While I was out at Lock and Load, I was able to pick up a box of Croak Raiders to bolster both my Minions force, and to potentially play with a Skorne caster or two.

These Bad Boys

Acquiring these became even more beneficial when I left the whole of my Skorne army in Seattle, and needed to have it shipped home, something its in the process of as I write this. Without Skorne, which I have been focusing on this year, to purloin my time, I needed something else to play for last weeks game night. With the Croak Raiders in my bag, I pulled them out and hastily assembled them, dojoing lists for them in my head over and over.

They all kept coming back to the same place: Barnabus. He’s got a knockdown feat, and there isn’t anything a ranged unit cavorts gleefully at than a caster who’s got knockdown on tap. Here, though, I run into trouble. The list I built was something like this:

Bloody Barnabus
-Bull Snapper
-Ironback Spitter
Bog Trog Ambushers (min)
Bog Trog Ambushers (min)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Croak Raiders (max)
Croak Hunters (3)
Gatorman Witch Doctor

The Concept here was to have the Gatorman Posse take the brunt of the action until the Trogs come in, have the Trogs overwhelm the edges, and get an assassination via knockdown with the Croak Hunters, and the Raiders. Lurking in the back would be Barnabus and the Spitter, looking to finish out anything causing problems.

I was really confident of the concept when I built the list, and though I thought it has some weaknesses, I was willing to move forward into the testing phase of list design. My first opponent was scheduled to be Cryx, which is fine, as I’ve played them myself for an extremely long period of time. There was a predicament, though, in that I know the guy likes to run Incorporeal models, and the list above has no solution ready for them.

I pondered the issue for a bit before realizing that I might want to try a bit stronger list against Incorp against Cryx, and that list would be steered by none other than our Gator Queen, Jaga-Jaga. I felt like I was teching, though, and that made me sad. In the end, he and I decided that we were going to bring 2 lists from now on, get better at list-selection.

Unfortunately that game was cancelled: I was violently ill and couldn’t make it out to the game store until Thursday, when I met up with some friends of mine at the shop in Bel Air. I was trying very hard to get two games in that day, and I may have pushed my luck a little far, as the first game intruded on the start time of the second much deeper than I would have liked, which made the end of the second game hurry-hurry itself. Next time, I do only one game.

First game of the night was against a the newly minted Cephalyx ‘Caster, Cyphon. I lent him both the models and the list, so it was based on the Cephalyx Army i built over the course of months of testing, just swapping out the caster and adding a Machine Wraith to cover the extra point.

The list was:

Cyphon
-Wrecker
-Wrecker
-Warden
Overlords
Agitator x3
Machine Wraith x3
Pistol Wraith x2
Mind Benders (max)
Mind Slaver (max)
Tactical Arcanist Corps
-Dominator

I knew my second game was going to be against a friend of mine who plays the Protectorate, and has a huge love of both colossals and Feora 2. I knew, almost exactly, what was coming, due to the battle report against him last week.

Feora, Protector of the Flame
– Revelator  [Bonded]
– Reckoner
– Hand of Judgment
Choir of Menoth
Holy Zealots
– Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Reclaimer
The Wrack
Vassal Mechanik
Vassal of Menoth
Epic Eyriss

If  you’re astute, you’ll have noticed what I noticed when I was thinking about the list I had conceived and how it was going to play out. All week, there was this sense of terror and foreboding as to how I was going to actually win these games using Barnabus:

Skarre + Incorp or Denny + Incorp will wreck everything I have, as the only Magical Weapons carried by the army are Barnabus’ Axe, Flesh Eater the spell, and the Gatorman Witch Doctors sacrificial Strike.

Cyphon Cannot be knocked down, and has both shield guard and sacrificial pawn to help him live through a withering barrage of Flaming Darts, bu I’ll have to be hitting him at his full def. 13 because he cannot be knocked down. Now, its not a stellar defense, but it is enough to make about 45% of the attacks miss, which’ll keep him alive.

Epic Feora is immune to fire, which is extremely good for making sure she survives against the ‘Raiders. Compound that with the Choirs Warding and the Hand of Judgments Immunity to Fire, and I have a caster that I’m not sure I can assassinate. Mostly, though, It was the Revelator, who I was unable to take off the the board without committing Barnabus, I wasn’t really looking forward to eating that one to the face.

though each game ended almost how I would have predicted it, the whole experience gave me a chance to sit down and dissect the army and how it works. Sadly, I don’t really know what that gained me in the end, as I feel that the inability of Barnabus to mitigate armor or wounds really created a situation where I was desperate from start to finish of both games.

There is a lot yet to figure out with the raiders, and I am pretty sure I am going to be taking them for another spin around the block tomorrow. We will see how that all pans out and whether or not Barnabus can fair any better.

 

On Sunday, I’ll be playing my first game, or games, of warmachine in over a month. I’ve got some choices here, about what I am going to field, and I’ve still not made up my mind. So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m really digging the new Goreshade I model, and want to field him. I’ve also been toying around with my favorite Skorne ‘caster Xerxis’ Fist of Halaak, and finally, I’ve “hung up” the Cephalyx, but being my most recent army, I can slide right easily into them after such an extended period of time off.

Cephalyx

These guys don't kill Shocktroopers

The Overlords are Coming! 

Cephalyx are easily the go to here, with an army I am have both used recently and don’t believe that I have completely mastered. They are cool, fun and I really need to finish painting them. Playing them again may get me motivated to paint, but I don’t know. I’ve got to paint a friends commission first, and I am super, super behind on that.

Cephalyx Pros: Most recent army used, awesome models, perhaps a drive to paint! three of the people that are going to be there haven’t even seen them.
Cephalyx Cons: Two people there have fought them multiple times, After 17 games I think I need a change of pace, not Cryx.

Cryx

Goreshade 1

Walk in the shade of Gore!

Cryx is whats itching my brain right now, and is making me want to pull out all sorts of lists, tops among them Goreshade I. He’s got a new sculpt, which might invigorate painting, and he’s a caster I’ve given up on before. Sometimes, I just want to try and polish a turn, and maybe Goreshade has something in there worth shining up. I’m not particularly sure, as almost everyone there will be playing warmachine, that I will get the best use out of him. Playing those bad matchups, though, is whats going to pull you through in the time of crisis where you end up playing like that in a tournament.

Cryx Pros: Cryx, new sculpt may invigorate painting, strange list that could be incredibly fun, chance for a second look at a caster, Banes!
Cryx Cons: No Hordes, chances of being played in this situation is normally low, Unfamiliarity with both list and caster, Still need to design list I am happy with.

The Fist of Halaak

From Whence Pain comes.

From Whence Pain comes.

Xerxis is extremely tempting, even though I don’t have his army completely assembled yet. Besides being a favorite of the Skorne ‘Casters, He’s got a freaking cool theme list that allows me to take just a flood of medium based infantry. The list I wan’t isn’t perfect yet, but that is OK by me, because its still going to be really, really good. However, with Exigence coming out soon, just a few days, really, I want to put off any Skorne awesomeness until after I can get and try out some of the new stuff. It is likely, though, that something in exigence will release that pops the Mean Mountain/Fist style of play and ends its reign of terror. Who knows!

Skorne Pros: Awesome army, Awesome caster. List will have limited shelf life, I get to use Tiberion
Skorne Cons: Exigence Awesomeness still to hit the tables, tons of unpainted models, will not invigorate painting concepts, Skorne on the horizon anyways.

Looking over the lists, I think that unless one of my friends asks to play against Cephalyx, I am going to bring Cryx. Goreshade I has just got to hit the table before I dive completely into my Skorne.

That means that I need to finish up a list, and do it soon!

The last list I had started to mull about was something like this:

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

 

I’m still not convinced that I want or need the Mechanithralls, and that is a big boat, some 14 points of beef that I could be using elsewhere, and I am also concerned, the more I Think about it, about the issue difficult terrain will posses, especially when I know I’ll be fighting a lot of Warmachine.

Slayers and Nightmare are definitely in, just because I want to test them out, but if I get hit with the fact that this list is terrible in game 1, I want to be able to change it up for the second game, if not to much.

I think I am just going to bite the bullet and grab Bane Knights in exchange for that 2 units of Mechanithralls. Not only are my banes Super Sweet but they also mitigate pathfinder and speed, and should be able to capitalize on both the Deathwalkers Steal Breath ability and the Bane Thralls Dark Shroud. That leaves me with 4 points left if I want to keep the Satyxis in, and 11 if I don’t. I’ve got a unit of Bane Riders that could hit the table, and might be able to take the heat off the Bane Knights for a turn or two while they both advance, especially against charges with Darragh Wrath around.

Actually, I think I’ll do just that. Its probably not the perfect list, but its a place to start my short time back into Cryx before exigence. The list I’ve decided to bring to my Sunday is this:

Goreshade I+6
*Deathwalker-
*Nightmare10
*Slayer 6
*Slayer6
Bane Knights (10)10
Bane Riders (5)11
Bane Lord Tartarus4
Darragh Wrath4
Warwitch Siren2
Warwitch Siren2
Necrotech + Scrap Thrall1
56

I think That is going to give me the pathfinder I need with both the Bane Knights and Bane Riders while also providing me speed and accuracy with MAT 10 speed 7 Riders and the Speed 5 Reach Bane Knights.

I like that this list is just chock full of reasons to be terrified of melee, though I have 0 shooting. If I end up running against someone with a Haley 1 or another caster that can just rattle off my dudes before I get there I’ll be in huge trouble, but such is the way of life. I’m also not going to bring a second list, as much as it pains me. While I can rely on 2 lists to bail me out of certain games, many times I will be list locked and have to play this list in a suboptimal matchup. Being able to make that game just a little easier is how I am going to win it, and it starts with making sure you take every game you can get as a learning experince.

 

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!

 

 

This weeks Battle report is brought to you by No Pictures. Because I completely forgot, so bear with me. It is also really long, but that’s because the game was long.

As I do most Thursday evenings, I took a trip to a friends house and got a game of Warmachine in. A few of us have recently decided to turn the dial up a bit, and I got to run against a pretty nasty Stryker II force.

Stryker II+5
*Ol' Rowdy9
*Lancer
6
*Squire2
Storm Tower2
Journeyman Warcaster3
Stormcaller1
Archduke Alain Runewood3
*Cyclone9
Horgenhold Forgeguard (10)8
*Jonas Murdoch2
Storm Lances (5)11
56

I brought my typical Thexus List

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

I was concerned because he had the Storm Lances in the list, and they can kill around 5 infantry models a model a turn, given perfect circumstances, and I just wasn’t ready to have that happen to me. Ol’ Rowdy’s Guard Dog ability made me worry about hitting Stryker with my Wreckers, as Def 18 is no slouch. The Stormtower will always give me fits, as anything that chains damage into my Cephalyx models causes me no end of fits. Stryker himself is also a problem as he has 17″ of threat, but I have a 16″ control area to make sure I keep him at arms length. The final problem comes from the Cyclone, a model that tends to give me no end of grief, as its 7″ of area denial is pretty massive.

The table is set up with a building on the far left center-line,  a rocky forest on the far right center-line, walls to the center-left of each players board, with a hill on my center right inches from my deployment zone, and a forest dead center and about an inch out of his. We rolled up Two Fronts as our scenario, and I won the dice off, choosing first turn.

I really think that first turn is crucial to the Cephalyx Army, and I will give up slightly advantageous board position to get it. All of the models that will need to do work have trouble with Terrain and have been given a gentleman’s speed 5. To me, this means that I need to get out and into the board as quickly as possible in order to even threaten scenario. Seeing as Thexus is a pretty miserable scenario caster (more on that later) First turn, to me, is a huge boon.

He keeps the side he is sitting at, and we get moving.

Deployment:
Cephalyx
I go for the strong center, because its my default setup. I’ve become pretty solid at deploying my forces to take and hold the center while scaring off any jack-based flanking forces. Thexus to the center, with the Mind bender to my left, and the mind slaver to the right. I then interweave the drudges from both units in ranks two deep, alternating units. The fourth spot in each front line is dedicated to Agitators. At the edge of each line, terrain permitting, is a Wrecker, and beyond that I have the Pistol and Machine Wraiths. This deployment is mirrored, so both sides have the same threats. In the center behind Thexus is the Warden and another Agitator. The overlords take up positions behind Thexus and one in the center, behind each wing.

Cygnar
He goes for a strong central presences, as both the scenario zones are between pieces of terrain that make the zones hard to flank. Stryker, Ol’ Rowdy, Squire, Runewood, Journeyman and the Cyclone are in the center. To each flank is a full unit, with the Cavalry taking the left, and Jonas and his Horgenhold the right with the lone Stormsmith.

 

Advanced Deployment
With no AD for the Swans, Thexus tossed the Dominator and the TAC in the center, as was his desire. A first turn run, followed by smoke on the second turn tend to be my opening moves.

This guy was comin' for me!

This guy was comin’ for me!

Turn 1
The first turn is simple, with each of us running forward and jockeying for position on the scenario zones. Both my Wreckers angle center-ward, as his big models seemed clustered there, with my agitators following behind. The Drudges ran forward to screen the monstrosities from the worst of it. I tried to keep my Cephalyx from being to close to anything, but its extremely hard with 30+ models. Both Wraith pairs flanked wide.His entire army rolled forward, and the Cav were going to get into the game soon, what with running 16″. Strykery was a bit cautious and ended his turn behind a wall, but the rest of the moved inwards, looking to create a place where Stryker would be safe and still threaten Thexus due to velocity.

Turn 2. 
Cephalyx
I got into the tank, and I am not ashamed of it. Stryker’s feat is coming next turn, and I am going to have to eat it on the chin. Figuring out who get smashed is a big conundrum, and it takes me a few to sort it out in my head. Eventually, I settle into an acceptance, and start to move forward. The first to move are the TAC. There was once a time I thought that using them to protect the shooting elements of my army would be valuable, after a few games of trying to figure it out in my head, its just  not. I do, however, gladly pay their price for a single turn of clouds followed by bonus whatever happens next. The TAC drop clouds and brace for impact. I know that they are going to be charged by the Storm Lances, and that its going to hurt, a lot. I want to make sure I feed as few enemy models to the initial charge as I can, while also trying to deny him a deep-push feat. I can’t give him the 6″ between my troops that I would like for them to play safe, but I also can’t just hand him a complete target selection. I decide to layer my Mind Slaver drudges to eat as many of the electroleaps, feat attacks and other ancillary garbage as I can, leaving many of my models a touch farther behind. The Wrecker on my left, sensing no threats, touches into the zone with the Machine Wraith and the Pistol wraith, wary of Jr and Runewoods threat range. The Mind Bender drudges move up and take central positions with Agitators and overlords, with the second Pistol Wraith taking shots at the lancer, missing his first and failing to death chill. The machine wraith worked his way around to try and threaten the Lancer next turn from advancing for fear of being possessed. The wrecker, fearing a charge from anything in the world and needing to clean up if necessary, shuffled just a few inches and maintained presence threat on the zone. With my feat and TK, I could threaten to the other end of the zone and more.

Cygnar
My opponent when into the tank for a few minutes, but came out quicker than I did, and started moving on his plan. The Lancer, unhindered by last turns flub on the part of the Pistol Wraith. The Forgeguard, with Runewoods aid, charged the Pistol Wraith as well as a set of drudges, clearing them all from the board. The Storm Lances went in next, blowing up all three of the TAC as well as a number of Drudges behind them. The Cyclone moved up and dropped covering fire near the Lances to protect them from the infantry to my right.The Storm Tower was out of range, and the Stormsmith didn’t roll enough damage to kill. Ol’ Rowdy positioned himself slightly off center of the battle lines. Strkyer moved forward and dropped Rebuke on the Mind Benders through the Lancer. I thought it was much more devastating than it was, as both the Concussion Pulse and the Adrenal Flood are * actions, not * attacks. He then popped his feat. Once everything was finished, he started on his feat actions. He moved a pair of the Storm Lances forward, killing more drudges with both the melee attacks and the Electroleaps. Some Forgeguard moved forward to attack hapless drudges while the rest maneuvered into position for the next turn.

Thexus!

Thexus!

Turn 3
Cephalyx
I had taken it on the chin, and I’d lost a bit more of the drudges than I wanted, but I felt I was doing ok. It was feat time, and I was rearing to go. After a minute of thought, I dropped three focus on to the leftmost wrecker and kept the rest for myself. Thexus lead the charge himself, moving to get the most models into his control area while also maintaining no closer than 15″ from Stryker. I then activated my feat, and started going to town. He’d moved the Storm Smith in my way the last turn, and I moved him backwards, enabling me to move the Lancer to the left towards my Machine Wraith, now positively within 8″. I drug the majority of the forgeguard forward and out of defensive line, making them easier to kill, and the Storm Lances were clumped together, one of them even taking damage from a covering fire template I moved him through. Everyone else just moved around to make it a bit more difficult for my opponent next turn. My feat finished, I TK‘d myself outside of Strykers threat range, and TK‘d the left Wrecker within charge range of the closest Storm Lance. I activated the left most Agitator to give the mind bender drudges the Incite buff, and then those very same drudges went to town, leaving not a single frontline Forgeguard alive and using a single Adrenal Flood on the final Mind Slaver Drudge. There was going to be retaliation from the 5 in the rear, but I could deal with that. The Adrenal Flooded Drudge moved in for an attack, dealing 4 to the unfortunate Cavalry model. The Wrecker, all cleared and ready to go, charged in for free due to aggressive reaction. I made my first attack roll and cringed, I’d forgotten to activate the Agitator first. Sticking with it, I kept going. Thankfully, attack after attack hit and killed, leaving only a single, undamaged Storm Lance left. Needing 7’s to hit and 8’s to kill, it was a lucky streak. With most of his front line dead, I moved my support pieces into place so that I could continue pressuring him next turn, with the pistol wraith aggressively moving into the backfield, and the Machine Wraith gunning for Runewoods cyclone on the left flank, and taking over the Lancer on the right. The right flank wrecker and subduer moved forward into more threatening and active positions.

Cygnar
The turn started off pulling one from the Squire and keeping the 7 for himself. Stryker was going to need to get his hands dirty. With the left flank wrecker within easy charge range of Stryker, and already damaged from channeling TK, it wasn’t going to be easy, but it needed to be done. Stryker overcharged for a single die, gaining +4 STR, while also taking 2 damage: a fantastic exchange. He then charged the Wrecker. Needing 3’s to hit and doing straight dice damage, the Wrecker was in the dirt after 5 attacks, leaving 3 focus on Stryker. Ol’ Rowdy ran over to Stryker to give him +2 DEF to melee attacks, and the Cyclone moved in to cover Stryker as well, moving down the last Mind Bender Drudge. Taking that mat 11 pow 19 attack off the board was vital for Stryker’s survival. Jr moved over and cast Arcane Shield on the Forgeguard, who then charged forward, eliminating the entire line of Mind Bender Drudges that had killed their compatriots the turn before, as well as slamming an Overlord, though the attack failed to kill him. The final Storm lance, now free, charges into an overlord, the Mind Slaver Leader and a Mind Bender Drudge, leaving only the drudge alive.  Runewood move forward, and the Storm tower fired into the drudges,killing another pair. The Stormsmith summoned lighting to blow away an Agitator, while the rest of the army consolidated.

This Models Kill Count: Butcher 3, Reznik 2.

This Models Kill Count: Butcher 3, Reznik 2.

Turn 4
Cephalyx
I could smell blood, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Along my path to victory were 4 Forgeguard, and I had to to still kill Stryker at the end of it all, no easy task at def 18 arm 19. I allocated 1 to the Subduer, 3 to the Wrecker, and kept 4 for Thexus. I started the turn running the Subduer, wary that I only had 2″ of play between counter charge from Ol’ Rowdy and the range of TK, to within TK range of Stryker, ending up .5″ out of counter charge range.I use the Lancer to go tie up the Storm Tower, hoping to hit but failing.  I then activate Thexus and go to TK Stryker, picking up my 2″ mover before I am reminded that I need to hit. I am at a crossroads here. If I boost to hit, I cannot TK my Wrecker, who I think needs the distance to get the charge off. If I can hit unboosted, I get the charge on Stryker, and I can probably win. Without it, its a lot harder, but Stryker will definitely be TK‘d. I boost, hit and TK him, backwards, in front of the Wrecker, while also making the mistake to keep him in base with Ol’ Rowdy. Sitting on my final focus, I also forget to move backwards, keeping me about 15″ from Stryker. I move the Machine Wraith up and take over the Cyclone, and I use the Pistol Wraith to kill Jr, and then use his soul to kill Runewood, Stripping of Arcane Shield from the Forgeguard. In order to clear the lane, I grab my overlords and start spraying down the line of Forgeguard, and manage to take all but one out on the first spray, needing 8’s to kill. The second overlord, who’d wanted to spray off the squire, has to turn his attention to the remaining dwarf, and melts his brain, killing him and clearing the path for the Wrecker. I move an Agitator up, trying to keep myself out of a counter charge lane, and start instigating. The Wrecker takes up his chains, and prepares to finish off the enemy ‘Caster, but judging the distance turns out to be finicky, and I don’t think its 10″ between the two models. Instead, I charge the Squire, for free again thanks to Aggressive Reaction. With a MAT of 7, I need 7’s to kill it and move on to Stryker, who was just out of 10″. I miss. My second bought attack hits, killing it, and I move up, engaging Stryker and Ol’ Rowdy. My first attack connects, after a boosted to hit, and I beat him out of base with Rowdy, lowering his defense to 14 and also doing 4 damage. The final attack also connects and the dice come up 6, leaving Stryker on 5. As a final last ditch effort, my final Agitator sprays Stryker, but leaves him alive.

This guy was almost the death of me!

This guy was almost the death of me!

Cygnar
Now, the blood is in my opponents nose. He activates Rowdy, moves forward and uses Tremor to free up Stryker from the Wrecker, who is now knocked down. Only a single model stands between Stryker and Thexus now, and Murdoch is happy to oblige his officer by shooting the Cephalyx in the face, killing it. Stryker then uses 3 points on a velocity to get the charge angle and charges Thexus. He has three focus, four attacks, and is doing straight dice damage. I have resigned myself to my fate, as the floating atrophied body can’t take a whole lot of punishment and has no real way to protect itself. 14/14 with 15 wounds just isn’t the way I need to be. Strykers charge attack misses. Undaunted, he swings again, connecting for 7, and again, connecting for 5, leaving Thexus with three. The final swing comes down, and misses, leaving Stryker out of focus in front of Thexus, but Thexus only has three HP. The last Storm Lance eats a free strike on his way to try and finish Thexus off, but the Mind Bender Drudges free strike manages to kill the Cavalry model by 1 extra point, saving Thexus from certain death.

Turn 5
Cephalyx
I am staring down a madman with a sword, and my worthless atrophied ass can’t do a damned thing about it. Stryker is Def 16, ARM 16 innately, and I have MAT 5 POW 9 weapons. Even with 8 focus, its just not realistic to expect 5 damage. After my first attack, it would take 3 focus to do 4 damage, with a huge possibility of failure. I mull it over for a few seconds before my buddy mentions Hex Blast as I reach for Warroom. Its an AOE, so I have to move back, but its a POW 13 with MA 8, a sight higher chance of killing. I mull over the choices and decide that I’ll just flat out boost it all around, and it works. Stryker, after a long, awesome game, is in the dirt, and Thexus gets to float away, barely, to live another day.

I got in another Thursday game, and more practice with Thexus as well.

A buddy of mine stopped in to my local game store, and he was bringing a list I’d not seen before. I’d played against Reznik II twice before, and thought that I had seen what the list could put out. I was wrong.

This is the list he brought.

Reznik, Wrath of Ages+4
*Devout5
*Hierophant2
Avatar11
Choir (4)2
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord2
The Covenant of Menoth2
Vassal of Menoth2
Daughters of the Flame (6)5
Exemplar Vengers (3)7
Holy Zelots (10)6
*Monolith Bearer2
Temple Flameguard (10)6
*Officer and Standard2
54

When I looked at it, I didn’t think it looked like anything nasty, but when we got started, ho boy!

I brought the same list I’ve brought the last few fights, and I’ve still found no real reason to change other than order of operations issues.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

We were playing Fire support, and I won the roll off. I took first turn, and he decided to take the table edge with a hill to make me squeeze my army between a forest and a house. It worked pretty well.

Deployment:

IMG_20140731_193508_075

Sorry for the Blur, I had yet to eat dinner.

I took the initiative and ran almost everything forward in an attempt to get past the house and woods and as far into the scenario as I could to contest what I could. I didn’t think I’d be taking the scenario anytime soon, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be surprised and fall down in points early on. Both Scenario areas where in terrible areas, in forests, and I knew I wasn’t going to be easily contesting them for long.

He, however, took the bull by the horns and rammed it down my throat. Zealots popped Greater Destiny and ran forward, the Temple Flameguard popped Iron Zeal and ran forward, gaining tough from the book. The Daughters of the Flame, who he’d started to deploy towards the center, but rethought and put them further on the flank, opened up and ran down the flank. The Vengers shored up the flank of the Temple Flameguard, and Reznik moved forward to the hill, claiming the only defense bonus he can. He then casts Deathmarch on the Temple Flamguard, after which the Avatar runs forward, and the Devout moves up and places Spell Barrier on Reznik. The Piper toughs the Flameguard, and the Covenant moved forward and placed no-knockdown in place.

Turn two starts up and I go into the tank. There is only about a foot of playable space between the two forests, and Reznik’s feat is coming up next turn, so I have to be careful. The Cephalyx have a ton of linchpin solos and unit leaders, and I just can’t risk them getting exploded, as they inevitably will, from the feat. I mull over trying to get some kills in, but I just don’t think it is going to work. In the end, I commit as best I can, and hope that my army doesn’t get obliterated. Both Drudge units move in and spread out the best they can, and the Agitators move up and in, trying to stay away from other models. The TAC and the Dominator move forward and cloud up, extending the cover against his zealots as best I can from my left forest. One Machine Wraith runs to engage a Venger, and the Pistol Wraith falls back on the right flank, while on the left, the Pistol Wraith and Machine Wraith advance to hold the forest. I hold back the monstrosities, feeling I need them for the inevitable counter-strike I am going to have to commit to after my drudges are blown off the field. I even Hex Blasted Deathmarch off of the Temple Flameguard for good measure. I felt that there was nothing but holding my breath, seeing how much of his army he could eliminate that turn.

IMG_20140731_202639_627

Game State, Mid turn 2 for Reznik

After my turn, however, he had to go into the tank himself. My clouds made it hard to draw LOS to my army, and the TAC are immune to fire, meaning that his feat could not damage them. Reznik was also a bit bottled up by the two units he had, so he couldn’t get deep enough with the feat to get the juicy parts. Unexpected Luck on my part. Thankfully, the Zealots have Firebombs that the TAC are immune to as well, which blocked out a key part of their plan, and allowed a large portion of my army to be safe from the bombs. His Temple Flameguard Charged into the Cephlyx upfront and managed to miss everything that wasn’t a drudge, though feat explosions followed and killed a few more drudges. His Vengers Followed in and also, somehow, managed to fail to kill every one of their targets, including those under the feat. He did do a pile of damage to the objective, though that’s no consolation. His Daughters charged into the right flank and killed everything they touched. Def 11 arm 15 is no defense against Mat 6 and Anatomical Precision. The Avatar and the Devout took up position to counter-attack, as well as putting up Spell Barrier. I’d lost almost an entire unit to the feat, and that was a bad feat for him. I am not a fan.

His feat was done, and he’d eliminated my entire front line that wasn’t the TAC. My Incorporeal remained, including the Wraith that had done 4 damage to a Venger. I was ready to go onto the counter offensive. I moved a few pieces here and there that had no bearing on Thexus or freed up room for him and moved in, popping my feat on nearly every model. I used the Telekinetic tide to set up clumps of models ready for fireballs, charging TAC and sprays. I then TK‘d the grey (not purple) Wrecker forward and the purple wrecker out of the woods, sitting on 1 focus after having allocated the grey hulk 3. Using the overlords, I sprayed down the tough Temple Flameguard and the Vengers. My opponent didn’t pass a single tough check, amazingly, but two of his Vengers survived the onslaught, one with 1 hp and one untouched.Using the Pistol Wraith, I took down a flameguard with his inital, and using the soul, boosted damage on the one wound Venger to kill him.  I then Charged the TAC into the bunched up Zealots, hitting, flamebursting, and fireballing almost all of them to death. The Pistol Wraith took aim at the Avatar and managed to Death Chill him, something I am notoriously unreliable for. The remaining drudges moved forward and attacked what they could, though my center had, outside of the TAC, completely collapsed. I moved the Agitator behind my army to try and get rid of the pesky Daughters that had come onto my flank. Through the agitator and some extra sprays, I was able to eliminate half the unit, but the other half was ready to strike into my guts. I dropped the gray Wrecker off, and through a series of bounces and beatbacks, was finally able to get to Reznik. Without an Agitator, I was unlikely to hit, but eventually connected on the last attack and did five damage.

His counterattack was swift and brutal, smiting the right flank Pistol Wraith, using creators Wrath to crush the Wrecker in front of him, and sending two Daughters into Thexus. See, the thing about Thexus is that he’s not so good in combat. Two boosted POW 11’s to him will remove his face. Fortunately, only one was boosted, though it did 8 damage. The second needed an 11 or 12 to kill, and thankfully came up short, but I knew that I had to take Reznik out next turn if I was to live. My opponent had mentioned, though, that if the daughters killed me, it would be the shittiest way to end a game. I Disagree. Running those Daughters down that flank, where I was unable to toss good spells at them or really do anything about them was an excellent move that I legitimately had no answer for. If he would have won at that moment he would have deserved every ounce of credit.  He then pushed the Devout forward because of the Machine Wraith, but forward was actually do my detriment. The Covenent sang his spell of no songs, and he passed the turn over to me.

Before my final turn

Things look bleak for Thexus,  but they looked up for the Cephalyx as a whole. There was no good way for him to rid himself of the Daughters and win the game at the same time. While that’s fine for gameplay, I am sure that somewhere, Thexus is deeply appreciative of that fact. The big scrum in the plan was the Covenant. It was prohibiting half of my army from doing its job, and I wasn’t taking kindly to that. The Pistol Wraith moved up and tagged it once, missing the other attack. Two Drudges moved forward, both through the power of Mind Benders and their own volition, and took an attack apiece, both connecting. I it was at this time that I realized that I didn’t need the damned thing dead, I had a different path I could take. Instead of using the Agitator in the center of the board, and needing to kill the Covenant to instigate, I could use the agitator slightly right to get into range of the wrecker that would eventually end up on Reznik. I activated the TAC and took down the three center models, moving them and my self out of the way of the wrecker.Thanks to Battle Wizard, I was pretty free to determine the edge of the 10″ bubble from the Covenant, and moved the Agitator up and, hopefully, out of the no spell area. I was out, and Instigated away. I moved the Warden up to be within range of Arcing TK onto the Agitator, and took Thexus’ turn. I TK‘d the Wrecker, and TK‘d the Agitator into both 5″ of Reznik to be sure, and within the 10″ of the Covenant: Thankfully, it does not suppress spells already cast. The Wrecker then charged in, whiffing on the charge attack, and thus removing the chain attack, but hitting on the next two attacks, taking him down.

Thexus Wins via Assassination!

Thoughts

I am just going to say that if it wasn’t for the TAC, I would have lost this game hands down. Being Immune to both the feat and the Zealot bombs was huge, and them living to get both their flame burst and battle wizard off onto the enemy make an enormous difference in what my army was able to counter with. If I had played this game with something else (like Croe), all they would have done was die. I would have had my entire front line, and even deeper, removed from the board, with nothing to effectively counter him from doing a similar move on his next turn. Also, all of the abilities of the TAC revolve around the enemy being clustered, and I don’t think there is anyone who can force that like Thexus.  I cannot overstate the value that the TAC has on the army and its ability to withstand the early game punishment that it will inevitably take by eliminating avenues of sight. Similarly, if I had not had two wreckers, the game ends because he has enough durable models that I can’t keep up. The Avatar and the Vengers are hard to kill with my army without some doing, if I discount the Wreckers, who I almost always need for an assassination.

Maybe it is just me, but I really am unable to make the Mind Bender/Mind Slaver combo work, and its starting to get me down. I really think I need two units, but I don’t know where to dig up those extra two points. I could remove both the Pistol and Machine Wraith for a whole new min unit, but I feel that’s overkill. I am really enjoying Thexus, though, and his play style is crazy as hell. It is going to take me a dozen more games before I really feel comfortable with him, and there are still things I am learning about the army ever time I play. I look forward to my next game, and my next report.

 

 

The problem with being a multifaceted nerd is that sometimes, your nerdings can outstrip your ability to write about them. Since Wednesday, this has been the case. I’ve progressed, played more Dark Souls II, I’ve finished assembling my Star Nebula Corsair Models and played a bit of my first Relic Knights game,  I’ve learned of the move of the Infinity Forums, and I’ve gotten two games in with the Cephalyx. I even Painted Thexus in a single sitting.

I’m really happy with these guys. You’ve probably seen this picture already.

The games with the Cephalyx were easily my favorite, though. Every time I play them, I learn something new and important to how the army functions, as each model has multiple functions and abilities, with making the right choice a difficult task.

The first game I played against a buddy of mine running Harkevich. I was terrified that this list was going to do all sort of bad things to me. He brought the following:

Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf+5
*Conquest19
*Juggernaut7
*Juggernaut7
Battle Mechanics3
Kayazy Eliminators3
Kayazy Eliminators3
Greygore Boomhowler (10)9
Harlan Versh2
Koldun Lord2
55

It lacked the guns I expected from a Harkevich list, and instead added the blasting power and movement shenanigans of the Conquest. I knew I could take down a colossal, given certain circumstances, but I figured that he’d never give me the chance. My army was going to get shelled all day, and if I ever needed to get real work out of any or multiple of my Monstrosities, I was done for. Tossing out Deceleration every turn is great for letting my army survive, but isn’t so great when it comes to getting work out of either my caster or my Monstrosities.

I brought the list I’ve been using the last few games.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

Its a very solid list that, with just minor tweaking, might be where Thexus stands.

Battle Report!
Scenario: Incoming!
First turn: Khador
Choice of Table Edge: Cephalyx for the Wall

Deployment and Terrain Setup:

Brown only is rocks, Brown and Green is forest, tan and Green is a hill. Walls are walls.

 

I got to coutner-deploy, but it didn’t seem to matter. Thexus in the center with Mind Slaver and Support to the right, Mind Benders and support to the left.

I’ve noticed that I tend to adopt a very symmetrical deployment, and I can’t really justify it: Drudge unit, Machine Wraith, Agitator, Pistol Wraith and Wrecker to either flank. Thexus, Warden, Agitator and (most times) overlords to the center. The Forest got in my way this game, and I fortuitisly deployed my Overlords across from the forest.

I constantly griped about my army not having access to pathfinder as a huge problem. I’ve learned that that is not completely true. I have 14 models that ignore terrain during their movement, and its no small benefit. Overlords, Agitators, Mind Slaver and Mind Bender, Thexus, Pistol Wraiths and Machine Wraiths all get to wander in and around most terrain.

Turn 1
Khador
Everything runs, with Harlan taking a slot in the woods, one Kayazy on a hill, and the other behind the ever-tarpit of Boomhowler. Conquest toed into the friendly Khador zone and make to stick around.

Cephalyx
Everything runs but the overlords, who simply shuffle their way forwards a bit. I’m a touch aggressive with my Incorporeal models, as they are threatened only by Harlen, the Koldun Lord, and Razor Wind from Harkevich. This is compounded by me having a small, durable smoke wall that I am able to hid them behind in the TAC.

End of Round 1

 

Turn 2
Khador
Conquest stays still and crits a shot, taking out a drudge and damaging a monstrosity, Its about this time, followed by the broadsides shot, that I realize how much Deceleration is helping me. By pushing up my armor to 17, and 19 on the drudges, its making the blast damage trivial, and even throws aren’t killing me. He positions the Kayazy, Boomhowlers and Juggernauts to counter attack if I try and dig to deep. I now have a 4+ tough unit in my zone, and no hope of ever removing them.

Cephalyx
Have I ever mentioned that I have good luck? Nothing proves it more than this single turn. Though it takes two Pistol Wraiths to do it thanks to an early snake eyes, I Death Chill the conquest, preventing any counter-charge. I move up and in with the Slavers to try and threaten the conquest next turn, disregarding the Creeping Barrage that was put down last turn, loosing no one, even with Deceleration not working to my advantage. The Thrown Wrecker moves into threatening range of Conquest, and the other Wrecker makes a go at some of the Boomhowlers, killing a few. The Overlords move up around the wall and one of them takes a pot shot with his Psychic Assault at the Kayazy on the hill. Def. 17 makes them exceedingly hard to hit, but I roll the hard 10 and her mind melts, removing her. I then activate the Mind Benders, move them into position and spray down a few more, leaving the unit at 6. With one of the Sprays, I manage to catch a member of the second Eliminator team. Though the Eliminator here is not on a hill, I am on less Magic Ability, but it doesn’t matter, I roll the hard 9 and take her down. Essentially taking out the threat of the combostriking, ganged Eliminators was extremely key to me living through the game. With straight dice on my caster, a single pair could take me out. I moved the TAC up, and for the first time created a smoke bunker past the second turn, trying to safeguard both my Machine Wraiths and Pistol Wraiths from Harm.

End of Round 2. There is a Kayazy off the left side of the board.

Round Three
Khador
Conquest shoots and gets his second critical tossing a Wrecker, a couple drudges and an Agitator around, killing only drudges.The Boomhowlers move deep into the zone, taking out, along with Harlan Versh, a ton of the Mind Benders drudges. The rightmost Kayazy charges the Mind Slaver unit leader and fails to kill. The left side runs into position to threaten Thexus. The Juggernauts each take down a Kayazy and a TAC member, leaving my center decidedly open. Harvevich takes out a Mind Slaver Drudge or two, and the turn passes over.

Cephalyx
I am able to capitalize on the armies small size by overrunning it, using the Wrecker, Mind Bender Drudges, and an Agitator to eliminate Boomhowler and his friends, taking the zone. I take over both Juggernauts with Machien Wraiths, and my last TAC member is able to pop the Koldun Lord. The Overlords manage to miraculusly take down the final right Eliminator in melee, rolling a hard 11 in order to remove her, making a new Mind Slaver Drudge. Those Drudges then flood the enemy zone, ready to assist the wrecker in taking out Conquest. I move Thexus into the friendly zone in order to Dominate and score a point, and move the Warden in to take shots against the Agitators, Thexus, and anything else that feels like being saved.

Round 4
Khador
Conquest shoots, again, critting, again (#3!), tossing two agitators and a Warden into Thexus and the Mind Bender. An Eliminator then charges out, and after a trip-ones fails to kill the knocked down mind bender. The Harkevich Ejects one Machine Wraith, while failing on the other. Harlan takes a swing at the newly ejected Machine wraith and misses. Faced with two possessed Juggernaughts, and Conquest Facing down an entire unit of Drudges, an Agitator and a Wrecker, the game ends.

The end of the game.

Though my list is solid, I really want to make a single change, but cannot find the points to do it. The Mind Benders, in almost every game, seem to be divided among giving out buffs to the Mind Slavers, or tossing out spells to assist with attrition. I really want to drop the max unit and take two minimum units. one to toss out attrition spells, and the other to buff the Mind Slavers, running behind them so as not to get outpaced. I’ve yet to figure out how to do it, though, and leave the army in tact enough that it actually works. It would involve either dropping the Overlords, with their fantastic spray attack, or a Pistol Wraith + Machine Wraith, loosing the efficiency of duplicates.

This game was really rough for my opponent, and in hindsight I can see why. The Pistol Wraiths, Machine Wraiths, and TAC all form a very nice control bunker from which the Cephalyx army could emerge. I was unable to extend a piece of Terrain, which seems to be the normal use of the TAC, but I was able to keep everything I needed safe long enough to get a ton of great use out of it.

The second game I played was a bit different, though it was against Khador again. My friend brought along his Butcher III list, which I’d not fought against yet.

The Butcher Unleashed+4
*Juggernaut7
Andrei Makakov3
*Beast 0911
Iron Fang Pikemen (10)8
*Black Dragon UA2
Greylord Ternion4
Widowmakers4
Drakhun4
Iron Fang Kovnik2
Greylord Outriders9
54

I brought the same list as above.

I’ll not be doing a play by play of this one, as I don’t remember it as clearly. We ended up playing Fire Support, which was interesting, but the scenario didn’t end up playing a huge part in the game. Instead, I was funneled around a stand of trees until I could find a way to get to Butcher with a Wrecker, which promptly killed him and won the game.

End of my Turn, the Turn before Assassination

Board State After Assassination

Butcher III Has me terrified, and both the board and this list didn’t help. I ended up going second – I wanted the side of the board with a wall hopefully just outside of 14″ of the board edge because the game has killbox – and running everything like I normally do. It was an epic mistake, as I had forgotten that Greylord Outriders have pathfinder. Everything from Thexus to the leftmost flag was packed with models, and I lost 9 of them the first turn, including a pistol Wraith. Thankfully, I was able to follow that up with a Wrecker leaving him with only one Outrider. A Pistol Wraith was able to get a bead on Malakov’s Beast and forced it to chill out for a turn.  His turn 3 I was really worried about, as he pushed the Butcher deep into scenario presences. I was able, however, on my feat turn, to completely collapse my right flank. I used my feat to pull Ironfangs out of Shieldwall, to maneuver his dogs into position, and to get Beast 09 and Malavok into vulnerable positions. I put a concerted effort into killing the dogs, but was unable to kill either. Thankfully, he didn’t get Vengeance. I did, however, manage to sneak Malakov. I tossed two TAC Fire blasts and two Psychic Sprays at him, one from an Agitator and one from an Overlord, and finally took him out. Taking Beast from the fight at the same time was just money. With a collapsed flank, Butcher had no choice but to go get some work done himself. Between energizer, his base movement and Impending Doom, he was able to get one of my two Wreckers and chop it to bits. He also got a Machine Wraith for his efforts!

The final turn I was able to pour everything I had into getting the Butcher into the threat range of my second Wrecker. I had to use the two TAC, all three Overlords, and an Agitator to remove all the models, but in the end the Subduer moved forward and was within 8″ of Butcher. A boosted TK both turned him around and placed him in the woods, and a second TK put the Wrecker hopefully within charge range. After Measuring for sight through the forest, I determined the Wrecker could, just, see Butcher, and got a free charge off for the nearby Outrider. I forgot about two crucial rules here, as Monstrosities have Eyeless sight, and the Agitators need to act first to give the Agitation bonus. Regardless, I was able to get into him, and it took me down to my last focus, but the Wrecker was able to get the job done.

With this list, I think Khador is a really good matchup for me. I have enough oomph to take out armor and I have enough bodies to block the initial flood. Before these games, I’d never really used the TAC smoke bunker the way I think others do, and its truly amazing. While Trenchers can do the same for Cygnar, they are 6 points and extremely vulnerable. With arm 16, five wounds, and immunity to fire for 2 less points, you get a ton of utility for a tiny investment. I’d also completely forgotten about eyeless sight, which would have made the Butchers placement less worrisome. Reach is completely amazing when it comes to difficult terrain, because its never reduced. Trees and rocky landscapes matter not to a Spear or Flail, it seems.

Both games were extremely enjoyable and against friendly opponents. The Cephalyx will soon be in their third month, and after that I’ll be playing the fist of Halaak.  If you’re making it to the NOVA open August 28-31, be sure to look me up and have a chat. I’ll be running Warmachines all day! oh, and follow me on twitter, where I sometimes share the aggregate information of Nerddom

I have been playing my Cephalyx at every chance I get, and am very pleased with their performance. I currently sit at a very comfortable 5-3-1, with the one draw coming to time. I’ve played 25, 35, and 50, and have used every model at their disposal. With the switch back to Cryx looming on the horizon for September and October, I felt it was time to go back and evaluate what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been learning, and what I like or dislike about the Minifaction of Cephalyx.

cephalyx_heavy_kit

Monstrosities
The Monstrosities stand out to me as the flagships of the army. If you have no desire to play them, there is no real reason for you to play the faction as a whole, its just not going to be worth your time. All three monstrosities are exceedingly good.

  • The Wrecker is all it says its supposed to be and more. TK and the feat gives it up at a very achievable 14″ threat range, and at MAT 7 it easily threatens whatever is around to pummel. I do not think, however, that you can count on TKing your target closer to you for extended threat range. Fueling one of these for a rampage takes over 30% of your focus, and if you want to TK the Wrecker, its over 50%. With the TK of the target model, you’re going to need to be close enough to charge already and want to burn nearly 90% of your focus. The Focus expenditure is a choice, but being close enough anyway make it a pretty terrible choice most times. The times its not is when you simply cannot afford a miss. If the target is defense 14+, I’d consider it to get the backstrike bonus. Overall, the Wrecker is even better than I’d originally assumed, and I thought the world of him. I do feel that two is mandatory, though, and that’s kinda lame. Being able to piece trade up with him in the early game, and then swing in to clear a zone or take out a second threat is just essential for being able to put pressure on your opponent.
  • The Warden is a fairly good, standard Monstrosity. He has the oomph to take down enough targets that I don’t feel he is wasted being in the back line, and he has the rules to back up his placement as a second wave. Until recently, I’d not realized how trivial it can be to set up a slam, between the feat and TK. This might just turn into a Gladiator style assassin. He also has the potential to clear out zones both with huge slams and two-handed throws, both of which can be invaluable.
  • The Subduer is something I am not as thrilled with as I was initially. It’s got a unique shtick in the army that enabled it to perform some great tasks while I was using it, but he just does not have the piece trade potential that the Wrecker does, he just looses out on too many attacks, an additional point of POW, and his tricks don’t work on Colossals and Gargantuans. Piled onto that, his drag is easily thwarted by positioning, which I would have to pop my feat to undo. Sometimes, its worth it, but most times it is not.He very much seems like a model designed to fit into a three-model-kit heavy as the third model. While he has some good potential, I just keep subbing him out for a Wrecker.

Overall, I am really trying to figure out a way to keep everything and add a fourth Monstrosity. I don’t see how I can do it without causing my list to crumble, bit I think its possible. I could go Double Warden Double Wrecker, but it is most likely to be a Subduer. Those 36 boxes are much hardier than any of my opponents thought, and it almost always required the expenditure of more force than 6 or 7 points warrants.

Solos are the next most potent addition to the way the Cephalyx play this game, even there is really only one, I’ll cover the Dominator here as well as the Cryx Solos.

  • The Agitators are amazing, but surprisingly hard to use. Their Instigation bubble being a Special Action as well as their generally strong desire to be in the second line can sometimes lead to complicated turns with confusing order of operations. TK can help them get into place, but you have to know where you want to place them, as that’s 25% of your focus spent getting +2 to hit and +2 to damage where you want it. Their Sacrificial Pawn comes up rarely other than to be mentioned and then never used, either because the opponent waits until they are far enough away, or just kills them with melee. The 36 boxes just ins’t worth it.
  • The Dominator is a fantastic icing on the Cephalyx Cake. He’s able to take a number of models as his unit, and I really like the skills he is able to bring to the table. I categorically do not like Croes with him, and I swear by both the Tactical Arcanist Corps and the potential of the Nyss Hunters. Nyss provide a much needed two pronged asset coverage with both ranged attacks and pathfinder. Add in Deceleration, and you get a 19/13 model with ranged 12 bows! sounds great to me! The TAC provide the same reach with spells, and a bunker of smoke with smoke grenades.
  • Bloat thralls are, sadly, the same model they have always been. While I don’t think they will never be good, I just can’t find a good way to press whatever advantages they have. Their short range combined with slow speed means that they suffer an inordinate chance of hitting their own troopers with a powerful blast that will in all likelihood, kill them. Failing that, I have to keep any useful troopers outside of 2″ of him, in case the enemy decides to blow him off the board, which they will.
  • Pistol Wraiths, are, thankfully, the same model they have always been. Their ability to shut down heavies and do damage to infantry is fantastic in an army that has very few ways to neutralize something it can’t get to. The pistol wraith, weather singularly or in pairs, has yet to fail me in a game. They might get killed before they do anything, but that is one other model alive with which to cause problems.
  • Machine Wraiths are my surprise of the solo class. I’ve played them in a number of games, and have enjoyed them in almost every aspect. Even when there are no warjacks to take over, there will always be zones to hold an flags to contest. The ability of these little workhorses to do so much for a simple 1 point cost has been a great boon. I highly recommend picking up one or two for every Cephalyx force.

Overall, I think the solo selection is really fantastic. I had hoped that the feat and TK would help out the bloat thrall, but it simply highlighted its inaccuracy and its ability to destroy my own troops.

Units are a pretty simple thing to go over. Thankfully, I’ve been able to use them all extensively.

  • The Mind Slaver and Drudges unit is the main body of work for the army. Not only is it a single power higher, than the Mind Bender Drudges, the unit can charge and still be effective. They are almost always the second unit to activate, with the Mind Benders handing out Adrenal Flood to the foremost Drudges to get awesome charges off, or handing it to the back to get more into range. I keep unnecessarily worrying about their staying power, because MAT 7 P+S 15 is really, really good for a 4/6 unit, and I shouldn’t complain.
  • The Mind Bender and Drudges unit is the engine of the army. They enable clearing of troops, clearing of Jacks, and a ton of other work besides. As I have stated, the ability to get into the way, make attacks, and then be channeled out of the way right afterward is extremely helpful. Their need to put forth spells almost every turn means that this unit will go first and will burn itself up fairly quickly I am very curious to see if two units, and a potential for 6 Adrenal Flood/Psychic Assault/Detonations is worth it for the two more points. I get two more models in the exchange which will equate to two more spells over the course of the game. Extremely curious.
  • Overlords are one of the hate them or love em units in the army. They have been my saving grace, but also my weakness in the list. With the ability to cover almost any situation, they have a ton of capacity to be worth inserting them into every list. The times they become useless, though, they feel like a weight around your neck. I can see how, in areas and metas where Meat Mountain, Fist of Halaak, Runes of War and other multi-wound nastiness, the overlords are not loved. I had them tied up against a unit of Man o War for about an eternity because they just couldn’t break free. I still love them for their potential, but I completely get the strikes against them.

The units are the backbone, where the solos are the ligaments and the Monstrosities the Muscles. I am still tweaking how and what proportion of units I run, and am very solidly considering running 2 mins of each unit for flexibility. It might be terrible, but I am going to have to try it.

Cephalyx 2

Finally, the Brain of the Operation, in both form and function. Exulon Thexus, the Warcaster himself.

  • Exulon is, actually, a lot more passive than I had originally thought. Without an upkeep spell, and without any real answer to guns, he has very little options open to him when it comes to spending focus. Instead of casting a ton of cool spells every turn, I find myself casing Deceleration, fueling one Monstrosity, and either camping the final two, or casting a single TK. I have yet to actually, successfully, cast Influence, but I think that is just a pipe dream anyway. While the option is there, a range 10 spell that requires 3 rolls to succeed and does d3+1 damage to my Monstrosities just doesn’t seem worth it. I will instead just fuel one of said monstrosities up and let them have a go at the same targets, with less dice needing to be rolled. His feat is also coming up surprisingly useless. Maybe its the armies I am fighting or my piss poor timing of the feat, but I’ve not been able to catch a ton of models in the feat that enables me to actually call down the wrath of my army. I’ve got until September to try and get the perfect storm happening. Finally, Rampager has been somewhat of a disappointment, though it could be because I rarely think to use it because of the amount of Warmachine that I end up playing against. If I can ever get a Warpwolf Stalker backwards in front of my army, that’ll be the best day!

The army overall is fairly close to what I expected after reading the spoilers, but has some aspects I didn’t see coming. The Subduer just isn’t pulling its weight, and Thexus, for one, seems to be much less involved in the games I’ve played. I didn’t consider a Hex Blast Assassination as a thing until I did the math, but there are times when it’ll be very good to drop a pile of damage on their caster, provoking a flight or flight. The Warden seems to be the perfect arc node substitute, at 6 points, but his large base size and slow movement are really hampering him from being a good stand in.

I cannot wait for the next caster, and the final reveal of Thexus Theme list. I’m not sold on ambushing Drudges, but I’ll try them a time or two before I put them aside forever and ever. I’m also very likely going to end up picking up another Agitator and two more boxes of Drudges. I do not look forward to painting them, though they will likely be easier now that I have my palate pretty much picked out

If you come down to NOVA, make sure to hunt me down and get a game against the Cephalyx, who will hopefully be fully painted by then. finishing off the Overlords and Agitators sometime this week! Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter for random tidbits and updates.

 

I had some unexpected free time on Sunday, and another stupid model trade turned into an old fashioned rumble.

I brought my Cephalyx (3-2-1) and he brought the Darius list he’ll be bringing down to the ATC in Tennessee next weekend.

I had decided to mess with my list, and it seemed to happen at the right time. While I really enjoy the Subduer, I wanted to try a multiple wrecker list.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

He brought

Man, he needs a resculpt!

Captian E. Dominic Darius+5
*Centurion9
*Stormwall19
*Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker2
Storm Strider9
Black 13th4
Lady Aiyanna & Master Hold4
Captain Arlan Strangeways2
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (Epic)3
Journeyman Waracster3
55

We ended up playing Incursion, because neither of us had zones on hand. The table was set up with a hill on my far left flank, on the board edge. There was a building about 4″ to the left and towards me from the center flag. There was a fairly large pond on the other side of the board, on my left flank. The right, on both sides of the board, was a fairly large forest.

I won the roll off and chose to go first. With the amount of shooting and general getting in there in that list, I didn’t want to be stuck on my half, which is a serious concern when everything is speed 5.

Deployment
He chose sides, and pre-deployed his Storm Strider and the Stormwall almost dead center on the side with the lake.

I then tried to not bunch myself up in deployment. I deployed mainly center-left, due to the forest on the right, with the Mind Slavers and Mind Benders stretching across my front line, punctuated by Agitators and Pistol Wraiths on the flanks. Past them, I deployed my wreckers on each flank, with the Warden staying back next to Thexus in the second rank. Capping it all off was the Machine Wraiths to either side. The overlords and a single Agitator took up back line rolls with Thexus.

His deployed Darius next to and slightly behind the Storm Strider. Junior, Sylys and Arlan stayed in the back. The Black 13th took my right, and Aiyanna and Holt took the left with the Centurion.

I deployed my TAC and the Dominator pretty central, and he AD’d Eiryss on the left, in the pond.

Turn 1. 
I learned, while muttering about threat ranges, that the Storm Strider can be placed by Darius’ Crane, increasing its threat by just over 5″ on its already impressive 14″, 10″ deploy and 5″ move. He was going to shoot whatever I let him. I started out moving the TAC up their 4″ and leaving the Dominator 9″ behind. They dropped smoke next to the forest, extending its protection out into the middle of the board. The Mind Slavers ran up next, behind the smoke cloud, and spread out a bit, leaving the Slaver 9″ in the back. The Wrecker on the left moved up next to the building, and the Mind Bender ran up behind, filling in the gaps with their warped and twisted bodies. The other Wrecker moved up next to the forest and behind the Slaver Drudges. The Agitators, along with the unit leaders, were terrified of electroleaps, and thus got stuck behind the army once again. They maneuvered up near the Monstrosities, just in case. Each flank had the Pistol Wraith and the Machine Wraith run screaming towards the side flags. Thexus went last, moving up just enough to catch the army in Deceleration, cast it, and camped.

His turn was similar. He started out Craning the Storm Strider up its full distance, casting Fortify on the Centurion, and ran a Halfjack over to the flag. The Storm Strider then moved up and shot at my Wrecker over near the building. Thankfully, he missed his first shot. The Strider is RAT 6, and needs 6’s to hit the Monstrosity under Deceleration. Amazingly, his second attack missed, giving me a bit of hope. The Stormwall advanced and launched a pod, but the Ryan couldn’t get line to it through the forest at the end of the turn. Eiryss ran over near to the flag, just in case. Jr. put Arcane Shield on the Strider, seeing as it was going to be assaulted next turn. Everyone else just moved into position.

He rolled for the flag, with the left one, with Eiryss and the Centurion, going away.

I’ll never leave home without an enslaved trio!

Turn 2
I assessed the situation, and assigned 3 to the wrecker near the house, keeping myself 5. I went into the tank for a few minutes, but came out ready to go. The Machine Wraith, having no greater purpose in life, ran out to engage Eiryss. The Pistol Wraith maneuvered to get cover from the building and dropped 2 shots into the Centurion, with the Chain Attack: Death Chill succeeding. The other Pistol Wraith moved to just inside the flag contesting zone, to either pull the B13th far enough out that I could Tag them or give up the flag. The Machine Wraith on the same side ran way out wide next to the forest to do the same.  The TAC then went, making room for Drudges and the Wrecker. One tossed a Flame Blast into the Strider, doing 2 damage, one popped the Stormpod, activating battle wizard and hurled a Flame Blast into the Black 13, doing 3 damage to Ryan. The final one took out one of the halfjacks.  I activated the Overlords next, moving them over towards the right flank, out of the way. The Mind Bender unit then moved up and dropped Adrenal Flood into three Mind Slaver drudges: Them dying is super convenient sometimes, it allows you to get in your own way, and then remove yourself! I moved the adrenal flooded models up into charge range of the Storm Strider, then activated the unit to charge with them. Sadly I’d only eyeballed one to be within range. 12.5 is actually a hard distance to judge. I should get better at it with Thexus’ control range. I’ve gotten pretty good at 8″ and 10″, but 5″, 6″ and 12″ still elude me after 9 years. Thexus activated and used Telekinesis on the wrecker, and cast Deceleration, again.  He then moved to catch everything he could in the aura, which was the whole army except for the Machine Wraiths. The wrecker and Subduer then moved up, in base to base with each other in front of Thexus to form a sort of screen some 4″ in front of him. Finally, the Wrecker charged, blasting through the Flag and getting just the tiniest portion of his reach onto the Storm Strider. Thanks to Beat Back, I was able to return to within striking range after each attack on the Strider pushing me away, and after all 4 attacks, the Arcane Shielded Storm Strider was a Wreck.

My opponent took a couple of seconds to compose himself, his plans having changed at the last moment with the removal of the Storm Strider. I’ve learned to try and pull off the big moves at the end of a turn, because the opponent has to rethink their turn order once you’ve changed the battlefield so significantly. If they’ve thought out a plan, they now have to rethink it. If they had no plan, they are probably a little surprised by the turn of events. Either way, it’s something worth trying. He started with allocating 2 to the Stormwall, upkeeping fortify, and keeping the rest on Darius. The Black 13th went first, moving so that they could draw LOS outside of the forest. Watts shot at the Machine Wraith, removing it, Ryan dropped a Mage Storm on a Mind Slaver Drudge, killing it and one other, with a Third suffering no damage. Lynch took aim at the one in the cloud and smoked him, but tough let him stay the course. Eiryss ran forward and out of melee with the Machine Wraith who, needing 8’s to hit, connected and his claws rent the Elven Hooker from the world. One halfjack moved up and became a mine almost halfway between the two flags. Holt stood still while Aiyanna went stealth. Holst took a shot, killing an Agitator too far from my Monstrosities, and then took a pot shot at the corporeal Pistol Wraith. Def 20 was too hard to crack, though, behind a building and under Deceleration. The Stormwall took an ill spirit on the Wrecker that had destroyed the Strider, and charged him, getting well within range. He drops a pod and kills a pair of Drudges, and then both initials and a bought attack later, the Wrecker is still standing tall. Darius then moves up and starts Jackhammering, killing the Wrecker but spending a ton of focus to do it. He then shoots off a rocket into the Drudges, killing a pair and making one of the tough. Sylys, Arlan and the Journeyman move up, with the Journeyman putting Arcane shield on Darius, bringing his armor up to 21. The Centurion shuffled over near Darius.

Turn 3
I give 3 focus to my second Wrecker immediately glad I had brought him along, one to the warden, and kept the other 4. The Pistol Wraith stood still and Death Chilled the Centurion again. The Overlords, emboldened by the lack of presence over near the flag, moved towards it, one of them touching. One of them looked to be in range of the Black 13th in the woods, so I took a shot with their Psychic Assault. Sprays are the best. Ignoring Stealth and concealment, I only needed 8’s, and ignoring LOS I was able to tag Lynch behind Ryan. Turns out, as anyone who plays against me regularly knows, 8’s are my average. I kill both Ryan and Lynch with the spray. Dice +1 does that. The Mind Bender then goes, giving the three remaining, non-knocked Drudges Adrenal Flood, and each of them moves into charge position. The Warden then goes, running up into range of Telekinesis range of the Centurion. The TAC get in there as best they can, and tossing Fireballs about. One targets Holt, clipping him and incinerating him, while the other two fly wide of their intended targets. Again, I used killing a Storm Pod to trigger Battle Wizard.  The way now clear, I charge with my Mind Slaver and Drudges, getting three into combat and having to run one. One getting into combat was exceedingly close, having to use a laser and proxy base to figure it out. After all three charges I leave the Stormwall at 23, exactly half. I then realize that I could have moved the Agitator up, and wail and gnash my teeth. I move him up and set to agitating, getting the bonus for the inevitable charging Wrecker. Thexus goes, getting cocky and moving with 10″ of the Stormwall, and once again used Telekinesis: The first on the Centurion, placing him closer to the Machine Wraith, and the second went to the Wrecker, pulling him that much closer to the Stormwall. I moved the Pistol Wraith and the remaining Agitator into what I thought were safe positions. Finally, I launched the Wrecker at the Stormwall, easily in range and charging for free due to the placement of the Stormwall itself. Two initial attacks and two bought attacks later, I was sitting on a focus, looking at a pile of rubble that has once been a proud Stormwall. Finally, I moved the Machine Wraith over near the Centurion over, but was outside of an inch to try and possess it.

CP: Thexus 1/Darius 0

Worth their weight in eights!


This was a do or die turn for Darius. He was down the Stormwall and the Storm Strider, and was missing 2/3 Black 13th. He kept all the focus on Darius, upkeeping Fortify. He went first with Aiyanna, who moved up a touch and cast Kiss of Lyss on the Warden. He then activated Darius, moving up and craning the Centurion over into melee range of the Warden, and proceeded to Jackhammer it into the earth. Strangeways took Aim and sprayed a couple of drudges, killing one. Watts moved up into 4″ of the flag to contest, shooting an Agitator off the planet as well. The journeyman took a Dwarf out of the picture, leaving 2. Finally, Sylys took over and charged into the machine Wraith and missed. He forgot to activate his Centurion, but that wasn’t a big deal. He moved it in front of Darius, blocking LOS in most ways.

CP: Thexus 1/Darius 0

Turn 5
I really wanted to kill Darius this turn, but his Centurion posed a huge problem. With Fortify up, he couldn’t be affected my Telekinetic Tide, and neither could Darius. I would have to do this old school. I allocated 3 to the Wrecker and left the rest on Thexus. The Mind benders activated first, putting a pair of Adrenal floods out there, getting one a bit closer to Darius. The overlords took their cue next, moving around to get a pair of sprays onto Watts, not that I needed it as the first one melted the poor fools mind. The last two TAC moved forward and tried Fireballing again. I managed to remove a Halfjack, but the last shot scattered wide. Thexus then went, moving up to get within 8″ of the Centurion and attempting to Telekinesis him out of the way. The first attempt was snake eyes, which screwed up my plan to Hex Blast Arcane Shield off Darius. The Second one worked, though, and he ended up out of the way, finally. My last Agitator move up and started agitating to get the Instigation bonus on both the Drudges and the Wrecker. The Mind Slavers went next, with one charging Darius, and one Arlan. Arlan’s didn’t reach, but Darius took the full brunt of a POW 19 to the face, taking a few damage. With little left to activate, I charged the wrecker, for free due to the proximity of the Centurion, and started wailing on Darius. The Charge was going to be critical, so I boosted it, needing 6’s. I missed. 3 attacks later, Darius is sitting alive on three health, and I have nothing left to threaten him.  My Machine Wraith, left alive by Sylys, advanced next, staying in range of his magic weapon, and took control of the Centurion, removing the last enemy model from within 4″ of the flag in the center.  Both Pistol Wraiths then ran into position, one of them nestling up cozily next to the center flag, and I passed the turn and gained 2 more Control Points.

CP: Thexus 3/Darius 0

Darius was looking ill, but he wasn’t out of it. He set the turn in motion by activating Arlan, Smashing a drudge. The journeyman activated and shot the Agitator off the planet. Darius activated and spent 2 focus to eject the Machine Wraith, craned it over into melee range of the Wrecker, and Jackhammered him into the ground, again. Sylys activated next, charging the Machine Wraith and missing again. Aiyanna then activated and gave the Centurion magic weapons, who then proceeded to move to engage and then eliminate both the Machine and Pistol Wraiths. Out of models, he passed the turn. I took another CP from the far flag, and we knew I would win on my turn with the final one.

CP:Thexus 4/Darius 0

Turn 5
At this point, I asked my opponent if I could play it out. It’s not generally a good or nice thing to do, but I’ve not had enough experience with the army as a whole to be ensured of a win with what’s left. I wanted to engineer a way to do it. He graciously agreed to let me play out my mental exercise, and I started my turn. I moved up with Thexus, within 10″ of Darius, and decided to pop off a Hex Blast to try and make it easier for my army to do work. I hit easily, and figured why not, boost the POW 13 damage at Dice -5. The dice came up in my favor, and I took down Darius.

CP: Thexus 5/Darius 0

Thoughts
Man that was a fun game. I was able to really see the type of work I was missing with but a single Wrecker. I can’t see leaving home without 2 in the future, and that says a lot about the Subduer. The Wrecker is just way too good to leave in the foam.

Chain Lightning and indirect attacks are scary as hell. Turn 1, to try and protect myself from leaps, I had to leave a 5″ gap between the nearest friendly model and my Cephalyx. This held my Agitators way back, and I hoped keep them in play longer. Fortunately he missed with the Storm Strider and I was then able to remove it.

The hit 36 hit boxes are incredibly frustrating. Simple below average dice cause an overly aggravating amount of focus to be spent killing a single Monstrosity, leaving Darius on empty a number of turns.

As I play more and More, I’m able to start to see how the army is supposed to work. It’s an intricate, clockwork missile, very much the inverse of the Convergence. Where they seem to build a durable machine able to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the Cephalyx seem to be those exact same slings and arrows, creating through their inner workings an unstoppable missile of outrageous fortune.

I’ve received hours ago the knowledge that my Relic Knights have arrived! Thursday I may very well have a first impressions post, but I am also very eager to write my first MTG Cube experience up!

Follow me on Twitter! @seethingginger!

Another week, another game with Thexus. The Cephalyx are a very, very interesting army that has a ton of twists and bends in it. I’m learning a lot about how these guys run, and its like nothing I’ve ever played before. Thexus has so little personal offense, a slow overall army, and a ton of parasitic effects. His army also has some huge deficiencies, and figuring out how to overcome then and use them to your advantage seems to be the real key to this army. It’ll take a little while, I expect, but it should be well worth it. I cannot wait until their second caster!

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The Cephalyx made another outing last week, this time against Butcher 3. His list was one I was not familiar with, but neither was his ‘Caster.

I’ve been having a rough time getting the Croe’s Cutthroats to work, but I wanted to give them another shot or two before I passed judgement on them and called them Terrible. This game was no better than the others for them, but I don’t think it was a really good matchup for them overall.

The Cephalyx list I’ve been running hasn’t changed, though I have some options on the board that I’ll be subbing in soon. For a refresher, the list is

Exulon Thexus+5
-Subduer7
-Warden6
-Wrecker7
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Croes Cutthroats (10)10
-Cephalyx Dominator1
Bloat Thrall2
Cephalyx Overlords4
55
.

I really like the Concept of the list, so I’ll be leaving the core alone for some time.

 

His Butcher Unleashed list was

Butcher Unleashed+4
-Beast 0911
-Drago8
-War Dog1
Great Bears of Gallowswood5
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (5)9
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (5)9
Widowmakers4
Iron Fang Kovnik2
Manhunter2
Yuri the Axe3
55

The table was almost devoid of terrain. It has a single large building on my right side, and two smaller buildings about 20″ on on both sides left flank. Though got to choose, I stayed on the side with the large building because our armies were already out. It was a bad decision. The scenario was Incursion.

Deployment
He deployed both Shock Troopers to my left-center, with Drago nearly perfect center and the IFP Kovnick behind them both. Butcher 3, the Wardog and Beast 09 held the right.

I deployed the Wrecker to face both shock troops, with the Overlords to worry about that flag. The Warden was deployed to the far right to go after that flag, if needed. Centrally located was the Slavers to the left center and the benders to the right center. Dead center was Thexus and the Subduer. Agitators supported all three beasts.

Advanced Deployment
He deployed his Widowmakers and a Manhunter off to counter the Overlords, and Yuri on the far opposite flank, near my warder.

I deployed the Croes right center to get some shots in on the Shock Troopers under my feat.

The Game: 
Turn 1 on both sides consisted of mostly running and getting into position, though I did move a pair of Mind Bent Drudges off to support the Warden, expecting him to be charged by Yuri, and wanted to make sure he got cleared off. The overlords moved up and tried, all three, to spray the Manhunter who’d made it zipping across the board, but they left him alive. – The Flag on the left vanishes.

Using this for an arc node is stupid.

Using this for an arc node is stupid.

Turn 2 was the meat of the game, as it should be. He moved everything up into position to threaten my eventual central surge. I’d positioned my drudges near the Warden poorly, and Yuri got all three. The Manhunter charges into an Overlord and whiffs both attacks. Butcher 3 repositions more toward the center of the board and makes me super-nervous. I move Thexus up to grab almost all his Shocktroopers and feat, pulling the shieldwall apart. I TK Drago backwards into charge range of three supped up Mind Slaver Drudges. I manage to clog myself up really, really bad. Mind Benders stuck in the back. Subduer way to back to do any good, wrecker needed to run to get TK off, Agitator charges Yurri and on dice -3 manages to do 2 damage, leaving the Subduer engaged. Instead of Taking a free strike and getting the point that turn, I paste Yurri with the Warden. Croes gets some sweet shoots off, but between doing dice -7 on three dice to the Shock Troopers and needing 8’s to hit def 13 great bears, I just don’t get enough work done. I think I killed three Shocktroopers and a Great Bear. All the Agitators are jammed up and can’t get in deep enough to help the Adrenaline Overloaded Drudges kill Drago, and I leave him alive.

Turn 3 is the tipping point, with Beast 09 getting into the central fray, and the majority of the Shocktroopers still alive making it into my lines. The Widowmakers continue to harry my troops, picking off models exactly where they are needed. I can’t seem to make any tough rolls, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Croes gets whittled down, an overlord drops, and Drago manages to get cleared out and charge the Wrecker, mortally wounding it, but not killing it. I manage to make a strong reprisal, but its not good enough. I kill all of the Widowmakers and start driving into the Shocktroopers. The Wrecker kills Drago and then 3 more Shocktroopers, missing an attack at Mat 7. Whatever. I send three Adrenal Flooded Drudges into Beast, but I barely scratch the paint, even with the Agitator. I manage to take out the IFP Kovnik, and drop some shots into the Great Bears, but it seems not to matter, as they can’t die. I get my Agitator over to the right flag, with the warden back a bit to counter-charge whatever decided to get points.

Turn 4 is when the game ended, more or less. Butcher 3 charges the Agitator on the flag, casts impending doom on the too-close Warden, and ends them both after popping his feat, dominating the flag. The Great Bears charge the Wrecker and leave it in a pile of quivering chunks. Beast 09 sits in position and continues to give 0 shits about whatever is near him. A nearly complete unit of Shocktroopers sits near the center flag, refusing to die. I run the Bloat Thrall over to futilely contest and try and maybe kill some Argus with its death blast. The Subduer finally gets into position, and charges a damaged Beast 09 with two focus. Under the effects of the Agitator, with three attacks, one a charge, I feel fairly confident I can wreck it. Snake eyes on the charge and on the second bought attack put that plan to its miserable end, and with it any hope of winning. Butcher sits put, killing everything I can throw at him for 2 more turns and eventually wins on scenario.

Thoughts

I made that game a much harder fight than it needed to be. I don’t really have an answer to Butcher 3 that outhreats him, but man it would have been a better game if I didn’t have my head stuck so far into my anal crevice.

Error: I’m used to Cryx. When I point at a unit, any unit, it conveniently removes itself from the board. That is not how Cephalyx are going to work. I need to use the right tools to get the right jobs done. The right tool to take out Shocktroopers is definitely not POW 12 sprays. This error is especially grievous as it wasn’t even a unit I needed to worry about, as there was no flag nearby.

These guys don't kill Shocktroopers

These guys don’t kill Shocktroopers

Error: I bunched all three of my units into a 10″ area. This created over-burdened order of activation problems that I shouldn’t have needed to worry about. My Mind Bender Drudges were stuck behind the Mind Slavers, unable to participate except to give out Adrenal Flood. Let me tell you, its not worth it. I also clogged up two of my three Monstrosities, allowing his ‘jacks and Shocktroppers to choose the engagement.

Error: I ran the wrecker to get an unnecessary TK off. If I had held put and not gotten greedy, I could have been a lot more threatening late game. Drago would not have made it so that the wrecker took trivial amounts of work to kill.

Error: Popping feat turn 2. I had hopped to whittle down the Shocktroopers, but even Poison crossbow bolts don’t really worry ARM 17 8 wound troopers. I could have waited another turn to get more charges, sprays, and other damage in without much of a sacrifice.

Error: the warden was in Impending Doom range, and that was completely avoidable. I could have kept him way, way back.

I don’t want to take away from the game, though. My opponent played clean and without mistakes, and He capitalized on mine. It was a fantastic learning experience with my Cephalyx. Next time, I’ll try not to get all my stuff murdered and remember positioning.

Final thoughts.
The Cephalyx are a blast to play, but I need a ton more practice with them before I become a master. Heavy Arcnodes are not something you force, but something that you take advantage of, and getting greedy with it can make you pretty sad if you use your big beat stick. Croes, also, feel pretty bad. Soon here I am going to go with the double Pistol Wraith/TAC load out and see what I can do with that. I do have a strange desire to run Aiyanna and Holt instead, because Harm in that army will be off the chain. I have to worry about the Dominator being snipped out, but I have a Warden for that.

Till tomorrow!