View Full Version : [RET] Issyria, Sybil of Dawn

03-07-2017, 06:22 AM
Originally By: The Key of E
As this is not my work all information is presented as is.


“Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow...or it can crash! Be water, my friend.”
- Bruce Lee


I would not consider myself an “expert” with Issyria, but I have had very good success with her. I wanted to write down some of my experiences with her and see if I can form it into a Tactica which will hopefully be helpful to others. Because of her uniqueness, I feel like Issyria has a pretty steep learning curve that turns a lot of players off from her. This guide is based on my experiences with her in Mk2, but I have tried to update everything in the guide to match the new Mk3 rules.

The number one tip for Issyria is to be flexible. At first she may seem a bit stiff with her powerful alpha-strike feat and weak late-game ability, but she’s actually a very flexible warcaster, both in list-building and on the table. You must learn to be like water if you want her to win games for you.

Let’s get the obvious bits out of the way. Her stats are unremarkable except for her high Focus:
◦ Average SPD
◦ Low STR, irrelevant MAT and RAT
◦ Above average DEF, low ARM
◦ High FOC, tying Rahn for the highest in faction, and among the highest in the game

Issyria is a pure support caster:
◦ The first thing that stands out about Issyria (and rightfully so) is that she has NO WEAPON and no damaging spells.
◦ Having no weapon means that she cannot charge to gain extra movement on turns where she casts spells. However, she can make up for this with her Velocity spell.
◦ Having no offensive ability means that she cannot directly contribute to destroying the enemy. This can make her vulnerable late-game if she loses too much of her army.
◦ Another thing to note about her lack of a weapon is that it might leave your army vulnerable to Incorporeal models. Most warcasters have a magical melee weapon, as well as damaging spells or a magical ranged weapon, so that even if there are no other magical weapons in their army they can still deal with the occasional Incorporeal model. Since Issyria has no weapon and no damaging spells she can’t remove Incorporeal models. All of our heavy myrmidons have magical guns, and many have magical melee weapons as well, and this helps mitigate Issyria’s lack of magical attacks, but against armies with lots of Incorporeal models (such as Cryx) it can still be a problem.

She has some interesting abilities which give her a unique play style:
◦ Flight - This has some interesting interactions with her spells and abilities, such as Admonition.
◦ Arcane Vortex - She can spend a Focus to cancel spells targeting her or nearby models. This can protect her from a spell assassination, or protect nearby models from being hit by enemy debuffs.
◦ True Sight - This has some advantages, the biggest of which is that it lets her hit stealthed targets with Blinding Light.
◦ Ancillary Attack - A very interesting ability for her. Our heavy myrmidons all have very good ranged weapons to take advantage of this ability, and since Vassals of Menoth lost Ancillary Attack in Mk3 this ability is more rare than it used to be. You can also use Ancillary Attack for melee attacks instead of ranged attacks, but in my experience this happens a lot less often. In some ways, you can consider this ability her “weapon,” but without being able to boost attack and damage. One thing to be careful of is that she has to be within 3 inches of the myrmidon to use Ancillary on it. This can sometimes leave her vulnerable, so be careful with it.

Issyria is a surprisingly flexible warcaster, both in what models she can bring with her to the table and in what she is capable of on the table:
◦ When deciding what models to bring, she can take almost anything in our faction and do well with it. Retribution is often called a “combined arms” faction, meaning we tend to use a mix of different troop types. I feel that Issyria really exemplifies this, as she seems to function best when she has a good mix of melee infantry, ranged infantry, and myrmidons. However, she is flexible enough to take a more focused list and still do well. I personally favor a mostly balanced but slightly melee heavy army with her.
◦ On the table, I find that she adapts well. Her feat lets her handle both high DEF and high ARM fairly consistently. With her spell list, she usually has the flexibility to alter her battle plan on the fly to counter the enemy’s movements. I feel that this is key, as being too rigid in your plan with Issyria can lead to losing the attrition game, which puts her in a vulnerable spot.

General tips:
◦ Issyria’s feat can sometimes win the game for you. However, you should NOT rely on her feat to ALWAYS win the game for you. In other words, her feat is only one tool of many. Don’t rely on it too much.
◦ Have a plan for your end-game. You want to keep in mind your primary win condition, but you also want to have a backup plan for when things go badly. For most warcasters, their backup plan can be as simple as a caster-on-caster assassination, but because Issyria has no weapon you need to make sure you keep other models around that can kill an enemy caster/lock.
◦ When building your Issyria lists, try not to spend too many points on purely support models. Issyria tends to work better overall and not lose as much steam after her feat turn if you brought an army that can do work and isn’t full of backline support models.

Dawn’s Light affects all friendly faction models in Issyria’s large Control range. The affected models gain True Sight, and they roll an additional die when making attack and damage rolls but must discard one die. Let’s address each piece separately.

True Sight

Before Warmachine: Vengeance, the Retribution didn’t have many direct answers to Stealth. Sure, we had Kaelyssa with True Sight, and we also had indirect answers such as massed AOEs from Stormfalls, two models with sprays, or just attacking in melee instead of shooting. But now, between Issyria’s feat and the Houseguard Thane + Riflemen, we have more options for shooting stealthed models directly. This is big for us, because in the past it had been said that having no Stealth mitigation was an intended weakness for Ret.

This gives us a lot more flexibility in list building and in handling certain match-ups. We used to rely on Stormfall AOEs to remove low ARM single wound stealth models like Kayazy, but now we can shoot them directly. Also, obnoxious solos like Eiryss, Gorman, or Tartarus can be removed more easily.

We can also deal with high ARM stealth more easily. In Mk2, this usually meant Bane Thralls because their ARM 15 was just high enough to make them hard to kill with AOE blast damage. Bane Thralls lost stealth in Mk3, but there are still things like Shifting Stones w/Keeper or prowling Warpwolf Stalkers to deal with. Occultation is less of a problem, as is Shadow Pack on Kaya2.

Remember, though, that this is only for one turn. If the enemy brings more Stealth than you can remove in one turn then you’ll have to use other means to kill those models. Also, you may need to deal with certain models (like the aforementioned obnoxious solos) either before or after your feat turn. For this reason, if you expect to face a lot of Stealth it may not be a bad idea to go for some redundancy and bring Riflemen and a Thane with Issyria.

Signs & Portents

Signs & Portents is a spell from Vlad 1 that lets the affected models roll an additional die on attack and damage rolls and drop the lowest. There are several abilities in the game that give a similar bonus, including Hand of Fate from Vlad 2/Vlad 3 and Arcane Secrets from Sylys, and these abilities are often referred to shorthand as “S&P.” Dawn’s Light also gives an S&P effect.

There are advantages and disadvantages when comparing a feat to a spell. Obviously Issyria only gets one turn of it instead of being able to cast it turn after turn, but she also doesn’t have to spend 4 Focus to use it.

This part of her feat is what everyone seems to fixate on, and rightfully so. The S&P effect is very strong, adding between +1.5 and +2 to your average roll for both attack and damage. Your troops go from hitting DEF 12-13 most of the time to hitting DEF 14-15 most of the time. Your damage output also increases significantly. Your shooting units will be hitting harder and killing infantry more reliably, your melee units will decimate high ARM targets (the S&P effect is stronger when rolling more dice, such as charging Weapon Master models), and even our jacks have a good chance of one-rounding an enemy heavy in melee. If you get a strong alpha-strike, it’s very easy to remove a large portion of the enemy’s army.

Not only can her feat be used to attrition away the enemy army, but if the opposing warcaster/lock gets too far forward you can use the feat to assassinate them. Many of our models become legitimate assassination threats under the feat, especially if you can also tag the target with Blinding Light. Mage Hunter Assassins, Narn, Skeryth Issyen, and the Sentinel Scyir all hit hard and can put the hurt on a warcaster/lock, though they probably won’t kill the target on their own. All of our heavy myrmidons (plus Moros) become bigger threats, especially Imperatus. Halberdiers and Sentinels can finish a caster who’s been Blinded by the Light, while Invictors and Stormfall Archers can plink a caster/lock to death. The bottom line is that if you can tag the enemy caster with Blinding Light on feat turn, you can usually finish them off easily.

If you compare Issyria to some of our other warcasters, her feat is very powerful simply because it affects ALL friendly faction models in range. That is worth repeating: her feat affects ALL models in range, including melee models. We’ve never had a strong melee buff like this before. Supporting her whole army as opposed to only certain models is awesome, especially if you compare it to Ravyn, Ossyan, or Rahn. Ravyn’s army will be more accurate at range but not do as much damage, and she doesn’t boost melee at all. Ossyan got a big bonus in Mk3 with the addition of the Deadeye spell to boost ranged accuracy as well as his feat which boosts ranged damage, but he still doesn’t boost melee accuracy/damage. Rahn gives a big boost to his Battle Mages, but doesn’t affect his whole army the way Issyria does. Issyria’s feat is kind of halfway in-between Ravyn’s and Ossyan’s feats, which gives you a lot of flexibility to handle different match-ups.

Again, remember that your feat only lasts for one turn. You need your feat turn to be meaningful, but you also can’t always rely on that one turn to win you the game. On the one hand, you don’t want to pop feat too early if you’re not going to get enough work out of it. But on the other hand, you don’t want to hold on to it for too long hoping for an assassination, because if you lose too much of your army then the feat may become meaningless. Learning to time your feat properly is difficult with many casters, but especially so with Issyria. I feel like it really adds to her steep learning curve.

When to Use Her Feat

So when should you pop your feat? Honestly, I don’t think there’s any one right answer. It’s really more of an art than a science, and can take a lot of games with her to get the hang of it. I will try to give some suggestions, though.

First off, DON’T FOCUS TOO MUCH ON THE ALPHA STRIKE. That is capitalized because I think it’s a mistake many players make when they first try Issyria. Between the Retribution’s large number of good ranged attacks and Issyria’s Crusader’s Call increasing melee threat, she is very good at getting the alpha strike, but I don’t think you can RELY on that alpha to win you the game. You also don’t want to always use your feat every time you alpha; sometimes it’s better to alpha without using your feat, then use it on the following turn for a stronger follow-up.

There will be some games where the enemy is careless enough to put his whole army in range and you can basically feat and wipe him off the board. However, that definitely won’t be every game, or even most games, so don’t expect it. Basically what I’m trying to say is: don’t always pop your feat at the earliest opportunity.

Basically, you want to use your feat on the turn that gives you control of the game. So what does that vague statement even mean? It means that each turn, ask yourself what the feat will really accomplish for you. You must be flexible. Remember, be water.

For example, let’s say you do get the alpha strike, but you can only reach part of the enemy’s army. You may be able to kill what you can reach even without the feat. Or maybe, killing his front lines by using your feat may not give you control of the game because it’s his back line that you really need to worry about. In those cases, it’s better to save the feat.

Another example, if the enemy feats first with a strong control, denial, or defense-buffing feat, then popping your feat may not help much that turn even if you’re getting the alpha-strike. The best option there may be to stall for a round and use your feat the next round to retake control of the game.

Last example, in some games you will have the enemy out-matched and be able to maintain control of the game even without using your feat. Or in other games, you will be out-matched and not be able to take control of the game even with your feat. In both those cases, it’s probably best to hold your feat and wait for an assassination opportunity.

There are complaints that Issyria’s game really falls off after the feat turn. These complaints may come from using her feat too early. It’s true that her feat is very powerful, so powerful in fact that non-feat turns can seem really lackluster in comparison. However, many casters with powerful feats can feel the same. I personally try to hold her feat until the third turn or later, and I only feat second turn if doing so would literally cripple the opponent’s army, potentially winning me the game right there.

03-07-2017, 06:26 AM
Other Tips Regarding Dawn’s Light

It should be noted that Issyria’s feat lets you drop ANY die, not just the lowest die. This is very helpful for getting critical hits. For example, if you needed an 8+ to hit and rolled 4-4-5, you don’t have to drop the lowest die; you could drop the 5 and still get your crit. It is also helpful if you have to attack your own models for any reason, as you can drop the highest die on the attack or damage rolls to try to keep your models alive.

For the True Sight portion of the feat, if the enemy only has a few stealth models (like the obnoxious solos mentioned previously), you probably don’t want to pop your feat just to remove them. It can be hard trying to decide if removing those few stealth models is worth popping your feat earlier than you would normally. On the other side of the coin, the stealth models may have been hiding in the back and only come out to play after your feat turn, leaving you with no easy way to remove them. This is why even though Dawn’s Light gives True Sight it can still be useful to bring additional anti-stealth models with Issyria as well. 

Using Her Spells

At only 5 spells, Issyria’s spell list is a bit short for an 8 Focus caster, but the spells she has are quite good. Many players fixate on her feat, but you shouldn’t overlook the quality of her spells.


I feel that the primary use for this spell is keeping your Arc Node alive (you did bring an Arc Node, right?). With Admonition on the Arc Node, you can run it forward to cast Blinding Light without having to sacrifice it. Late game, you may want to put Admonition on Issyria herself to protect her, especially if your Arc Node is already dead or if you didn’t bring one.

You can also put Admonition on a non-Arc Node jack to make it annoyingly difficult to remove. For example, you can put Admonition up then move the jack forward as bait, then Admonition away after they charge (though a clever player won’t usually fall for this). Or you can put Admonition up and charge to kill something with your jack, and Admonition away when the enemy counter-attacks. This is especially effective with Imperatus, who is already very difficult to remove. These tactics are great for keeping your jacks alive until late game so they can kill enemy casters if necessary.

There are a few things to be careful of, though. First, make sure you leave room for the model to Admonition to safety. You don’t want to block your own model in so it can’t retreat. Second, be aware of anything that can remove upkeeps (Purification, Hex Blast, etc.). Lastly, be aware that a clever opponent may be able to get around Admonition by trying to block you in. If you have Admonition on Issyria, she is less vulnerable to being blocked in like that because she can fly over the blocking models. They can also try triggering Admonition first to get you to move and then charging you with a different model so watch your movement to try to avoid this.

Crusader’s Call

This spell is money. +2” of charging threat range is awesome and obviously has strong synergy with any of our melee infantry. However, even some our ranged infantry (especially Invictors, MHSF, and Nyss Hunters) can benefit from the extra range if they need to charge for whatever reason.

Threat Ranges:
◦ 16” = Mage Hunter Assassin
◦ 15” = Halberdiers with Desperate Pace, Griffon with Fleet, Destors, Destor Thane, Skeryth Issyen (mounted)
◦ 13.5” = Moros with Fleet
◦ 13” = Phoenix, Imperatus, Skarath, Ellowyr Swordsmen, Nyss Hunters
◦ 12.5” = Infiltrators, Eiryss (all versions) , Narn
◦ 12” = Banshee, Discordia, Helios, Hyperion, Hydra, Manticore, Scyir, Sentinels, Sphinx, Voidtracer
◦ 11.5” = Aspis, Chimera, Gorgon, Elara, Houseguard Thane, Battle Mages, Magister, MHSF
◦ 11” = Daemon, Hypnos
◦ 10.5” = Artificer, Invictors

It goes without saying that this spell will help you get the alpha strike. A strong alpha can decimate an enemy army, but remember what I stated earlier: don’t focus too much on the alpha strike.

Most of our heavy myrmidons would rather walk into melee if possible instead of charging, because the extra damage from buying an attack is usually better than the extra damage from the boosted charge attack. But if you do need to charge with a jack, Crusader’s Call will definitely get them there. The real winner is Imperatus, who with a 13” charge and two Side Steps can attack something up to 17” from his starting position. Be aware that with the change to Side Step in Mk3 he no longer ignores free strikes.

Some have said that Crusader’s Call becomes useless after Turn 2 when the lines have already clashed. I find that completely untrue. It’s VERY useful for a late game assassination, letting your MHAs or whatever else you have charge the enemy caster from across the board. In addition to that, there are times when you’ll have a hole opened in their lines or maybe some annoying enemy model(s) trying to flank you. Crusaders Call may let you charge through that hole or out to that flank to hit enemies that would be out of reach without the extra 2 inches. Bottom line, don’t discount this spell’s usefulness late game. If you’re flexible, you can find uses for it in a lot of different situations.

Inviolable Resolve

This is a decent spell. It may not be as amazing as the premier defensive buffs like Defenders Ward or Arcane Shield, but it works. It also thematically links Issyria to House Nyarr because Vyros1 has the same spell.

+2 ARM is useful for many of our models:
◦ It makes all of our Myrmidons more survivable. This is especially true with Imperatus, Helios, and Hyperion who are already difficult to remove.
◦ For Sentinels and Invictors, they get up to ARM 19 when base-to-base which is respectable. It makes them almost immune to POW 10 shooting, and pretty resistant to POW 12. The Sentinels’ new mini-feat in Mk3 cranks their survivability even higher at ARM 22 for a round.
◦ Halberdiers also do well, becoming ARM 20 in Shield Wall, and with Set Defense they are more resistant to charges than their Dawnguard brethren. Even without Shield Wall, Halberdiers get up to ARM 16 which is decent. This is very good if you are facing an army with a lot of AOEs, because then you can run your Halbs first turn to spread them out and gain more ground, while ARM 16 is more resilient against blasts than ARM 14.
◦ Low ARM infantry like MHI and MHSF can still benefit, depending on the matchup. ARM 13 would not be considered high by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely more resistant to blast damage than ARM 11 is.

While the +2 ARM is the obvious part of the spell, it also makes it so the affected models can’t be moved by pushes and slams. They would still take damage and be knocked down by the slam, but it prevents the enemy from trying to slam one of your own models into Issyria to knock her down. 


When Issyria’s card was first spoiled, this spell made a lot of people think “what the f***?” Issyria stole this spell from Stryker 2, who uses it for assassinations. But since Issyria can’t assassinate like Stryker, how does she use this spell? It’s actually very useful for her, giving her a lot of mobility.

A common first turn tactic for many players is to cast the spells they need then have their warcaster/lock charge an enemy across the board (knowing that it will be a failed charge) to get an extra 3” up the board. Issyria has no melee weapon so she can’t declare a charge, and running would prevent her from casting spells. She gets around this with Velocity. She can cast Admonition and Inviolable Resolve first turn, and still move up to 12” up the board.

Another option, for if your Arc Node is dead or if you didn’t bring one, is to use Velocity to get a better threat range for casting Blinding Light. By moving then using Velocity, you have up to a 22” threat range (24” with Sylys) to cast Blinding Light. This is mostly for “do or die” assassination runs because it leaves Issyria exposed, but with Admonition up she might be able to escape and survive. You can also move up, cast Blinding Light, then use Velocity to retreat. However, this tactic is VERY FOCUS INTENSIVE so don’t expect to cast anything else that turn.

Lastly, sometimes there are times where you need to cast spells then move all the way across the board, perhaps to dominate a zone/flag. Issyria has it easy; she can cast what she needs then move up to 12”, the same distance as if she had run (or move first then cast spells). Other warcasters have it harder as they can’t run and cast spells in the same round.

Blinding Light

This is Issyria’s signature spell, the only unique one on her spell list. In Mk2, this spell only affected warrior models, not warjacks/beasts, but in Mk3 it now affects everything. Like her feat, it has two parts and I think it’s useful to address each part separately.

First, hitting an enemy model/unit with this spell will prevent them from using ranged or magic attacks. The uses of this should be fairly obvious but I’ll mention them anyway:
◦ You can shut down good shooting units like Nyss Raptors, Gun Mages, etc. This protects your infantry but also protects Issyria who with her low ARM is vulnerable to even low power shooting.
◦ You can shut down warjacks/beasts with strong ranged attacks. I usually try to protect my infantry by shutting down enemies with AOEs like Vanquishers or Ravagores, but you can also shut down nasty long range single shots like Reckoners and Defenders. You can even shut down Colossals like Stormwall and Victor.
◦ Blinding the enemy warcaster/lock to prevent them from trying a ranged or spell assassination against you.

Second, the affected enemies have -2 defense for a round. Before Ossyan was gifted with Deadeye, this was one of the only spells in Retribution that improved accuracy. However, unlike Deadeye the accuracy increase from Blinding Light will apply to melee attacks as well ranged attacks. Again, the uses of this should be fairly obvious but I’ll mention them anyway:
◦ Improve accuracy against enemy infantry so your own infantry can kill them more easily.
◦ Improve accuracy against warjacks/beasts. Slowing down DEF 14 beasts like Warpwolves or Angelii is cool, but even against DEF 12 jacks or beasts, lowering their defense by 2 moves you from “hitting most of the time” to “hitting almost all the time.”
◦ Improve accuracy against their warcaster/lock to facilitate an assassination run. I mentioned this a bit under the “feat” section of this guide, but if you can get Blinding Light on their caster/lock during feat turn it’s often game over.

03-07-2017, 06:28 AM
Model Synergies

In theory, Issyria can take any model in our faction and make it better, which gives her immense flexibility in list building. In practice, while the former statement is true I have found that certain models are definitely better than others with her.

Models/Units Which Are GREAT With Issyria

◦ Chimera: In Mk2 I would have marked this GOOD instead of GREAT, but with the huge price reduction the Chimera received in Mk3, I definitely think it will be used more often with all of our warcasters, especially Issyria.
◦ Phoenix: The Phoenix was always my go-to jack with Issyria. The Arc Node is definitely useful, and the Halo Cannon, while not the best gun around, is still pretty good for Ancillary Attack. Its sword and gun are both magical which is helpful for Issyria who lacks magic weapons.
◦ Discordia: Her spray attack and melee attacks both benefit a lot from Dawn’s Light and Blinding Light. She can keep Issyria or nearby infantry safe with her bubble. Ancillary Attack is good to use with the RAT 6 spray, and the spray is magical of course which is helpful for Issyria who lacks magic weapons.
◦ Banshee: The Banshee was already one of our best jacks, and then it got even better in Mk3. It doesn’t have any super strong synergies specific to Issyria, but it’s such an awesome jack by itself that it’s still great to bring with her. It might seem like the Banshee’s gun would be good for Ancillary Attack, but RAT 5 makes it hard to hit when you can’t boost.
◦ Halberdiers: With Crusader’s Call and the Houseguard Thane they have an amazing 15” charge range. Also, Dawn’s Light plus the Halb’s mini-feat is awesome.
◦ Sentinels: Sentinels were already one of our best units, but in Mk3 they got even better. I only ever took one unit with Issyria in Mk2, but in Mk3 I’m considering bringing two units.
◦ Stormfall Archers: In Mk2 I would have marked this GOOD instead of GREAT, but in Mk3 the change to Blinding Light really helps the Stormfalls. Being able to put Blinding Light on warjacks/beasts greatly increases the Stormfalls’ accuracy with their Brutal Shots.
◦ Arcanist: Always, always, always bring these guys. I recommend two or three in every list.
◦ Houseguard Thane: If you are bringing either Halberdiers or Riflemen (or both) you will definitely want a Thane.
◦ Mage Hunter Assassin: MHAs are good no matter what, but Issyria really turns them up to 11. 16” charge range with Crusader’s Call is amazing. Use Blinding Light on the MHA’s target to increase their accuracy. Dawn’s Light increases both accuracy and damage, which with Decapitation can really increase the MHA’s damage spikes. Blessed is also nice but unfortunately the MHAs no longer ignore Focus camping. I try to take two in every list, but sometimes I have to sacrifice and only take one.

Models/Units Which Are GOOD With Issyria, But Not GREAT

◦ Sylys: I mentioned Sylys a bit in the previous section about managing Focus. Sylys is definitely useful to Issyria, but when building your lists you want to avoid bringing too many pure support models. I think that you should only bring Sylys if you think you will make use of all three of his abilities instead of just the free upkeep.
◦ Aspis: The Aspis is a good little shield guard. Inexpensive, and decent in combat if you need it.
◦ Griffon: With Fleet and Crusader’s Call, the Griffon has a very nice 15” threat range (and gets +2 to hit on the charge).
◦ Hyperion: I didn’t use Hyperion a lot in Mk2, but with the changes in Mk3 I think I will probably start bringing him more often. Using Ancillary Attack on the Sparkleburst Cannon is awesome. Issyria can hide behind Hype to block LOS to her, and she can protect Hype from debuffs with Arcane Vortex.
◦ Battle Mages: Dawn’s Light makes it easier for these guys to get knockdown crits on their Force Bolts. They also bring lots of magical attacks for times when you expect to face a lot of Incorporeal models.
◦ Invictors: These guys have always been one of my favorites, but in Mk2 I rarely used them because they were expensive and not very self-sufficient. In Mk3 they are a little bit less expensive and a little bit more self-sufficient, so I plan to bring them more often with most warcasters. With Issyria, they bring highly accurate medium- to long-range shooting and with Inviolable Resolve and Wall of Steel they have a respectable 19 ARM. With Crusader’s Call, they can use Assault to move 10” then shoot another 10”-14” for a very long threat range. Unfortunately they cannot CRA while using Assault.
◦ Riflemen: Compared to Invictors, Riflemen are less accurate and less powerful, but have the benefit of a 14” range all the time instead of only on one turn. I recommend always bringing a Houseguard Thane with them for Firing Solution. Even though Dawn’s Light gives True Sight, it’s still nice to have Firing Solution available for the turns before and after your feat. Even if you don’t use Firing Solution, the Thane can give them Desperate Pace for increased threat range.
◦ Eiryss 3: I usually used Eiryss 3 with Infiltrators to give them Advance Deploy and Reposition. This combo works well, but with the Mk3 nerf to the MHSF Commander I will probably start bringing E3 with the MHSF as well. I don’t think that E3 has many synergies specific to Issyria, but she’s a good model to bring regardless.
◦ Magister: The Magister is a self-sufficient model which gets even better with Issyria. Dawn’s Light improves his attack and damage, and makes knock-down crits with Force Bolt more likely. He brings magical attacks for if your army is lacking in that area, and he can assist with assassinations by using Combo Smite to knock stuff down or Whip Snap to move a model closer for easier charges.
◦ Narn: I personally have had mixed success with Narn. Most of the time he will die before he does much, but the times he does do something he tends to do a lot. He’s great at killing infantry, then using Sprint to get away. He can also put the hurt on a warcaster/lock, though he probably won’t kill them on his own.

Models/Units Which Used to Be GREAT, But Are Now Just GOOD After Mk3 Nerfs

◦ Mage Hunter Infiltrators: In Mk2 with Issyria, sometimes I would run a full unit of Infiltrators with Eiryss 3, but more often I would just run a min unit with no UA and keep them in reserve for late-game caster kills. Unfortunately, they lost Mage Killer in Mk3 and they also no longer ignore Focus camping. They still have Blessed and are very good at killing infantry, but probably won’t kill a lot of warcasters/locks.
◦ Mage Hunter Strike Force: Long known for “Snipe-Feat-Go” with Ravyn, the MHSF (w/ UA) used to be some of the premier warcaster killers in the game. However, with the changes to Mk3 they received a sadly necessary nerf. They no longer ignore Focus camping or Cover, and only ignore LOS once per game instead of every turn. Still, they’re excellent at killing infantry and can plink away at a warcaster/lock when necessary, so they can still add to an Issyria list. Since the MHSF Commander is no longer the obviously better option, I will probably start bringing Eiryss 3 with them more often.
◦ Destor Thane: In Mk2, Issyria’s feat was great for the Destor Thane’s Multifire because it increased accuracy and reduced the chance of missing and not getting at least 2 or 3 of the possible 4 attacks. In Mk3 the Thane traded Multifire for Quick Work, and while the latter is a nice ability it’s nowhere near as good as the former.
◦ Aiyana & Holt: These two used to be an auto-include in every two-list tournament pairing. For me, I always brought them with Issyria because Aiyana’s ability to give out magic weapons helped make up for Issyria’s lack of magical attacks. In Mk3, Kiss of Lyliss now only gives a bonus to Mercenary models which severely reduces Aiyana & Holt’s value to us, but they can still be useful in an Issyria list because of the aforementioned magic weapons.
◦ Eiryss 2: Another model which used to be an auto-include in every tournament pairing. For me personally, I didn’t take Eiryss 2 in every Issyria list but I did bring her often. She still has her uses but I think that Eiryss 1 and Eiryss 3 will probably be used more often.
◦ Skeryth Issyen: As a P+S 15 Blessed Weapon Master, the Fane Knight hits HARD. In Mk2 I brought him with Issyria as a late-game caster killer, because he hits as hard as a heavy jack but with higher accuracy. I used to joke that he was two MHAs taped together to make one giant MHA. Unfortunately, in Mk3 he lost Rapid Strike and without that second attack he’s just not as strong. He picked up Shield Guard instead and got a price reduction, but I don’t think I will use him as often as I used to.

Models/Units Which I Have Not Yet Personally Tested, But Should Be GOOD or GREAT With Issyria

◦ Arcantrik Force Generator: In the change from Mk2 to Mk3 lots of our models received improvements, and the AFG is definitely on that list. Being able to shoot twice when it aims is awesome and really helps the AFG justify its high cost. Issyria can hide behind its huge base and use Arcane Vortex to protect it from spells.
◦ Moros: With Fleet and Crusader’s Call, Moros gets a respectable 13.5” charge range. He’s cheap and effective, with Paralysis on both his blades and his gun.
◦ Manticore: In Mk2, I never used the Manticore with Issyria because it’s a Focus-hungry myrmidon and she just didn’t have enough Focus to feed it. With the new Power Up rule and the changes to Arcanists, I think the Manticore will be used more often. It’s probably not my first choice with Issyria, but it’s definitely a good choice.
◦ Sphinx: The Sphinx really got some love in Mk3. With +1 strength it is even better than it used to be as a cheap and effective beatstick, and the addition of Power Up and the changes to Arcanists mean that we can bring more jacks with less drain on Issyria. The new ability on its gun will be helpful to Issyria so she can cast Blinding Light on a target from further away. I think that the Sphinx will be taking Skeryth Issyen’s spot in most of my Issyria lists.
◦ Hypnos: Hypnos also got some love in Mk3. He got +1 strength and traded Mechanikal Seizure on his fists for Shadow Bind - definitely an improvement. Ghost Shot on his gun is also nice, and with RAT 6 it’s good for use with Ancillary Attack. Even if you miss with the Ancillary Attack, the gun is still a 4” AOE so it can scatter to nearby targets. Sacred Ward is helpful because it means that Issyria doesn’t need to protect him with Arcane Vortex. The only thing that really holds Hypnos back is that at speed 5 he’s slower than our other two Arc Nodes.
◦ Imperatus: I personally haven’t used Imperatus with Issyria, but I know that other players have and he is quite strong with her. No matter who you put him with, Impy is a BOSS, and Issyria is no exception. Crusader’s Call is probably the big winner here because it increases his already large threat range even more.
◦ Helios: At the time of this writing, Helios is not yet released but we have had his rules available for a while. His abilities are useful to Issyria, but I think that he might not be quite as good as Hyperion is for her.
◦ Elara: Elara received a price reduction and had several of her crappy abilities replaced with better ones. She’s still not a superstar, but she’s better than she was. With her price reduction, she’s an even better Focus battery than she used to be, which is good for Issyria who wants to keep all her Focus. However, I haven’t figured out yet what the best jack to take with Elara is.
◦ Electromancers: These guys are great at clearing out single wound infantry with their electro leaps, and their other shot types are situational but still useful. If your Issyria army doesn’t have a lot of magical attacks, you may want to bring the Electromancers for their magical ranged attacks (although I think that only the initial attack is magical, not the electro leaps).
◦ Ellowyr Swordsmen: These unreleased models look like they will probably be kind of a mix between Infiltrators and Sentinels.
◦ Nyss Hunters: In Mk2, the Nyss Hunters were always overshadowed by the MHSF, but in Mk3 they look a bit more favorable. They are now Partisans so they can benefit from Issyria’s spells and feat. Like MHSF and Invictors they are effective with both melee attacks and ranged attacks.
◦ Artificer: The Artificer makes a good bodyguard for Issyria. He can help protect her from ranged attacks with his Force Barrier, and he can Beat Back or Combo Smite anything that gets too close. His fists and spells deal magical damage for dealing with Incorporeal models.
◦ Lys Healer: This unreleased model looks like she will be useful to most of our warcasters, including Issyria. However, you want to be careful about bringing too many purely support models.
◦ Sentinel Scyir: Another model which got better in Mk3. His new Tactician [Dawnguard] ability is super useful, especially since Sentinels are now even better than they were before. I’m not sure I would ever use him as a jack marshal, but he’s definitely useful as a combat solo. Against most targets he can put out a good amount of hurt, almost as much as the MHAs.
◦ Eiryss 1: Her prime version got buffed a bit in Mk3 and will probably be used more often than her first epic version.
◦ Lanyssa: Lanyssa’s Hunter’s Mark is probably the primary reason you bring her. Halberdiers won’t see much benefit from Hunter’s Mark as they already have a threat range almost as long as Lanyssa’s walk+cast range, but Sentinels and Myrmidons should benefit greatly. If you keep Lanyssa near the the front lines (preferably in cover or concealment so she gets Stealth and can’t be sniped out easily), then she can walk+cast Hunter’s Mark up to 16” away. With Crusader’s Call, Sentinels then have a 14” charge range against that target. Her primary difficulty is hitting with her spell against anything DEF 13 or higher. She can’t benefit from Dawn’s Light because she’s not Friendly Faction, but she can benefit from Blinding Light to increase her accuracy.

03-07-2017, 06:30 AM

Specific Tactics

Keeping Her Alive

Issyria is very squishy. Her defense is above average but not super high, and her armor and boxes are both very low. However, despite her low stats she’s actually easier to keep alive than you would think.

Distance is the best defense, and Issyria can comfortably stay quite far back most of the time:
◦ Because she has no offensive damage abilities, you shouldn’t be tempted to get her anywhere near combat.
◦ Her 16” Control Range means that you can stay quite far back and still be able to allocate to your jacks and affect models with your feat.
◦ Blinding Light should usually be cast through an Arc Node, but if you lose your Node (or didn’t bring one) you can use Velocity to retreat after casting.
◦ Her large Control area lets her stay back and still support her army. Compared to other squishy back-line warcasters like Haley2 or Harbinger, she doesn’t need to catch enemies in her Control area to make use of her feat.

It’s not hard to protect her from a ranged or magic assassination:
◦ If you have Hyperion, Helios, or an Arcantrik Force Generator, you can easily hide her behind the huge base to keep her safe from everything that doesn’t ignore LOS. Even if you don’t have a huge based model around you can still use infantry to block LOS to her.
◦ You can Blinding Light their models to keep them from trying to shoot Issyria. In Mk2 this only worked against warrior models, but now it also affects warjacks/beasts. This also has the bonus of protecting your infantry from their shooting as well. In some cases you may even be able to Blinding Light their warcaster/lock to prevent a ranged or spell assassination.
◦ Even if you can’t Blinding Light their caster or block LOS, Arcane Vortex can prevent spells cast at or near Issyria.
◦ Ranged protection, including Artificer, Discordia, Aspis, and Skeryth Issyen, can help keep Issyria safe. However, when building your Issyria lists, try not to spend too many points on purely support models. So unless you were already thinking about taking one or more of these models anyway I would not recommend bringing them solely for the purpose of protecting Issyria.

It’s even easier to protect her from melee assassination:
◦ As stated above, distance is the best defense. In addition, it’s usually pretty easy to have your infantry and jacks keep Issyria screened from melee threats.
◦ Even if the enemy does clear out screening models and get close enough to threaten Issyria directly, she can use Admonition to get away unless they have a way to remove upkeeps.
◦ A common tactic to get around Admonition is to run to engage and block the target in so they can’t move. Issyria is less vulnerable to this because she can just fly over the blocking models.

It’s very easy for Issyria to burn through her whole stack of 8 Focus every turn, but when possible try to camp 1 or 2 Focus per turn to use for Arcane Vortex. This point is discussed in more detail in the previous section about managing Focus.

Keeping the End Game in Mind

If the late game comes down to just a few models on each side, Issyria will usually be at a disadvantage. However, never forget Blinding Light. In a tense situation like this it can really make a difference. As long as Issyria still has a warjack or other strong model alive, you can put Blinding Light on their caster then charge (maybe using Crusader’s Call) with her jack and still win. Also, Admonition will make it harder to kill her or remove her jack. Never give up, because even though Issyria can’t assassinate on her own she can still ENABLE an easy assassination.

Now in that same situation, if you lost your jack, then yeah, you’ll probably lose unless you get lucky with your remaining infantry or you can pull off a last-minute scenario win. That’s why you should always keep the end game in mind and try to protect your key pieces. This is good advice for any caster but I think it counts double for Issyria.

Specific Model Synergies

Halberdiers w/ Thane + Sentinels
◦ This combo works with any of our warcasters, but is especially effective with Issyria because of Crusader’s Call.
◦ Deploy your Halberdiers and Sentinels interspersed with each other rather than as two separate units. First turn run your Halberdiers forward 12” to 14” and spread them out a bit. It’s important to leave gaps between them. Run the Sentinels up 9” to 10” and spread out in the gaps behind the Halberdiers. In some cases you may want to advance the Halberdiers 11” in Shield Wall instead of running them, but most of the time running is better.
◦ On your next turn, analyze the enemy’s board position. Usually one of three things will have happened:

1 The enemy has engaged you. This might be because you went first and they ran full out to jam your Halberdiers first turn (using fast models with Advance Deploy), or it might be that they went first and on their second turn they were able to charge your Halberdiers. In the latter case, hopefully Set Defense protected your Halberdiers enough that they didn’t all die. On your turn, charge the Sentinels through the gaps in the Halberdiers. Pay close attention to your positioning, and try to keep some gaps in between your Sentinels. The Sents should kill the front line models engaging the Halbs, and then any remaining Halbs charge through the gaps in the Sents to kill the enemy’s second line.
2 The enemy has moved up within 12” or less of your Sentinels but has not yet engaged your Halberdiers. This is the optimal situation for you, and you should analyze the targets available to you to see if it is worthwhile to pop your feat this turn. Just like in the first scenario, charge your Sentinels through the gaps in your Halberdiers and destroy as much of their front line as possible. Remember to leave some gaps between your Sentinels. Then you charge the Halberdiers though the gaps in your Sentinels to destroy as much of their second line as possible. This is an extremely powerful one-two punch. After charging, the Halbs should use Reposition to jam even deeper into the enemy lines. As I said, this is the optimal situation for you as it lets you remove a large portion of their army and also gives you good board position to try for a scenario win.
3 The enemy has stayed back far enough to be out of range of your Sentinels. This may be because you are facing a slow army that can only advance 10” or so on the first turn, or it may be that you are facing a gun line that wanted to stay back a bit and shoot at your Halberdiers instead of closing. In the latter case, that might be a good situation to have the Halberdiers advance 11” in Shield Wall with Inviolable Resolve up instead of running the full 14” first turn. Regardless, if the enemy is in range to shoot your Halberdiers then they will usually be within range of being charged by said Halberdiers. Have the Halbs charge and kill whatever they can, then use Reposition to jam even further up the board. Then have the Sentinels run up behind the Halberdiers. That way the enemy has to clear out your Halbs before they can do anything else, but then they will have Sentinels in their face to deal with. This gives you good board position to try for a scenario win.
4 In all three cases, you will probably want to use the Halberdiers’ Team Effort mini-feat.

◦ As with anything else, this combo is not an “instant win button” but it has proven to be extremely effective for me. You should also have the other models in your army kill whatever they can (usually with ranged attacks) so your Halbs and Sents can get even further up the board.

Myrmidons With Guns: Running With Ancillary Attack
◦ For any of our myrmidons with guns, first turn of the game try running your jack and then moving Issyria up behind it to use Ancillary Attack and put Admonition on it. This way you can run your jack 10”-12” and still be able to shoot first turn, while Admonition helps keep it from being charged in return.
◦ I personally have mostly used this tactic with my Phoenix, but it works just as well with other jacks. Note that if you are using Hyperion, Admonition won’t work on him so if you’re worried about him getting attacked try using Inviolable Resolve on him instead.
◦ This tactic can be used later in the game as well, but it’s most common to use it first turn. Be aware than in Mk3 the range of Ancillary Attack went down from 5” to 3”, so be careful with it so you don’t leave Issyria exposed to attacks.


Because Issyria can bring almost any models in our faction and do well with them, she can be tailored to a lot of different matchups. She also runs a good “all comers” list which can answer many different questions, giving you more freedom to tailor your second list to skew hard or answer specific matchups.

Tick-Tock Man
03-07-2017, 08:03 PM
Damn, are these tactica going to be your Canterbury Tales? Nice work. Also, I think PP has changed their stance on posting stats so you can now say things like focus 8 rather than "ties with Rahn."

03-08-2017, 11:26 AM
Damn, are these tactica going to be your Canterbury Tales? Nice work. Also, I think PP has changed their stance on posting stats so you can now say things like focus 8 rather than "ties with Rahn."

Sadly I can not claim this particular tactica, I am doing my best to retrieve the ones that were in the ret forums before the changes. As it says they was Originally posted by 'The Key of E' so I am just presenting this as is so the community can have the resources. I will be writing some of my own but right now I am just working to get the ones that have already been finished back up.

03-09-2017, 08:16 AM
Hi Tom,
I don't know whether you'r eon facebook, but perhaps the retreived tactica could somehow be pinned on the Retribution page.
I wrote a Kaelyssa tactica, now lost too.
If you could find it, that'd be great.