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  1. #1

    Default New player starting Mercs with Macbain, help needed

    Hey all,

    Brand new player here. A group of friends and I have decided to start up Warmachine. The others have gotten a few games in, however I'm coming late to the party. I decided to go Mercenaries as the models look interesting and I like the stories behind them. Also chose Drake Macbain as he looks awesome.

    Was wondering about any advice from current Merc Players on which models are core models to get for a Macbain army. Currently the only things I've actually purchased are Macbain, a Nomad, and Rutger Shaw looked interesting. Steelheads seem neat but I wanna make sure I'm going down the right path for a starter army. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Destroyer of Worlds studderingdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Eastern PA


    you need to look at highborn and 4star contacts. highborn route gives you gunmages and the 4star route gives you kayazy assassins (and a few different solos amongst them both). i prefer the kayazy (4star) route since countermeasure works well on them. he also likes a few key models that are a real pain to the opponent on feat turn. pAlexia, Eiryss, Orin Midwinter and the pirate module all apply here. He likes jacks, he LOVES Galleon as well.

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  3. #3
    Destroyer of Worlds
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    Jul 2012


    Fortune works pretty good on Gun Mages(re-rollable RAT 7s hit, really, really well), gun mages are excellent jack marshals, and they're just pretty good over-all, offering board control and anti-stealth capabilities. You also get Anastasia diBray, who can be lots of fun when she can't be killed, period. Fourstar is probably slightly stronger for Drake, but that really shouldn't matter, because: Steelheads and Nyss are a thing. Fortune works equally well on the Nyss at range or melee, counter measures is just fine on steelheads, and these two units are pretty much strong choices with any merc caster you decide to pick up next caster in 'Mercs(Shae, the Pirate caster being an exception*).

    If you bought a nomad, I suggest picking up the Rocinante conversion kit and run Rocinante as your first 'jack, as he can handle melee and ranged equally well, while being slightly less resilient than a nomad, but he's also a very good support model for Drake(making the Main Mustache DEF 17, ARM 17 in melee, which is pretty freakin' good. It's jsut a good model to pick up, and works well with all human 'Merc casters.

    That right there gives you 19 points of models that can be used in any fourstar or highborn list.

    *Shae is awesome because he is an amazing swashbuckling pirate who cuts through his enemies, has some of the best threat ranges in the game with Coup De Main(a spell that lets all models in his control area charge for free, for longer. That's 12" threat with a nomad, though shae has some shenanigans up his sleeve that can give out a 3" move to all models in his control area, which can give you something like a 15" threat from a nomad, mangler or mule.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Des Moines, Iowa


    Nyss are my favorite target for Fortune, with Cutthroats a distant second. Alexia and the Risen are pretty amazing since True Grit can make sure Alexia lives when she's up in the enemy casters grill with Arcane Disjunction, and the Risen are really nice for getting countermeasures everywhere. Since the Risen can pop up anywhere within 9" of Alexia, they are also a good way to ensure that MacBain has his gang bonus when going for the caster kill. Speaking of that caster kill, Madelyn Corbeau is a way to give him a ridiculous threat range on an assassination run. (more on that in a minute) Orin Midwinter is pretty nice as well, you can jam his Null Magic up in your opponents face and feat on him to make it extremely difficult to remove. He is one of the premiere casters for Galleon, so that's worth considering as well. Fail Safe'd Galleon is a beast, and jackhammer is a way to effectively carry more than 3 focus. If not considering Galleon, you just want to make sure he's rocking some reach 'jacks to take advantage of Jackhammer. Nomads and Vanguards are probably my favorites, but the Mangler is interesting with Fortune and Thresher. I'm of the opinion that a Nomad is still a better choice, but it might be worth messing around with.

    Something to keep in mind is that thus far 100% of my games with MacBain versus Hordes has ended in an assassination victory. With energizer and reach, MacBain has an effective threat range of 14" on the charge, reaching the opposing warlock with a minimum of 3 focus, and as long as you have set up his gang bonus (say with Alexia's Risen), he is Mat 9 Pow 15, Grievous Wounds. Very few warlocks can reliably survive that charge, especially if you don't have to spend the full amount on Energizer. If you add Madelyn Corbeau into the mix, you're talking about a 17" threat range, with two separate 3" movements that can position you for a successful charge. He is a very dangerous man when it comes to killing warlocks, and you should always keep that in mind.

  5. #5
    Destroyer of Worlds HRViolation's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    WA State


    I would go with pAlexia (+10 Risen and a total of 3 Thrall Warriors for the full boat), eEiryss, Gorman, a plastic Nomad\Mule\Rover kit (to magnetize), and a metal nomad (for the Rocinante kit). At this point you are pretty much free to do whatever you want.

    Now you need to think if one of the "Merc sub-faction" appeals to you.

    If you are not sold on dipping into a sub-faction then I would suggest these generic choices in this order.
    1. Boomhowler & Co (also runs in Trolls)
    2. Nyss (also runs in Trolls and Circle)

    Then when you are ready to branch out for a "dedicated" 4* or Highborn list
    ATGM+UA (which you already have the mule for) or Kayazy and/or the Kayayz Eliminators.

    This list is valid 4* or Highborn, has assassination potential from shooting, magic or MacBain!!!ing and a strong attrition game. Finally you have strong options with your tokens (Boomhowler, Cylena, Alexia, eEiryss, and Gorman) or you could do the jam them (and use your tokens on) the full unit of Boomies or Nyss.

    MacBain!!! 35+6
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    Last edited by HRViolation; 03-05-2013 at 10:52 AM. Reason: forgot the bokur
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  6. #6
    Destroyer of Worlds Sebi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Bayreuth, Germany


    Ok. Without reading much of the other posts (not enough time right now) I give my personal take on MacBain (with ashlynn my first warcaster(s))

    MacBain does two things marvelous well:
    Speed up Jacks and himself and support one of them with Failsafe
    Support Troops and solos
    Disturb/screw up the opponents shooting forces

    Now to take full advantage of the three points:

    1. 2 Jacks are normaly a good thing. I ran Two Nomads or a Nomad/Vanguard Combo and the Mangler also seems interesting due to Fortune#
    right now I am testing Galleon

    2. you want some high class Solos along some solid troops
    what comes to mind are:

    Kayazy (when going 4*):
    With Countermeasure the only stuff that can shoot them are sprays and stuff that hits stealth
    the rest needs to rely on deviation of AOEs and Closecombat and there Kayazy are boss

    Nyss hunters - aka Nyss:
    Good allround troops - work for both contracts and work well with Fortune as well as Countermeasure

    Boomhowler's Boys aka "the Company":
    Not my primary Choice but they are great without buffs and with his fell call he can make some use of MacBains feat

    Steelheads (Halbs and Cav maybe as Block:
    cheap - fast - but not sooo good with MacBain - fortune helps hitting

    Alexia & Risen:
    Very good unit.
    Alexia will stay alivwe with the feat turn and she collects als the kills to increase her spare fokus ... errr ... I meant her risen
    With Feat she can just run up and screw up the enemies Casting and Upkeeps

    Now here I normaly run Orin Midwinter when going 4* - during feat turn he blocks all Spellcasting (Beware - also your own) which means you can screw up circle and others mighty good

    eEiryss: Feat her and run straigth into the opponents jack wal and Arcnodes - Whoops ... no FOC for you now

    as you can see I tend to run MacBain as a denial force:
    Alexia and Orin deny asting
    eEiryss denies FOC allocation and chaneling
    Kayazy/Nyss with Countermeasure deny shooting

    Besides that there are some solos that help a lot:
    Rhupert can make KAyazy Def17 in CC meanign they get hard to kill
    Countermeasure them - Dirge of Mist put on them and run into the enemy - this way you cover 12" and stand inside his army hopefully deniying his ranged troops' shooting and buying time for the other troops of yours to advance
    Next turn you pop the underboss' minifeat and charge whatever you like.
    Of course one has to be careful to not run into counters:
    Ashe to ashe

    Works the same with nyss and Pathfinder is always helpful

    MacBain wants FOC and Sylys holds one Upkeep for free
    He also allows Macbain to use Jackhammer over 8" not just 6"
    Thats a huge difference.

    Cloud - Blind - Acid - Rust
    Nothing to say much as Gorman is marvelous (and therefore a prime target - feat)

    Besides tjhe mentioned solos to feat you can always feat your troops to get an alpha strike and send in your jacks as 2nd wave
    Feating important Unit leaders like the Underboss or Cylena or SamMachorne (though I am not a big fdan of Devildogs with MacBain outside his Themearmy)

    Jack tactics:
    With energizer and Jackhammer you can do some nasty tricks:
    Charge a target with your Reachjack - maybe with Fortune on the jack - and just use your initials to kill that target
    Now you activate macbain to energize your jack into reach of your primery target and star jackhammering away - of course you need to be at 8" of your jack then (with sylys)
    OR you energize your jack into safety

    MacBain tactics:
    Macbain is one of two casters with a reach weapon that also has the ability to deny healing and Hordes' main defence ability of Warlocks - transfering damage
    With energizer you can cover quite some space and do "curves" during a charge:
    - Energize yourself so that you can charge
    - Charge an own model - enerize yourself into reach of your primary target and use your initial attack + bought ones
    - Charge your own model - kill it - energizer yourself 3" towards your primary target and kill it

    these occasions might be rare and can be an "all-in" but well planned can rip apart enemy warlocks and casters.

    eEiryss can remove FOC and when you send in a cheap trooper for "Gang" MacBain gets really dangerous for himself.

    Until then you simply have to keep him safe as his stats are not so good.

    So my advice:
    As mentioned already - get a look at the contracts and decide whare you want to go:
    highborne or 4Star
    then you can either get Kayazy or Nyss
    Gunmages are good but I tend to run Macbain as an Close combat Alpha strike force. Nevertheless: gunmages are very good

    Steelhead Halberdiers are cheap but don'T get great defence buffs so I tend to run troops that are more stable for themselves.

    Forgeguard was an experiment that simply was too slow for me
    Devildogs simply are not good enough without real buffs or I am just not doing well with em - need some practice I guess.

    Alexia simply is always good also in her epic form but pAlexia works well with my "No you don't theme"

    Rhupert is always a good investment
    Gorman as well
    so is eEiryss
    a Bokur for Shieldguard and some slamming fun
    All those work for both contracts

    Orin and Kell are good

    honestly I simply play too often in 4* nowadays to really have true highborn solos But Pendrake with Fortune and gunmages can screw up Beasts real well
    Do it Sun Tzu style!

    Don't take life too seriously, so far no one got out alive anyway.

  7. #7
    Destroyer of Worlds Llael'sHope's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Out of the Bloodstones


    Um. Galleon? That's right, most awesome Collosal and you make them have to kill EVERY SINGLE BOX. (unless that got errata'd, but I have not heard of it). And love my Kayazy with Drake.
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