I have also been pondering about a first list, featuring hats and pistols above all else. As 35 points (plus the bonus Warjack points a Warcaster gives you) seems to be the standard size for a 90 minutes game, that’s what I have been aiming for.
Allister Caine +5 points
Ol´Rowdy 9 points
Squire 2 points
6 Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers 6 points
‘Black 13’ Gun Mage Strike Team 4 points
Journeyman Warcaster: 3 points
Defender: 9 points
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt: 4 points
Taryn di la Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage: 2 points
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator: 1 point
All in all, it is an army designed to do one thing and one thing only, get Allister Caine in position to assassinate the enemy Warcaster and survive until that happens. Thus all the elements are either there to help Allister’s assassination run or to keep the opponent away from him until such time.
Ol’Rowdy is there to shield Allister and to use Countercharge to punch anyone in the face who tries to get to Allister. As he can also charge without focus and use his Tremor Hammer to knock people down without focus, he can function even with a caster like Allister who does not have enough Focus to use his own abilities and those of his ‘jacks.
The Journeyman Warcaster is there to put Arcane Shield (+3 ARM) on Allister in round 1 and then keep the spell going every round whilst letting his Defender fire his Gun twice per round with one boosted to hit or to damage per round with the left-over focus. Given the high POW of the Heavy Barrel the Defender has, it should be able to drop annoying solos that might want to harm Allister Caine or drop the enemy warcaster’s meatshields.
The Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers (henceforth ATGMP) are there to shoot guys at short range, using their Thunderbolt shots to push people out of the way to give Caine LOS to his target, keep people out of charge range or just generally annoy people. Caine gives them the Gunfighter rule, so they can use their pistols instead of their puny sword attacks in close combat.
The ‘Black 13’ can do more of the same, but their stats are generally better and they each have their own special shots to help out. Lynch can light up people to ignore Stealth, Ryan can drop Templates that stick in place and hurt people that move through them and Watts makes them harder to hit. Lynch is particularly key as he can let Caine shot warcasters with Stealth.
The other models are all part of the assassination attempt.
Lady Aiyana can drop a target’s ARM by two points, thus letting Caine deal more damage per shot. Her partner, Master Holt, is primarily there to discourage people shooting her, as he can shoot anyone aiming a ranged or magical attack at her to stop the attack. In addition, he is an RAT 8 (the second highest behind some RAT 9s like Caine or Eiryss) model with 2 POW 12 handcannons, so he can blow very large holes into whatever model he wants to and thus also drop the mark’s bodyguards.
Taryn di la Rovissi has access to her own set of special ammunition that is slightly different from the Cygnaran ones. Her biggest asset are her Shadow Fire bullets, as a model hit by them is ignored for purposes of line of sight this turn. So if there is no way for Caine to teleport close the target or if the rest of the army has failed to remove all bodyguards, she can pop two bullets at RAT 7 into whoever is in the way and then Caine can do his shtick. This is particularly important against Heavy Warjacks or even Colossals that this army cannot easily remove. Instead of having to dedicate tremendous amounts of firepower, she can simply make them vanish for a turn and then Caine gets to shoot the guy behind the now invisible Warjack.
Finally, Reinholdt grants Caine an extra shot each turn, provided they were in base to base during Reinholdt’s activation. This is useful at the beginning to drop the faster elements of the enemy army, but it is key for the feat turn. And the Squire give him an additional focus point on up to three turns, so it is also there to help on the big turn.
The big turn consists of all the support elements coming out of hiding, removing blockers and then Caine pops his feat, giving every shot a cumulative +1 POW for each previous shot that hit, regardless of whether they hit the same model or another one. He has two shots basic as he has two pistols and one from Reinholdt. With the Squire focus, he has 7 total focus, giving him up to 10 shots or 5 with boosted attack rolls if the target is really hard to hit (he hits the average Warcaster on a 6 on 2d6, 4 if he stood still to aim) or boosted damage rolls though his cumulative POW bonus probably won’t make that necessary. If doing the assassination from further away, he might have to spend 3 focus to use Gatecrasher to teleport 8 inches for a total range of 15 inches, though in that case he must land within 0.5 inches of the target to be still able to shoot 7 shots into the target. Ideally, that should kill the enemy warcaster and win the game on the spot, because if it doesn’t Caine’s poor ARM and mere 15 damage boxes won’t last him that long against something like a Butcher or the other close combat fighters.