Cassandra, Arcanist Henchman


Overviewcassandra.jpg

Cassandra is the henchman of choice for Colette. For lack of a better description, she's the ultimate sword dancer, but instead of making it look dangerous and not killing you, she actually is, you just don't know it yet. She also has some other tricks up her sleeve, including knowing all of the parts of the show, so she can sub in at a moments notice, and her ability to breathe fire. Cassandra is a mobile, powerful, jack-of-all-trades.


Mobility

Let's put it this way- this woman is faster than a lot of people. She has secret move tricks that allow her to move at the end of the first turn, and an action that can be used just for moving, and with walk 5/charge 8, she's faster than a lot of people who have nimble. And she's doing it all in heels.

Stage Presence: Allows Cassy to push 6" during the upkeep step (when poison and burning would happen) at the end of the first turn. If you're going for an early bombing run, this is a great way to give her an extra nudge. Did you over extend early, and cause the enemy to shift his advance? Reposition.

Nimble: An extra move every turn. That's just solid in a game where AP is king. With some of her triggers, this allows her to reposition to an aggressive point, then push back to relative safety after the attack (See Swirl of Motion)

Swirl of Motion: Both the (1) Dancer's Sabre and (1) Breath of Fire attacks have the Swirl of Motion trigger, which, just like the Coryphee and the Coryphee Duet's trigger, lets her push 4" after damaging. So, you can Nimble out of cover, breathe fire twice, and so long as you connect on the second one, push back into cover.


Offense

Cassandra is one of the most well rounded offensive characters in the game. She's got an amazing melee attack, a solid casting attack, and the ability to mimic any non-leader or showgirl CA Action in the game. She can even pretend to be herself, which will (believe it or not) come in handy.

(1) Dancer's Saber: Ml6, Rst DF, Rg 2 Target suffers 2/4/5 damage.
2" range with a Nimble and an 8" charge means she's got a 15" charge threat. She's got the Swirl of Motion trigger on there, so if you do get in and drop some damage, you can push out on your second attack, which gives you more board control.

The other trigger, Magicians Prop requires a (Tome/Mask). It says, "After damaging, this model takes the (1) Understudy Action."
So, this can be really good, or just okay. There are some dirty things you can do with this ability if you know what you're doing. For instance:
Did your last attack kill your target, and did you get the prop trigger? Use understudy on yourself and breathe fire against a different model.
Are you within 8" of Colette? Hit that trigger, then steal Colette's prompt. Prompt Colette. Have Colette move and try and Prompt Cassandra. Give her a push. Take a 1 action. Like (1) Dancer's Sabre or (1) Breath of Fire.
Are you near the Oxfordian Mage that has the melee spell upgrade? Take that, and make your enemy take that!
Is there a model that placed a scheme marker nearby that you want gone? Take the performer's Seduction ability, for free.

Even if she's just in the backfield, being able to tailor herself to whatever caster you've brought can get very good. It also puts her utility up to the point where she can slip into a lot of different crews. And with her henchman status, she can use soulstones, so things like the Oiran's Lure which has a high CA, but requires a suit, can actually be easier for Cassy to pull off.

(1) Breath of Fire: (Ca 5, Rst DF, Rg 8) Target Suffers 2/3(B)/5(BB)
(1) Breath of Fire is an amazing spell for a number of reasons. While it's CA is only an average 5, it's still a threat. Its damage spread is great, and its ability to place blasts is even better. It's got the Swirl of Motion trigger allowing for re-positioning to safety, and with some of the people she brings in from the out-of-the-box list, with a nice debuff to the enemy's DF, the blasts aren't that hard to get off. You could even focus to get the positive twist to damage.

(1) Understudy: This spell, while not technically an Attack Action, allows Cassandra to take a (1) CA Action printed on a friendly non-leader's card, unless the target is a showgirl like Colette. This gives Cassy her ridiculous level of flexibility- if you bring an Oxfordian Mage, you can steal its (1) Elemental Bolt attack. If you bring a Coryphee, you can steal it's (1) Dance Partner. If you bring a Performer, you can use it's (1) Seduction. Cassandra can even target herself with this, allowing her to use her own (1) Actions.


Resilience

external image 6848720111_9b7b95dd06_z.jpgA lot of times, a question that is very important, and also hard to answer, comes along. For Cassandra, that question is "Do I activate her early, or late?" There are a lot of variables in the question- the biggest one is, "Is she in danger of suffering a lot of attack actions this turn?" If the answer to that question is yes, then you should also say yes to the first.

Wow, that was convoluted. I'm sorry about that. Here's the skinny. Cassandra has an amazing ability:
(0) Southern Hospitality
What it does is, you can discard a card and gain Southern Charm which imposes a negative twist on all attack flips targeting Cassandra. So if you want to hit her, you should probably either focus, or burn stones, which would either limit the number of attacks they can make against her, or burn through their resources. This and soulstone use are Cassy's only real defensive benefits- her DF is a good 6, and her WP is a respectable 5, but no armor, and nothing like always in motion like the Coryphee, so Southern Charm is likely what's keeping her safe when she's in the thick of it, and if she gets hit (when she gets hit) she can burn a soulstone to prevent.

(Mask)Smoke and Mirrors It's on an upgrade, but this is a gem especially at one stone. It gives her the ability to move out of a charge or a flurry on a success and a mask (or a soulstone for a mask), and also place a scheme marker which can be all sorts of good.


Upgrades

Like all Arcanists,
Imbued Energies is a solid choice. Giving her the option to gain fast on top of nimble could mean that she gets to make 5ap in one turn- For example: Nimble (1), charge (+2=3), trigger magician's prop (+1=4) fast (+1=5). If Colette is nearby that might even be a walk with four attacks at a 15" threat range.

Practiced Production
This gives her some really interesting scheme generation which can be useful for things like an understudied "seduction". Then just place an extra (with a performer or something) to leave it at a net wash.

Smoke and Mirrors
The Cassandra Specific Upgrade- this is a really solid choice, as it gives her a DF/WP duel that can get her the hell out of dodge.
Df/Wp (Mask) Smoke and Mirrors After succeeding against an enemy, place a scheme marker, then push up to 3" in any direction.
You get a free scheme while engaged (potentially), and a push to safety? Solid.



Tactics and Tips

Colette and Cassandra's relationship goes way back. They've been together for a long time, and nothing either of them do can surprise the other at this point. It's almost as if they're acting like they're the Viks, but since Colette hates guns, she uses a throwing sabre, and a cane. Colette is the only master that Cassy can understudy, and almost all of the showgirls that come to the Colette party have a CA action that would be worth taking.

**Kaeris** She might not be able to understudy Kaeris, but she can steal spells from the Firestarter, or anyone else she might bring (like Oxfordian Mages). The Performers are one of the best schemers and anti-schemers in the Arcanist faction, and with a performer in tow, Cassy can do some dirty things with scheme markers as well. She's also extremely mobile, and survivable. Plus, Cassy always did like the "Femme Fatale" genre she gets when working with other fiery ladies.

Other Combos
She can steal a lot of really interesting spells with understudy, which gives her basic synergy wherever she goes-
Rasputina: She can use (1) Frozen Touch and (1) Freeze off the Silent One, and (1) Ice Tornado off the Snowstorm.
Ironsides: She can steal Mouse's "You A'int Leavin'" Ability to keep models in the net, or The Captain or the Oxford Mage's spells.
Oiran: As stated earlier, the Oiran have the Showgirl characteristic, and an awesome spell, (1) Lure. Lure has a high CA, but requires a suit, so unless you're looking to cheat the suit in (if you get one), you're up the creek. Unless Cassy understudies it, as she can burn the stone for the suit and cheat any card in. Oiran and Cassy would be fun in an Ironsides Crew.

If there's a (1) Ca action that you love and want to see it happen more on the table, Cassy may be your best bet.


Leading a Crew

With Cassandra Leading the crew, you would probably look to surrounding her with models that both have spells for her to take and could support her. She and the Coryphee have always been good friends, and with a Librarian, and the recent ruling on the "Once per Turn" phrase, you could potentially cast healing energies twice in a Cassandra crew (Once from the Librarian, and once from Understudy). She can be doing a lot of the heavy lifting, but she can also use Understudy to support from the back line, and drop breath of fire from the back or middle rows.

Strategies and Schemes

With her Defensive trigger and the Practiced production, as well as the typical scheme marker shenanigans that Colette's crew can pull, Cassandra is a shoe in for things like breakthrough or entourage, and can even be pretty solid at plant explosives (make her a threat to a group, then drop marker and float away).

Because she's Nimble, she's an ideal candidate for for the rare strategy Stake a Claim- with a little help, she should be able to move away from one claim marker and plant another in just one turn.


Playing Against Cassandra

She's got a lot of mobility, a lot of flexibility in the way she can attack you, and a sword- she, much like the coryphee or the duet, is going to flit about and remain difficult to pin down, and if she goes early to pop Southern Charm, it's going to make your life difficult as well. If they look to be saving her activation, start attacking her to put pressure on them to use her early. Either you're going to ruin a plan they've got in the works, or you're just going to force their hand a bit, and by attacking her before Southern Charm is up, you can do more before you have to work around it.

Try to attack her with things that have inherent positive flips to attack- you may be at even footing after southern charm, but it's better than having to focus.

Attack her with high minimum damage models- if you have to focus to hit her, you'll likely be getting the positive flip to damage, and the more you can stack on her in one go, the more she'll have to prevent. There's not a lot of inherent healing in a colette crew, so once those wounds are tallied, they're likely there for good.


Ownership
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