Building off of the last article, where I mentioned what I thought was wrong with Cryx – Though not how to fix it, today I want to take a look at some oft-desired changes to the game, and why I think that we will never see them happen. Follow me and take a look!
January is but a short time away, and with January comes the most significant errata, I expect, that Privateer Press has ever created. Its going to cover a ton of Skorne models, as well as addressing Cryxs lack of ability to play into gun lines. Additionally, PP has pledged to look at the top and 5% of each faction. That doesn’t mean that they will do anything with the top or the bottom, simply that they will evaluate them. We are in amazingly interesting development times, where PP is being extremely open with their design process so I want to stress that everything they have said they are testing is subject to change. It is a really interesting time to be a Warmachine and/or Hordes player.
Cryx, as mentioned above, will be getting special attention in how they deal with gun lines. This may coincide with their addressing of the top and bottom 5 percent of models, but I would like to think that those aren’t really going to butt up really well. That bottom 5%, though, are some pretty controversial models, often ones that have lost effectiveness in the translation to the new edition.
Some calls, though, echo throughout the halls of the Undead domain, repeated and echoed again and again by the faithful that these specific instances of MKII Greatness will return. I’m pretty sure people with the following hopes are going to be just crushed when the errata drops.
What Shall Not Pass
This is a topic that is pretty divisive. I know a few people who bought into the faction to play the tide of undead that can never be stopped, and that play style has been turned on its head. Before, when the recursionist put their models back into play, they had the upper hand of surprise placement, activation, and a quasi invulnerability for the models getting where they wanted because they weren’t on the board.
Now, the game has shifted. Recursion, instead of being an offensive, aggressive attrition piece, is instead a defensive, grindy attrition piece. I’m not passing judgement on either style, I see how the old recursion was drastically better and created for a more fun and engaging experience for the recursion player. It has to be noted that that style of game was more than a touch over the top. Being able to place models pretty much anywhere you wanted in an enormous bubble about 10″ from whichever model was bringing the recursion, being able to charge or even so much as walk and attack, was extremely strong. Just… stronger than we are willing to acknowledge. I expect that there will be absolutely no change to how recursion works with the exception of Sentry Stones and Hellmouths, both of which will be brought back into line with the rest of the game.
Recursion is now a pretty poor defensive scenario play. It can generate bodies to contest the zones in a pretty constant tide, though there is the body count limit for the sepulcher and the Necrotechs which have their own problems, and it can over the course of a game pump out a pretty significant set of new models that, if not dealt with can cause problems with overrunning as the back line. In my Denny 3 army at the end of MKII I almost never used the thralls that I created to charge. Instead, they rounded out the unit after I charged in, creating a second wave that was going to cause problems if not dealt with.
2 – Tough and Stealth on Bane Thralls (Either or Both)
This gripe has a stronger possibility than either of the other two, but stronger than 1% doesn’t take much.
This complaint stems from the fact that bane thralls were among the best standard troops we had for all of MKII. In MKI, they were swiftly eclipsed by the less expensive Bane Knights, but their day to shine was nearly the entirety of MKII. Their UA did so much for them that they quickly, and for a significant period of time, became our go to unit. They had everything. They clearly could not keep it all.
In the end, Privateer decided to make Banes thematically ghostly. This works well in the new edition because terrain is everywhere and ignoring free strikes to get back arcs is something that every Bane desires.
The cry for their old defenses, back, will likely fall on deaf ears because Privateer wants each unit to have its own role and use. Tough takes the Bloodgorgers role, and Stealth takes the Blood Witches. Each of those two units operates very differently and with a different level of effectiveness than than Bane Thralls, but that is exactly the issue. Bane Thralls, with stealth and tough, are ubiquitous models that can pretty much take on what ever the opponent has on the other side of the board. Even grabbing just one of the two will give them a strong leg up on what other units do. Units will inevitably overlap, but I’ve a feeling that this isn’t the level of overlap that privateer is looking for. Yes, it would help with delivering the army to gun lines, a targeted portion of the game for the errata, but I don’t think that bane thralls are going to solve that completely. We just aren’t going to get the old unit back, and its something we are going to have to live with. Bane Thralls are still extremely effective and are one of the best ways to apply -2 Arm in the faction. Especially on weaponmaster.
3 – Old Spell Slave/Necromancy
This one is going to get a whole bunch of whiny players completely twisted, so I saved it for last.
Spell Slave, as it existed in MK II, is deader than dirt. There is absolutely no way that it comes back, and is actually good right where it sits. One of the things that was a hallmark of the Cryx faction was its focus efficiency. Scarlocks for 3 focus, Deathjack for 2 more, Warwitch sirens for another 2. Seethers and Inflictors for even more, and the Withershadow for a free upkeep. Often, we’d end up with way, way more focus than our stat would otherwise indicate, and we would use that to cycle spells, Lob debuffs, fuel our single ‘Jack or two, and camp a few. Or we were aflood with these extra focus points, and we really took advantage of it in our playstyle and mindset. It was clearly something our faction was predicated on, because we needed all those spells to be kings of the hill.
This edition is clearly different, however. While Cryx is clearly struggling for its footing in a new age of guns and pre-measuring, it has also loss its capacity for Focus efficiency. With Cryx getting Power Up, along with the rest of the factions, I am pretty sure that it was just too much strain on the game itself, we see this in Kharchev and his Mad Dogs. Clearly, they didn’t want us taking both the Combine and the Scarlock for the free upkeep and the free upkeep spell cast every turn. Its an interaction that isn’t particularly cryxian, either, when you think of how its been used. The Scarlock is indeed being used to extend the magical power of the caster, but instead of destroying his enemies and sucking up their souls, they were standing in the back of the army tossing upkeeps on the army.
The new Scarlock acts, in its own little way, like a bonus arcnode. He can get up there, drop a vital nuke, and then dies the next turn.I was extremely surprised with the effectivness of spell slave and necromancy combined with a single casting, all of Hex Blast. It can be a surprise when the army vomits out a ton of POW 7 blast damage. I do believe that his is too fragile and too expensive to often perform that role effectively, however. I would like to see some sort of defensive measure, and maybe some bonus rng on Dark Fire to enable him to effectively perform his proper function, but I do not think its likely. Stealth, honestly, would be the best thing for him, against everyone but Sloan and Caine, and a reduction to 3 points as at least in that manner he is the appropriate cost to compare to the Withershadow.
I’m really excited for the errata because I hope it addresses the game in new and interesting ways, but I am hesitant because the Brute Thrall teaser is almost the exact opposite of what I hoped or wanted for. No matter what it is, saddling me with 6 points of baggage is just not going to get me excited. Well, unless they make mechanithralls better, somehow, but I know they are hesitant. Really, though, they shouldn’t be. The Mechanithralls weren’t ever really broken, it was the interaction with the Necrosurgeon and the Recursion effects that really broke the unit. It was fine as a DEF 12 P+S 11/15 unit at MAT 5.
Bring on January. Bring on the Errata!