In cooperation with Mutton from the Privateer Press Forums and the Cygnar Faction Community, I present to you a tactical presentation of eCaine. This article was written by Mutton and is being reposted here with his permission. For even more information about Cygnar Tactics, click on over to the MKII Boot Camp right here.
eCaine as he is know happens to be a master of the one man assassination run. His win condition is getting in range to either gatecrash or plain shoot up the enemy warcaster, with help from his RAT9 and ROF Infinity guns. Due to this, he has some especially good and bad matchups, more so than just about anyone outside of the upkeep dependent warcasters. Thus when building an army around eCaine you need solid troops and ‘jacks that can take on the role of kill the enemy ‘caster should you find yourself in a position such as that. Thankfully the two list format means that you can generally go with a secondary list, but this is about taking on all comers. So let’s get down to the meat
eCaine has 4 major stats which you should pay heed to; SPD, RAT, DEF, and ARM. First his SPD is 7, which is great in that it lets him have a threat of 19″ on his pistols, allowing you to provide solid support anywhere on the field. His RAT assists that, at RAT9, tying Eiryss for highest in the game. This pretty much means he can hit anything on decent rolls, which is a lot of help when going after the DEF16 warcasters. Finally, his DEF and ARM, at 17/13, show how fragile he is; you can lose a large chunk of his health to blasts, but direct fire outside of CRAs will have trouble hitting him.
This pretty much means that eCaine is going to be shooting targets of opportunity and then Gatecrashing out of there. You don’t want to leave eCaine next to any low DEF models that can be used to hit him with blasts, nor can you let CRA units get close. If you don’t have Heightened Reflexes up, be very, very wary of attacks that cause KD or slams. If they hit him, he dies easily.
Finally, he has the Cygnarian average focus stat of 6. This means that you’re taking a Squire with him, as any ‘jack you put on him is likely have trouble staying in his CTRL if you are bouncing eCaine all over the place to take shots. In addition, the Squire gives you another focus for shooting and lets you reroll his Arcane Bolt once, which is quite useful for taking out pesky solos such as Eiryss.
None of his other stats really come into play; he can’t make melee attacks and cmd8 is lowered than average in Cygnar
Abilities, Weapons, and Feat
eCaine has three interesting abilities. The first of which is Gunfighter, letting him decimate in melee unlike his Prime incarnation. It works with his Gatecrasher to allow eCaine to deal with anyone who runs to engage
Next is his Elite Cadre, which grants Gunfighter to all the Gun Mages in your army. No longer will your opponent be able to run to engage them, lest they take RAT7 POW10 shots to the face. It’s nice in that it also lets them engage enemy units, so if for some reason you can’t shoot, your GMCA can still stop the enemy from running away.
Finally, his Spell Amplifier. This is a godsend for killing those annoying solos such as Eiryss. It makes his Arcane Bolt RNG17, giving him a 24″ threat on it to pick of whomever you want. In addition, it lets you cast your upkeeps from 11″ out, which is quite useful.
eCaine has two great Spellstorm pistols, letting him kill shieldwalls with ease at 12″ out. You should be making attacks with these every turn if possible.
The real calling is for his feat, which lets him kill anything in one go. Remember though, you don’t need to use it to kill warcasters if they are squishy, such as Zerkova. Often time using it to take out a unit or two is worth it, as pumping pow12s into a warcaster will often finish them. It also lets him decimate warjacks; pumping 10 shots into a warjack will cripple even Khador heavies and outright destroy any other faction’s warjacks.
Arcane Bolt: Such a sweet addition to eCaine’s arsenal due to it’s 17″ range. Yes, you will generally need to boost to hit with it, but the ability to take out pesky models from across the board is so very worth it. Really the only ‘caster where it will see play, but it works
Blur: A nice Cygnaran upkeep; general idea is to throw it on a unit if you’re facing a good deal of firepower, since even Stormnouns become hard to hit.
Gatecrasher: eCaine’s “signature spell.” Letting you have a 15.5″ walking threat with the last 8″ being a place is great for getting you where you need to go. In addition you can use it to zip out of a hotspot. Remember, although you can only shoot in gunfighter range, you can still cast Arcane Bolt! Another trick is the gatecrasher charge, where you charge a model but gatecrash before you make the attack, for an 18.5″ threat range. This is useful for if you can’t draw LOS to your target by advancing and shooting. An amazingly potent spell
Heightened Reflexes: A welcome improvement over Stasis, preventing KD and Stationary stops a lot of nasty attacks such as pSorscha’s pop and drop. It also negates eCaine’s weakness to KD and helps keep you alive. The main use I generally find for it is for no KD when you make tough rolls when coupled with Rhupert’s Heroic Call.
Magic Bullet: Your support killer. But it on some ATGM or other long range gunmen and use it to bounce pow12s into their support. You can even bounce it off your own dudes, which is useful for killing manhunters hiding in forests and other nasty surprises. Basically take a long range, high rat gunman, such as a gunmage or defender. Cast magic bullet on them and have them shoot a low def target within 4″ of a model you want to kill. This lets you get the free pow12 off, allowing you to kill a Vassal hiding behind the Avatar with ease or a mechanic ready to undo all that hard work you put into killing the enemy ‘jack.
True Shot: Ignoring Concealment, Camo, and Stealth is what makes eCaine so deadly. It lets him kill support with easy as compared to his Prime counterpart and take care of the annoying warcasters such as pDenny or the Coven. If I see any stealth I cast it first turn and upkeep until the assassination run if I don’t need it.
eCaine is very selfish focus wise, so let’s look at what ‘jacks he likes first. Thanks to his abilities, we know he doesn’t want an arc node, so they are out. The Light ‘jacks then are
Charger: Far too focus hungry; sure you can just give it one focus, but we want to use up all of his ‘jack points and not have to run too many ‘jacks on him. With Jr it’s good, not so much with eCaine
Sentinel: A meh ‘jack, doesn’t get anything from eCaine
Grenadier: Better off marshaled, but if you want to run Trenchers, you can use it
Hunter: A good choice, as it’s focus light and has extended control range. If you are taking another Heavy either marshaled or whatnot, he’s a good choice
Ironclad: Always a good beatstick. Take him if you like him, no special synergies. He’s cheap and uses up all your ‘jack points, so you can sink more points into the rest of your army.
Hammersmith: Too slow and eCaine has no way of speeding him up
Centurion: See above. eCaine plays fairly offensively, so he’s kind of eh
Defender: A great ‘jack and an amazing Magic Bullet target. If you like him go for it
Stormclad: My personal favorite, making his own focus if you take Stormblades while being a fine beatstick. If you take Stormblades he’s probably your best choice.
Rowdy: A good choice for the free charge. It really comes down to whether you like him or a Stormclad
Thunderhead: No way of speeding it up, so no
Squire: An autoinclude with eCaine. Extra focus, reroll, more control area. What’s not to love?
GMCA: A decent choice with eCaine surprisingly enough. He gets Gunfighter and is a pretty good Magic Bullet target due to RNG14 with snipe and RAT8
Arlan: Extra focus is always nice with eCaine
Jr: Arcane Shield on eCaine is great, as it lets him use his focus and still be pretty immune to blast damage. Remember that if you have AS up though, you don’t have True Shot on.
Eiryss: I prefer the Epic version, as she’s more useful pre-assassination run, but the Prime version can drop focus the turn before the run, but it generally will just force them to run back out of your kill zone. She’s the one to stop focus camping
Reinholdt: Another almost auto include, the extra shot is great for the assassination run
Rhupert: Tough No-KD. A great addition
All other solos are really taken at your discretion and don’t do anything more for eCaine than they do for anyone else really
eCaine likes a solid, punchy unit, and a nice firebase to drive holes for him to gun down. These are the main units to take with him
Stormblades: The punchiest unit we have; either Blur or have Jr AS them to get them down the field and hit the enemy
Rangers: A must with eCaine for the RAT buff. RAT11 makes stuff deader
ATGM: Gunfighter makes them beasts, and RNG14 shots can poke holes well.
Boomhowler: Throw on Heightened Reflexes for 4+ No KD Tough. A great tarpit.
Outside of that you can really build the army you want. Take Longgunners to punch holes, trenchers to smoke, whatever works for you. Just build a fairly self sufficient army; eCaine is a miser with his focus
Tips and Tricks
eCaine should be making attacks every turn. In general, you are only running one ‘jack on him like I suggest, he’s only going to use up all his focus when you upkeep all his spells and load it up with focus, which won’t be often. 2 free pistol shots a turn (3 with Reinholdt) generally ends up with the same number of dead enemy troopers
Arcane Bolt pesky solos. True Sight lets him ignore Stealth with this as well, so you’ll never have to worry about Eiryss again. Just remember it’s at an effective rat6 with no Ranger boost
Remember, you can charge your own dudes in the back for the Gatecrash assassination run; just use them to set up a 10″ runway and then charge down it.
If you can draw LOS normally, you can simply charge a friendly model, spend an initial shot on it, then the rest of your attacks as 12″ ranged attacks. Combined with Hunter’s Mark from Lanyssa Ryssl, this gives you a 24″ threat range!
Be wary that your feat are pow10 BLAST damage. So make sure to get rid of Solid Ground and don’t target trenchers or those in a foxhole with high expectations
Make sure you always have somewhere to gatecrash to if everything goes poorly. Save 3 focus if possible for a panic switch if you just can’t kill those Doom Reavers in front of you
Tying it Together: The Assassination Run
As we’ve established, the point of eCaine is the assassination run with him loaded up on focus.
There are two types of warcaster in the game, and then three subcategories of their difficulty to kill. These are Frontline and Rear, Hard, Soft, and Medium targets.
First let’s separate the two kind of warcaster, the Frontline and Rear. Now Frontline warcasters are not necessarily going to be in the very front of their army, but they are required to stay in at least the second wave in order to support their army. Most Khadoran warcasters are like this, as are melee assassins such as Reznik or eStryker. They tend to fit into the Medium or Hard target as described below, but are often easier to draw LOS to simply because they are closer, so you can spend more of your advance maneuvering. You generally just need to use your army to break the front line to let eCaine get LOS and do the assassination run.
The Rear warcasters are far more difficult to get the kill off on; often they rely on arc nodes to be effective, so eCaine’s first target to drawing them out should be the bonejacks or whatever they are using to arc their spells. You need to support your army much more here, in that the enemy warcaster will probably have more army buffs or enemy debuffs than eCaine, so your pistols will make all the difference. Kill their arc nodes and frontline troops to force the enemy warcaster to come forward or punch through their troops to get eCaine a line to kill their warcaster. In general, these are Soft targets, Medium at time, so you won’t have that much trouble with a gatecrasher kill.
Soft Targets (ARM13-15):Thanks to upkeeps and focus camping a Soft target can become a Medium or Hard target; this is why it is vital to keep Eiryss alive to drop their focus and upkeeps if you use the epic version. In general, Soft targets have a higher DEF score, but with eCaine’s RAT9 and hopefully a Ranger bonus this won’t matter much. The real difference is that a Gatecrasher assassination, in which the enemy warcaster either has LOS to them blocked or has some combination of defense buffs such as cover and elevation that makes the ranged assassination tricky to impossible, is a valid tactic. You will only be getting 7 shots max with the Gatecrasher, but against Soft targets this is generally all you need. These are most different from Medium targets in that you don’t need your feat to kill them; a barrage of pow12’s generally does the trick.
Medium Targets (ARM16-18): These are the majority of the warcasters in the game, and once again the advice on using Eiryss comes into play to drop their focus and upkeeps. With some warcasters with low DEF or a Ranger bonus, you can gatecrasher kill them fairly reliably; five shots into them on your feat (and you will generally need you feat) will drop most any Medium warcasters. You will generally want to go for the ranged assassination here just to make sure you can kill them, since if eCaine fails an assassination run he dies
Hard Targets(ARM19 and up): Focus campers, Gorten and Karchev make up this category. You will NEED to go for a full salvo of ranged shots to take them out; gatecrasher is not an option. 10 shots on your feat will kill just about anything, but that means you will need to get LOS. Thankfully these warcasters generally don’t have too high of a DEF stat, but Rangers are still always welcome. Karchev in particular is only screened by his own ‘jacks, so if you can throw, slam, or outright kill one to get LOS you’re in good shape.
eCaine is one of what I see to be our big 4 ‘casters. He’s incredibly effective and has a kill-zone of 19″, where no warcaster can enter and be reasonably safe. Focus camping does hurt him, so bring Eiryss and protect her well. All in all though, your army is incredibly expendable. You should have a unit or ‘jack that can take the role of charging and killing the enemy warcaster, but don’t be afraid to sacrifice them all just to open a crack of LOS to the enemy warcaster. This is why eCaine is one of the greatest come from behind warcasters in the game; he really doesn’t care what you’ve done to his troops as long as he gets delivered to the enemy, and that’s quite hard to prevent.