The Necrotechs Workshop XXVII – Wish List

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Just around a month or so from now, perhaps two, we will be seeing a major errata to Warmachine. This, by all accounts, will be the largest errata ever issued to Warmachine and Hordes. There is some chatter that up to 50% of Skorne is being looked at, as well as the bottom and top 5% of each faction. There is a hope from a significant portion of the community, that this errata is the one that brings the best balance to the game, and everything else from here on out is just knocking out outliers. I feel that this is the likely end result as well, which means that there is significant work on Cryx in the errata.

What do I hope they will address? Lets take a look.

This is going to be a bit different than just laying out the models that I think will be hit, or giving possible solutions. I don’t think I am good at proposing solutions, however, I think I can look at things a bit clearer now than I was able to at the start of 3rd edition.

Additionally, I expect that we will, eventually, stop calling it by anything other than Warmachine and Hordes. I think that the Skorne Thread and the extent of the changes that they are mentioning in relation with this errata signals that there will be no other editions. This is it, the final, definitive edition, the one that is patched, overwritten, and fixed until it hums like it is supposed to, so while each of these problems may not be addressed here, I expect them to be addressed one day.

The most obvious place to start is the Warcasters, so we’ll do exactly that!

Warcasters

  • Sturgis, The Corrupted – He is just as bad as he was in the last edition, and that is an impressive feat. Nothing about him changed in any noticable way except the change in teleportation to be completely within. He’s a boring caster with almost nothing going for him.  Something should be done to make him, if not a great caster, at least desirable.
  • Captain Aiakos – Either he has a ‘jack comin’ along that has a sweet gun and solid melee, or he needs some adjusting. Comparing to other casters in the faction, Carnage is the spell with the most potential, but he has to be in so much danger in order to get any use out of it. 15/15 just isn’t going to survive being close to the enemy for any significant period of time, and it might not even make it through the one round he has going for him. Scything touch is a great armor debuff, and assail is a great spell, I won’t take anything away from his spell list. His feat, though, incentiveises you to take jacks for the assault and +3 speed, but jacks, especially Cryx Jacks, get so much less from Carnage. I assume in PP’s mind that rewards him for taking a balanced list, which is likely true in a vacuum, but a balanced list hasn’t really been a viable list since the end of 1st edition, before DEF spam. I don’t know that there is anything to change but his defensive stats or FOC, none of which I expect to be touched. 16/15 or 15/16 and/or Focus 7 would make him a hell of a compelling caster.
  • Wraith Witch Deneghra – I’m not even going to compare her to her old version. I’m simply going to look at what she is now and rail against her: Her feat is the worst thing I have seen written in three editions of the game. Her spell list and her abilities are great, I get it. The huge disparity of what the feat wants to do, how it delivers it, and what it delivers it to is mind boggling to me. Infantry, the models that are most likely to be affected by shadow bind on a round by round basis, will often be slain outright. Few infantry models can survive a single hit, and fewer even can survive a blow from a Cryxian model. while many things can be leveled at the Cryxian infantry, pillow fisted is not one. Jacks, Beasts and Casters, those most often to survive a hit, will suffer from a significantly high penalty to defense for the duration of my turn, and then shake it at the start of their own turn. It is a focus investiture, but seeing as it is only the free focus that they receive simply for being jacks, or fury that they can generate no matter what, it feels dumb, even if it will, and does, cause consternation to the enemy. Additionally, and this is the part that feels the worst to me, the feat begs for high accuracy models. The last thing you want to bring to the game is a feat reliant on hitting the target, and then to miss the target for the duration of the feat. This, in essence, nullifies the feat. If I am accurate enough, and most of the Cryx Jacks and both Satyxis units, at the very least, are, then you’ll likely not be getting any real use from the feat. Finally, it feels like a terrible version of Grim Angus’ feat, and it never feels good to have a feat that is simply a different factions feat, but worse.
  • Lich Lord Asphyxious – This guy. What a mess. Random feats aren’t fun and they don’t introduce a level of acceptable risk v. reward. I get it, though I don’t agree, when it comes to things like the Leviathan or Skarre 1. On a Caster defining feat, though, it feels like being offered a sandwich built from aluminium foil and glass shards. The rest of his kit, too, feels like the remnants of a once purposeful caster. It, very strongly, seems like he was simply nerfed to appease the masses. Caustic Mist reverted to its old MKI format, and though it seems alright in theory he was our go to ranged defense. It was one of the many reasons he was taken. Now, He might as well be flappin’ naked alongside his army.
  • Master Necrotech Mortenebra and Deryliss – this is a caster that, though I played more than a few time, I never really understood. In this edition, she seems to have a solid niche – spamming lights and a Kraken, but the niche has no where to go in the current meta. I’d love for something to be done with her to boost her up just a little bit and make the master of jacks really feel like that. And for Gods sake, fix Deryliss. I know its likely already on the burner, but he is simply a weight bearing down on her.
  • Lich Lord Venethrax – This might not really be something wrong with Venethrax, but it surely is something wrong. Venethrax being the Heavy Jack delivery system for Cryx, opposed to Mortenebras light jack swarm is a great dichotomy. The only problem is that Cryx heavies are nearly universally terrible. If they ever get to combat, they are pretty scary but the def 13 just isn’t what it once was. Mat 7 is a fairly normal score and does not validate their terrible armor stat and their miserable boxes. Trying to get them anywhere under Venethrax, or any one else, is really just asking to get smashed in the face.
  • Attachments – The Scarlock isn’t worth his points. Not because Spell slave is bad, I think its fine, but because for the cost of one solo (5 points) you can get two more solos, each with ranged attacks, MAT 7 P+S 12 claws on all three models, Stealth for the Spell Slave, The ability to upkeep a spell for free and puppet strings. Its not a lot of points for massive abilities. never going to take one.

Battle Engines

  • Wraith Engine – This is one of the easiest things to adjust, because its a singular entity and one that is, to all purposes, significantly overcosted. I’d barely touch it at 16 points. It is, however, an interesting piece with some potential. I would love, as opposed to the range and damage producing machine from almost every other faction, the wraith engine be a massive support piece that helps deliver the army.  Unhallowed is nice, but  isn’t enough to really help out the other incorporeal models. I would love the Glacier Kings Snowfall ability, renamed and purposed for Cryx, and there are likely better ideas out there as well. Make this awesome, beastly model worth its points, or tone down the points. Its clearly inferior, despite all its abilities, to the humble and miserable Slayer.

Solos

  • Bane Lord Tartarus – This mess. I understand all that they removed from him, and why. I don’t get that he is still considered after all that (-1spd, -1 def, Curse loosing +2 speed, Thresher traded for Rapid Strike, and Death toll not allowing combat actions) that he was the same price. Give him a bit of a discount. I’d look at him at 6 points, and I’d salivate at 5 points, so 6 is likely a good place. For a fairly priced combat solo, look at the Satyxis Captain for 4 points. One of the two is off.
  • Iron Lich Overseer – This one I think is just a lack of a good, solid jack to marshal and the marshal ability in general. Give me something that really takes advantage of him, and he’d probably get some use.
  • Pistol Wraith – Simply not worth 5 points. He is good, but not good enough. Simply 4 points.

Units

Here is where I am going to have some fun! First let me start by saying that having 5 units occupy the same slot (17 points for full unit or Unit + UA) is obnoxious. It gives us no real wiggle room in our lists and creates a fairly simply hierarchy. When looking at the 17 point slot, our first instinct and our first reach will almost always be the same.

  • Bane Riders – Jesus. This is the most eggregious of all of the problems in the list, in my opinion. They are over costed and not very good. At speed 7, they stand out for not being speed 8. Vengers, Destors, and Stormlances all originate from speed 5 units and were granted speed 8. They all have reach, at least on the charge, two of the three have better defense, and all three have better MAT. This is in return for having a slight armor advantage and a slightly more powerful charge attack. Its disappointing on so many levels to have these models simply feel like failures. 2 extra inches of charging threat range is huge. ugh. Fix these, please. I feel bad owning them.
  • Bane Warriors – Man, I don’t really hate them, but there is just something about having so many speed 5 models in my army that makes me bitter. one of the 17 point units.
    • Officer and Standard – This is the worst. I get why they are 6 points (three weaponmaster attacks are worth about 2 points each, I guess) but they grant to little to the unit (dead rise for models that have no real way to become knocked down) and a minifeat that requires them to be more accurate for them to use it, while also taking them away from their preferred target (Heavies)  
  • Revenant Crew – What. for 17 points, competing with Blackbanes, Bane Thralls, and Bane Knights, I just don’t know what this unit provides. For that point cost, I should at least get a d3+2. Pile on top of that that they are, generally, miserable at hitting anything and terrible at damaging it along with the fact that a lot of armies can remove whole units trivially, and this simply ends up on the scrap heap. Honestly, change this unit to be much cheaper, and it might see play.
    • Riflemen happen to be saddled to a terrible unit with too steep a cost.
  • Bile Thralls – This unit, also, simply needs a points reduction. Without the chance to cause any kind of havoc without having a significant bodyguard to block for them which also costs points, they are unlikely to see the table.
  • Bloodgorgers – for 15 points, this unit feels so overpriced it could be at a used car lot. Unyeilding is pretty worthless on single wound models, MAT 6 is simply bad, Speed 5 and def 12 are victim stats. Overtake allows them to possibly miss an additional target. Berserk from Gerlak is pleasant, but that is another  points I need to invest when opponents aren’t often playing a ton of infantry.  Not worth the package.
  • Black Ogrun – these guys have been fighting for a purpose since they first came out. Even at rock bottom pricing, though, they haven’t ever made a splash. I’d love to see them bumped up in price and effectiveness and get them on the board.
  • Revenant Cannon – Even though they received a bump in the new edition, the RNG 12 is just too short to really have them worth any amount of points greater than 0. They need to be able to shoot past my front line, not short of it.
  • Necrosurgeon –  this unit isn’t here because of recursion. I like the new recursion mechanic because I think recursion is dumb. Instead, I find that the cap on the number of bodies that it can hold to be an extremely limiting factor that is very, very frustrating. I can only use 3 each turn anyway, which forces me to carry over 2 tokens each turn. after the 1st additional the following turn, I’m just collecting for future turns. It feels bad.
  • Attachements: Brute thrall and Skarlock Commander – with no way to defend themselves from the mass of guns and other attacks, these attachments aren’t going to really see the light of day. The Mechanithralls, not listed here because they are a purposely terrible unit used as filler, are so rarely taken because points are tight that both these models see little gameplay though each may actually be ok-ish in their own rights.

Warjacks 

Again, this category is littered with generalizations. The defenses and Hit boxes of almost everything is simply terrible, and cannot be relied up on, and thus is not worth the points, to arrive at the destination.

  • Sepulcher – With the changes to rate of fire on the spike and its ability to harvest and recur generally neutered, this Colossal likely sees little to no play.
  • Deathjack – Overall, not really worth the 23 points in order to deliver it. Its a strong piece, but not really strong enough to justify his cost being almost that of a colossal. I don’t want necromancy fixed, I think his solution is simply a points discount.
  • Leviathan – d3 shots sucks. Its not fun, its not random success, its bad. my favorite jack from MK II relegated to my trashcan. I legit regret having two of them because they are such a terrible waste of space both in my case and in existence. Give it one shot with strafe (d3) and we will be ok.
  • Seether – With its arm and HP staying the same, all the gains (including the sweet P+S17) just aren’t worth the DEF. loss. def 12 is just terrible. Terrible.
  • Slayer – The mad dog is 7 points, the berserkers 8. Both of them wreck this jack almost 7 ways to Tuesday. I will almost never get the drop on them because Khador has guns and shoots my arms and legs off.
  • Helldiver – This guy, I don’t really know how to make him work. Burrow seems kind of terrible.

Sadly, few of these things that suck are in how the army works against shooting and gun lines. Instead, they are simply bad AND are bad into gun lines. I really hope that, come January, they will have a good idea on how to fix some of these units while also making sure that we can play into some guns, sometimes. Honestly, though, its not Cryx. Its the ability to see through and/or ignore the Cryxian defenses, either stealth or clouds, that make the good gun lines good.

 

Till next week!

 

  • Moondog

    One of the things that I think hurts Cryx playing into shooting is what you mention throughout: their warjacks are mostly made of construction paper and popsicle sticks. Low power shooting can sink decent damage into them, and higher powered shooting can knock columns off real quick.

    When PP softened up so much of Cryx’s infantry to shooting, they didn’t leave them many other options. Khador and Retribution have a similar focus on infantry (though Cryx has definitely leaned into it a lot more), but they also have a) some strong defensive buffs they can put on infantry (either with their UAs or ‘caster support), or b) warjacks that can make it across the table against an average amount of shooting. Khador’s warjacks have ARM 20 and boxes, Ret warjacks have a good number of boxes and either 12/18 + force field (to buffer against system loss) or 12/19 (which is a helluva lot better than 13/17).

    Thus, if you want to build a list that can wade into an average volume of gunfire with either of those factions, you can throw in a decent battlegroup and they will probably survive to make it to the fight (especially if you can further buff them somehow) even if everything else gets tabled.

    Cryx heavies however don’t have that luxury – they have lower ARM and fewer boxes, so it doesn’t take much shooting (or very heavy shooting) to seriously cripple them on the approach. Which in turn makes them a crummy solution to the same guns that are probably mulching the infantry you were sick of seeing die just outside their deployment zone.

    That is a really long way of saying that I agree with your assessment of Cryx’s battlegroup issues. Hopefully PP sees that as a way to help alleviate some of the shooting issues the faction faces and gives them a bump somewhere. It won’t help against the really heavy shooting armies, but those frequently require a decently specific counter build regardless.

    We will find out for sure soon!

    • Tionas

      You know what I really want? Deflection. Its one of the best answers to the problem. It only works on guns and magic, it only really helps multiwound models, it helps a flagging warcaster, and it doesn’t make our melee any better once it gets there.
      I think the lack of viability for most of the jacks into most of the guns is a really, really big problem. I don’t know that there is a whole lot that can address it in meaningful ways, and that really depresses my hope for the errata. I have hopes, and I am pretty sure I am going to see them smashed into dust on errata day. I will, however, be hopeful that my skorne will become playable again so that sometime in 2018 or whatever I can play them.
      I really would like them to solve the problems for cryx battlegroups, but it seems to be unlikely, so I’ll just take impeding the troops less.

      • Moondog

        Lets kill two birds with one stone and give Denny2 Deflection. Say she learned it from her sister before she became a super time wizard. “Heya sis, here is this nifty spell that helped me for awhile. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to pull visions of myself from different points in time to join me in battle.”

        Speaking of Skorne stuff, I think it speaks to the necessity of having some ARM on your battlegroup to survive shooting when PP is talking about switching the Krea back to being an ARM buff. Part of that is also that they dropped the DEF on the Titans so having a DEF bubble doesn’t do them much good, but more than that it feels more important to be able to outright mitigate damage when you’re trying to ferry multi-wound models of any kind across the table (infantry or warnouns).

        I’m interested in seeing the full scope of Skorne changes that come across in January. I’ll be looking forward to hearing your impressions once the errata drops.

        Back to Cryx, they (PP) definitely have their work cut out for them. Seeing as how Cryx is more infantry focused I can see them working on that aspect of the faction first, with maybe (hopefully?) battlegroup quality of life stuff to come with a later, more focused revision.

        • Tionas

          Armor is critical, I agree. The game is more accurate than it has ever been, with many MAT and RATs getting buffed, and defenses being lowered a bit. It does make for shorter games but anything with arm 17 are really taking a beating. Its why Ogrun are terrible! one shot by boosted pow 10’s! on average! that is so depressing.

          There is this feeling that the game is balanced around a lot of POW 10 shooting. Unfortunately, I don’t think that much pow 10 is actually taken in the game, and the actual average of the game is somewhere around 11.5 to 12.5. not a good place for light heavy armor to exist.

          • Moondog

            100% agreed.

            I think POW 10 shooting is one of those things in the game that sounds about right, but (maybe moreso in this edition than last) doesn’t actually come up all that often. The escalation of tech/counter-tech usually pushes players past POW 10 shooting pretty quickly into their WM/H experience.

            So while you may still get peppered by POW 10s here and there, you are much more likely to run into CRA’d POW 10s, boosted POW 10s, POW 10s against debuffed ARM, etc, or just flat out better POW guns if they can get them (not super common but they are out there). And when those come in against ARM 17 heavies or low ARM multi-wound infantry, it hurts a lot.