I’ve played the Slayer list more than a handful of times now, and I’m starting to form an opinion on it. Let me surprise all of you: It’s not positive.
As the title says, Slayers still suck.
Even after playing 9 slayers more than a few times, It still feels there are very basic problems with the chassis and the list that go well beyond the simplistic and ultimately short-sighted accusations that people who have either never played against the list, or played into slayers once or twice and were completely unprepared for it, regurgitated from the bowels of the internet.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
I’ve lost more games that I have won with these guys, and it is really, really frustrating. I know I’m not a Top Tier Elite player, but I’m not a spring chicken, either. There are a number of reasons I think this has happened – and player skill and familiarity with the list is a significant one – but there are also lists I’ve come out of the gate and simply won with. That this is happening with the boogiest of boogeymen right now notwithstanding, it feels really bad to be losing all the time with this list that is, supposedly, so easy a baby monkey could beat Tim Banky with it. Just run forward and win games. Clearly, it’s not that easy, and let’s take a look at why this list, while it is powerful and very good, isn’t just the auto-win button that some people complain it is. I’m going to be open about what I’ve experienced, and why it bothers me, and I’m also really cool with the fact that I could be brain dead when it comes to this list because it is absolutely not my type of list. We’ll get more of that later. Sometimes, lists just aren’t for you.
Slayers, still, Suck
This isn’t anything different from my post at the start of mark 3 about why I hate slayers. Nothing here has really changed. I will admit that they are able to get there so much easier than they were before because Carapace is a hell of a drug, and the +2 ARM from Unyielding is extremely good, more than I asked for, really. But, it doesn’t do enough to the core problem of their death rate because, at its simplest, the armor just isn’t enough once the lines are joined. They do, absolutely, get there though. With mobility, it makes their threat range stupid and fast and through even the densest of terrains.
This is one of the excellent things about the list. It does take the biggest problem that Cryx jacks always had and completely removes it. These slayers are absolutely getting to the fight, and there is almost no way to stop it. I wish that both mobility and Unyielding (maybe even just mobility) was moved over to Mortenebra 3 to allow her to be the caster that runs the slayers, she’d be glorious. Sorry, tangent. Getting Cryx jacks to the target, hopefully with a system or two intact, has been a problem for three editions now, and finally, Gaspy 3 solved it for us!
However, it turns out that the problem is only exacerbated when we get there.
The Pillow Fists
Combo strikes are a thing. That’s something I understand. P+S 24 is a massive and brutal attack that can often do enough work to justify its existence, however, it is also likely the only thing that a player is doing that turn. They may have a chance at a bought and boosted P+S 16 as a follow up if you allocated focus to it, but it is so trivial compared to the damage done with the combo strike that its almost always not worth the allocation.
Combo strike has huge numbers, which in and of itself is great most of the time, but it is also reducing the number of times you get to roll dice against a single model, and with a single model, to a bare minimum. This, I have found, is the weakest spot in the list. In Cryx, when playing the faction for as long as I have, I have become used to shrugging off the vagaries of dice. There is almost always another roll to take up the slack of a botched roll, and I can manufacture another attack against a target if I really want to. In this list, there is almost no room for dice error and it is maddening. While I don’t blame my losses on dice, I do understand how the dice played a roll in what happened. on a good turn, this list has, get this, 24 attacks, you can easily add a stream of attacks if you choose to do three initials instead of a combo strike. I’m not concerned with getting overrun with this number of attacks, I’m concerned about the lack of recovery that the list has. This number is assuming that: Every model makes an attack, I allocate all four focus, cast hellfire, and make a melee attack with Gaspy 3, the soul trapper, and the Machine Wraith. Its a surprising amount of goodwill on the opponent’s side of the board to give me so many plentiful targets!
This problem has reared its ugly head at least a couple of times and it feels like the game swung on a couple of sub-standard rolls. There was always a chance of recovery, and there was always the possibility that the opponent suffers the same snubbed dice as I have. It is, admittedly, very low. Once, I went into an Animantrax with three slayers and failed to kill it. Not impossible, but killing it is completely within the realm of reason. The second was two slayers going into a Woldguardian, again not killing it which is again not the best odds, but they could have at least tried. Both targets were left on 4 or less H, and survived until the next round because I couldn’t manufacture another attack on them that could bring them down.
The Goldberg Machine
With all of this, while the whole list looks like it just runs forward and makes the enemy lose, it is clearly not that easy. At the start of the turn, you have to figure out what you need to kill, and how you are going to do it with the least amount of models possible and have back up models just in case, nay when, the rolls start to go south. This means that while you do have fewer models, you can’t just push them around without reason, and without knowledge of what is going on. Instead, each and every move must be calculated to ensure that you don’t end up short on multiple models, with the opponent having taken damage, but able to retaliate just fine.
Combine all of the above with the fact that many of the lists that this army is playing into are teched to try and beat it, and I think that it is higly likely that the slayer player will have the harder game of the two players. The Opposing player has likely had more time thinking and planning into 9 slayers than the 9 slayers player has had into any one list in the game. its an interesting crossroads to be in, and its not easy to be the army in the crosshairs, but it definitely makes for challenging and enjoyable games – Until those three dice on the Combo strike show a total of 6.
Honestly, I like the list a lot, and will keep playing it until I get a hold of its power or until its nerfed and isn’t a threat anymore. Its got a lot of strong points and covers some weaknesses that cryx has, and its also the first army of stompy robots that Cryx has been able to bring to the table. I really would have liked it, though, if this was what Mortenebra 2 brought, instead of Asphyxious 3. He just feels like he’s accidently right for the list.
Until next time!
If you want to hear more of my stupid opinions, listen to the Battle Driven Podcast!