So you want to jump on to the hype train that is Defenders of Ios? There are a few casters that you could play with it, but I like Izzy especially with her character jack, Hemera. Signs and portents (effectively) on charging halbs and shooting AFGs get work done. Crusaders call help extend the threat of the halbs. Inviolable resolve makes one AFG even more of a nightmare to get rid of. It’s a nice suite of support for the meat in your list.
Now that journeyman goes up in 15 points increments, it works nicely that full halbs plus an AFG comes to 30 points.
0 points – not Helynna
The MK3 battle box is great start for a lot of journeyman leagues, but it doesn’t have loads that Izzy wants apart from a chimera. Instead, I’m turning to the all in one army box with Vyros1 in it. His starting battle group has to be made up from the jacks in that box, so your choice is limited, and you can’t build up to points, but that is actually an advantage for the next step. We have a choice of a Phoenix, two Griffons and an Apsis. The best load out for me is the Phoenix and a Griffon. Griffons are good with Vyros, and the Phoenix is a solid jack with Izzy, complete with an arc nod that she really wants.
+ Vyros 1
15 points – Hemera
Normally you only have 15 points for jacks, which is quite limiting with our choice of jacks. Normally you’d add a manticore or a hydra, but with our spare points left over from earlier we can pick up Hemera. Izzy loves her and she’s a solid jack. We aren’t going to spend any more points on jacks, so that finalises the battle group.
30 points – a Halberd in the hand…
So let’s start adding bits that get us excited about this list. Halberds. Normally at this level you could take a theme, but Hemera stops you from theming yet, but you wouldn’t qualify for free points, so you are giving up an advanced move on the halbs and repo on solos you can’t really afford yet, so I don’t think this is a big deal. The only decision is min + UA or max. The points are pretty similar, but I come down on the side of min +UA it gives more flexibility. You can still get a 7-man CMA but you get pseudo-flank that bumps up their damage output. With some spare points, you can pick up an ever useful arcanist. You could afford two, but that would have knock on consequences further down the league.
+ Min Halberdiers
+ Halberdier officer and standard
+ Arcanist Mechanik
45 Points – Izzy ticks you off
Goodbye Vyros. Hello Izzy. Also hello theme force. Izzy comes with one more battle group point than Vyros did, so you have 18 points to play with. This level is all about the AFG, and those extra spare points earlier means you can get one here. Also putting it in theme means you can bump up the halbs to max and get the UA for free, using up the last point. This is what you’ve been building towards, and I think this is an incredibly competitive journeyman league list.
Theme: Defenders of Ios
+ Arcantrik Field Generator
Min halbs –> max halbs
Officer and standard become free
60 points – a Ticky decision.
Between this tier and the next one you are going to add another unit of halbs and another AFG. You can do it either way:
Max halbs give you enough points to get another UA for free. You need to bank the two points to fit the AFG next time
Space tick first
With only 15 points to play with, at first glance it looks like the AFG doesn’t fit at this level, but adding it your free solos increase to two, allowing you to stop paying for that solitary mechanik. Good times!
I think I’d prefer two AFGs at 60 points – it’s just such a nightmare to get rid of both!
75 points – the other one
Simple enough: pick up the thing you didn’t get last time. Start paying for your mechanik again (if necessary), and a you’ll find you get a final free solo. There are a few good choices here. Lanyssa extends the halbs threat even further, up to 15″. Eiyrss1 with repo 3 is obnoxious. But the jank tank calls me to Issyen. The thought of giving up a free stike on a halb to make in P+S 15 cavalry charging weapon master is just too funny to leave out. That could easily take out a caster, ploughing through screening infantry. Who ever you pick, they’ll add something to your force.
After the journeyman league
The immediate fix is to switch out the Griffon for a Chimera, giving Issy another disposable arc node.
Having added two AFGs and two units of halbs to your collection, there are loads of lists you can build. You might not use all four, but you will probably use three of them at once, and the range of that play well with them is immense.
Kaelyssa can hot swap refuge between the AFGs, halbs can get blur, either might benefit from banishing ward.
Elara2 hands out boundless charge to help the halbs overcome their lack of pathfinder, especially on feat turn, and fixes accuracy and damage with marked for death and scything touch.
Ossyan can quicken the halbs and generally helps out with fortune. His feat dials AFGs up to 11.
Thyron focuses more on the halbs, making the more accurate on feat turn, as well as helping make sure you get best use of the mini feat with sidestep. Onslaught and spell piercer give general utility that both the halbs and his jacks can benefit from.