20 December 2011

Know Your Opponent: eStryker

     Good evening folks Phreaker187 here once again talking about a subject that I'm much more familiar with than stinky trolls, that would be killing trolls.  As primarily a Cygnar player and to a lesser extent a Minions player I like to think I have the inside edge on all things swan related, and Troll players should too.

     How many times have you lost a game because you weren't familiar with your opponents army?  I know I've lost many a game after asking the same question, "You can charge how far?"  I'm going to write a few short articles on on the ins and outs of playing against Cygnar and hopefully make you more aware of how to beat me... wait a minute... maybe not.

First things first let's start with a typical tournament 35 point list.
 eStryker  +6
Ol' Rowdy -9
Thorn -8
Squire -2
Journeyman Warcaster -3
Archduke Alain Runewood -3
Black 13 -4
Max Sword Knights -6

Eyriss, Angel of Retribution -3

Reinholdt, Gobber Dude -1
Rhupert Carvolo -2

For a grand total of 35 points of sword to face goodness.  Let's start from the top of the list.

Lord Commander Coleman Stryker:  Okay so if the name alone doesn't strike fear into you the rest of him certainly should. For a warcaster he has slightly better than average stats, with a DEF stat that will leave troll casters drooling. Average Cygnar focus stat of 6 with an obvious 12" control area.

Spell List:
Deflection - The standard Cygnar ARM buffer, faction warrior models get +2 ARM against ranged and Magic.  It's important to note that mercs and jacks do not get the ARM buffs here only warrior models.  Cygnar usually brings its fair share of mercs to the table so it's worth remembering they don't get any benefit.

Lightning Storm - Garbage spell, makes 3" AOE's that stay in play for a turn. Also his most expensive spell.  I think PP needed to give him an offensive spell for some reason so he got this.  Good for blocking charge lanes in a pinch I guess.  I've cast this spell about twice in my life.

Positive Charge - The meat and potatoes of Strykers spell list. +2 hit and damage buff on a warjack, faction friendlies within 3" also get the buff (there's that faction only bit again).  Think about the first time you saw Ol' Rowdy charge something.  Now imagine he's MAT 10 P+S 20 with 4 focus on him.  Ouch!

Rebuke - Why oh why did they give him this spell?  To anger troll players I think.  Model/Unit can't do orders or special actions for a turn.  Those 13 Kriels don't look that scary anymore now that they can't do anything, but get shot. He can also cast it 3 times a turn.

Velocity - Pay some focus move 2" for each focus you spend.  Famous last words, "Stryker can charge how far this turn?"

He has a few abilities of note:
Elite Cadre (Stormblades):  I never take SB at 35 points, they're too expensive and you only get 6.
Overload: Remember this ability well, in increments of d6 Stryker gets up to 3d6 STR and takes up to 3d6 damage.  However many focus Stryker has on him is how many times you'll need to push or roll tough to avoid dying.
Warjack Bond: First attack is auto-boosted.  Yup, "Ol' Rowdy smash!" is right.

Weapons do disruption which hordes players in general could care less about.

Rolling Thunder:  A nasty little feat.  After everything has activated models in his control get to activate, move a bit, and attack again.  This usually means the end of most armies.  With some tough rolls 33% of Trolls will survive the first wave only to die after the second.

Next up:
Ol' Rowdy: Needless to say, whenever he charges, something is going to die.  Best all around jack that Cygnar has period.  Stats are off the chart, high P+S, high ARM, and special abilities out the whazoo.  Combined with Positive Charge as mentioned above he will easily pancake even the mightiest of troll warbeasts.  Steer clear of him as long as possible.

Thorn: Arcnode, stats better than your average Lancer, he can move after arcing a spell, and hits surprisingly hard in a pinch.  Thorn is casting Rebuke or Positive Charge every turn.  Don't think just because it's a light arcnode it can't kill your warlock either, watch where they are positioning Thorn.  Thorn can charge 9+3 for reaction drive + Reach for some sick MAT 9 Slaps to your locks face.

Journeyman Warcaster: Basically a walking Arcane Shield battery.  Toss AS on Rowdy for ARM 23, Styrker for ARM 19, SK for ARM 19.  I don't see how people live without this little guy.  His hand cannon has killed many a lock/caster in it's day too.

Runewood:  One of Cygnar's newest toys, no melee based army is complete without this guy.  He's well... a fellcaller plain and simple. Gives pathfinder, stands stuff up, weapon master, and a bonus to hit for a round.  His ARM is a little on the light side though, but he has sac pawn: warjack to make up for it.  He grants Sword Knights Reform too which stacked with eStrykers feat is some nasty movement shenanigans.

Sword Knights + Piper:   Sword Knights, despite being of noble birth, are the meat shield in a lot of Cygnar armies and this isn't the exception.  With buffs stacked on thise guys you're looking at ARM 21 and Flank: Warjack.  If Positive Charge is on the warjack they're flanking with these little guys can really be brutal.  Piper makes them tough or makes them cause terror.  SK are a tough call to deal with; on one hand you ignore them, but on the other they can do a lot of damage. hmm...

Black 13/Gobber: Everyone knows about the Black or "broken" 13, they kill stuff from really far away and they do it very well, I don't think we need an in depth discussion on that.  Reinholt is a 1 point filler that lets you use *Lucky Charm every turn to make sure Rebuke hits.  3 dice, discard, the lowest, reroll with squire, no problems hitting DEF Troll.

Moral of the story is this, don't give Stryker, Thorn, or Rowdy a charge lane to your warlock, they will die.  Stryker while overboosted will hit a Troll lock for an average of dice +10 and that's without calculating for Positive Charge which he'll surely have near him.  Thorn is fast and mean.  I will usually arc Positive Charge though him, move his 3", run to tie stuff up, then stampede with the rest of my army for the nice hit and damage buffs.  Sword Knights are annoying.  High DEF/ARM makes them a great meat shield, with some movement tricks they can charge 9" kill something then reform and Strykers feat to move 6" more and attack again.

I hoped this helped you all learn what to watch for when playing against eStryker at your next tournament.  Truth be told Trolls are a horrible match-up for Cygnar so you should, especially now, coast to victory!

Good luck and have fun!


  1. Love it. I'd like to see this know your foe be a regular feature.

  2. Just remember, Thorn can't arc Pos Charge onto himself, as an arc node (or channeled) cannot target itself with a channeled spell.

  3. @Gaspy: Actually, you are incorrect. A channeler cannot arc an offensive spell onto itself. Positive charge is not offensive, so he can arc it to himself.

  4. You can target yourself when a spell says target friendly model/unit.