The Necrotechs Workshop XLVII – Welcome Back To the Future

I’m taking a break from the introductory posts to how to play Cryx to take a look at the January Dynamic Update for Warmachine, the largest portion of which dealt with Cryx models. I’m just going to go over it model by model and give my, granted, two day old, opinions. 

The Black Fleet Update: January 2018

Many of these updates were ran through the CID process back in November. I didn’t really work through too much of the final results because they were going to be published eventually and likely with a few changes.  Lets take a look. 

First, the Universal Change:

Unyielding

Changing the unyielding rule from its former iteration was something long overdue. The rule has some instances that weren’t intuitive and a bit strange, but changing the rule to simply be +2 Arm vs. melee damage rolls eliminates nearly all of those instances while also making the rule easy to understand. I really like this change. 

Now, onto Cryx. 

Warcasters: 

Lich Lord Terminus

Gains 1 warjack point to 27

This doesn’t seem particularly big, but it has a very specific goal: Allow Terminus to take a solid warjack, say, Barathrum, and two arc nodes. Its not specifically that its two arc nodes, but that it allows him to field his character jack without digging into the points of the “optimal” Ghost Fleet list. 

Ghost fleet has a very specific build it likes in 60 points of Revenant Infantry/solos and 15 points of Wraith Engine. Terminus character ‘Jack is Barathrum, who is 15 point and with  26 warjack points, you’re left with 11 to spend. No combination of jacks adds up to 11 points, making it very difficult to fit Barathrum into a list that isnt either illegal (because its more points unspent than allowed) or eating into the list. This simple change allows a number of options. 

I don’t really need this change, but it is a minor and solid change to a generally underutilized caster. It can’t hurt in my mind. 

Warwitch Deneghra 

-Loses 2 Warjack Points to 26
-Remove the feature on Deneghras’s feat that prevented runs, charges, and special attacks.
-Reduce the COST of Dark Seduction by 1
-Replace Scourge with Black Talons

This is a pretty strong nerf to our #1 Ghostfleet caster. Its going to be a bit difficult to fit everything she wants into a list now, and I’m not sure that she can run Ghost Fleet the way she wants anymore. I’m pretty sure she loses one or both of the stalkers in order to run the optimal list, and I don’t know how that pans out in the long run. She’s lost the controlling aspect of her feat, which is going to play a huge problem for many players. Its not going to change me all to much, as I used to use the feat simply for assassination, and wasn’t really sophisticated enough to play out control. 

The change to Dark Seduction is pretty neat, but I don’t expect it to matter all so much. She never cast the spell too much to begin with, and enabling the Scarlock and Withershadow to cast it isn’t likely going to make all to much of a difference. 

Scourge being replaced is also very tough. Combined with the loss of WJ points, she is unable to effectively knock down the enemy caster, often meaning that the Revenant Crew Riflemen are going to be firing against DEF -4 instead of DEF 5. Its a big difference, but not one that changes a whole lot, overall. 

I expect that she’s still a high tier caster, but one that now moves into a different theme. Terminus, I expect, and maybe coven, takes over the top Ghost Fleet slot, if Ghost Fleet even survives the whole ordeal – see later on. 

While I don’t like nerfs, and I don’t like nerfs to powerful things more, I have come to accept that this was inevitable. I’m not going to say she’s terrible because of it, but its really disheartening to see constant nerfs to the top casters. I am concerned that it will simply not end because players in the game will never be forced to adapt, and will instead wait out – suffering the things they could be tailoring against all the while wailing about how impotent they are about it – for the next nerf. I worry. 

Anyway! she’s still powerful, still has a bunch of great moves, and should still be threatening in every game she plays. 

Wraith Witch Deneghra

Increase MAT to 6
-Replace Deneghras Feat with: Choose d3+3 Friendly Non-warcaster Faction models -currently in Deneghra’s control range. The chosen models gain Incorporeal for one round. 
-Change Dark Banishment from a damage triggered effect to a hit triggered effect. 
-Remove Influence, Marked for Death, and Pursuit
-Gain Breath Stealer, Damnation, Shadow Step

Oh man, these changes are really, really massive. When I went through the Tour de Cryx With her, she was so different, and her feat was non existent. I see tons of potential here. 

The Feat is the first thing to stick out to me. Its a strong feat able to be used both offensively and defensively with great abandon. even the bare minimum 4 targets is a strong play into many armies, allowing great vectors and near complete immunity to reprisal. just glorious. 

Breath Stealers change from once a turn to unlimited really brings out the possibility of speed controlling a pretty sizable chunk of an army, reducing threat ranges, which is something that we rarely do as a faction. Damnation allows interesting vectors on hidden or out of range targets, especially under the feat, with warjacks shooting across the table at +2 speed through forests and most anything else that happens to be in the way. 

Shadow Step is extremely interesting, allowing her to charge up, fling a couple people away with the new and amazing change to Dark banishment, and then teleport to safety, leaving many enemies stuck in place and unable to Torment her.  

My biggest regret is the loss of Marked for Death in exchange for Damnation. I’d used Mark for a number of amazing and valuable plays, and not having it in my repertoire is going to hurt a whole bunch. 

The Witch Coven of Gharlghast

-The Feat Loses the -2 MAT and RAT effect. 

Egregore

-The Egregore gains a special rule on how to spend focus to reinforce its power field. 
“When this model would suffer damage, it can spend 1 focus point to reduce the damage by 5. Assign the remaining damage to one or more Witch Coven of Garlghast models, divided as you choose. Coven models cannot spend focus points to reduce this damage.”

I’ll lump these two changes into the general heading of the Coven. These two changes came down the line untested and unapproved by the community at large, but I think they are the right move. The Coven’s debuff from nightfall was generally a second thought for me because it was so easily overcome in so many matches that I’d played. I nearly universally used the feat for the LOS denial. Count me as one of the people fine with this change. 

The Egregore, as well, is a change long coming. I expect the other change – allowing the Coven to score only one zone a turn during SR, will also be on its way and will likely spell the death of the trio in competitive play. Its a sad day, but overdue. Being able to tank through most of the damage in the game while also scoring three elements and contesting a possible 2 others is really, really good, and probably is better off no longer in the game. 

The coven is still remarkably good, and I expect them to continue to see play. I know I will. 

Corruptor

-Decreases 2 points to 14. 

What can I say here other than this is fantastic. Joining the Desecrator in the 14 point cost bracket seems a perfect fit for his abilities and niche in the game. He’s not going to be taken lightly, and he is going to have to have a reason to be in the game, but man is this making me think about trying to get him in a lot of lists. His toolbox is superb, and at 14 points, a solid gun is often exactly what I am looking for. 

Kharybdis

-Decreases 2 points to 17
-Gets +1 RAT to 6. 
-Gains Gunfighter
-Replace the Acid Cloud Star Action with Acid Cloud anytime action. 

I’m most happy about the Acid Cloud. While I understood the balancing factor around having him sacrifice his action to place his cloud, I never had a situation where I wanted to slow him down in order to place it. Instead, I was running forward to whip things to death with my wibbly arms. 

He’s going to get a second and third look from me, especially with him being more generally available. Gunfighter is a great improvement, as is simply getting a strong, rat 6 gun. Everything here screams that the model is ready for prime time. I am especially excited to try him with Agathia. 

Black Ogrun Boarding Party

-MAT Decreases from 7 to 6
-Defense increases from 12 to 13
-The unit gains Gang

You know what? I want to use these guys. While they are pretty flimsy for what they bring, they now feel like they have a boarding party feel. Gang and defense enables them to pile into a thing after its been drug in by one or more of then and then just destroy it with their powerful attacks. The loss of MAT is both expected and understood – you can’t going around expecting the whole world to fall into your lap. I’m excited to try and get a Slaughter Fleet Raiders list onto the table. 

Bloodgorgers

-Mat Increases from 6 to 7

My lord, I should seek medical help. This is all I ever wanted from these stupid trolls, and they’ve got it. Two accurate, fairly powerful attacks sets these guys apart from the competition that they have for their slot of infantry mulching. Perfect. 

Revenant Cannon Crew

-Points increases from 4 to 5
-Increase the range from 12 to 13
-Remove Point Blank
-Gains Ghost Shot

This is a net neutral change that I just don’t get. I may just have to try them out more than a few times to understand. RNG 13 is useful but still short for a big, clunky weapon crew, and I don’t feel that the increase in range from 12 to 13 and the addition of Ghost shot spells a 20% increase in the units abilities. I am likely underestimating the value of Ghost Shot, but paying that one point, at this level, is a pain. It can easily replace the Pistol Wraith in a number of Ghost Fleet lists, and I intend to do just that. 

Revenat Crew of the Atramentous & Riflemen

-Remove Point blank

I get the wailing and gnashing of teeth about this change. Removing literally half the attacks of an lists core choice is a really heavy blow. I also don’t think it changes all to much, and that is likely fine. They don’t break armor as strongly, so you’ll need to commit a few more models to get that chip damage in and make sure the target falls. Probably still fine despite the doom and gloom. 

Satyxis Blood Witches

-Loses Blood Mist
-Gains Grievous Wounds Attack Type. 

This is weird. Blood Mist is a solid attack type that allowed for RFP of the target while also generating a pretty solid defensive mechanism. Now, they can simply rip through tough troops like a hot knife through butter. I expect that an army lead by Deneghra 1 with two units of Blood Witches and Two Stalkers will become how we deal with Madrak I and his insanity. I’m a fan, even though its a strange trade off. 

Satyxis Blood Hag

-Loses Entropic Force
-Gains Dark Shroud
-Gains Granted: Side Step
-Loses Blood Mist
-Gains Grievous Wounds Attack Type. 

Gaining side step is amazing. Its just good all around for pretty much everything that has it. On a unit that is ambushing, it really allows the first attack, with the horns, to take down a model and then allow shanking of important back line models with Grievous Wound Blades. The Loss of Entropic Force is generally a wash with the Grievous Wounds blades, so I don’t feel its pinch too much. Dark shroud is an interesting ability to have on a model with .5″ range, that is often in the back of a unit, and also is valuable for Side Step. I don’t expect it to come up too much, honestly, which is sad. 

Satyxis Gunslingers

-Rat Increases from 6 to 7
-Gains Dodge
-Loses Blood Mist
-Gains Heart Seeker

These girls are the gunslingers I wanted on release. They alone may bring me to the Scourge lists because their guns can be absolutely killer. Drop a debuff on the target and watch the gunslingers, with Signs and Portents damage on their ranged weapons, take clear out charge lanes and make sure vital targets are dead. Its exactly my cup of tea. Dodge is a weird and finicky ability, but I’ll take it as the models are high enough defense that it will come in on rare occasions to save one or two, especially with good placement. 

 

Satyxis Raiders Sea Witch

-Points Increase from 3 to 4
-Reduce CMD from 9 to 8
-True Wind goes from Relentless Charge to Pathfinder

This is a sideways and likely backwards change, for all purposes. While the change to true wind is much needed, I don’t know that the prayer is going to be used all to much after the first turn, though that usage is likely good enough. The increase in points and shrinking of command are straight nerfs, but I get that she might have been a little undercosted at 3. Still, she was a great choice, and the unit was already absurdly expensive, though that really doesn’t matter when its only other competition are the Blood Witches. They can be priced at nearly any level, and it wouldn’t break the list because you can”t compare out of the theme.  

General Gerlak Slaughterborn

-Decrease Points Cost from 7 to 6
-Gains Weaponmaster
-Gains Grievous Wounds
-Loses Finisher
-Loses Leadership [Bloodgorgers]
-Gains Elite Cadre [Bloodgorgers] – Berserk 
-Gains Veteran Leader [Blighted Trollkin]

My man Gerlak! I waited for so many books for him to come out and he was pretty solid for a long while. When the new edition came out, he kinda sucked. Easy to kill and hard to protect, he wasn’t worth it in most lists. Now, though, in an age where he is always free and he has had such significant upgrades, he is worth his weight in gold on the table. Grievous wounds will always be welcome, as will weaponmaster. He can now threaten miles of infantry, and if the opponent isn’t hardy enough he will simply chew through as many infantry as he can get his hands on. 

The special sauce on top of the cake of carnage and chaos is his support. His old leadership ability being upgraded to Elite Cadre is amazing, enabling the bloodgorgers to fan out and also kill a million infantry each. it doesn’t matter if only one makes it to the enemy lines, now, it will pack a whallop at MAT 8 with berserk. Just a complete package, and feels like a model that is costed, for whatever its worth, at double a kicky monk or glimmer imp. 

Satyxis Raider Captain
-Gains Tough
-Loses Reposition 3
-Gains Sprint

This gal gained a bit. Tough is interesting, especially because she grants herself no sleeping on the job, but losing Repo 3 for Sprint is a sidegrade at best. Early on, I would use the repo 3 to get out of the way no matter what happened, but now, with sprint, I have to be much more careful, but the payoff is also larger. Overall, I like sprint better, but repo was much more useful in each game. 

Theme Force: Scourge of the Broken Coast

-Add Barathrum as an allowed Warjack
-Loses Pathfinder as third Advantage
-Gains “Solos in this army gain Dodge” as Third Advantage. 

Barathrum has feedback. Therefore, we should allow him in Scourge. At least, I expect that is how the discussion went. One of my largest gripes – though not the only one – against themes is that they really shit on all the character jacks chests. I really liked using characters outside of their given caster, though it was a revelation I only came upon afterwards, and these theme lists all restrict characters. The more they can remove character warjack restrictions, the better list building and thinking about the game will be. Best option is just remove the non-character clause from every theme list and bring on the characters. Unlikely to happen, but I can have my dreams. 

Losing Pathfinder, and RFP from the CID testing, for Dodge on solos is pretty lame. Its a throw away bonus on barely any models until something comes up 3 years from now in a new CID about Satyxis. I get it, though. The theme list is full of solid, useable options that don’t really need a buff, and any theme wide advantage is likely to be abused by the already rule-heavy Stayxis models. Doesn’t mean its not lame, just that I understand the lamenity. 

Theme Force: Slaughter Fleet Raiders

-Add Kharybdis and Axiara Wriathblade to allowed models. 

Nice! Another change to add character jacks to appropriate theme lists. Just give in already and add them to every list. Also, Axiara is awesome in her CID form, and I will take her in every list because she’s free, so its great she is in this list now. 

Conclusion

I’m not really upset at the changes here, because outside of a rare few, I understand them all and they are either upgrades or sidegrades and that is acceptable every day of the week. I’ll be heading to a tournament very soon here, so I hope to be able to get an upgraded model on the board. Wish me luck! 

As always – if your looking for more, I’m on Twitter, Instagram, and facebook, though they all aren’t equally active. 
I make my lists at Conflictchamber.com

Until next time.