A while back, I mentioned that my brother was making a MTG: Conspiracy cube.  A cube, for those like me who barely know any MTG parlance, is a pre-selected batch of singleton cards that  the owner of the cube has selected to create the draft style that they enjoy. Most cubes are power cubes: ones that ratchet up the speed and power of the game to 11, combining staples from all the constructed formats and turning them into a super-powerful Frankenstein of a draft. Another popular cube is the pauper cube, using only the best commons in order to create a very different type of powerful experience, though again they only have a single copy of any given card. These cubes enable people to draft wherever they happen to be with whoever they happen to have around, and have those people experience what the cubes owner loves most about draft.

To that effect, recently MTG came out with Conspiracy, their summer set that is generally about fun and noncompetitive games for us casual players. Feeding off of last years highly successful Modern Masters, a power-draft oriented set that brought a lot of out of print cards back, this years set was all about draft. For the first time, they included cards that interacted directly with the draft itself. These cards create some great affects that make drafting extremely interesting. Some of the

The cards range in effect from the Cogwork Librarian which allows you to trade a pick in your current pack, by picking him, for a pick in a future pack, where you return him to the draft. There are also cards like the Æther Searcher and Lurking Automaton that not when you picked them during the draft to make the best of their abilities. There is also my personal favorite, though its one that is hard to get correct, which allows you to trade all your future picks this pack for all the cards left in a given pack.

They also came out with a completely new card type, the Conspiracy. This card is colorless, manaless and essentially not part of the game at all. It sits to the side of the game, in the Command Zone, where they lurk to wreak havoc on your opponents and their plans. The Conspiracies are great fun to draft because they are cards of pure hope and strategy. If you get enough of the same ones to stack up, you can really turn a draft on its head. I managed to pull Brago’s Favor, Immediate Action and Muzzio’s Preparations all on the humble Highland Berserker.

All of this enables each draft and each game to be different. cheap, weak cards can become powerful, and slow powerful cards can become cheap, and every iteration in between. Its was a very cool concept that I was going to be unable to participate in.

Thankfully, my brother wanted to build a cube of Conspiracy cards and bring the joy of the Conspiracy draft to others! This was fantastic news to me, and when asked for help, I did everything I could to assist. It probably amounted to nothing, because I don’t know many cards, but it was fun to talk about broad spectrum theories. One of the things that was going to differentiate this from most cubes was that this was not going to be singleton. This cube, due to the nature of many of the conspiracy cards, would need to have multiples of a number of cards just to get the desired flow of the draft.

It ended up being a ton of fun, as I’ve now drafted it four times, and each time felt like a success. The first time through felt a little complex,but the second time felt really smooth. I drafted it more for archetype, too, testing out whether each color pair feels unique. The deck I played was extremely aggressive and topped out at 5 cmc. It was the kind of deck I really liked, but I sabotaged it on my own by including cards that slowed down my aggression to try and temp. The second draft was a allies deck and man that thing shot out of the gate. I was able to build up a massive life total of something along the lines of 53 life and was able just to outlast almost everyone, including casting Rout at an opportune time to be able to capitalize and move into the endgame.

This Alternate draft experience has been extremely enjoyable, and its one I’d want to repeat as often as possible, and I think that the capabilities of the cube-like format is really awesome and worth exploring, including leading it towards my favorite type of MTG to play: Flavor-based.

I am a sucker for a good, fun theme, and the Ravnica theme is just fantastic. I love the flavor that it gives each pair of colors and the thought process that is used for each one in order to try and win, and I love building themed decks during draft.

I’ve thought about trying to make a Cubnica before, but I didn’t know how successful it could be. With the Conspiricube being a whole pot full of fun, I think that one based on the flavor and style of the Ravnican plane would just be a blast. It is going to be extremely hard, though, as there are more than 700 cards out there that are watermarked as guild cards, and that doesn’t count lands and artifacts. Most cubes hit 360 cards (the total of a cubes interior angles is 360, hence Cube) for that 8 player experience. 700 is just extremely large and could really dilute the flavor of the guilds.

Instead, I am going to have to focus on how to make the important cards in the guilds, the Guild Leaders, Champions, and Runners, work within the context of the draft. I also want each of the individual decks that were viable in both Return to Ravnica Block and the Original Ravnica Block to have their place to shine.

I am currently torn between wanting to have a non-singleton deck that is much more watered down but consistent or a singleton, traditional cube that is more flavorful but less consistent and able to carry each guild. I know I want to use the guild cycles, and that I want to include guildless, good cards, but I don’t really even know where to start. While I can’t put a ton of time into building it right now, the time will come soon where I’ll be talking about the epic failures of my first cube and how to make it better!

 

 

I again have a request, this time for Nera, God of Oceans.

 

Nera, God of the Oceans

Other Titles: Queen of the Tides, Lady of Fortune

Alignment: Lawful Good

Weapon:Trident (Sailors Doom)

Clerical Attire/colors: 

The Sea Priests of Nera wear loose blouses and Pants so that they are generally unhindered both in and on the seas. These clothes tend to be the colors of the sea, with light greens, pale blues and bright grays most common. These same clothes tend to be relatively unadorned and easily replaceable,  as months at a time at sea can build up quite a crust.  If there is any adornment, it tends to be white, symbolizing both salt and the tips of rough waves, with Gauntlets being the most often accented items. Priests of Nera that stick to the land prefer white cloaks to denote their devotions.

The Order of Knights dedicated to Nera called the  Sons of the Discovery wear simple dark grey trousers and shirts accented in a pale blue, if desired, most often with the simple wave of her holy symbol upon their chests.

Major Domains: Water, Wandering, Exploration, Discovery

Minor Domains:  Simple Solutions, Travelers, Caregivers, Fortune at Sea

Totem Animal: Snapping Turtle: The Snapping Turtles of Kasan live in both salt and sea water and aggressively defend their territories and their families. They may seem slow, ponderous and inevitable, but they will be deadly in a fight.

Holy Symbol: An Aquamarine wave set in silver or platinum

Favored Appearances: Nera seems to favor her female form more than her male, and in many cases appears as a tall, voluptuous woman with long, blue-green hair. She seems to flow as she walks, with every move deliberate and meaningful. Her face is long and drawn, with deep blue eyes that seem to go on forever and a sing-song voice that can entrance even the most dour.

The Male form tends to take the view of an old, crusted man, bend over a stout driftwood staff and mumbling to himself. Wispy White hair flies in every direction from his face and head, with little rhyme or reason to its nature. He constantly talks to himself, asking questions and receiving answers from unknown sources

Warform: When Nera takes to the battlefield leading the troops of the Water Family, she does so as an enormous snapping turtle composed mostly of water, but with a beak and claws made of salt and a shell made of Ice. Little can penetrate that shell and she wades into combat with a single minded devotion to destruction.

Personality: Nera may seem capricious to some, but she is governed by strict rules. Homage to her is honored, and disrespect is punished. she is jovial and life giving most of the time, but when set loose or angered she can be as destructive as fire and as merciless as the earth itself. It is dangerous to cross her, but it is just as dangerous to ignore her. She is happy, melancholy, and always a force to be reckoned with.  She feels a deep attachment to many of the creatures of Kasan, and can be found many times aiding them and attempting to save their lives in dire times.

Teachings: Nera teaches that respect of water, the life giving essence of all things, is the most appropriate respect that can be had. Be firm in your stances and decisions, and follow through on any consequences that you either promise or deserve. She also encourages wandering and exploration, as only through new experiences and places can one truly find the means and knowledge to both teach others and be reach true enlightenment.

Clergy: The Clergy and churches of Nera tend to be places of rules and laws, where those who have committed wrongs come to seek justice for their crimes. They will be forgiven of them, but they will also pay a strong penance. In addition, they tend to the young of those away on trips, no mater what the reason. Discovery and exploration are the largest reasons, but there are also merchants and kings who will leave their children in the care of Nera’s faithful when they must wander abroad.

Knightly Orders: The Sons of the Ocean are the most prolific and strongest of the Knightly orders pledged to Nera. They have taken upon themselves to protect, with magic and strength of arms, the ships of all waterways and oceans. They make the appropriate sacrifices, homages and prayers to Nera to ensure speedy travel, safe passage and beautiful sails. Nera’s sacrifices require a strict following of specific procedures, and a Son of the Ocean will ensure that your ship is safely on their way.

Second in scale and power are he Wavebrothers, a small but powerful sect of he dedicated hat are used to guard, defend, and educate the sons and daughters of explorers, merchants and kings, treating all equally and training them all to a high standard.

Followers: Sailors, orphans, Sea Mages, Witches, and Pirates

Let me know what you think, and what suggestions you’d make.

Thanks for reading!

These last few weeks since NOVA have been killer. I’ve not had the motivation, opportunity or drive to really get into a whole lot of gaming, and I think its creating an even further slump that continues to drive downward.

What I have done, I’ve not really been doing in detail, so I’m just going to rattle over some high-view stuff on what I’ve been up to, and what I am considering doing.

Continue reading

This weekend was the Khans of Tarkir Prerelease event, and I grabbed my playmat, dice and sleeves and made my way out to take part.

I’d really missed the midnight pre-releases from the Return to Ravnica block, and I was finally able to attend one again, which I plan on making a habit. I don’t get to play to often, and the prerelease events are fun and flavorful. I’m lucky to have started playing MTG again when I did, because starting with Return to Ravnica, they changed the format and made it much more engaging and dynamic, with choices of colors, Guilds and Factions making the games more immersive and building the excitement for the set to come.

As I had mentioned before, This set is all about the wedges of the game: Three color combinations involving a single color and its two enemy colors. During the Shards block, they had allied combinations: Grixis , Naya , Jund, Bant and Esper. These have now come to mean simply more than the shards from the set, and to encompass any deck of the same colors. We will see if Jeskai , Abzan , Sultai , Mardu ,  and Temur can take the place of the current naming conventions of decks of their shared colors.

I knew I was going to be playing Jeskai at the Two Headed Giant with my brother, so for the midnight pre-release I decided on Mardu. Sealed, which is what the pre-release games are, tends to be fairly slow, with each deck at the mercy of its pool and only able to get off to a quick start if the stars align correctly. Mardu, but the virtue of its colors, is an exceedingly fast deck. With the piles of 2 and 3 drop creatures I expected to get, I was going to be able to get into the guts of an opponent quick and beat them before they could drop their big bad monsters. I was really banking on a few or more creatures with the signature raid ability, though, when I built my deck. My seeded pack, one in which they give you some cards that are guaranteed to be in your colors to ensure you can build a reasonable deck with the colors you chose, contained an Utter End, four raid creatures and a raid spell.

The rest of the packs contained 0, as I had somehow managed not to get a single raid card in my 5 other packs. I did get a pretty solid deck in my colors though, with 7 removal and a stack of 17 swift creatures. I was extremely happy with my deck, though there was a singe card causing me contention. Ponyback Riders. My deck wanted to be fast, to be aggressive, and to come in low. Ponyback Riders was none of that. At a hard cost of 6, it was way above the curve of the casting costs I wanted. Its morph cost was  5, but it was still high for what I felt I needed in the deck. There was going to be so very few times I would be able to cast this spell, even if it did give me 3 1/1 tokens to go along with it. But, it is the Clans signature card. At common, its given a premium spot in limited, and making due with the commons you have is the difference between wins and losses. I hemmed and hawed about what to cut if I was to put it in. Eventually, I just gave in and tossed the damn thing in my deck, repercussions be damned. I did to a ton of smack talk about the card, though.

It proved me wrong.

The format was a three round tournament, where if you won in any given round, you won a booster pack. Fairly simple, exceedingly fun, and limited time. Good all around. I went into my first match, hoping to get a quick win and a pack. My opponent was playing Abzan, and he ground it out as well as Abzan could be expected to, but as the game was starting to stabalize towards him, I managed to pull out a Ponyback Riders, tip the balance in my favor, and put pressure on him. I managed to get him to 8 life, and attack with just a pair of creatures totaling three damage, he feels safe, takes the damage, hoping to push through the next turn for the kill, but I hit him with an Arrow Storm. Man, I love Lava Axe Effects. The second game went much better for me, with his deck short on mana and I managed to get out a pile of creatures quickly. It was a short brutal set, but I took home the win, and the pack.

The second player was someone I’d played before, maybe once or twice, and was a real good sport. He’d decided to take Jeskai, and I felt it was going to be one of those games where we dueled it out a bit, each of us built for aggro. It turns out, though, that he’d built a slower, more controlling Jeskai deck. Once again, the tables were slowly turning on me as he built up an army of dudes to combat mine, and I was left with a sinking board state. Once again, Ponyback riders come to my rescue, allowing me to turn the tide again and get him for game one. Game two I was able to get in and underneath him again, taking my second win for the night!

The last guy I played that night was also a Mardu player, having the same philosophy that if he went underneath the other players, he’d be able to get a fair number of wins in. Turns out, he was right. His deck, both times, had more removal and more creatures show up, and I was just thrumpped. Man, is BloodSoaked Champion good.

My brother also won two games with his Temur deck, and we both headed out of there with a pair of packs. Its so late, I don’t even remember what I pulled!

With that, I made my way home to get some rest, hang out with my family, and get back to business the next day for the main event. Two Headed Giant.

The Brothers Grimm made an appearance again, and if you’d forgotten, let me remind you: We were terrible last time. This time, though, we were prepared. We chose our styles and our guilds, and were ready to roll. We’d talked about both playing super-fast decks that would be able to take advantage of the slow buildup of the opponents again. I took Jeskai, because I love the color combinations, and my brother chose Mardu for the speed and violence. I was really, really looking to get some cool prowess combinations going off, but it just wasn’t to be, as between our two boxes: My seeded pack and the 10 extra packs we’d opened, we managed to pull just 7 Prowess cards. Man, I was bitter, especially because it felt that my brother got a huge pile of Raid cards. Still, I had enough cards to make a good Jeskai deck, and make it really aggressive. I had 9 removal and 10 creatures, most of which flew, and my brother had some 20 creatures, all of which were cheap and effective.

What I’d have given just for one…

Our first matchup was against, it seemed to me, another pair of brothers, though much younger. What is crucial here is that Two Headed Giant is not a best of three format, its a single game, with everything hinging on how that one game is able to progress. We’d learned last time and made sure that we had enough mana, and mulliganed anything that seemed even remotely fishy. There was no reason to keep a bad hand with only one game. I won’t say we beat the other team easily, but it wasn’t a particular challenge, either. Both decks they made were in the traditional “battlecruiser” style that just stalled the first couple turns until they had enough mana out to start firing off their big spells and fatty bombs. Thankfully, between the spells, flyers, and raid creatures were were able to set up a slew of really advantageous positions and make sure they stayed on the backfoot. We went up 1-0

Our second matchup brought us against a pair of players that knew what they were doing, and though I kept us in the game, my brother managed to flood out with lands. We put up a valiant fight, but with only one player, it was extremely hard to overcome their decks.

The third match was against a person I’d played a few times before, and his teammate, who I’d seen around but never played against. While they were fine to play against, they bickered like an old married couple over every action! I admit, my brother and I would confer about certain actions, but each game (except this one) took around half the time in the round. They’d mentioned that they had gone to time every single game so far, and ours was no different. Add to that, at least in my brain, that we made a single, terrible mistake in the game that sealed our fate, and it expanded the magnitude. we had 29 life, and they had 9. We were at a significant advantage, and we knew it. We had a large pile of creatures on the table, and though theirs were larger, we could get through with a few. I had 2 flyers, and they had one big one, who we’d let through the turn before. We could, we calculated, get some 7 points of damage through and really put our feet on their necks. We attacked with everything we had.

Into the arms of a firestorm. Three spells and the blocks we expected later, and our team was gutted. what little there was left was just sitting there, waiting to be crushed under the bootheels of the army that was coming across the table in but a single turn. at that point we could have scooped, but we figured we’d play it out to the end, and man it was aggravating. It happens, we took our second loss of the night, dropping to 1-2 and got ready to face our last opponents, hoping to at least break even.

Sadly, we knew the people playing, and they were exhausted. They both were running on lack of sleep, and we were able to overrun them extremely quickly both from awesome draws on our side and tiredness on theirs. We even had enough time to swap decks between games, and beat them with their own decks!

I enjoyed both experiences, and unsurprisingly the Mardu deck felt more powerful. It was fast, it was unrelenting, and it was able to slide in under most opponents guards. The colors work really well together as an aggressive style of play, building on blacks power for a price, reds headlong abandon, and whites simple weenies. They all three, as well, have very powerful removal, often the best in the game, and this was no exception. Arrow Storm, Throttle, Kill Shot and Murderous Cut all live side by side in the same deck. it was a pretty heady rush.

However, the games with my brother were much more fun that the games I ran earlier that day. Besides having someone to talk to and confer with, the Prowess deck was just much more fun to play. I love combat, combat tricks, flashy spells and cool creatures, and Jeskai allowed me to do that all day. I love to keep people guessing when they play me, and though I am undeniably aggressive, I do so much love to cast those interesting spells that are blowouts once every other time. I’m a risk taker, and I don’t like durdling around with my decks, especially draft and sealed. It was great to be playing a deck that really exemplified my style, and I think I am going to have to look at adding a little more white to my decks

Honestly, Prerelease sealed deck is one of my favorite versions of any game to play. Its right up there with Draft and Warmachine,easily above Infinity and Malifaux. If you get a chance, if you enjoyed MTG once before or haven’t played it in a long time give the next prerelease a shot! Its a time travel block, and I’ll be there, playing along!

 

As I move forward with each god, I’m hopefully going to do more discussion and theorizing about them. Takannas is one of the gods I have the firmest and best grasp on, but I still have questions, and I might change what goes on with each god, but I’ll make sure to keep a running tally. In addition, keep in mind that the world I am originally looking to explain the gods for is slightly colder than normal. Warforms are hard for those creatures that wouldn’t generally live in that environment or directly south of it. Of course, things like Elephant/Mammoth or Rhino/Woolly Rhino can be justified, animals that cannot live in cold environment will get a thorough looking at first.

As the gods killed each other, some of them would have happened to kill gods that don’t necessarily align with their original portfolio, and will have some strange contradictions or dichotomies. If you think of any, let me know!

I’ve also added Knightly Orders to the descriptions, as well, as in my world almost every god has one or more order dedicated directly to their teachings.

Farlorn, God of Knowledge

Rank: Minor Younger

Other Titles: Father of Writing, The Old Man, Lorekeeper

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Weapon: Maul (The Historian)

Clerical Attire/Colors: 

Clerics and Priests of Farlorn tend to wear long, hooded, gray robes with voluminous sleeves and great pockets within. The robes will generally have green stripes running along the seams and trim. A holy symbol is generally not displayed predominately, as Farlorns faithful tend to be the subdued type.

The Monastic order of Khelm, or the Khelmik Monks, are the martial arm of the church. They Wear loose-fitting grey clothing, with bands of green showing their dedication and training. They wield both the immense Mauls and can attack with their bodies, and tend to be completely shorn, like their patron

Major Domains: Knowledge, Learning, Writing, Magical Information

Minor Domains:  Clarity of Mind, Knowledge over Power, Commitment, Dedication, Logic

Totem Animal: Crow: The Crow is wise and smart, depending on the flock for survival while also innovating and remembering deeds, both good and Ill

Holy Symbol: An Open book with a bookmark in the center. On the bookmark is written Victory, while on the left page is written Knowledge, and on the right is Understanding

Favored Appearances: Farlorn is one of the great wanderers of the material plane through one of his aspects. He is known to have two or even three of them on the material hunting information and gathering lost bits of knowledge. His male favored form is a small but sturdy, though not dwarfish, individual wearing a green toga and a gray belt. He is hairless and smiles both disarmingly and widely and carries himself with a regal bearing.

The favored female form is that of an ageless elf, tall and regal, with the same wide smile and quick wit. This form tends towards long, conservative green dresses, using a gray ribbon to tie back her long black hair. She is neither beautiful nor ugly, and tends to pass unnoticed until she wishes you to see her.

Warform: Though rarely personally involved, the Warform of Farlorn is an immense crow of mist and steam. Its beak and claws are of pure ice as well as the razor sharp tips of his wings. He can, and will, fight, but prefers to lead Nera’s troops to battle as a general and a leader

Personality: Farlorn is generally stoic, measured, and polite. He listens to those around him, and speaks only after having thought over all the possible angles and ideas that he has been exposed to. He is a consummate tactician and historian, and studies war constantly looking for the edge with which to defeat the Accursed and return to his desired studies of creation, the world, and its people. While he can seem dour and direct, he is simply speaking form the vast wealth of knowledge he has accumulated.

Teachings: Farlorn teaches that the quickest way to a solution is often not only the wrong one, but the most damaging outcome as well. Instead, one should search for the correct answer throughout their life experiences and what they have learned from others. Inaction, however, is also a damaging decision. When given no way out, Try and make a logical assumption based on the information at hand. He also teaches about the preservation and accumulation of knowledge, the value of both learning and teaching. Finally, writing down information is the most sacred and valuable task that can be given or accomplished, and each written letter is proof of your dedication.

Clergy: The Clergy of Farlorn tend to run schools and academies for both Magical and sectarian studies, teaching that reliance on one’s self for judgment and decision making is the way to hubris and folly. One can only come to the correct conclusion through study, reflection and application of Logic

Knightly Orders: There is but a single order dedicated to Farlorn, and it’s the Khelmick monks. Founded by the late Chosen of Farlorn, Khelm, this monastic order is dedicated to the defense of the sacred texts, sites and schools of Farlorn. Thought they generally act only as guards, they are required to study an equal amount to their martial training every day. In addition to being trained and having studied almost every martial and weapon technique that they have record of, they have been imparted the knowledge of how to turn your body into a weapon when all else fails. Many warlords, kings and sorcerers have looked to plunder the wealth of the undefended Farlorn Temples only to learn to late that some of the studious individuals within are also the most deadly.

Followers: The Followers of Farlorn tend to be librarians, mages, tacticians, dwarves, and scholars, but he can also count among his faithful warrior-philosophers, bards, students and teachers.

Concept of the God

The concept of this god is to be a more active god of knowledge. He is meant not to be like Vecna, the god of secrets, or a god of learning and study, but a god that makes informed or logic based decisions. He encourages study, but not paralysis in the face of danger. Most often the knowledge gods are boring or uneventful, but like all the gods I have, I wanted this one to be capable and meaningful in combat and in standard life. 

I’ve made my way through Exulon Thexus and am psyched to be moving back to Cryx for a bit before jumping ship to Skorne. However, I figured I’d give final grades and general thoughts on the Cepahlyx contract before moving on.

Warcaster: Exulon Thexus

The Cephalyx army is lead, as of writing this article, by a single warcaster – Exulon Thexus. His atrophied self has given him great magical powers, but at the cost of his physical prowess.
Thexus is not going to be getting into many personal melees during his games, and his stat line makes sure you think twice before allowing him to mix it up. DEF 14 and ARM 14 with 15 hit boxes is extremely vulnerable. Two charging P+S 11’s will kill him, on average dice. His Combat stats are no better, with MAT 5 and P+S 9 making it so that every additional attack costs him three focus, which incidentally, is how much Hexblast costs. His melee weapon is very important, though, in getting him to use his hex blast as a finisher on the enemy. Speed 6 pathfinder can give him a threat range of 19″ from where he is standing from which he can toss two Hexblasts with two boosts. Or two Hexblasts and a TK.
Spells 

His spell list is great, as I’ve gone over before. Over the course of my games, though, I’ve not managed to find a single time where I’ve cast Influence. I’ve also been unable to cast Rampager as well, mostly to playing against Warmachine, and one of the times I played hordes was a character beast. Deceleration gets popped out most games, Simply to protect my army on the way in, and TK is always invaluable. Psycho Surgery I’ve not really found a great use for, as my Monstrosities tend to form my second wave, and attack themselves in waves, so I’ve either had only one wounded, or none wounded and the rest are dead. The spells, thankfully, run themselves. If there is worrisome shooting on the board, toss up Deceleration and wait it out. If there isn’t, start TKing models into or out of position.

Feat

I’ve found the feat to be extremely powerful, but also extremely tricky to use. Even with Thexus in the back of the army, with his speed and Control Area, it is exceedingly simple to reach out and feat people before you can really get good use out of it. This means that judging threat ranges will be a necessity to getting a good feat off. Unsuspecting opponents will sometimes walk into the feat, and that can be exceedingly nasty for them, but most of the time the opponent is adding 2″-4″ extra to your threat range until your feat is popped. I’ve also used it, rather unnecessarily, for disrupting shieldwalled troopers. Most of the time, though, these troopers are then attacked by a wrecker, who would have worried about that not at all. It is extremely useful in disrupting things like defensive line and take up, though, so keep that in mind.

Abilities

Spell driver is great, and I use it every game. I could not imagine Thexus being even remotely useful without it. That said, make sure to pay attention and to draw LOS and range from Thexus if its at all possible. None of his spells are longer range than his CTRL, so you can always premeasure to the target.This can save up to 4 damage on a Monstrosity, which can be a legitimate lifesaver. That’s an extra attack! Sac Pawn almost never comes up in actuality, but almost always comes up pre-game, when they are judging how to kill Thexus. Its extremely hard to kill him with ranged damage, as the warden is ARM 20 against ranged attacks with both Shield Guard and Sac Pawn. Finally, don’t forget Aggressive Reaction. This allows Monstrosities to not only charge for free, but also to run for free if an enemy model is within 10″ of him. This can be extremely easy to achieve with it being such a long range, and with his access to TK and his Feat.

General Gameplan

Put a Wrench in the Gears
With the Build that I use, the game plan of the Cephalyx is first and foremost attrition. Everything they have is dourable and tough, both in the in game sense and in the rules sense. Lead with the Drudges, they are cheap and expendable. I’ve never really managed to do anything exceedingly great with them, but simply eating attacks and slowing down the army is good enough. Almost every game they gum up the works long enough for the wreckers to get in their and do their job. The Overlords and the Mind Benders really do a good job cleaning up the infantry that gets jammed on the drudges, as well, allowing you to continue to roll forward. One of the traditional downsides to a tarpit unit is that its static. In the Cehaplyx build, they are not. Sprays clear off the front line, and the front line either advances up or runs in to engage. Without the sprays of the Overlords, I just don’t think I’d get far enough in clearing the troops off in order to keep pushing forward. With the speed of the main line troops being 5, though, your going to want to keep pushing deep into the enemy. You don’t really have the luxury of repositioning mid battle, especially without pathfinder.

Rolling Thunder
Behind the front line of Drudges of both types, you want to have a bunker of TAC, behind which are generally hidden a Wrecker, a Pistol Wraith or two, and a machine wraith. way beyond that, but still positioned behind the cloud to make LOS difficult, is Thexus. As the waves of Drudges are overrun, you’ll be exposing the hammer of the army: Wreckers. They will be the ones that move in to take out key heavies on the feat turn and afterwards. You know you’re going to be trading a wrecker for a key piece of the enemy army, but you want to make it hard on them to do it, if you can. The Pistol Wraiths, Machine Wraiths and TAC are here for that. Death Chilling heavies, threatening the possession of a warjack or blocking charge lanes with Machine Wraiths, and putting up clouds to block LOS with TAC really can set up the exact two-for-ones you need to move the game in your favor. Overlords can even chip in here, assuring that any infantry that clumps up to remove your newly exposed heavy gets removed from the board.

Final Countdown
After the game has progressed through the screening drudges, and the hammer has been applied to the army, you’re generally running on borrowed time. Hopefully, you’ve jammed their infantry long enough to remove them, and then stalled out and piece traded with a wrecker or two. Your Drudges are long dead, as are most of your TAC. You’ve lost an agitator or two in getting the Monstrosities to their targets, as well. Your final Monstrosity, in my case the Warden, is likely sitting beside Thexus and waiting further instructions. Its finally time to take the game out. It is unlikely that you’ve scored many control points, as the slow, durable army here has just stuck it out and been chewed on. You may have gotten a few, though, from sheer exhaustion of your enemies forces. This is when your game plan is decided. From here, both options to win can be achieved. If you’ve built 2+ control points, try and go for the scenario win. This works doubly well if you have no wreckers. Move, run if needed, Thexus barely into a zone as far away from as many enemy models as you can, and get the warden into the game to make sure you keep the enemy busy and not attacking Thexus. They are likely to get desperate here, so make sure that whatever remaining Natural Cepahlyx (Overlords, Agitators, Dominator) are either ready to pick off those running contesting models, or are ready to run and contest themselves.

However, if the game is going your way, its time to put your foot on their throat. The Warden is here to jump into the action, most likely with a free run from Aggressive Reaction. If a Warden got to the caster and failed earlier, which is not entirely impossible, you just need to be able to dump a Hexblast or two into them. Pow 13 spells are legit game ending shots, and there isn’t a lot they have out there to save them, as upkeeps are knocked off on hit. A double boosted Hexblast does 24 damage, which is nothing to scoff at. If you’ve not gotten a Wrecker to the caster, now is the time to do it. Running the Warden over to within range of a TK + Hexblast is never a fond proposition for the ‘caster, and ending it with a Wrecker to the face is even less entertaining. In this mode, your remaining Cephalyx models are there to provide you the clear lanes you need to finish off the army. Make sure to double or even triple up key enemy models when possible, as hinging a game on a single die roll is never a good concept.

Always remember, though, that Thexus has a 19″ threat range with Hexblast himself. If the game is on the line, feel free to make the daring move, charge something and drop those nukes on the enemies head.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths
  • Model Durability: Almost all models have either high ARM, high DEF, or a pile of wounds
  • Quantity: Everything in this list is a bargain for its price. Outside of Thexus, everything can be sacrificed for the win
  • Versatility: Almost every model has ways to deal with more than one situation, use what is needed at the given time
  • Quality: Outside of the Drudges, everything is very good at what it does.
Weaknesses
  • Speed: Very little in this list can react swiftly, you’ll need to deploy well and make sure you stick to pushing forward despite losses
  • Difficult Terrain: This cost me at least one game, and you need to be able to either play around it or deploy to mitigate it.
  • Magic Denial: So many of the best plays the Cephalyx have are Magic Abilities that its hard to plan your turn if there is a lot of Spell Denial
  • Officers: The Mind Bender, Mind Slaver and Overlord units all have extremely vulnerable leaders to Magic Attacks and Spells that its hard to keep them safe under bad circumstances.

Model Ratings

Scale:
0 – I’d never bring this unit with this warcaster, and the unit has heavy negative synergy
1 – I’d bring this only in a gimmicky list centered on this model/units and its in game interactions.
2 – I consider bringing this model/unit with this warcaster, with the proper support units and/or as a points filler
3- When taking this caster I  debate bringing this model/unit every time
4- When taking this caster, I find it hard to leave home without this model/unit
5- This model/unit is an Auto-include for this caster.

Monstrosities
Wrecker -5: I currently never leave home without 2, and I itch for a third
Warden -4: This model is a 6 point Arc Node with a great suite of defensive tech
Subduer -3: This model has its place, but I feel it does the same job as a Wrecker, but not as good

Solos
Agitator-5: I bring all three, every time. In addition to bringing Instigate, they have a great offensive spell.
Dominator -4: While I currently love the TAC with Thexus, I could see leaving home without them on a future occasion
Pistol Wraith -4: I run two, every time, and they lock down models really well. I could get rid of them, but I’d really just rather not.
Bloat Thrall-1: I just don’t have the heart or desire to try and make this guy fit in every list. Its just not working
Machine Wraith-3: While I’ve got a ton of use out of them, I do play against a lot more Warmachine than hordes. It could be that I just have the right group of players.

Units
Overlords -4: These models do so much work on their own I couldn’t possibly make it through a game without them. I hate playing 35 points because they are that good to me.
Mind Bender and Drudges -5: The stone cold base models in the army. Their ability to clear troops and buff Slaver drudges earns them a spot every time.
Mind Slaver and Drudges -5: The foot troops of the army are required material for war. Don’t leave home without them. I’d not take more than a single unit, though, as they’ve never proven to be more than a nasty tarpit to my opponent.

Well, that’s it! now, on to Cryx!

 

 

I just picked up my delinquent copy of No Quarter 55 the other day, and I just heard the rumblings of a Theme Force for Dr. Arkadius, the mad scientist of the Thornfall alliance. This has got me thinking about theme forces, and what they do for all games, not just for Warmachine.

I started tabletop games playing Warhammer 40k, and in that game, there was a ton of theme built into every army. While every codex presented the vanilla force of the faction, they also had tons of themed forces you could run. Cadians, Evil Sunz, Black Templars, Biel Tan and specific Hive Fleets dictated your army selection and gave you different benefits for taking them. From the beginning, though, some were obviously considered more powerful than others, and certain books, especially campaign books, boosted it to a completely different level. I remember playing an army of Warp Spiders that was completely bonkers, and might have even been good if I could have proxied it to try it out. Instead, I ended up buying and owning the very characterful Lost and the Damned, which was dropped from the main lineup as soon as the Eye of Terror campaign was over.

The LaTD list was really powerful because it combined sepecific aspects of armies that were otherwise balanced separately into a single force, while limiting the forces that would normally be available to the main (Imperial Guard) force. This is the core of almost every themed army I’ve encountered. Its also why they have such a pull on the communities that they are involved in. If your allowed to run only your favorite model/unit in an army and get bonus’ for it, who wouldn’t?

But thats the rub, here. Most people don’t want to limit themselves because its creative, fluff filled, or interesting. Many people simply want bonuses to how a game functions for limiting themselves in their model choice. I don’t think theme forces really have a place, and though they are tempting, they are generally loose/loose for the communities they are part of.

Inherently, themes break the rules of the game in a drastic way that is extremely hard to balance correctly. This leads to themes that become either the default play style, or that are never used. They are simply black and white, with no gray in between. In Infinity, the use of sectorial armies, and by extension their link teams, is a large part of their discussion of list building and play strategy. I don’t vehemently hate them like I once did but I still cannot see why I wouldn’t just use them in every game, because the link teams are so extremely strong, in my opinion, that they can only be overcome by out-skilling your opponent, becoming a win-more button. Warmachine and Hordes have the signature theme lists for each caster, and sometimes more than one. These, too, I find moderately bothersome. These give various bonuses to the army you play because you restrict yourself in unit choice,  but sometimes the restriction is a moot point because the caster in question would only want to use those models anyway, thus rewarding the clear and normal build for a caster. I wouldn’t be against this if it was true for all of them, but many of them are fairly divergent from the normal way the game encourages you to play, and instead promote strange and janky army lists.

I think Malifaux does it the least wrong, but that’s because it has rules on the models cards that reward you for taking thematic models with them. The Ortegas have family, and the Drill Sergeant buffs models of the guardsman type. This form of theme building is interesting and more balanced to me because the model as it is intended has synergy with other specific models, thus rewarding you for taking them. It is build into the basic premise of the game instead of adding another layer of rules on top.

So, what do you think? Are themed lists and armies the way to go?

 

I’ve been bit, and I don’t really know the cure.

I backed Warmachine: Tactics for a cool single player game and a bad ass multiplayer game that I’d probably never use. I didn’t back at the beta level because I never wanted to be, or expected to be, a tester. Instead, I got in at enough for the price of the game and then some minis.

Then, in August, we recieved the news that the single player game was being delayed for a while, and the multiplayer release was going to be delayed a short time. I was a little frustrated, but they gave all the backers their codes right then and allowed us to play the game. I loaded it up and played a time or two on the one single player mission, but I was satisfied with that experience.

But I’m not satisfied with just playing the single player anymore, and I’m not sure I’m ok with it. Just a week or so ago the bug bit me, and I played a game with an opponent who spammed Brute Thralls into my face and just blew me up. That was really demoralizing, but it got me thinking about what other things could be cool to run piles of. I created lists and banked them as thought experiments, hoping to one day get a chance to try it out. My computer was running it fairly slow, but that was OK, this was a turn based game, not some FPS.

Recently, though, they updated and the system runs buckets smoother. I had a friend who couldn’t load prior versions boot right into the game, and started playing me.

Damn it, but I shouldn’t have.

My first game was against Siege, recently introduced, with Asphyxious and a horde of Brute Thralls. Give as good as you take, right? While the game didn’t go as planned, I did learn that Asphyxious is just as deadly in the game, as on the table. Two shots with Scything Touch and Parasite ended Siege, and the game was over.

We booted up again and I thought I’d try the same thing with another faction. I pulled up Protectorate, grabbed Kreoss and filled that list with a Crusader and as many Cinerators as I possibly could grab. I was all sorts of confident. As it turns out, Cinerators are not nearly as good as Brute Thralls at smashing face. Stryker kept Earthquaking them onto their asses, and I was never able to gain advantage. Instead of letting me loose with dignity, though, the game crashed when I tried to trample, taking a critical freestrike, which imploded the game.

This was my first taste, and I just kept on going. Over the next few days I tried some different lists, almost all spam, to see what I could do. Strakov and 5 Maruaders is great, but I’ve got a terrible loosing record with them. Stryker and 4 Defenders ins’t anything close to ok, and the swarm of overlords I tried out made the game both long and terrible.

Five Marauders in a cloud

Five Marauders in a cloud

What I did find out, though, is that the game really scratches that itch to immerse yourself in the Iron Kingdoms and reignite your desire to play the tabletop game. It has the same characters, the same models, and many of the same powers. It does, however, change some and add others to make the game very different from playing on the tabletop. Disruption is the removal of a possible allocated focus, for example. The UI needs a little bit of polish, still, but that is to be expected. Spells, attacks, and special abilities are all laid out well, but the possible targets of the spells and abilities are not. I would love to see a spell-cast icon for movement much like there is a ranged attack icon.

See, the game is based on a grid, and the grid determines your LOS. When determining your possible final position on the grid, you can hover your mouse there and have icons pop up above the heads of possible targets for your ranged attacks. This does not happen with spells, making them much harder to use than a rifle, even if the character has both.

The big problem that I see with the game is the spamability of models/units in the game, and the thought that it will lead to a much less diverse model pool when playing online. This is exemplified in my playing the game with as many of the same model as I can, because I want to see how it all pans out. Brute Thralls work well, but Marauders don’t. Cinerators are terrible at it, but Defenders are gods.

This can all be a little bit depressing when you start to realize some of the crazier things, including a billionty Scarlocks and a ton of ranged jacks with Khador. This is amplified by the fact that there is nothing to do on your opponent turn except sit and watch them take their turn running 5-10 models across the field or attacking impotently. Its can all get very frustrating.

Regardless of the problems that exist, what I have now, is a great desire to play the game every time I sit down at the computer. That is a great testament to Whitemoon Dreams for making a game that’s so enjoyable that it keeps pulling a skeptic back into the fold. This desire is so great that I am considering playing right now instead of going to bed, and that could have tragic consequences.

First a quick note: Updates will come and kinda change whats going on with the pantheon, because as I dig deeper I am bound to encounter things I’d not thought about.

Quickly, though, a topic I somehow missed.

The Nature and Power of a God.

Many people transport over the concept of a christian God to the pantheons of fantasy worlds when discussing them. They are all powerful and all knowing, which cannot be so accurate in a world where there are more than one god. The god of a pantheon will be vastly more powerful than the mortals in their world, and more powerful than most celestial or diabolic creations, but they are not unlimitedly powerful. They may seem so from the point of view of the mortals, but they are simply extremely powerful. They also know some of the deepest secrets of the universe, but they do not know everything. They are some of the most powerful, knowledgeable beings in the universe, but they are still fallible, and can still die.

I mentioned earlier that when gods kill other gods, they absorb their portfolio. This is known as consumption. However, when two gods birth a child, which was fairly common ages ago, they loose a portion of their powers, which are divested into the child. Most often, this is in the form of decoupling specific aspects of the god or goddesses main portfolio and giving the new being a portion. For example, Marija, the Late god of wild beasts, grain, wilderness and plants was the son of Takannas and Khami. Takannas is god of strength, ferocity, battle and fire. Khami was god of wilderness, reproduction and wild passion. At birth, he was divested plants and wild beasts, each being a portion of his parents: plants from Khami’s domain of wilderness, and wild beasts from Takannas’ wild ferocity. Sadly, Khami would eventually be turned to the side of the Accursed, and her son was forced to slay her in battle, thus absorbing her domains.

Also, a god has the ability to split themselves into fractions, called avatars. These avatars are portions of the gods sent to do a specific task, rule a particular area, or lead a given army. These avatars are a fraction of the strength of a true god, though being a fragment, but retain all this knowledge and powers. The avatar is not an independent split, but an actual chunk of the god, so the god knows what the avatar knows up to this very second, and the avatar is fully apprised of the gods goings on. Both the god and the avatar have the ability to coalesce into on at the others location at a moments notice. An avatar on Kasan cannot call upon the full powers of a god on Kasan, but the other way is possible.

But, enough of that. Onto the Gods.

Takannas, God of Fire. 

Other Titles: Baron of Flames, Iron Duke, The Great Liar, Father of Tales
Alignment: Chaotic Good.
Weapon: Twin-Headed Battleaxe
Clerical Attire/colors:
Clerics generally wear black robes trimmed with thread of gold, emblazoned in various places with the outline of their holy symbol. They also tend to go unshorn on head and face, imitating his male favored form while women tend to wear their hair in a single three strand braid starting at their brow line.

Templars wield great, double bladed axes and dress in black lacquered plate or mail with gold trim and tend to fight on foot. Depending on the climate and weather, it is not uncommon to see different variations on the armor types, though most skew towards the heaviest that can be tolerated for the area. 

Major Domains: Strength, Fire, Ferocity, War

Minor Domains:  Fortune in Battle, Self Reliance, Drunkenness, Braggarts, Bards and Stories

Totem Animal: Bear

Holy Symbol: 
A double-bladed battle axe, the head wreathed in flames. The axe is always face-up and silver, with the flames are orange.

Favored Appearances: Takannas, as all the other gods, is naturally of no gender. That being said, he vastly prefers his male, human form over all other. That form is just a shade over 6′ tall, with a great, manicured grey beard and long, flowing hair to match. He sports hundreds of scars on all of his exposed flesh, though most of his face maintains its youth. It is clearly a well-used form. His shoulders are broad, and his arms and legs are well muscled and toned. He is pale, though not overly so, and weathered, and seems in his early 50’s though he swings his axe easily.

His female form is little different, with fiery red hair in a braid starting at her brow, broad shoulders and scarred skin. She is handsome, though not beautiful or ugly, with limbs used to the rigors of battle. Her eyes, like his, are black, cold, distant and often haunted.

Warform: one of the strongest and mightiest creatures in all the realms, the great brown bear is the warform and totem spirit of Takannas. The warform, like all of them, is larger than a building, made of crackling fire with blue-flame eyes and coals as hard and sharp as swords for teeth and claws. The bear is strong, fierce, and self reliant, able to thrive alone but also able to come together in times of great need.

Personality: Takannas is a loud, boisterous, bombastic warrior and drunk. His personal fighting ability is second to none in the whole of the Pantheon, and has only been bested in battle once: by the Scion of Blood and Thunder, the firstborn of the Demon Queen. He fights, he drinks and he tells fantastic tales of the wars with the Accursed. He also suffers greatly from the losses of the Godswar having many thousands of friends and relatives, those he had fostered and those he had grown with, slain. As such, he is a grim fighter in combat, giving little quarter and expecting none. He tends to favor the side of freedom and liberty in combat, and given a choice, he will side with the rabble rousers and the troublemakers, giving the established system hell for squeezing the common man to hard.

Teachings: Takannas main teachings are Battle from strength, Strength from power, power from self reliance. What little that cannot be solved through brute force isn’t worth devoting time to, but may better be served discussing over a number of beers. Stories exist to enhance the strength and prestige of a person, who while may not have done the exact deed as explained, probably would have if given the chance.

Clergy: His followers preach self reliance and personal strength, but that is not to the detriment of others. Instead, his clergy lead by example, showing what each person could have if only their lead was followed. While many of the Clergy are warriors as well, some are not. These few choose to focus on sports, competition, and storytelling as their main vocations.

Next to the sworn clergy of his temples are his Templars. Guardians of the sites sacred to Takannas, they are also superb warriors who are eager to join the right causes. Each Templar must Quest for the first 10 years of service, before they are assigned a site to guard and are given a grand retirement of drinking, bragging, and telling stories of their exploits. This questing time is where they prove their mettle, earn their scars, and demonstrate their devotion to the god of battles through invocations to him during the inevitable combats that they enter.

Followers: His followers tend to be orcs, dwarves, warriors, fighters, and athletes, as well as bards, liars, cheats and scam artists.

 

 

As you more than likely know, I’ve been playing with Cepahlyx for over two months now, and while it was awesome, I’m now ready to step away. While some people can play the same caster year in and year out, I’m just not one of them. I don’t have it as bad as some of my friends, who can’t even get two games in a row with the same ‘caster, let alone the same list, but do have to change up my basic suite once in a while, especially because I have a huge pile of casters for both main factions and multiple sub factions that I do not feel completely comfortable with and can use improvement on.

With Fist of Halaak and a time in Skorne right around the corner, I’ll want to reset to my roots for a bit after being a merc for a while, and the new sculpt of Goreshade I is to awesome to resist. Combine that with what I’d heard a long time ago about him being a Circle Orboros drop, a faction which gives me no end of suffering, and I’ve got my next caster up and ready. It probably dosen’t hurt that I probably only need to paint up him and the deathwalker for a fully painted army.

Goreshade 1

Goreshade is interesting in that he is so completely uninteresting. He does extremely little for his army, and doesn’t even truly have a debuff on his card. Instead, what he has is a strange set of conflicting spells that pull him any number of ways during his turn.

The Bastard of Battle

First, though, he is no slouch in combat. With a MAT of 7, he can boost to hit high defense, and with a P+S of 14, he can easily break most things short of a Heavy Warjack. With Terror and Reach, he can even get around his troops to take out a wayward trooper that happens to be in his armies way. What takes it up even higher, though, is that he is likely to be extremely safe from most enemies in the case he goes and kills a model, because his spell list virtually ensures it.

His spell list, as I mentioned earlier, is a really strange conglomeration of activation priorities.

Bleed
Hexblast
Mageblight
Shadowmancer
Soul Gate

With this loadout of spells, you’re pushed into always having to make an activation order decision with him. If you want your Jacks to take down a particularly buffed and/or hard target, your going to need to go early with Shadowmancer and Hexblast to make the target vulnerable. If you want to protect yourself and your jacks, you need to go late, casting Soul Gates or Mage Blight

Furthermore, Shadowmancer and mage blight leave precious little focus for your jacks to be running, charging, attacking or doing a little bit of anything. That is going to dictate you take models that can amp up your focus efficiency.

There is one more part, and its a portion of Goreshade I that I’d never really embraced: The Deathwalker. Breath Taker is an amazing ability, albeit on a fragile model. Living Enemy models within 5″ of the deathwalker take a -2 penalty to Str and Def. No hit roll, no expenditure of focus, simply a bubble of weakness. Fantastic. And with Goreshades combat prowess, he can almost assuredly find an unfortunate fellow to stab and turn into a Deathwalker should his fall.

Bleed and Hexblast aside, they are good spells that don’t really define him, What I see coming from him is one of two things, every turn. Mageblight or Shadowmancer. Mageblight, by its simple existence, Prevents the major gameplan of Kreoss1, Sorcha1, Reznik1, Deneghra1, Reznik1 and a host of other ‘Casters that want to catch you in their feat. It also prevents Druids and Mages from trivially moving around your battlegroup, greylords from being useful, and a plethora of other Magic Abilities from happening. Though I’ve never fought against it, Runes of War seems to be something that would suffer a bit.

Shadowmancer, on the other hand, leads one to play a less forward role, and exists to ensure the battlegroup and Goreshade himself stay alive deep into the game. Galleon, Prime Axiom, and most of Ret are all rendered much less ineffective when all their good targets are stealth.

The final ability on his card, as it is on all ‘Casters, is his feat. Boy its a goodun. Goreshade can place a min unit of Bane Thralls within 3″ of him. Boom, done. Thankfully, they can act the turn they come into play, and are just as ready to go as anyone else.

If you can pull off the perfect play, you can run the Deathwalker exactly to the 7″ line of Goreshade, hitting  just over 13″ out from him in her bubble of -2 def. Incidentally, Thats almost the exact same distance his new unit of bane thralls threaten: 3″+ Small Base + 8″ charge+ 2″ curse +.5″ Melee. With Breath Taker and Tartarus’ curse you’ve got MAT 10, P+S 15 weapon masters clocking you in the head. There aren’t many single targets that are going to survive even a attacks from that group. And, to cap it all off, it might cost you 4 points out of your list to pull it off.

A Murder of Jacks

With that, I wanted to be able to take Advantage of what Goreshade offers and mitigate his flaws. While his troop layout is still completely undecided, his Warjack stable has undergone a bit of flux.

Deathjack

I started out with Deathjack, Nightmare and Malice. I’m not convinced that this isn’t a great start. Each ‘Jack has an armor of 18+ which converts to 22 or better when dropped correctly (against hordes) after the bonus from the Deathwalker and Darragh Wrathe, who is an integral part of the strategy. Granting them all stealth on the way in is a very solid method of delivery, and to stack it all on top, it turns all their melee weapons up as well. Deathjack will be hitting at 20’s, as will Nightmare against his Prey. Malice bumps up to a gentlemans 18, but after the POW 14 harpoon shot, it is not going to tickle.There are some problems with the loadout, though. Deathjack, though a monster from hell, has very little to do via necromancy. For a single focus he can shoot an unboosted Hexblast, which could easily turn the tide of a game, but that is all he has. Malice looses his ability to possess a warjack, simply because he will almost never face one. Nightmare, the prize in this situation, looses nothing and gains everything.

These conclusions lead me to abandon that loadout for one that was a little more ordinary. If the plan was to tank a heavy, I was going to bring the cheapest tanks I could find. The thought now became Nightmare and a pair of Slayers. Quick, efficient and brutal models that would really benefit from Shadowmancer, and could get along just fine when it came time to Mage Blight. Nightmare with Shadowmancer is hitting at MAT 10 and P+S 20 v. his prey target, and can pop up to MAT 12 with the help of the Deathwalker. It was a simple battlegroup that I felt would be either a good jumping off point, or a solid, cheap base that I could build off of.

My latest, and perhaps not the greatest, setup was based on the desire to reach out and touch someone as early as possible, as often as possible, backed up by Shadowmancer. Malice and a pair of reapers made their appearance, and for a moment I was thrilled. I’d forgotten that their melee weapons were 16’s, not 17’s. Pow 18 is much less thrilling than pow 19’s. Finally, after thinking about the math and Goreshades incapacity to fill up jacks all to much, I decided to ditch the concept.

Slayer

What I am currently settled into is Malice, Nightmare and a Slayer. This gives me drag-n-drop options when I want it, a fast and brutal guided missile onto the caster, and a cheap tanking option when needed.

Choices, Choices

Sadly, I am not happy with any of my troop loadouts. After I’ve spent 19 points on jacks, 4 points on Tartarus and the same on Darragh, and purchased 2 warwitch sirens, I’m already 31 points deep in the army. I Keep deeply considering Cyleana and crew. For a simple 10 points, she will provide some precision removal and has pathfinder, which is a staple need against Circle. At 41 points, that leaves us 9 points to fill with models that can do a damn thing. I’d normally reach for Bloodwitches + Hag or Blackbanes right now, but with the typical wold-shrimp loadout, I can’t rely on the incorp to save me.  Maybe Boomhowler? I’m legitimately stumped.

I’ve looked at mechanithrall hordes, and with judicious use of the Breath Taker ability I think it could work, but I also think I need a touch cheaper loadout of jacks to pull it off.

I think a good starting point for me is going to be a real, real basic list.

Goreshade 1+6
*Nightmare10
*Slayer6
*Reaper7
Bane Lord Tartarus4
Darragh Wrathe4
Warwitch Siren2
Warwitch Siren2
Mechanithralls (10)5
Mechanithralls (10)5
Necrosurgeon2
Necrosurgeon2
Satyxis Raiders (6)5
*Sea Witch 2
56