I’m sure this title is going to throw a lot of people off. I mean, Caine3 is a top level caster and many Cygnar players are kicking butt with him, but to me he’s just one big disappointment that I have trouble even looking at or making a list for.
You see I’m a huge Caine fan. I instantly fell in love with the idea of this gun slinger when I first got into Cygnar and played the hell out of Caine2, and also a fair amount of Caine1. Whereas some warcasters just sit back and do nothing other than maintain upkeeps, Caine is dynamic and is able to get down and dirty, taking out troopers, or a heavy on Caine2’s feat, or even killing a caster! The Caines are good in gunlines, infantry swarms, cavalry lists, jack spam, or mixed lists. Being a super solo he loves them all. Also, as any good Cygnar player in Mk2, I also have a large collection of Mercenaries, eventually making them another primary faction, and so when Caine3 was announced who would be in Cygnar AND Mercenaries, I was over the moon excited.
In my head, Mercnar Caine3 was going to be the dynamic gunslinger he had always been, and would bring a major non-dwarf range game to mercs, and who knows what else to Cygnar. In fact I didn’t even care what his feat and spells might be, as I could only assume he would be along the lines of Caine1 and Caine2 and would be pure awesome wrapped in a bow made out of bacon. But then he was released, and immediately I was disappointed and felt betrayed by Privateer Press.
The issue was not just one thing, but a combination of elements. Lets start from the swan perspective. With a ranged synergy feat it’s clear that Caine3 wants as many ranges shots coming from his battlegroup as possible, and that means Chargers. This is why you see Caine3 Charger spam doing so well around the world. The reason I couldn’t get into that is simply that I don’t trust Chargers. The Powerful Shot mechanic (spending 1 focus for boosted attack and damage) is something I feel is over powered and thus something PP is going to change. Assuming that, I simply can’t justify buying a ton of Chargers since I don’t know how long until they would change. If you remove the Charger option, then your next option is the Hunter, and then Caine3 finds himself in the swan-sea of Cygnar casters that want to play Hunter spam, and that’s not very interesting, especially when Sloan does it pretty much empirically better than Caine3.
Now lets look at it from the Mercenary side (which is even worse). The simply matter of the fact is, like we said, that Caine3 wants to run a bunch of ranged jacks in his battlegroup, and the mercs don’t have any really good options. You have the Vanguard, but for a range 8, pow 12, gun for 11 points you aren’t doing anything that will strike any real fear. Then you have several heavies like the Mariner, Mule, and Rover, but then we are at a price point that you won’t have many of them, meaning the implications from your feat are small. And finally you have the Galleon, which could have 7 shots, but could just as easily have only 3. Is that something you want to invest in for a feat?
And then you have Caine3 himself. The Caines like to spend their focus, and so keeping them alive can be a challenge when you are only armor 13. Defense 17 is great, and Caine1 has Blur and Teleport to keep him safer, and Caine2 has Bullet Dodger and Gate Crasher (so something to raise defense, and something to move him back after he shoots). Caine3 has none of that. Ok that’s a lie, he has Flicker, but a 2 inch move is typically more cute than good. What Caine3 does have that’s interesting is Calamity, so you can grant more damage on all turns, but given his lack of defensive tech you feel like you want to keep him back and safe and apply it via an arc node, and that’s not the dynamic Caine I fell in love with. You also need to keep him back and safe because of his Hellslinger buddies, which you need to keep alive to have a fully effective feat turn. Finally, since he has those Hellspinger buddies, he only has 20 jack points which is 5-10 less than you would normally have, and makes it mathematically impossible to get that 4th free solo in themes like Heavy Metal. So when you make a list you feel down in points because you’re down a Charger/Hunter compared to your normal ranged lists, plus you’re down a solo.
Now I fully realize I’m likely coming off as a cry baby to a lot of people. Caine3 with Chargers is too legit to quit, and it’s potential damage output is staggeringly good. My issue is that in Cygnar he depends on a jack with a high likelihood of being errata’d, does almost nothing in Mercenaries, and doesn’t have the dynamic feel the other Caines have. When he was announced I thought I would be playing nothing but Caine3 for at least a year, but as it stands now I haven’t even bothered to paint him yet.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I need to accept that different warcasters are different. Maybe I need to stop planning for changes that haven’t even been announced. Maybe I need to embrace a mixed playstyle and forget the gunline. But then again, maybe I’m right.
What do you think?