The Necrotechs Workshop XXX – The Old New Toys: New Errata.

Oh boy! Primecast 39 came out on Monday, and with it came a little bit of what we can expect for the changes to Cryx, which was followed quickly by the actual Errata I’m excited to start picking it apart, so I’m going to get right to it.

At the 26ish minute mark of the ‘cast, they start talking about what the  Errata would entail, when they drop the unexpected news that they are going to be releasing the majority of the errata early because its pretty much finished, except for the Skorne portion. Skorne, they said, will be releasing later. And, because the Cryxian players had been fairly patient, they gave some specific changes for Cryx.

  • Revenant Crew will be reduced in points
  • Bane Warriors will be getting “better”
  • Brute Thralls will get shield Guard
  • Scarlock Commander will have Tactics: Advanced Deploy
  • Lich Lord Asphyxious has had a “pendulum Swing” back from his over-nerfs.

Then, not two days latter, without having a ton of time to mull it over as a player, TO, or Judge, they drop the bomb. The Errata comes, and with it some major changes to PP’s business policy, marketing and products.

I am going to start with the Cryx Changes each in turn, and then move on to what I can get. There is a lot here, and I’ll likely be talking about the repercussions for weeks. It is a very exciting time to play Warmachine and hordes.

So, lets get started with the Cryx Changes. I will be assuming your at least passingly familiar with the changes, if not the repercussions.

Ossyan, Caine 2, Kovnik Joe and Haley 1

not where you expected me to start, eh? Well, these changes are some of the biggest for the faction. The three big boogeymen of the ranged game – Ossyan, Caine 2 and Kovnik joe, have all been drummed down pretty substantially.

Kovnik Joe – His old For the Motherland inspiration now grants +2 to attack rolls. It is clearly less effective than his old version, but is equally or more effective 30% of the time. Boosted attacks are very strong because it can swing on luck, and if you get a hot streak, you can ride it all the way and often push an advantage that you may not have had. The +2 is more reliable and grants some guaranteed math, but doesn’t average nearly as strong. RAT 5 + average 11 hits a def 16 (yes, I know 11 isn’t statistically average, but come on, better to be safe than sorry) while a 7+7 is a 14. Its simply a lower target while still getting a decent benefit, pushing them over the critical point of hitting def 13 on 7’s.

Ossyan – Ossyan wasn’t too far over the top, but he was clearly over the top. His ranged game had pushed Ravyn out of the game and he was able to buff a significant portion of his army with a single spell. Changing out Deadeye for Fortune is a great errata because it does a few things all at once while still retaining a portion of the lethality. Fortune is an upkeep, so he can only hit one, maybe two units a turn. much better than simply dumping it on 3 every turn with minimal problems. Fortune also affects melee attacks and Magic attacks, making it a more versatile spell than Deadeye ever was, which is an improvement to the type of army he can take. I applaud this because it provides an incentive for different models or units than he was taking prior. Finally, it is a reroll instead of an additional die. I like this change because it enables the unit to be more reliable, without making it more accurate. Adding a die, just like with Joe, makes units able to hit above where they should, where rerolls allow them to buffer out the lower end of the roll spectrum, enabling them to ensure in most instances that they are doing their job. Super change that I am happy for.

Caine 2 – They may have gone too far with Caine 2, but I legit don’t care. He’s been a boogeyman of mine for a very long time, and to see him taken back a peg after he was inexplicably buffed during the edition change makes me ok. The first change is the big one, and the second change is simply bookkeeping.  The big change is replacing Attack Types with Empowered Shot. This, essentially, keeps the rule the same but required a focus expenditure in order to take advantage of the attack types. This reduces his efficiency in dealing death to troop swarms significantly, and makes grievous wounds and black penny a choice instead of simply automatic. With his 9 shots a round, he was taking down up to 18 models a round, now, he is reduced significantly in his personal performance. The maximum number of models that he can eliminate a round, is now 9. it costs him the same amount of focus to make another attack roll as it does to simply bank a shot. I approve. The second change just seems to be book keeping, as I said, as it adds the word “Attack” to the damage rolls, thus preventing it from even having the semblance of adding to the Trick Shot damage. They are clearly Spellstorm pistol damage rolls.

Haley 1 – I’ll admit that this is a welcome, if out of the blue change. Haley 1 has been the scourge of my brains existence for the entire time she’s been around the game, which is to say for the entire length of the game. She has always been the quintessential warcaster that commanded that you at least attempt to play a semi-ranged game. you’d have to have at least one list, if you have a Haley player, that didn’t simply run into temporal barrier and stop cold. The spell has been toned down again and again over the years, but it was still a complete ballbuster for melee armies. Until today. They may have gone a little overboard in crippling the -2 speed portion and not reducing the cost of the spell, but its been done, and I think it was done to increase the viability of the armies, like Skorne and Cryx, that rely heavily on the ability to get their infantry into combat without getting their asses shot off the planet first. The change is a big one, and I think it was done as a preemptive fix to a possible faction crippling of the new Skorne. It just might be too much, but I am willing to sacrifice that one spell to the greater gods of accessible melee combat.

Ok, with the big buffs to Cryx out of the way, lets take a look at all the changes individually

Lich Lord Asphyxious

Changes:
Warjack Points. Increase Lich Lord Asphyxious’ warjack points to +28.

Caustic Mist. Change the duration of Caustic Mist from “UP” to “RND.” Replace the second and third sentences of Caustic Mist with the following: A model entering or ending its activation in the AOE suffers the Corrosion continuous effect . Caustic Mist lasts for one round.

Feat: Spectral Legion. Replace the first sentence of Spectral Legion with the following: Return up to d3 + 5 destroyed small- or medium-based Grunts that were part of a friendly Faction unit to play, placing them completely within 3˝ of Asphyxious.

These changes are pretty solid. First, an increase to his WJP is welcome, but only +1 seems strange. I guess they value that extra point much more than I do. 26 is the perfect cost for 2 inflictors, and 28 is the perfect cost for four 7pt Arc Nodes. 27 doesn’t really seem to have a use.

Caustic mist is an extremely welcome change, but with a major detraction. I like that the clouds are back to being RND, allowing a 9″ (+4″ for objective, if you have it) cloud wall to protect some of your army. There are, though, still enough things in the game that ignore the cloud wall to make it a bit of a tricky prospect. I get that they have to have a boogeyman or two out there to keep the LOS blocking hijinks honest, I do, but man does it really hurt to have those LOS blocking things be the only way you feel you can make it across the board, and for them to be catastrophically invalidated. The second portion of the change is that instead of an autopoint of damage, they become corroded. This enables a vast swath of infantry to contest zones and reduces the use of the spell for control and denial vastly. I get that is what they want; that spells that control should also not be insanely deadly, but it feels really bad. for 2 FOC, I want my spell to do a little more than wait 2 turn to have a 66% chance of killing.

Finally, the change to the feat is well and welcome, if not what I want the caster to do. Random feats feel bad. You’ve got this once per game ability that you are depending on to turn the tide of the game, and to have it collapse because you roll poorly, something that the game already has in spades, is compoundingly disappointing because you don’t have a chance to recover, adapt and try again. That one roll, man, Its all she’s got, and its not fun. It is not fun in any way, caliber, or angle. But, if you have to have a random feat, at least the variance is only three. I guess that’s a silver lining to the turd cloud. Its clearly and unequivocally better, I give them that.

Corrupter

Corruptor Psycho Venom. Add the following before the last sentence of Psycho Venom: The affected model cannot activate

This looks to be book keeping. I would have assumed that you couldn’t activate the model under psycho venom, but its now part of the army, so you’re kinda required to. It is now crystal clear that you cannot. 

Bane Warrior Officer and Standard

Bane Warrior Officer & Standard Granted: Tough. The Bane Warrior Officer gains the Granted: Tough special rule: Granted: Tough – While this model is in formation, models in its unit that are in formation gain Tough

Hooo Boy! PP left the door open for pure conjecture for 2 days, and now we have it. Well done building the hype train. I assumed that they wouldn’t change the Command Attachment, because they didn’t say they were, but it makes sense to do it this way, if simply because it was how it was pbefore. They also didn’t say that they would be returning, so I assumed it won’t be the old rule – Stealth. What they said is that it will be better, so that lead me to believe that it would be either a new role , or a twist on their old rules. For my money, I expected that they would get tough. Tough makes the most sense, and would be in keeping with the character of the unit and the concept of getting a little better against shooting.I’m not really thrilled about this, but I’ll take it, anything to get more work out of our 17 point, slow, inaccurate, victim stat unit! I do think that 23 points, though, for the unit and the CA, is way, way to much. Maybe I don’t get other armies big nasty units and how much they cost, but I don’t see how Bane Thralls are worth the same cost as behemoth, Avatar, or Deathjack. It is very difficult to conceive of how that shook out in a positive light for the slow, vulnerable unit.

Brute Thrall

Shield Guard. The Brute Thrall gains the Shield Guard special rule: Shield Guard – Once per round, when a friendly model is directly hit by a non-spray ranged attack during your opponent’s turn while within 3˝ of this model, you can choose to have this model directly hit instead. This model is automatically hit and suffers all damage and effects. This model cannot use Shield Guard while it is incorporeal, knocked down, or stationary

Bah. I really wanted them to be a little different, but it wasn’t to be. I wasn’t thrilled about being saddled with a 6 point unit in order to take a model that gives my caster or jack the barest of chances to survive, but I’ll be willing to try it. While it might not seem the most reasonable change to make given the background on the Brute, I do like the concept of once per turn a solider looses his nerve and shoots the giant, monstrous zombie brute instead of his target because god damnit, that thing needs to die.

I do have to admit that, combined with the Skarlock Commander change, this does have me considering mechanithralls for a number of applications, though I can’t see changing my current lists for them. They aren’t cheap enough, plentiful enough or strong enough to warrant trying to jam into the lists I already like. I am really against this change right now. Really, really against it, but the more I think of it, the more I am trying to come up with a way to make it work. I feel the conception of a thought, somewhere back in my brain, and it just needs a bit of tickling to fully form. Watch this space for more….

Revenant Crew of the Atrementous

Point Cost. Reduce the point cost of the Revenant Crew of the Atramentous to 9 (Leader & 5 Grunts) and 16 (Leader & 9 Grunts).

Deathbound. Replace the second sentence of Deathbound with the following: Place the returned models completely within 3˝ of the Leader.

When this was announced, I thought it could range anywhere from an extremely welcome change to an exasperating exercise in futility. Sadly, it seems they chose the latter. The problem with the Revenent Crew is that for 13 points you can get the same unit, effectively. Sea Dog Pirates are the exact same stat line other than one less power on their melee weapon. They do loose access to undead, deathbound, and Friendly Faction but I don’t really know the benefits too much for those three rules. Undead isn’t so much used except for specific interactions with a few rules, faction matters little most of the time as Cryx is focused on debuffing the enemy most of the time, and Deathbound is a weak interaction that returns a very limited (d3) amount of models to the unit at the start of every turn. While that can sometimes be strong as Deathbound is one of the few rules that allows a combat action on returning the the game, it can also be extremely weak. The Crew has some hideous defensive stats that don’t particularly allow them to survive so much as a concentrated effort to remove them.

I did not expect the pirates to be reduced in price to 13, not by any stretch, though I could have see it: The faction bonuses make each worth their relative points. 14 wasn’t right out of the point of reason, but I expected a drop to 15 points. Realistically, it would have put the unit into a position where its not as expensive as the elite infantry of the faction (Banes, Satyxis) but still above our chaff (Carrion, Mechanithralls). I am very interested in this because I want to try and one day do a conversion of them as I really don’t like their current models, but I’m not going to get a second unit to convert until they are worth playing, and I don’t think that at 16 points, the unit is.

Skarlock Commander

Skarlock Commander Point Cost. Increase the point cost of the Skarlock Commander to 3.

Tactics: Advance Deployment. The Skarlock Commander gains the Tactics: Advance Deployment special rule: Tactics: Advance Deployment – Models in this unit gain Advance Deployment

Man, was I excited for this! I was doing all sorts of theorycrafting trying to see how I would get this unit to do work, and was having a fun time doing it. Rarely have i been so deflated. Seeing the Points Cost increased to 3 was exasperatingly difficult to swallow. Still, This is one of my favorite changes. It feels like this dramatically changes the nature of the unit he is attached to in a unique way for the faction. The Scarlock Commander adding Advanced Deploy to Bile Thralls is curious, but it really works well with the Mechanithralls. I don’t think it solves any sort of shooting problem that the faction had, but I do think it adds a very different point to the unit. In MKII we had the Satyxis Raiders, who were clearly way, way to good. They nearly removed shooting units from the game on their own, and I don’t want them to come back. Instead, we have a speed 6 massive (11 man unit) unit for 13 points, that can run straight at the enemy, force them into early scenario pressure, or  hide behind terrain with either Saxon Orrik or Ghost Walk. For double the points, you have a strong advance force with 22 models that can cause a lot of problems with the enemies early game, something Cryx isn’t known for at this time.

I think that the addition to this rule makes the mechanithralls very adaptable. Include the Brute thrall and you have a unit that can be melded in every possible way. The addition of the Scarlock Commander makes the unit a fast attack force, tying up the enemy long enough to get the rest of the force in position. Add a necrosurgeon behind a max unit and some living models and you’ve got a recursion engine for the late game scenario pressure. Add Brute Thralls to a min unit and you’ve got a defensive unit that can take a few shots before being thrown away. While the unit isn’t going to be a cure all, I do expect that we will see more of them in the future lists.

Wraith Engine

Wraith Engine Point Cost. Reduce the point cost of the Wraith Engine to 15.

Well. This wasn’t one that I was expecting, but will gladly take. 15 points is not miserable for a huge, ghostly engine of doom that can eat three models a turn. Its not the best use of those 15 points, but I can see it being taken now, where before I couldn’t.

This has rambled on long enough, and next time I’ll try and take a look at some more changes, and possibly Skorne. we will see, depending on the release date.

Until next time,

Jonathon