It was almost ten years ago that I picked up my very first model from Privateer Press, a Gun Mage Captain Adept. He exemplified everything I loved about Cygnar—he was a highly trained, mobile, precision killing machine with skills honed over years of practice. He channeled magical energy through the barrel of a gun to unleash a rush of arcane power upon the world. Ever since then, I’ve been bringing the roar of gunfire and the flash of lightning to the battlefield.
The flexibility of Cygnar is something I’ve always enjoyed, and so I wanted to make a list that capitalized on the combination of storm technology and superior ranged firepower that makes Cygnar unique. So, I turned on a little rock music for inspiration and came up with “The Thunder of Guns.”
Major Beth Maddox is what some might call a toolbox ’caster: she has something to deal with basically every situation. This list is designed to echo and reinforce that, running models that can handle a wide variety of situations. Snipe enhances the ranged potential offered by almost every single model in the list while Onslaught takes care of the majority of rough terrain issues. Assail and Thundering Rage turn already strong melee options into threats capable of dealing with even the most heavily armored opponents. Maddox exemplifies Cygnar in so many ways, delivering maximum power exactly where it is needed to crack an opponent’s army apart, and that begins with her battlegroup.
The Cyclone has seen a lot of improvements, from a lowered point cost to longer ranged guns. Having two open fists also allows it to make use of the new throw rules, perhaps one of my favorite changes in the new editions. It can toss anything with armor too heavy for it to deal with toward another unit or warjack that can bring the pain. The three Covering Fire templates provided by the Cyclone and my two Trencher Chain Gun Crews grant over 12˝ of board denial, protecting my army from melee-based infantry threats.
The Hammersmith is another warjack I feel really shines in conjunction with Maddox. The bump up to MAT 7 allows it to tackle a wider variety of threats. With the help of the Assail spell, and the addition of a 1˝ melee range, the Hammersmith can practically barrel into my opponents, battering them out of position with Chain Attack: Smite and Beat Back.
The Avenger is an all-around fantastic warjack, sporting a high-powered gun, a massive RNG 2 melee weapon, and heavy armor to boot. It benefits from both Snipe and Assail, taking out masses of infantry and knocking down key targets with its Seismic Cannon before closing in for the kill with its Stun Blade.
Stormblades have long been my favorite heavy-hitting unit in the game. With three Covering Fire templates protecting them from melee-based threats, and the combined power of Maddox’s Dauntless Resolve spell with the single-turn potency of Iron Zeal pushing them to ARM 21, this list almost guarantees they will make it to their targets. Not only do these bad boys have Assault while the Officer is in play, but they have Combined Melee Attack as well, so targets with heavy armor and high defense are both at risk. The awesome combination of Snipe with, effectively, POW 14 Storm Glaive blasts lets them contribute significantly at range against all but the heartiest of targets…and anything that survives will generally fall to the might of an effective P+S 15 charge attack. The Storm Gunner Weapon Attachments not only add extra bodies to the unit, but they also wield the mighty Storm Thrower, which lets the rest of the unit automatically hit with all of those lovely electricity bolts I mentioned earlier.
Long Gunners are a staple of the Cygnaran Army, and I really feel they have a chance to shine in this list. The poster children for flexibility in shooting, Combined Ranged Attack and Dual Shot allow them to contribute in a myriad of ways. Heavy armor, massed infantry, high defense…all of these fall prey to the skills of a well-trained and drilled complement of Long Gunners, who fire directly into the face of danger before Repositioning to a better vantage to continue their endless barrage. The cacophony of repeating long guns form a staccato of death that echoes across the battlefield. With Snipe, I can usually manage to get the first blow against my opponent while Flawless Maneuvers lets me keep my Long Gunners around longer during the game.
The Trencher Chain Gun Crews are there for dealing with infantry, plain and simple. Covering Fire helps protect the rest of my army from counterattacks. And the Ammo Feeder special action boosts damage for the chain gun against warrior models, helping them deal with heavier infantry targets such as those in Shield Wall or those with multiple wounds.
The final element of the list is my pair of Gun Mage Captain Adepts. I always like running solos in pairs—that way if one dies, I have a backup to help finish the job. So, I can play a bit aggressively with one and keep the other in reserve. These fine, upstanding gentlemen not only provide a solution to Stealth with their Flare shot, but they also help to lower defense, pushing my warjacks up to effective MAT 9 if necessary. Even if the debuffing potential is unneeded, they still carry what can turn into a RNG 14, POW 10 Magelock with a boosted damage roll.
From start to finish, this list is about controlling the battlefield through damage potential. Wherever your opponents turn, they should see something that can hurt them. The front line of this list is bullets from both covering fire and the Long Gunners. Follow that up quickly with a decisive one-two punch from the Storm Blades to crack open any remaining heavy armored targets, and your warjacks will stand practically unopposed. While it may not begin dominating Steamroller tournaments worldwide, this list has the tools to bring a strong fight against almost any army composition you may run into. Ultimately, “The Thunder of Guns” is geared toward what I find the most enjoyable in WARMACHINE and HORDES: blowing stuff up!