This week, Gorehsade, Lord of Ruin, Cryx Epic Warcaster made his way onto the internet:
Lets walk through him, right?
Epic Cavalry Warcaster – that right there is a Cryx First. While each other Warmachine faction has received their Cavalry caster, Cryx finally gets on in Vengeance. (Personal aside: I was one of the first to know that he even existed when I bothered Ed Bourelle after the L&L panel last year that showed us no Cryx things. He gladly obliged) This most likely has to do with our cavalry unit being released at the same time. Up until now, there has only been Light Cavalry, and while they are fun, Cryx has been dying for Bane Cavalry for ever.
With a speed of 8, he’s doing just fine in the mobility department. He received the standard +2 speed boost from jumping on a horse, which makes sense. His Str, Mat and Rat all stayed the same, which is expected. He’s not some sort of paragon of battle, though him having MAT 7 is one of his better aspects. Honestly, though, he could have mat 5. You boost the first melee attack anyway with his Freeze ability on Voass, so the number very rarely matters.
His defense dropped by one, which is honestly mighty surprising. Vlad and Vyros kept their DEF 15, but Kraye and Kreoss are both 14. We’ll allow it, but we won’t be happy about it, though his ARM jumping a point seems to be worth it. ARM 17 with a 7 point camp can make for a really tough nut to crack.
His command stays miserable.
Oh, his feat.
“Center a 3″ AOE on any number of friendly non-warcaster warrior models currently in Goreshades control area. Enemy models without Immunity: Cold within one or more AOEs become Stationary for one round. Then the models the AOE’s are centered on are destroyed.”
That feat has a number of really cool applications, but for Cryx, its all about the assassination. Lambstar did a really good breakdown of how often he can pull off the assassination using his feat and Siphon Bolt, but there are also other considerations.
-using the feat to secure a zone could be a real back breaker. Clearing the zone of all enemy models, and then freezing every model that has a hope of moving forward has serious potential. It won’t be used all the time, and will require careful positioning, but if you win the game, who cares!
-using the feat to remove high defense targets. Now, you’ll probably have bile thralls in the list with Mockery of Life to bring them back, but its also possible that you don’t. In that case, setting up a unit of Kayazy, Nyss, or an Iron Fleshed target could be clutch. Especially if they are in range of Tartarus or Gerlak Slaughterborn. Both can have field days with frozen targets.
-Using the feat to ensure a frozen target for Melee. Most of the time, a single boosted to hit roll, which hits defense 18 on average, will be enough. Sometimes, though, it won’t, and you’ll be hoping for the hit so you can then make sure it happens. That extra P+S 15 hit from not needing to boost can make all the difference.
-Changing the Tempo of the game. When you have an army that wants to be going first and delivering the Alpha Strike, you can get caught in a rough position if you’re facing another speed based army. Stalling them out for a turn can be exactly what the doctor ordered to get your Pieces into position to deliver a solid killing blow to the army or ‘Caster
Terror and Undead are both solid abilities, and terror will help on some assassination attempts. Having Kayazy fail their terror check is a great feeling.
Ghostly – Oh yes! its Pathfinder+ everyone! Gives him a decent boost to maneuvering through terrain, and makes getting assassination vectors very simple. I normally have Saxon Orrik in lists that I want personal-melee combat a possibility, and the Lord of Ruin has no need of him. Makes for a good pairing.
I really think this is going to define how he plays. I think he is going to wander around, waiting for someone to get clumsy/froggy and get in there for the win. And if the opponent has models that are shut down/limited because of the threat of a free siphon bolt, all the better. I don’t think it’ll be the best thing on his card, but its sure going to cause people headaches.
While its not the most inspiring spell list in the world, it does have benefit of having two brand new spells. Both Mockery of Life and Siphon Bolt are pretty cool, I am not going to lie. While its 2 cost is low,I am not sure the offset of having no action is going to be worth it. The spell will be a backdoor workhorse, dropping models to contest zones and flags, and putting well timed dark shrouds where you want them, but the sacrifice action is huge. I do not endorse that we should have a two cost, non-living model dependent excarnate by any means, I just think sacrificing your action is a huge penalty. But Moar banes! and if he gets a free spell from Vortex, he’ll end up with +4 Thralls! That’s half the unit almost!
Siphon bolt, though, is the interesting one. at pow 12, its not that strong, and at range 8 it doesn’t reach that far. But on a speed 8 model, its like a range 10 spell, and we have arcnodes flowing out of our cracks which make it act much better than its 8″ range would normally do. With the ability to get back 1/2 its cost, its well worth boosting damage once you hit and are guaranteed a return on investment. Boosted pow 12’s kill castes, and this is a boosty one. This spell as a whole works better against hordes, with warbeats and warlocks both likely to have fury on them during the game. While it won’t always do decent damage, just messing with the fury resource can be really nice.
The interaction with fury batteries is interesting, and draining fury off of Agonizers and Krielstone Bearers, among others, will be really cool.
The rest of his spells are good, but nothing to write home about in joy. Scything touch is a a typical STR buff, and will pair nicely with Bane Riders bringing their P+S up to 17 on the charge. Occultation is both useful and standard to Goreshade’s stealth theme. Infernal machine plays off his constant jack upgrades, and its a welcome MAT and Speed boost.
Combined up, he’s not going in many directions. Its a simple plan. Put Occultation on whatever unit you take that is not bane thralls and Put Scything touch on the bane thralls. Use Mockery of Life to keep them both up and running, with a Scarlock casting Occultation every round, and the Withershadow upkeeping scything touch for free. Put out Infernal Machine on your best jack and wade in while you bide your time for a good time to use your feat, and either take the caster out or win by scenario. Nothing complicated, but highly effective.
Bane Thralls – Awesome in every army, but can create a wall of stealth with the Lord Of Ruin, and they will also serve as a mobile armor debuff for one of the few Cryx ‘Casters without one. With Sycthing touch, they’ll be hitting at an effective P+S 15 w/ weaponmaster, which is pretty damned good.
Bile Thralls – the poor mans Excarnate is as good for Biles as much as it is for any other unit. You can’t bring back ones that you’ve purged with, but just being able to bring back the ones the opponent drops out is really good.
Blackbanes Ghost Raiders – The Lord of Ruins looks, originally, like an exercise of timing and placement. Blackbanes boys change that. Incorporeal allows them to skip through terrain and, most importantly, models, to get right next to as many enemies as possible to freeze them up. To add a cherry on top, as long as Blackbane is around, you can bring them back with both Mockery of Life and the raiders own abilities. I think they are going to be a great addition.
Withershadow Combine – The Combine is a simple enough inclusion as he has three upkeep spells to have out and about. They also bring utility through their fantastic suite of utilities, and some spot removal with their magic attacks.
Bane Lord Tartarus – If your bringing Bane Thralls, can’t leave home without him, and an additional Dark Shroud will never hurt.
Darragh Wrathe – If you want incorporeal models, Wrathe with Soulhunters help out a ton. In addition, everything he’s got utility wise is fantastic.
Machine and Pistol Wraith – More incorporeal is a good move, and the Pistol Wraith is great at shutting down large threats and more spot removal. The Machine Wraith might not be the best, but with speed 7 and the ability to move through models, 1 point is a steal.
Warjacks of Note
Deathjack – Good with every Warcaster ever made, Deathjack can get some solid mileage out of the Lord of Ruins spell list. With all of the spells on his list costing 2, everything he can cast, he does without focus investment from Goreshade himself. He can even drop Scything Touch on himself before going in for a nice P+S 21
Kraken – The Kraken with Infernal Machine is scary, and there just isn’t any more to it than that. Sweep can take out swaths of frozen targets, and his native 12″ threat range turns into a nasty 14″. I personally, though, like to have a little shooting to keep my opponent honest, and the Kraken is a great way to do that.
Swords for Hire
Gorman di Wulfe – More Armor debuffs, blind and smoke. No one hates Gorman, and I don’t really see a reason not to take him.
Madelyn Corbeau – The ability to stretch Goreshades threat range with Siphon Bolt is worth her points alone. Any other warrior movement with Bile Thralls, Tartarus or other threat is just gravy.
Overall, I look forward to putting him on the table, and really look forward to seeing his theme force. With Vengeance coming in April, I only have high hopes. He’s not overwhelming to look at, but I think he will bring a refreshing, if not ultra-competitive, change of scenery.