Thursday, September 8, 2011

Spotlight: Dougal MacNaile

I found an old article I did on Dougal MacNaile. I've touched it up a bit, and added some recent ideas, but if you already read my post on Privateer Press about Dougal, you can safely skip this.

Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile, is one of the hardest mercenaries to use well, but also one of the most rewarding models in the game, if you can manage it. The first time you pick up Dougal, you'll notice that he has a ridiculous amount of abilities, and unfortunately you need to remember ALL of them to make him work.
Dougal MacNaile: Abilities
I'll allow the Battlecollege to explain his abilities, but he has so many that I need to walk through them anyway. Dougal is slow, but that's not a bad thing, since you really don't want him up in front anyway. He has a sword, and he's not to bad in melee, but if Dougal is involved in a melee you're probably going down anyway. Dougal is of course a ranged solo, and as such he has ranged solo statistics, with a high defense and average armor. He also has a couple of defensive abilities, but I've never seen them save him, so priority one with Dougal MacNaile, is keeping him alive.
  • Hit the deck. This ability is his only real defense, and one day it will save his life. Dougal cannot be hit by AoE attacks, and if he's hit anyway (he can still be targeted and shot at), he's simply knocked down. 
While he's down, all ranged attacks targeting him automatically miss, so he becomes immune to further ranged attacks, but while standing he's not immune to a good old bullet to the face. Dougal also has Tough, but I still haven't seen him make that roll. In theory this is fun, because once he goes down and makes the check, he's safe from further ranged attacks. In actual games, you should be running naked around the table if it ever happens. In a tight situation, you could have Gorman toss an Acid grenade on him, because being down is infinitely better than being dead.
  • Artillerist. This special action has so many applications, that the mere thought makes me dizzy. One friendly faction model in Dougals rather high CMD range, receives +2 to Ranged attack rolls with AoE attacks, and may re-roll deviation dice. 
This ability does not require LoS or targeting, so go ahead and hide behind that building. The most obvious recipients of Artillerist, are Bosun Grogspar and Gorman di Wulfe, but especially Gorman becomes a giggling maniac when he sees Dougal in a list. Instead of RAT 5 grenades, that he needs to be within four inches to reliably land, he becomes a RAT 7 master, that may re-roll the deviation on his black oil grenades. 
  • Double Powder Ration. This is a mini-feat, so he can abuse his plethora of options while doing this as well, and the real abuse begins. Friendly Faction models in his CMD range gain +2 RNG on ranged attacks, which is awesome. 
Beyond turning Gorman into a grenade lobbing machine, when combined with Artillerist, it turns Nyss Hunters into assassination pieces, and can also increase his own threat range with the Quad-Iron in a pinch. Dougal is also a mercenary commander, and allows you to bring more of a unit nobody ever uses.
Dougal MacNaile: Why bring him?
The models/units that find Dougal hilarious. There are many other possible combinations, but these few are worth remembering.
  • Croe's Cutthroats:  The increase in range is an enormous boon for this unit, and can take them from piss poor to average, or from average to incredible for some casters. It often means they suddenly have the ability to aim as well, which makes up for their terrible RAT.
  • Nyss Hunters: Increased range on their bows, allow a unit of Nyss to engage and destroy from fourteen inches away. It keeps them safe from melee retaliation, and often gives them the opportunity to strike from a position behind cover. Increased range also makes them able to assassinate most casters, even those hiding behind an army.
  • Boomhowlers: Guess who get's bumped from poor to average range for a round? If your caster can manage some defensive debuffs, they actually become a scary ranged unit for a round.
  • Bosun Grogspar: Long ranged accurate AoE attack.
  • Gorman di Wulfe: Increased range and accuracy rocks.
That covers what he can do for you, but what can you do for him?'
  • Increasing his chance to hit: If you can get Dougal some increased accuracy, or in range to aim, he becomes an avatar of destruction, ripping small units apart, or killing squishy casters on his own.
  • Increasing his damage output: If you can get some increased output his way, his high amount of attacks will really make it shine. This is hard for most factions, but guess who has this in abundance?
  • Survivability: If you DO have a way of keeping him safe, by all means do it. Loosing him early ruins a lot of opportunities, so it's effort well spent.
I'll just mention one caster here, because Warwitch Deneghra has been hunting Dougal for years, attempting to turn him into a character Pistol Wraith. Well maybe not, but she damn well should have. Dougal attacking a target under The Withering, with Crippling Grasp involved, will shoot up to four times at RAT 11, with POW 14. If it's a pop and drop turn, a knockdown + Parasite, makes him hit on threes and do 2d6+15, four times in a row. That's enough to kill most casters in the game. With Gorman's Rust bomb involved, Dougal will also take down most light Jacks, on average dice with feat and Parasite, and the list goes on.

This will not happen often though, because Dougal usually get's shot by a random rifleman, and fails his tough check, around a minute into turn two. I cannot stress it enough, that Dougal needs babysitting. He needs cover, an Ogrun Bokur nearby, Gorman's clouds, and anything else you happen to include that can hide, buff, or otherwise keep him alive. If you take care of Dougal, he will take care of business, but if you don't, he's a waste of time and points.

No comments:

Post a Comment