View Full Version : [RET] Magister Helynna - Tactica

03-17-2017, 09:49 AM
Originally By: Soren Roses
This is not my work so all information is presented as is

Magister Helynna
A theorist and unconventional freethinker, Helynna has dedicated her life to the advancement of myrmidon technology. The affinity that exists between her and the arcanikal constructs she commands transcends the normal bond between warcaster and myrmidon, a culmination of her understanding of the inner workings of these machines. Viewing each battle as an experiment, Helynna delights in sending Shyeel myrmidons crashing into enemy lines and unleashing their potential as only she can.

This lovely lady is our “Jack Caster”. Throughout much of the previous edition many ret players wanted to have Rets version of Cygnars Darius, or Cyrx’s Mortenebra. With the roll out of MK III we finally got a true jack caster.
Helynna loves to run 5+ jacks regularly, but she can run certain types of infantry pretty well when you consider the type of jack support she can bring.
In my personal opinion this caster is great battle box caster. She introduces prospective Retribution players to many of the faction’s concepts. Such as movement shenanigans, combined arms, and Versatility. Helynna is pretty easy Warcaster to pick up, but is a caster much like the Vayls’ or Haley 2 who provide a very high skill cap, so as new players grow with their understanding game concepts they’ll learn to utilize Helynna’s tool box better.

Stats and Abilities

Helynna is as fast as any normal elf and skilled with her blade. She’s not as good at shooting as you would want her to be, but with a boost she can hit DEF 15 on average. Helynna doesn’t have the greatest defensive stats but she does have an elite DEF, if she were a solo or unit. Her armor will keep her safe from blast damage but not much else. If you’re choosing to play Helynna you know that the most important number on the front of her card is her focus stat which comes in at 7.
Helynna has two weapons. Her staff has a long melee range which is nice for when you want to conk some bloke on the head. But in all honesty this is a weapon of last resort and if you have to use it something’s gone wrong. Her other weapon is a ranged attack (which is presumably integrated into her staff) called redirection blast. This weapon has a wonderful ability on it that, on a hit, gives the shooter the option of doing damage OR pushing a model 3” in ANY direction. In smaller games or in the later part of bigger games this is a tremendously powerful ability. As the games get to high point values you really have to be good judge about whether or not you should use this gun as it will usually leave Helynna some where she doesn’t want to be. You can use that 3” “push” to pull something in for your jacks or push it way to keep it off of a zone, flag, or key model.
In the end the only thing that really keeps her from have totally boring stat card is her FOCUS stat and redirection blast. And for those reasons I give her the following score.



Helynna has 5 spells on her card, all of which you can find a use for. I believe that it’s worth mentioning that Helynna is the first caster in retribution to have direct dice manipulation in the form of a spell. The reason why it’s worth mentioning is that our jacks, while good pre Helynna, usually needed a little bit of help to really get them to work. Whether through knocking down targets for auto hits, or needing concentrated power PLUS Kiss of Lyslys to get the P&S needed to crack hard targets. Helynna spell load out cranks up Retributions already good warjacks to ridiculous levels of absurdity, at least in my opinion. Any who lets get into the nuts and bolts of this caster.

This spell, when cast, grants a moderate ARM buff against ranged and magic damage to any friendly faction model in her control area. The spell is a non-upkeep so if you want the benefits you have to cast it every turn. Which you will, so long as your opponent has a half way decent ranged game. In all honesty this spell, combined with some of the other ranged/magic defensive tech in the faction, can give you an amazingly resilient army against ranged opponents. The much feared Kara Sloan of Cygnar really doesn’t want to face off against Helynna due to Helynna’s ability to slough off ranged attacks.

Force Strike:
The spell is what some like to call a poor nuke. Its range is poor. Its POW is the same as a hand cannon, which admittedly isn’t bad. And while it does have a knock down effect, it is a crit effect. Meaning that if your game plan is hinged on getting a crit with this spell you may want to rethink your plan.
This spell is probably going to be the least caste spell on her card. Due to the spell having such a short range you either need to get Helynna to close for comfort or need to run an arc node up witch will most likely get it wrecked the following turn. Despite all that this spell does have its uses. Need to scalpel out a key support solo hanging out with some shield guards, Perfect. A beast you want to kill has Admonition on it and have some spare focus, go head fish for that crit knock down. Every spell has its uses even if its use is 1 in a 100.

Hand of Destruction:
Remember when I said Dice Manipulation? Well here we are. Hand of Destruction, or HOD for short, is an amazing spell. It’s a low cost spell and upkeepable. It’s an offensive spell, that when applied to a target, grants an additional dice to hit and to damage then drop the lowest. And it applies to any model in Helynna’s battle group. If you want some context this is Issyria feat (another retribution caster) as a spell!!! Retribution warjacks are already good but when you give them the ability to increase their damage spikes, or hit a wapwolf without boosting they turn into nightmares.
This Spell is ideal when you can upkeep it at the beginning of your turn and then reapply it to another target so you can get twice the use out of it. I know that the buff only applies to her battle group, but when you have warjacks that can get that “soft boost” on a hellmouth gun (daemon), or have a jack like the sphinx charge a Kadoran heavy with certainty that the sphinx will wreck it, you can overlook that the spell only effects Helynna’s battle group.

Many of you may remember this range 10 pie plate spell from MK II, well it got better and our newest lady friend has it on her spell list. Oblit, as some like to call it, had an increase in its AOE size in the transition to the new edition. With its innately High POW this spell is great for getting some damage on a heavy warjack and catching its support with the blast.
When you think of casting spells to blow something up this is the spell you want. Yes it’s one of the most expensive spells in the game, but it’s worth it. Because Helynna likes to run a lot of jacks she often would have issues fighting lists with hordes of cheap, spam-able, units. Spells like this help to fix that problem. It’s not uncommon to catch 4 – 5 grunts with the blast off of this spell.
Oblit is probably the most “fun” spell to cast on Helynna’s list, just being able to say “Obliteration” is fun and the feeling you get when you opponent picks up a hand full of models is priceless.

Rhythm of War:
Is an expensive upkeep spell, but believe me you are going to want to cast it turn 1! The effect of this spell allows all warjacks in Helynna’s battle group reposition 3” inches at the end of your turn. If you have been playing Warmachine & Hordes for any length of time you know how strong that its.
This spell is what makes Helynna GREAT!!! It’s the life blood of her battle plan, her bread and butter. You will win or lose by how well you use utilize this spell. Having the ability to shoot and reposition 3” backwards or behind an obstruction so there is no retaliation is hands down amazing. If needed you can reposition forward to block a charge lane, or LOS to key models, or to engage another target so it has to deal with your warjack. This spell also makes our warjacks ludicrously fast. Being able to “run” 15 inches, or be able to shoot and move 9” means your warjacks will always be where you need them to be. As a fun fact, if you go first and run your warjacks up the table you will be 2” away from the center of the board. With guns that can threat anywhere from 15” – 21” your opponent has to think twice about leaving their deployment zone.
I could probably do a whole thread on of the wonders of Rhythm of War, it has so many applications. In this new edition where you can know exact how far your opponents models can threat, having access to reposition effects is the best. Other than maybe one or two other abilities in the game, “reposition” and reposition spells and abilities like Rhythm of war, or tactical supremacy are the best abilities to have. And the fact that Helynna can give it to every single warjack in her battle group makes her an amazing caster.

The combination of spells that Helynna has access to makes running a full warjack army a viable option, which is not something that can be said about the rest of Retributions casters. Being able to hit accurately/powerfully, and reposition all of her warjacks means that she has earned the flowing.



Helynna’s grants friendly faction models in her control area a substantial armor buff, regenerates all lost force field boxes on Shyeel warjacks, and allows all warjacks in her control area to ignore crippled systems for a round. I’d just like to take a moment to point out that this feat as three effect, most feats have 1 or 2 at best.
This feat was a breath of fresh air when I read it for the first time. It’s one of two feats in retribution that is not primarily an offensive feat. Having an ARM buff means that it has a wide array of applications. Some games its best to use it to soften the first blow you take, others you use it to run 4-6 ARM 21-22 heavies down your opponent’s throat and see if she/he can deal with it. Also because of the other two effects of this feat you can sometimes just absorb the first hit you take and then get all your shields back and also get the ARM buff. To newer players though I’d suggest not waiting too long to use the feat, as a savvy opponent will just focus fire down a heavy and not give you the opportunity to regenerate your force fields. The ability to ignore crippled systems is the one thing that everyone forgets about her feat. They’ll send one of their heavies into one of mine and cripple everything but the cortex then ill pop by feat and load up that jack and return the favor 5 times over.
There are so many ways to get mileage out of Helynna’s feat I doubt that I could list them all, or have even discovered them all.


Battle Plan

Having played with Helynna in approximately 40 games I can say confidently that she is built to be an attrition caster and she has all the tools to do so.
All of her tools, armor buffs, and being able to hit and run means that, with good guns, a Helynna list can start removing models from the opponent’s side of the table for the first couple turns while taking minimal to zero casualties/damage.
Many of my games with Helynna have the following pattern. Shoot for a turn or two, turn three get jammed/charge a vulnerable target and pop feat, turn four take a counter punch, turn five kill as much as possible, turn 6 the game is usually over, as I either get assassinated or I win on scenario because nothing is left to contest. Because her Feat and Spells all have such great synergy of reducing damage taken and maximizing her damage output she plays a phenomenally strong game of grinding down her opponent.
I believe that Helynna is the first true “attrition caster” as well as “Jack caster” Retributions ever had. Due to how strong she synergizes with her own tools and the options she has available to her in the faction (which we’ll get into in a minute). I believe she’s possibly one of the top 3 casters in Retribution.
Attrition, however, is by no means the only way to play a Helynna list. With jacks like Moros that can drop DEF, or using the gun on the banshee to knock something down. I can see someone building an assassination list. Being able to crank up the accuracy and damage of her jacks means they could easily threaten quite a few casters if they’re not careful. Or even building a control style list where you take battle mages and Helios (I like using Rhythm too much to use a colossal I think). You can certainly build a few different styles of lists with Helynna, but they will almost always revolve around a strong battle group.
As a side note I’m excited to see what new jacks PP comes up with so Helynna can use them to abuse my opponents.
I think I’ve laid out a pretty decent argument as to why I’m giving her the following score. Feel free to disagree with me and tell me why, maybe I’ve missed something. Any way…. Here’s the score…


Final thoughts

Helynna is a decently versatile caster with how you can construct her list. I do believe, however, that there is a preferred play style that she likes. She has the ability to use just about every war jack in the retribution stable, where most of our casters only like 3 or 4 different jacks (a couple exceptions of course). And many of the Units in retribution don’t mind tagging along with Helynna as they like the ARM buff provided in the feat. Over all a very very strong caster who is a blast to play.


For those of you astute enough to notice that her “score” would make her a B caster, I do think that there is something about Helynna that makes her more than the sum of her “parts”. An X factor if you will, so I bumped her up a grade. Some may argue that she’s a B+ or A- , that’s fine, but as this is my write up this is my educated opinion.

03-17-2017, 09:51 AM
Parting Thoughts

When combined with the tools of other casters in the faction that have really strong alpha strikes, or great assassination potential, ret starts to become this wild card when played against in a tournament setting. Or just fun to goof around with because of the varied play styles in ret. Whether you like to play competitively or just for funzies, Helynna is a caster you can always reach to, to help you put those round ears six feet under.

I’ve found that Helynna really likes to have options. However when you’re starting to play Helynna don’t worry about the bells and whistles, just get use to Rhythm of War. Ill touch on all of the Warjacks as she is a “Jack Caster” but for solos, and unit’s ill just touch on the ones that have the strongest synergy or maybe a synergy you haven’t thought about.


-Discordia: This lovely lady is probably the most obvious. With her imprint, Kinetic Field, and Helynna’s spell Deceleration you can get a +4 ARM buff against ranged attacks. With other tools like a range 10 high POW spray, or the ability to combo smite, she brings a lot of tools to the table that Helynna loves to make use of.

-Imperatus: This guy is already hard to kill, add on +3 ARM for a turn with phoenix protocol, even a colossal will have a hard time taking him out without some help.

-Hypnos: This guy has an arc node which is a decent selling point for Helynna. Depending on your Meta having a gun that can ignore LOS could save your bacon. OH!!! and you can’t target this guy with spells, which may not always come into play but when it does it will be a HUGH boon.

-Moros: When trying to get close enough to use his gun he often dies the flowing turn to retaliation. Helynna can help to solve this problem. Being able to use Rhythm of War to fade back into a forest or just back up so that his target can’t walk into combat with him means he’ll actually get to survive. If Helynna makes it to the late game without any heavies (which normally doesn’t happen) Moros can be a boon to have. With its high MAT and decent POW on its blades he can have a change at killing a caster witch is not something Helynna can say about herself. Also this jack is great at solo hunting or if needed grunt mulching.

-Hyperion: As I mentioned earlier not having access to Rhythm of War blows, but having an ARM 22 Colossal even if it’s just for a turn is GREAT. I personally haven’t used Hyperion with Helynna but I have heard of some people giving it a go and they quite like it. Besides who doesn’t like having a 5” pie plate that can vaporize small based models.

-Helios: Being able to bring more ranged defense to Helynna list is never a bad thing, and being DEF 14, ARM 21 COLOSAL is FANFRICKINTASTIC!!!! While I can’t say from experience I doubt there’s much that can drop this guy at range in a Helynna list. Plus having the same Force Grip ability Helynna has on her gun means that the two of them can control the board all game long.

-Banshee: Having naturally high P&S means that Helynna can crank this guy’s damage WAAAAAAY past good for a heavy. Being the slower cousin of the Shyeel jacks this guy really likes having access to Rhythm of War to get his Wailing deeper into enemy lines, or repositioning after shooting something with its Force Cannon.

-Daemon: This is one of the three options you can take if you want infantry clearing on a jack. You may have heard of the Spell Hellmouth, well that’s this guy’s gun and he really likes Hand of Destruction getting him that third dice. Plus with blessed on his fists he is just as respectable in melee as any other heavy with help from concentrated power and Hand of Destruction.

-Hydra: This guy has a lot of the same synergies with Helynna with that the Daemon has but with laser focus. Getting 4 dice for damage on a POW 15 at RANGE is as fabulous as its sounds. It will turn heavies to slag in a hurry, especially if you add in a second Hydra. Because Helynna likes to spend all lot of her focus every turn the fact that this Warjack can hold on to it can be very helpful.

-Manticore: I personally think that this war jack is the epitome of what Helynna wants in a jack. A well balanced engine of destruction. The problem with the Manticore is that it’s not accurate, Helynna fixes that problem for him and in return Helynna gets a Warjack that can contribute in nearly every match up in every turn of the game. Having a range 12 POW 12 gun even if it’s an unreliable D3 shots means, with Hand of Destruction, it can hurt pretty much anything in the game, especially when you boost the damage. Or if needed can keep the throngs of grunts at bay with covering fire letting Helynna cast Obliteration safely. And when you get in the late game having a jack that gets to P&S 20 means nothing is safe.

-Phoenix: In theory this Warjack has everything that Helynna wants. Arc node, check. Good gun, Check. Strong melee, yup good there too. The issue I think is that this Warjack is just so pricy compared to other options you take that are cheaper and are just as strong with Helynna. I can’t say that I’ve tested the Phoenix with Helynna yet, and I do want to. It just doesn’t excite me the way some other options do. Which is pretty sad when you think about the fact that this Warjack was AMAZING in MK II.

-Sphinx: This Jack is just flat good, being the cheapest heavy in the faction with strong Melee and an ok Gun with a decent effect. The issue I have with him is that he is just too vanilla. For 1 more point you can get a better gun, arguably better melee in many circumstances, and board control. I have played this guy in a few lists and he almost always preforms as expected. And he really digs the feat, getting to ARM 22 means only the heaviest hitters are going to scratch his paint. I could see a list built around 4-5 of these guys getting jammed down your opponents throat on feat turn.

-Aspis: When needed this little man can save Helynna’s life. It has low POW on its melee weapons so it’s not the greatest late game piece but if you don’t need the shield guard it’s just fine for killing grunts. In my opinion Helynna should never be in a spot where she can get shot so I don’t usually take an Aspis.

-Chimera: Arguably Helynna’s best friend made of metal. The speed of this jack means that Helynna can place a spell where ever she needs on any given turn. And in the late game you can use its combo strike mixed with HOD to get some damage that will bloody the nose of a heavy beast or jack. Plus it’s super crazy cheap for an arc node. Meaning if you needed you can run it to its death if it means you can get off that clutch spell and losing the chimera it’s not going to hurt your long game too badly.

-Gorgon: This jack has a ton of Merit being in a Helynna list. Due to her innate attrition game the fact that the gorgon brings a strong control presence strengthens Helynna’s goal to grind down her opponent by keeping key pieces out of the fight. It also loves Helynna’s Rhythm of War, keeping it safe from a counter punch. The gorgon, just like the Chimera has a combo strike which is very formidable with HOD.

-Griffon: And lastly the humble Griffon. This combat light can find a home in pretty much any list. But he really does like Helynna more than many others. When you can get a light to ARM 21 you have to ask yourself….”Am I a horrible person?” and you are, BUT in the best way possible. With the added benefit of HOD a pair of these Warjacks will mow through light and heavy infantry alike and then absorb tons of damage. They love Rhythm of war, because after they kill the first target it allows them to move deeper into enemy lines holding your opponents lines back letting the rest of your army set up with little worry of getting attacked.

-Sylys: If you’re not taking this Warcaster attachment with Helynna I have to ask if you’re right in the head. She can make use of every rule on his card. Even the +2” of extra spell range in the late game after you’ve lost our arc node. She loves this man even more than her crush Ossyan, but she’d never tell….shhhhhh….

-Arcanist Mechanik: Because Helynna’s usually running 4+ jacks I’d assume this guy would be obvious. Helynna wants these guys maybe more than every other caster in the faction. What caster wouldn’t like a free focus and damage buff on a stick? Nuff said.

-Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen: Helynna usually will be in the back field meaning that if your opponent wants to try for an assassination they need guns or spells. With the transition to the new edition Issyen gained shield guard, letting him play body guard for the early game. When you get into the late game you can use Issyen strong melee help close out a game.

-House Shyeel Artificer: This beef cake (not as beefy as he used to be sadly) can be added to Helynna’s army to give more ranged Defensive tech. Having a DEF 17 caster or DEF 14 Warjacks means your opponent has to boost to reliably hit their targets and even then they can miss.

-House Shyeel Magister: This model can bring some interesting tools to Helynna’s army composition. He has spells that can allow you to move your opponent’s models or even your own. When you stack that with Rhythm of War, you’re dealing with a ridiculously mobile force. And with 2 Melee attacks with MAT 7 he can be used to clear jammers off of your jacks.

-Eiryss 1 & 2: Either of these of ladies brings something that Helynna appreciates, Independency. Because Helynna is usually running a large battle group it means she can’t spread out too much, so having a model/unit that can act as an independent module can be a boon to Helynna. Either Eiryss can disrupt a Warjack meaning you can usually ignore that jack for a turn letting you focus on something else. And while it’s not reliable, Eiryss 2 can try and strip off upkeeps. Because a lot of Helynna’s work gets done through Hand of Destruction, at the very least you can punish your opponent for not letting you use it.

-Lanyssa Ryssyl: The one thing that Helynna doesn’t have is a threat extender. While you may argue that Force Grip on her gun can be a threat extender, it can often put her in a positing to get attacked so I’ll only use it if I know I can keep her safe or in the late game. Lanyssa brings +2 to charge ranges and free charges. All for the low low cost of 4 points. So when you need a couple extra inches of threat with a Warjack you can throw Lanyssa out there to tag a the offending target and you don’t care if she bites it the next turn because she so cheap. In some ways she’s also a damage buff. Because you get a free charge you can spend the focus point you saved on another attack or a damage boost.

-Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters: Remember what I said about Helynna wanting an independent module? These guys may be the best at it. Having a plethora of great rules like pathfinder and hunter means that they really don’t need any support from a caster to be great. I know it may sound odd but having a flanking unit can really help to play in to Helynna’s game plan. When they can distract a warjack or unit it leaves your opponent with fewer resources to break Helynna’s battle group which is already hard to break. If the new standard point level for games was 90 or 100 I’d have them in every single Helynna list.

-Dawnguard Invictors: With massive threat ranges and highly accurate, rerollable CRA’s Helynna loves to have these guys in her army to increase her ranged threat. And with a high MAT they don’t mind mixing it up in melee if needed. Plus they love the ARM buffs Helynna gives them.

-Dawnguard Sentinels: Arguably the best unit in Ret. This unit is pretty much self-contained with the CA granting pathfinder on charges, and a once per game Iron zeal means they’d be fine by themselves if the game could be played without a Warcaster. But when you toss them in with Helynna you can get multiple turns of high resilience to ranged and magic damage or a single turn of nigh unkillable weapon masters. Having played them with Helynna a few times I can say that it’s a truly potent combo. And because Helynna’s battle group does most of the heavy lifting you could consider taking a MIN unit with the CA if you’re strapped for points. Just be aware of anything that can do an auto point of damage like widow makers or models with anatomical precision as it gives sentinels a bad day.

-Heavy Rifle Team: This unit is good in pretty much any list. Helynna appreciates them because they can help to clear out charge lanes or to soften heavies before being finished it melee. With their high accuracy they are self-reliant so Helynna can focus on running her Warjacks.

-House Shyeel Battle Mages: They do what they would in pretty much any other list. I’m mentioning them because I’ve tried them in a couple of lists with Helynna and usually by the end of the game I realize I would have preferred a different unit.

-House Vyre Electromancers: Now I’ve never used these guys with Helynna before but I have heard of an interesting way to use them. If your Warjacks get jammed by a unit, you can shoot your own jacks in the back so you E-leap onto the jamming unit. And because of Helynna’s feat you can just regenerate any shield damage you take. Like I said I’ve never tired this but it’s interesting enough that I want to.

-General note on units: Other than sentinels, the reason you’re bringing a full unit (and I don’t mean the heavy rifle team) is to keep your jacks from getting jammed or to clear jams off of your Warjacks. In a Helynna list the Warjacks are the stars so when you add something to the list your first question should be “how does this help the battle group?”

03-17-2017, 11:16 AM
This is through and well compiled, Bravo!:Shield:. Are you going to add any of this to Battle College?

03-18-2017, 08:13 AM
Running her with 2 units of Sentinels is pretty sick as well. A guy in my meta plays her with 2 max units with CA, and it's solid. If you ever have trouble with Electro Leap, give that a try.

03-31-2017, 11:25 AM
Just a side note, Kiss of Lyliss does not work on Ret models since they are not considered Friendly Faction models.