Soldier of Fortune: an introduction to Drake MacBain
So, you have taken an interest in the mercenary warcaster known as Drake MacBain. This article is intended to give a very basic summary of what to expect should you decide to use him on the field of battle.
Since everyone plays warcasters their own way, comments and gaming suggestions from other MacBain players are very welcome. I don't claim exhaustive knowledge.
Drake MacBain is a capable warcaster with a wide range of tricks and abilities. He doesn't excel in any particular area, but will have an answer to almost any situation. Don't think you can do everything at once with him though, concentrate on what he needs to do.
What's on the Card:
Nothing special, a slight emphasis on melée or a slight penalty to ranged, depending on your point of view. He can get bonuses in melee with 'Gang fighter'.
Sat at the point where neither DEF or ARM are quite good enough on their own to rely on when things go wrong, although armour gets a slight boost in melee. The stats are a bit better than the Menoth Prime casters and with Tough to get you out of trouble too, if you happen to be lucky. As a warcaster, he is still quite hard to kill, but don't expect to get stuck into the enemy and survive without thinking carefully first.
A handcannon and a sword with reach and grievous wounds, providing some help against Hordes armies or those with a lot of tough stuff.
Will work for all Warmachine factions except Retribution. Focus and WJ points: mercenary average values.
A bit of a mixed bag, 3 Warjack based (2 can be used with MacBain as well), 2 general and one offensive. All short ranged though, so you'll need to be fairly close to the action.
Countermeasure: Prevents nearby enemy models from making ranged attacks, can be very useful. Radius off effect ties in nicely with Stealth units. Cast this one first turn on a first wave unit to maximise coverage. You may not need to upkeep this one for the whole game. It can be dropped when most ranged units are dead or most targets are in melee.
Energizer: A very handy battlegroup spell and the only one of Drake's spells with a good range. Provides out of activation movement to your models, so synergies well with the Mule and Merc melee heavy warjacks for extra threat range. Drake comes along for the ride too.
Fail Safe: An outstanding defensive buff for any important warjack. A boost to ARM and the ability to ignore the effects of its disabled systems will mean that anything less than complete destruction won't be enough for your opponent.
Fortune: A simple re-roll buff for a unit's attacks. Not always necessary, but can come in handy.
Jackhammer: Extra melee attacks for a model in the battlegroup. Two uses here, either clearing away models sent to tie you up in melee, before activating as normal, or for more attacks with a jack. This means you can get round disruption/cortex damage or deliberately under-allocate focus to a jack and use jackhammer to dish out exactly the right amount of beating to a target rather than over-allocate and waste focus.
Rift: The offensive AOE spell with a rough terrain effect too. Situationally useful, but rarely used (by me anyway).
Unlike MacBain's spell list, his feat only affects friendly faction warrior models. It essentially makes the affected models 'tough' for one round, but a 'tough' where you always roll high enough for it to work. The feat affects more models when MacBain has more focus on himself, so try to pop the feat before casting spells if you can. The feat comes in really useful for keeping key solos alive for 'one more turn' and getting a second bite of the cherry with them. Gorman di Wulfe, Orin Midwinter and either Eiryss are good examples. The other option is keeping grunts alive in key positions, i.e. objectives and blocking charge lanes.
You'll need to have a think about how many warjacks you want to take with MacBain. His Warjack points mean you may as well take one (I would suggest a melee heavy here and jackhammer just makes me think that more). As for going beyond that MacBain's focus will get stretched quickly and I would say 3 is a sensible limit on the number of warjacks he can control. A larger battlegroup also means more efficiency from Energizer. So 1-3 warjacks with at least one melee-heavy, the others take your pick.
The rest of the army:
At the time of writing I only play MacBain in a tier 1 theme force. This is character-unit heavy and fun to use and not that pillow fisted either. I don't think it's a tournament winning killer list either, but it does fine in casual play. Because of this, I think it best other players give advice from their experience using Highborn Covenant, 4-Star Syndicate and Soldier of Fortune tier 2-4 lists.
Other good advice:
Read here: CLICK HERE
Have fun and good gaming.