Another slow day at work and so here I am.
I had decided that the High Reclaimer wasn't all that and so I thought I'd give him a go. I played him for a good solid month and a half of which I ran him in a 35 and 50 point tourney. So from that time here is my take on the High Reclaimer.
The High Reclaimer
With the exception of Severius and the Harbinger, the High Reclaimers stats are the bottom of the barrel. Typically when you see a bad statline you see a pretty good FOC stat, this is not the case. He likely has the worst stat/focus combination in the game...fortunately he can make up for it.
An often overlooked ability for the simple fact that you don't want the High Reclaimer that close to enemy troops. Still if they happen to get that close, make them take a command check, you never know when it will save you from an assassination.
Oath of Silence
He doesn't talk so no Commander ability. This means you won't be rallying the troops. If you're taking troops that aren't fearless then you'll want another model that has the Commander ability.
This is the sole reason that the High Reclaimer is even playable. This is his source of protection in the form of armor. It can also be the source of an assassination if you're that close to a caster. Basicly this ability lets you gather soul tokens from friendly faction models that are killed by enemy attacks or continuous effect in his control area. Durring your control phase those soul tokens become focus.
Coupled with Reclaim, this is another source of protection to the High Reclaimer. Enemy models that enter or end their activations within 2" of him take 1 point of damage. This won't protect you from jacks but this will certainly protect you from single wound troops. The only thing that can get around it that I can think of is the Harbinger using Martyrdom to keep the troop alive during its movement and/or ending it's activation.
This is typically the High Reclaimers win condition. He can bring back d3+3 faction trooper models to play. The conditions are that they must be in his control range and in the original units command range. Two things are key for this. 1. Keep the unit in existance. 2. Have the unit in possition to where the placed troopers will have an effect. The ideal situation is to place hard hitting, accurate troops in the back arc of an enemy caster. Troops that come to mind are Vengers, Knights Exemplar, Daughters and Bastions. Another plus is that multiwound troops come back at full health.
Magical, reach, continuous effect: fire and decent hitting power. This weapon can perform well in dropping decent armored foes, especially if he generated enough focus. The only down side is his lowish MAT. He'll have a hard time hitting anything with a DEF14+ without boosting and anything with a DEF17+ is likely even beyond that. Things that reduces DEF will help him here.
Ashes to Ashes
An amazing spell that can clear troops and hit unhittable models, this spell seems out of place on the High Reclaimer. With his focus stat so low and the cost of the spell so high, you'll spend all your base focus in one casting. Unless you have an over abundance of focus from souls(which means you're likely loosing) you'll not want to cast this spell. Even then I'd question it's casting. Though despite my disdane for the spell there are some very reputable players who like it and use it as part of their strategy for clearing the field. It's a discriminating spell that spreads only to enemies so it can free up some of your models in the process.
Besides souls and raising the dead, this is what the High Reclaimer is all about...nasty, choking clouds. For 1 focus each, he can place them anywhere in his control area. Not only are they cloud effects, they also reduce enemy living models chance to hit by -2 if they are in it. This spell goes a long way to protecting your army, though don't only use it on the advance. This spell works wonders while engaged. It effectively makes your Daughters DEF17 in melee, your TFG DEF15 plus Set Defense and most importantly it makes the High Reclaimer DEF16. This spell should be used throughout the whole game, atleast until you set up for the kill. The only thing you have to be careful about in using this spell(besides the few enemy models that ignore smoke) is blocking LOS to your own models who haven't activated yet.
A very good single target offensive spell. This is a much better option than Ashes to Ashes as it's more economical. If you can lower the enemy caster's DEF then this is a good option for assassination. Some don't like it but if you get a caster knocked down, there isn't much that can stand up to a half dozen boosted POW12s...that is if you can't charge.
An economical spell that gets better with the more jacks you have in your battlegroup. The only problem with it is the more jacks you have, the less souls you'll have, so unless you're playing a 75pt game or larger, I wouldn't rely on jacks and this spell too much. Considering order of activation can be a hassle, I like the Repenter which can all but ignore smoke with it's spray attacks.
This is probably the most important part of a High Reclaimer list. You want a good ammount of troops. The main consideration should be troops that work well with Burning Ash and/or the feat...both are good. My personal favorite are Daughters of the Flame with their high DEF, assassination potential and the ability to get where they need to. Other good choices for Burning Ash are Idrians and TFG. Choices for the feat are Bastions, Vengers and Knights Exemplar. They too work with Burning Ash, just not as well. A good mix of troops is always good. Also because of Burning Ash, consider merc troops and by merc troops I mean Aiyanna and Holt. They'll do well to enhance your army with their toolbox of abilities and will stick around because of Burning Ash. Support in the Choir isn't bad either. They're cheap souls and they're well worth it even for the one or two jacks you'll have.
My main consideration for solos is hitting power and what works well with Burning Ash. This is how I found out how amazing Anastasia was(even without Burning Ash). Anything with a good DEF works well. Eiryss, Anastasia, Allegiant. Hitting power the best thing I can bring is a pair of Knight Exemplar Seneschals and possibly Gravus. Some other utility pieces to consider are the Covenant, Gorman, Rhupert and possibly a Vassal. The only solo I'd not recommend is a Reclaimer, mainly because you won't be bringing many jacks and you won't want to compete for souls.
The best jack you can bring with the High Reclaimer is the Avatar. It requires no focus which the High Reclaimer has little to spare. Being that the Avatar doesn't cut into your jack points another consideration is the Vanquisher. It needs little to no focus to run and it has some great troop clearing ability which the High Reclaimer lacks. Lastly I'd consider a pair of Repenters. Again needing little to no focus, these will clear troops, even through the smoke, and can even go for the assassination. Put one focus on each and cast Sacraficial Lamb and you have a nice little assassination combo. Arc nodes aren't bad if you're wanting to cast spells from afar. Really any of our jacks aren't bad with him but you'll not want many jacks or jacks that need more than one focus to perform.
On the approach there is little surprise. Advance and drop smoke. One thing that can help speed up your advance is charging your own models so you can drop smoke a good 3" further. The best way to do this is to charge a TFG. What you need to do is when you run your TFG make sure you have one 8-10" ahead of where you want the High Reclaimer to go and turn it so the High Reclaimer is in it's front arc. Then charge it with the High Reclaimer. Because of Set Defense, he'll need 9s or better to hit which gives it a good chance of living. Even if it dies, the extra distance is well worth the lost model as now you can drop smoke further up the field.
After the approach is where you'll want to start dropping smoke on engaged living enemy models. You'll be surprised at how resiliant TFG can be with Burning Ash to protect them. Be sure to look at charge lanes and to drop smoke accordingly. Always keep in mind your vulnerable caster and key models.
Once you've established yourself in the thick of battle, keep in mind the models you can bring back with your feat for the assassination and when possible go for the back arc.
The biggest hinderence to the High Reclaimer is enemy models that can ignore smoke followed by non-living models. When the High Reclaimer has a bad match up it's really bad. Non-living models are managable but those that ignore smoke can be downright deadly. Fortuneltly the only models that ignore the smoke and the penalties are very few, Assault Kommandos and Strakhov come to mind. Still try to block LOS to the models that matter and put Burning Ash where those Legion beasts need to be to attack.
Some like to assassinate with the High Reclaimer, I do not. He's far from reliable. I prefer to camp a lot of focus and weather the storm though if the opportunity arises I'll go for it.
When assassination isn't an option or hasn't presented itself, kill the opposing army. Clouds, clouds, clouds will go a long way in the attrition game, as will the feat. So just because you don't get a good lane on the caster doesn't mean you should hold off on the feat. Look at your options and decide accordingly.