OFFICER AND STANDARD BEARER UNIT ATTACHMENT
Hailing from the Houseguard, Riflemen are the cheapest full ranged unit available to the Retribution. At 5/8 points they’re cheap no frills unit, offering a useful long ranged option to most lists; and, with the 2 point unit attachment, access to some interesting and unique tactics; they are probably most comparable to Cygnar Long Gunners.
Stats, Weapons and Attacks
With the usual SPD 6 and a common RoS DEF 13 to complement they’re basic armour of 13, before any other considerations, Riflemen are a unit that should live to see combat... especially considering their form of combat is ranged warfare. All up they are slightly faster, and slightly harder than Cygnar Long Gunners.
They only carry a passable RAT 5; but with RNG 14 weapons, this is deceptive and one should expect them to be firing at an effective RAT 7 (aiming) – enabling them to hit a more elite DEF 14, POW 10 popping up to ARM 16 targets.
When worst comes to worst though, they’re not helpless in melee – a MAT 5 P+S 7 sword will easily dispatch the unwary Winterguardsman, on a good charge roll they’ll even knock a cavalry rider off his mount.
Skills and Abilities
Riflemen are more than a group of single men with guns though. They’ve also learnt to fire these weapons in a co-ordinated manner, giving them Combined Ranged Attacks, allowing them to vary their shots from near a dozen simple POW 10s, or a single super-duper RAT 15 POW 20 attack of doom.
An important note about Combined Ranged Attacks, for those not used to them, is that the CRA attacks are made through one member of the CRA - allowing you to move participating models up while leaving that individual to gain the aiming bonus, or moving him into position to hit a models back arc (shields).
As both a Houseguard unit, and a unit of Riflemen, these guys also have Ranked Attack, allowing them to form up in any position without blocking LoS for one another. It also allows them to form a sturdy firebase for your Warcaster (or anything else small based) to hide behind.
In an army of reasonably fragile Warcasters, being able to hide them without limiting their effectiveness is pretty handy. But be careful as, being a pretty barebones ranged unit, they probably want to be far from the enemy and using them as such a shield might see your ‘caster stuck a bit further back than you would like.
So there you have it; on their own, the Rilfemen are a simple long RNG ranged unit, bearing common versatility in their attacks and basic abilities to see them battle through.
Officer and Standard Bearer Unit Attachment
Houseguard Riflemen can be an irritating unit to consider taking. They can’t pour out the threatening number of attacks some dedicated ranged units can, and don’t boast the base POW or effects some offer; but then given the options in this faction they don’t really need to. This can leave the unit seeming a bit wishy-washy and unspecialised – They’re cheap but not super cheap, they have range, but nothing extra or special.
This is where the UA comes in, helping give them a little extra direction.
At their most basic, as with most unit attachments, the Officer and Standard Bearer provide a single more accurate attack (Officer RAT 6), a slightly improvement on CMD (9 instead of the units basic 8), and a reroll on CMD tests. But who cares about that stuff, they also give a granted ability and a mini-feat, both well worth mentioning.
The easiest to use thing they give is Granted:War Tempered, giving this unit the rare ability to CRA into melee. This can sound pretty bland, but when one of the best ways to stall a ranged army is to get stuck in to melee (+4 DEF, blocking LoS, etc) not being safe is something that should give your opponent pause; and if it doesn’t then you should teach them why it should.
This also goes a way to preventing opponents engaging the front line of Riflemen to prevent the unit shooting – the back ranks can aim and CRA through engaged unit members into enemy models, the previously engaged then joining the barrage. This works even better with their mini-feat (next).
Possibly the most interesting ability carried by the full Riflemen unit is Mini-Feat: Whites Of Their Eyes. A once off ability, this gives the whole unit an additional dice on ranged attack rolls against models within 8 inches. On such a long ranged unit, this seems quite an odd ability, but it opens up some interesting tactical options to the unit.
Firstly it must be considered when CRAing, you can use this mini-feat to gain a ‘boosted’ hit roll against a enemy model nearby to just one of them, a Basic CRA ‘gives you’ RAT 7, but that’s still going to miss a lot of things. The improved accuracy in a boost is great.
With only needing one model near the target you can spread your Riflemen out along the back line and pull off a CRA all shooting over to one flank, even in to melee if you want.
In fact the mini-feat is good insurance when shooting into melee, as you don’t want to hit your own guys with big CRAs. As only one member needs to be close you can also use it to increase accuracy as the unit moves, perhaps the allowing the Primary attacker to move behind the model (ignoring shields) while the rest disperse.
Hell, with the War Tempered, you could actually move members of the unit into melee with the targets (preferably ones you know you won’t kill outright) to prevent them attacking the rest or moving away (on a good free strike roll Riflemen will hurt things).
Outside of CRA shots, the mini-feat allows you to fire a hailstorm of 11 boosted to hit RNG 8 RAT 7 (aiming), POW 10 shots – that should kill DEF 17, ARM 16 models. Making them quite a powerful unit to counter attack with; and don’t forget they can move before hand (to get within 8 inches) and still hit pretty high DEF, giving the ‘attack’ an effective 14” range.
In fact, I think this is where the unit’s strength really lies. Early in the game they can shoot across the field, taking big tolls on medium to high ARM or high DEF targets; but when the enemy makes their attack you follow up from the backlines with a storm of accurate POW 10s, CRAing into melee if you have to.
This goes great with Halberdiers+UA, who are perfect for taking a charge, reaping a bloody toll, then reforming into a better offensive/defensive position for the Riflemen to pour bloody murder through.
Synergies and Sample Tactics
As a basic unit Houseguard Riflemen are a simple ranged unit. Long ranged, hardy, and capable of a large volume of attacks or high accuracy and pow. They are perhaps the simplest unit in our arsenal.
With their Officer and Standard Bearer Unit Attachment, the Riflemen are an interesting and seemingly defensively supportive unit. Their distinct talents/strengths really only showing themselves once the enemy engages your forces.
Some synergies, etc:
- Soulless Escort – As a strong ranged unit, it is fair to expect they will receive some pretty direct enemy attention. The Soulless Escort can be of considerable help here, severely hampering enemy abilities to cast spells at the unit – which is a way some armies deal with back rank units; and (with flank) giving the force a bit of a guard against melee, along with a way to get a model or two out of melee.
- Kaelyssa – Kaelyssa’s feat works well along side a ranged centric army, holding back enemy attacks and potentially allowing another round of shooting. With their long range, the multitude of attacks they can make and CRA, this unit is ideal for use in such a strategy.
With Ranked Attacks Riflemen also make a good screen for the non-stealth ranged based Kaelyssa.
- Rahn – With his old man nature, Riflemen with their Ranked Attacks provide a solid screen for Rahn from which he can Arc his spells, Repositioning threats while the Riflemen shoot selectively. He also provides them some extra protection with Force Field helping redirect AOEs away form them and Polarity Shield is also a great way to protect the unit from melee threats.
- Ravyn – Riflemen benefit greatly from the spells and feat of Ravyn. Snipe giving them a RNG 18 attack (22inch threat range); and her feat giving them a turn of boosted ranged attack rolls, so they get two turns of ‘boosted’ attacks with the UA. It is important to note the Feat and mini-feat can also be stacked allowing you a turn of RAT 5 +4D6 to hit (+2 if aiming), that’ll hit a huge DEF 19 (21) on average, and then the Riflemen can move back under Swift Hunter.
- Houseguard Halberdiers – The two Houseguard units are great when run together; both are cheap and very very effective for their points. They provide a great defensive screen for the Riflemen to stand behind, and the Riflemen act as a strong deterrent in attacking the Halberdiers.
Their mini-feats also complement each other well, with the Halberdiers able to strike a counter attack, reform back into a line and the Riflemen CRA (into melee) on anything else; or the Riflemen can mini-feat, clear out the engaging models so the Halberdiers can then strike deep into the enemy army.
Well, that’s that, let me know if there’s anything I missed.