Tour De Cryx: Scaverous Post-Mortem

The first of the True Tour de Cryx casters has been completed, a couple weeks behind schedule, but still within a viable timeframe. I want to take a look at my overall thoughts, performance and how he worked for me over the course of all the games. 

First, the other articles: 

Scaverous Overview
Scaverous MidTerm

Now, onto the postmortem 

The Plan

Going into Scaverous, I was pretty open minded. I had received a pretty solid list from Aaron Wale and a number of other Cryx players. These lists contained the core of the army that I kept straight through the end. I had hoped to utilize Wrong Eye and Snapjaw to keep Scaverous safe while also pushing the Satyxis into a really difficult to remove melee threat. Erebus and the Satyxis where there to provide souls to Scaverous while doing damage all on their own. Croe and his Cutthroats were there to be both an assassination vector and a heavy removal tool if needed. 

So, How did it work out? 

The List

The list I finally settled on looks a lot like the list I’d been provided. Here it is. 

Lord Exhumator Scaverous
-Withershadow Combine
-Erebus
-Deathripper
-Deathripper
Wrong Eye
-Snapjaw
Soul Trapper
Machine Wraith
Satyxis Raiders (x10)
-Satyxis Sea Witch
Croe’s Cutthroats (x10)
Bane Thralls (x6)

With Scaverous, I ended up going 4-3, playing 2 more games that I thought I would. My wins were against Wormwood, Doomeshaper 2, and Fiona. My losses were against (pre-nerf) Una2, Haley 2, and Fiona. I felt pretty confident in many games, even having some of the assassination potential. Every game except one was decided by assassination.  I either was killed by crazy garbage, or I died to it in equal measure. 

I really, really love this dudes style. He has rocketed to the top of my lists in terms of casters that are worth taking out of the case. While I’ve not played Deneghra this edition, he has the best assassination game in the faction that I’ve played, beating out coven by a huge shot. Honestly, if we had more solid ranged attacks, assassination would be a common and marvelous thing. Maybe one day I build an assassination list for him, once I’ve been through the rest of the casters. 

I loved Assassination lists in both prior editions of the game, and this time is no different. I hate being peeled from reality, but man do I love to drop it on others. I took down both Doomshaper 1 and Fiona on the top of 2, though in the retaliation game immediately afterwards, both games played out much better. Wormwood I was able to attrition out, even though it seemed like I was going to lose partially through. 

Sadly, as it seems my fate, I was unable to run this into some of the dream lists I was really hoping to. Instead, all but two of the games, both against Fiona, had almost no souls to gather. Una 2 had a few combat units, but that was by far the most. Wormwood had less than a dozen, Doomshaper only his 6 warbeasts and the stone, and Haley 2 had her back line support of Jakes, Arlan, Herself, and the Journeyman. It seems the fates conspire to keep me away from good matchups (And into good Terminus matchups). The training weights helped here, and I was able to really feel how he functions without any additional focus, which is great, and I really would like to get him on the board when there are a ton of souls to harvest. 

One of the great thing that this list taught me is table-side awareness. Where as my choice of side for many years has been dependent on how the opponent would use terrain, and denying them advantage, Scaverous’ penchant for attracting bullets to his noggin, his enormous base, and his need to stay alive and near the game let me see the terrain and the board in a whole new light. I now evaluate a board for strategic placement of terrain in regards to scenario elements, killbox, and ranged safety, and I love it. Its good to have a caster that is going to get right rocked if you leave them in the open to teach you what you needed to to in order to live. 

In the damned opposite of my time with Goreshade 1, who ended up facing off against a number of Warmachine armies, losing a pile of his abilities,  Scaverous really wanted to take apart Warmachine armies, and ended up facing hordes over and over. These things happen, but I like to ride the salt train about it anyway. While I don’t lose much in the exchange, its still frustrating. 

One of the big differences in my lost compared with others is the addition of the Bane Thralls in the list. I often felt that Feast of Worms, at COST 4, was extremely dangerous to cast. By adding the Banes, i was able to spread out the ARM debuffs while also being able to stack, when necessary, a -4 ARM swing to push Snapjaw up to 22 and even mildly pillow-fisted Erebus up to a gentleman’s 20. That single change completely upended my expectations of the army, and I was able to do a lot more, with less models, than I was with the models that previously occupied their space, now having the capacity to bust through armor and chew through troops at an equal rate. Finally, the removal of any of the models that would want his feat for attrition allowed me to save it all game for the assassination, using TK‘s and Feast, where appropriate, to remove problematic enemy models. I recommend this version to everyone willing to give it a try.

Lets go over the general successes

  • Scaverous and the Croes have a massive threat range for assassination. If you leave your caster within 18″ of 4-6 Croes and within 22″ of an arc node, I am going to try for assassination. Follow me here. 
    • TK for 1.
    • Feast of Worms for 3. This is an AOE, so it doesn’t matter if you tag it or not, its likely not going to scatter off with a 4″ AOE. With FOC 7, a reroll if needed (Puppet Master) and +2 to hit from back strike due to TK, its unlikely to miss anyway. When this hits it does a POW 12 against arm -2 (we’ll just go POW 14, for ease of use). 1 point of damage to ARM 20
    • Excarnate for 2. Boosted from the feat and into the back arc at ARM -2, this is an effective POW 15. Boost Damage. 6 damage to ARM 20. 
    • Move your 5 Croes into position. They will get backstab and back strike. Each one is RAT 7 + 3 dice to hit and POW 12 with 3 dice to damage. 2.5 damage per Cutthroat to ARM 20. 12.5 damage to ARM 20 
    • That’s 19 total damage to an arm 20 caster. pretty significantly kills most of them. Drop it to arm 19, and your looking at 21 damage. What really makes the difference, here, though, is focus. Most casters sit around 15 or 16 ARM. This makes them effective ARM 20 against every attack with focus, but there are 7 attacks here. If they camp only 6, that last Croe hits for a whopping 7.5 damage – nearly half of all casters lives, and putting the total damage at 24, putting them in a most certain grave, even camping 6. An Arm 16 caster camping 4 focus – not an unreasonable feeling of safety, Burns through all the focus and still kills them by four/five Croes in (Feast:0, Excarnate:5, Crows 1.5 for three, fourth Cutthroat+ do 6.5 ea) I don’t know many casters (Terminus, Darious, Karchev) that live through with two or less. Be aware that Sac Pawn and Shield Guard will really ruin your day, but a well placed TK will pull them away from many of them. 
  • Satyxis Raiders are great jam and make for amazing Soul Harvester targets. They bully many warjacks, they clog up warbeasts, and they chew through infantry with amazing ease. With Wrong Eye to back them up, they are extremely effective. 
  • Speaking of which, Wrong Eye and Snapjaw are extremely effective when used correctly. Using them with back to back casters has really gotten me a better appreciation of how they work, where to use them, and placement for them. I look forward to them in a list that they support once again, soon. 
  • Croes Cutthroats are a surprising and effective addition to the list, and they brought an astounding assassination potential. Other than that, I was able to whittle away at beasts, hide behind terrain to take advantage of LOS Denial, and generally provided harassment everywhere. 
  • Bane Thralls. These guys are the MVPs of the lists. Generally slower and less threatening than the main part of the list, their sole job is to delivery themselves to Snapjaw and Erebus’ targets, thus dropping their armor and allowing powerful swings. These guys are our “Stone Tax” and its infuriating and awesome both at once. 

Now, things I didn’t so much as like. 

  • Cephalyx Overlords have so much potential with Scaverous, and I extorted their virtues for a long, long time. In the end, though, they don’t have enough anti-armor and anti-caster synergy. They can shred troops, but so can almost everything else in the list, and there aren’t that many troops on the field these days. Those troops that are on the board I want to send the Satyxis after, to scoop their souls up and eat for dinner. This often means activating the Overlords late in the turn, denying them the great spray targets while also removing their real purpose in the list. Its an anti-synergy in the list, and I didn’t appreciate it one bit. 
  • Warwitch Sirens are still good, but they clearly aren’t as good as they used to be. I didn’t hesitate for a single moment in pulling her out of the list in order to fit the Banes in. Magic 6, while appropriate, is too low to be reliable on a single model, and with Power Up making empower a little less useful, its hard to justify their existence. While the boosted to hits on the spray is good, it doesn’t really feel like its pulling the weight it should. 
  • Feast of Worms: What should be Scaverous’ signature spell is the one most likely to get him killed. at FOC 4, its so much a portion of his stack after upkeeping Soulharvester and Deathward. I’m much more likely to cast two TK‘s and sit on 2 focus than I am to toss out a Feast of Worms. This conclusion lead me to the inclusion of the Bane Thralls, and I’ve been happy since. 
  • Icy Grip in the current meta is either a game breaker or completely worthless. With the current lack of infantry, I’m often going with the latter over the former. I cast it in two situations through the 7 games, once it got me killed, the other I was unable to take advantage of it for a number of reasons. 

Conclusions

Scaverous is, by a significant margin, my new favorite spell-slinging warcaster. While I would have loved to be able to gather more souls, and I often will, the last set of games at the tournaments really struck home the lack of infantry in the current meta. I am going to continue taking advantage of that through every means necessary, flooding the field with dudes and pretending like the new edition never happened, it does put a damper on some of my once treasured abilities. Scaverous had a hard time getting souls, no matter where they were coming from, and I expect he will have the same problem going forward. 

Even through that flaw, though, he is clearly an exemplary assassin. if you get within 24″ of an arc node and within 18″ of the Croe’s, you are extremely likely to die, and that is really awesome in my book. That he can do the same thing turn after turn without needing to feat is even better. While I will be on the lookout for better assassins, this list just performs so well, without any souls, that I can’t see it being dethroned until I get to Deneghra I or some similar model. 

I’m glad I decided to play him and get a few wins on my docket before the internet shredded me. Next up, Sturgis the Corrupted, that is just going to be a straight joy. Just… Pure joy.