Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Haley - Popping the Bubble - How to lose at Warmachine

Well, i've been trying out a new warcaster since Valleycon in the form of pHaley.

So far my efforts with her have been made of phail. For those in the audience without the background pHaley is a Cyngar cast who has high focus, a pretty good spell list with a really notable you can build your army around. That spell is temporal barrier. 

Temporal barrier is pretty powerful. It projects a bubble the size of pHaleys control area (14" or 16" with squire). No enemy models in that area can run or charge, and they have -2 defence. The concept behind the lists i've been building is to use this bubble to limit my opponents ability to charge, get into position to charge myself and inflict significant damage on my opponent.

So far this just hasn't worked. Either i've dropped the barrier too early (as it costs a whopping 4 of pHaleys 7 focus a turn to cast) or people have found work arounds. People have been bursting my bubble in more ways than one.

Game One Vs. Cryx

My first mistake was saying "yes" when Thomas offered to play me with his Cryx army. Thomas is a very sharp player and I think him picking up Cryx as a change of pace from his Cygnar force is just downright unfriendly for all involved.

But I get ahead of myself. Thomas was fielding a force made up of the Epic Aspyhxious (or eGaspy as he is known) the Deathjack, a seether, cankerworm (See art below) Bane Thralls and Bane Lord Tartarus (See right) and probably a few other bits i've forgotten.

The List

pHaley with Squire

10 Precursor Knights with leader
10 Long gunners
2 chain guns

Knights to act as the meatwall and be supported by Long Gunners. Hunter and Thorn to harrass and the chain guns for some additional anti-infantry.

The Game

Well, things started off alright. Asides from eGaspy and his tendency to place cloud templates to block my line of sight.That was annoying let me tell you. Long gunners need to fire in order to be constructive, with limited fire lines they were having to maneuver (I also found out that you lose your aim bonus if you move on the spot)

The deathjack ran into the middle of my force supported by cankerworm and backed up by the bane knights. So far so good I thought as I diengaged my hunter from the Deathjack using parry to avoid free strikes. I popped my feat (1 bonus attack for all units) and the knights charged The Deathjack and Cankerworm while the long gunners blazed away at the Bane Knights.

Oddly, while the 12 Point Deathjack exploded in a hail of mace blows from the knights, the Cankerworm was barely scratched. The death knights were decimated by long gunner fire and things weren't looking too bad. Thorn on the other hand was being useless and barely scratched the Seether. Trying to be clever I used up too much focus with spells via thorn, temporal barrier was down.

Then things went pear shaped.

Cankerworm left combat with parry to go eat my hunter, 2 seconds later there was a hunter-sized crater. But the defining moment of the game was from Bane Lord Tartarus.  

He charged the pile of knights and used a thresher attack to stab everyone in his melee range.... in this case 6 knights. He hit and killed each and every one of them

HOLY CRAP, THATS NASTY!  I hear you say

It gets worse.... far far worse

Every knight he killed allowed him to add a Bane Knight that had been lost back to a unit and WHOMP! Full unit of Bane Knights who could activate that turn. Cue long gunners exploding into meaty chunks at the end of a Bane Knight charge

Haley held on for a while and managed to chain lightening to death most of the Bane Knights (And her own squire) But the bubble had burst and Gaspy simple held the objective to win (after spending 7 focus to kill 3 long gunners)

Game Two vs Retribution

Well, I could write a full battle report for this game but that would take longer than the actual game was. Let me say the following thing.


Simply put, I set up, moved up a bit, and then Chris (who's Skorne I have played before) used his casters feat for boosted attack rolls, cast snipe, moved forward and shot my caster 10 times (well actually 5, he didn't need the other 5 shots)

Lessons learned

  • Temp bubble at 4 focus is really expensive and you can easily overspend your focus
  • Mage hunters..... yeah..... ouch
  • Need ways to deal with stealth units. 
  • For the bubble to work I need to identify bug threats to it early one and kill them quickly, then work on grinding out a win.


  1. Dude!

    Vs Cryx it sounds like your only problem was Tartarus. Against Ret it was the Magwe Hunter Strike Force. Both have Stealth. Cygnar has some of the best Stealth mitigation tools in the game. If you plonked one or two of those options into your list, you would have two very different battle reports. Now you know thatr Tartarus has to be a priority target. Vs Ravyn the MGHA are the same, since she has her feat but not a lot of other options with punch. If you can weather her feat, you are golden.

    btw this is Sean under a different name :)

    1. Same icon, different name how very Ultramarines of you as well Captain Sicarius :)

      The more I play the more i'm realising I need to pick up at least one flavour of Gun Mages for their anti stealth abilities, whether that is B13 or Gun mages with an officer. heck, both could be useful to add to the collection.

      I have some thoughts for how to improve this list and refine it. I'm gonna keep plodding away with it and see how it works.

    2. Sicarius has something to do with Space Marines?

      Your list has really solid bones. These things need tweaking in order to attain perfection.

    3. Yeah Sicarius is an Ultramarine special character.

      Its all about experimentation. I'll keep on with pHaley until I can make it work. Tweaks will be happening.

  2. Persevere mate - she is rocksaur once you get the hang of her. Sean will tell you from personal experience how incredibly frustrating it is to stare down the barrel of a pHaley list with TB always up :)

    1. I heard you did very well with Haley, im keeping an eye on your posts on thrall blacks. Love the storm strider, would love to pick one up.


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