søndag 27. november 2016

Tactica: Captain Allister Caine (Caine2)

Captain Allister Caine sporting his Spellstorm Pistols
I wrote a rather tongue-in-cheek post called "Caine2 List Building for Dummies", and was asked about maybe doing a more serious post on the subject. Here it is!

So, who is Captain Allister Caine? Caine2 is the hardest shooting S-o-B in WARMACHINE. He is the ultimate super solo glass cannon, bringing high damage and tons of utility. He also dies to a stiff breeze, so caveat gunmage.

I'm going to go through his abilities, possible tactics, and some tested (and some fun) Caine2 lists.

Update: This post was for the 2016v2 errata. Caine2 was heavily nerfed in the 2017v1 errata after Ammo Type was replaced with Empowered Shot, and he attritions worse now. Most notably Trick Shot assassinations are no longer viable, and losing free Black Penny makes comboing with Ragman more difficult.


Innate True Sight is a strong and situational ability, which allows you to ignore all clouds and Stealth, two of the overall strongest and hardest defensive techs to counter. This ability is key to making him a strong candidate for your tournament pair.

Spellstorm Pistol is just insanely good.

* Black Penny is great for unjamming your army, or firing at something you have tagged with Ragman's Death Field without penalty.
* Grievous Wounds is generally great for crippling Warbeasts and Trollbloods, and it also outright counters some very strong feats and abilities. A good tactic is to apply Grievous with the last shots, after you have determined what lives or not.
* Trick Shot is the best of them. It allows you to clear low two low ARM infantry for the price of one, or remove all the chaff around a heavy while you feat it away. It also allows you to do the infamous Trick Shot assassination. More on that later.

Reload [Infinity] is Caine's signature ability. It is what makes Caine2 into Caine2. You can fire up to 8 shots per turn, 2 initials and 6 for your focus. With Reinholdt or the Squire (ha ha don't take the Squire) it goes up to 9.


Caine2 has mostly upkeeps, and every time you switch an upkeep around you lose 2-3 Focus for that turn. You do not want to do that. Usually I just pick the 1-2 upkeeps I want at the start of the game, and almost never switch. Drop the upkeeps if they become useless later in the game, or if you have a do-or-die assassination run.

Bullet Dodger (BD) tends to go on Caine, unless the opposing army has KD / Stationary threats that you think you cannot avoid. If they do, give Caine HR instead.

Heightened Reflexes (HR) goes on Caine if the matchup indicates that BD won't work. Typically this will be against casters like Rahn, or lists with Dahlia & Skarath, or if you cannot reliably spot the Throw assassination angles (I cannot reliably spot the Throw assassination angles). The perfect Unit to cast it on is Trenchers. Tough becomes vastly more powerful when you cannot get knocked down.

Fire for Effect (FFE) is in my opinion an overall poor spell on Caine. It is expensive for its effect, and since BD and HR usually are more useful, casting this spell means much less pew pew in one of the turns you want to pew pew. There are a few exceptions. I would not take models in your list that depend on FFE for being effective. You don't want to be tied into using this spell.

Gate Crasher (GC) has too short range in Mk3 to improve your assassination chances much. It is mostly useful for positioning. The standard operating procedure if 12" is risky and 17" is safe, is to move up, fire a few shots, and GC back to safety. It's a place effect so you can land behind obstacles or blocking models.


Overkill allows you to do insane damage with Caine. It is not so good against very high armor targets. If you face those, put the first shots into softer targets to build up damage, and then drop the last shots into the tough guy. The feat can be used either for attrition or assassination.

Caine2 Game Plan

Weaknesses: Dying

You fuck up, you pay the price.
Surviving is the biggest issue with Caine. If the opponent gets something on him, he cannot tank it.

The most important thing is to not get knocked down. If he stumbles, he dies.

The easiest way to avoid this is HR. The harder (but usually stronger) way here is to spot all the KD angles. This got easier to avoid in 2017v1 after removing friendly throws.

The seconds easiest is BD. This has the added advantage of the enemy not knowing whether you will Dodge forwards or backwards, for surprise threat extension. If you want to BD away, you need to closely consider his plays to block your Dodge (this is often quite easy if Caine2 is extended).

The saddest tactic is GC. It costs 2 Focus and therefore 2-4 sweet damage rolls, but sometimes it is really the only possible way to keep him alive.

Always consider camping. If the enemy can drift unto you with blasts, or realistically hit you with anything, always camp something. Two boosted AOEs can kill a non-camping Caine just fine.

Weaknesses: Armor Cracking

High ARM casters with high ARM jacks are the bane of Caine. The best tip if you see that in the enemy pair is to drop your other list (which should be an armor cracking list).

If you can't or won't, well. There are some things you can do. One is the one I am doing, which is building a list which is as good at cracking armor as possible. It might allow you to take down 3, maybe 4 heavies, but if you run into Karchev then, yeah, it's probably gg.

If you are sure you can't crack his armor, well, probably you should just save your Feat until you have a line on the caster and go for even the diciest assassination. A small chance is, after all, better than no chance.


There are three main ways to win at WARMACHINE - assassination, scenario, and indirectly by attrition.

Direct assassination on Butcher3

Tactics: Assassinations

There are two basic runs. Shooting the enemy caster repeatedly in the face, or shooting his best buddy repeatedly in the face and use Trick Shot onto the caster.

Caine has 19" threat on the direct damage run. It's hard to get it higher, but throwing him with a Stormwall while he has HR on himself increases the range to 20.5". If the enemy has placed a model between 7" and 10.5" away from Caine you can charge it first to extend your threat. You will waste any attacks you need to remove the model you charge before you can start shooting at your real target, but since Mk3 removed friendly faction charges your opponent might more easily overlook this fairly standard Mk2 style tactic.

If you want to do this run, anything that increases LOS and reduces target DEF is great. Knockdown is of course the best, but Cygnar has no reliable long range KD. Staple support units for assassination are Rangers and the Gun Mage Captain Adept (GMCA). Ace can also increase your chances by pushing and (maybe) knocking down models.

The Trick Shot run has longer threat, you can add whatever base you are shooting at + 4" to the max distance. On the other hand, unboostable POW 10 is not high. As a rule of thumb, you can do it on ARM 13-14 casters with some camp, ARM 15 casters with no camp, and on ARM 16+ it doesn't work. Only do this if it is the only possible way to win. This no longer works in 2017v1.

Tactics: Scenario

Caine2 is not a strong scenario player, having nothing at all that supports winning on scenario. But still, it's good to consider what he *can* do. The trick here is that Caine is such a bully against lists that have low threat ranges and cannot kill him directly. You can move him 12" up turn 1, and then just keep pushing his army away with your assassination threat and damage. If you cannot win yourself, then your threat may be enough to keep the enemy caster off *his* scenario, buying you time to win in one of the other ways.

Caine2 pushing in his Trencher fort, his best buddy Reinholdt by his side
There are many matchups where winning on scenario is unlikely or impossible, and then you just have to do something else. But if you can get an edge on scenario, you can maybe force the enemy to just feed his army into your hungry, hungry dual Spellstorms.

Tactics: Attrition

In my opinion this is the strongest way to build and play Caine. It might sound surprising to many, since Caine does so little for his army and he has always been considered one of the best assassins in the game. But in Mk3, he got such an incredible boost with his Ammo Types.

Caine2 on the bird hunt - he attritions hard
The key to this tactic is that Caine is like having a bonus 20 point unit teleporting around and causing havoc. If you have Caine, your army is likely to do more damage than his army.

Special Combos

Stuff you won't see every game.
  • Hellmouth: Caine2 can fairly reliably remove this horror, even with no feat. How, you ask? Throw FFE on a Trencher grunt. Have the unit move up and CRA on the Hellmouth. A 10 man POW 21 CRA removes the blasted thing on 5+ on two dice.
  • Lightning Pod: Stormwall Lightning Pod is a great target for a clutch Trick Shot
  • Stormwall: A Stormwall with Arcane Shield is also itself a great target for trick shots. Move the guy within 4" of the enemy caster or into a swarm of low ARM infantry and clear them away while having Caine2 far. far away.
  • Storm Lances: You guessed it. ARM 20 Storm Lances can survive quite a lot of Trick Shots as well.
  • Trick Shot assassination using Stormwall on Amon
  • GMCA: This guy is also a legit FFE target. If you really really really need that +2 to hit for the next turn's assassination run, you can consider putting FFE on the GMCA on this turn.
  • Rhupert: His Mist can also be used on Caine, to put his DEF over the top. Getting to DEF 21 starts making many spell assassination runs against Caine very janky.

Army Choices

One of the nice things about playing a caster that does not support his army is that you have plenty of options. 

Army Choices: Essential

I think there are only two must-haves with Caine.
  • Reinholdt for the extra shot every turn.
  • Rangers for the accuracy buff. With so much shooting, you want Caine at 3+ to hit whenever you can. Try not to spend them all at once, having just one left that can threat 19" with run + Mark can be the difference between winning and losing.

Army Choices: Strong

The clue to Caine2 is to take models that do not require support from Caine.
One of Caine's best buddies (sorry Ace)
  • Stormwall is a fantastic distraction and also improves assassination potential and armor cracking.
  • Gun Mage Captain Adept has the strongest synergy with Caine, and is my first optional choice.
  • Journeyman Warcaster is good for attrition. Stormwall, Centurion and Storm Lances are prime targets.
  • Trenchers, are an exception to my no-support-from-Caine rule. HR makes these guys beastly, and the clouds are great for playing Caine up the board.
  • Storm Lances are totally self-sufficient and our best overall unit in Mk3. They also bring the best armor cracking, which helps shore up one of Caine's core weaknesses.
  • Ragman is great in any Caine list where you expect to have enemies in your face. He delivers a maximum of 36 extra damage from Caine2 every turn if you can hit with both shots and Trick Shots within his Death Field.
  • Rhupert Carvolo can give Caine another +2 DEF, give emergency pathfinder, and who doesn't love the sound of bagpipes?

Army Choices: Optional

These are choices which are more debatable, but can be fun and/or useful.
  • Defender, Gallant (with Halan Versh), Hunter,  Stormclad are good jacks that require little or no focus.
  • Ace has a knockdown shot, but is very expensive and mostly duplicates abilities you can get for less.
  • Centurion requires little focus and is a good scenario piece, but sometimes he just won't see any action.
  • Arlan Strangewayes frees up a focus if you have jacks that want more than one.
  • Eiryss2 is good for assassination focused lists, but she is expensive and pretty predictable, and there are too many ways to remove her.

  • Lady Aiyana and Master Holt with Murdoch are very expensive, but allow Caine to pew pew at range with an ARM debuff. I would probably prefer Ragman.
  • Lanyssa Ryssyl helps with extending Caine's poor jack threat, but it's still poor.
  • Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr are nice for picking out arcnodes and spirit, but against many lists they do little. I am unsure if they are worth their points.
  • Viktor Pendrake is a possibility against beast heavy lists, but I don't think it's the best choice, since you usually won't have issues hitting even Circle beasts with Caine.
In order to not make this wall of text a Trump level tall wall of text, I won't go into the models I think are less useful.

Caine2 List Variants

Here are some possible Caine2 lists, for your enjoyment.

Army List: "Infantrymachine"

Captain Allister Caine
* Reinholdt
* Centurion
* Hunter
Journeyman Warcaster
* Firefly
Gun Mage Captain Adept
Rhupert Carvolo
6 Rangers
5 Storm Lances
10 Trencher Infantry

This is a list I constructed myself, and the one I am currently playing. I like toolbox lists more than skew. This list is asking the following conundrum of the opponent, "Can you deal with lack of vision, 21 hard to kill infantry and cavalry models, Caine's strong removal and assassinations AND a 24 ARM jack?" I think many lists will struggle with at least some parts of this army.

Check out my battle reports about Caine2 for details.

Army List: "Stormwall"

Several similar lists have been played in tournaments, with the exact solos being shuffled between these and Ragman, Lanyssa, Gobber Tinker, Lynus & Edrea, etc.

Captain Allister Caine
* Reinholdt
* Stormwall
Journeyman Warcaster
* Charger
3 Storm Lances
3 Storm Lances
6 Rangers
Gun Mage Captain Adept
Captain Arlan Strangeways
Rhupert Carvolo

This list uses Stormwall as an anchor point, diversion and/or LOS blocker for Caine. A neat trick here is Shadow Fire works on friendly faction models, so you can move the Stormwall, make it invisible with the GMCA, place Caine behind it and pew pew pew. When the enemy turn starts, the Stormwall blocks LOS again.

Caine can here keep his Focus mostly for himself. Power Up + Arlan provides 2 out of the possible 3 focus for Stormwall, and you probably only need 2 for shooting when you have Rangers and GMCA. There are not so many good upkeep targets, so probably Caine can just keep HR or BD on himself all game. I guess a DEF 12 Stormwall could be fun though.

Army List: "Bounty Hunter"

Captain Allister Caine
* Reinholdt
* Ace
* Stormwall
2x Gun Mage Captain Adept
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (Eiryss2)
Gobber Tinker
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
6 Arcane Tempest Gun Mages
6 Rangers

If you like your games short & sweet, why not just throw all the assassination boosters into one list and add a Stormwall to the mix. A possible triple Shadow Fire, Critical Knockdown push shots Rhupert to give Caine pathfinder, and Eiryss to strip the focus. I am not saying it's tournament level good, but I am sure it will be fun. For you.

Army List: "Hunter Spam"

Captain Allister Caine
* Reinholdt
* 3x Hunter
Journeyman Warcaster
* 2x Hunter
Gun Mage Captain Adept
6 Rangers
5 Storm Lances

Shoot'em up, and whatever survives, hit it with a Storm Lance charge. At least it will be glorious. Just make sure to tell your opponent "Caine2 is not really OP" afterwards.

Army List: "Morrowan"

Captain Allister Caine
* Reinholdt
* Centurion
* Gallant
Journeyman Warcaster
* Hunter
Arlan Strangeways
Gun Mage Captain Adept
Harlan Versh
Lanyssa Ryssyl
Rhupert Carvolo
5 Storm Lances
6 Rangers

This list was provided to me by the Hydrogenator in the PP forum. It looks pretty interesting!

The Hydrogenator writes: "[f]irst turn is typically BD on Gallant, sometimes HR on Caine if I need it (Lylyth3, throws, KD casters). I think FFE is a trap, not worth losing the focus but I play pretty greedy with him. It forces you to be a bit more cognizant of threats but he out threats pretty a huge portion of the game to begin with.There are few casters who can afford to walk within 19-25" of him. And there typically isn't much left to threaten Caine after he activates and Gatecrashes out. Versh is another nice control piece depending on your opponents army, he's surprisingly tough to deal with.

AS starts on the ponies and then I switch to the Centurion once they get stuck in."

Army List: "Sniper"

Caine 2
* Reinholdt
* Ace
* Centurion
Journeyman Warcaster
* Charger
Alten Ashley
Eiryss 1
2x Gun Mage Captain Adept
2x Gun Mage Rifleman
6 Rangers
Lynus & Edrea

From KhadorGuy09 in the PP forum.

KhadorGuy09 writes: "The basic premise is to play a catchers mitt style game. Arcane Shield goes on the Centurion who is there to contest scenario elements, while the rest of your army inflicts 'death by a thousand cuts'. The priority for Caine, the Rifleman and Alten is to scalpel out spirits and cortex's, while the rest of the army clears up any infantry. One trick is not to use the feat to kill a single heavy, but to spread out the damage on vital systems on several, without cortex's or spirits the Centurion is near impossible to kill. There is a fair amount of gunfighter and black penny so the list is also pretty good at unjamming itself.

Also with the GCMA and Eiryss 1 the opponent has to respect the threat of assassination, so the longer you hold the feat and bully their caster back the better."

More Army Lists

You can find a lot of tournament Caine 2 lists here:

In Closing

I absolutely love playing Caine2. He is very flexible, and can be played extremely aggressively. He can often pull out wins from places wot wins should ne'er be pulled. I hope the guide was useful, and I'll see you over the tabletop!

4 kommentarer:

  1. I think that Gorman could fit under "optional." He provides concealment to Caine every turn, and can situationally black oil some solo or rust bomb some jack. Not incredibly useful, but I think he's better for his points than gobber tinker.


    1. Hi Skippy!

      The Trenchers are now our best overall infantry and provide way better smoke walls than Gorman. Gorman still has abysmal threat range and can miss. Ragman sticks the ARM debuff 100% of the time, no dice roll needed, with a long threat range (especially with Stormwall, a lovely 6+3+2+huge = nearly 16"), in a fairly large area. His ability works on Warbeasts, cavalry, and even on casters if anyone should be crazy enough to get that close to Caine.

      Overall, I think Gorman is now totally eclipsed by Ragman and Trenchers, so I cannot recommend taking him.

    2. Gorman can't give Caine concealment. The cloud is centred on Gorman. As model needs to be completely inside the cloud to gain concealment, he can't conceal anything but himself. Of course he still blocks LOS to the models behind him, but Trenchers can do that better and are in the list anyway

    3. "Unknown" is correct. Neither Trenchers nor Gorman can give Caine concealment, unless you choose to kill or throw your own models. But, with some exceptions, it is better play anyway to stand behind the clouds. True Sight and Gate Crasher makes it pretty easy to keep him inside the cloud fort.


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