New Guild Captains – Alchemist’s Soma / Pneuma

After having seen the new Farmer’s captain, Steamforged has now also revealed the card for Soma, the third captain for the Alchemists.

The second present. Let’s open the box and see what’s inside!

SOMA

Besides it being a month of happiness and love, it’s also a month of winter and snow. Steamforged has decided to grant us with a bright flame to keep us warm.

Like Festival, Soma also takes up the Coach position, which means that he’ll likely not want to be in the thick of the action. A measly 5″/7″ MOV with a 1″ melee zone, TAC 4, and only having momentous tackles or dodges on his playbook only strengthens this idea. Luckily, Soma has decent defenses at 4+/1 with 16 hit boxes and the Burning Spirit trait to keep him somewhat safe from harm. His 3/6″ KICK is average for Alchemists, and his 4/4 INF stat shows that he’s not one for flashy 6-influence activations.

No, Soma’s strength lies in buffing up his squaddies. Plays like Nitro!, Raging Fire and the Gimme Fuel… trait are all about being fast and setting the world on fire, literally.

Nitro! is somewhat like the Side Step game plan card, where it’s possible for multiple models to take a dodge. Nitro! gives a total of 6 inches of dodge, which you can divide up over basically everybody within its 6″ pulse. Your whole squad dodging 1″, making 3 models dodge 2″, or even giving one model a 6″ dodge, there are loads and loads of possible uses for this play. Redesign a scrum, break a stand-off, save certain models from being taken out, add up to 6″ to a goal run – the possibilities seem endless.

Raging Fire is a non-OPT play that hands out the Inferno trait to friendly models. This trait can be seen as a combination of Katalyst’s Burning Strike and a mini-version of Veteran Katalyst’s Burst of Fumes – whenever a model with Inferno performs a successful attack, its target gains the Burning condition, and enemy models within 2″ of the attacking model suffer 1 point of condition damage. This trait is super useful within Alchemists, which are mostly based on using the Poisoned and Burning conditions as a resource to power up their own abilities. Veteran Calculus’ Extraction to get a free 4″ dodge and Kami’s Elusive to make a free teleport action come to mind, when thinking of more aggressively focused models. There’s one other model for whom this trait is exceedingly strong, but I’ll talk about that later…

Next up is Gimme Fuel…, which gives every friendly model the Backdraft trait. This trait means that your models, while attacking/charging, are able to pull the Burning condition from an enemy model and gain a +2 TAC buff for that attack/charge. TAC 10 Katalyst will hit his External Combustion much easier, and TAC 9 Venin sounds like it’s possible for him to hit that momentous 3 damage on the top of his playbook, and TAC 7 Mercury might even get a double Fire Ball on a charge against a 4+ DEF target that’s been knocked down. But the real kicker is Veteran Katalyst.

I’m giving the certified Hulk of Guild Ball his own little paragraph. TAC 10 Veteran Katalyst, that causes the Burning and Poisoned conditions on his attacks, and throws out 3 condition damage per attack in a 2″ range around his massive 50mm base. Against a single 4+/0 target, this means an average of 21 damage on a jog before conditions. Since the Inferno trigger is during the attack and the Burst of Fumes trigger is after the attack, Inferno activates Burst of Fumes, so it’s possible to walk into a squad that is suffering zero conditions and still get 3 triggers of Burst of Fumes off. The amount of damage Veteran Katalyst is able to put out with Soma is… absurd. Luckily, there is no Midas within the squad that can give him a free jog… oh wait… Nitro! I’m getting Veteran Boar flashbacks.

But let’s get back to Soma himself, as he also has a second form. But how does he activate it, you ask? Well, it’s simple – via the Gimme Fire! Legendary play, which also sets all enemy models within a 6″ pulse on fire. FLAME ON!

PNEUMA

As the Alchemists aren’t the hardiest of models, it’s perfectly possible that they’ll get taken out before finishing the job. This is when Soma will take matters into his own hands and come in to set the pitch ablaze.

His Super Saiyan transformation gives Soma a +2″/+2″ MOV and +2 TAC buff, and a very hot playbook. Sadly, as the (molten) glass cannon he is, he also loses 6 points of his max HP. Disclaimer: Soma and Pneuma are different cards! If Soma transforms at 16 hit points, he will get back at 16 after Pnruma is taken out. If he is below his recovery level upon changing, he comes back at his recovery level.

Pneuma’s playbook is NUTS. While his damage track is 1-m2-X-m3-m3-m4, he also has a m>< on 2 and a m>><< on 4! Talk about being able to push people off the pitch! And of course, besides getting Backdraft and Inferno as traits, he also gains the Furious trait, basically changing his INF stat from 4/4 to 6/4. I’d love pushing people 10″, or just dealing 21 damage before conditions (against a regular 4+/0 model). Let’s say we’re all just glad that Pneuma is a 1″ melee model without buyable dodges, which means that he’ll at least have to go for the KD against models with good counters.

At 4+/1 and a maximum of 10 HP, Pneuma can be taken out quite easily. Upon being taken out, he reverts back to Soma via his Waning Light trait, but not before exploding and dealing 3 condition damage to any enemy model within 6″ and setting them on fire. He’ll not be able to go back into his super solo form, but when he returns, his squaddies will get powered up again!

While the reactions to Festival were quite lukewarm, as people didn’t see her dethroning Thresher and therefore having to fight Grange for a spot in the twelve, I’m pretty sure that Soma will solidly fortify the Alchemist’s spot at the top, having three excellent captains. It’s a New Age of Science.

While I do see the potential damage output of a Soma team, I’m not yet sure how strong it’ll be. The Alchemist models are still quite fragile, so teams that can match their damage output (Butchers?) or weather the storm (Brewers/Farmers?) might be able to deal with them. But hey… Midas is played against those teams anyway, right?

What are your thoughts on Soma/Pneuma? Do you agree my thoughts on the New Age of Science? Be sure to get your copy of the Soma model on the Steamforged store or at your local FLGS! Soma will be ready for pre-order now! I’ll see you guys later when we’re talking about the return of the Union’s favourite midget, Veteran Greede!