.
Joss: Damage Dealer; Tank; Resource generation through creating scrap markers.
Howard Langston: Damage Dealer; Tank; Anti-Ranged Support; Secondary Scheme runner.
Steam Arachnids: Support; Scheme runners.
A very rough plan, without considering strategies or schemes, would be for Joss and Howard to lead in with the Brass Arachnid hidden behind, and Ramos following slightly behind. Arachnids would either be running schemes (most likely in the later stages), or adding flank support and ensuring successful duels for Joss and Howard.
For my first game, which I should hopefully have before March 17th, will only be using the above models. More than likely my Month 2 purchases will be a couple more boxes of Arachnids and an Electrical Creation; seems pretty much required!