As promised: a look at Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker so that our young mage hunters might go forth with greater confidence in Scyrah's cause.
I have, again, stolen the format used by Lord Xalys, but if any of it requires editing for format, spelling or content, please note it in the comments and we?ll make it easier to read. I have tried to cover all my bases, but I'm sure I missed a synergy, trick, or tactic. Please feel free to list it and I will add it to the main body of text.
Here we go!
Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker
"There are as many battlefields as there are paths to truth."
The Nailer of Wishes' stats are not what any of us would call impressive. His MAT and RAT are on the lower end of average and at 13/13 his DEF/ARM places him firmly in the "Yeah, I can kill that" range. If he catches on fire, he's pretty screwed. He does have boxes though, so he can probably survive an errant blast or an e-leap but, he never needs to be closer to his warcaster than 3 inches. So don't place him any closer than that.
His other notable stat is SPD 6. He's an elf and moves like one. As long as you aren't rolling your caster forward too hard, he should have plenty speed to keep up and provide the benefits that you paid for.
Weapons & Attacks
He has a magic staff with reach. On its face, that's not bad at all. But the P+S is anemic and then you remember that he's supposed to be in the backfield near your caster. If he is hitting things then the plan has gone terribly awry and you're probably in last stand mode.
However, do not forget the magic weapon. You never know when he may be called upon to make a free strike at an incorporeal target. It won't happen often, but it won't happen at all if you don't remember that you can do it.
Skills & Abilities
Ok, here we go. This is what those two points were spent on!
First, the housekeeping stuff. He is Attached, and your warcaster can only have one attachment. Right now, that's not a problem. We just don't have access to any others. In the future it may be a concern. Secondly, he's a Retribution Partisan. Yes, Brother Sylys may not have agreed with the painfully obvious truth that Scyrah's suffering can only be assuaged by the death of those filthy human spellcasters, but he has lived among the savages long enough to see that nothing they do can help Scyrah, only harm her. Therefore, we welcome his aid and knowledge. When we march to war and retribution, he marches as one of us.
Arcane Assist: This is the ability that leapt off the page at everyone. Wyshnalyrr upkeeps one your spells for free, so long as he is within 9 inches. Even though we don't have Defender's Wards or Iron Fleshes, we have a fair number of upkeeps. This ability is essentially an extra focus for virtually all our casters. In case you haven't been paying attention, more focus = more better. This is probably his #1 contribution to the war effort.
Spiritual Conduit: This one is often overlooked, but still quite good. Again, so long as The Nailer of Wishes is within 9 inches, your warcaster adds 2 inches of RNG to his/her spells. The only caveat is that he/she must be the point of origin and, therefore, any spells he or she arcs will be at the standard RNG. But, man oh man does a seemingly pitiful 2 inches make a huge difference. The difference between 10 and 12 is often the difference between being charged or not. It also makes a big difference on friendly spells, allowing your army to spread out a little farther and still be under the aegis of your warcaster's buff spell range. This one is easy to forget, but it should not be forgotten. Games have been won and lost on less than 2 inches. Don't give up the advantage.
Arcane Secrets (*Action): This one requires an action, but it's not like he was gonna swing that stick anyway. The real downside is that it needs you to be within 3 inches of the caster. That can be a little close for comfort, but the benefit outweighs the risk. The next spell the caster slings will roll an extra die on attack and damage rolls, and then drop the lowest. It's not a boost. But it does raise your expected average result fairly significantly. It really shines with AOEs. The extra die is applied to ALL damage rolls and is often enough to smear anything susceptible to blast damage. If your caster is going to sling an offensive spell, there is zero reason not to use this ability. Just remember that it's an action and not passive. So Sylys must activate before the caster to get the benefit. Also remember that it applies to the first spell your warcaster casts. So you can't cast Mobility and then get the Arcane Secret benefit on Stranglehold. Your buff was used on Mobility (and, of course, you got no benefit). So, if your positioning requires the use of a spell, Arcane Secrets won't get the job done. Keep this limitation in mind.
Let me say this upfront. There is no warcaster that does not want Sylys on his team. None. If you have no restrictions, you take him. Every. Single. Time. The tricky piece is deciding what to do in a character restricted environment. So the question, then, is: What exactly does this fine young gentle-elf do for my favorite caster? Let's take a look! (Note: This is in no particular order.)
- Ossyan: He's in the same book, so let's start here. Ossy has a ton of upkeeps so you think they'd be peas in a pod. However, since Ossy has a naturally high FOC stat, he doesn't feel the upkeep pinch as tightly as some of the other casters. That said, Quicken and Admonition will be up pretty much the whole game. Sylys allows you to effectively upkeep two spells for one focus. That's a good bargain. Ossy also tends to play a little farther up than normal so +2 RNG does not go amiss. Unfortunately, Arcantrik Bolt is his only offensive spell, so Arcane Secrets doesn't get a ton of mileage. But, it does give you a reasonable chance of damaging that jack without boosting. If he's there, you shouldn't be casting a Bolt that isn't benefiting from secrets.
- Garryth: Like all FOC 6 casters, Garryth loves Sylys. Death Sentence, Mirage, and Psychic Vampire are upkeeps and can be kept for free. Mirage is usually cast early and may last the entire game. Sylys makes it free. Death Sentence and Gallows both like +2 RNG and they both love Arcane Secrets. Death Sentence does no damage, so that's a bummer. But that extra die makes it a viable option to cast without boosting against things in the DEF 13 range (you'll still probably want to boost at 15+). Same for Gallows, and there's a little extra on the damage roll. A couple extra points of hurt never runs contrary to the plan.
- Kaelyssa: Kae is my favorite caster and, therefore, my favorite use of Sylys. Mr. Wyshnalyrr directly and tangibly plays to her strengths. Firstly, he's a Partisan, and he benefits from her feat. So that's nice. Secondly, Phantom Hunter and Banishing Ward will be up for much of the game. One of them is now free. Yes, please. Don't forget that Backlash is also an upkeep. If you're going to pinging that jack (or maybe that colossal ) over a couple rounds, Sylys can keep Backlash up and you can dump focus into other pursuits. She also has Arcantrik Bolt (which can be used the same as Ossyan, above) AND Rift. Rift is pretty ho-hum on its own, but with Arcane Secrets it is a great spell. AOE 4 hits a lot of infantry and is a nice chunk of difficult terrain. And, of course, every model hit gets the additional die (drop lowest). The +2 RNG is solid gold on Kae since she wants to be dug into cover (preferably out of LOS) and the extra RNG places her offensive spells right in the 10-12 inch sweet spot which is her kill zone (to say nothing of the ability to move Banishing Ward or Phantom Hunter around the battlefield). Basically, it removes an arc node from the "Must Have" Column into the "Yeah, I Might Get Some Mileage Out of It" Zone. It's liberating.
Finally, remember that True Sight and Phantom Hunter apply to the model and not to her weapons. So your bolstered spells will ignore LOS, cover, concealment, Stealth, and Camouflage. It's amazing what sort of options open up to you when your spells have that much liberty. You can mire warjacks and med-based infantry in the terrain. Or hit squishy troops hiding behind a forest or in cover. You can force some very uncomfortable decisions with this kind of spellcasting.
- Rahn: Rahn is a powerhouse spellslinger and Sylys does the things you'd expect him to do. Arcane Secrets makes Force Hammer more efficient and easier to swallow the 4 focus cost as a result. It also adds a metric elf-load of dice to Chain Blast. There is a lot of potential hurt there. The additional RNG is nice, but not super necessary since Rahn wants arc nodes. Even if it added +10 RNG, the angles and LOS problems that arc nodes solve would be necessary. Similar to Ossyan, the free upkeep is never bad, but his larger FOC pool allows for a little extra strain.
Finally, remember that Arcane Secrets still functions under his feat. Rahn will roll 4d6 and drop the lowest when casting the first spell on his feat turn. That's a pretty solid opening salvo.
- Ravyn: In an earlier thread (which I don't see now), Mastershake recommended replacing a MHA with The Nailer of Wishes while running The Ravyn List. It's hard to say anything that's a more convincing endorsement, but I'll try. Basically, the free upkeep is solid since Snipe will be out the first couple turns and Veil of Mists and Vortex see plenty use mid to late-game. Gotta love free upkeeps. Eliminator is her only offensive number, but Arcane Secrets will help make sure you kill more models for more movement. Can't argue with that. Finally, the +RNG helps her only a little. The boost is nice, but she doesn't always mind getting her hands dirty either. Your mileage may vary.
- pVyros: Darth Vyros loves him too. (I feel like I'm starting to repeat myself?) Inviolable Resolve will be out there. That's focus in the bank. Also, a fully camped Vyros under Inviolable Resolve is a whopping ARM 25. Stranglehold and Eliminator both need to do damage to matter and Arcane Secrets helps them to both hit and hurt without spending extra focus in a lot of cases. Don't forget that Bird's Eye also gives Vyros some LOS shenanigans. While he doesn't ignore the litany of rules Kae does, you can cast through forests and intervening models. Arcane Secrets and Bird's Eye can put a surprising amount of damage on a model that was thought to be safe. Finally, the extra RNG helps him influence the battle as he grinds ever closer to the enemy and the inevitable hooksword enema.
- eVyros: I'm not touching this one. I haven't played him yet, so I don't want to say anything untrue. But he ought to get similar usage as everyone else. (Notice a pattern?)
After reading the above, there's not much else to say on how he plays. He wants to remain close, but not "Arrrgghh!! AOEs!!" close. You need to know what your caster will want to cast (if anything) BEFORE you activate him or Sylys. Remember to benefit from Arcane Secrets, Sylys MUST go first because it's an action. It's also RNG 3. So be mindful of positioning when using it.
The Point ?
Need you ask?? He's our Squire!
He works for three factions (so, yet another model I'm used to seeing on the other side of the table). Cygnar largely doesn't want him since they have the Squire and Ms. Finch. pCaine uses him, but that's all. Khador likes him because they love their upkeeps. But, do not forget that he is an elf! He is the focus efficiency and power boost that all our casters desperately wanted. He takes our good casters to the next level (Rahn, Ravyn, Ossy) and makes casters that were heretofore solid, but lacking oomph, downright good (Kaelyssa, Garryth, Vyros).
Like anything else, don't forget to include his abilities in your plans. I can't tell you how many games it took after I bought him to stop paying for the first upkeep. Or how many times I activated my caster only to remember I didn't use Arcane Secrets. But, once you get him down, it actually makes you wonder what you did before you had him. He's worth every bit of two points and he gives Retribution casters the personal presence on the battlefield that they lacked before.
Don't leave home without him!
Thanks for reading and may Scyrah bless your spellslinging.