All Dem Jacks
I don’t often see myself this way, but there are times when I cannot help but preying on weaknesses that few exploit. In games, this often comes to a head when I am given a means to attack the foundation of the games system. In MTG, I love, LOVE, land destruction. I call it Red Control, and it gets obnoxious pretty quick. While I am not always successful, I think there is a lot of room to work within it and still have fun. Warmachine 3e gives me a solid foundation to do a very similar tactic and attack the very basic foundation of the game. Warjacks. Cryx has this extremely sweet ability called feedback…
The inception of this list stems from an attempt at trying to figure out what, and how, the new meta would shake out to. The first thing that came to mind was that many, many people have complained over the years about how they wanted to run more and more jacks. Now, with the new power up rule and the focus on jacks a slight bit more, I figured people would be fielding more and more of them in order to take advantage of the new rules. Gun lines, too, would be a favorite, and often jack gun lines because they were a lot stronger than they used to be. The meta would be gun lines and jacks walls, it seemed – At least to start out. I figured I would need one list to handle each, and they would hopefully be able to cover other lists, just to make sure I wasn’t going in with a glaring weakness.
I started looking at the anti-jack list like any other Cryx player, buy trying to spam Weaponmasters and high damage models. Cryx has fewer of these, anymore, so I would be stuck with the slow, plodding, extremely vulnerable Bane Thralls. I didn’t really want to do that, though. First, they are slow and lumbering, even if they hitting like trucks. Second, I don’t like their MAT 6 and reliance on a single solo to really boost their hitting acumen. Inevitably, and you can see where this is going from the title, I settled on a little bit of an out of the box solution. A friend of mine had mentioned that, with the Gunlingers comin’ out soon, Feedback was pretty solidy present in the faction, and I don’t need to kill the jacks, I just need to feedback the caster with the right list. With the Satyxis Raiders UA being upped to 2, I felt pretty strongly that I would be able to field and deliver a pretty strong contingent directly into the enemies jacks. With so much Feedback on the board, 22 models, I really wanted to leverage the ability, which left me with but two casters to bring to the table: Skarre 1 and Skarre 2. Both of them have Backlash, allowing me to double dip for feedback damage and get the horns in there for extra damage if they spike.
With two full units of Raiders and Skarre, I’d probably need to toss in a pair of Raider Captains. Keeping them all upright in the face of a number of knockdown effects seemed pretty strong, and they have auto-knockdown on their weapons as well, allowing them to drop a jack if its got a solid defense, as their MAT 8 would likely be enough over two attacks. They’d also just move out of the way with Reposition , and allow more feedback goodness.
of course, the Gunslingers aren’t out yet, so I wanted something to take their place. Seemed like a good place to spend 14+ points was on some Bane Thralls. They would focus on being Backline beaters if needed after the Satyxis were torn apart, they can also help, in a pinch, to run in and make sure that the raiders are doing damage. I had originally put Ragman in there, and may yet again, but it seemed better to have 12 mini rag men for when I really needed it. I didn’t like just having the one source of armor debuff, though, as Skarre is one of the few casters without a real damage buff/armor debuff. In goes Gorman.
Fight Fire with Fire
At this point, I’ve got a pretty solid infantry core. 37 infantry is pretty high for a MK 3 game, but I think it has merit. I have to take a battlegroup, and with some 26ish points to play with (depending on which skarre I take), I am not going to have a ton. With the reliance on Backlash, I will surely need a pair of Arc Nodes. These will allow me to deliver backlash into whichever jack in the list is going to be used as the feedback vector, and give me a second shot at it if the caster is still alive and/or manages to purge it. I mess around with a few sets of jacks, but what really grabs me is, after a few discussions, Barathrum. How I missed him without someone else pointing him out is beyond me. He’s the perfect jack for the list, having a slightly higher P+S hands (at 17) that can climb very quickly if the right debuffs are applied (21 with Rust and Dark Shroud) but is high enough before that I can reliably put damage on even arm 21 if push comes to shove. The feedback on his fists is perfect at that damage threshhold. Whats good about his is that he is, without help, unlikely to kill his target. 5 attacks that deal 4 damage each to an arm 20 is a simple 20 damage, which most jacks can absorb. arm 8’s are taking a significant beating at 30 damage, but are unlikely to die early. Arm 17 worries me that I’ll kill it early, but at that point I’m up a Jack in the trade, so thats alright with me.
Continuing further, those 5 attacks, if done right, do 10 damage to the caster, which is no joke. Even Darius has only 12 left at this point, and I feel pretty confident that If I can get almost anything to him at that point that I’ll be doing 12 damage. If a jack is alive after barathrum pummels them, the caster is in a tight position. He can take a free strike from Barathrum, possibly taking two more damage from feedback and, if the jack has 6″ or less of movement, I’ll get to countercharge for 2 more. 4 more points of damage onto the caster on their turn is completely worth loosing Barathrum over. Its simply a trade I take any day of the week. Even moreso under Skarre 2’s feat, where Barathrum is DEF 18.
So, thats the battlegroup. The list looks like this
Skarre (1 or 2)
Satyxis Raiders (10)
+Satyxis Sea Witch
Satyxis Raiders (10)
+Satyxis Sea Witch
Bane Thralls (6)
Bane Thralls (6)
Gorman di Wulfe
That left me with 4 points. Simple, uncomplicated.
I had the choice between a small pool of solos at 4 points, and a small pool of 1 and 2 point options.
One stuck out at me, though.
Machine Wraiths. At speed 7 and incorporeal, they would often get wherever they wanted without problem, and their new ability was a game changer in the face of feedback.
The plan goes something like this:
Move up an arcnode into Backlash range. Drop backlash on the jack. Then, have the Machine Wraith charge it. At MAT6, its a pretty solid odds to hit. The power 12 damage roll, on the charge, likely does some damage, and a point to the caster (1). Take control of the jack for a moment and move it forward, into range of and proper angle for Barathrum to charge in while turning around for Backstrikes. Charge into the target with one of the Satyxis Captains, knocking the target down and doing more feedback damage, perhaps, though unlikely, even more with the horns (3). If possible, Charge in the second Captain, doing more damage (5). Charge Barathrum into the rear of the knocked down model, just in case. MAT 10’s or Auto-hit are both good. Barathrum beat the tar out of the Jack with 4 attack (5 if I can get they within 7″ of him) and do more feedback damage to the caster (13/15). If Skarre was able to feat on the target, its going to be a very difficult day for the opponent as they try and peel off Barathrum, with Freestrikes and counter charge, while he is DEF 18 and they are mat 2 or 3.
I think what really makes this list really comfortable for me is that I think I am going to run it with Skarre 2, so Blackspot, Admonintion and Deathward all have very strong Targets and uses. Soul Strike is an awesome way to finish off a caster. With Skarre 1, I have a much tankier caster that is less likely to be suddenly removed, and a more reliable, if not as flashy, hit buff. Both really bring a ton of game to the list, and I can see it being a troublesome decision.
Let me know which caster is better for the list, in Your opinion. If its Skarre 1, I’ll likely be pushing the Deathrippers to Nightwretches for AOE Blackspot Goodness. I’m also really interested in getting a Corruptor in the list, but I don’t know how I’d actually fit the damned thing. Feedback fest, Coming to a Tournament near you!