Warmachine Vengeance Review: Retribution

IN SHORT: Warmachine Vengeance has arrived. Let’s dig in. As with previous releases, every Warmachine army gets a healthy heaping of awesome, this time with an emphasis on speed with exciting cavalry units and mobile warcasters. It also ushers in an interesting cast of journeymen warcasters. The book is printed in stellar full color with plenty of gorgeous new artwork.

Let’s take a look at the new Retribution models.

ISSYRIA, SIBYL OF DAWN: This warcaster has no offensive abilities of any kind, be they weapons or spells. She depends entirely on her army to get the job done. Fortunately, she brings a whole host of support to said army along with 8 Focus to play with.

Offensively, Issyria can grant +2” charges in her control area and give a warjack a free attack each round. Her feat can be used by just about any model in Retribution. It lets them ignore concealment, Camouflage, and Stealth while granting them an additional die on attack and damage rolls. Very potent for a powerful alpha strike, be it melee or ranged or a combined approach.

Defensively, she also has an impressive toolkit. She comes with a +2 ARM buff, can negate enemy spells with Arcane Vortex, and can keep a key model safe with Admonition. Her only offensive spell, Blinding Light, serves a dual purpose. It strips enemy warrior models or units of 2 DEF and prevents them from making ranged or magic attacks. This can potentially shut down your opponent’s alpha strike before it gets off the ground, so she’ll want an arc node or two for that.

With so many support options and a powerful feat, Issyria can lead a wide variety of builds. First impressions are a tricky but potentially rewarding warcaster to play. If the key models in her army get wrecked, she’s done. Fortunately with an ARM buff, Admonition, and Arcane Vortex, she has the tools to keep those models safe until it’s time to strike.

IMPERATUS: Retribution gets a high level character warjack. Based on the Phoenix, the Imperatus comes with a shocking suite of rules and an equally shocking price tag of 12 points. First, this warjack is tough to kill. With DEF 13, ARM 18, and a 12-point field that regenerates d6 points in the maintenance phase, it’s sticking around. Even better, if it does get totaled, it just gets right back up with a full power field and one box repaired in each system.

It also hits hard with two P+S 17 thermal blades that set enemies on fire. Its POW 14 gun makes enemies explode into flames, setting their neighbors on fire. Yes, I think Privateer Press took the whole Phoenix thing quite literally with this one.

And it’s fast too. With SPD 6, Side Step, and Reach on its blades, it can potentially get to targets 15” away. Fast, hard-hitting, and tough to kill. It’s what a really expensive character warjack should be.

HOUSEGUARD THANE: This model brings a number of bonuses to Houseguard units. With Desperate Pace, a select Houseguard unit gains +2” movement. That’s a basic useful bonus to those units. But the most exciting rule is Firing Solution [Houseguard]. With this, the target unit ignores Camouflage and Stealth.

Retribution tends to struggle against Stealth. Well, guess what? Houseguard Thane plus Houseguard Riflemen can chew models relying on Stealth to keep them safe. A very nice addition to the Retribution arsenal.

MAGE HUNTER INFILTRATORS: What can I say? These guys live up to their name. Well, the Mage Hunter part, at least.

Gang brings their two attacks up to effective MAT 8 and P+S 11. Mage Killer makes them de facto Weapon Masters against spellcasters. Arcane Assassin allows them to ignore Power Fields and defensive buffs. Stealth, DEF 14, SPD 7, and Pathfinder help to get them there. They’re good at what they’re designed to do, and can definitely put the hurt on most warcaster/warlock models if they get close.

What more is there to say? Well, they can have the next model tag along …

EIRYSS, MAGE HUNTER COMMANDER: Eiryss is a unit attachment in her third edition, and she’s just as impressive as ever. This time she brings the pain to both Warmachine and Hordes, but especially to Hordes. All of her attacks (one ranged and two melee) come with Arcane Hemorrhage. Hit a model, strip it of Focus or Fury, and switch off its upkeep spells. This is nasty against Warmachine players, but can really mess with Hordes players’ fury management.

She can join either flavor of Mage Hunters, and both can benefit from her rules. She grants Fearless, Reform, and Advance Deployment. My personal favorite combo? Try Eiryss, the Strike Force, and a Strike Force Commander. Now Eiryss’s crossbow ignores LOS, concealment, and cover. Just try hiding from her now!

ELARA, TYRO OF THE THIRD CHAMBER: Here’s a journeyman warcaster that looks like she wants to be in the thick of it, but I don’t know about that.

When she kills a living enemy model, she can allocate a point of Focus to a battlegroup warjack. She also comes with Side Step for those extra 2” moves to help her nail two models and charge up whichever warjack she’s controlling. Theoretically, she could kill six models and fill up two warjacks. Not too bad, though this does come with a disclaimer. Her melee attacks are only MAT 6 P+S 10 and don’t have Reach. Not exactly the stuff of legends.

When camping, she reaches a solid DEF 15 ARM 18. Since she has no defensive abilities, she relies on her raw stats much more so than other journeymen warcasters. But her fairly unimpressive melee skills limit valid targets for Extraction.

Her Battle Charged spell does brings some more options to the table. This gives her battlegroup (including her) Counter Charge, allowing them to hang back a bit and then get free charges on models hitting the front lines. And she can always just stay out of the way and keep a warjack flush with focus. For 3 points, that’s still a good deal. But she doesn’t impress me the way some other journeymen warcasters do.

SUMMARY: Privateer Press continues to release new and exciting models for each of its factions, ensuring that whichever army you play, you keep getting new options to bring to the tabletop. All in all, Vengeance is great release for a game that keeps getting better.

Check out the complete list of Warmachine and Hordes articles here.

Categories: Warmachine

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