Friday, 28 August 2015

Jack Marshal's in Cygnar

{This article is based on mk2 rules}
Jack Marshals in Cygnar

A thread on Privateers Press' forums a while back discussed how to encourage people to use more warjacks. This got me thinking about the Jack Marshals available to Cygnar. What do they offer, and are they worth using? If they are, what 'jacks work best with them?

First off, these are the Solos and Units that can Marshal 'jacks in-faction

Gun mage UA
Field Mechaniks
Stormblade UA
Sword Knights + UA
Trencher UA
Stormblade Captain

So which of the Jack Marshals, if any, are worth using?

Gun mage pistoleer UA

Arguably the best Jack Marshal in Cygnar and probably the whole game.
Letting a Jack use the rune shot ammo types is a huge benefit for any ranged warjack.

What 'jack to give them? A Warjack with a ranged weapon...

Avenger - Expensive but the Gunmages solve the problem of its low RAT by allowing it to aim more often using snipe.
It has a Seismic cannon, which needs a direct hit to knock down models - so often it's better to use the jack marshal bonus to boost to hit and let any damage you do be a bonus. If used with eHaley you can get 2 shots (2 AOE4 knockdowns on eHaleys feat turn is particularly mean)
However, this 'jack does lose its melee potential.

Grenadier - If you are bringing along Trenchers it's worth considering, although a little expensive for a light 'jack it has good use with the Gunmages.
When trencher models give it an extra couple of shots it can get some work done. Either using snipe for range 16" arcing fire shots, or range 12" thunderbolts pushing all the models hit by the AOE away, it's great to help clear zones. But, don't expect it to kill much above light infantry.

Charger - At first glance it might look like a 'jack that requires focus to run with powerful attack boosting attack and damage rolls but that isn't always the case. It can benefit from the ammo types and not need to boost to hit if aiming using snipe. You can either boost an attack roll or use the jack marshal bonus to buy another shot. If your list also includes Arlan Strangewayes he can power booster the 'jack to allow it to use its powerful attack ability and then use the Jack Marshal bonus to buy a second shot which would be unboosted.

Cyclone - Expensive for what it does, as it is infantry killing in a faction that is already good at it. I can see a good use for this 'jack using thunderbolt shots to push models out of zones (especially good on Sloan's feat turn with boosted attack rolls on all shots). The main problem is for 3 points less than it costs you can get a second unit of Gunmages that get 6 shots instead of its 2D3 shots. It can also use its covering fire to keep the Gunmages safe. However if you're marshalling this, you'll also lose out on its ability to make two handed throws (very rare in Cygnar).

Hunter - The Jack I use the most with Gunmages. It doesn't need more than one focus a turn so doesn't suffer from not being with a Warcaster. Snipe and Advance Deploy often allow it to fire first turn, then later use Critical Brutal Damage, using the 'jack marshal boost, to maximize damage.

Defender - Another expensive choice to 'jack marshal but often worth it. Not much in the game can rival its range coupled with Snipe. Again you lose out on its melee potential when it's marshaled, but it's often worth it.

Field Mechaniks

I would never choose to put a 'jack on them but would keep in mind that they can take over should another unit marshaling a 'jack get wiped out, or if a Journeyman Warcaster dies.

Stormblade UA

The only 'jack I could see them running is a Stormclad due to the Storm Accumulator rule. Add in Strangewayes and it basically has 3 focus every turn.

Sword Knights + UA

The base unit has Jack Marshal but the UA steps it up and adds a drive called Pronto (allows a warjack to make a full advance). This drive can be used "any time during the unit's activation". Sword knights like marshaling 'jacks with reach (Firefly, Centurion, Stormclad) since the unit has the Flank ability.

A neat trick you can use with their 'jack is to have it advance, charge or run to engage whatever the sword knights will be charging. Then after the Sword Knights that have made attacks benefiting from Flank have made their damage rolls, use the UA to Pronto the 'jack to enable more of the unit to get the Flank bonus.

Pronto-clad is the name often given to a module of Sword knights +UA, a Stormclad and a unit of Stormblades. The Stormclad gets its marshal bonus and pronto from the Sword knights and a Focus for activating within 3" of Stormblades. For pseudo-third-Focus add Strangewayes to the module.

A slightly cheaper and more scenario focused module is the Pronto-Cent. When marshaling a Centurion warjack it can move a total of 8" and use Polarity shield to prevent charges. The 'jack having Reach also helps the Sword Knights use their Flank ability

Sword knights can also make use out of ranged 'jacks using the above tactic. The 'jack activates first and shoots, then the unit Pronto the 'jack into combat for the Flank bonus.
A Hunter marshaled to Sword Knights can shoot 1" into the opponents deployment zone top of turn one. With Advanced Deployment you can deploy opposite your target to ensure range.

Trencher UA

Aside from running a Grenadier I don't see much use running a 'jack on this unit, but perhaps it is worth remembering they can always be used as a backup.

Stormblade Captain

Over 90% of the time if you are using him you are running Storm Knights, which means you are likely using Stormblades. Give the 'jack to them, as a unit is a lot more difficult to remove than a solo.


A re-activator marshal that might see limited use with a Sentinel to help protect important solos. Has synergy with a Sentinel because he has Sac Pawn - Warjack so the 'jack can keep him safe from ranged attacks without using its shield guard for the turn.


A solid re-activator that will likely be in the area anyway should the other jack marshal be removed. He does essentially give a 'jack "two focus" with power booster and jack marshal bonus, but a 'jack is often better off on a different marshal. He does great work following other marshals to make them even more effective.


  1. Worth noting Field mechanics and sentinel isn't bad, if you are running a collosal or two.

    The mechs can repair the collosal, and the sentinel can shield guard it, while keeping your caster focus free.

  2. I'd also recommend the Sentinel with Sword Knights, even if no UA. Shield Guards are almost always helpful, so taking one is often a good idea. A Sentinel hardly ever needs focus except to run, so using a jack marshal lets you do that without using up your precious focus.

    You've still got access to Flank with it, although the lack of reach is frustrating. And if you're running Sword Knights with Stryker2, it's a cheap Positive Charge bot.

    Finally, if you bring Runewood with Sword Knights (often a good idea), it's usually better to marshal a Sentinel to the Knights rather than Runewood. Because his Sac Pawn ability isn't limited to his marshalled 'jack, you can still protect him using the Sentinel. And because it's marshalled by the unit, it takes a lot to make the jack autonomous.