Ride of the Falcyries 1

Aaaaaaand we’re back baby. New year, new KnightsMachine and new me. And with that massive cliché in mind, I decided to pick up a whole new Faction. Not just on War Table, but in real life (I almost forgot that physical games existed). It could be because they recently got a sweet new CID (One of the most positive and well balanced ones on record in my opinion), it may be a calling to return to my first ever Faction, or it could be entirely on the back of the new ‘caster and focus of this article; the most dynamic and interesting ‘caster I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing (and that’s compared to the experience of over 100 games of Krueger2). But whatever the reason is, I decided to pick up Retribution of Scyrah once again. While I await the government’s approval to be able to use my physical models, I have been making use of the wonderful tool that is War Table to try out various builds, ‘casters and changes and I have to say, I am absolutely in love with Ret. The options available to them are truly excellent, with viable ‘jacks, battle engines and infantry, and even our worst ‘casters are loved and run to success by some which speaks volumes of how healthy the internal balance is right now. The only thing we’re truly missing is a friendly Faction Archon (although that’s debateable now that the Warden Executioner exists.

Soul Ward, more like Swole Ward :D

I could splurge about the Faction for a long time but that’s not what you’re here for is it? No, you’re here to hear all about our new meta terror, and the bane of Gargantuans everywhere. In similar fashion to my other ‘caster run downs, we’ll break down each side of the card one by one and I’ll explain why she’s so immense. So, with that in mind, let’s go through the stats. Straight away, she’s off to a very healthy start. A potentially surprising SPD 6 for a plate mail clad elf with a man sized axe is great and she does not suffer for it with her defensive stats, now that she’s DEF 15/ARM 17, which, trust me, is a deceptively big step up from her CID profile. The only disappointment is the kind of average MAT 7. Being the same base MAT as the standard infantry from her House feels sad, but she does at least have ways to make this more reliable so we can’t complain too much. FOCUS 7, especially when compared to Thyron, is very nice, as the extra control area and output are huge for her, and her very tasty weapon wraps things up nicely. Then, we come to the essay on the back… 

Henge Hold Scrolls V2, but it's just the back of her card

Yes, there is an essay on the back, but we can condense some of that down. First up, Amputation. You can kill any Gargantuan in the game in 6 attacks with some half-decent damage rolls. In reality though it takes much less due to your inherent output – I’ve found it’s not uncommon to remove these models in 3-4 swings which is kind of nuts, and honestly even Colossals need to be wary if she gets going. Next up, Unstoppable. This rule is honestly kind of nuts. I was actually quite against her having it during CID and think it could have easily been Steady and Sturdy if PP wanted to keep her as a resilient and terrifying force. But they stuck to their guns, and as a result she is immune to Knockdown, pushes, Slams, Blind, Stationary and Shadow Bind. The rule is just so all-encompassing and is a blanket “no” to a lot of tools that are used to kill ‘casters, although Telekinesis is still a threat. Besides that, though, she is an absolute terror that requires a large investment to feasibly take out. 

Heh, Full Throttle...

Onto the meat of the novel on the back of her card and the thing that makes her unique – the Bounty mechanic. They work just like the chocolate in that nobody seems to like them but me. The most common method of application is her rule Springing the Trap, which has major Arcana vibes, and is similar in terms of being a back-and-forth of decision-making on your opponent’s part as well as your own. Worth bearing in mind that because it’s model/unit, it can be very hard for an opponent to keep you from applying it to a unit due to the risk of any member of it blundering into control range. Paying the Price lets you take a direct approach – trying to be too sassy with it will get you killed, but there are situations where you can place these tokens out, especially with favourable terrain or during the lategame. Combined with the mass direct application made possible by her Feat, I’ve found that she is able to have a steady influx of tokens each game to fuel her game plan and allow her to control the board in an interesting way.

Next, let’s talk individual token effects. Confuse, while potent in the right situations (I had a great time applying it to Siege1 every turn in one game), is probably the weakest of the Bounties in my eyes. You only ever get one or the other of the bonuses, as if something is out of range, they can’t make the attack roll in the first place, and if they’re making the attack roll then the range clearly isn’t an issue. Often, by the time you’re in a position to apply these tokens, you’re close enough that the range isn’t a huge deal. But it certainly does come up here and there, and when it’s useful it’s *really* useful. 

Execute, while a strong ability, isn’t something that I find myself using a huge amount. Some of the later control effects have been much more potent than this, although when you want to deal with one big target it does come in clutch. Its value jumps up incredibly once you start rolling boosted attacks or Weapon Master charges; the more dice you roll, the better this gets.

Falter Courage is probably my second most used ability and can be absolutely back breaking. This can be game-defining when set up to impact on a key piece trade, but is utterly devastating to some units. Specifically, ones that can’t boost. Careful application can basically stall out any kind of alpha, or more likely counteroffensive, and keep the game firmly in your favour.

Next up is, in my opinion, the most powerful Bounty

"You left me at the bottom of the Celebrations box; now I will leave you at the bottom of the sea"

On the surface it looks very humble. A simple, modest -2 SPD. But this is the reason that every list you build with her should have at least one Gorgon in it. Apply the spray from this model for Kinetic Grip to apply another -2 SPD and you’re able to shut down models or units in a huge way. Applying this to Gargantuans/Colossals, slower heavies such as Dark Menagerie bricks, and some Battle Engines is a fantastic way to control your opponent’s next turn and allow you, in some cases, to double alpha them. (Let me tell you, nothing makes a Zaal2 player as sad both as both of their Supreme Guardians being SPD 1). You can even combo this with Confuse to give a model an effective -7 on the threat range of their ranged and magic attacks. It’s my go to and what makes Falcir as much a control ‘caster as an attrition or assassination one. 

Finally, her feat ability Prey Upon is a potent effect on everything, but where it truly shines in my opinion is with guns. Guns can be reliably brought to bear en masse on any given turn allowing the maximum bang for your buck from this ability and combined with her control tools you can often limit, or sometimes completely remove any retaliation from your opponent after your big alpha. This is only reinforced by Falcir having no non-personal threat range increases making melee models much less impressive than they otherwise would be.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump into her spell list, and while it looks deceptively “meh” on first glance, it really isn’t. First up, Flashing Steel. There are a multitude of great targets for this spell with one notable shout out being the Trident for the cheeky double slam; it is of course great on units too but in my experience not terribly reliable due to the aforementioned lack of a threat extender. From my testing, the best target for this spell in the entire Faction rhymes with False Ear the Journalist. (Yes, it’s Falcir herself). 

Sing it with me now, quality site, quality shite

You upkeep this spell for free with Sylys; it lets her reliably cut down whatever she wants, and seriously amps up her assassination threat all the while being safer due to having an extra Focus to camp. 

Second is Full Throttle, which is seriously underrated as far as I’m concerned. The efficiency and reliability from this spell is nuts, meaning that you can get huge amounts of work with only minimal investment. Final part to note is that it works on her Battlegroup, which means it applies to her as well, so into anything high enough DEF to boost you can sometimes get more bang for your buck by casting Full Throttle (I’ve found this particularly potent during assassination runs). It’s not a spell that you’ll cast every turn, or even every game, but it is a very potent part of her kit that should be remembered. 

Next up we have a late addition to her card, Force Hammer. It’s a very potent spell, which is generally her bread and butter whenever you aren’t going in to axe a few questions. Either through an arc node, or through the extended range from Sylys, it tends to be something I use fairly frequently just to mess with Focus efficiency by knocking down battlegroup models, or to chip in a bit of damage on the approach. I will also note that combining this with Snare can be really nice. Reducing SPD and launching something backward D6 inches can be a very efficient way to keep a key piece in your opponent’s list out of the fight until you’re ready for it. The final application is using it to enable assassinations of ‘casters or other vital, high DEF models, such as something like Asphyxious4. Definitely not a spell to be sneered at! 

Her final spell is the one that makes her function as a ‘caster, Cyclone. Both a defensive and offensive tool, this spell is cast almost every turn of every game and is invaluable to her. So first, the defensive part. Fairly obvious, you can go forwards, kills some idiots, Feat, or Force Hammer something and then Cyclone back to a safer place. It’s not flashy but it’s really important for letting her do her thing. Second is the offensive side and this opens up a horribly spooky assassination run. 17 inches just from Falcir with the options of an increase from a Trident, a Magister or Lanyssa to get a potential threat of up to 23” (actually getting all of those to go off at once is a little optimistic, but the threat of it is still pretty impressive). The fact this is nonlinear and can start from a place without line of sight is also very powerful too allowing you to weave between models or terrain pieces to get to your target. It can also be used as a psuedo Flashing Blade too, if there’s a little clump you just would like to make go away. 

Now that we’ve tackled the card let’s have a look at our themes and discuss how she works in each, which for my money is 3 out of 4, as she’s a very flexible. First up we’ll look at the catch all and general go to theme of most Ret players, Defenders of Ios. Full access to the ‘jack stable, the ability to take Scythe and the Hermit in the same list, access to the staple must haves like Elara1, all of our Battle Engines, and the widest array of units in the game, ranging from gun packages like Stormfall Archers and Heavy Rifle Teams to the melee focussed Ellowuyr Swordsmen and Ryssovass. Generally speaking, plugging any combination of these models into a list with her will net you good results but there is a reason that it isn’t my favourite.

Forges of War is the next one we’ll tackle, and it is my absolute favourite theme for her for a few reasons. Firstly, the House Shyeel Arcanists unit, which allows her to keep all of her Focus for herself; an important advantage, due to how greedy she is. And second is how survivable she becomes. All of your ‘jacks being Shield Guards, access to the Artificer for Force Barrier, and Discordia for Kinetic Field can make her a 17/19 before terrain with Shield Guards. That’s not the kind of statline that most lists can really shoot off the table and it allows her to be much more aggressive than she otherwise would be able to. 

Third is a theme that personally, I’m not overly fond of for her, but that’s not to say it’s bad (Paul this isn’t very KnightsMachine of you please edit -Ed); Shadows of the Retribution. And the primary reason I’m not keen is that the Trident isn’t available. Losing the 2” place is a really hard sell for me. But, that being said, the theme does have some perks; access to Dispel is big since Falcir doesn’t have any innately, Mage Hunter Strike Force are very potent with Prey Upon, especially into Warjacks, and the combination of Phantom Barrage and Mark Target from Eiryss3 (presumably running in from a flank with some Mage Hunter Infiltrators) with such a swing is going to net you some round-ear scalps. 

KnightsMachine does not endorse taking the scalps of non-Ret players, unless they're like, really obnoxious, or take too long on Turn 1

Finally, there’s Legions of the Dawn… which is… not great. The biggest loss which I feel is untenable is having no access to Elara1 for Ghost Walk, since Pathfinder is one of the few rules that Falcir doesn’t have baseline. Having her be so limited by terrain just feels very poor and like you’re missing out on one of her key selling points. Dawnguard Sentinels sure will hit hard with Flashing Steel but she’s not speeding them up. There might be some cute builds with Dawnguard Destors, but overall, I think Falcir has no place in this Theme unless you’re playing for fun (hissssss -Ed). 

The last thing I want to touch on are some models that are a must for her.

First is Elara1. Ghost Walk is of paramount importance for Falcir as mentioned above. You want to be getting as much work from her as you can every turn and Ghost Walk allows this by making rough terrain and obstructions less relevant to her. Another reason she is so important is because she runs Gorgons very well. At SP 8, the Gorgon often needs to be a front line fire-and-forget piece, so having access to Speed of Death is absolutely huge. This kind of hit and runs this allows is truly awesome, and it even opens up the ability to spray something and then bounce forwards to apply Force Lock to another target.

Second, oddly enough, is the Gorgon; as I’ve been alluding to all through the article its spray is truly immense when combined with the Snare bounty. -4 SPD is almost a Feat level effect and can really swing match ups in a big way. You want at least one but I’ve been favouring running 2 myself for the extra threat and applicability. 

Third, the Trident. I mentioned guns being good with Prey Upon, right? Well, it stands to reason then that the best ranged model in Ret would be a great include for her. Under feat it’s not unreasonable for a Trident to shoot a Heavy off the board (providing you roll an average number of shots); add Execute on top and you can blend even the hardest of targets at range. 

Forth is the Hermit. Obviously, he’s just a good model, and is made even better by being Partisan Retribution. But the big thing for him is Mad Visions and how it helps keep Falcir alive. Being a ‘caster that wants to live at the front means that the effect is all the more relevant than it is normally. 

Finally, I want to touch on the possible ‘caster attachments and what they each offer. First up is the Fane Knight Guardian, which I see a lot of people taking. On the surface it’s very clear why you’d want it – the same reason as you want the Hermit; he keeps her alive through Guard Dog and an extra Shield Guard, and while those effects are both very good, I find leaving the Sylys at home just too hard an ask. He basically equates to at minimum one extra attack (by upkeeping Flashing Steel for free), and I’ve just found this so valuable for threatening ‘casters and huge bases while allowing her to do more work safely every turn. Secondly it allows you to skip out on an Arc Node as at RNG 12, Force Hammer is easy to hard cast and then Cyclone away if needed. Spending points on a node just doesn’t feel good to me, but not being able to use Force Hammer with regularity sucks, so having this is a great in between. Finally, Arcane Secrets is a great addition, allowing Falcir to skip boosting the hit in a lot of cases, or makes the times when boosting is needed much more reliable – and if you can slam a model back into an obstruction or equal base size, then a 5d6 signs POW 12-14 damage roll can do pretty ridiculous work. Corbeau is also an option on my radar, as Parlay is a very tempting tool, but losing out on both Sylys AND your merc slot is probably too steep a price to ever make it past theory for me.

That’s it for Paul’s contribution for now, hope you enjoyed! Next on the Falcir list is Paul’s battle reports from the VTC, and if there’s more you’d like to hear, let us know (I’m gonna try and get him to write up a how-to-play guide and go through some sample lists, if he’s not too busy with his new editing duties) 😊 ~Stephanie

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