This is a guest post from Adam Dyer on a really interesting list for Garryth. He has had a lot of fun and seen some unique success using a bunch of models you don't always see on the table, like Garryth and the AFG. Enjoy!
It’s been nearly a year, but I’m back and ready to talk about my new love affair: Garryth with Helios. I know it’s not a typical match made in heaven as Helios is certainly more obvious with Rahn or even Vyros2, but Garryth works. Like, really works.
The first thing to consider is Garryth’s spell list. At the top of the heap is Sentry, which grants a free basic ranged attack during your maintenance phase through granting the ability Rapid Fire. The model must be Friendly Faction, so you only have a few options in this list: Garryth, any jacks, Eiryss (if you’re subbing in), and the AFG. My personal pick is the AFG because if the extremely long range of the gun, decent RAT of 7, and variety of attack types. It grants you the ability to knock down an extra jack or beast, clear out some low ARM jamming models, or put an extra pow 16 shot into something nasty. The exact details are flexible and should be used to maximize output of your army on your turn.
- Garryth, The Blade of Retribution
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker
- Arcantrik Force Generator
- Dahlia Hallyr
- Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress
- Max Dawnguard Sentinels
- Dawnguard Sentinel CA
- Soulless Escort
- -Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
The next spell to consider is Mirage. The clear use of a 2” placement during your control phase is the Dawnguard Sentinels. Any time you can extend their threat range is a good thing. Even if they have triggered Vengeance, moved and attacked during the maintenance phase, and failed to kill something they can now be placed out of melee range and handle their turn as normal. This can also help set them up for charges that they otherwise may not get.
Garryth also has Gallows, Heightened Reflexes, and Psychic Vampire. Gallows is expensive and situational, HR is cute if you don’t have a Lys Healer and are really scared of KD (but you really shouldn’t be in this list), and Psychic Vampire is only good if you’re facing single wound infantry that can cast spells a la Battle Mages or Hex Hunters.
The goal of the list is to create a variety of threat vectors that thins out your opponent’s line. My typical setup will have the AFG and Helios in the middle, while the Sentinels are on one side and Dahlia and Skarath (now referred to as Flauta and Danger Wiggle) on the other side. Three distinct threat vectors that cannot be ignored in any way, shape, or form.
In the middle the AFG and Helios create a huge block that can reshape the battlefield while providing a hiding spot for Garryth to hide behind. Whether you’re dragging in heavies for Sentinels to murder or putting out multiple rough terrain templates to slow down enemy troops, you should set the pace in the middle of the board.
Helios is the great motivator in this list. He motivates you to thin out your opponent’s line in order to grab his caster from far away. For your opponent, Helios is the centerpoint of the army and their motivation is to find a way to kill him. Barring buffs and spells, Helios is the hardest model to remove in the game. Your opponent has to know this and will either choose to try to work around Helios or will commit oodles of infantry in order to kill him. Because you know their options, you can exploit those choices with the AFG. If your opponent is going to commit their weapon master infantry to attempt to kill Helios, you should be using the AFG’s 2-3 shots per turn (3 if you are upkeeping Sentry like I mentioned before) to remove or slow down that infantry as it approaches. This allows Helios to control the flow of the game.
In the current meta there is an influx of low def, high arm warjacks. Do you know who loves low def, high arm warjacks? Helios and Sentinels. Use Helios to drag warjacks into charge range of Sentinels or to push jacks back so the Sents can cover your flank more effectively. You can also use Helios’ gun to create effective lines for Danger Wiggle’s spray. Continuous Corrosion is just so blissful. No wonder Cryx has enjoyed it for so long.
Speaking of Danger Wiggle, let’s talk about it and Flauta’s place in this list. In the new edition these two got beefed up in a big way. Most importantly, the bond between the two of them allows for Danger Wiggle to gain an additional die on attack rolls against models in Flauta’s command range. The ability to have 4 die to hit on anything puts a big target on this pair’s backs. Usually, your opponent will respond in one of two ways: either they will over-commit and you will have far more than 17 points of models going after the pair, or they will be ignored and you can threat against their flank, support models, or caster unimpeded. Even if your opponent chooses the former of the choices, that means a significant portion of the army is taken away from the central block meant to protect the caster against Helios and Garryth. While that does handle one side, you do have a strong force in your full unit of Sentinels on the opposite end of the board.
There are a handful of units in the game that operate on the Sentinels’ level. As Mat 7 weapon masters there is little in the game that isn’t threatened by the Dawnguard’s best swordsmen. Add in Relentless Charge and the ability to buff themselves up to ARM 20 and there are almost no units so effective while being self-reliant. Sentinels are the threat that your opponent cannot ignore (much like the other two blocks in your list). Typically you’ll advance and choose to use their Mini-Feat right before they are set to initially engage the enemy. You want to lose a Sentinel at this point in the game. This will trigger Vengeance, allowing you to advance 3” and make a single melee attack during your Maintenance Phase. Then, during your Control Phase, Mirage will trigger and you can place each model in formation completely within 2” of their current location. Between these two abilities you can have an additional 5” of threat before anyone has officially activated during your turn. If you’re using Helios and the AFG effectively you can drag in a heavy or two, knock them down, and have the Sentinels take them off the board. If for some reason, the enemy engages your Sentinels before you have a chance to engage them then use the Sentinels as the best roadblock you can. Ultimately, they are not what will be ending the game.
That honor will go the Most Interesting Elf in the World™. Garryth is a potent assassin, and (strangely enough) a unique and effective control caster. His feat is one of the most crushing and devastating feats in the game. Being able to shut down the spending of Focus and Fury, stopping any spell casting, and eliminating place effects is utterly crippling for most armies. It leaves Garryth uniquely qualified to be able to kill any caster he can get close enough to shoot or stab since the feat stops Power Field Reinforcement as well as Transfers to warbeasts. The feat can also be used to control the effectiveness of enemy warjacks against your troops if an assassination attempt isn’t in the cards. The only thing you have to be wary of is that his feat does not stop the forcing of warbeasts. If you leave Garryth out in the open with warbeasts in range you will probably not win the encounter, DEF 17 or not.
Ultimately, you want to engineer the game to leave your opponent’s warnoun within 14” or less of an aiming Helios with few or no Shield Guards nearby. You’ll use Helios to drag the caster as close as you can, then have Garryth use Acrobatics to pass Helios and/or the AFG, feat, and shoot or stab until that warnoun stops twitching. If your opponent is too wary of Garryth’s threat range, use that to your advantage. Corner them away from a zone, hold them back, and win on Scenario by dominating with Garryth in a different area of the board.
Really, your strategy is to thin out your opponent through sprays, defending against Sentinels, and strategic use of AFG shots to leave their warcaster or warlock within 14” of Helios’ gun. Then you drag in the caster, feat with Garryth, and either charge them or shoot them to death with Garryth and accoutrement.
This list can struggle against a few different things. Most noticably: Shield Guards. Theme lists and field marshalls that grant this ability certainly make the ranged viability of this list harder to make manifest. Also, this list isn’t crazy about certain colossals. Most notably, I played this into what might be the worst matchup I could possibly have: Rahn with Discordia and Helios with Battle Mages in theme (which grants Shield Guard to all jacks in the list). Not only that, but I lost the Adam Grow, the proprietor of this very site! Shenanigans I say! *Editor's Note: this game was far closer than Dyer is making it sound. While the Shield Guards from the theme did protect my heavies from being dragged in, this game was super risky for Rahn, as I had to constantly be careful of getting randomly gunned down. Terrain helped, but I almost lost this. I won just barely by Garry dying in a fire after getting hit only once by my Helios punch.
While I did lose (while up 4-1 on scenario, and only to a continuous fire roll on Garryth), I felt like this list had a ton of flexibility and did a great job of balancing threats from multiple angles and keeping my opponent on the defensive for most of the game. Really, I like playing casters that get work done themselves and are big scary boogeymen for your opponent. Garryth is the epitome of that mindset.
Give the list a whirl, let us know what you think in the comments, and most of all: happy roundear hunting.