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Continued Theory – Coven

Last time, we took a quick look at the Coven’s basic stat line, concepts, Feat, spells and special rules. It was a general overview of their use and power. In the previous edition, they were slightly weaker than I would have liked, and the chance to use them again is extremely compelling. While they’ve not changed much in their overall form, the dynamics of the metagame surrounding them indeed has. The world that we live in, game wise, seems to be dominated by Gunlines and Warjacks. Nothing says no to a gun line like the Nightfall.

However, I’d not put together a solid list, and had been defeated both times at Lock and Load. This time I’d managed to think a little bit about the list and was going to get a game in against Cygnar. This was going to be a test, indeed!

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Yesterday, the 3rd edition of Warmachine was released, publicly and completely* MKII is dead, long live 3rd!

I have, however, had the decks on Warroom since the Lock and Load, and have been looking over the cards for a significantly longer time. Cryx, being my main faction, is what interested me the most. I poured over card after card, looked at each rule and interaction.

And promptly dismissed it all. There is nothing like actual games to make the faction cement. I pulled out my favorite caster, The Witch Coven of Garlghast, and have managed to sneak in three games in the last few weeks. Here is my initial look at Them. I’ll be taking a deep dive with them over the course of the next few weeks.

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I started looking at, and listening to, Muse on Minis a short while ago, and they talked about a concept of wargaming that got me very intrigued. Its a broad,tabletop application of a standard modern military doctrine that small units are more effective due to their mobility, and their ability to both support other units and react to threats easily. It is mainly a Warhammer 40k tactic called MSU (Multiple Small Units), due to everything in that game being units. It is being adopted by the Warmachine community, and has some specific application within our favorite game.

Our friends over there start discussing it around 1:46.

The breakdown is something like this:

The going philosophy in warmachine, turning into infantrymachine, is that you want more bodies, and therefor more attacks, per point in order to maximize your potential number of attacks in a given turn. MSU is kind of the opposite philosophy, in that you want to get a high number of quality attacks and models who can take and deny scenario easily, while being just hard enough to remove.

Whats cool about this, at the very basic level, is that its completely different from what I’ve been doing for my entire Cryx life. Its taking all the ideas I have and turning it on their head. My friends I have played with for a long time had hinted at these thoughts, allowing them to cover more ground and provide more answers, but I’d always fought against it.

So, I’ve started to think about how to take that idea and run with it. I wasn’t open to it a few years ago, but now I think I’ve got some grit to get in there.

One of the very basics about MSA – I prefer Multiple Significant Activations, due to how units are specifically designated in Warmachine – is that you need a caster that can work within the confines of the concept. Most casters that are buff oriented are not really going to be able to capitalize on whats happening in their list, as they loose a ton of efficiency of focus buffing only single models or small units. . In the ‘cast they talk a lot about how well Kommander Sorcha is suited for this roll, however. She has a control area wide defense buff in Fog of War, that allows the units to edge up to 18 or higher defense. She has a feat that can can set the opponent back a whole turn, while also being a perfect defense debuff. Finally, she many times needs specific models removed to have her feat work to its greatest potential. All of these factors combine into one of the most effective lists that she can run.

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Another basic tenant is that you want value models littering the army, ones that can earn back their points relatively easily, yet are still durable and a paint to kill. Hopefully, each model will either get two attacks a turn, or be able to assure that their single attack kills. Orin Midwinter will hit 2 models a turn, Kel Bailoch will almost always add a pair of notches to his rifle, Hawk can take down two models a turn. Sprays, as well, are extremely valuable and thresher is just excellent.

Whats more, Solos tend to have both higher defense and a better wound score than you’d normally associate with 2 or 3 points, enabling them to survive some of the common problems associated with infantry. Boosted blast damage will still take them down, but its unlikely that they will have enough boosts in a single turn to remove more than a pair. You’re able to spread out, as well, making sure that many of your models are free from even large blasts taking down more than one at a time.

Each model, as well, needs to be able to contribute to the greater whole on its own. Building large, solo spam, convergence-esque armies is not the route, here. Getting locked into order of activation issues should be a thing of the past. It should be a quick thing to figure out which models need to die, and which of yours can do the best at killing it.  The only real issue I think your going to have is when and what the caster does each turn, but that will really limit your time in the tank.

This leads to what I see as the main benefit of the list, in that you will be able to apply the exact amount of energy required to do exactly what you need. In the conventional logic, you end up paying points for multiple models that don’t get attacks during most combat phases. If you add it up over the course of a game, you’re probably wasting 5-6 points a round on models that run when you charge, or that simply move because the unit has to charge. This won’t be the case with an MSA army. If you don’t commit completely to solo spam, you’ll have a large amount of solos clearing the road for your multiple min units or your single backbone max unit to do the work it needs to do. How many times has your opponent left a single model in the way of a perfect Tartarus Thresher? This solved that exact problem by having a simple abundance of single model activations that you can use to make sure what you need to die dies where you need it to die.

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So, that’s the basic tenants of the MSA philosophy. Now, I want to try and hammer this out into a good look at what models and units I can use from a Cryx Perspective.

I personally think that the Coven and Goreshade II have some pretty compelling lists that they can put together. Coven can delivery nearly the whole army thanks to their feat, has great spot removal/control in Stygian Abyss, and can manipulate all sorts of movement with Ghost Walk, Veil of Mists, and Curse of Shadows. I think its a very solid area where they could shine, given testing and iteration.

for your perusal and prompt Dismissal: Three MSA Cryx Lists.

The Witch Coven of Garlghast+5
-Deathripper4
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
-Scarlock Thrall2
Bane Thralls (6)5
Bile Thralls (6)5
Satyxis Raiders (6)5
-Sea Witch2
Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius3
Captian Rengrave2
General Gerlak Slaughterborn3
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile2
Orin Midwinter2
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Satyxis Raider Captian2
Warwitch Siren2
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The coven list, as proposed above.

Gorshade the Cursed+5
-Leviathan9
Bane Thralls (10)8
-Officer and Standard3
Satyxis Blood Witches (6)4
Blood Hag2
Tartarus4
Iron Lich Overseer 3
Iron Lich Overseer3
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Satyxis Raider Captain2
Satyxis Raider Captain2
Warwitch Siren2
Warwitch Siren2
Necrotech and Scrap Thrall1
Necrotech and Scrap Thrall1
Scrap Thrall (3)1
Scrap Thrall (3)1
Scrap Thrall (3)1
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The goal of the Goreshade list is to have a huge unit of Bane Thralls that are the hammer of the army. They have his Elite Cadre bonus, the feat and Tartarus’ Thresher in order to keep generating more of themselves. The Iron Liches have psudo-beserk, The Pistol Wraiths and Captains both get two attacks, and the Warwitch Sirens have sprays. The necrotechs can keep the Leviathan in working order while it uses phantom hunter to threaten assassination and attrition. The blood witches are there to prevent tough on the enemy of the thralls for Goreshades feat. and, as an added bonus, with 11 scrap thralls to target for the feat, everything in the army can be resurrected except Scrap Thralls and Tartarus. If it comes down to Goreshade and a Leviathan, with both my scrap thralls and a feat, I can still make do, returning 10 solos to the board.

Warwitch Deneghra+5
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
-Scarlock Thrall2
Cephalyx Overlords4
Nyss Hunters (6)7
Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius3
-Leviathan9
Captain Rengrave2
Gorman Di Wulfe2
Dougal MacNaile2
Orin Midwinter2
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Satyxis Raider Captian2
Satyxis Raider Captian2
Saxon Orrik2
Warwitch Siren2
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This is just a simple iteration of the Denny + guns army. Its got enough mobile firepower to take down almost any target, and it can pop its feat to burn down even more. I think this one is my overall favorite.

Tell me what you think, Follow me on Twitter

 

Man, what a format! Spelldraft lived up to my lofty expectations, and I really enjoyed the whole 63 man tournament. I will say that I liked the format better than Who’s the Boss, specifically because I don’t have to be terrified of breaking someone else’s models.

Every opponent I had was a top-notch guy, and I’d play any of them again in a standard tournament, though I’d likely not do as well.

I ended up playing against,  in order:

Rhan with Ashes to ashes
Kromack with Rage, Fury, and Defenders Ward
Epic Skarre with Savagery and Iron Flesh
Epic Haley with Signs and Portents
Epic Morvanna with Arcane Bolt
Epic Skarre with Ashes to Ashes

The format is not balanced against the rest of Warmachine, but it is internally balanced with itself. It has a pre-selected set of 64 cards, organized into  8 pre-sorted card pools that are all crafted to create choice within the packs. In the pack I opened there were both Signs and Portents and Boneshaker. It was a tough choice to make, but I went with Bone Shaker.  I didn’t think that the capacity to remove up to 18 models in a turn was going to come around again, and I could spam it more than Signs and Portents. I also  didn’t know what was in the rest of the packs, and was hoping for another global buff. In the end, I don’t think I did so bad, though I didn’t end up with a single CTRL buff.

Spell draft Cards

I had focused on making the most out of the random spells, but some players went with straight up high focus casters, some had no-frills casters who worked without spells, and other still focused on the feat with spells to enable it. While there was a huge variety, I was legitimately surprised at the lack of Harbingers and Kreoss 3’s, maybe that is just me. My biggest fear, though, was assuaged when they defaulted to Deathclock. I was a very happy camper seeing the chess clocks on the tables instead of timers. I was convinced that if we used timed turns, they would be the death of me.

Every games, as I mentioned, was a blast, so let me run down the highlights, for those of you who weren’t on my twitter.

Game 1: Austin brings a fairly standard Rhan list, with two units of Battle Mages, Sentinels, and a Phoenix. Thankfully, I got lucky Chain lighting rolls and erased his Battle Mages on the top of turn 2 before I could get engaged. Rhan ends up Spirit Fanged to death Turn 3.

Game 2: James Brings a brutal list of Kromack, twin stalkers, Ghetorix, and double shifting stones. Thankfully, last Masters I saw this terrible thing, and ended up nullifying one set of stones early on. I’d also dropped a ton of damage, but not enough to kill, into Kromack on turn 2, forcing him to play cautious. Though I hate to win this way, he ran out of time while making attacks on the Egregore with Ghetorix. He’d have won, no doubt, given infinite time.

Game 3: A very exuberant cryx player, who I forget the poor dudes name, brings an Epic Skarre list, with Satyxis, Bane Knights, Deathjack and Tartarus. He starts out debasing himself and how terrible he is, but I jovially call him out on his tactic, and we get along for the rest of the game. He forgets to feat at the only time he needed it, and I Spirit Fang Skarre off the board, again getting me out of the game on luck.

Not all those Banes make it.

Not all those Banes make it.

Game 4 was against a terrifying Epic Haley list run by Adam with a Stormwall and Blazers. Thanks to Quagmire, the Satyxis were able to tie up the Blazers for the majority of the game, making them less relevant, but still potent. What really swung the game, though, was my 5 Primed Bane Thralls miraculously dropping the Stormwall, freeing me to go for scenario.

Game 5 was an epic debacle against Colin Hill, and his Epic Morvanna list. He ended up killing his own Gallows Grove, Feating for it, and dropping it next to the Coven. Two shots and a re-roll later, he’s killed two of the coven and a focus 3 caster just can’t get it done.If I’d have been better prepared for it, I had crevasse, and could have forced a longer game, though I did get to see the Staff Panel, so it wasn’t all bad.

Game 6 was against Craig, another Epic Skarre player who had full units of Thralls and Knights, along with Tartarus and Deathjack. I took Tartarus off the board with Bone Shakered Bane Knights, and then I was able to get the terrible Bone Shaker train to go off. I took almost the entire Bane Knight unit off at once. . At the end of the day, Spirit Fang shots into Skarre ended the match, after I survived her feat.

Ultimately, I think it was both spell selection and the list that made the Army hum. I was familiar with the Scenario, I had practiced using the caster, and though I had fiddled with the list a bit, I kept the basic parts strong and enabled my arcnodes to get into place to deliver the tons of POW 12’s to the casters face.

Arm 14 – 45 damage.
Arm 15 – 36 damage
Arm 16 – 27 damage
Arm 17 – 18 damage
Arm 18 – 9 Damage ( 17  if boosting damage)

The three arc nodes, though I’d been cautioned against it,  meant I could easily sacrifice one to take out all his troops, one to drop damage into the caster, and have a third ready to finish the game.  Biles kept troops and casters out of zones, with MAT 8/pow 13 Bane Thralls keeping heavies in check.

It was an amazing, insane tournament that lasted for almost 12 hours, and I look forward to the PDF and rules coming out post-gencon. While the Static set of 64 spells could possibly get old, I spoke with both D.C. and Hungerford, who both mentioned that there are plans to change up the lists every year. I think that’ll do wonders to keeping the format fresh, though I can’t see the staples being replaced anytime soon, but thats the same with every format, Masters and Iron Gauntlet Included. There has also been talk of limiting or banning casters, and I can see why. The top four were: Witch Coven, Witch Coven, Epic Skarre, and Morvanna 2. Seems like there might be a bit of an unbalance there, With the Witch Coven represented well, Cryx represented well, and only the eventual winner with Epic Morvanna to break up the monotony. I look forward to it next year!

Recently, if it has not been clear, I’ve been playing the Witch Coven, trying to get a handle on them as I intend to play them at the Spell Draft event at lock and load. There isn’t much practice on can really do to prepare, other than make sure that you know the caster inside and out, allowing you to make do with a new spell list.

I managed to get 8 games in before the trip out to Seattle, Going 6-2 in that time. Granted, its 50 point games instead of 35, but the core of the list is staying very much the same.

Coven v. Kaelyssa – Loss: Assassination – List v. 1
Coven v. Butcher – Loss: Assassination  – List v. 2
Coven v. Iron Mother – Win: Scenario – List v. 3
Coven v. Reznik 2 – Win: Assassination – List v. 4
Coven v. Sturgis – Win: Scenario – List v. 3.1
Coven v. Morvanna 2 – Win: Scenario – List v. 3.2
Coven v. Kreoss 3 – Win: Scenario – List v. 3.3
Coven v. Rhan – Win: Assassination – List v. 3.3

The list that I’ve settled on looks like this:

The Witch Coven of Gharlghast+5
-Egregore-
-Deathripper4
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
Bane Thralls (10)8
-Bane Thrall Officer3
Satyxis Raiders (10)8
-Satyxis Sea Witch2
Bile Thralls (6)5
Warwitch Siren2
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That is the core of list 3. I’ve messed around with some of the support staff, and at 50 I add a second Warwitch Siren, A Scarlock, and a full unit of Bane Riders. I really like this list. It can handle massed infantry, heavy armor and High Defense. Its durable against shooting and has some peculiar scalpel elements. I think its as close to a take on all comers list that I can write.

Now, with my list down, I’ve started to look at all the casters and see what spells they have and what would be nice to see get passed to me. There are some very nice ones out there, and while I still have some questions as to what spells are in the packs, I have some really cool plans. They did, however, say that they’ve removes spells that would “break the game. ” That is a bit of an opinion statement though, as I know plenty of people that feel that Purification breaks the game even now. That said there are some particular spell categories that I will be looking to grab:
Army Support – ex: Carnage,Signs and Portents,Transference, Mockery of Life. Arcane Shield
These are spells that will allow my normally average stat troopers to step up a notch. An 18″ control area really pushes spells like Signs and Portents and Carnage through the roof, while the Focus 9 will really give transference a boost.

Speed Buff – ex: Road to War,Dash,Superiority,Killing Ground, Crusaders Call, Coup de Main, True Path, Tactical Supremacy, Unstoppable Force, Quickening
These spells either give a single unit or my whole army a speed boost. Superiority is a specifically desired spell, as having a def 17, speed 9 Arc node would be magnificent. I really think that the scenario is ripe for Jamming, and I want to exploit that if at all possible. Besides, Satyxis with a +4 movement would be glorious, right?

Defense- ex:Fog of War, Temporal Barrier, Storm Wall, Star Crossed, Solid Ground, Caustic Mist, Rapid Growth, Pillars of Salt, Ashen Cloud, Deflection, Deceleration, Castigate, Lamentation, Bestial
These allow the Coven to capitalize on their main game: Army delivery. I’m fairly sure that this is going to be critical to getting a good Spell list. Fortunately, there are a ton to choose from. My personal favorite would be the 9 1cost Caustic Mists, but I’ll take pretty much everything on this list, and I could even double up. Star crossed + Ashen Cloud? Fog of War + Pillars of Salt?

Chain Lighting

Nuke- ex: Soulfire, Siphon Bolt, Razor Wind, Bone Shaker (probably the best 2 cost Nuke I could grab, netting me up to 18 dead models a turn), Chain Lighting, Sunder Spirit, Convection, Excarnate
This is the bread and butter of my concept. If I can grab just one 2 point nuke, I can eliminate units a a time. I’d need only 8’s to hit DEF 17, and at cost 1, boosting is easy. Most of them are POW 12 allowing great flexibility in the targets that it can kill.

Defense or Speed Debuffs – ex: Crippling Grasp, Quagmire (Imagine, if you will, Satyxis), Inhospitable Ground, Freezing Grasp, Black Spot.
With a pile of Banes and Satyxis, I could use a bit of help against some of the higher defense models. Yes, I have Biles, but I landing an extra shot or two on some of the Iron Fleshed Gunmages, Daughters of the Flame or other problematic models would be pretty useful.

Other- ex: Telekinesis, Ritual Sacrifice
There isn’t a ton to say here, really. I want both of these spells.

While looking through the spells, there were many that I really wouldn’t want, and while that will make the first few picks a lot of fun, it can make some of the later spells that no one else wants very damning. I’ve drafted a lot of M:TG, and the last few picks are whatever everyone rejected from the pool. I know I can end up with a pretty dead slot of I have Unearthly Rage or Positive Charge, but I can make do. There are very few spells I don’t want at all, or couldn’t use, especially at -1 cost. I’d really like to get as close as I can to keeping the Delivery Caster mentality, with some extra “pop” that would make the Coven really hum.

What I am really excited about is that I can use multiple Self-Upkeep spells in a round, due to the multiple activations that the coven has. The thought of starting the turn off with Signs and Portents, pushing the middle of the pack up with Road to War and then ending with Both Deflection and Fog of War really makes me giddy.

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While I have all these grand plans, I expect there to be a ton of Vayle 2, Kreoss 3, Harbinger, Haley 2 and Coven. Each of them has a ton of focus and a back breaking feat. I even expect there to be a few Rogue casters looking to get one in – Casters that run Jacks well and will pick all the jack spells to make themselves super-powered: Absylonia, Darius and Magnus come to mind right away. While each of these casters can cause a massive amount of damage on their own, what I am really worries about is Timed Turns. I’m not particularly good at them, and prefer the deathclock variant overall, so I am worries that I’ll end up busting my turns by waiting to get that last move in.

No matter what happens, I expect Friday to be a ton of fun. Its an exceptionally long tournament with 6 rounds and the draft itself taking us all the way to the Staff Panel. I will have almost no time to play Iron Arena games that day, but I’m OK giving that up to play in the first Sanctioned Spell Draft Event.

I’ll be trying to update via facebook and twitter the coolest things I see at Lock and Load, so find me and follow!

Coven Art By Dan Roman

I have previously discussed the basics of Jam Theory, and then proceeded to talk about my  Infantry options just a few days ago. In keeping with that, I’m going to examine the remaining portions of a Warmachine list, breaking down why I take both the Solos and the Warjacks that I do. Its not a typical list, and its not going to appeal to everyone, I know.

First things first, as I mentioned in the original article, I don’t go the ‘Jack heavy route that others have gone.That rode is paved and well worn and its just something I don’t have the desire or capacity to buy, build, and paint. While lights are better in pairs, especially our combat versions, I’ve already got two magnetized Slayer chassis and I don’t use either. The list I run focuses purely on jamming the opponent and doesn’t run a single heavy, and I’ve never missed it. There was a brief time, after the first outing, when I realized that I had too much jam in the list and didn’t bring enough options, any really, to solve armor, that I considered a heavy of two. In the end it was ust more economical to add 12 Bane Thralls and Tartarus. I’ve even recently dropped Tartarus as well, not needing either his speed or his bonus to hit.

On the other edge of that sword, though, I’ve really been hedging my bets on the arcnodes. A friend of mine keeps telling me I take to many, and that 2 is going to be more than enough. What I’ve been running is a cheap trio of a ‘Nodes, featuring a pair of Nightwretches and a Deathripper. Again, I’ve been told that three is to many, but I feel that in this specific build you can never be to careful. Having the right spell in the right spot during the right witch activation in order to hand out Ghost Walk, Occultation, and Curse of Shadows wherever called for is a strong enough reason to have enough nodes to accomplish the task.

Nightwretch

The Nightwretch, specifically, is my go to in this list. Focusing on Jam and scenario, there will be many, many times that you’re going to need to remove but a single model from the Zone to win, or your going to need a charge lane cleared or a spot for an arc node freed. The humble nightwretch does all of that and more in a single package. With a Rat 5 it can hit jacks reliably, boosting to damage with its pow 14 cannon. Conversely, that same Pow 14 will decimate nearly any infantry model it hits, needing only to boost.  The sirens, vital to the list, tag along beside him making sure he can run or kill his target, whatever is needed.

Second here is the Deathripper. With the same 4 pc as the Nightwretch, they bring a completely different threat to the board. Amped up with Infernal Machine, this little jack can do tons of work. P+S 15 v. Curse of Shadowed targets, MAT 8 and Speed 9 with a 12.5″ charge just gives it insane threat range. I cannot say enough good things about this little demon in this specific list. The debate over whether ranged or melee is better is endless, but I am firmly on the side of ranged. My arc nodes are never in combat, being that they can’t channel then, or they are dead and can’t channel anyway. Though they are slightly more survivable with her feat denying LOS and giving an essentially +2 def buff, its very rare that any node I get into combat lives.

The other two Arc nodes make honorable mention here as well, generally accomplishing the same task at a slightly higher price point.both have upside and I’ve considered the Ripjaw for its AP attack and its vice lock, one of which can apply significant damage, the other pinning a model in place for scenario pressure. I’ve also considered the Defiler for its spray attack that ignores many defenses, at a slightly higher range, but lower power. Upgrading them, however, will result in the loss of either a Scarlock or a Warwitch siren, neither of which I am ready to give up quite yet.

Infernal Machine, many will say, is a direct call for a heavy ‘Jack with them, and I can’t really disagree. Our ‘Jacks with speed 8, Mat 9+ and terror are literal nightmares, but with all the focus that I toss around casting spells and delivering units I can’t spare the resources that would be needed to take care even a single heavy ‘Jack. Instead, I give Infernal Machine to my Deathripper and set him loose. Speed 9 on an arcnode is bonkers-good, and mat 8 with sustained attack is extremely legit. The 40mm base size has gives him a bit of added mobility that I’d have not expected, allowing him to get in to places I would not have been able to fit a heavy. The arc nodes are also fast enough to keep up with the jam, and can either run flanks, or lope down the middle behind the army.

Though three arcnodes may be a touch to many for some, I find that the utility of having one of them a combat ‘Jack and other two having powerful ranged weapons makes it so that the points are not wasted if I am not arcing spells through them. With Sirens giving power booster out and the Scarlock delivering ghostly where needed all three can be extremely potent threats and powerful scenario pieces.

For the sake of argument, though, lets take a look at some of the better  ‘jacks for the Coven to take, keeping the Jam in mind. I don’t expect everyone anyone to be net decking my list, but anyone who happens across this may want to tweak things a bit.

-Harrower: Oh man, the good things about this jack are endless. Reach and Thresher on its P+S 16 melee weapon, a P+S 14 Ghost Shot AOE 3 gun, Soul Collector, Pathfinder, Steady, it just goes on. There are, however, a pair of bad things: Speed 5, and PC 10. In a Jam list, the Speed 5 is an extreme handicap, especially for the 10 points. However, with an investment of Infernal Machine, it becomes a speed 7, mat 7 reach thresher monster. If you’re not taking the Machine Minds list, I think its a very strong option. It also can make a hell of a self fueling powerhouse after the initial three focus investment, possibly killing every model it can get in its 2″ reach

Deathjack

-Deathjack: Really? Really, I’m going here. Yes, Deathjack is good with almost everyone, but its also exceedingly amazing with the Coven. With the ability to charge in, Curse of Shadows, and then take its attacks, or to give itself Ghost Walk, Infernal Machine or Occultation, its a nearly self sufficient death machine. While Deathjack begs for Occultation, there are just better targets in the list I have than good ol’ DJ. The threat of a MAT 10 speed 8 Deathjack is enough to make many soil their shorts right out, thought he terror is redundant. Finally, an extra boosted Stygian Abyss could be stellar. Personally,  I’d just rather use the 12 points on the backup Bane Thralls, who are both more durable by quantity and can hit more often while granting a debuff.

-Slayer: Its a simple, brutal instrument of death that can really push the boundaries of awesome when Infernal Machine is applied. MAT 9, Speed 8 and Terror are simply above and beyond what most heavies can reasonably accomplish. With the Coven able to feed him up to three focus easily, its a no brainier for its 6 point investment.

The light of note here is a Stalker. Sometimes its the simple things that win games, and an Arcane Assassin POW 12 Jack with Mat 7 and speed 7 can cause ample amount of terror without Infernal Machine. With Infernal Machine it goes up to SPD and MAT 9, causing terror and all the while being def 16 w/ stealth. Its one thing I feel might take the spot of the Deathripper, but I’m not yet convinced.

Next time, I’ll talk a bit about my Solo choices and a bit about how I’ve learned to play the game. I’m so very happy that I picked the coven back up again.

Oh, and Next week I’ll be at lock and load! I’ll probably be tweeting my journey through Spelldraft, my Iron Arena adventures, and any spoilers I get along the way. Follow me @Seethingginger for the dumb tweets! Don’t worry though, I’ll do a Lock and Load wrap up the Thursday after I get back.

I’ve had a couple chanced to try out the Jam Theory with Coven, and I’m fairly happy with here its lead me.  I’m getting comfortable enough with them that I could take them to a tournament, paired of course, with someone who covers the gaps that they have in their play style. They bring something unique to the table and have some very good matchups that they can force, but I don’t play them like a number of other people I’ve seen, either in lists or articles, play them.

To start, I build completely different lists. I’ve seen a number of people focus on their focus stat (9) and Infernal Machine. They combine them together to make a fairly efficient jack- delivery system. This has leveled up with the addition of the Kraken to the arsenal, as that large of a points investment seems to need some serious backup to make sure it works.

I just don’t see it. I understand the draw, as Infernal Machine is a fantastic spell for an offensive jack, but just because they have a focus of 9 and a good jack spell doesn’t mean I want to run jacks with them. instead, because they are vulnerable to just a few hits, I want to run an army as fast and far ahead of them as I can. That does mean that I am running a metric ton of infantry.

I’ve tried all three Jam units in the army: Blackbanes, Soulhunters, and Satyxis Raiders. I could probably drop Blood Witches in there as well, but I just don’t think I have the guts. 13/13 is really hard to defend, and one turn of incorporeal could be worth it.

-Satyxis Raiders – Champs, as expected. I’ve been unable to fit the Captain in, though, and I really think the army could benefit from having her in. What makes the difference, honestly, is that Occultation on turn 1. It allows you to swing up the field as fast as possible without having to worry about many of their natural counters. Picking off the Sea Witch becomes much harder, as well. You’ve still got to watch out for Gun Mages, but that is about it. With advance deploy, I tend to set them across from either a tempting ‘Jack to put a few points of feedback on a ‘Caster, or slot them to draw out some shooting. Nyss Hunters, Longgunners, ect. Anything that just does standard bullets. Typical targets. Turn 1 is definitely Occultation, possibly cast by the Scarlock. Turn two tends to be Ghost walk. Many times, I’ve been tied up in combat, and being able to re-position is fantastic, or I want to get as deep as I can into a shooting unit as is possible. They also natively work amazingly well with the feat. Going up to Def 16 v. Melee, and Def 18 v. anyone shooting them while in the feat is just spectacular. Veil of Mists is also completely bonkers, able to up their Defense to 18 v. Shooting and block LOS behind the cloud. Pairing them with Bile thralls will almost inevitably guarantee you a flank

-Blackbanes – I’ve run them a few times, and their speed 7 and Incorporeal tends to catch people off guard. I tend to run them as a minimum unit, with the goal of jamming on turn 2, and then going in and either forcing the enemy to turn around and deal with me, or going after support solos. Auto-fire is an amazing ability to threaten free strikes with, and even casters don’t really want to incur MAT 8 hits. Their ability to compound with the Def 16/Stealth Satyxis means that many enemy options (Gun Mages) that can deal with both can only deal with one. Many times they have to choose which unit they’ll let through, and neither of them is really worth it. One of the best combinations, though, is that you can drop Curse of Shadows on many of the units with Magic Weapons and wander through them freestrike free, only to drop effective POW 12 hits on them. As a Jam unit It does its job really, really well.

Soulhunters – Soulhunters are legitimately our fastest, jammiest, craziest jam unit. sadly, though, they pay for it in points costs. Though they are only a single point less expensive than Satyxis +UA, its a 6 man difference. The wounds they have are barely tolerable, as a single POW 20 attack takes them off the board, and even a simple POW 10 can do it, with a POW 12 able to punch though them fairly often. I ran one list, against Iron Mother, where I brought all three jam units. There wasn’t a lot of shooting in that army, sadly, but having Force Barrier, Stealth (on the Soulhunters), and Incorporeal Jam units was a really satisfying experience. I understand the MAT 6 of the Soulhunters, mechanically, but I am just not a fan. If there isn’t a defense debuff on the field, they are getting really, really chancy. You also have to bring Darragh Wrathe with them, in order to completely up the crazy factor. Though he is almost always worth it, I’ve just not found it worth the opportunity cost.

I’ve also considered Bane Riders and, as I’ve said, Satyxis Bloodwitches. They aren’t as fast as the Soulhunters and they don’t have the Advance Deploy of the Satyixs Raiders, so they’d have to be a replacement for the Blackbanes. Both units have their strengths, with the utility and minifeat that the Blood Witches brings, and the durability and power that the Riders bring. The Blood Witches are 3 points cheaper, and may net you an extra arcnode or solo while the Riders are a touch more expensive, meaning you’ll have to find a point to shave off here or there. Both benefit hugely from Stealth, but that means taking it off the Soulhunters or the Raiders. Curse of Shadows is the Bane Riders best friend, allowing them to plow into the back lines of an army. Their incredible durability here is a plus, making them a serious back line threat. Both of the units have a fairly static MAT 8, allowing them to take out higher defense targets consistently, which is something that the Blackbanes don’t have. I’ve got to get in some time with both to see about the efficiency

Beyond the jam, though,  one of your main consideration is pinning the opponent in the jam. The thing about jamming infantry is that they aren’t generally sturdy or powerful. They tend to tie enemies in place and keep them busy. This tends to force the opponent to try and figure out ways around or through them. You have to give them serious qualms about doing so. You want then to be concerned not only about being jammed, but about once they break through. The models that are going to break through easiest are either high defense models that can ignore free strikes and/or models, or high durability models that can run over or through them. You need solutions to both. I’ve personally taken to two of the oldest infantry in the book: Bane Thralls and Bile Thralls. I don’t think I’ve ever needed more than a minimum unit of Biles, and I can’t conceive of taking less than the max Banes. They solve both problems that the jam units can’t handle, and do a fine job of it. Note worthy here is the saturation of Targets that can really only be dealt with by Gun Mages. I know I keep harping on them, but if you can figure out how to stymie the Arcane Tempest, you’ve got most of the rest of the shooting units on lock down as well. Biles, Banes, Satyxis and Blackbanes each are solvable with the Gunmages. Combined, however, they give the opposing player a significant problem to solve.

Tartarus deserves his own consideration here because I know he’s a very powerful piece. In a single list format I would definitely take him in the list (however, I probably wouldn’t take this list!). In a multi-list format, however, it becomes a lot harder to get him in due to character restrictions. Honestly, though, I don’t think he is needed in this list. The Bane Thralls are doing a very specific job, and that is keeping the heavies and Colossals honest, and keeping them from simply going for the coven. Tartarus fixes some very specific problems with the Bane Thralls – accuracy, and speed, and neither need fixing in this list. Speed is completely countered by the fact that the jam units are up in their front lines, boxing the opponent in, allowing you to position the banes where and how they need to be. In addition, anything that makes it over/through your lines is going to be pushing itself closer to the Bane Thralls. Tartarus’ Accuracy buffs won’t be needed on the targets that the Bile Thralls are not going to clear out first, making it largely unnecessary. I really think that if you’re building a list like this, keeping Tartarus for your Second list should be a real consideration.

I want to try and shorten my articles a little, make them more reader friendly, so I’ll be coming back with more thoughts next week!

As a follow up to the Tier List concept I’d talked about a little bit back, and as a further discussion to the battles I mentioned a little after that, I’ve managed to get a  few games with the Coven, and am starting to think a lot about how to get them to work both well and consistently. Though they aren’t considered competitively powerful in MKII, they, along with the Bloat Thrall and the Machine Wraith, were bif factors into why I ended up picking Cryx back in 2006. Sadly, all three took a large hit in MK II.

The Witch Coven still grabs me, though. They represent everything I want in a spell slinging faction: plenty of Focus giving them a huge control area, an impressive spell list, and a magnificent feat. They are, however, unbelievably fragile, with complicated activation considerations and huge blocks of rules that make them fairly intimidating to parse out.

But using challenging casters is nothing new to me. I’ve always gravitated toward sub par models and units – the challenge of getting them to work is something I really enjoy. There are times, like with Revenant Crew, when it is not really worth the effort, but most times I find a comfortable niche that the model excels at and end up pleasantly surprised.

Without further ado, Lets get started, shall we?

The Witch Coven of Gharlghast, Cryx Warcaster!

Witch Coven

I’ll want to just delve completely into their rules, as Context is going to be key to figuring out what is going on.If you’re already familiar with the Covens rules, head on down to the concepts  here.

The Coven consists of four separate models: Hellenana, Morgaen, and Selene, the three witch sisters, and the Egregore, their giant necromechanical relic orb. Each model has its own statline, though the witches are the identical to each other.

Witch
SPDSTRMATRATDEF ARMCMD
645416128
Egregore
SPDSTRMATRATDEFARMCMD
61111317-

As you can see, none of it is incredibly impressive. DEF 16 is good, but ARM 12 is abysmal. Their CMD and MAT are both on the lower side of bad, and to cap all off, each of them has only 8 wounds. Though It does make for a 24 HP caster under certian specific circumstances, its not particularly pleasing to see on  the card. Oh, and don’t forget that they do have weapons, though they are a measly P+S 7.But its the rest of the card that matters. Like the fact that they don’t have have a focus stat. Instead, they have the following rule:

Coven – The Witch Coven of Garlghast shares a single focus pool, and Witches do not receive focus individually. The Covens base FOCUS is three times the number of Witches in play. When the Coven replenishes its focus, the Egregore receives those focus points. The Covens control area is measured from the Egregore. Any Witch in the Coven’s control area can spend focus points on the Egregore. The Egregore cannot be affected by focus-reducing or focus-removing effects. Each focus point on the Egregore gives each Witch in the Coven’s control area a cumulative +1 ARM. Effects that ignore focus points overboosting the target’s Power Field also ignore this bonus. The Coven can use their feat only once.

The Coven rule gives them a focus of 9 for most of the game, and if something untoward  happens, it could possibly get down to 6 or even as low as 3, though its unlikely. The rule also makes the Coven immune to Eiryss’s disruption bolts portions of Reznik and Severius’s feats, Kaelyssa and Rasks Energy Siphon attacks, and a host of other abilities. In addition, it means that each model is a separate activation. with the advent of Warcaster Units, this can throw some people off. Each Witch, and the Egregore, activate separately, giving a great range of crazy interactions to the entire Coven. Having the Egregore, an independant model as well,  as the central point of the feat means that Nightfall is much more likely to reach where you need it while keeping the individual Witches fairly safe.

There are two other abilities that combine make the Coven a rules headache for newer players, but also completely unique in the scheme of Warcasters: Arcane Nexus and Perfect Conjunction.

Arcane Nexus – When a Witch casts a spell, the Egregore is the spell’s point of origin. The Witch must have LOS to her target, but the Egregore does not. All LOS modifiers are based on the LOS of the Witch. Witches can channel spells normally. The Coven can have up to one attached model; This model is attached to the Coven, not to an individual Witch. The Coven can have only one of each of their upkeep spells in play at a time.

Perfect Conjunction – A Perfect Conjunction is established anytime the Egregore is completely within the Triangular area between all three Witches and each Witch has LOS to each other witch. During a Perfect Conjunction, reduce the COST of spells cast by a Witch by 1.

So, what does all of that mean in non-rules speak? It means that when a Witch casts a spell, it actually originates from the Egregore, not from the Witches themselves. Though the Witch must be able to see the target, everything else eminates from the Egregore. This allows, in desperate times, the Witches to circumvent cover, stealth or other similar Line of Effect based rules to win the game

In addition to the Witches, the Egregore has its own set of rules. Stealth, Pathfinder and Construct, as well as Circular Vision, Steady and Companion make up the fairly common rules that allow it to wander around the board pretty much unhindered, as you would expect from a strange floating magical Orb. It has two additional rules that affect the Coven and how they play: Black Mantle and Sympathetic Link.

Black Mantle – While in B2B with this model, friendly Faction models gain Stealth.

Sympathetic Link – When this model would suffer damage, you must assign that damage to one or more Witches instead, divided as you choose. A Witch cannot be assigned more damage points that she has unmarked damage boxes. This model does not suffer the damage assigned to a Witch.

Black mantle is used to moderately protect the coven while in perfect conjunctions. while its not required to be in B2B, the Witches have nothing but their 16 DEF to protect them at that point, so stealth is better then nothing, and is very good many times. When its bad, though, its exceptionally bad.

Sympathetic Link is a major part of playing the Egregore. With the defensive stats of a Cryx heavy, its only really protected against POW 10’s, with anything higher than POW 12 causing serious discomfort. Thankfully, stealth is a good defense the majority of the time, with the same caveats as above for Black Mantle. The ability to rearrange damage as I see fit, however, means that I have around 21 damage before anything really negative takes effect. Taking damage through the Egregore is actually preferable to taking damage through the Witches do to the redistribution, but is still not something that you should be looking to happen. While its key to keep each Witch alive, keeping the Egregore safe is just as important. its much easier to hit the giant, glowing orb.

We’ve finally come to the spell list and feat, and man, these are good.

Spell List: (hover for complete wording)

  • Curse of Shadows – armor debuff and delivery system
  • Stygian Abyss – direct damage
  • Veil of Mists – control, terrain mitigation and delivery system
  • Infernal Machine – Warjack buff
  • Ghost Walk – positioning aid and delivery system
  • Occultation – delivery system

Its a very, very good spell list for getting the generally vulnerable and low defense models in the Cryx army into the enemy intact, and the same theme is taken into their feat, Nightfall:

While in the Coven’s control area, enemy models suffer -2 MAT and RAT and their LOS is reduced to 5″. Nightfall lasts for one round.

I’ll admit, it doesn’t look like much, but with the massive 18″ control area centered on the mobile and generally sturdy Egregore, it is brutal. Delivering an army with the feat is a fairly simple task thatcan put your opponent on the back foot and really give you a tempo advantage. Most of the time, you want to drop it turn 2, but sometimes its a turn 1 feat, if you and your opponent are both very fast, or you went second and want to see a model or two get to the enemy.

The Egregore is generally sturdy, and fairly safe during the feat, but know any melee tricks that the enemy has. while under the feat, they are going to be looking to take advantage of the Egregore’s relative vulnerability. Make sure you know your opponents walking threat range, as a lack of Line of Sight does not prevent the warpwolf Stalker from walking up 6″ and using reach to pummel you from 8″ out. The same can be said of guns: make sure any guns that can walk out of the feat also don’t have some insane 19″ or better range. strangely, many times its better to get closer to the Sniped or Marshalled defenders so that they can’t walk out and shoot the Egregore. One good set of spiked dice, and your heading for a bad day.

Good, we’ve gotten though the basics of the coven, their rules and a little bit of the thoughts behind them, but in order to make them work, we kinda have to know how they tick. While rules are good, the story is more in the details.

The Coven is an extremely versatile caster that allows you to deliver your army to the enemy with unprecedented flexibility. They have the capacity to either mitigate or completely ignore almost everything on the board. Terrain is taken care of with Ghost walk and Veil of Mists, guns with Nightfall and Occultation, free strikes with Curse of Shadows and Ghost Walk, and alpha strike capacity with Infernal Machine, Nightfall, and Stygian Abyss. They force your opponent to react to you, creating the decisions that are so common when playing against Cryx, where your opponent can’t get a leg up.

What is so frustrating about them, though, is their vulnerability. For all their ability to gain stealth, their combined 24 HP, their 16 defense and their unparalleled freedom of activations, they are incredibly hard to keep alive, and there are some insanely hard matchups out there.  If the enemy is allowed to build momentum, especially after the feat, there is little chance for the coven to really survive the onslaught. Unlike most casters in the Cryx stable, the Coven does very little to increase the potency of the faction, with Curse of Shadows their only reliable debuff, and no offensive buffs at all. Even their feat doesn’t help the Cryx army kill better, its simply extrapolates on the theme of delivery.

They key, as obvious as it is to state, of the Coven is getting your models to the enemy as fast as possible, and that means taking models that really matter once they are delivered. The Coven loves self sufficient models that can get tons of work done once delivered . However, the Covens fragility means you can’t typically wait out the enemy attrition style and that a single miscalculation or a solid play by the opponent can leave you on the back foot, leading to your eventual downfall. It only takes a RAT 9 (7 aiming!) POW 13 attack to remove a Witch from the board. While the models that ignore stealth are rare, its not impossible for those numbers to be able to draw a bead on one or more members, or even the Egregore.

Instead, I’ve come to the conclusion that a Coven army wants to be as deep into the enemy’s half of the board as possible, as fast as possible, and it has four major effects on how you play the army.

First, the opponent comes out of the gate reacting to you which immediately gives you tempo advantage, enabling you to capitalize on both your spell list and your feat. Good feat timing in this situation can drop the hammer on the opponent both mitigating their best possible turn and enabling you to overtake their position and get carve deep into their belly.

Second, it gives the Coven breathing room. The Witches want to be able to sit comfortably at the back of your army and make sure they reach the enemy. With their ability to vanish off the board at the slightest glance of an enemy model, keeping them as far back as possible is key. They still want to threaten scenario, however, and allowing them to get in position to dominate either zone at a moments notice is the first step to that, with keeping the opponent on their side of the table, is the first step to that.

Third, playing off the theme above, it allows them to play a fantastic scenario game. Its much less difficult to control or dominate scenario zones and destroy objectives when the battle lines are drawn nearly completely past the zones. It can also allow for a very sudden end to a game, provided your willing to sacrifice one of your witches. Dominating from a vulnerable position matters much less if loosing your warcaster does not loose you the game, especially if you know you can just repeat the domination next round whether they remove your Witch or not.

Fourth, and finally, it puts their warcaster in a very large bind. They can either try and put themselves into the game, therfore exposing themselves not only to your army, but to the very real Spell Assassination that the Coven represent, Or they can try and hide near their own table edge.  While the assassination aspect of the Coven has been toned down a bit since the MKI heyday (Perfect Conjunction providing boosted hit and damage, and Stygian Abyss being P+S 13 with Crit Blind), it can still get the job done with a little help, and a single Shadow Bind crit can really make sure it does the job next turn. Three boosted damage POW 12’s seriously threaten arm 18 or less, averaging 15 damage against ARM 18. Three boosted to hit Pow 12’s have a ~82% chance that the model is pinned in place suffering -3 defense for a round,Both circumstances are scary at best, and can be used against almost every defense and armor value, due to the crit and high starting hit value.

This leads me to value, in a coven list, things that are both fast and defensive, with abilities that make the opponent unable to engage how they would like.

The three that really jump out to me are: Soulhunters, Satyxis Raiders, and Blackbanes Ghost Raiders. Each of these is speed 7 or greater, has ways to mitigate terrain, and innate defensive tech. Though Darragh Wrathe is required for the Soulhunters to get full use out of them, Ghost Walk can somewhat make up for not having him in the list. That eats a large portion of your 50 point standard list. Normally the challenge would be to get to the opponent on your terms, but we’ve covered the spell list.

With Raiders, UA, Captian, Soulhunters, Blackbanes, and Darragh, you’ve ate a massive 34 points. The addition of three arcnodes, two Warwitch Sirens, and a Scarlock eat a further 18 points that gives you a total of three points to play around with, don’t you feel lucky! Aiakos fits right in there, and with his four focus, stealth, 11.5″ walking threat, he fits right in!

As I said up top, I really think that the Coven holds a fantastic spot in Cryx. Yes, they have their problems, including the ever prevalent blast damage, no ability to change the Cryxian to hit probability, and the threat of Killbox on scenarios, but their capacity to step outside of the standard Cryx attrition or armor crack list makes them feel just a little roguish. I’m not convinced I should play them competitively, but I’m sure as hell going to test them out!

 

 

I’ve gotten a number of games in recently, and I really feel the reust shaking itself loose. It only taken 13 games.

Starting up with Deneghra probably helped a ton. She’s one of the better casters in Cryx, with a crippling suite of spells and a killer feat. With Deneghra, the solution has always been her feat and/or Crippling Grasp to enable a big swing play. Jumping over to the Witch Coven twice over the weekend, though, each with a different list, and I really struggled sometime to figure out how to deal with problems.

I’m putting down Deneghra for a little bit, and I think I’ve gotten the Mechanithrall boat kind under my thumb. There are some other combinations I want to try, but they have to wait until I get more Brute Thralls and my Scarlock Commanders. I did get two games in, however, before the hiatus. Both these games and the games with Witch Coven was with the Outflank scenario, as I am trying to get used to it for spelldraft.

The first game was against a the Rhulic caster that I have seen the most of, General Ossrum. The list contained Steelheads, Forgeguard, Alexia and the Earthbreaker, among others. I was able to stonewall him out of both zones. The Mechanithralls swarmed over the right zone supported by the Necrosurgeons and jammed up his Steelheads right outside of the zone. I sent my Bane Knights lurking to the edge of the Left zone, threatening both the slower Forgeguard and Risen with spears through the chest. Though he targeted both the Necrosurgeons and stitch thralls early on, reducing their efficiancy, they managed to stick around long enough to ensure the victory through weight of bodies.

I will say that the Earthbreaker, both times I fought it, was scary as hell. Had I not had a caster with stealth, I would have soiled my shorts. Casters like Asphyxious, Scaverous and Venethrax are just walking gun bait with their medium bases. While I generally despise camping as a casters main strategy, I can’t see any other way to live through the land-torpedoes and the bullets of that army and that colossal.

Reznik, wrath of ages

the final game with Deneghra was against Reznik 2, who I’d not even read his rules since he was spoiled back in February. The list was not your typical Protectorate list, having  Flamebringers, Daughters of the Flame, Judicator, Temple Flame Guard and some support staff.  I modified the list above,  with two full units of Mechanithralls and Necrosurgeons, Nightmare, and a few support solos and arc nodes. I’d  also just got Aiakos built and has started painting him, so I figured I’d toss him in the list as well. I burdend him with three ‘Jacks: two Stalkers and the Cankerworm. The game was back and forth for the first two turns, but really hinged on a pair of failed rolls my opponent made that lead to both my Necrosurgeons alive, creating new Mechanithralls, and tossing them into Judicator, softening it up so that when Nightmare got in there, he could finish him off. With Nightmare  now 5″ from the Wrath of Ages, under Deneghras feat, we called it and packed up for the night.

That was my first time breaking out Aiakos (turns out, pronounced ay-Ah-kos), and I make a rookie mistake with him, loading him up with jacks that are all hungry for focus. The Stalker and the Cankerworm both have two initial attacks with low P+S and good speed, begging for charges and boosts. With only FOC 4, he’s just not able to fuel them efficiently. It also could be the targets I ended up taking on as well, trying to attack Daughters of the Flame and Nicia. While MAT 7 is pretty good for a Warjack,  needing 8’s and 9’s to hit was brutal, even boosted. I’ll need to try and get better match ups if I want to get back to even running all three jacks. I also really messed up my theory of Stalkers with him. I ‘d assumed that he’d be able to scare casters with two of them, but as I discovered above, he can’t properly fuel two Warjacks. There may be some merit in rocketing one off into a caster,getting Grievous wound to trigger and then repeating with the second the following turn, but I’d have to give it more testing. I wasn’t even good at getting the Escort bonus, and that was the whole reason I brought along Cankerworm. I’m pretty sure that this grouping is just going to go into the idea box for later testing, maybe with just the stalkers.

I then broke out the Coven on Saturday. I figured it was time to start practicing with the caster I was going to bring to spelldraft. Even though its impossible to practice drafting and using the spells, I want to get used to setting them up right, getting them into position, and utilizing the scenario. I figured the army didn’t actually matter all too much, so I’d grab Aiakos and build a list based off of the Coven Tier I’d talked about a few days ago. I’d been thinking about what to give Aiakos after the last debacle, and the Harrower really stood out.  He could make great use of both Escort and Deathbringers. Under escort, he’d be SPD 7, MAT 6, P+S 16, with reach, thresher, soul taker, pathfinder and steady. behind the army, giving ranged support, he’d be SPD 7, RNG 10, RAT 5, AOE 3, POW 14, with ghost shot and pathfinder.  Aiakos’ ability to give  up to three focus a turn, and potentially give the Perisher Grievous Wounds, its seemed a match made in heaven. I decided because I wanted to play him, I’d have to go outside of Tier.

iron-mother

The  game I got in with the list was against Iron Mother Directrix. It was the first time I saw Convergence across the board and I was pretty excited about figuring them out. The list contained a slew of servitors, Prime Axiom, Reciprocators, an Assimiltor and some general support and utility model. I packed the Jam: Satyxis, Soulhunters, and Blackbanes, backed up by a pair of arc nodes, some light support staff, and Aiakos with the Harrower. I won the game on scenario, but only because my opponent failed a set of die rolls on the critical push turn. I’d managed to pull ahead on scenario the turn earlier dominating one zone and controling the other. I only needed to clear and dominate one zone, and I was able  to do that by capitalizing on him being unable to kill even a single model on his turn and get enough models into the zone that I couldn’t just kill them and  and dominate with the Coven.

The Harrower and Aiakos were the stars of the show. I was able to dig the Harrower into the center of the Reciprocators and,  loaded with focus and souls, clean them out over two turns. Being able to boost to damage was a godsend, allowing me to gather more souls for attacks.  I was really impressed with what a speed 7 Harrower with 3 focus was able to do, and I really look forward to getting that combo more playtime on the table. The rest of the army will be subject to much scrutiny, and suffice it to say here, I’m not keeping the same list.

The second fight that day was against a completely different Reznik, Wrath of Ages list that I’d played with Deneghra. This time the list has Forgeguard, a Devout and Redeemer on Tristan, Flameguard, the Avatar and a Reckoner.  I pulled out the Kraken Auguries of War tier list mentioned earlier. Much like the game played just over a week earlier, he missed critical attacks on the turn he needed to not fail. Two pairs of daughters at MAT 10 were unable to kill or even hit a set of Soulhunter, and I was able to take down Servath Reznik. He insists that I could have had scenario, had I chosen to take it, but I’m not as confident as he is. His left flank boasted an Avatar, Reckoner, Tristian, and a Redeemer, and I has a Kraken and the Coven. While I could hide the Coven for a short time, eventually Gaze would trap me in and I’d loose at least one member, and that would start the downhill slide. I’m also very convinced that the avatar would have split the Kraken right open.

I’m extraordinarily excited to be playing Warmachine again, and I’ll be getting a game in again tonight. I’ve yet to figure out who I am going to play, but I’m positive its gonna be a cryx caster. I’m even fairly sure its either Sturgis or Coven, too.