Rate that Caster! (43, Kaelyssa)

Another new thing, more for my benefit than for anyone else. I’m going to ramble on about a random Warmachine caster for a while (my thoughts/opinions, strengths and weaknesses, ups and downs, why I like them, why I don’t). No set schedule for this, but I have punched all the casters into a random number generator, so lets see what comes up! (also, no warlocks because I have very limited experience with Hordes, I might add them in one day *shrug*). So, without further ado, here’s number 43, Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper!

Summary
Kaelyssa…Sometimes casters are brought to the table for the utility they bring to the army. Sometimes for the meta-making buff spells they drop. Sometimes its the sheer amount of warjack hate. Kaelyssa is all three. She features a versatile gun, true sight and one of the best spell lists in the game (with enough focus to run it!). Topped off with good mobility, great defense and a sizable pool of warjack points, Kaelyssa is one of the stronger Retribution casters. She spends most of her time on the table buffing units and taking shots at overextended enemies but she doesn’t really represent much killing power by herself.

Battlegroup
Kaelyssa doesn’t do anything special for her battlegroup (outside of Phantom Hunter), but she has enough points and enough focus to run a decently sized one while still performing well. With a number of good upkeep spells to sprinkle onto her battlegroup, it’s something to be wary of.

Defense
Kaeylssa has most of her #DesignSpace occupied with defensive options. She does an excellent job of protecting, cleansing and delivering her force to the enemy. Possessing some of the best defensive upkeeps in the game, if her forces get shot to death before arriving, something has gone horridly, horridly wrong!

Feat
Don’t want to get shot? Feat. Don’t like getting charged? Feat. It’s limited in it’s utility however and is unlikely to really change the course of the game one the armies have clashed. Expect it to be popped on turn 2 or 3, any later and it’s just wasted ink. Against non-Sloan gunlines, it effectively skips your opponent for a turn but the fact that it’s so specific really limits the utility.

Offense
Kaelyssa is just not an offensive caster. Aside from one redonkulous spell, Phantom Hunter (which is probably in the top 5 spells of the game), she does very little for the offensive potential of her army.

Spells
5 spells. No duds. Kaelyssa managed to escape or murder the arbitrary (and useless) low power, over-costed damage spell that most every other caster has. She has 4 upkeeps and each of them are terrifyingly powerful. Blur and Banishing Ward shut down ranged attacks and magic, Refuge enables some seriously tasty jump-shoot-jump action (also, Colossals with Reposition[SPD]…just contemplate that). About the only downer is that upkeep removal shuts down her casting. Period. But, she can recast most them every turn.

Survivability
Kaelyssa doesn’t care to be set on fire (who does?), but she can achieve DEF19 against ranged and magic attacks via Blur…which is terrifying. Aside from this, she doesn’t have anything specific to protector herself and she’s not likely to camp much if there are targets to shoot or spells to cast (7 focus goes quick when you upkeep a few spells, allocate a couple focus and shoot something).

Ratings
Battlegroup: 7/10
Defense: 8/10
Feat: 6/10
Offense: 4/10
Spells: 9/10
Survivability: 7/10
Composite Score: 6.83/10

Synergies/Tactics
Kaelyssa really wants a hard hitting, mobile force. She can help them get to the opponent, can clear buffs and generally protect them, but she lacks a force multiplier. Dawnguard Sentinels are absolutely delicious, all the more so when they’re sitting pretty at 15/17 (I mean who doesn’t want threat 10″ weapon masters that are comically hard to clear off the table?). Nyss Hunters and House Ellowuyr Swordsmen love Blur more than life itself (both units with Blur reach DEF17 against ranged attacks). Warjack-wise, she doesn’t really need an arc-node (she only has one offensive spell and it’s a situational one). Kaelyssa wants to see powerhouse ranged jacks to capitalize on Phantom Hunter. The Hyperion is probably what she wants to have on her side of the field. Outside of a colossal, a pair of Hydras only costs her 2 points and with Power Up, can easily sustain themselves with little help for the entire game. They also represent the longest range (15″) and most POW(15) on Retribution jacks (tuck an Arcanist behind each one and they are completely focus independent).

Weaknesses/Counters

Warcaster Jacks Units Solos
Kreoss 1
Harbinger
Amon
Durst
Reznik 1
Scourge of Heresy
Revelator
Exemplar Errants Eiryss 2

There isn’t much tech to outright counter Kaelyssa outside of standard upkeep hate and melee units (she’s a counter to other upkeep heavy casters). Caster-wise, there’s upkeep hate (Kreoss 1 and Harbinger), bricking (Durst), limiting her firepower (Amon) and then there’s Reznik, who focuses more on blowing her army off the map. Warjacks are in a similar status, there’s a couple amusingly good options that counter stealth at range (Revelator) or gain bonus damage in melee for upkeeps (Scourge). The Errents are unique because they bypass blur at range and Eiryss puts a lot of pressure on Kaelyssa due to her unique style of upkeep hate.

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