The Necrotechs Workshop XLI – Black Industries

Last week, on 9/15, we were shown a preview of the newest theme list to make its way out of our blackened shores. This Theme list, Black Industries, focuses on the warjacks of Cryx, making them front and center and giving them some pretty stellar bonuses. Lets take a look!

So, Real quick, I want to address the Theme names for Cryx. Black Fleet, Ghost Fleet, Dark Host, Black Industries and Infernal Machines. Its a little redundant and uninspired. Can we get some cooler, more metal names for or Themes, PP, Please? Black Fleet and Black Industries are yet to be released, so we can work on something here. I propose: Scourges of Meridius and Necrofactorum of Skell. Just saying, anything thats not Dark, Black, or Ghost. That’d be great. Thanks! 

Ok. Onto the theme. This is a long one, so buckle up! 

Black Industries

In his insider, Oz goes over some of the basics of the theme, From it, we are able to glean the following information: 

  • Cryx Warcasters
  • Non-Character Warjacks
  • Deathjack
  • Cephalyx Models/Units
  • Iron Lich Model/Units 
  • Warwitch Solos
  • Solos with the Battlegroup Commander ability 
  • Models with the Repair Ability
  • Machine Wraiths
  • Scrap Thralls
  • Soul Trappers

First, I want to point out one thing that Oz mentioned, and two that he didn’t. He mentioned that the current Cryx roster only includes a single model with the repair ability, that in early 2018, we’ll be getting the Black Ogrun Ironmonger. I assume this is both a repair model and a ‘Jack Marshal, though I’m not gonna put money on it. He’d have to be something pretty sweet to get the necrotech out of peoples minds, though more black Ogrun is pretty cool. I also like that its a model we’ve not hear of from the Scharde Pirates theme. If this all pans out, I’l have two solos and two units of black ogrun by the time we’re done, and I’m really happy with that. 

After that, there are two hints/hopes that are in that list. I put it up top as my theory for the first one: That its not spelled out as the Withershadow Combine and the Iron Lich Overseer, but it is likely, instead, Iron Lich Model/Units. This makes it have a few places to expand in the future, which could be fun. Second is the Term “Solos with the Battlegroup Commander Ability” is pretty interesting. This puts a little bit of hope that we’ll get a second Jr Warcaster soon, well maybe just one day, because if it was just Aiakos, he’d be called out. 

Finally, to me, Deathjack is suspect. There have been errors before in insiders, as is to be expected from pre-release information, and it could be a simple slip because Deathjack is great. He could very well be in the list, but I’d also not be surprised if he isn’t. Just putting that out there. 

Ok. With that out of the way, lets get down to the bonuses, the juicy and cool part. 

Benefits

  • This theme list can include one Mercenary solo and one Mercenary Unit that will work for Cryx
  • For every 30 points of Warjacks in the list, you can add one warjack to the army of 7 points or less free of cost. 
  • Heavy Warjacks gain Carapace
  • you’re depolyment zone is increased by 2″

Personally, I don’t think you could have put together a better list of benefits for me, without the inclusion of the words “Sacrificial Pawn” This list is a staunch list of abilities that really help make the list shine. 

First, we get up to two mercs in theme, and this could be a pretty solid game changer. We’ve not seen a theme for Cryx yet that allows mercs, and though the change was foretold back in the Days of Yore CID, its been applied on a case by case basis since then. I’m always going to reach for Midwinter first, when it comes to Merc Solos. Wrongeye is a great choice as well, because he’s a solo that comes with an amazing buddy that Cryx just loves I have a feeling they’ll be wording that in a way that will, somehow, exclude the lesser warlocks, but we will see. You also get the option of Saxon Orrik, Ragman, and Gorman di Wolfe, all of which are pretty excellent in their own rights. This list does look like its going to be hard to squeeze in a Dark Shroud to get that magic -4 ARM swing, so if your list is lacking in it, both Ragman and Gorman can bring a bit o extra armor debuff in a pinch. Saxon will be useful for those Cepahlyx units that need pathfinder to compensate for their lousy SPD 5. 

As for units, I can definitely see shoring up the weaknesses of the list with a few units here and there. Steelhead Halberdiers come to mind, as even cheaper than Drudges, but threaten farther and are a bit dodgier. Could be combined with Vendryre to pull out a little steelhead nugget. Depending on the caster, really, a lot of units could be useful. Pressgangers provide AD in a list that has little, Cyleana and the Nyss Hunters provide a reliable ranged and melee backbone. Really, though, the list is less about the mercs it can take, and more about the jacks that it brings to force.

The Second benefit is very nice. Most of the lists I expect to see will bring two free ‘jacks, and some will reach high and grab three. Due to this benefit, I expect never to see a 7 point Heavy, but I wasn’t expecting them ever anyway, so that is no real loss. This gives us a pretty short but solid  list of models to pull from for free: 

  • Nightwretch
  • Ripjaw
  • Scavenger
  • Deathripper
  • Helldiver
  • Shrike

Lets take a look at each. 

The three obvious choices are the Arc Nodes. Free arc nodes are awesome, and to be fair, they are awesome even if your paying real points for them. Lately, my lists have been suffering from Deathripperitis, but that’s because of how the jack points in most casters work out. Two Deathrippers and two Stalkers sits at the common 28 point slot, and that battlegroup is really versatile so I’ve been using it a lot. This shakes that all up. With two free Arc nodes, I’ll most often be converting them into Nightwretches, because boostable POW 14’s have always been good to me, so getting them back without loosing the points would make me pretty pleased. That also frees up the 12 points that the Deathrippers have been occupying for some of those sweet heavy jacks that we have in our stable. Except, wait. I don’t like any of our Warjacks, Which still holds true.

Coming in after the Arc nodes are the two flying jacks and the burrowing jack. Both flying jacks have a place, though I’d expect less as a free model and more as a model that gets more models. If the caster doesn’t need the arc nodes, I expect a pair of free scavengers is in order, simply because of their versatility and potential assassination vectors. Shrikes bring a bit of utility to the party, and don’t need to be given any focus from the caster in almost any circumstance, so are a fine choice to bring along if you’ve got a plan for them. They are also the cheapest of the Iron Lich Overseer marshaled Jack Choices, so it can be used to apply Dark Shroud to something 10.5″ away. Don’t bring helldivers. 

The next benefit goes a long way toward remedying my hatred of the Slayer chassis. Carapace is a really great rule for a lot of reasons that are obvious, and a number that might not be. Cryx has always suffered from being shot to death, and as I went over in my Jack Hatred thread, one of the big things that’s happened to many jacks is the increase in RAT and MAT over the years, but no bump to DEF. I focused on defense at the time because I thought that the spit-and-beercan armor of the Cryx Jacks were a highlight of the faction and couldn’t be changed without really affecting the balance of the game. Instead, I focused on the increased defense making it so that they are harder to take out and keep the dodgy aspect that has always existed. 

Carapace nicely bludgeons all the rotten vulnerabilities while skirting around and maintaining others. The Carapace rule only applies to heavy warjacks, which is perfect execution. If it applied to lights, it would be increasing their armor immensely, much larger than a simple +4 would seem to. Take, for example, the Stalker. If he went from ARM 13 to ARM 17, he goes from taking 4 damage, and just over a quarter of his grid, from a POW 10 gun, to taking nothing. Nothing! Now, the Slayer with ARM 17 goes from taking nothing from POW 10 guns except on spiked rolls, , to taking nothing almost all the time. It doesn’t make it a ton hardier, it simply protects from crazy outliers. 

Applied to colossals, though, it would simply push their arm 19 into the stratosphere and make it so hard to dent them with ranged that they would probably always be in the lists, and for good reason. preventing most Boosted POW 12’s from doing any damage to a colossal is probably the wrong path, and I’m glad they didn’t take it. 

The Real magic comes from the protection that it brings from most POW 12’s. a standard ARM 17 takes 6 damage from a boosted 12, which is just under 1/4 of its box count. Put in Carapace, and that same jack is taking not only less damage, only 2 boxes, but its reducing that to 1/14th of its boxes. This means that the usually spooky damage count on those POW 12’s are now simply flies. applied to our ARM 18 jacks this is even better, making them extremely resistant to shooting against a wide variety of power spectrums. When a P+S 17 gun is dice off 5, its probably a good day for the Cryx player. 

With all that said, lets take a look at the Jacks that can both be taken in every list and are going to benefit from Carapace, 

  • Corruptor
  • Harrower
  • Leviathan
  • Desecrator
  • Inflictor
  • Reaper
  • Seether
  • Slayer

The list is pretty short, though it covers almost all of the bases that we’d need. The Corruptor, Leviathan and Desecrator are gun platforms that benefit from the rule due to reciprocation avoidance. Unless I am going against Aradus, I’m pretty sure to not run into other models with the same level of armor v. shooting, and the three jacks are looking to do work at range while still staying alive. This means that their weakness is to other ranged guns which do their job better. No more. While they are all expensive, topping 14 points, all three have felt very strong in the games I used them in. Honestly, I used the Desecrator pre-CID and did well enough with it that I was happy where it was. Between the three jacks, I think the Leviathan gets the most out of the Carapace rule. His role is to rock heavies in the face, and with this he can take shot after shot right on the chin and feel confident that he’ll be left standing. That isn’t to say that the Corruptor and the Desecrator haven’t increased in stock, they have. The Corruptor is a great piece that needs a caster that wants his gun types, and that hasn’t changed. He’s a niche piece that does tons of work in the right lists, and keeping him protected in those instances will be helpful. Put him behind a wall and get that Monstrous Growth on! The Desecrator, though it does see a benefit, has also had its role shrunk in this list because it is so hard to get banes into the list. Essentially, he is limited to appearing in Goreshade 1 and Agathia lists, both of which will enjoy his company. 

The rest of the jacks; The Harrower, Inflictor, Reaper, Seether and Slayer, are mainly melee jacks that simply love this rule. Getting that arm 21/22 is extremely important for them to get to the line of engagement, punch through to their target and do significant damage prior to being destroyed by the counter attack. This really gives a feeling of a flying missile that is going to tear into the opponent and trade up. They aren’t going to make it all the time, and concentrated fire will drop them all the same, though it will drop less of them. This really encourages me to bring at least 5 jacks with the list. Combine that with the fact that they sit at right around 13 points, and you’re going to get you 60 points of jacks to get the 2 arc nodes/free lights easy. 

What makes me feel good about carapace, as a rule on the Cryx ‘Jacks, is that it doesn’t increase their survivability in all aspects of the game, and instead only address the problem that the jacks were facing. Dying to melee is their right and purpose. They are built to hit first, hit pretty hard, and to die in a whirlwind of steel and blood. Getting there intact enough to destroy anything was always the problem. I mean, the chances of blowing off an arm with a boosted POW 12 gun went from 10% to 1%. Successive shots still have solid chances, but at least I feel confident enough to put them on the board, which I’m pretty sure was the point. 

Of the five possible jacks, I’m leaning towards a combination of Inflictors and Seethers. Inflictors are solid beaters with a massive armor potential and carry shield guard, something that the army lacks with its inability to take Brute Thralls. Arm 23 against ranged attacks is a pretty sweet bullet sponge. Seethers are the big Nasties of the faction, and making sure their fragile frames and powerful claws get into combat is top priority. Delivering 5 or 6 P+S 17’s is good for the army, good for the Seether, and bad for the opposing model. 

Character Jacks that are ‘Caster Based should also be considered. 

  • Kharybdis
  • Nightmare
  • Erebus
  • Barathrum

Of the four, I think Nighmare benefits the least, as he has stealth in every list he can be taken in. There are no shortage of guns that ignore stealth, but he’ll face tank em. Barathrum is likewise pretty strong against ranged as it is, getting Dug in at any moment. Kharybdis benefits little, with both prowl and his chain strike 4″ reach.  Erebus, amusingly, is the one that benefits the most and has almost no need for it. With Poltergiest and DEF 14 to start, Erebus is hard to tag with shooting, and has pretty dire consequences if you fail. Adding +4 armor to his already beefed out stat line is likely to prevent him from ever getting shot, which is great, but he was already most of the way there anyway. 

Thankfully, there is little to say about +2″ of Deployment zone, other than its really sweet. The Corruptor and the Leviathan, going first, can position for better shots on turn 2, and going second will be able to threaten up some 30″ onto the board, which is really solid. 

Moving out from the benefits, lets talk a little about the models that are allowed that aren’t warjacks. 

  • Cephalyx Models/Units
  • Iron Lich Model/Units 
  • Warwitch Solos
  • Solos with the Battlegroup Commander ability 
  • Models with the Repair Ability
  • Machine Wraiths
  • Scrap Thralls
  • Soul Trappers

First, the Cephalyx are a pretty interesting unit. With eyeless sight, tough, arm 15 and CMA, they are dirt cheap and reflect their cost. In this list, though, they do bring the bodies that are needed to stave off the enemy for a time. Addtionally, they provide an RFP immune form of recursion that is built into the unit vial the Slaver. If you can keep him alive (through Bokur’s or making sure stealth is his friend) than you can likely just keep chewing through the opponents living models and making more drudges, which is a sweet thing. 

The Iron Lich models are solid. The Withershadow will bring solid utility and reliability to the caster, while also making sure that they have plenty of spellpower to apply when needed. The Overseer is an easy way to get Dark Shroud into the list, and if you can squeeze an Inflictor into the list with him, he should be able to be that lynchpin to deliver dark shroud where its needed, and the Inflictor protects him a bit as well from random gunfire. 

Warwitch solos have soured in my opinions, but I do still think they have a place. providing free focus, seduction, shadow bind, and magical attacks, both melee and spray, are good utilities to have around. They are likely better than I give them, but the drop from Magic 7 to Magic 6 has me really sad. 

Aiakos, as he is the only model with Battlegroup commander available, is pretty good overall. This theme makes me want to look at him again, and see what I can get out of him toting around a pair of heavies or some such. The +2 speed and Grievous Wounds he provides is a pretty strong start for many jacks, and maybe getting carapace on them will make them deliverable.

Keeping the jacks running with a slew of Necrotechs is a game plan that is facilitated by the carapace rule and bringing along some of the models that can repair those damaged arms and legs as well as generate scrap thralls when the jacks inevitably fall are probably going to be included in a pretty sizable quantity of lists. 

 from the Looks of it, Soul Trappers, Machine Wraiths and Scrap Thralls are going to appear in a lot of lists, defining the filler points slots and providing that bonus utility in many matchups. I’ve seen the glory of the machine wraith bend a game in my favor, I’ve seen scrap thralls completely turn the attrition game around with some really nice detonations, and soul trappers are probably my new best friend, they’ve been performing top notch for games and games now. 

Lists

I’ve been playing around in Conflict Chamber, which had the pre-release build of Black Industries within hours of its announcement, and I’ve picked a few lists I think I like. 

First, this is one I’ve been batting around since day 1

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Black Industries (Pre-release)

 Deneghra, the Soul Weaver [+27]
– Inflictor [13]
– Inflictor [13]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– Seether [13]
– Seether [13]
– Slayer [10]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]

This list has a million bodies and a pile of jacks that makes the whole list sing, recurring themselves until the Slaver gets killed and then swamping the enemy with tough bodies. The Inflictors are protecting Denny and some Soul Trappers, and the seethers and Slayer are rushing as far forward as they can get. 

I expect that this theme is going to have trouble fueling the warjacks that they want to take. Cryx wants to cast spells, and cast a lot of them, and having the heavies as a drain on their resources is likely going to be problematic. Casters I think that will excel in this list are ones that have the best way to mitigate that pressure. Denny 3 has exactly that release valve via Soul Mastery, enabling her to power about 4 jacks during feat turn, and a number of jacks dependent on souls, on other turns. Mortality will really help the Drudges, as well, making them accurate and extremely deadly, perhaps even threatening jacks and beasts under the right circumstances. I think the list has merit, and if 30 drudges are too many, its easy to swap out the third unit and a soul trapper for another Seether. 

The Second list is one of the ones that feels just perfect, now that I see it: Mortenebra 2. She wants a battlegroup that gets there, and this battlegroup will definitely get there. This is my first pass, let me know what you think! 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Black Industries (Pre-release)

 Mortenebra, Numen of Necrogenesis [+27]
– Deathjack [23]
– Ripjaw [0(7)]
– Ripjaw [0(7)]
– Seether [13]
– Seether [13]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
Necrotech [2]
Necrotech [2]
Ragman [4]
Soul Trapper [1]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]