Insider 12-18-2013

DC: There are quite a few folks around the office who are excited about WARMACHINE High Command‘s first expansion, The Big Guns. This expansion brings each of the four factions an additional warcaster card (often with new color combinations), along with five copies each of four army cards in a variety of detachment colors. The Big Guns is themed around artillery, marksmen, and the factions’ varying approaches to ranged combat. Some of the featured cards include Lieutenant Allister Caine, the Redeemer, Man-O-War Bombardier Korps, and Revenant Cannon Crew.

The High Command expansion themes have a common thread that loosely ties the sets together, but some warcaster cards or army cards fall outside those parameters. Other cards make their way into an expansion because they’re an iconic part that hasn’t been featured in a faction yet, because they open up new gameplay options for their faction, or because they reinforce an existing faction theme or play style.

When we’re lucky, new cards hit several of these goals at the same time. The Arcane Tempest Gun Mages are a great example. Not only are they expert marksmen for our gunplay-themed expansion, but they’re also an iconic element of the Iron Kingdoms that reinforces Cygnar’s theme of ranged superiority in High Command.

It’s one thing to say other folks around the office are excited about The Big Guns, but another thing entirely to show it! So, this week we’ll take a look at some comments from other Privateer Press staffers about how they plan to incorporate some of the new The Big Guns cards into their High Command decks.

Will: Cygnar deck discussion with The Big Guns.

Given my love of running lots of warjacks and heavy infantry when playing Cygnar, there’s little surprise I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Big Guns since before we finished playtesting the High Command core set. The Avenger is an absolute monster with POW 3, Health 6, and Quake, an even nastier version of the Ironclad’s Knockdown ability. While there are plenty of cards in Cygnar that can ratchet up the Avenger, the undisputed champion has to be Kara Sloan and her Firing Squad ability, which—when combined with Battlegroup Commander—cranks the Avenger’s POW up to a Juggernaut-shattering 7.

To maximize The Big Guns in my Cygnar deck, I’ve altered my red, blue, and purple detachments to red, blue, and orange, led by Captain Jeremiah Kraye, Captain Kara Sloan, and Lt. Allister Caine. With two Rail Shipments, the orange detachment is perfect for the warjack-heavy deck I want to run, plus it gives me access to some faster rush options with both Long Gunner Platoons and Trencher Platoons. I swapped out the Charger and Trencher Light Artillery Team for the two orange Arcane Tempest Gun Mages, giving me a little more warrior-based firepower.

In the red detachment, I swapped a Lancer and the two Field Mechanic Corps for the three red Avengers, while in blue I dropped two Minutemen for Hunters and a Stormblade Platoon for an Avenger.

Thanks to the high volume of WAR resource cards, this deck can move pretty fast despite its higher-than-average rush and purchase costs. Grabbing Rail Shipment or Caspian Orders early is key, so don’t be afraid to cycle your reserves if you don’t see one or two of them in your opening turn. And definitely don’t hesitate to cycle out an Avenger or two, as with so many in the deck you’re bound to see more come up in future turns.

Hungerford: Protectorate deck discussion with The Big Guns.

The Big Guns brings some really fun options for the Protectorate of Menoth, especially in the warcaster department! Lately I’ve been running a hyper-aggressive deck that swarms locations with infantry as I try to capture as many locations as possible.

The deck runs the green, orange, and yellow detachments, originally led by Severius, Thyra, and Vindictus; however, with the release of The Big Guns, I had a new warcaster option that fit perfectly into my deck. The High Reclaimer is an incredible resource, given the amount of low-cost, high-impact warrior cards available in the Protectorate. Being able to deploy a Paladin of the Wall or Deliver Sunburst Detachment for free is exactly the type of value I’m looking for in my deck.

I decided to swap out Vindictus for the High Reclaimer, which allows me to remain in my original detachment colors. Furthermore, I took a Vigilant and a Temple Flameguard Phalanx out of the yellow detachment plus a Holy Zealot Mob out of the green detachment, and replaced all three with Deliver Sunburst detachments. These bad boys are great! In a swarm style deck like mine, they’re almost always guaranteed to get the bonus power, they’re cheap, and best of all they’re worth 1 VP each!

Charles Foster: Khador deck discussion with The Big Guns.

The Big Guns expansion was pre-released only a few weeks ago at WARMACHINE Weekend, and I have been dying to get my hands on it. In fact, I have been playing my Khador deck in High Command almost exclusively since the core game’s release—warjacks, warjacks, and more warjacks! So, The Big Guns expansion would give me that craving I have to maximize the amount of warjacks in my overall deck. After seeing the Berserker at a POW 3 for only a PURCHASE 3 RUSH 5, I knew I wanted to add these into my Khador deck as soon as possible. The Decimator also presented some interesting options; its Sustained Attack ability makes the Decimator essentially a POW 4 when fighting a single enemy. It would be a welcome addition to any Khador deck, but to really drive its ability home, I knew adding Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova to the mix would allow me to maximize my chance at minimizing my opponent’s presence at a location.

To power up my deck and optimize it with cards from The Big Guns expansion, I elected to switch up the blue, red, and yellow detachments to red, purple, and orange. To lead this team I chose Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova, Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Prince, and Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher.

I wanted to start by maximizing the punch in my orange deck, even if it slowed me down just a little to achieve it. I decided to swap out two of the Winter Guard Conscripts for two of the Berserkers. This gave me a stronger presence on the battlefield while decreasing my CMD dependency.

I wanted to continue to minimize the number of troops I would be depending on, so in the red detachment I removed two of the Man-O-War Shocktroopers and replaced them with Decimators. I again reduce the overall CMD requirements within the deck while raising the WAR amounts by doing so.

Finally, to push the warjack count into overload, I tuned the purple detachment by adding three more Decimator and removing one Greylord Arcanist Korps and two Greylord Occultists. With so many warjacks in the deck, don’t be afraid to cycle through the reserves on a warjack or two to find the Higher WAR resource cards such as Supply Command. You are definitely going to need them, given the high amount of steam-powered metal this deck brings to the table.

Ed: Cryx deck discussion with The Big Guns.

I’m quite excited about the addition of Revenants to the Cryx arsenal with both the Revenant Cannon Crew and the Revenant Rifle Crew. I knew immediately I would build an orange, yellow, and purple deck to see if I could cram them all in. Because of the Cannon Crew’s ability to deploy other non-character Revenants for free and the Rifle Crew’s ability to pull Revenants from your discard pile and put them into your hand, these guys really hum the more you have.

To lead my forces I chose Warwitch Deneghra, the Witch Coven of Garlghast, and Lord Exhumator Scaverous. All of these warcasters are good complements to the Revenants, allowing them to kill more effectively, survive the enemy attack, or hit the battlefield for minimal cost.

In my orange detachment I dropped three Necrosurgeon Corps to fit in a pair of Revenant Rifle Crew and a single Defiler. This allowed me to keep all of my Mechanithralls and Slayers for the combo strike synergy, and both of the Necromancy resources to allow me to cycle my Scrap Thralls, Mechanithralls, and Revenant Rifle Crew out of my discard pile directly to locations of my choosing. I also kept both Necromancy cards in my yellow detachment, swapping out two Deathrippers and two Necrotech Corps for four more Revenant cards. This allowed me to keep my Harrowers with some serious staying power and Scrap Thrall Hordes for cheap hitting power. The purple detachment was full of tough choices, but in the end I sacrificed a pair of Deathrippers, my Necrofactorium, and Ritual Sacrifice to fit my final two of each Revenant type into the deck. That still left me with plenty of purple to work with, including Blood Witch Hags, Desecrator, and Bane Thrall Cadres.

This deck has plenty of resources to work with, and the low command cost of many of the warriors will keep the hordes pouring out, especially when cycling and recycling them from your hand and discard pile. Its hitting power is still quite good, and with the strategic use of warcasters and focus on integrated combos, this deck will secure locations often.

Bringing Out The Big Guns,