The "good guys" of Warmachine. Along with generally being the heroes of the setting, they are also the group that is credited with the creation of the first Warjacks. Cygnar is by far the best ranged faction in the game.
Situated in the middle of western Immoren, Cygnar is the crown jewel of the Iron Kingdoms. Cygnar has the largest population, the best arcane mechaniks, the most resources, and the best gunsmiths in all of Immoren. Despite these advantages, they are beset on all sides by enemies who would tear it all down if they could.
Cygnar’s military prides itself on having the most disciplined and best-trained soldiers in western Immoren, as well as providing them with the resources and equipment to overcome nearly any challenge. It has earned a reputation for defeating its enemies even while outnumbered, with an emphasis on the quality rather than the quantity of its infantry and warjacks. Cygnar’s warjacks have a wide range of capabilities and incorporate sophisticated military-grade cortexes that make them highly effective whether controlled by warcasters or ’jack marshals. The army has changed considerably in recent years to incorporate gains from industrialization and mechanika and now stands at the cutting edge of technological ingenuity applied to the arts of war.
- 1 Cygnar for Beginners
- 2 Theme Forces
- 3 Models
- 4 Mercenaries that work for Cygnar
- 5 Deep Lore
Cygnar for Beginners
Faction Aesthetic & Playstyle
Aesthetically the models are "modern steampunk" - while other factions might utilise occult relics or the faith of their god, Cygnar applies a form of science to make their equipment as good as it can be. They've still got steam powered robots, pistons, and valves, but it's all a bit more refined than other factions. There's a lot of stuff which is reminiscent of early electrical devices, too.
In terms of playstyle, Cygnar is a mixed arms faction that heavily favors shooting, including lots of buffs and special effects for their ranged weaponry to represent their high-tech armaments. They aren't slouches in melee either, with many models having access to decent POW. Cygnar units often have issues with survivability and that is where their plethora of spell support comes in, with many warcasters having access to either Blur or Arcane Shield.
Their signature element is lightning, that often provides the disruption status effect. Disruption makes warjacks drop their focus and prevents allocation next turn as well, giving them a better matchup vs Warmachine armies than Hordes, where the disruption effect will be useless. Lightning can do more than just disrupt however, with many models with the element having the Electro-Leap special rule, where a lower POW lightning bolt will chain to the closest models (both allied and enemy, ignoring the attacking model) and automatically hit them. To go along with this, many of the models in Cygnar have immunity to lightning, allowing them to shoot near to friendly models without fearing it will 'bounce' lightning into your own forces. Though you cannot use these models to bounce lightning into high defense and stealth models, you can still target lumbering, low DEF targets to catch frail pieces standing nearby.
Cygnar's warcasters mostly focus on buffing models defence and ranged attacks, having few debuff spells and normally only one offensive attack. Also don't expect Cygnar warcasters to go on a killing spree through swathes of enemy models. Although Stryker2, Caine and Haley all have powerful assassination runs, they are fragile casters that are weak to retaliation.
Cygnaran warjacks generally have average ARM, and slightly higher than average DEF, which may give poor accuracy models trouble hitting them. Where they shine is their above average SPD and their High accuracy in both ranged and melee combat.
Cygnaran Warcasters are generally support based. Rarely will they ever rely upon slinging offensive spells, although we do sport some good ones. Being a strongly ranged faction, every caster except one has some kind of ranged weapon, and several are capable of scary amounts of firepower, including Sloan, all three Caines and Nemo3. That isn't to say our casters can't hold their own in melee, with Stryker2 able to attain the highest unassisted P&S in the game, and Sturgis being able to have 16 attacks in melee. Overall, Cygnar casters are a varied and balanced bunch, and can offer any play style, from all jacks to infantry swarm to simply gunning down the enemy army to controlling time itself.
Cygnaran Warjacks are a well rounded bunch. Their stats are middling for jacks - They aren't as heavily armored as Khador jacks, not as swift as Cryx jacks, and don't sport the bevy of weapons Retribution jacks do. However, they do all of those things well, though not great. Because of the solid statline, we enjoy a jack for every season. Defenders are the premier shooting jack in the game, Centurions can hold zones like you wouldn't believe, Hammersmiths beat things into the ground until they stop moving, and Stormclads have a well rounded package combining survivability, efficiency, hitting power and versatility.
Light warjacks follow some of the same themes seen in heavy jacks, though with more of a combat support bent. Sentinels provide shield guard and crowd control, Fireflies buff our lightning attacks, and Chargers and Hunters excel at being focus efficient, ranged monsters.
Cygnar's character jacks take everything above, and dial it up. All of them are seen as balanced and worth taking, and most don't rely on their bond to be useful, which means they often work into many different lists. Special shoutout to Thorn, who is probably the best arc node in the game, and was often taken with 'casters who don't need one, solely because his combat abilities are so useful. Note, that most of the theme lists won't allow you to take not-bonded character jacks. Weigh the option, whether the loss of free solos and theme benefits are worth the inclusion of that given jack.
In terms of colossals, the Stormwall might very well be the best colossal in the game. Only 3 models in the game cost 39 points, the mercenary Galleon, and both Cygnar colossals. Being the most expensive model to include in your army should come with certain expectations, and the Stormwall and Hurricane can actually deliver. Cygnar colossals boast fantastic firepower, excellent melee, and good survival (especially when paired with Arcane Shield from a warcaster or journeyman). What sets them apart might be their ability to pressure scenarios. The Lightning Pods available to the Stormwall allow you to contest or even capture scenario objectives from great distances at little risk to your important units. The Hurricane's abilities are a little more niche, but against fliers or models susceptible to its knock down, it can achieve amazing results.
Worthwhile first purchases
Mk3 Battlegroup Set
- Contents: Maddox warcaster, Lancer light warjack, Firefly light warjack, and an Ironclad heavy warjack. Plus a bunch of peripheral stuff (see picture).
This one is good for the so called "0 pts battles", when only the caster and his/her battlegroup fights. This, though not balanced between the factions, allows you to get familiar with the main concepts of the game, and the faction's specialities. As for Cygnar, it is supporting upkeeps for range, defence and mobility, and a feat for increasing damage. It also provides you means to arc your spells, and to learn some of the electricity-based tricks of the faction.
Two Player Battlebox
- Contents: Same as the Mk3 Battlegroup Set, plus a unit of Stormguard, plus a bunch of Cryx models (that you can give or sell to a friend).
This enters you into the realm of units, with all their extra rules. As the enemy will likely field units of their own, Electro Leap will play a more pronounced role. This typical Cygnar gimmick is much better suited to damage single wound, medium ARM targets, than warjacks and beasts of the initial battlegroup-heavy fights.
The Mk2 Battlegroup Set (limited availability)
- Contents: Stryker1 warcaster, Lancer light warjack, Charger light warjack, and an Ironclad heavy warjack.
You may not be able to find this any more, as it has gone out of production. This set foregoes the electric stuff and concentrates on Cygnar's shooty side, plus its extensive upkeeps. All of the faction's staple support spells can be found in Stryker1's arsenal, most notably Arcane Shield, Blur and Snipe. Stryker has a really strong defensive feat, with which he can offer a more forgiving gameplay in the initial stages of the game, than Maddox does. He also has a pop & drop assassination trick in his sleeve, and in later games he can be a cornerstone if the Cygnar brick lists too, mainly consisting Colossi and some cavalry. Due to point adjustments this box is 1 pts over his warjack points.
2017 Cygnar Army Box (limited availability)
- Contents: Sloan warcaster, Charger light warjack, two Defender heavy warjacks, a unit of Trencher Infantry along with their command and weapon attachments, Captain Maxwell Finn solo, and Reinholdt a mercenary attachment for Sloan.
You may not be able to find this any more, as it has gone out of production. It is advised more for veterans who pick up a new faction, or for really committed newbies, as this box unleashes the whole rulebook upon you - from units to power attacks and solos. Its 50 points limit is slightly below the most popular 75 pts tournament formats, but prepares you well for such a challenge.
Cygnar Trencher Theme Force
- Contents: A unit of Trencher Infantry along with their command and weapon attachments, a Trencher Cannon Crew unit, Trencher Master Gunner solo, Patrol Dog solo, and Commander Anson Hitch solo
This one is designed to add on to one of the other starter sets, rather than be one all by itself - you'll note it doesn't include a warcaster or any warjacks.
Other good purchases
Whichever way you go from your initial purchase, these should be high on your to-buy list because they a) are available in multiple themes and b) are good at what they do.:
- Squire - This unarmed warcaster attachment can help you out tremendously. Free focus plus an increased CTRL area is something that nearly every caster will appreciate. It vies with other attachments like Reinhold or Sylys Wyshnalyrr but, for a start, it is definitely an OK choice.
- Captain Arlan Strangewayes - Ubiquitous repair solo and jack tuner; he can pump up one of your jacks with FOCUS to help out your caster.
- Journeyman Warcaster - Walking Arcane Shield provider, can vastly increase the survivability of your units.
- Field Mechaniks - Dirt cheap source for repairing; they'll keep your jacks and battle engine going.
Worthwhile first Mercenaries
Cygnar has the widest access to Mercenaries but, since themes only allow Mercenary solo and one unit, Cygnar typically leans on a few favourite support solos first and foremost.
- Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord - Hands out pathfinder. Particularly useful for overcoming Storm Division's pathfinder issues.
- Ragman - Hands out a damage buff. With a lot of fairly average P+S values, even on Warjacks, Dark Shroud is very welcome. This is particularly true for Gravediggers.
- Lady Aiyana and Master Holt, plus Jonas Murdoch - Aiyana hands out a damage buff or magic weapons, and Holt brings a little bit of extra firepower. You'll need Jonas for Cygnar models to benefit fully from Aiyana, though.
Storm Knights are the elite soldiers of Cygnar, armed with the latest technological improvements.
|Models allowed in Storm Division (Edit)|
| This list was last updated: 2017.09
(★) Because these Savio is specifically allowed in this theme, he doesn't use up your Mercenary slot.
Heavy Metal focuses on warjacks, limited to battlegroups and a few support models.
|Models allowed in Heavy Metal (Edit)|
| This list was last updated: 2018.04
(★) Because these models are specifically allowed in this theme, they don't use your "Up to one Mercenary" slot.
Sons of the Tempest
This theme is for the half-wizard pistoleers of Cygnar.
|Models allowed in Sons of the Tempest (Edit)|
| This list was last updated: 2018.06
Trenchers form the highly-trained professional core of Cygnar forces.
|Models allowed in Gravediggers (Edit)|
| This list was last updated: 2017.09
(★) Because Gibbs is specifically allowed in this theme, he doesn't use your "Up to one Mercenary" slot.
Maximising your theme purchases
If you're on a bit of a tight budget, you'll want to buy stuff that can fit into more than theme. Mostly this is just the support models, so I'm not suggesting you should buy all the models in the list below, but rather they're worth looking into.
- 4 themes
- 3 themes
- 2 themes
Mercenaries that work for Cygnar
Refer to the Lexicanum article on Cygnar (this link will take you to a separate fan-site).