On Our Ranking Officer

The game’s newest model type officially hit shelves a week or two ago. I’ve managed to get a little table top time with Valachev over the last week and have some thoughts on him and the other faction’s newest UAs.

I was pretty pumped to see this model type come out. I’ve played Mercenaries before and have a sizable collection of units from that era that don’t get to see as much table time as they used to. On top of that, I’m a sucker for any mechanic that makes us look at things from a different perspective. Paying 2 points to make a Mercenary unit a Faction, even without the individual upgrade’s special abilities, does just that. Suddenly, a lot of the old standbys have some competition. With that in mind, I looked over all the options the Khador player has with Valachev. While I’m absolutely going to discuss the units I found most interesting, let’s look at the man himself first.

Valachev – He has decent stats, but its all about his special actions. Disbinding is fantastic to have in a faction with little control over enemy upkeeps. It will be really nice to drop Crippling Grasp from a unit without having to kill one with eEiryss. Zephyr is bonkers. The bonus 3″ of movement makes a few units I would normally overlook a lot more attractive. And finally, he has Frostbite, the standard Greylord spray. While having a magic attack at the ready is nice, I don’t think I’ll ever really be using it. Considering the unit loses its status as Khadorans (and Zephyr!), he spends a whole lot of his time leading from the back. I’ll never be going out of my way to use this.

Well, he’s simple enough. Let’s look at some units.

Croe’s Cutthroats – Valachev’s Zephyr action is really nice with the unit, either extending their threat range with their crossbows or letting them move a little while retaining an aiming bonus. They also stand to benefit a fair amount from being Khador models. Irusk probably gives them the most, with his feat giving them a bonus to hit and Battle Lust giving them a total of 5d6 on the charge against living models. The Butcher could do decently with them as they would benefit from his feat, making them a serious threat at range. I’m not entirely sold on the idea of shelling out 12 points on them considering they bounce off constructs, but I think they are something I want to test out a few times before completely dismissing them.

Cylena Raefyll and Nyss Hunters – When Ranking Officers were first announced, this is the unit everyone looked at. I’d really like to be able to say its not the best choice for Valachev, but, well… obvious choice is obvious. At 10 points, one could argue the max unit is under-priced before you even look at a UA. Everything that was good for the Cutthroats is even better for the Nyss. Valachev’s Zephyr is amazing here. Obviously, a 10″ advance with a 12″ CRA is bonkers, but the ability to Zephir out of combat and shoot at the assholes who ran to engage or killed a buddy is golden. I’ve got a few games in with them using the Butcher and let me tell you, having a 22″ threat range and CRA with the effects of his feat is like cheating. I’d been trying to make a list with the Butcher that used the Rifle Corp to apply ranged pressure and these guys do it about a million times better. I’m planning on giving them a try with eIrusk for Tactical Supremacy and Martial Discipline and maybe pIrusk for the feat and Battle Lust. I really hate to say it, but I think everyone’s first impressions were right this time. The Nyss are just silly with our faction bonuses and, more importantly, even more movement.

Herne and Jonne – So, I totally overlooked these guys until another Khador player pointed out how amazing eIrusk’s Fire for Effect is with them. I lol’d so fucking hard. Three 3″ blasts with fully boosted rolls. Oh man. And it all clocks in for 5 goddamn points. And they benefit from Martial Discipline. HAHAHAHA.

Lady Aiyana and Master Holt – Again, eIrusk is really nice with them. Its great to be able to hide them behind Man O’ War or something stupid and fire off Harm and hand cannon shots safely. I’m also a huge fan of Zephyr with them, as it gives them a really nice threat range. Though the 3″ move is nice, I doubt I’ll be taking Valachev with them outside of eIrusk lists.

The Nyss Hunters are definitely the real winners here, with everything else FAR behind them. As much as I would have like to have been surprised with someone else coming out on top, it was unrealistic. The Nyss were worth taking relying on their own merits in a wide variety of Khador lists. Outside of Aiyana and Holt, that can’t be said of any of the other unit choices we have. With all this in mind, its not that shocking to see the bonuses Valachev hands out going further with them. However, I think this dude is definitely going to make me get Herne and Jonne just for eIrusk. Thinking about all those boosted templates makes me laugh uncontrollably.

As far as the other factions go, I think they got some goodies, too. The Attendant Priest is probably the best of the three, hilariously. His abilities are amazing AND they aren’t special actions, so you can use them and run or charge. Too bad the Protectorate is so goddamn racist. The best use I see for him is to toss him on Aiyana and Holt to benefit from the Harbinger’s Martyrdom or with the Forge Guard in Harbinger or Vindictus lists. That’s about it considering how shitty the choices are.

The Cygnar trencher guy is pretty neat. I think he might be the best “Nyss UA” when you consider how aggressive Go to Ground lets you play. Assault is really nice, but probably best used to extend your range rather than to charge into combat. Some of the locals have been talking about taking him with Sam and the Devil Dogs, which I would love to see. Hopefully, he can make them moderately successful. This dude is all about his abilities, though, as Cygnar faction specific stuff isn’t anywhere near as awesome as Khador’s or the Protectorate’s.

Its going to be interesting to see how people find uses for these new dudes. I’m loving the Nyss with the Butcher and expect to be using them for a while. Is this just novelty or are they really that good? I guess we’ll find out.


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