You say you want some Retribution…

retI’ve had a full week with the New Shiny away from Gencon and the hype surrounding the release of the Retribution of Scyrah.

I’ve made no secret of my Retribution leanings in this blog and I’m happy to have been a fairly early supporter of the newest Warmachine faction.

What I didn’t expect was how much I’d love playing the faction and what it would do to my approach to Warmachine.

Theorymachine in a vacuum sucks. Let’s just get that out of the way. When there’s no dice, no opponent, no scenario, you can manipulate just about any combo to fit your needs. I hear there’s been a lot of talk on the forums about the Retribution being “teh borked” and “overpowered.” I’ve also heard a lot of talk about the plastic kits would suck and how awful the Retribution models are.

Well opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and in this space, I really don’t care what the forums say. If I did, I’d be posting there and not on my blog.

Here are a few things to bear in mind about my approach to Warmachine.

  1. I’m not a tournament player. I’ll play in a tournament to support the community and maybe win best of faction, but I have no illusions about being the top dog.
  2. I play for fun. If I happen to win a game, that’s an added bonus. I like the game, I like the social aspect of it. I play to push some pewter around a table and interact with another human being.
  3. I’m not an assassination-style player. It’s more fun for me to play 4-5 rounds and kill a bunch of your stuff rather than killing you in Turn 2.

Having said that, here’s my take on the Retribution after playing three games with the Angry Elves.

The Dodge Viper begs you to drive it fast. Good luck going slow in one of these. I tried. ;)

The Dodge Viper begs you to drive it fast. Good luck going slow in one of these. I tried. The only thing that slowed me down was being forced to keep it in 2nd. 😉

I wanna go fast!

I’ve been fortunate to get behind the wheel of a Dodge Viper similar to the one in the photo. The car begs you to go fast. Like 70 mph in second gear fast. Some cars are built for speed, others to get you from point A to point B. Warmachine armies are similar — some are designed to win by attrition, others to deliver a precise, surgical strike and take out annoying enemy models.

The Retribution is a lot like driving the Viper, only instead of speeding, the army wants to you kill the enemy warcaster. Badly. Like Turn 2 badly. It’s not that they’re an “easy button” or “point and click” faction, it’s more of them having the right tools for the job.

Here’s the first list I ran with the Retribution:

– Chimera
– Gorgon
– Hydra
Dawnguard Invictors (10)
Dawnguard Sentinels (8)
Dawnguard Sentinels (8)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt
Narn, Mage Hunter of Ios

I took this against an Ashlynn list with Steelhead Halberdiers, Stannis and Steelie cav. Ashlynn also had four ‘jacks, which was nice to see. This was the game I also discovered my new favorite infantry unit, the Dawnguard Sentinels.


Paint job from Hardcore at Gencon.

The thing I like about the Sentinels the fact they can take a beating and dish one out. Defensive Line gives them ARM 17, and the fact they’re Weapon Masters with Reach just makes me giggle. Seriously, this is what I wish my Sword Knights were like. And yes, they do make me feel like I’m cheating on Cygnar.

One unit took a hit from the Mule (not a crit, thankfully!). The guy directly hit died, the others just laughed.

The best 37 points you can put in your Retribution army.

The best 37 points you can put in your Retribution army.

In terms of the “I wanna kill stuff” aspect of the army, Narn is perfect for this. In two of the three games, he was in my opponent’s deployment zone, threatening their casters on Turn 2. This isn’t something I typically do. I thought it would be fun to try against Ashlynn, just to see if I could do it. Turn 2, there he is, face to face with that Llaelese hooker. Granted, she killed him, but I threw him there as a distraction. Def 15 isn’t anything to sneeze at. His armor is lacking, but hey, I’ll take it given that he has Acrobatics and Stealth.

In game 2 against Asphyxious, I waited a little longer to send Narn in — mostly because he had a Deathripper and some Bane Knights to hold up. Then he skittered in close to Gaspy. It took five swings — and Gaspy’s feat! — to kill Narn. Best 37 points I’ve ever spent. 🙂 I got Narn in against Caine in my 3rd game, just to force my opponent to use the focus to kill bald headed, pointy-eared bastard. That was focus spent on boosting the hit rather than anything else the drunken Cygaran might have done.

Kaelyssa on her own is worth delivering for the kill. In the game agasint Gaspy, she did the deed on her own — without casting the spell that lets her shoot through buildings! Siphon is pretty amazing and I can’t wait to take her against a Hordes army.

Vyros is one that I’d like to get in melee because he’s such a beatstick. Between the Sentinels and the Invictors, there are some solid options for warcaster delivery.

The current paint scheme. The one I'm really sticking with. Honest.

The current paint scheme. The one I'm really sticking with. Honest.

Pretty balanced

With the troops and solos available in the initial release, it’s pretty easy to build a balanced force. Invictors can shoot the crap outta stuff — POW12 CRA is very, very nice! — and they’re solid in melee (Flank! WTF?). Sentinels have proven their worth, which is why I’m painting them as if they’re wearing plate. ARM 17 is enough to give some ‘jacks pause, and the fact that my two base trooper units have Defensive Line makes me a very happy ferret.

As for the Myrmidons, I’m still trying to get a feel for them. They die pretty easily in Mk I, but I like what I’ve seen so far. They’re still very cool models and one of the reasons why I’m playing Retribution to begin with. I can see delivering the Hydra for assassination in a Kaelyssa list and may have to try it in a future game. The Gorgon is a nice little utility ‘jack and Combo Strike makes me giggle.

Add the character Mage Hunters into the mix and you’ve got several options for assassination runs and a solid delivery system. Which brings us to the next point.

I see dead people

As mentioned earlier, I don’t look for the assassination run early in the game. With the Angry Elves on the board, I start looking for kill lanes and ways to deliver models to the assassination. I don’t usually do this with any of the other factions I play. Maybe it’s because I’ve looked at those armies the wrong way, or I don’t want to play them that way. Regardless of my shortcomings with the other armies, the Retribution has me looking for ways to kill things. So in that sense, they’ve helped me grow as a player in getting me to look at the board in a new way.

The fun thing for me will be finding new and different ways to kill things. I suspect this will grow more challenging when things like the Mage Hunter Strike Team and various UAs come out. Oh, and that Nayl guy. He should be fun. 🙂



5 Responses to You say you want some Retribution…

  1. gdaybloke says:

    Doesn’t hurt that the Dwanguard look pretty awesome 🙂

  2. Larkin Vain says:

    Nice. Can’t wait to see the rest of your force.

  3. tallyn42 says:

    Welcome to the fold of assasination killing, it is a different playstyle. Also your other two armies were never truly meant for that kind of play, well prior to legends Cygnar didn’t do that. Trolls still don’t do that, they smash their way in. I think Vyros, Rahn, and virtuoso chick..Raevyn? will play more like Cygnar, relying o neverything ti get the job done. Kaelyssa and Garyth…hmmm Garyth….will be the assasination casters, or at least that is what I think with my limited use of the rules with these guys. Retribution is truly a mixed grab bag of an army. We are going to have to find you some time to play against circle after PAX.

  4. Clayton says:

    Sounds like you are having fun, which is ALWAYS good. However, Trolls are still greater then elves 😉

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