A New World Rises
This is the last chance for me to write about MKII. Instead, I will continue to write about MKIII and the future. A lot has been leaked and many cards are known in their final form, insomuch as errors and issues have already been discovered casting doubt over the leaks as a whole. This is not unreasonable. However, as each insider has come in turn, the doubters get more and more scarce. The rules and concepts discussed match the cards.
What I want to look at today, though, is the new caster for our faction, spoiled in No Quarter last week and given a little bit of show along with the rest of the casters and Battlebox models, Bane Witch Agathia.
Bane Witch Agathia
Here’s the card’s. we’ll make this easy.
There are a lot of interesting things going on, so lets work on a quick breakdown.
Nothing really stands out here, for me. With a speed of 6 and a 2″ reach, she threats a pretty standard 11″ with a charge. MAT of 7 is the low end of good for casters, as going into melee with other casters tends to be running the 14 or 15 DEF range anyway, giving a 50% or greater miss chance. Its the bare minimum to consider melee assassinations with. DEF and ARM 15 are both a touch on the low side, with Asphyxious being 15/16 and Skarre being 16/15. She’s clearly undead, which is simply a condition now, but her Focus of 7 is excellent, even if it is average for Cryx.
Her weapon is pretty nice, being P+S 12, which is a little lower than I really like for getting the job done. I tend to think that 15 is the reach pushpoint for getting work done personally.
She’s only got two, but one is a very good one. Dark Shroud on her ups her realistic P+S to 14, which is just shy of qualified for a melee contender. She can surely get work done, if need be, hitting Dice -2 on an ARM 16 caster. You’re likely boosting to hit, so boosting to damage isn’t unrealistic. Getting it done with the new focus mechanic will be rough, but if they don’t have any Focus, its a pretty solid set of math.
The second ability, Soul Taker, is pretty solid, though unlikely to be really used. Soul Trappers are useful with her, and it seems more of a flavorful ability than anything else. Good to have, but I am not banking on it.
This is where the real money is on Cryx Casters.
Ghost Walk, Hellfire and Parasite are all welcome, especially with the changes to Ghost walk and Hellfire making them a bit more palatable. I really like both of them, and I will take a caster that has them both.
Parasite is completely unchanged, but it can really change the math on both her surviveability and her offensive output. With Focus taking on a damage transference roll, the +1 arm from Parasite definitely matters, and I’ll be glad to have it, bumping her up to the more respectable 16. Her personal damage, which due to expendable arc nodes is more likely to have the target under parasite, and with the overall lack of upkeep removal I feel confident it could stick, goes up to a very healthy P+S 17. The Butcher camping 2 is less unsafe, but its still not a terrible call even then.
Hellwrought is a new spell, unique to Agathia as far as we know, that seems fairly useable. The spell grants +2 ARM to a warjack in her Battlegroup. Erebus (14/20), Harrower (12/20) or even Deathjack (13/21) will all see the spell as a boon. There is another part to the spell, but as we are Cryx, I only expect it to come up on blast damage and small arms fire: Retaliation. This seems to be the single-model version of Vengeance, though it seems that they could have just given the model Vengeance now that the model needs only be damaged in order to take its move and attack. This seems to be a trend from what I looked at. Models with largely similar rules just didn’t have their rules combined. its strange, but I’m not bothered by it.
Finally, Vanish is another spell that has not been seen in Cryx. A simple 3″ teleport brings her personal threat to 14″. Oddly enough, her Control Range. Not that it matters anymore, as she can premeasure to all the spots on the board anywhere for any reason. In addition to a threat range extender, it can also be used as a fancy ghost walk, a focus costed reposition, and any number of other uses. The spell does not end your activation, like many other similar abilities, making it extremely versatile.
I am not going to lie. I was initially way, way down on this feat. It had a small effect on a small number of models and really wasn’t something that Cryx wanted anyway. Except, then I read that the first two lines aren’t restricted to battlegroup only. That changed my whole perception. Each of the three parts are very strong, Once you learn to read.
Models/units in her control area are affected by Ghostwalk. Thats pretty powerful. After 10 years of Warmachine and Hordes, I am on the lookout when a Feat states Model/Units, because you only need a single model to be affected to hit the whole unit. While it can get confusing when applied like MKII Irusk 1 or Haley 2, in this situation, its phenomenal. Models like Blackbanes Ghost Raiders or Satyxis Raiders are going to have a field day with this rule. Blackbanes because they are immune to pretty much everything anyway, so dropping in free strike immunity vs. Magic Weapons + apparition means that they can really get where they need to go, often with backstrike, Raiders want to be able to keep digging into the army, so the ability to, after the turn of engagement, get deeper into the army with their whips, gang, Backstrike and Crit Knockdown on both weapons can really cause problems to an enemy formation, even if only a few are left alive for the counterstroke.
Stealth for all friendly models in her control area is extremely strong, now that a number of models that used to ignore stealth en masse have lost it. Bane Warriors, Bloodgorgers, and other slower troops really benefit from the added protection from what is not getting beat up by the forward lines. while this isn’t going to save every model from blowing up, It will likely save those few models you really need it to from getting shot off the board.
Finally, the part that really messed up my understanding of the rest of the Feat, the After-Activation 3″ place of warjacks in her Battlegroup. This is powerful on shooting jacks, like the Harrower, Leviathan, or Corruptor, so that they can easily fade behind a well placed building or wall once they are done shooting. It also helps melee jacks, especially the Reaper, Inflictor, and Harrower. Finishing a turn was often depressing because you knew that on the next turn you were going to eat some serious charges. This allows those models that can clear out a significant zone to either push forward to engage more models or pull back to a safer, more protected position compared to where they were firing from. its an interesting proposal.
Against my initial gut feeling, which is so often wrong, I like her. She has all the Cryxian upsides – High Focus, Great attack spells, Armor Debuff, and Immunity to terrain, without some of the past casters crippling problems like low Armor, Slow, or Terrible in combat.
I think, just like the discussion around battlebox casters said, that she will want a balanced army between ‘Jacks and Troops. I mentioned a number of models that she’ll love to have around earlier, but I can definitely see using Blood Witches, Bane Knights, Bane Riders, and other overall solid units with her. Jacks she is most likely to want are the ones that skew heavier armor anyway, and Erebus is, like always, my go-to Jack. Armor 20 is, finally, not something to be laughed at. I really want, Like I do with every caster, to bring 3 chickens with her, for the low-low price of 18-21 pts. they aren’t as capable of running out into the open and surviving as they used to be, but they are definitely worth their points and more.
Well, this is the last article I’ll be writing about Cryx until after I come back from Lock and Load. The next, and most likely giddy, article for Cryx will be on June 16th, likely with a big ol’ review of the faction in MK III!