Warmachine: The Battle Boxes Part 1
Ok I’ve been knocking around the idea for this post for a little while. Privateer Press offers what they call Battle Boxes. These offer a ‘caster and some supporting ‘jacks that give you a balanced, fun set for some really basic games. I’m going to run down the boxes for the factions I have seen. I haven’t seen Convergence or Retribution, the rest I can speak about.
Cryx has become my primary force. Their battle box has a lot to do with it. Deneghra (pDenny) is an immensely unbalancing walking catastrophe of a ‘caster. Her ability to cripple and nullify the enemy at extreme range, using the excellently supportive ‘jacks in this box makes this a singularly not fun box to play against. For strength it’s about a 12/10, for representing how fun the game is as far as your opponent is concerned it’s about a 2. pDenny is just that un-fun to play against. The ‘jacks are a solid supporting cast, although not superlative. 3 Arc Nodes make Denny that much more powerful, but the Slayer and Defiler are under-powered, in a battle box or a regular fight.
Caster – 10/10 – because if I voted lower than that she’d cripple me and finish me off.
Deathrippers – 8/10 – Fast, fairly accurate, hit somewhat hard, arc nodes are awesome with Denny. You get two of them in the box.
Defiler – 2/10 – Just an arc node. Doesn’t do a lot else.
Slayer – 6/10 – an heavy. Focus intensive with a caster that wants to cast.
This box will leave you with a lot of choices. You can sacrifice an arc node early to get some upkeeps out there early. Crippling grasp does what it says on the tin. It slows down faster models so you can catch them, and slower models may as well go home. They can’t even run. Parasite is another fun one to throw out there, helping Denny be a bit less helpless should someone look at her funny. The defiler can actually be a tiny bit of a threat to an enemy caster, but don’t count on it hurting anything else. Keep the slayer far enough back that it doesn’t eat any charges or heavy hits on the way in, with its speed delivering it won’t be a problem in most battle boxes. Also figure out what you want to do with it, the one huge benefit it has is that it can do pretty much everything. 3 decent P+S attacks. 2 Open fists (meaning: all the power attacks) and a combo-strike to drop the open fist attacks and get 1 HEAVY attack. It still dies if you look at it funny, but if you’re playing Cryx you’ll need to get used to that. The Deathrippers are just solid little toys. They move fast, hit pretty well, and are supremely accurate with their attacks. They die fast, but I’m sure you were expecting that. They make great flankers and if one can get a charge lane on an enemy caster that isn’t camping focus you might want to let them know they can start cleaning up the table.
Cygnar loves to shoot. Despite a purely meh ‘caster this is a really really solid battle box. Ironclads are very very popular, potent heavies that mix accuracy, power, and a great support ability. The lights are a mixed bag. The Charger is the premier shooting light in a faction that loves shooting. The Lancer is a very defensive arc node. In a game that loves offense, defensive abilities just aren’t as fun. This ‘jack is far from as weak as the Defiler, and it has its uses, but it’s not ideal. This box won’t dominate or cripple the enemy like Cryx, it cannot disrupt the enemy with nearly as much ability, but it can still set the tone in a game.
Caster – 5/10 – I’ll admit I’m not a pStryker fan. He’s very defensive. Warmachine loves offense. He can be tough as nails, he can support a few models, again mostly with defensive buffs. Just not inspiring.
Ironclad – 9/10 – probably the best heavy in a battlebox. The only chink in the armor is… its armor. It’s fast, hits like a truck, with accuracy, and it can knock down the enemy to ensure successful follow-up attacks or clear the way for the:
Charger – 9/10 – Ok Warmachine doesn’t like shooting. It’s just not as potent. It’s also very focus inefficient. Except for this bad boy. With 3 focus it can give you two very accurate, fully boosted shots. With snipe it can shoot a long way. With Ironclad you can knock down bad guys blocking Line of sight to let you see the target you want.
Lancer – 5/10 – a terribly defensive arc node. It’s more useful than the Defiler. Probably.
This is a schizophrenic box. Stryker can help deliver a jack by boosting it’s armor and defense, and he can throw Snipe on the charger to give it more range. He’s also an incredibly accurate attacker in his own right, even if his strength is pretty run-of-the-mill. The one thing he really has going for him is that he can boost the heck out of the Charger. The key to this box is clearing line of fire. Ironclad can drop the hammer to knockdown an enemy, this could let the charger pop off two boosted shots at something your opponent thought was safe IF the Ironclad itself didn’t move into the way. Remember, you do not have to charge directly towards your target, you can charge tangentially. Don’t block line of sight in order to clear line of sight. The Lancer is best served as an extension of your caster, being an arc node it can apply Stryker’s buffs or other spells at arms reach, however you really want it in close to your battlegroup as it has the armor of a heavy and a defensive ability that simply demands your opponent find a way to work around it. See the card. The Ironclad is a beatstick with 1 fantastic attack, 1 decent attack, and a game-winning special ability. It’s not unbelievably tough (see Warjack, Heavy, Khador) but it can take a pounding. It also has pretty good speed for a heavy and it synergizes well with the Charger. The Charger is your all-star. It’s fast, fairly tough, fairly hard to hit, accurate, and it does more with three focus than any jack in the game. 2 Fully Boosted shots from a fast, accurate platform. This is your game winner here and your opponent knows it. Your Lancer will probably spend more than a little time charging around keeping this guy safe, and that’s ok. Unfortunately this box is far more predictable than the Cryx one, as you will pretty much be running around with Stryker a little behind and between the Ironclad on one side, and the Lancer/Charger on the other, trying to find a good angle to smash the screen your enemy is setting up in front of his Caster.