Issyria – Initial thoughts.

Good evening!

So what some of our dear readers might not know is that prior to “seeing the blight” I was a Retribution player for a number of years. My swap to Legion was brought about by a number of factors. One was that I secretly want to be a Dragon. Another was that I was feeling bored. Most of the competitive lists are a built around a ranged feat. The lists are largely the same, only the number of focus and the spell lists change.

Take Ossyan and you wipe the table on feat turn, then you hang on while your stuff dies. Take Ravyn and wipe the table on feat turn, then hang on while your stuff dies. Vyros2 was a breath of fresh air, but not quite there for me.

Is Issyria there? Does she bring something new to the Retribution that’s sorely needed?
For those that haven’t seen, her stats are thus:

DEF 16
ARM 13

True Sight
Arcane Vortex (fuck yes! ed: This bit isn’t on the card.)
*Ancillary Attack.


Crusader’s Call
Inviolable Resolve
Blinding Light – New: Target warrior model/unit cannot make ranged or magic attacks and decreases their DEF by 2.

True sight to friendly faction models. Models gain an additional die, discarding any die. (I’ll refer to the feat as S+P here because… basically that’s what it is).

So what stands out? She has a great spell list. She has no weapons. Her feat is bonkers.

I’ll give you a preview of thoughts from the Dojo of Senseis Pete and Pat.

There are a number of ways you can build Issyria. The two standouts are building her around Blinding Light, and building her around Crusader’s Call. Trying to do both will end up with a list that does neither particularly well. She doesn’t have 9-10 Focus despite some Ret player’s most fervent tears. She cannot do everything in a turn. This mirrors many power support casters (most notable, eHaley). Despite my insistence that Haley represents everything that is wrong with the human race and is directly responsible for every natural disaster ever, she has an extremely high skill cap and it’s very easy to build a bad list with her, that tries to do everything on her card, every turn. Issyria has this problem.

Building her around Blinding Light gets you a strong Gunline, with a feat that powers up that Gunline, making it more accurate and harder hitting, but not as accurate as Ravyn, not as hard hitting as Ossyan, and not as safe as Kaelyssa (Blinding Light can miss, you can only cast it twice, and you can still be charged). This list probably includes Vics/Riflemen/MHSF and is designed to shoot, prevent retaliation, shoot again under feat, then hope for the best as your shooters are engaged. Personally, if I want a powered up Gunline list, I’ll take Ossyan, because anything he shoots will be wiped, or Ravyn because it clears infantry from the table with Riflemen + Thanes and Feat (Stealth bye bye).

Building her around Crusader’s Call (her best spell in my opinion) gives you something Ret does currently have – melee infantry rush. This list may have Hyperion (I’m currently leaning towards not). It’ll have two, maybe three units. It’ll hit hard, and fast.

Basically, you build a Cryx list with a bit less stealth and gribbly bits.

How do you start this list? First question has to be Hyperion or no. You take Hype, you have 18 points in a very hard hitting, extremely difficult to remove (arcane vortex + IR + infantry screen), threat 12″ Colossal on the charge. Wow. He is a beast. But how much work can he do? 2 Pie Plates are turn a nice, but are they 20 attacks under S+P nice? 18 points gets you double Infiltrators with points to spare. Is Hype 40 attacks under S+P nice?

Definitely one to be looked at further. We’ll leave Hyperion out for now, I’m sure there shall be a lot written about Issyria and Hyperion soon.

Let’s say you don’t take Hype. You probably take a Phoenix (You still want the option of Arcing Blinding Light for non-charge turns, you still want a heavy for Admonition). Maybe a Banshee if you ‘re feeling fruity. You may want an Aspis if you’re not running Hyperion. If there is one thing Issyria is going to hate, it is Ravagores.

Now you take units.

Sents + UA go straight in. They charge like Nyss, +2 ARM makes them 12/19, feat makes them hit like heavies.

Halbs + UA? With a Thane? Yes please. 15″ Charge threat, 3″ reform. 8″ Threat on a walk and Shieldwall followed by reform for an extra 3″. Hit at effective POW 16 MAT 10 under feat… Ok then.

MHSF + UA of course, because someone will fuck up their caster placement and you’ll get a free win, and if they don’t  then with the feat they destroy infantry. (Effective RAT 8 POW 12 ignoring everything bar feats and elevation? Yes.)

That’s 40 points there in a Heavy + 3 units.

1 Arcanist for buff. 1 Unit of Stormfalls because the Feat on these guys is nuts and they are a great unit without it. Thane for the Halbs. Maybe Sylys? Gives you an extra +1 FOC Camp and ghetto boosts that Blinding Light. Either him or a second Mage Hunter Assassin, because you’re taking one at least because sweet jesus S+P on an Assassin is terrifying. Especially when it does it from sixteen inches away.

Your list now looks something like this:

Issyria (*6pts)
* Aspis (4pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Houseguard Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (7pts)
* Houseguard Halberdiers Officer & Standard (2pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Stormfall Archers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Houseguard Thane (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

Not worried about Ravagores? Drop the Aspis, take a second Assassin and a 2 pointer. Drop Sylys and the Aspis, take another Assassin and a Destor Thane. There are many options. I’m even looking at the Fane Knight.

So what does this list do? It advances up the field. It shoots things with the MHSF. Then once you judge the timing to be correct it rams Weapon Masters and Halberdiers down your opponent’s throat with Signs and Portents on from 12-15″ away while your MHSF kill the backfield. Then whatever survives just bashes away.

It’s not particularly clever. It’s not finessed, there’s very little trickery or “Ret shenanigans”. It’s a brute force hammer that hits like a freight train and does it from downtown with a smile on its face for doing something that no other Retribution list can do. That’s the role I see Issyria’s lists fulfilling.

Obviously I could be wrong. I’ve no doubt the Ret forums will be falling over themselves in glee when they take 2 Hydras, with a bonus one on Elara. Another route could be a list I have swirling in my head (Double Infiltrators, MHSF, Hyperion. Critical stealth mass, obscene number of attacks on feat turn, massive caster threat).

I’ll be putting her on the table with the list above very soon. I have the list fully painted bar the unreleased models, so I might as well break it out of the cupboards and do some playing. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with these initial thoughts.

– Pete.


8 thoughts on “Issyria – Initial thoughts.

  1. First list I think of is very similiar, I am not sure of the single Stormfall unit.
    My only fear is what Issyria would do after feat, I hope she will be more than a great feat turn and camping after.

    • She’s very Haleyesque in that manner. One extremely powerful turn, followed by general support and an attrition win.

      The power of a S+P Truesight turn can’t be overstated. You don’t just get an effective +2 to all rolls, you ignore most terrain benefits in the turn, making the DEF swing great by 2-4 depending on your opponent. What matters is applying force in the right areas, and enough of it that your opponent’s retaliation will be severely hampered.

  2. I think she brings a lot of interesting things to the table. I expect many tears (some of them mine) when she starts seeing play!
    Note that I think the halberdiers still only have 8″ walk and shield wall, as Crusader’s Call only grants +2″ movement on charges. Not quite Road to War (thank god).

  3. I think if I were headed down the path of infantry domination, I’d drop the stormfalls and the phoenix. Upgrade the aspis to a chimera (admonition plus mirage is pretty sweet to keep it alive) and buy full infiltrators plus eirys 3.

    If you’re not running issyria in tier, I think you pretty much take Eirys in one of her incarnations every time. The feat is simply too darn good on her.

    If you’re going the full infantry haze, then I’d be tempted to see if you can get aiyana and holt in there as well. Probably means either dropping sylys or dropping the MHA. I’d personally drop sylyss, but either way would work.

  4. Her feat does indeed offer S&P if you want the max damage, but what it really offers is a crit-machine because you can discard *any* die. Hell, it’s evil. 4D6 -any anyone? 😉

    • It’s also pretty nifty for dropping the highest when rolling blast against your own guys. Fired a Phoenix at an engaged Cipher last night and killed it without hurting the Halberdiers engaging it.

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