The Captain, Arcanist Henchman


Overview

The Captain is Toni Ironsides' henchman. Some say he was the captain of a great airship, while others say that he fought in the Blackpowder Wars. Whatever the truth, The Captain has some interesting abilities that help him synergize with quite a few of the Arcanist masters, as well as a potent attack and a spell that adds to his utility toolbox. A solid statline, the M&SU attribute, and some nice defensive tricks make The Captain a very well rounded piece, though, at 10 soulstones cost, he ought to be.


Mobility

The Captain himself is a fairly mobile model. With walk 5 and charge 8, (and a three inch range on his primary melee attack!) he has an excellent threat range and ability to get where he can help the cause. He's also got the Agile ability - this makes him immune to disengaging strikes, which makes him extremely hard to pin down.



Offense

The Captain is a pretty solid offensive piece, with a relic hammer as his primary attack. He has another spell, Airburst, which can be both a defensive and offensive ability, so we'll cover it in both sections.

Relic Hammer

The (1) Relic Hammer is the Captain's melee attack. It's CB 6, is resisted by DF, and has a 3" melee range. Its damage profile is 3/4/6, and like all relic hammers gets a double positive flip to damage against Tyrants and Constructs.

Where the Captain's Relic Hammer really starts to shine, however, is with his triggers.

Knock Back: this trigger is available on a mask, which says "After Damaging, Push the target model 3" away from this model". This is great for things like Turf War or Reconnoiter. It's also potentially a defensive move, as while the captain doesn't have to worry about disengaging strikes, pushing an enemy away from a key model may free them up to be more effective.

Spread the Embers: This is the trigger that screams synergy for quite a few of the Arcanist's masters and subordinate models. On a successful attack with the ram trigger, the target being hit by the attack gains Burning +2. It's important to note, the trigger specifies "Succeeding" and not "Damaging". Even on a black joker damage flip, or a full damage prevention flip, those two burning are going down. This is a very effective way to set up for any number of combos - Mei Feng's melee, Kaeris' burning oriented attacks, or even the Gunsmith's The Hard Way / Easy Target buffs.

Airburst
This is The Captain's second Attack action- it is also resisted with DF. At its core, it's more of a push than an attack, which would usually fall under tactical actions. I presume it was left as an attack to keep him from being able cast it on himself. It also has one of the same triggers as the relic hammer:

Spread the Embers: That's right, on a ram, Airburst can also set the target on fire.

Airburst is the second utility move - partly because the Burning trigger is optional, and the moving can give Slow models the equivalent of nimble (or more!) for a 6 or higher. Rasputina springs to mind, with her high cost low walk models like the Ice Golem. There are also models that like having fire on them- specifically the Rail Golem. He can also benefit from the Burning condition, giving him an extra move, and adding fuel to the Rail Golem's Locomotion ability.

That said, don't discount the offensive utility of Airburst. With a Ca of 6 and only needing to tie to get the effect, you can fairly reliably move enemy models, if you are willing to commit the cards. Things like pushing models off of Squat markers, out of scoring position for Turf War or Bodyguard can win games. Getting first activation and pushing everyone out of range for the charges they had set up can ruin turns. The fact that it is a push in any direction makes its a very useful action.


Resilience

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With a DF of 6, and a WP of 5, The Captain is just above average. 9 wounds means he takes a bit longer to take down than your normal henchman, with a solid set of defensive abilities and actions:

DF (Mask) Vapor Trail
Think of it as the Arcanists' answer to "Second loudest squeel". When damaged, on a mask, the captain can push up to 5" in any direction. Now, it does take getting damaged to go off, so it's not a get out of jail free, but it will do quite a bit to stop charges or flurries. (Unless they have something like next target to keep up with you.)

Middle of the Storm
Not actually an added reliance to The Captain himself, but to those around him, Middle of the Storm is a 2" aura that gives models Bullet Proof +1, making shooting at models around the captain less enticing. You won't be able to get a ton of models under the umbrella, it would get too crowded, but you can keep him next to a key target to try and minimize a firing squad.

Wind Wall
Another in the "wall" series of defensive abilities, (1) Wind Wall requires a 4 or higher to place two 50mm Wind Wall markers touching each other and within 12" of the caster (and at least 1" away from any other marker or model". These are severe and soft cover - which means if you're within an inch of them they'll give a negative twist to shooting attacks. It will not however block line of sight, as it doesn't have the "Blocking" trait. It's good for closing up a choke point or giving you or your crew a bit of mobile cover as you move up. Great for a Rasputina crew, as you can place them near enough to grant cover to a ice mirror. This would let Raspy have a well protected turret model to shoot from.


Upgrades

Patron's Blessing - The Captain has his own specific upgrade Patron's Blessing, a 2ss upgrade that grants Casting Expert. This would give The Captain more space to cast either Wind Wall, Eye of the Storm, or Airburst. The general consensus is that extra AP = good AP, and I tend to agree. Even if you always use it to Wind Wall, or Airburst every time, an extra CA ap for a caster is quite nice. For 2ss one a 10ss model, however, it is a hefty investment.

Powered by Flame- A wave two generic M&SU upgrade that allows friendly constructs within 8" to hand out burning when they deal damage. Usually helpful if you were going to use The Captain as a frontline brawler type, and in crews like Mei Feng (who typically like to run constructs anyways), or Ramos (who summons so many constructs that the extra damage could prove overwhelming).

Warding Runes- This is the upgrade that only works with the ward upgrades that attach to Oxfordian Mages. By itself it grants Counterspell which to be honest is quite good - it makes lure, or any other suit-dependent Ca action harder to get off on him. On a secondary line of defense, Warding runes works with the ward upgrades, and can grant things such as Regeneration and immunity to conditions - certainly one to consider for certain schemes such as Distract or Cursed Object.

Imbued Energies- This upgrade is sort of a catch all for important Arcanist models - any model can be made better by allowing them to do more in any given round, and if you combine this with Patron's Blessing, he could potentially push a model within charge range with the Ca expert, charge, and take fast to attack a third time. Given ideal circumstances, you've also given out 8 burning via the triggers.



Tactics and Tips

Because The Captain can fit into so many different kinds of crews with different kinds of synergies, this guide will attempt to break it down on a master by master basis.

Toni Ironsides
The crew he was made to be in, and probably the most vanilla. The Captain provides a few things for Toni that she needs. As a melee master, the Captain can stand nearby and give Toni Bullet Proof, or place mobile soft cover with wind walls. He can charge around enemies to push them into Toni's death zone with the relic hammer, or airburst them right into Toni's fist. She can also push Toni into a group outside of her activation so super charge the adrenaline ramp up. His strength in this crew is more on movement shenanigans for setup than burning or direct damage.

Rasputina
As stated earlier, The Captain brings two important facets to 'Tina's crew. One is the mobile cover - he can place a wind wall early and have a model that's in key position gain soft cover to ice mirror from. He can also help push along some of the slower models into earlier melee, or into/out of melee out of activations. This lends itself well to things like - Silent One protection, and his Ice Golem Delivery Service. Airburst the Golem into their face, then use (3) smash for great results.

Mei Feng
The Captain is an amazing support piece to Mei Feng. If only he was also a robot. Have him take "Powered by Flame", and he can make all of the constructs the Mei is hiring also dish out fire. He can also use Airburst to either push a jump point into better position, or Mei into range of a key jump point. He can also Airburst an enemy into Mei and trigger to give it burning to set up extra damage for Mei's Claws.

Kaeris
Similar to Mei Feng, The Captain is able to both increase burning stacks out, as well as help position (or un-position) friend and foe. By moving an enemy out of position and adding burning to it, Kaeris can take more time blasting away with Immolate. Of course the other utility moves can be strong as well, but only in their own right. Giving gun smiths, or the Firestarter additional moves or mobile cover is great, but with their speed and range less necessary.

Ramos
Less direct synergy, but The Captain makes for a great central command point for both bleeding edge tech to keep the swarm healthy, and powered by flame to give them all the ability to add burning. He can also push Ramos around making it even LESS likely he'll ever use a walk action.

Colette
Airburst dictates that it can't target the same person in the same turn- which would mean that any given model can only be pushed once per turn. And Colette's Prompt doesn't get around that. But it does make it so instead of 2 without the Patron's Blessing, or three with, you can potentially push 5 people without, and 6 with respectively. All in all, Colette is better when she's surrounded by tough models that move relatively quickly and have powerful 1ap that she can prompt in. The captain fits that bill, the only question will be if he fits it better than any of the other Arcanists in his price range. Howard Langston has less utility but more destructive power. The Mechanical Rider has some summoning and lots of scheme marker control - the captain may have a hard time winning the favor of fair Colette Du Bois, but when he makes the cut, he'll try and make it worth it.

Marcus
Marcus is an odd duck. Or at least a strange chicken. He doesn't really use burning, he crew is already quite fast, and he doesn't use any constructs. The biggest thing that The Captain can contribute here would probably be his relic hammer to make swift work of constructs or tyrants, if you knew you would be facing them - though at that point you might consider Taelor for summoner protection, or Johan for condition removal before El Capitan.

Honorable Mentions:
The Rail Golem- Like I said before, the Rail Golem is relatively slow, and only really starts working once you can start getting the burning to stack up. With Airburst, he gains an extra better than walk per turn, as well as potentially +2 burning which gives him more mobility, and more chances to burn the Momentum (0) action after a charge, and once he's already in range - having gained some burning from his first couple attacks and the Spread The Embers trigger. The Captain and a Rail Golem together are relatively expensive, but often worth it.

M&SU Constructs-
Like the Large Steam Arachnid and the Metal Gamin in particular. If there's a model that already has the ability to hand out burning, amplifying it (usually doubling it) can only be good.

Oxfordian Mages-
The problem with the Mages is, if you don't have the ward that gives your main casting attack a melee range, if they get engaged they're dead. If you use airburst to push them out of engagement they can start blasting away again. You can also just have the captain stand nearby and relic hammer a guy who's too close to clear them up. Then let them Furious Cast-blast them to bits.

Gunsmiths-
Their Concealed Weapon trigger is perfect for Airburst. Just cheat in a low ram from your hand, and your Gunsmith will get a 5" push from Airburst, and Fast from her trigger. Not bad for 1ap!


Playing Against The Captain

The Captain is a decently survivable piece and has some slick ways to help people out, but unless you're worried about burning damage being stack upon you, he's not a huge threat. He's got a long range melee with a decent Ml and good damage, but usually gets most of his utility while away or in the center of the ring. While he provides bullet proof to other friendly models within 2", he doesn't provide it to himself, and unless he's casting wind walls to give himself softcover, he should die to Sh and Ca attacks, especially vs. willpower.

If you are a construct/construct style master (Ramos, C. Hoffman, Collodi), or a tyrant (Hamelin, Lord Chompy Bits, Shenlong), then getting the captain off the table as soon as possible is probably in your best efforts.



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