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I've been a 40k and WHFB player for a bit but am now picking up Warmachines to add to the variety of tabletop games.
I find 2 armies appealing look and fluff-wise: Cryx and Retribution of Scyrah.
If anyone could tell me pros and cons of both or their general playstile (from reading the book I still can't quite grasp it since I'm practically just starting to read the rules) I would greatly appreciate it!
I can help out on Retribution. The play a bit differently than the other warmachine races.
Their Myrmidons (warjacks) are have fairly average stats all-around, but make up for that in utility. Many jacks have both ranged and close-combat attacks that are decent and each also has a 'field dependent' special ability. Their one above-average stat is speed. Even the heavy warjacks move just as fast (or faster) than most light warjacks of other faction. The damage boxes look pretty pathetic compared to other jacks, but the Force field helps mitigate that a lot and prevents early damage to your systems. Be careful, though, once the force field is gone it's pretty easy to start crippling systems.
The place where Retribution just shines is in their infantry and solos. Most Retribution lists I've seen only run 1 or 2 warjacks even up to 35 points. Magehunter Strike Force and it's UA can just be devastating. especially with snipe cast on them. Battle Mages have a ton of use control the board, Houseguard are cheap as dirt and have several mean tricks, dawnguard are heavily armoured and hit like truck.
On the solo side of things, Magehunter Assassins are one of the deadliest solos in the game. Huge melee range, weaponmaster, decapitation, stealth, and high defense pretty much means that whatever she hit will die. Even if something does live, unboosted attacks are going to have a little of trouble touching her. But if something does actually manage to lay a hit on her (AOEs are very mean), she'll probably be pummeled into a find, red mist.
Magisters are very nice for board control and are infantry that can make slams. Arcanists are great mechanics, if a bit squishy. And either Eiryss versions work wonders in retribution.
Can't really go into specifics in gameplay because each of the casters are pretty varied. However I can say that none of them work all that well with a lot of warjacks. Even Rahn (the high focus one) is very greedy and want to use most of his focus on spells rather than warjacks (though a phoenix for an arcnode and a Manticore/Discordia for two open fists/beatsticks is good).
Cryx I'm not that great with, but here's my shot at it. They are fast as hell and hit like a brick. Other than that they are very squishy, even the heavy jacks are about as survivable as a light/medium warjack, though they can dish out the damage. A lot of their units are undead so you can have a lot of fun resurrecting units by killing of the enemy or using spells. Lots of trickery revolving around de-buffing the enemy and hitting them where they are week. Bonejacks are pretty much arcnodes with legs, don't expect them to kill much of anything, their purpose is to run up the field, be hard to hit, and let the caster go nuts with spells. Definitely some cool troops in there and some of them have some pretty devastating suicide attacks (like bile thralls or scrap thralls). These guys have a mix of options, some casters are great running a lot of warjacks, others are infantry heavy, while several are also pretty balanced in between.
Sorry I can't really be more help with Cryx. Generally speaking, fast, can do a lot of damage, can't take that much damage, great at de-buffs, great at messing around with core rules using their own special rules. Both retribution and cryx are trickey in they own way.
Thank you very much for the reply; gives me quite a lot of insight I'll take into consideration. Guess I'll be joining all other Ret players out here
I can't give you much bearing on retribution, as I haven't played against them or read their rules, but as a cryx player, I can possibly shed some light on the Cryx side of things.
As you can probably tell from Hockeyman's post, cryx tends to work in 1 of 2 different ways. 1 would be a fast moving mobile force that in most occasions is looking for the caster kill to wrap things up as if you tackle another army head on with cryx and don't do what you invision your army doing due to bad dice rolls or mis-read distances, then things can go pear shaped really quick. Cryx is a faction that for the most part sacrifices durability for speed as pretty much every unit in the entire army (save for some of the more heavily armoured helljacks and infantry units) are either SPD 6-7 as well as most casters having certain abilities that allow units and jacks to laugh off terrain disadvantages. That being said, the main advantage that the cryx army has aside from their mobility is their spellcasting and debuffing. Cryx casters make it very difficult for other armies to perform by either debuffing their opponent's jacks or units or blocking off charge and shooting lanes by putting up barriers to LOS and such, like cloud effects, blocking models and so forth.
If you are looking for durability and utility in a cryx army, then the infantry section can definitely provide. Mechanithralls accompanied by a necrosurgeon can be a very good tar pit unit, as can the revenant pirate crews. Only thing that cryx suffers from is the lack of good shooting (although they usually make up for that with the utility of their spells), so if you like shooting shit to bits before they get in, I would probably lean towards going with retribution, unless you intend on fielding mercenary models in a cryx army.