art by Marek
With the return to Cryx and the list of casters I wanted to play being pretty short, I knew that Goreshade, Lord of Ruin was going to get his shake pretty swiftly. The urge to put Denny 3 on the board was enormous, as both her model and her rules were extremely compelling. Goreshade 3 had come out much earlier and was burning a hole in my brain for longer, and had even come up, prior to Denny 2 and Body and Soul, as a strong Cryx tournament caster. I was extremely torn.
Fortunately, Deneghra showed up at the wrong time, was unable to be assembled until recently, and still has a cadre of models that need to be assembled before I use her. Goresahde 3 hit the table the first week of January, and I’m not looking to trade him in for a while yet.
The list I have been running for Goreshade 3 is a simple one, taken from the awesome Midnight Carnival and slightly modified after some discussion with him and figuring out what I wanted most out of the list and how it would be utilized. Simple, with a number of solid answers to age old Cryx problems, such as “is your caster alive,” “What are your casters Def. and Arm.?” and “Do you find assassination to be enjoyable.”
Bane Riders (max)
The basics of the list are fairly simple: Push forward, jam them on their side of the board, and win on scenario. Goreshade is strongest when playing the role of the bully, with his speed 8 and pow 15+ auto-stationary sword and threat of siphon bolts, and he is only able to do that from a fairly safe position. Bringing a variety of models with speed 7 or higher and/or invulnerable to shooting seems a legitimate way of winning the game, given enough time.
The list also skews extremely hard for assassination, with an arc node, three Helldivers and plethora of Incorporeal models. Darragh Wrathe and Madelyn both aid in the melee assassination while also being able to reposition Aiakos or any number of models after running into position for the feat turn. The melee assassination is the most simple, but also has the strongest chance to succeed. Speed 8 means his charge move is 11, with reach granting him a 13″ personal Threat. Conveniently, this also is within his Control area, and therefore measurable. His threat increases up to 16″ with a Madelyn move and 17″ with Darragh. This is not insignificant, but also not a very likely scenario. I’ve learned that you have to be pushing 20″ to really start to mess with someones head, and He can’t get there just yet. Once you know the opponent is within range of your melee, thankfully is pretty easy to deliver the kill. His immunity to free strikes and terrain makes blocking line of sight or his base size as really the only solid options to preventing death. A boosted MAT 9, thanks to Cavalry rules, hits pretty much everything, and a scything touch thanks to the Scarlock means that you’ll be automatically hitting with a P+S 17 Weapon, and have up to 7 attacks to kill. now, there are scenarios in which that can, and will, fail, but the odds are remarkably in your favor, with an ARM 20 caster taking 31 damage. Armor 21 takes 24 damage. Arm 22 and higher you switch over to boosted damage, though at that point its unlikely to kill them. That, however, is likely OK, because you’ve got an Aiakos or a Helldiver hanging around to take advantage of the now stationary an heavily injured ‘Caster. As the final nail in the coffin of the opposing caster, you can pop your feat when you get there, after moving but before making your attacks. If you’ve got the models lined up, and/or a free spell to cast mockery with to bring back a model, you can save a couple focus.
The rest of the list, though, is there to facilitate the spell assassination that can come from across the board. Speed 8 with an arcnode and 14″ control area can really get an assassination out of left field from siphon bolts. The math is hard to figure out in terms of damage, and his FOCUS stat does not really encourage him to be slinging spells at targets that are mobile. His Feat and the Helldivers ensure that many casters just can’t stay upright. Warlocks are his favorite target, pulling Fury from them with each bolt, reducing transfers, as are Warcasters sitting on 2 or three. Arm 15 and 14 casters are really in trouble, looking to take a significant amount of damage.
(if anyone has a good, easy way of calculating his damage, I’d love to hear it. I just wasted some 25 minutes and can’t figure out a good, mental way to do it. to much crazy)
Finally, the list can get in on attrition if it needs to as well. with mockery of life on Soul Hunters, Bane Riders, and Blackbanes, there are plenty of ways to make sure you get the most mileage for you troops, bringing the dead back to life in positions, especially late game, where they can stay safe for a turn and then get back into the battle.
What I really enjoy about this list is that I’m able to change up my plans, on the fly, as the game progresses and based on my opponent. Its critical to the game plan in the first two turns to assess the situation, your opponents temperament, the opposing Warcaster or Warlocks ability assassinate Goreshade 3, and build a plan. If they see the assassination coming, go for the scenario. If they are aggressive, bait them into over committing and kill them, and if they are maneuvering to try and take the scenario, go for the swift assassination or bully them out with recursion.
I’ve not even made it through a half dozen games with him, and I am glad that I was able to get games in with him. I look forward to figuring out how to master him, probably another half dozen or so games. He will likely be one my two list pairings going forward because his naturally high armor, speed and P+S weapon means that I can use the tactics that come most naturally to me: Pushing forward, being threatening, and pushing for endgame at all times.