Warmachine and Hordes Journeyman League Progression Guide: Cygnar

Cygnar is one of the most popular factions in Warmachine, characterized by excellent ranged game backed up by elite melee troops and amazing support models. Their Warcasters tend to have high FOCUS stats and good spell lists. 

Building for them in a Journeyman League can be a bit daunting, because they have a ton of good options. Hopefully this will help shed some light on the lightning loving faction.

Here again is the progression of the Journeyman League, remember that you must keep the same models in your list from the week before

Week 1: Zero points total, you must use your factions battlebox or equivalent. No themes allowed.
Week 2: 15 points, battlegroup models only, no themes. 
Week 3: 30 points, battlegroup, units, and solos allowed, theme forces allowed. 
Week 4: 45 points, battlegroup, units, and solos allowed, theme forces allowed. Caster Swap (optional)
Week 5: 60 points, battlegroup, units, solos, and battle engines allowed. Theme forces allowed. 
Week 5: 75 points, battlegroup, units, solos, and battle engines allowed. Theme forces allowed. 

With all that in mind again, let's get going!

Week One:

As always, you're locked into the Battlebox for the first week of playing. Cygnar's battlebox Warcaster, Major Beth Maddox, is a little awkward at the battlebox level because one of her best spells, Dauntless Resolve, only affects Warrior models. 

The rest of her kit is great though, Assail makes your Ironclad outthreat most of the other heavies in the Battlebox series and her feat means that you are going to kill what you get to. She even has a pathfinder out in Onslaught, but to do everything she wants to do and fuel an Ironclad is difficult, so you'll learn to have good FOCUS economy quickly. 

Major Beth Maddox
- Ironclad
- Firefly
- Lancer

Week Two:

It's time to add another battlegroup model! Looking ahead, I'll be taking us down two different theme force paths as in the previous guides. Unfortunately, all of the Warjacks we want to take are either more expensive than that or far too cheap, and we can't add the Squire yet. I'm going to recommend playing in either Storm Division or Heavy Metal to go with, and with that in mind I think a Hammersmith is a fine choice BUT be sure to magnetize the kit as a Centurion is a model that you will use very, very often. 

Major Beth Maddox
- Hammersmith
- Ironclad
- Firefly
- Lancer

This is playing 3 points down, but that's fine as we have more options next week. Assail is probably going on the Hammersmith now, or you can use it as a second line Warjack to really smash whatever killed your Ironclad. 

Week Three

It's time to make some choices. If you're going down the Storm Division path this week, we'll be adding in a unit and a solo or two. If you're looking at Heavy Metal, probably just solos and another Warjack. 

Heavy Metal: 

This week, we're going to get to put a Journeyman Warcaster into the list just like the Storm Division build, and once more we'll attach the Firefly to him or her. We're going to be heading towards Jeremiah Kraye in week 4, and we've got 18 total points to play with, so I'm going to recommend adding a Centurion. 

With Kraye, Centurions can trample 7 inches, use Polarity Field, and then Reposition 5 every. single. turn. An unchargable ARM 21-24 Warjack with Reach is pretty awesome, and Kraye will make him do a ton of work. 

We're one point down now, but that Centurion will do far more work than it ought to simply by being impossible for your opponent to really get to and still kill. 

Major Beth Maddox
- Centurion
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly

Storm Division:

This week, we're going to add a minimum unit of Stormlances to the list (and don't worry, we're going to max them out soon), and then to ease the focus strain on Maddox (and also give the Ironclad or Hammersmith a survivability buff) we're going to add a Journeyman Warcaster and move the Firefly over to his or her battlegroup. 

Storm Lances have a bunch of unique rules from being Cavalry models, including boosted charge attack rolls, impact attacks, and mount attacks when they do not charge. They also have unique rules of their own including assault and immunity to electricity. 

Before playing these guys, I highly recommend looking through the Prime PDF and searching for those keywords and reading what they do (and as always if you have questions, ask!)

Major Beth Maddox
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster
- Firefly 

Storm Lances (min)

Week Four:

It's time to swap casters for the Heavy Metal theme and continue building our lists!

Heavy Metal:

We get to swap to Kraye this week! Kraye brings a lot of powerful tools to this theme force. I've already touched on how silly his Centurion is, but he can also put Admonition on the Hammersmith to keep it safe from retaliation after it goes in and kills something. He can add 3 inches of movement to any charge from a Warjack he controls, and with his Feat and the Firefly (or Kraye's gun) you can easily add another 2 inches of movement with Beacon while Flare gives your models essentially +2 to hit. 

We really need a Squire for this particular Warcaster, which leaves us with nine points to go. I recommend a Charger, which is a fantastic ranged piece and also enables Kraye's feat nicely. You get a free solo after that, so I would make the Squire free and add Arlan Strangeways to the mix for repair, magical weapons, and extra focus. 

Captain Jeremiah Kraye
- Squire (free)
- Centurion
- Hammersmith
- Ironclad
- Charger
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly
Captain Arlan Strangeways

Storm Division:

We were still two points down last week, which means that we can actually fit quite a few models in the list. 

The easy thing to do is maxing out the unit of Stormlances, which qualifies us for a free solo. I'm not super interested in adding a ton of higher points models later on, so we can just make the Journeyman we added last week free. This gives us 13 points left to work with. 

With those, I'm going to add a unit of Stormblades and call it a day. We can use those three extra points next week, and this is plenty of new stuff to play with. 

At this point, Arcane Shield and Dauntless Resolve are probably best used on the units (one on each) to help them survive the initial approach into the fight. 

Major Beth Maddox
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly 

Storm Lances (max)
Stormblade Infantry 

Week Five:

We're getting close to the end of the road here, and hopefully you've been learning your lists as you've played over the last month! Weeks five and six don't bring any particularly huge changes to them, we will just expand them and deepen what they can do. 

Heavy Metal:

We've got sixteen points to work with here, and only one more week to go. Normally, I would suggest adding a unit here to contest with, but since the JML packet doesn't use regular Steamroller Scenarios, it's not as necessary. 

I'm going to suggest another Ironclad here, and play four points down so that we can add a really scary model in the Stormclad next week. 

Captain Jeremiah Kraye
- Squire (free)
- Centurion
- Hammersmith
- Ironclad
- Ironclad
- Charger
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly
Captain Arlan Strangeways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Division:

The Stormblade Infantry have a really solid set of attachments, and we're going to bring them out this week. The Command Attachment gives the unit an ability to get +3 ARM and no Knockdown once per game which combines fantastically with the +3 ARM and Tough from Dauntless Resolve. The Storm Gunners add more ranged output to the unit, and help their damage output go from really high to downright silly. 

We still have seven points and another free solo or attachment so I'll give two options here. If budget isn't an issue, doubling down on the Storm Lances is a really strong move. If you put another Minimum unit in the list, you can make the Stormblade Officer and Banner free and get to exactly sixty points. 

If that's a little too much for your coffers (which is fair, that's expensive!), a second unit of Stormblade Infantry without a Command Attachment also fits, and you can put two Stormgunners on both units. 

Option 1:

Major Beth Maddox
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly 

Storm Lances (max)
Storm Lances (min)
Stormblade Infantry
- Stormblade Officer and Standard (free)
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner

Option 2:

Major Beth Maddox
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly 

Storm Lances (max)
Stormblade Infantry
- Stormblade Officer and Standard (free)
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner
Stormblade Infantry
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner

Week Six: 

Time to finish things up! Our lists are nearly where they need to be, and now we're just filling in the cracks. 

Heavy Metal:

If you've struggled with killing enemy heavies before, now is the time to say goodbye to that. Stormclads have the highest damage output in the Cygnar heavy Warjack stable, and with Reach and native speed 5, they threat a long, long way under Kraye. 

We also get another free solo, and to alleviate some of Kraye's focus load, I'm going to add Allison Jakes to the mix and put the Charger on her. All she really needs to do is provide focus and not die here and she's doing her job. 

Captain Jeremiah Kraye
- Squire (free)
- Centurion
- Hammersmith
- Ironclad
- Ironclad
- Stormclad
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly
Allison Jakes (free)
- Charger
Captain Arlan Strangeways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Division:

We're just gonna fill in the odds and ends now. Another Stormblade attachment for the double Blades version, and some more Gunners, along with Savior Montero Acosta. The other version maxes out the Lances and adds some solos as well. 

We are finally adding the Squire to this list. I tried to fit it in every week up until now, but it either cost a free solo or prevented me from putting in other models I wanted to. 

Unfortunately, without swapping Warjacks around, making these lists exactly 75 points is really hard since the solos are all 4 and 5 points. 

Option 1: 

Major Beth Maddox
- Squire
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly
Stormblade Captain (free)

Storm Lances (max)
Storm Lances (max)
Stormblade Infantry
- Stormblade Officer and Standard (free)
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner

Option 2:

Major Beth Maddox
- Squire (free)
- Ironclad
- Hammersmith
- Lancer

Journeyman Warcaster (free)
- Firefly
Stormblade Captain

Storm Lances (max)
Stormblade Infantry
- Stormblade Officer and Standard (free)
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner
Stormblade Infantry
- Stormblade Officer and Standard
- Stormgunner
- Stormgunner

Conclusion:

Cygnar has a huge variety of viable models and builds, and I hope that if you decide to follow this guide that it is just the beginning of your Warmachine journey, and that you will continue to expand your collection and keep playing!

As always, thanks for reading, and if you disagree with the progression I've outlined here that's just fine! Play the models you want to play, you are the ultimate authority on your collection and lists. 

See you next time!