My favourite wild cards for gameplay impact, and why they work on the table. In truth, there are no ‘must have’ (with 1 exception… we’ll get to her) and wrong wildcards. All have a use on the table, and want to talk through which uses I look for most.
#5 Harlan Sek, The Curator
Look, Curator is a stretch, he’s a smuggler and a thief of cultural artifacts – picking the bones of cultures destroyed by Empyrean Colonialism. But that’s splitting hairs. His combat stats are solid and he’s resilient, but mainly a utility / support hero. He is prepared for any situation!
- The card has a staggering number of effects, but most are the alien artifacts
- The most devastating lets you peek at your opponents hand and discard a card. If a heavy has just landed or about to go, look for Arcane Synthesis to stop it charging quickly. If you are worried about a clutch play on an objective, look for reactivation cyphers to remove. Likewise pick on Cryo lock if you would be devastated to lose an activation. Knowing what they have left can also telegraph their next play.
- Mass heals are great. He’s mostly a lone wolf, but he can act as a battlefield medic if he is surrounded by wounded warriors.
- Teleport anywhere near an ally and walk where he is most annoying (probably an objective), and attack. Can turn an objective from enemy to friendly if there is only 1 enemy there, and they probably won’t see it coming.
- Don’t ignore the number of resistances and immunities he carries on an arm 4 frame.
- A ranged stun module is good too
Carries the kitchen sink – Harlan Sek is ready for any situation
#4 Myra Hurst
It’s messing with arc and cyphers in a wonderful way, giving a wide aura of supporting other models
- Arc amplifier lets you charge other models ‘for free’ as they activate. This should give them all bonus power dice on attacks, then let them spike to return arc to your well. This can’t be understated for efficiency and making every model more effective.
- Psycho relay is a great ability to give you more cypher options, and also slim the size of your deck. With a 12 card deck, and half of it in your hand you can reshuffle every 2 turns to very quickly see your played / discarded cards again.
- Nothing wrong with her own gun, but 2HP can be a liability and put a target on her head. Make sure there is a solid wall of paladins and robots to protect her, or just a thick building.
- She is a bit of an arc sink – needing to be charged to use Arc Amplifier and not doing much else. She pays it back by keeping other models buffed, however be wary of the ‘cost’ if she doesn’t have a lot of units nearby.
This doctor will give you pure arc injections
#3 Master Tulcan
Tulcan is a weird choice, and the reason I rank him so high isn’t immediately obvious. Let my try to explain
- Arcane Adept is his main rule. Basically when you discard cyphers you can put them on him to play later.
- During his activation he can play these cards, and he is a foc5 weaver who adds 5 red dice to the fury regardless of the arc in your well. So far I have summarised how the rule is written revealing him as a special type of fury user who is effective no matter your arc reserves, which is great. However…
- He can also cast non-furies, targeting friendly models anywhere on the board. This is useful for those turns where you really want another cypher. Still better, but…
- The cards played on him aren’t in your deck any more. If you want to play for absolute maximum cypher efficiency, you can put your 3 least useful cards on Tulcan, never activate him, and play with only 9 cards. If you hold 6 cards in your hand (with his BFFs Myra and Raxis), you have 3 cards in your deck + cypher and can run through the whole thing in a turn (play 2 and discard 1). You can basically always have all the cyphers you need when you need them.
- If you later need one of Tulcan’s cards, they are available just by activating him. He has options in how he plays, either activating and blasting out extra spells, or doing absolutely nothing but letting you keep playing your favourite cyphers.
- His stats are solid, and a pow5 melee attack with 2 free red dice and null is nothing to sneeze at if you need it. However try to protect him
The most ancient warcaster in Cyriss (that we know about), the Divinity Architect had lived and died for an age, and founded his own religion before retiring to a new galaxy.
#2 Axel for Hire
A relatively straightforward model that does exactly what it says on the box: he shoots people hard. A high intensity Rat5, pow 5, range 14 energy is among the best single shots in the game. Should put at least a point or 2 into even the toughest targets, and capable of wiping out anything other than a warjack or champion.
- Good candidate for aggression theorem, for an extra shot when you need it. Can spike to avoid an activation token too if you’ll need another shot next turn.
- Resilient stats, and lots of movement tricks to stay safe: high speed, shoots after moving and shoots after being attacked. Dodge out of melee to avoid the second swing, or behind a building.
- Against a cluster of weaker models can blow them all away with singularity collapse.
The robot enigma with a rifle
A great wildcard: almost in a tier of her own. A very efficient package, good gun, great continuous effects and basically free for list selection, activations and arc charging (if you were using the squad anyway)
- Her unique typing as a squad attachment means she is in every list by default, without taking a slot. If you have the model she’s in the list. She can benefit from squad cyphers which tend to be better than solo cyphers, so could shoot twice. She also doesn’t need her own activation: giving a gun at the level of a solo for ‘free’, and likewise can use a single arc to charge the squad and quartermaster. And as a bonus, can score squad only objectives and adds a resilient member to a squad to resurrect the rest from.
- her gun alone is great, with good Pow and fantastic rat. She has 2 rifles: one gives corrosion on spike, the other can reroll hits if charges. This is a great shot, among the best in the game. If you only need 1 shot at a heavy target, the rest of the squad should attack something else first, then use her corrosion spike last to get both the bonus attack dice and the corrosion effect.
- Corrosion and null toolbox: she is almost the only corrosion effect outside AC. On the flipside she is one of the only null effects in AC.
- Walking Arsenal: She can share null, corrosion, or ignore LOS effects with any squad in the game. The squad can throw 4 null grenades at a gate, probably knocking it out. This comes at the cost of a spike, so they lose a die on the attack, but worth it if you really need the continuous effect.
- Squads with weapon expert (mainly Antecessors) can throw the null grenade (from walking arsenal) in addition to their other attacks.
- Ranger rocket teams seem like a fun use of ignore LOS: for those days when you really need to blow the hell out of a unit of vassals behind a building
- Paladin Heavy Weapons team can really share the love with corrosion guns – spread to 10 models if the dice and setup is in your favour… there’s more realistic results in there, but go for the maximum 🙂
The mercenary Queen of Cyriss, in my humble opinion
A quick review and rating of the others. None are bad, and most have their place in list selection if you need them.
#6 Jax Redblade: Solid choice for flying to an objective, standing there, and using her high def / flight to frustrate anyone who tries to take it from her.
#7 Fenrik Leech: A great weaver from the point of view of survivability – hero stats, high foc and able to disappear at will after his mission is complete. Let down in most factions by having other good Arc Relays available in the cadre, and without the risks of a hero. However, in Marcher’s case, he is their best weaver option and a solid choice – just please take a Coalition weaver too so you don’t lose the ability to cast furies.
#8 Corebus: the punchy bot is a crowd favourite for Marchers fans. When Mooregrave is a melee powerhouse for factions that don’t need it, Marchers have him as their only option. Mainly there for Gladiator – giving him a big fistful of dice for fisticuffs with warjacks.
#9 Voitek Sudal: Unique selling point is Gate Jammer, which has a huge impact on opponents reinforcing near him, locking out the zone. Ok ranged combat / utility unit, with all sorts of good tools, but slightly toward the squishy end for a hero. The bounty hunter with a heart of gold also has a big target on his heart.
#10 Baron Cassius Mooregrave esq: Good melee hero who can swing with the best of them. However overshadowed in both AC and ISA by Phatheon and Voss who just offer a little more than Mooregrave, and have enough need melee monsters across the rest of the faction. But I still love the Cultist Vampiric Aristocrat with the sword of darkness, and hope we hear more stories about him (and his sword) in future.
Me against the community
I ran a Facebook poll to coincide with this – asking people to vote for their favourite 3 wild cards. So how did I do?
- My top 5 were mostly aligned, although I rated Myra Hurst a lot higher. I am surprised it is last place in the community poll, but I admit she didn’t make my top 3 either.
- Baron and Corebus came higher in the community poll too – these are probably Warcaster’s 2 most popular characters and we all want more stories about them (me included).
As always, continue the discussion on social media and the comments. I think some of the best heroes are not intuitive, and I may have missed something. I also love models that improve or interact with cypher cards, so accept that as a bias. And I am sorry to Marcher’s players for the number of comments in the article that excluded or separated them. I will need to be careful next time I visit a miner’s pub in the fringes of the galaxy, lest the people’s champion robot punch me in the back.