Captain Allister Caine - Cygnar Epic Warcaster

eCaine.jpg
Captain Allister Caine, or Caine2 as he is known, happens to be a master of the one-man assassination run. His win condition is getting in range to either Gatecrash or plain shoot up the enemy warcaster, with help from his RAT 9 and ROF Infinity guns. Due to this, he has some especially good and bad matchups, more so than just about anyone outside of the upkeep dependent warcasters. Thus when building an army around Caine2 you need solid troops and 'jacks that can kill the enemy caster should you find yourself in a bad match-up. Thankfully, the two-list Steamroller format means that you can generally go with a secondary list, but this article is about building lists for taking on all comers.

Statistics

Caine2 has four major stats which you should pay heed to: SPD, RAT, DEF, and ARM. First, his SPD is above average, which is great in that it lets him have a threat of 19" on his pistols, allowing you to provide solid support anywhere on the field. His RAT helps with that; it ties Eiryss for the highest in the game. This means he can hit anything on decent rolls, which is a lot of help when going after the DEF 16 warcasters. Finally, his high DEF and low ARM show how fragile he is; you can lose a large chunk of his health to blasts, but direct fire outside of CRAs will have trouble hitting him.

This pretty much means that Caine2 is going to be shooting targets of opportunity and then Gatecrashing out of there. You don't want to leave Caine2 next to any low DEF models that can be used to hit him with blasts from AoE's, nor can you let CRA units get close. If you don't have Heightened Reflexes up, be very, very wary of attacks that cause knockdown or slams. If they hit him, he dies easily.

Feat - Overkill

Caine2's feat boosts his damage output to stellar levels: For each hit his pistols gain cumulative POW bonus. This essentially means that the second hit is POW 13, third 14 etc. In addition to this the target killed by the shot explodes into a small AOE with decent blast damage. Models boxed by an attack during his feat are removed from play.
He virtually kills anything in one go.

Weapons and Attacks

  • Spellstorm Pistol (x2) - ROF of ! Caine2 has two great Spellstorm pistols, letting him kill Shield Wall infantry with ease from a decent distance away. You should be making attacks with these every turn if possible.

Special Abilities

  • Gunfighter - Lets him destroy things in melee unlike his Prime incarnation. It works with his Gatecrasher to allow him to deal with anyone who runs to engage.
  • Elite Cadre: [Arcane Tempest] - Grants Gunfighter to all the Gun Mages in your army. No longer will your opponent be able to run to engage them, lest they take rune shots to the face. It's nice in that it also lets them engage enemy units, so if for some reason you can't shoot, your GMCA can still stop the enemy from running away.
  • Spell Amplifier - This is a godsend for killing those annoying solos such as Eiryss. It makes his Arcane Bolt RNG 17, giving him a 24" threat on it to pick off whatever you want. In addition, it lets you cast your upkeep spells from 11" out, which is quite useful.

Spells

  • Arcane Bolt - One of the game's most basic offensive spells. Because there's generally a better use for your resources, you don't see it cast often. However, it can damage Incorporeal models and other magic-damage-only targets. Caine2 is really the only 'caster where it will see play, but it works.
  • Blur - An upkeep spell that provides target friendly model/unit with a good DEF bonus against ranged and magic attacks. It's countered by Blessed weapons. It's probably best to either keep it on a melee unit to keep them safe as they move up the field or a ranged unit to make them immune to anything but blast damage and melee attacks. Warjacks are generally a bad target for this spell due to their low base DEF and the fact that most things either want to hit them in melee or can easily boost to hit them. With that said, it can still push a warjack's DEF to the point that the enemy will likely boost their attack rolls, spending resources they wouldn't otherwise.
  • Gate Crasher - The caster can be placed anywhere completely within 8" of its current position, and can only make attacks against models within its melee range. After casting this spell the caster cannot advance, and Gate Crasher can only be cast once per activation. Letting a 'caster with SPD 7 have a 15.5" walking threat with the last 8" being a teleport is great for getting you where you need to go. Another trick is the Gatecrasher charge, where you charge a model in your LOS, then Gatecrash before you make the charge attack, for an 18.5" threat range. This is useful if you can't draw LOS to your target by advancing and shooting.
  • Heightened Reflexes - A low cost upkeep spell that prevents target friendly model/unit from being knocked down or becoming stationary. This prevents a lot of nasty attacks, especially coming from 'casters like Kreoss1 and Sorscha1. It also negates Caine2's weakness to knockdown and helps keep you alive. The main use I generally find for it is for no knockdown from tough rolls when coupled with Rhupert Carvolo's Heroic Call.
  • Magic Bullet - The next time target friendly faction model hits something with a ranged attack, choose a model within 4" of to take an average POW magic damage roll. Note that this second hit is NOT a hit with the ranged weapon that triggered it (it's an effect of this spell), so it won't benefit from the gun's abilities. Note that Magic Bullet will let you "march" the additional shot an extra four inches beyond the initial target, so if you line up your attacks right you can turn this spell into a sort of discounted 'Far Strike'. One tactic is to hit your own low-DEF model, or get a back strike bonus to be sure of a hit, and then put the secondary damage on something with Stealth or that would otherwise be too hard to hit.
  • True Shot - A range-self spell that lets the caster ignore concealment, camouflage, and Stealth. It lets the caster kill support models with ease and strikes fear into warnouns that rely on Stealth to close in. If I see any Stealth I cast it first turn and upkeep until it's time for the assassination run.

Thoughts on Captain Allister Caine

Caine2 is very selfish focus wise, so let's look at what 'jacks he likes first. Thanks to his abilities, we know he doesn't want an arc node, so they are out.

  • Light Warjacks:
    Charger: Far too focus hungry; sure you can just give it one focus, but we want to use up all of his 'jack points and not have to run too many 'jacks on him. With a Journeyman Warcaster it's good, not so much with Caine2.
    Sentinel: A sub-par 'jack, doesn't get anything from Caine2.
    Grenadier: Better off marshaled, but if you want to run Trenchers, you can use it.
    Hunter: A good choice, as it's focus light and has extended control range. If you are taking a Heavy as well, either marshaled or whatnot, he's a good choice.

  • Heavy Warjacks:
    Ironclad: Always a good beatstick. Take him if you like him; no special synergies. He's cheap and uses up all your 'jack points, so you can sink more points into the rest of your army.
    Hammersmith: Too slow and Caine2 has no way of speeding him up.
    Centurion: See above. Caine2 plays fairly offensively, so this is lackluster.
    Defender: A great 'jack and an amazing Magic Bullet target. If you like him go for it.
    Stormclad: My personal favorite, making his own focus if you take Stormblades while being a fine beatstick. If you take Stormblades he's probably your best choice.
    Rowdy: A good choice for the free charge. It really comes down to whether you like him or a Stormclad.
    Thunderhead: No way of speeding it up, so no.

  • Solos:
    Squire: An auto-include with Caine2. Extra focus, reroll, more control area. What's not to love?
    Gun Mage Captain Adept: A decent choice with Caine2, surprisingly enough. He gets Gunfighter and is a pretty good Magic Bullet target due to RNG 14 with snipe and RAT 8.
    Arlan Strangewayes: Extra focus is always nice with Caine2.
    Journeyman Warcaster: Arcane Shield on Caine2 is great, as it lets him use his focus and still be pretty immune to blast damage. Remember that if you have Arcane Shield up, you don't have True Shot on.
    Eiryss: I prefer Eiryss2, as she's more useful pre-assassination run. Eiryss1 can drop focus the turn before the run, but it generally will just force them to run back out of your kill zone. She's the one to stop focus camping.
    Reinholdt: Another almost auto-include, the extra shot is great for the assassination run.
    Rhupert: Tough with no knockdown is a great addition.
    Taryn: Can essentially make two enemy models "disappear" for the turn when hit by her x2 Shadow Fire shots. So enemy warcasters will no longer feel safe behind their colossal or other large/huge based models.

  • Units
    Stormblades: The punchiest unit we have; either Blur or have the Journeyman Warcaster Arcane Shield them to get them down the field and hit the enemy.
    Rangers: A must with Caine2 for the RAT buff. RAT 11 makes stuff deader.
    Arcane Tempest Gun Mages: Gunfighter makes them beasts, and RNG 14 shots can poke holes well.
    Boomhowler: Throw on Heightened Reflexes for 4+ no-knockdown tough. A great tarpit.

Outside of that you can really build the army you want. Take Long Gunners to punch holes, Trenchers to smoke, whatever works for you. Just build a fairly self-sufficient army; Caine2 is a miser with his focus.

Tips and Tricks

  • Caine2 should be making attacks every turn. In general, if you are only running one 'jack on him like I suggest, he's only going to use up all his focus when you upkeep all his spells and load it up with focus, which won't be often. 2 free pistol shots a turn (3 with Reinholdt) generally ends up with the same number of dead enemy troopers.
  • Cast Arcane Bolt on pesky solos. True Sight lets him ignore Stealth with this as well, so you'll never have to worry about Eiryss again. Just remember it's at an effective RAT 6 with no Ranger boost.
  • Remember, you can charge your own dudes in the back for the Gatecrash assassination run; just use them to set up a 10" runway and then charge down it.
  • If you can draw LOS normally, you can simply charge a friendly model, spend an initial shot on it, then the rest of your attacks as 12" ranged attacks. Combined with Hunter's Mark from Lanyssa Ryssyll, this gives you a 24" threat range!
  • Be wary that your feat does POW 10 BLAST damage. So make sure to get rid of Solid Ground and don't target trenchers or those in a foxhole with high expectations.
  • Make sure you always have somewhere to Gatecrash to if everything goes poorly. Save 3 focus if possible for a panic switch if you just can't kill those Doom Reavers in front of you.
  • Don't forget Magic Bullet, combined with an ATGM marshalled Hunter you can reach out really far to get rid of some important enemy support solo. Best used if your opponent comes up with a collossal/gargantuan, possible targets will multiply with an easy to hit huge base in front of them!

Tying it Together: The Assassination Run

As we've established, the point of Caine2 is the assassination run with him loaded up on focus.

There are two types of warcaster in the game, and then three subcategories of their difficulty to kill. These are Frontline and Rear, Hard, Soft, and Medium targets.

First let's separate the two kinds of warcaster, the Frontline and Rear. Now, Frontline warcasters are not necessarily going to be in the very front of their army, but they are required to stay in at least the second wave in order to support their army. Most Khadoran warcasters are like this, as are melee assassins such as Reznik or Stryker2. They tend to fit into the Medium or Hard target as described below, but are often easier to draw LOS to simply because they are closer, so you can spend more of your advance maneuvering. You generally just need to use your army to break the front line to let Caine2 get LOS and do the assassination run.

The Rear warcasters are far more difficult to get the kill off on; often they rely on arc nodes to be effective, so Caine2's first target to drawing them out should be the bonejacks or whatever they are using to arc their spells. You need to support your army much more here, in that the enemy warcaster will probably have more army buffs or enemy debuffs than Caine2, so your pistols will make all the difference. Kill their arc nodes and frontline troops to force the enemy warcaster to come forward or punch through their troops to get Caine2 a line to kill their warcaster. In general, these are Soft targets, or Medium at times, so you won't have that much trouble with a Gatecrasher kill.

Soft Targets (ARM13-15):Thanks to upkeeps and focus camping a Soft target can become a Medium or Hard target; this is why it is vital to keep Eiryss alive to drop their focus and upkeeps if you use the epic version. In general, Soft targets have a higher DEF score, but with Caine2's RAT9 and hopefully a Ranger bonus this won't matter much. The real difference is that a Gatecrasher assassination, in which the enemy warcaster either has LOS to them blocked or has some combination of defense buffs such as cover and elevation that makes the ranged assassination tricky to impossible, is a valid tactic. You will only be getting 7 shots max with the Gatecrasher, but against Soft targets this is generally all you need. These are quite different from Medium targets in that you don't need your feat to kill them; a barrage of POW 12 attacks generally does the trick.

Medium Targets (ARM16-18): These are the majority of the warcasters in the game, and once again the advice on using Eiryss comes into play to drop their focus and upkeeps. With some warcasters with low DEF or a Ranger bonus, you can Gatecrasher kill them fairly reliably; five shots into them on your feat (and you will generally need you feat) will drop most any Medium warcasters. You will generally want to go for the ranged assassination here just to make sure you can kill them, since if Caine2 fails an assassination run he dies.

Hard Targets(ARM19 and up): Focus campers, Gorten and Karchev make up this category. You will NEED to go for a full salvo of ranged shots to take them out; Gatecrasher is not an option. 10 shots on your feat will kill just about anything, but that means you will need to get LOS. Thankfully, these warcasters generally don't have too high of a DEF stat, but Rangers are still always welcome. Karchev in particular is only screened by his own 'jacks, so if you can throw, slam, or outright kill one to get LOS you're in good shape.

Probability % to deal 17 (or more) damage with 10 shots under feat without rangers.
DEF/ARM
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
12
100
100
100
100
100
100
96
80
50
18
2
13
100
100
100
100
100
95
86
64
33
10
2
14
100
100
0.99
98
94
84
66
41
18
5
1
15
99
98
95
89
78
60
38
19
6
1
0
16
93
88
79
66
48
29
14
5
2
0
0
17
70
58
45
29
16
8
2
1
0
0
0
18
37
26
17
9
3
1
0
0
0
0
0
19
12
7
4
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
This means that vanilla DEF 15 ARM 15 caster has 62% chance to survive full barrage from Caine2 if he camps all 6 focus. If you utilize rangers, just reduce target's DEF by 2.

Summary

Caine2 can be considered one of our big 4 'casters. He's incredibly effective and has a killzone of 19", where no warcaster can enter and be reasonably safe. Focus camping does hurt him, so bring Eiryss2 and protect her well. All in all, though, your army is incredibly expendable. You should have a unit or 'jack that can take the role of charging and killing the enemy warcaster, but don't be afraid to sacrifice them all just to open a crack of LOS to the enemy warcaster. This is why Caine2 is one of the greatest come-from-behind warcasters in the game; he really doesn't care what you've done to his troops as long as he gets delivered to the enemy, and that's quite hard to prevent.

Theme Lists


The Huntsman


Warjacks: Cygnar non-character light
warjacks

Units: Arcane Tempest units, Rangers
Solos: Arcane Tempest solos
Tier 1
Requirements: The army only uses the above models.
Benefit: You get to reploy a model/unit after
both have deployed their forces.
Tier 2
Requirements: You must field at least two Arcane
Tempest Gun Mage units.
Benefit: You get a free Gun Mage Captain
Adept solo, FA free.
Tier 3
Requirements: You must include at least one Ranger
unit in your army.
Benefit: In-game effect for your first turn.
Tier 4
Requirements: Caine's battlegroup includes at least
two Lancers.
Benefit: First turn in-game effect.


The Street Sweepers


Warjacks: Cygnar non-character warjacks
with SPD 6 or more

Units: Trencher Commandos, Trencher Infantry
Solos: Non-character Trencher solos
Tier 1
Requirements: The army only uses the above models.
Benefit: Warjacks controlled by 'Jack
Marshals gain Advance Deployment.
Tier 2
Requirements: Must have at least one unit of Trencher
Commandos in your army.
Benefit: For each Trencher Commando unit
fielded you get a free Scattergunner weapon
attachment and the FA for Scattergunners is
increased.
Tier 3
Requirements: Must field at least two units of Trenchers.
Benefit: In-game effect.
Tier 4
Requirements: You must include at least 3
warjacks in Caine's BG.
Benefit: In-game effect for your army on
turn one.