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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Monday, January 23, 2012

Making pNemo Work

Greetings ladies and gentlmen, it's Whitestar333 again with some more list-building ideas on how to make the more-maligned warcasters/warlocks work for you.  While I already posted an article on pNemo on my own blog, I will be adding a little bit more exposition here as well as an alternative list to consider.  I'm certainly in the camp that believes that pNemo is one of the worst warcasters that Cygnar has (although that's more of a testament to how great most of them are), but I believe that like with any warcaster, once you figure out how to maximize on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses, any warcaster can be good, and at the very least, fun!  I came up with some thoughts on pNemo a few months ago and so I reflected back on those ideas and tweaked them a bit to come up with a couple new lists for pNemo.  Part of the trouble with this guy is that there are so many routes to go, but I figured that here I would provide a starting point for those who might be thinking of playing him, and you can go from there.

First thing I look at with pNemo is his feat.  Pretty straight-forward: POW 14 electrical roll to each enemy warjack/warbeast in his control area (boostable) and warjacks suffer disruption.  Whoa!  Right away we see a clear preference for dealing with Warmachine factions (and rather well, mind you) by being able to hand out disruption en-masse.  Seems very helpful, although the POW 14 is a bit lackluster.  What's interesting about his feat is that he can benefit from his special rule Overpower where he can spend one focus in his Control Phase to extend his control area 1" (per focus spent), meaning he can potentially cast a wider net with his feat.  This also means that the Squire is practically an auto-include for pNemo, automatically increasing his control area to 16", although it's worth considering Sylys Wyshnalyrr for reasons we'll discuss later.  Either way, in order to make the most of his feat, he will need focus to boost those damage rolls, otherwise a lot of targets will shrug off most of the damage.  Fortunately, pNemo has a rule for that!

It's very technical...
pNemo's Reserve Accumulator is very interesting and really got me thinking about pNemo: every time another model casts a spell in his control area, he gains a power token (up to 3).  For each power token, he gets a focus during his Control Phase (like souls).  This can be pretty huge because it means that Nemo can effectively get 10 focus points per turn - much like the Harbinger of Menoth.  However, the trick is that he normally has a 14" control area, so he's not snagging a lot of enemy models in there most of the time, and he'll want to stay pretty far backfield because he's really squishy (easy to kill).  This got me thinking: why not have friendly models cast spells?  Unfortunately, there are only two Cygnar models with magic abilities (Strangeways and Journeyman Warcaster), so we'll definitely want to include at least one of them, but what about others?  Cygnar is definitely one of the factions that benefits the most from using Mercenaries - which is cool because it matches their fluff really well - and in this case, Mercenaries will be huge to consider with pNemo, as Mercs have a few models with magical abilities that he can benefit from:
-Alexia Ciannor & Risen (pAlexia)
-Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire (eAlexia)
-Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt
-Lanyssa Ryssyl
-Rorsh & Brine

On an undead horse, she rides!
These are all worth considering but to narrow it down, let's suppose that we want to create this pNemo list as a 2nd list in a tournament.  That means that we don't have to use him all of the time and we can specialize a bit more than we might if we only used one list.  In this case, let's have him be our dedicated anti-Warmachine warcaster, so that means that we can eliminate the use of Lanyssa Ryssyl, as she is clearly more useful against Legion.  Rorsh and Brine could be an interesting option, but they're fairly expensive at this points level and Rorsh doesn't end up casting spells as often as he just spends his fury on boosting his great ranged attacks.  That leaves us with a few choices and I want to discuss each of them.

I think that the addition of Aiyana and Holt will be great as Kiss of Lyliss adds a brutal damage buff for all of your models damaging a model/unit, and Ragman will also be a great addition with his Death Shroud which drops the ARM of models engaged by models near Ragman.  The threat range with Ragman's Death Shroud is weird, but we essentially want him near your own models and you can cast a wide net.  These two combo really well since Nemo can benefit from both of their spells with his feat (although Kiss affects a model/unit, so it'd only affect one warjack/warbeast at that time).  People also often forget that Holt can be pretty beastly and provides some great shooting opportunities for picking off incorporeal solos or clearing out key infantry models.

Both Alexias are also great choices, as the former will provide lots of bodies for cheap to clog enemy charge lanes while still feeding you power tokens, and the latter is a great cavalry addition for a mobile threat.  I would be more inclined to take pAlexia with the Risen with pNemo, as he will likely benefit more from having lots of bodies on the table.  Since Nemo's friendly models will be generating power tokens for him, Alexia's Arcane Disjunction will still deter your enemy from casting spells too close.

Okay so now what?  Usually I look at spells next and pNemo has lots to look at, for sure.  Locomotion is a bit scary when combined with the fact that he can dole out up to 5 focus on one warjack (instead of 3), meaning you can turn one warjack into a total missile.  Electrify is an interesting buff that pushes an attacker away after they attack - pretty handy to deny lots of damage to a warjack.  Disruption Field is another anti-Warmachine spell that gives a friendly warjack +2 STR (note: useful for throws!) and lets it disrupt models it hits.  Voltaic Snare is a brutal DEF debuff against enemy warjacks (again, anti-Warmachine) that can shut-down a brick of 'jacks.  Lastly, we have my favorite spell: Chain Lightning.  Needless to say, this spell is great for pNemo to deal with enemy infantry as long as they aren't immune to lightning.  In fact, since Cygnar has a good selection of infantry that are immune, it's probably worth considering taking one of those units because you can always hit them in the back and hope that the lightning chains onto nearby infantry!  Okay so what kind of warjacks can we take?

This is where it gets really difficult to choose.  First, I want to take a Lancer to take advantage of that sexy arc node.  With Electrify on the Lancer, combined with his shock shield, no one will want to bother hitting him.  Be careful though, they can always just run to engage him and prevent you from using your arc node, so keep a heavy nearby for some counter-charge.  Next, I want a heavy hitter that can take advantage of 5 focus (if I want) and/or Locomotion.  Since I'll also want some infantry that's immune to electricity, I think the Stormclad combos very well with pNemo, Stormblades, and Strangeways.  Here's how:
- Nemo allocates 0 focus to Stormclad
- Strangeways uses power booster to give Stormclad 1 focus and Nemo 1 power token
- Stormclad activates near Stormblades to get an additional focus
- This means that the Stormclad has 2 free focus and Nemo will get 1 free focus next turn
Plus he looks like the cover of a metal album

So here's what my list looks like (and again, you might decide to do things differently):
Commander Adept Nemo (+6)
- Lancer (6)
- Stormclad (10)
- Ironclad (7)
- Squire (2)
Arlan Strangeways (2)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4)
Ragman (2)
Stormblades (5)
- Stormblade Officer & Standard (3)

Aiyana: "Every since I was born I've been poppin' my collar"
Unfortunately, I'm running very light on infantry, but with the Lancer up front arcing some Chain Lightning, I should be able to thin out the enemy infantry before they're a problem.  In this game, I want my infantry to be my second line, and I can launch a Stormclad or Ironclad missile to cause some serious damage.  It's worth noting that between Disruption Field, Kiss of Lyliss from Aiyanna, and a nearby Death Shroud from Ragman, you can have a Stormclad hitting at P+S 25 and causing disruption.  Why yes, I would love to straight damage to an un-opened Khador Devastator.  Hell, that will one-shot most warcasters when the damage roll is boosted.  Even if the Stormclad dies early, you can try it again with your Ironclad at P+S 24.  Yikes.  Let's not forget that those Stormblades can now hit with a P+S 17 on their blades between Death Shroud and Kiss of Lyliss.  So what this particular list lacks in models, it makes up for by hitting like a steam locomotive!

Like was mentioned earlier, however, there are many routes to go and if you need more bodies on the table, it might be worth swapping out some things to get Alexia & Risen on the table - hopefully fed by Chain Lightning casualties and your first-line of infantry.  Also a case can be made for swapping out the Squire for Sylys Wyshnalyrr to get more damage out of Chain Lightning (taking the highest dice is slightly better than re-rolls) and you'll save more focus in the long-term with Sylys granting free upkeeps than you get from the accumulator circles on the Squire.  You can also consider this list at 35 points:
The Ragman is an often overlooked solo
from Warmachine: Wrath

Commander Adept Nemo (+6)
- Centurion (9)
- Ironclad (7)
- Lancer (6)
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr (2)
Alexia Ciannor & Risen (5)
Sword Knights (full, 6)
Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt (4)
Ragman (2)

This list now gives you way more bodies on the table but you sacrifice some warjack efficiency without the Strangeways-Stormclad-Stormblade combo and you are also lacking lightning-immune infantry for bouncing Chain Lightning.  You do get lots of models and Alexia & Risen will be a good second-line to benefit from the deaths of your Sword Knights, and with Ragman nearby you might even be able to deal some damage with them!

In either case, I hope these two lists have given you something to think about and will reconsider pNemo.  He's not an easy warcaster to use, and even more challenging to make a list for in 35 points, but I think that with some practice and opening your mind to new possibilities, you can have some success with him.  In fact, I will go out there saying that I think that pNemo can even threaten Cryx armies reasonably well, since disruption prevents channeling of spells and their warjacks typically have low ARM values anyway.  Additionally, Chain Lightning can be pretty brutal against Cryx as they tend to be fairly infantry-heavy, and even Alexia can have fun with her Dominate Undead spell for getting rid of or exposing pesky support solos or UAs. 

Have fun!

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