Well, it’s time for yet another break from our regularly-scheduled troop review to look at the first of Imperial’s warcasters, the honorable Brigadier P.D. “Righteous” Rist. Unlike many of the others in the Imperial fold, Rist is more honorable and less concerned with profit than his peers, working alongside the Crusaders, the Last Legion, and other like-minded individuals to save the souls of Lore. Unfortunately, he’s still affiliated with Imperial, and possesses a mildly sadistic playstyle shared by others in their faction. We’ll see how this comes into play as we look at his rules.
- Unit Composition: 1 Hero
- Cost: -28 points
- Force Allocation: Character
- Stats: SPD-5, STR-8, MAT-6, RAT-8, DEF-12, ARM-16, CMD-10, HP-15, FOC-6
-Interceptor SMG: RNG-9, ROF-D3, POW-10
-Loughton’s Pride: RNG-1, POW-2, P+S-10
- Special Rules:
-Friends in High Places: A unit of Guardiani Oblati may be included in the army if Rist is the army commander.
-Run & Gun
-Ammo Dump: Cost-4, RNG-6, DUR-Turn, OFF-No
Target friendly faction model/unit’s ranged weapons gain +1 ROF.
-Arcane Shield: Cost-2, RNG-6, DUR-Up, OFF-No
Target friendly faction model/unit gains +3 ARM. Models are not affected while out of formation.
-Foxhole: Cost-2, RNG-CMD, AOE-5, DUR-Up, OFF-No
Place a 5” AOE anywhere completely within the spellcaster’s control range where it does not touch a model’s base, an obstruction, or an obstacle. Models completely within the AOE have cover and do not suffer blast damage. When drawing LOS to a model not completely within the AOE, ignore intervening models completely within the AOE.
-Guided Fire: Cost-3, RNG-Self, AOE-Ctrl, DUR-Turn, OFF-No
While in the spellcaster’s control range, models in its battlegroup gain boosted ranged attack rolls for one turn.
-Snipe: Cost-2, RNG-6, DUR-Up, OFF-No
Target friendly faction model/unit’s ranged weapons gain +4 RNG.
- Feat: Toxins Away
–For Brigadier Rist, Imperial’s infamous Air Cavalry is only an ethocaster call away, always awaiting his orders to bring down fire upon the enemy. When the time is right, Rist calls in a drop ship to deploy a canister of Devil’s Gasp onto the battlefield, flooding the battlefield in choking fumes. As his enemies perish, choking on their own lungs, Rist and his gas mask-clad troops march forward to victory.
-Place a 30mm Toxin Canister token within 8” and LOS of Rist, and scatter it D6/D3”. Any model finishing its activation within 3” of the token takes a POW-2 Poison damage roll unless it has Alchemical Mask. Instead of removing the token at the end of the turn, roll a D6. On a roll of 1-3, the token stays in play for another turn.
Rist’s play style is mainly centered around infantry support. His spell list is dedicated to helping out a ranged-heavy force, increasing the range of his troops’ weapons, giving them extra ammo to crank out more shots, or boosting the attack rolls of his warjacks’ guns. He also possesses Arcane Shield and Foxhole, typically Cygnaran spells that help to keep his army alive by boosting their defense or providing cover for lightly-armored troops. On his own, Rist is no slouch either, and brings some interesting options to the table. His offensive stats make him a beast in either melee or ranged, but with the low power of his gun and ceremonial saber, he won’t be taking out any heavies without spending additional focus. Still, he can cut himself out of a tarpit if necessary. Run & Gun combined with Pathfinder gives Rist a lot of mobility, letting him pop off shots while ducking into cover and avoid enemy fire. Unfortunately, his DEF and ARM are not spectacular, so if you play him forward, he is going to die. He’s better off commanding his troops from the rear, rather than leading up front. Of course, he has Alchemical Mask to protect himself from friendly gas strikes, he has Take Down to finish off Tough troops in melee, and he has a special rule called Friends in High Places. Connecting to the past two reviews of Crusader mercenaries Imperial can hire, Rist goes one step further by being able to hire one unit of Guardiani Oblati, the Crusaders’ heavy infantry. They can’t be included in an Imperial army list, but in casual play these guys are very powerful and effective, acting as both a melee beatstick and durable bodyguard to keep Rist safe. Rist’s final trick is his brutal feat, Toxins Away. Instead of an army-wide or warcaster-centric buff, Rist simply calls down a gas strike into the midst of his enemy’s forces. Against armies like the Convergence of Cyriss or Cryx this feat is pretty useless, but against living troops it’s devastating, and can wipe out whole swathes in one go. Of course, its true worth lies in the fact that Rist’s feat can last for more than one turn depending on your dice rolls, meaning you can harass your opponent with clouds of choking gas for up to the entire game. Though if you want to get around this, just wear your gas mask if you see Rist show up on the field. Unfortunately, his feat can be just as damaging to his troops, as Wolfbanes and Crusader mercenaries without Alchemical Mask can end up choking on their own chemical weapons, so be careful before deployment. As Imperial does not have any warjacks as of yet, I can’t say what will work well with Rist in terms of a battlegroup, so that will have to wait. Now, if you want to get a head start and begin building your Imperial army list, here is the first of Imperial’s two lists: Ministry of War
- Heroes: Brigadier Rist, Lieutenant MacGuire
- Warjacks: Non-character Imperial warjacks, Character warjacks with bonded warcaster
- Troops: Barracudas, Blood Berets, Golden Lions, Grey Ghosts, Life Dragoons, Special Forces, Stormtrenchers, Trenchers
- Solos: Andrew Drougan, Francis Kemp, Lieutenant Isaac Alfreds, Sergeant Benjamin Taylor, Sergeant Levi Murphy, Sergeant Michael McBride, Trencher NCO
- Battle Engines: Greyhound Tankette, Bully Ironclad
-For every 25 points spent on MOW units, gain a free Command Attachment or small-based solo.
-Crusader Troopers and Valkyries may be included in this army.
-Gordon Slythe, Sheila MacGregor, Wolfbane Commandos, and Mourning Wolves may be included in this army.
-Conglomerate of Clans: As part of army building, an Imperial commander can buy support from the ruling Imperial clans. For 5 points, you can purchase a clan marker from the following list, and place it on any MOW squad within 6” of your warcaster. Each marker can be used once per game, and is removed the turn following the affected unit’s activation.
-Axelthorpe: Spells cost 1 FOC less, upkeeps are free.
-Bartholomew: +3 CMD
-Drougan: Rapid Strike
-Feldhaus: +1 ARM on warjacks and battle engines
-Fergan: Knockdown on melee weapons
-Finn: Unit leader gains Field Medic
-Gallagher: Sacrificial Pawn
-Kingsfield: Reposition (3)
-Loughton: +1 SPD on warjacks and battle engines
-Morgan: Regeneration (D3) on warjacks and battle engines
-Murdoch: Unit Coherency (3”)
-Murray: Anatomical Precision on melee weapons
-Oakenfist: +2 STR
-O’ Laughton: Run & Gun on warjacks and battle engines
-Paladine: Dodge on warjacks and battle engines
Imperial’s army lists are a bit of an odd mix, so if you’re a little surprised by the way this is laid out, let me explain. Since Imperial has enough purchasable upgrades on its own, their army lists really don’t grant any additional bonuses outside of free CAs and solos or points spent on units (including upgrades). Instead, Imperial’s lists let you primarily take troops from their mercenary options or other factions, and grant you even more upgrades to buy. The Ministry of War’s biggest benefit is the Conglomeration of Clans rule, which lets you purchase sponsorship from Imperial’s ruling heads to boost your troops and warjacks in the field. Of course, this brings up one of Imperial’s main weaknesses: they are EXPENSIVE. True, your troops don’t cost a whole lot, but when you factor in all of the buffs and upgrades you can buy, the points start to add up. This is befitting of an army that is ostensibly an overblown corporation, as you need to determine what to invest in and what to not invest in before making a move and deploying your troops. On the flipside, this grants you even more adaptability, letting you customize your units to fit the scenario or battlefield, assuming you have enough gold to pay for sponsorship. What it all boils down to is that if you want to play Imperial, you have to have both a strategic mind and a mind for business, so you know what moves to make and what upgrades to buy to make your army most effective in the field.
Whoo, that went on for a while, didn’t it? Anyway, next time we’ll be getting back into units with the Ministry of War and filling out the rest of your Imperial army list. See you all again soon!
-The Raging Goblin