Who doesn’t want extended charge threat and free focus? For five points, the little Diffuser is a force multiplier. With a boosted attack roll, its Homing Ripspike might be able to score a hit and let the whole army charge an extra two inches. Other vectors, the Convergence name for their warjacks, get to charge the target without spending focus.
Use with heavy vectors?
A Diffuser threatens 16 inches. The heavy warjacks in Convergence are either speed 4 or 5. Most only have 1-inch weapons, so they threat between 8 and 9 inches. This is a smidge below average, even for most legacy armies. The new Cygnar Stryker and Dusk Eidolon threat between 10 to 11 inches, with a native speed of 6.
Even with the extra 2 inches, the heavy vectors are only reaching 10 to 11 inches, which brings them into that comparable baseline with the new Cygnar and Dusk heavies. However, the other armies also can increase their speed, which means that Convergence heavies will still fall behind in terms of melee threat.
The problem with advancing and shooting, is that the Convergence heavies won’t reach the extreme threat of the Diffuser. They still only threat 10 to 11 inches. However, an aiming Diffuser stands a good chance of scoring a boosted hit, and that boosted shot sends a focus to a nearby heavy. Heavies with a 9-inch native threat will reach that spiked model. It seems better to position a Diffuser so it can’t get charged or shot (maybe behind some cover), yet still able to cover an arc out to 11 inches. Run it on a non-combat turn, aim on a combat turn, and let your heavies charge.
Use with units!
The heavies might not benefit at the extreme range of the Diffuser, but if there were units out front, they might. The Angels, at speed 6, threat 10 inches natively. A Diffuser increases that to 12 inches, which is a little more than the heavy vectors, but not by much.
A model in a unit isn’t usually a great option, especially when a warjack is charging that warrior model, because once the model drops, nobody else benefits from the Ripspike. A charging unit benefits because only one model moves, and the rest are placed. The charging unit can engage a whole other unit when one model is hit by the Ripspike.
Special case – Negators
They start out as speed 7, threatening 11 inches. They would absolutely love to charge a warjack at 13 inches, and they’d love to do so without spending focus first.
Nitty gritty – Stats and such
Convergence warcasters have awful RAT. If the Diffuser is shooting, it needs to boost. It doesn’t want to shoot at something it can kill if it is trying to trigger the extra charge movement. If it fires at a unit, the Homing Ripspike only works against the model hit.
When to use it?
Early game, it can be used to snipe out solos or front-line single wound infantry. Midgame, it can use the Ripspike as a melee threat range buff.
Who wants one, and who doesn’t need one?
Archnumen Aurora (not needed, but neat)
This iteration of Aurora can buff her vector’s speed, up to 4 inches during her feat. A Diffuser can crank that up to 6 inches, launching her vectors 14 to 15 inches away. If trying to push threat ranges as far as possible, a couple of Diffusers could benefit her army.
Her units, usually Angels, hanging out with Prefect Hypatia, threat 14 inches during her feat. That’s pretty huge in this game, especially with flight being relevant. It isn’t as good as some other faction threats, but it isn’t nothing.
Depending on the rest of her army composition, there might not be points to spare. Good thing she has her own speed buffs and doesn’t generally run tons of vectors.
Aurora, the Numen of Aerogenesis (probably avoid)
Field marshal [Apparition] extends her warjacks by two inches, and Aerogenesis speeds up her warriors. Other than that, Aurora might want some extra threat enhancement. She also doesn’t have a lot of focus to spare, needing it for her warrior solos, and to fuel her spells. She probably won’t bring a lot of vectors, so the Diffuser might not be warranted.
Aurum Lucanum Athanor Locke (not needed, but neat)
Locke would need two focus points to speed up two of her vectors each turn using Redline. Doing so just for the speed buff also damages each of those warjacks, so she would need to add something in her army to make repairs or live with the damage. Redline does allow charges without spending focus, so each jack runs more efficiently, but she still needs to spend that focus from her stack.
While Locke doesn’t absolutely need a Diffuser, she could still benefit from at least one in her army. If she does bring one, the Diffuser’s Ripspike and her normal buffs (Redline and Road to War) push her vectors to a whopping 15-to-16-inch melee threat!
Axis, the Harmonic Enforcer (can’t use it well, so probably not)
Axis’s feat extends threat by 2 inches for the whole army. His spell, Iron Aggression, keeps a jack from burning focus on a charge. If a Diffuser were in the army, the threat extends another 2 inches. While a Diffuser could benefit Axis, his pitiful RAT 2 means the Diffuser isn’t hitting anything. It would have to aim, boost, and maybe could use an Attunement Servitor to make it work (total RAT 6).
Eminent Configurator Orion (probably wants one)
Orion doesn’t have a threat extension that operates on his own terms. His extender, Avenging Force, only operates if a warrior model is damaged by enemy attacks. There are a lot of tricks that will help pull off this trigger, but it’s clear that Orion’s army doesn’t have a reliable threat extension. Orion could easily use a Diffuser.
Orion’s RAT 5 means the Diffuser needs to boost, unless Orion jumps up to a 7. If he’s boosting his RAT, then his MAT suffers, and it’s clear that he won’t be sending vectors to do work. This is fine, if a unit is doing the melee.
Father Lucant, the Divinity Architect (probably wants one)
The Divinity Architect possesses no threat extension, nor does he have a way to make his vectors more focus efficient. It appears he could use a Diffuser for both aspects of the Homing Ripspike.
Forge Master Syntherion (not needed, but neat)
His feat, Technological Superiority, increases the focus efficiency of charging vectors. Road to War and Magnetic Hold both increase the vector threat range, and Magnetic Hold increases the warrior model threat when they charge. In his case, the Diffuser isn’t needed, but it does improve the threat range of his army. His army’s threat is equivalent to Locke’s.
Iron Mother Directrix (probably wants one)
Like Lucant, the Iron Mother lacks a melee threat extender. She does have a ranged threat extender, which means the gun on the Diffuser can be pushed to an 18-inch threat. This is useful for sniping out solos, but it does nothing for bringing jacks closer to melee. It might help break up a battlefield, allowing the Diffuser to play a little safer, and to pick up targets laterally across the map.
Asphyxious the Sanctified (doesn’t want one, but benefits from one)
Asphyxious doesn’t want one in his battlegroup. At RAT 3, the journeyman doesn’t want any of his vectors making ranged attacks. However, he would love an extra 2 inches of movement while charging, as would his servitors and vectors.
I’m starting to like this little vector. In a 100 point game, I could see running a pair. At 50 points, not so much. I really dislike taking a support piece at that point level. For 5 points, its gun isn’t bad against solos, so it’s probably worth taking more for the solo sniping rather than its speed and focus buff. Maybe after shooting a solo, it can be used for the buff.