I am taking this note in a slightly different direction than most of the notes that have come before. In this, I will discuss Arlan Strangeways, the arcane mechanic, from the top down approach focusing on his functions rather than the bottom up approach currently fashionable.
Overall, Arlan is a very good model that I tend to include in almost all of my lists (sometimes replacing the squire in lists such as eNemo when I can?t fit both). He supports warjacks extremely well and has decent firepower in his own right. However, he can do so many things that it often feels he does not get enough actions in one turn. His speed 5 is also a significant hindrance to his function. When playing Arlan, one must try to think 1 turn ahead to ensure that Arlan continues to be able to help his warjacks after this turn. Finally, his fine power armor often could not handle the attacks that comes his way because of his usefulness.
Power booster gives the army one extra focus to play around with. This focus is limited by some requirements. Arlan must start within 10 inches of the recipient. The recipient must have zero focus when receiving. This makes him less versatile in the role than say a squire who adds generally to the caster's pool. However, it also allows him to add to a marshaled war jack. The following are some notable synergies that rely on Arlan.
Stormclad marshalled. Marshalled SC that receives a power boost from arlan then starts near some storm blades will effectively mimic a full load of 3 focus.
eNemo's 9th focus. After pulling a focus from the squire, eNema can get his 9th focus by pulling a focus from a power boosted Jack using his focus matrix.
Un-Disrupting a Jack
Power booster also has the beneficial effect of undisrupting a warjack, which allows it to be allocated focus as well as arc spells. In the case of arc-nodes, this is perfect because usually arcnodes want to have 1 focus with which to run into position to arc spells.
Notably, this un disruption ability does not allow warjacks to go to its full 3 focus, but eNemo can load up warjacks during his activation. Therefore, eNemo can still allocate to the disrupted jack as long as Arlan power boosts it first.
Evasive action allows a ranged warjack that really would prefer to stay out of melee to disentangle itself from melee to continue to shoot.
Similarly, Evasive action also allows a warjack to trample through a cluster of infantry without worrying about freestrikes. Against infantry without reach weapon, trampling usually generates little if any freestrikes at all. However against infantry with reach, or in cases where the jack cannot afford take any hits at all, evasive action will help the warjacks perform the trample safely. Notable examples follow.
Cygnaran warjacks are average speed, but with assistance, they can cover enough grounds to make trample worthwhile. eHaley and Kraye can propel their warjacks to higher speeds, which makes trampling a more frequent option with them. As such, Arlan has more room to help with these casters.
//theory machine// Along the same line as trampling, a firefly under the effects of evasive action can achieve better placement for triangulation purposes with evasive action.
At *repair(10), Arlan will reliably put that hammer back on Ol?Rowdy. The troubles with depending on Arlan for repairs are two folds. First, general repairs are not high on Arlan?s list of things to do. He would rather be casting evasive action or power boosting. So he would only be doing repairs only if the game depended on Ol?Rowdy having that arm intact. Second, he is only speed 5. He must be within 5? of a warjack about to suffer damage at the beginning of the opponent?s turn. This presents a problem concerning advance planning and general durability.
Advance planning (movement).
Arlan is slow. The warjacks that he helps are sometimes very fast. Simply getting to within 5 of a recipient and casting evasive action or power booster often means that the warjack in question goes out of his benefit range next turn. When moving Arlan, one must think not only on what he is doing this turn, but also on the next and maneuver accordingly. Remember, where your army ends this turn, he should still be within 10? of several warjacks and is possible within 5? of the one you expect to take a lot of damage? without putting Arlan in too much jeopardy of course.
Most of Arlan?s abilities are dependent on him being within 10? of the recipient warjack at the beginning of the turn, or within 5? of a warjack in need of repairs. This puts him in significant danger because warjacks are more of then than not at the forefront of the action. Being within 5? of that area puts Arlan at significant risk, so repairs are generally right out. Being within 10? is tolerable, but being one model with def12, arm16, and 5wounds make Arlan easy prey for many things. Hordes breath weapons kill him good; lone pistol wraiths generally have no trouble taking him out in one turn either. Incidental damage such as blast, or random pow 10s will mostly bounce, but that would be all I expect the arm16, 5wounds to handle. So generally I try to hide him behind terrain, or if I have a Sentinel on the table, keep them near each other to somewhat deter attacks against him.
Of note is his immunity to lightning damages. This makes him good for hanging out near a Thunderhead in support because the T.Head?s pulse is 360 degrees and electric. This almost makes him good as a chain lighting anchor to target things that are stealth or not targetable by magic (zealots, mage hunters). Both items being fluff and meta suitable in a pNemo list? making Arlan a natural fit for pNemo. (Arlan is also notably synergistic with pNemo for the fact that power booster and evasive action are spells, which generate a power token for pNemo)
Arlan brings a lot in terms of offensive capabilities. Pow 12 reach weapon is no joke. Being only mat5 ofcourse makes it very hard to justify using Arlan to swing that wrench instead of repairing, or castings spells. A spray8 pow10 ranged attack is also very good. Especially since many things in cygnar that are liable to be engaged in the melee that Arlan is about to hose with lightning *are immune to lightning. Rat5 is a hinderance, but when you?re catching 3 or 4 guys in melee, Rat 5 is pretty good. (Bringing Rangers, or Haley or pStriker can help with this of course.) Be mindful when playing against Circle or other Cygnar players. Many items in those lists are immune to lightning as well. Arlan doesn?t get to use his gauntlet much because he is so useful with power booster, evasive action, or even repair.
Of special note regarding the gauntlet is its disruption capability. There is a huge synergy with knockdown effects such as Stryker's Earthquake spell, Ironclad's Quake hammer, or the Hammersmith's chain attack. A warjack, having sufficiently low def that Arlan can reliably hit, can be knocked down and will be unable to shake off the Knockdown effect due to disruption.
Inert warjack recovery.
With the ability to marshal a warjack, Arlan can recover warjacks that went inert after junior bites it. I would not recommend trying to stretch his marshal ability beyond this function. Cyngaran battlegroup abilities, marshals, and junior all contribute to make Arlan one of the lesser jack handlers at Cygnar?s disposal. Besides, Arlan is already such a high priority target that tethering a warjack to him simply makes him a bigger target and further hampering his ability to position himself for spells and repairs. I have never deliberately given him a jack and do not see it happening unless junior buys the farm.
-Great jack support abilities.
-Slow speed requires thinking 1 turn ahead about his placement.
-Has decent defensive and offensive capability that should not be used due to his support abilities.