In today’s Warcaster Spotlight, we get an in-depth look at Ravyn, Eternal Light. Logan Streun, Systems Designer at Whitemoon Dreams and veteran Retribution of Scyrah player, talks to us about Ravyn and her tactics. Take a look at the next Retribution of Scyrah Warcaster, coming out soon to WARMACHINE:Tactics.
Backround: Ravyn stands as a beacon of hope within a sect consumed by an apocalyptic vision of the future. She is widely admired both for her dedication to the goddess and for her unquestionable skill as a warrior and leader. Off the field she possesses a calm and pious wisdom. In battle some believe her to be invincible. Her weapon, Hellebore, becomes an extension of her will as she fires, strikes, and fires again. She sweeps through enemies in a whirling sequence of slashes and thrusts, each maneuver striking a mortal blow or leaving a maiming injury. She takes no joy in killing, but neither does she shrink from it.
Ravyn spent most of her adult years in service to the Fane Knights and was one of the few among them who fought to end the atrocities of House Vyre. Her small band took the forefront in a string of major battles and is credited with the turning in the tide in the north. Although five years ago Ravyn shocked her peers by the leaving the Fane Knights to join the Retribution of Scyrah. Given her record of service this decision was a serious blow to the fane, but what outsiders did not realize was that this decision was not made hastily.
Despite her short history with the Retribution, her name is synonymous with service to Scyrah and Ios, thus this standing has been rapidly embraced. To many in the organization, Ravyn is seen as a fighting embodiment of the righteousness of their holy cause.
Abilities and Descriptions: Ravyn, like most Retribution Warcasters, is a mix between support and combat ability. Her spells tend to focus more towards support but she comes with a suite of abilities which make her a potent fighter
Gunfighter: When Ravyn is in melee, she may use her ranged weapon against enemy targets in her melee range.
Quick Work: When Ravyn destroys one or more enemy units with a melee attack, she may make a free ranged attack immediately.
Swift Hunter: When Ravyn destroys an enemy unit with a normal ranged attack, she is given a 2 square move
Virtuoso: Ravyn may make both melee and ranged attacks in the same activation and gets her initial attacks for both melee and ranged.
Blade: A melee weapon that deals 7 damage and has Reach, and Magical Weapon. It also has Thresher as a special attack, which allows Ravyn to make a melee attack against everyone in her melee range.
Hellebore: A ranged weapon that deals 6 damage and has a range of 12. It has Magical Weapon, and Blaster (when shooting, you may spend a focus to give the shot AoE 3)
Eliminator: 3-cost offensive spell for 8 damage and a small AoE. When the attack is resolved, Ravyn may move 2 squares for every unit destroyed by the spell.
Locomotion: A utility spell that may only target one of her Warjacks. Ravyn may choose to spend up to 3 focus for the spell, and when cast it will allow the target Warjack to move 1 square for every focus spent.
Snipe: A 2-cost utility upkeep spell with Disbursial. Friendly units affected by Snipe gain +4 RNG to their ranged weapons
Veil of Mists: A 3-cost utility/defensive upkeep spell. When cast, Ravyn places a medium-sized AoE on the field within her control area. This AoE is a cloud effect that does not block LoS for friendly faction units. Additionally while within the AoE, friendly faction units gain Pathfinder and may also move through other units as long as they have enough movement to move completely past them.
Vortex of Destruction: A 2-cost utility upkeep spell. When cast, damage rolls against enemy units in Ravyn’s melee range are automatically boosted.
Feat – Fire Storm: Lasts for one turn. While in Ravyn’s control area, friendly faction units gain boosted ranged attack rolls and Swift Hunter
Suggested Tactics: Ravyn occupies an interesting space between support and combatant. She features a trio of spells which have strong support potential which can allow her force to both survive longer and destroy tougher targets. This paired with her passives which give her surprising potential as a fighter make her quite flexible throughout the various stages of the fight. Because she generally likes to be up close while her spells and feat tend to assist ranged units, this ends up leading to giving her a more balanced list setup where a blend of ranged and melee elements will be particularly effective.
Support wise, this mostly comes from her feat and the blend of her last 3 spells, Snipe, Veil of Mists, and Vortex of Destruction. Snipe works for any of your ranged units, but is especially powerful on the Invictors. They are capable melee fighters making your ranged line not as susceptible to being engaged and feature a strong ranged attack, with the only downside being their average range of 10. Snipe helps alleviate this downside and a group of 3 makes for a strong 9 point package. You can also hot-swap Snipe between 2 groups of 3 Invictors to have 6 range 14 shooters laying into the enemy force.
Veil of Mists is also a strong support spell being a large cloud effect that can be placed in almost any position you need. What’s better is the cloud effect works one way, allowing your friendly Faction units to see through it but enemy units may not. So getting this cloud out early and deep into the battlefield will allow you to upkeep it and continue to be a hindrance with line of sight for only your enemy. Additionally having it in a central location allows you to use its secondary effect which can setup some tricky plays by being able to move through units that are inside the AoE. You can even do some interesting waterfall charges by having a unit in behind charge someone engaging the front line and then have the front line charge through to a farther target.
Lastly Vortex of Destruction is both a supportive spell and aids in Ravyn’s combat ability. The real trick to Vortex of Destruction is that it causes enemy units to take boosted damage, regardless of the source. So normally after your initial charge earlier in the match, warrior units are significantly less powerful without the boost from the charge, but Ravyn can come in to apply Vortex of Destruction onto these targets and now those warrior units can use that boosted damage to finish off those targets. Also it is useful for ranged attacks. If you have a ranged focused list, you can use Ravyn to feat and then get into combat with a particularly tough target, then with the boosted attack from the feat the melee DEF bonus isn’t as potent and your units can inflict significant damage. Generally Ravyn lists tend to be a little more light on their attacks as ranged attacks are usually less powerful then melee attacks, but Vortex of Destruction when used well can really help to close that gap and allow her to still take on some tough targets.
But her supportive abilities are but one half of her potential. She comes with a slew of passives that grant her some potent combat potential. Especially if you’ve been upkeeping Vortex of Destruction, Ravyn has the ability to charge in, usually kill her charge target, then take her Quick Work shot potentially killing that target, and on killing with the ranged attack move 2 squares. With Vortex up all her attacks will have boosted damage and she can dance across your opponent’s line bringing death to all those around her. And after this whirlwind of death, your squad is now free to drive forward into your enemy’s back lines. One thing to note about her combat ability is she is not quite the game closer that Butcher or Vyros can be, she still only has a fairly moderate MAT and RAT of 3 so hitting Warcasters is a bit tricky, and her damage is not exceptional either. With Vortex you have the potential to close out the game by boosting the attack rolls against Warcasters, or simply buying a number of attacks, but either way it’s still a bit of a gamble. Where she tends to excel in combat is against enemy warrior units or the occasional Warjack.
Playing Ravyn will be a fun and interesting mix between support and combat. Crafty players will be well rewarded for being able to come up with unique solutions to various gameplay scenarios. Through the combination of her spells and personal combat ability, there is a lot you can do with her. Even the tactics described here are only an introduction to her skill-set and likely players will find more interesting ways to get the most out of her. But her skill set does add significantly to Retribution’s ability to face more warrior heavy lists and will certainly add to Ret’s options in competitive formats, or also just simply being very fun to play!
Differences from the tabletop: While Ravyn’s abilities have remained the same, the nature of Tactics has seen some very significant changes to Ravyn’s style of play. On the tabletop she tends to stick to a more supportive role focusing on moving Snipe around and looking for a strong feat turn to allow her gun-line to cut the enemy down. But with the multi-health environment and the more limited number of units, her ability to feat and either remove large swaths of the enemy or assassinate the enemy Warcaster with purely ranged attacks is significantly blunted.
What is more potent now though is her personal survivability and combat prowess. Plus medium AoEs on the grid occupy a space 5 squares wide which is a very significant amount of ground coverage, making Veil of Mists much more potent. Snipe is still also very useful, especially in conjunction with Invictors as their shots are both decently accurate and pack a significant punch. Most notably the spell that has improved the most with the transition is Vortex of Destruction. With everyone being multi-health, units don’t typically die to a single unboosted damage attack. But Vortex can give a very strong damage boost to your forces and if used correctly you can wipe out tough targets with the damage boost, and potentially a large portion of your opponent’s force through good use of Quick Work shoots and Swift Hunter to move along your opponent’s line.
She will feel quite different from her tabletop incarnation, but certainly no less effective.