HOUSE SHYEEL MAGISTER
The (House Shyeel) Magister is a great 2pt solo available to the Retribution, echoing the talents of other House Shyeel models, it fulfills an interesting role on the battlefield with talents not found in any other faction. I’ll say this upfront, the Magister is all about battlefield versatility if you take it to the table expecting only one thing out of it... expect to be disappointed.
Most Retribution models boast quite decent stats, and as may be expected by such a solo, his stats lie above the standard for the faction, making him no exception. With SPD of 6 he has a reasonably amount of mobility, and with a DEF/ARM of 13/12 and 5 hit boxes, while he isn’t going to hold off much (these stats sitting on par with the rest of the faction), he should at least survive long enough to make his mark on the battlefield. It is worth noting however, that his Force Barrier ability ups his survivability vs RNG attacks.
Most notable among his stats is his MAT of 7, putting his melee skills up there, with all but the elite Dawnguard, in our faction. With a magic ability of 7 too, this makes him as capable in melee as he is at magic – something worth noting, given he has two melee weapons.
Weapons and Attacks
Packing two Power Gauntlets, before other things are considered, the Magisters are already hitting quite hard. With MAT high enough to hit most troops with ease, two P+S 11s with Beat Back doesn’t sound to bad.
Recall, Beat Back allows you to move a model hit 1 inch directly away, and then advance 1 inch yourself. This is pretty cool, allowing you to reposition enemies, for other attacks or plans you might have on the battlefield. This is useful for clear chaff – attack one model, attack another, disengage. Note though that the Magisters Beat Back movement does not ignore free strikes.
All that’s none too shabby, but then the Magister is also carrying some extra melee prowess: (special attack) Combo Smite. That’s a MAT 7 POW 15 slam from a small based model. Now, being a small based model you aren’t necessarily going to be moving anything far, but ‘battle mages’ aren’t expected to be mixing it up heavily in melee, and here we have one slamming over jacks and cavalry with ease, killing multiple warriors with the collateral. That’s pretty fricken sweet. To keep it from getting too broken, beat back doesn’t work on this (special) attack.
So, just considering melee, this model brings a lot of versatility: need to clear a path – Beat Back; need to kill a couple of warrior models – 2 Attacks; need to take on a heavy – combo smite. It may not have the best answer, but at least it has an answer to everything.
Aside from melee, the Magister also brings some offensive magic to the table... this is covered in the next section.
Skills and Abilities
Before we get to the spells, the Magister has one handy special ability, a Force Barrier. Just like those found on other House Shyeel models, the Magisters force Barrier gives him +2 DEF against ranged attacks, and give him an immunity to blast damage.
The extra DEF is nice, pushing him over the threshold of easy to hit meaning most ranged attack based models will need to either aim or boost their attack roll, to confidently hit the Magister at range. This is important, as given his decent SPD and (magical) threat range, the opponent will only get one turn to shoot at him before he’s acting on the battlefield; and if they want to kill him before he gets there, then they are generally going to have to sink an disproportionate amount of resources into killing him.
Immunity to blast damage is quite a hidden joy. This means he won’t die to silly little things like deviating AOEs (some peoples favourite ways of killing solos); but it also means he cannot be cleared out like a lot of other models – most armies (casters) have access to an AOE (arcane blast, eliminator, rift) to clear out a mass of troops (among other things), and in most cases these won’t even touch the Magister.
What’s more, immunity to blast damage allows him to go toe-to-toe against a devastator, a slam each turn is a nuisance to such a warjack, but the only way it can get rid of a Magister is by making a Melee attack and dropping it’s armour bonus. Until you have immunity to blast damage, you never realize how many models/units depend on it.
Next up, and the most obvious ability of the Magister, is magic. Boasting a healthy ability of 7, these guys will hit most things with relative ease, so what can they do? They can Force Bolt and Whip Snap!
The Force Bolt is something seen before on the Battle Mage unit, a simple RNG&POW 10 that pushes the target either towards or away from you D3 inches. Oh, and it has crit knock down. So it’s like a Gun Mage Thunder bolt shot, though it’s effects are more versatile.
The Whip Snap is something new and different. It’s only RNG 6, but it hits harder at 12. That’s sorta cool; but it gets better... a hit allows a single friendly model within 3 inches of the Magister (could be himself), to advance 3 inches. Now, this doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a decently powered, accurate shot; and that movement could be a repositioning for a charge or slam, a clearing of a charge lane, and movement for a better ranged attack vantage point (the model can still aim), a Warcaster getting out of jail (free), a claiming of an objective... the list goes on.
The spells are talked about enough, and IMHO people focus on them too much over the Magisters other abilities... so I’m going to stop there.