9 months ago we got our first taste of each of the Novice Warcasters that were going to be included the recently released Warmachine: Vengeance. Last week, my batch arrived. I got Allison Jakes and Commander Sturgis for my small Cygnar army and picked up Sturgis the Corrupted and Aiakos for my Cryx army. I’ve never really been one to really dwell on a model that’s not in my hands, and it takes painting a model to really get me to want to use it. Now that Aiakos is in my hands and painted, I’m really ready to get into trying to get him to work.
Thankfully, Aiakos is amazing.
The statline is very good. RAT 5 is expected of most solos that aren’t focused on shooting, and ARM 14 is very good, especially when you consider he has 4 Focus that he can camp.
He also has Fearless, Stealth, Magical melee and ranged weapons, and Jump. Jump gives him some strange and very cool angles of attack and essentially an 11.5″ walking threat. Drag, on the harpoon, gives him even more threat range against some very few targets. They have to be around 16 defense or less, not behind
impassible terrain or models, and not die from a POW 10 hit. While the selection of targets is limited, Warlocks and Warcasters are prime targets. While his pow 12 blade hits aren’t crazy impressive, this is Cryx, and we can change that very quickly.
He also has a pair of spells: Deathbringers and Escort, both of which provide benefits to his battlegroup, including himself.
So, that’s the rundown on the guy, and he is pretty good as is. As a three point solo, you can’t ask much more from him, and then they threw in four focus to boot.
His ability to boost to hit and damage and buy extra attacks cannot be overstated. I have been disappointed many times by a single roll of snakeyes on a target that must die. Aiakos can ensure that that target dies a horrible death from 16″ away, or from .5″. He also has stealth which, while not infallible, is a pretty good security blanket. With ARM 14 and 4 focus, plus the bonus from Escort, he can easily get to a very decent arm 19.
However, he still dies to anything that can get to him. There is this strange mid ground, around ARM 14, that changes the weapons that will be used to target and kill him. A pow 10 weapon is no longer in range, so you tend to go a bit bigger, and most of those larger guns can boost. A boosted pow 13 kills him on average dice, in the best of circumstances, and that is not even a particularly hard number to reach.
Whats really exciting about the Novice Warcasters is that they can bring a legitimate battlegroup the the table. In Warmachine this is especially useful as many jacks just tax their casters focus stat. In Cryx this is doubly so, as most casters need to toss spells around all over the board, or need to overboost just to survive, so Aiakos brings some interesting, non-taxing options to the table.
Jacks to Consider
Helldiver, Scavenger, Stalker, Cankerworm.
Slayer, Seether, Reaper, Nighmare, Deathjack, Erebus,Corruptor, Malice, Harrower, Desecrator, Leviathan
I purged, immediately, the arc nodes. I didn’t even include them on the list. Of them, only the Ripjaw would really be desirous, and I’d rather take Cankerworm for the same price.
Most conventional wisdom has him running a ranged jack, and that makes sense. The Leviathan keeps him out of harms way, while also allowing the Levithan a SPD 7 and all three focus every turn. The Leviathan can then take advantage of many great Cryx spells including Marked for Death, Black Spot and Crippling Grasp. I don’t really see any issue with this, and it will likely be the best method of play for him. If the Levithan gets engaged or ends up in some serious bind he can be there to help clear the path to have him shoot again, and if the Leviathan ends up scrapped, he can start going all predator and collecting heads.
But most of that isn’t all to thrilling. I’ve been using the Leviathan for years. What I really want to try and do is make some neat, new things hum with him. Here are some of the more fanciful ideas I want to try out:
A pair of Stalkers and a pair of Scavengers. Ideally, he’d only bee feeding two of these a round. the stalkers would roam ahead of the group, clearing a path with up to three attacks each at MAT 7 POW 12. With stealth and Extended Control Area, they are able to roam ahead with relative impunity. DEF 16 will keep them safe from enemy reprisal as they go solo hunting. The scavengers and Aiakos would wait in the wings for an opportunity to try and take down big things, between speed 9 with flight and speed 6 with leap, they can get a surprising amount of distance from their starting point. While this mob suffers a bit from high armor, that’s not something that Cryx really worries about.
Harrower. I’ll run the numbers and rules here quickly. Speed 7, Pathfinder, Steady. Boostable RAT 5 gun with Ghost Shot, POW 14 and AOE 3. Reach, Thresher, Soul Taker. Its a simple setup with a ton of upside. On the turn the Harrower goes in, he will create a ton of havoc, and before that, a range 17 Ghost Shot gun is no joke. Anything that does not have stealth will explode either from the AOE or from the direct hit. The more I think about this combo, the more I want to paint up my plastic Harrower and get him out on the field.
Malice/Reaper: Normally, the problem with the Reaper, and to a lesser extent Malice, is that they are dependant on a pretty large sum of focus from the caster that could be wasted. Boosting to hit and damage to ensure the drag is a real drain on many casters, but not so much with Aiakos. He also grants them a boost to their threat ranges, and makes them a serious contender with his own Harpoon to drag things into the waiting maw of a friendly Terminus, Asphixious, or any other melee focused caster.
I’m really not keen on taking any of the Novice Warcasters with a colossal, and Aiakos is no different. Tying up 19 points into a three point, fairly squishy solo really makes me nervous.
As always, we’ll rate him with every caster. below is my rating scale for a model/unit, respective to the caster I am talking about.
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 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.
Asphyxious I – Parasite is pretty much the only spell that is really going to benefit Aiakos and his battlegroup. While its not terrible to put scything touch on him, its just as well to go on Asphyxious. There is the added benefit of having a couple drags around to move casters into position so that Asphyxious can float in there an kill them, but overall, not particularly impressive.(3)
Asphyxious II – Again, Parasite is the only spell around that will really increase their usefulness, and Asphyxious II generally needs less dragging around in order to get work done. The clouds can cover for Aiakos and his battlegroup, but being jacks and/or stealth, they rarely need it. (1)
Asphyxious III – Carnage is a real boon to Aiakos and I’d definitely consider the Harrower combo here. Other than that, there isn’t much to write home about. (4)
Deneghra I – Deneghra I makes everything better, and Aiakos is no exception. Her ability to lock down opponents for a round with her feat, and completely cripple them on the same turn with Crippling Grasp really helps Aiakos make his way into the guts of the enemy. Ghost Walk is sometimes useful but I’d rather not waste three focus on a solo. He works amazingly well in a Denegrha shooting list, toting the Leviathan and taking the place of a Pistol Wraith himself. (3)
Deneghra II – Deneghra II takes the awesome of Deneghra I to this model and rachets it up to 11. Between Marked for Death and her feat, Aiakos can give the Leviathan 3 RAT 10 pow 13+ shots, with one of them boosted to damage. Just glorious with a Leviathan, and pretty good with a Harrower too. (4)
Skarre I – Aiakos under Skarre I’s feat and Dark Guidance is a monster from hell. He could possibly get 5 attacks, at Mat 6+3d6 at P+S 17 is jut pure glory. Anyone stupid enough to be within 11″ with a landing zone for Aiakos is in for a real treat, Cryx style, and he doesn’t even need any ‘Jacks (5)
Skarre II –Between Black Spot on a target unit for the Harrower or Leviathan, and Death Ward on either Aiakos or his pet jack, there is a non-zero chance you’ll see this combo pop up. I really like my current Skarre II army, but it is going to have to make room for Aiakos (5)
Goreshade I – Goreshade I does nothign for Aiakos. They cannot be friends. There might be room for a self powered jack, but no, never-mind. (2)
Gorhshade II –Phantom Hunter is battlegroup only, but I find the thought of Sudden Death on Aiakos to be hilarious. (3)
Goreshade III – Nothing in Goreshade’s kit beyond his feat turning Aiakos’ target stationary really benefits him. I’d try and avoid this pairing. (2)
Terminus – Ravager is battlegroup only, but I find the concept of Aiakos helping his big brother Terminus out by fishing for warlocks and Warcasters increasingly compelling. Aiakos trying to use a Harrower to deliver a pile of souls won’t particularly work, so there is some small anti-synergy there. (1)
The Witch Coven –The feat should ensure the delivery of his payload, curse of shadows allows him to pick targets, and veil of mists allows him to get there. The Coven have a ton of focus, but want to use it all every turn. He relives that burden while also providing a nice fire support base with the Leviathan. (4)
Mortenebra – Mortenebra wants the jacks to herself. Terminal Velocity, Spectral Steel, Overrun, Interface and Jump start are all battlegroup spells. Sorry Aiakos. (0)
Venethrax – As a selfish caster, he give a whole lot to Aiakos, however in a Venethrax list, Aiakos is very self sufficient, allowing Venethrax to keep more of his focus as Aiakos wither vaults into the enemy or clears a path. (3)
Scaverous – Aiakos can use feast of worms and his buddy the leviathan to shoot heavies at POW 17 three times a round. That’s not a terrible move! With Telekinesis and Freezing grip, he really helps Ol’ Scaverous with the focus efficiency he wants while also getting a ranged presence in as well. (4)
Best Caster: Skarre I. When he runs out of jacks to toss at the enemy to solve problems, he becomes a super solo of unimaginable proportions, and on the Feat turn can really just burn it up.
Worst Caster: Mortenebra. Everything he brings is a detriment to our favorite necrotech, and I can’t really see being that desperate to hamstring myself.
Until next time!
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