The Necrotechs Worskhop XL – Banemass

 

Recently, last week, actually, the Bane CID started. It began with the Theme force and a number of substantial changes to many of the Bane models, and continued the refinement this week. Additionally, this coincided with both the SR CID and the Battle Engines CID. I won’t talk much about SR this week – I will save that for next week when the final change log comes out, but I do want to talk about the Cryx Changes. Welcome back – to the Necrotechs Workshop!

There is a lot going on here, and I could spend thousands of words going over all of it. Instead, I am going to focus on the Cryx stuff. I would love to be able to make comments on the other Battle engines, but I don’t have the expertise, yet, to really talk about faction balance outside my own.

Ready? Lets go.

In the CID, starting last week, we have 10 Cryx models that are being looked at for possible changes.

  • Wraith Engine – This is in the Battle Engine CID and is not part of the Dark Host CID.
  • Bane Warriors
  • Bane Warrior UA
  • Bane Knights
  • Bane Riders
  • Bane Lord Tartarus
  • Mechanithralls
  • Brute Thralls

This week, brought in two more models, as related topics and information came up.

  • Desecrator Heavy Warjack
  • Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls.

Additionally, the Infernal Machines theme and the Dark Host Themes both received errata

  • The Infernal Machines Theme force now allows the Wraith Engine.
  • The Dark Host now allows Darragh Wrathe and the Wraith Engine counts towards free models.

It’s a lot to digest. Let’s go.

Wraith Engine

This was the first change to appear, and to me was the least impressive. I was initially staggeringly disappointed in it, but I have since come around. While we were told that the battle engines were all going to have between 30 and 38 boxes, the Wraith Engine gained a paltry 4 boxes. I wasn’t really thrilled at this development. The addition of 20% new boxes is great, but the expectation was that it was going to get 50% more. Setting expectations matters in a lot of industries, and it does in Privateers case as well. I do have to stand aside on this one, though. We asked, and have received, more information on their development process and many of us said that we understood that news was in flux. Here, I have to take a deep breath and take it for what It was at the time. We were given the best information that was on board. I believe it was being tested as an incorporeal model at 20 armor and 30 hit boxes and was just too much for many factions to handle. Honestly I don’t care that some factions would be bent over by it, because there is plenty in the game that many of my armies simply cannot handle without preparation, and I just have to live with it. Cryx, for instance, has suffered under the burden of Covering Fire templates for years. Certain builds we have simply have no way around it, and that isn’t going anywhere. To hell with people who can’t deal with the Buffed to the gills Wraith Engine.

Additionally, the Wraith Engine had the Unhallowed rule change. It now reads:

“Unhallowed – While within 8″ of this model, friendly Faction undead models gain +2 ARM against ranged and magical attacks.”

This was another blindside. I’m sure that the expected and previewed ability granting immunity to blast damage as well, was doing extremely well, especially in the Infernal Machines and Ghost Fleet Theme lists. Additionally, it was limited to 8”, instead of Command range, but that was to be expected. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to have RNG 10 +2 armor bubble, but I was expecting it to be reduced in command. I expected 5 but would be thrilled with 8. Turns out, I’m thrilled. Additionally, they removed the clause that prohibited the Wraith Engine from gaining its own aura, so now it is ARM 20 against Ranged and Magic, which is pretty damned sweet.

This week, the update to the CID simply changed how Soul Bondage worked, allowing the creation of a machine wraith and the trigger of Cleave to happen off the same attack. The attack still won’t grant a soul – because it’s turned into a machine wraith and sent to find the enemy, but it works fine with Cleave.

Overall, I’m happy with this model. I love the Idea of Arm 17 Bane Warriors (I have to break my convention of not referring to them as warriors because everything is bane in this article.), and I am really thrilled for the idea of ARM 20 Bane Riders; more on that later. While I would like to get some more offensive output for the giant thing, I do think the price point related to other models and the support it brings – something that is rather unique in Cryx are worth the drop in offensive output. Besides, the giant bastard brings Dark Shroud to the list, and its something that I think every list needs to be a good Cryx list. Maybe I won’t need Bane Warriors in every list if this thing is around. Could be cool, right?

Bane Warriors

Speaking of the Bane Warriors, this unit is one of the least affected by the CID, but also one of the most benefited. They received a simple change in week one and nothing in week 2, because it was perfect. Bane Warriors now only cost 9/15.

This change is extremely important, more so than even for the unit itself. The Cryx faction, for being an army supposed to have a flood of infantry, was stuck with a pretty significant number of large point cost units, specifically at 17 points: Bane Warriors, Bane Knights, Blood Hag with UA, Blackbanes Ghost Raiders, and Revenant Crew of the Atramentous. While the Revenant Crew had been toned down by a point, there still was just a flood of 17 point options, and not too many in between.  Now, with the change to Bane Warriors at 15 points, it gives you a bit of wiggle room in the army composition. If you end up with 16 points, you can get Bane Warriors and upgrade an arc node, say, instead of trying to rework your list and make it less optimal so you can get points to line up.

I am now extremely pleased with Bane Warriors as a core unit, and am pleased to bring them if I need dark shroud in any list.

Bane Warrior Officer and Standard

These guys. Honestly, even after two cycles, I’m still not fond of them.

In the first cycle, they received a simple points reduction, from 6 to 5, that was well needed. I don’t know that its far enough, but it is extremely hard to argue that 2 MAT 7 and one MAT 6 Pow 11 Weaponmaster attacks aren’t worth 5 points. Each of the models in the unit are 1.5 points, so its 4.5 points + the two attacks with +1 MAT. 4 points is clearly right out. The extra parts though, that are trying to make that half point difference up, just don’t cut it for me.

First, Tough. Originally it wasn’t even on the unit, and I was fine with that. Then, with the first round of errata that targeted cryx to make sure it could survive ranged attacks, it was returned, but was put on the Officer. This made the ability fairly difficult to maintain on the unit because the officer was extremely easy to snipe out. Not only would this sniping out remove tough, but it would also remove the mini feat, Void Bringer. Tough has now returned, with the week 2 update, to its right and proper location on the standard. While I hate tough on the unit, because it does nearly nothing for a def 12 arm 15 unit, I am willing to accept that it is on the standard if it must be able to be removed. I would vastly prefer Tactics, but it is what it is.

Speaking of Void Bringer. Man, this stupid thing. I fell in love with void bringer at the start of the new edition, but it was not to last. While I had had a great deal of success in MK II with Goreshade II’s Theme there was little success to be had here because Tartarus, a staple in the army and the only reason any of my banes ever hit anything, was unplayable. 8 points for his abilities was simply too much. Thankfully, that all changed in week II. No longer do you have to drag the unit away from its intended target to kill warrior models to replenish the unit. Now, you simply return d3+1 destroyed models. While I agree that the flavor is lost by the change, not having to kill models to bring back dead models really works for this type of unit. It has the typical recursion stipulation of forfeiting the combat action which I find acceptable, but simply being able to toss back models into a unit is great, especially at a half point.

Bane Knights

This maligned unit has suffered a lot in the new edition. With the point cost increase commensurate to their power in MKII, and the loss of weaponmaster, their vengeance attacks and their purpose in life has really suffered. The +1 POW on their lance was appreciated, but the Brutal Charge just didn’t feel right.

Now, however, Privateer has come out and stated that they want to move the Bane Knights to a more defensive anvil unit. To that end, they have removed Vengeance and given them Wall of Steel. To that end, in the week II update, they have reduced the maximum point cost by 1, to a 10-16 unit.

Wall of Steel is a great rule. Simply amazing. Giving the Bane Knights the option to reach – in any list at all, arm 20 against everything, is pretty damned compelling. With Scaverous and Skarre 2, you can push them all the way up to arm 22. That type of armor is something that has never really been seen in cryx before. Combined with the lessened points cost, I think it really gives them a solid defensive role. Yes, you have to take a lot of other, good, models. I would rather take a bunch of synergistic models than simply have a pile of crap models. A great Bane Knight Module costs a ton, but I am pretty sure that it is going to be plenty worthwhile.

There are some arguing for Shield Wall, and I strongly disagree. Slowing this already dreadfully slow unit down to give it a +4 armor that is vulnerable and easily removable via back strikes and chain weapons just doesn’t appeal to me.

Bane Riders

This is one of the best changes they have made so far. While it is only three, and they might seem small, they have great impact on the once maligned unit. I am pleased for them and really look forward to putting them on the board once more, and may even need a second unit.

The first change they gave the riders is the old Bane Knight ability Vengeance. The change go this ability in the transition to the new edition really helped this be a much more universal ability, requiring only damage and not destruction. This makes trying to pick off one of the riders with a pot shot a dreadful proposition. Removing only a single damage with a low roll will allow the unit to advance 3”, potentially make an attack, and then charge. That added threat range is awesome, especially if you can maneuver it so that they have to attack and destroy a model to clear a zone or flag.

Following up on Vengeance, they gave the riders a +1 MAT bump. While this often won’t matter on charges, the difference between being able to strike a DEF 17 and a DEF 18 model is pretty significant. Furthermore, those vengeance attacks became much more frightening. Combined with Reposition 3” and Ghostly, this makes the unit completely unpredictable and really difficult for your opponent to react to. Pushing their armor higher – up to 22 in certain situation, makes trying to get significant gains against them very difficult. However, as a sacrifice, they did have to give up Curse, a clunky and unliked rule among opponents of Cryx, and one that we are well happy to sacrifice for the greater good. +1 MAT all the time is better than +2 MAT some of the time.

Finally, in the week II update, they gave the Riders the final push – 2” melee reach.  I think that they are now just fine. With a standard threat range of 12” and a vengeance Threat range of 15”, these guys can really cause some issues alongside the rest of the army. Additionally, they give the Satyxis a run for their money for long threat range while also being a bit hearty against ranged attacks. Soul hunters threat slightly shorter, all the time, but aren’t dependent on the enemy to give you the extra threat range.  This gives each unit a different and significant role. Satyxis have a ton of bodies and will gum up the works with Whipping Winds. Soul Hunters have the longest native threat range, allowing them to dig deep into the opponent, and Bane riders have situational Threat range while also having the highest native P+S, but only a single attack. It is well done all around.

Bane Lord Tartarus

This big boy has come a long way with only two changes, but they were both worthwhile.

In Week I, they dropped his points by 2, which really put him on the map. As a support solo with only two attacks, he was simply difficult to get worth out of at 8 points. They took so much away from him in the transition between editions that he needed something. Two Points off was a great place to start, and made me start thinking about what lists to put him into.

Then, this week, they swapped out curse (RIP, Cryxian Curse) and replaced it with Veteran Leader: Bane. I think this is a splendid change. While it reduces the overall MAT achievable to a simple 7, it allows it to be utilized against a broader range of targets and a larger section of the board. Additionally, Agathia gets a small bump, which is pretty cool. Finally, they pushed his personal MAT up to 8 with the removal of Curse, which he always used on his target to pull his MAT to 9.

I am going to sound like a busted record, but I’m happy with these changes. Tartarus is now an expensive, but not too much so, utility solo that can recur, debuff, buff and simply destroy.

Mechanithralls

Surprisingly, there was the addition of Mechanithralls to this cycle. While the changes were small, they seemed like a step in the right direction.

They upped the defense on the unit to 12, which really helps survival. Needing 6’s and 5’s is much, much better than needing 5’s and 4’s. It might not seem like a lot, but it is in the statistical realm. Additionally, somehow, they lowered the points of the unit to 5/8. This lead to a million spam lists where the game was flooded with 70+ Mechanithralls. In week 2 they started to course correct, and put them at a solid 6/9. While the min unit is now the same cost as it always was, taking a max unit isn’t as much of a burden. This doesn’t help the Entry Point of Brute thralls, something they mentioned they wanted to try in the original document, but every point helps.

Brute Thralls

Nothing thrilling happened here. They were brought up to DEF 12 like their mechanithrall partners. Nothing special here, but it does get them very close to a playable status, especially with the Wraith Engine around to make them ARM 16 shield guards. Not bad!

Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls

This maligned unit was brought in during week II because someone made a mention of a good idea on the forum, and it seems like Privateer liked it. Necrosurgeons now have Veteran Leader: Mechanithralls. This is an extremely welcome change for me, as I tend to use both the Mechanithralls and the Necrosurgeons as back line recursion units for the late game. Pushing the unit’s melee attacks, including those of the Brute Thralls, makes me a giddy person. Not having to bring a caster to make their melee worth it is really cool. I know it’s still only MAT 6, but until recently that was our standard troop MAT.

Desecrator Heavy Warjack

With accumulator: Bane, this was a jack that many people wanted to see in the CID that simply wasn’t. Jason Soles, however, did have his interest piquied, and many people commented on the warjack with suggestions to improve it. In Week II, they took two of those suggestions +2 RNG and +2 POW and added them to the model. With a RNG 12 and POW 14 the model really looks to be able to shine. And AOE 4 scather that drops with POW 7 blast damage is going to kill a lot more troops than the old POW 6. I heartily endorse this change, and wish I had had it during the Sturgis games. Now, if they could only get me RAT 6 on those stupid Crabs, I’d be happy.

Infernal Machines Tier List

With the addition of the Wraith Engine to the Infernal Machines list, it gives many casters a solid and easy way to get some additional armor onto the Mechanithralls, soulhunters and bile thralls, among others, and protects the caster. It is simply going to be a blast to put into lists. Now, it does not grant immunity to blast damage anymore, but ARM 14 goes a long way, and Brute Thralls are going to be around to move that blast over to them.

Dark Host Theme List.

This is an interesting list, with a fairly restricted list of allowed models and a pretty solid set of benefits. I Initially wasn’t too pleased, I was able to turn it around and I think that there will be some pretty  good lists to come out of this.

  • Cryx Warcasters
  • Non-Character Warjacks
  • Bane Model/Units
  • Machine Wraith Solos
  • Necrotech Solos
  • Scrap Thralls solos
  • Skarlock Solos
  • Soul Trapper Solos
  • Wraith Engine Battle Engines.

Additionally, in Week II, they added Darragh Wrath, a much welcome addition to the list.

The benefits are

  • For every full 20 points of units and battle engines in this army, you can add one command attachment or medium or smaller based solo to the army free of cost. Free models do not count toward the total point value of units in the army when calculating this bonus.
  • Bane models/unit gain Prowl. (A model with Prowl gains Stealth XICONX while it has concealment.)
  • Before models are deployed at the start of the game, you can place two 4˝ AOE dense fog terrain features anywhere completely within 20˝ of the rear table edge of your deployment zone.

The Battle Engine Cost was added in Week II, and feels perfect.

Overall, I love the theme and I love the concept. Getting Bane Warrior UA’s and Tartarus for free are great boons, but the casters that want this Theme aren’t particularly high. We will see how it all shakes out. I will say, though, that I am extremely pleased to try Bane Knights in Ashen Veil in the theme. +2 Armor, -2 to hit, and Prowl all seem very, very good.

Conclusion

Overall, I am extremely pleased. This is the exact form and function I think a CID should be run with, and it shows that the Developers, no matter how they talk to us or what derision they toss at us, are listening.

Until Next time.