Tour de Cryx – The Deneghra Soul Shop – Retrospective

It has finally come to pass! I’ve gotten in 5 games with Deneghra 3. I found her to be just as enjoyable in her current incarnation as I did in her first. Though I was never able to top 14 focus in a given turn, like had in MKII, I did get a lot of focus, a lot of the time. Lets see how it all played out. 

One of the big things to come out during the playtime with Denny 3 was the Themepocalypse. With a number of New themes (Black Industries, Slaughter Fleet Raiders, and Scourge of the Broken Coast). I want to try Black Industries with her, but I was too deep and to happy with the list I’d built and was running to try something else. I think she will be powerful in that theme, but it has yet to be seen, 

Additionally, She’s just as survivable these days into a number of lists. I don’t think that she’s going to be a good drop into Cygnar, as they can remove her Shield Guards pretty swiftly, but if there are only a few guns, and a whole bunch of troops, you can probably get a way with it. She was extremely fun to play, and was very reminiscent of her old form, and it warmed my blackened heart to be brought back tot he end of MKII. 

Things I Learned

Spellward is a right pain, and its is hiding a lot of places. Its not a perfect defense to be sure, but it is a pretty large pain in the ass when you’re counting on the use of Mortality and Scourge to keep the Mechanithralls from being worthless. In many other list builds, I’ve taken my spells as a benefit, not as the method to keep the list functioning, but with the build I like the most for her, Its clearly the crutch she leans on. Without them, her whole army is MAT 5, and just can’t quite clear the fences most of the time. Its something to keep track of for future endeavors. 

This is also the time where I have to eat crow on the Brute Thralls. These bastards have pulled their weight consistently across matches. While they might not always be used for Shield Guard, they are almost always effective at punching other models so hard they explode. Two MAT 6 POW 14 attacks, or better yet Two MAT 8 POW 16 attacks are often the difference when it comes to high value models. In a number of games I’ve been able to remove multiple Cavalry models, or seriously dent warjacks and warbeasts. They aren’t the best at attacking troopers, what with their wasted P+S and their miss chance being substantial, but they do the job if needed. I’m positive that I’ll be using them in more lists, and might even find a way to shove them into Venethrax’ list.

Final List

After a couple of versions and a bit of going back and forth on what to do with the last 20ish points, I’ve settled on a version I think really lets her shine without really overburdening her. its simple, inelegant, and does what it is supposed to do well. 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Infernal Machines

Deneghra, the Soul Weaver [+27]
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Skarlock Thrall [0(4)]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Mechanithralls (min) [6]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
– Skarlock Commander [3]
Mechanithralls (min) [6]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
Mechanithralls (min) [6]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
Mechanithralls (min) [6]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
Soulhunters (max) [18]

This is the list that I wanted to try after the first two games, and I was only able to try it out once, as the last game. However, it was strong in its table presence, had a long threat on one side of the board, and threatened ambush with the other. Deathjack was the linchpin of the list, with the two flanking units creating the funnel to push the game into the center of the board where I could bring the most (remaining) Mechanithralls to bear, Deneghra had the most room to maneuver, and deathjack the most room to lurk and be scary. Its a really enjoyable set up for her, though I am sure that more ways to play her are out there. Unlike most of the casters I’ve played so far, after 5 games I barely feel like I am scraping the surface of what is available with her. 

I did try the two leviathan list, once, and while I liked it, it didn’t feel as scary as the Deathjack did, and it was more points. The same thing really doomed the Wraith Engine, which I used in all but two lists, who didn’t feel like it was bringing enough to the game. Its gameplan just wasn’t hers. 

The stalker, too, came out because by itself, its not really worth it. In pairs, they are freaking gold and worth more than their points, but on their own they have a hard time cutting it. Additionally, about halfway through the first game I realized that her soul masters is command range based, so the stalkers are never, ever getting focus from souls, so that just goes right out the window. 

Finally, and this is the part I worry about the most overall, is I traded some 9 points of Mechanithralls, including two units going from max to min, and a unit losing AD, to get to the soul hunters. I don’t know that its not just worth another unit of mechanithralls or even two units of Carrions. I’m actually really sad I didn’t think of carrions until now. They probably would have rocked house, though I would have to figure out how to get 2 more points outa that list. I’m not sure its possible. Maybe abandon the 4 points of WJP and the Deathripper. Who knows, but it would be even more people to pull out of the list. Maybe I replace a Pistol wraith with a Scarlock Commander… 

Overall Impressions

The amount of souls in the game is understated, as in almost every game, there was a point in time where I was peeling souls at a prodigious rate from the enemy, and it allowed me to save the feat for when it was necessary. Truth be told, her feat was almost always useless. I put that on her small warjack load, her pile of spell slaves and necromancers, and her ability to simply get things done every turn. Her speed and mortality, combined together, give her a fantastic threat, and when she’s not personally in danger, I don’t need a ton of souls for the next turn. The feat was good as a deterrent to the opponent, though. If they were out of their threat range, I could move into mine, pop feat, and be ready to blow them up with scourges, if necessary, while staying in a commanding scenario presence. They would be forced to either commit to a position they didn’t like, or cede ground and start loosing on scenario. It was pretty interesting.

I really like the playstyle she brings to Cryx. She has a personal threat range with her spells that extends almost to the other side of the board, and can easily drop scourges or moralities of her own off on vital targets. Her personal MAT might not be the best, but the ability to get a Mount attack and drop a scourge on someones head at point blank range makes it all kinda irrelevant. Spell ward, of course, gets in her way, but that’s fine. Few casters in Cryx don’te care about spellward in some manner.

While I love her in Infernal Machines, I have a very hard time building Infernal machines lists, and it is getting on my nerves. Most often, it starts with a unit of Mechanithralls to be used for bodyguards and bullet sponges. Due to how the game is irritatingly focused on themes as the basic and cornerstone of list building, this leads me to either in one theme, or out of theme. This then leads me to a second unit of mechanithralls, to take advantage of the theme perk, which is good and fun, but means I have to dole out more points to simply play the first unit of mechanithralls. Then, because mechanithralls aren’t really good without numbers and because most of the rest of the units in the list are pretty cheap, I end up just flooding the board with Mechanithralls. Four seemed like a good place to stop because it gives me 9 shield guards for Denny 3, if necessary. 6 doesn’t feel quite right because I need more than a turn out of them, and attrition and actual use will thin their numbers out pretty well. So, that’s 48 points in mechanithralls, just so I can feel comfortable getting maybe a turn and a half out of them. 

lastly, the SR 17 document opening up the sides of the board by eliminating killbox has had a huge positive effect on how I play her. Without needing to be in the center of the board and taking up huge chunks of real estate, I was able to swing her wide to threaten down a flank or into a caster, both of which change how the game is played. Placing her ready for turn 3 and making sure I was in the position I needed to start the game in was of high priority when deploying. 

She’s a fun caster, though I cannot really pull out the empirical reasons. Opponents don’t like Scourge, Mortality or Ghost Walk, and she packs them all together on a DEF 17 monster-dragon. It might just be that. Spell slinging monster dragons just might be my thing! 

 Strong Points

Denny 3, just like the other two versions of her character, is a pretty solid turd polisher. She does very well at taking models that aren’t really known for their aptitude or skill, and making them simply sing. In this instance, I ran models with some of the worst base stats in the game, and she made them hit both accurate and hard while being able to deny enemy healing and repair. She herself is able to push her own meger stats to become relevant in a multitude of situations from clearing zones to dropping scourge-bombs (pow 15 knockdown is pretty strong) and finally killing casters. 

Deathjack, too, shines in this list, as he is able to support the army while getting into position in ways that no other ‘Jack in the Cryxian armies camp can. Ghost walk and Mortality are great spells for him to be able to cast, in conjunction with the scarlock, to free up an absolute ton of resources on mortality. Very few casters are able to spend a single focus and get three ghost walks on to the table. 

lastly, She runs a very speedy army, even if everything is rather mediocre speed. Between ghost walk, AD’ing Deathjack and a Unit of Mechanithralls, Soulhunter speed and Ambushing Mechanithralls, she’s covering the board with threat vectors and causing headaches. I found it exhilarating to surround the enemy and have them put into a position where they have to chew through so many models. 

Problem Areas

She’s big. Real big, actually, and it causes a lot of pains in the deployment and maneuvering department. While the death of the old Ride By Attack rule is to be cherished, in this instance, I think its really worse. Many times I could not get where I wanted, how I wanted, without first activating a third or more of my army to be able to move them, or the opponents models, out of the way. This often put Denny in a bit of a position when it came to ensuring that she wasn’t going to be eliminated next turn by reprisal if things went south, so I often simply scrapped the whole plan during the think about it phase, and moved on. She can be really irritating to get where she wants to go with the new 2017 terrain. 

What I said, above, about having so many models to chew through is a bit of a double edged sword. Many times, the opponent simply has enough attackes to blunt the tide of mechanithralls significantly on a turn by turn basis. While many will still get to the opponent and take out a model or two each, it is still an uphill battle to maintain the attrition game. Making sure you focus on the opponents models with attacks that can take out more than a single model at a time, and that you’re placing your brute thralls to absorb the majority of the damage, as they likely can make it through a single attack from most sources. 

Spell ward and Blessed will also give her fits, as both her main defense and her main output are both powerful spells. Boosted attacks can often punch through  her defense, though she has more to fear from spells than she does from ranged attacks due to shield guard. Keep her protected from the threats to her, and she should serve you well. 

Final thoughts

I love Denny 3, and it makes me a bit sad that I wasn’t able to get to her earlier, or later. Her exact time came with the release of Black Industries as preview only, and this made my choices for her in the list that much more basic. She is a great caster that threatens both a 17″ spell assassination with scourges and mortalitys and plays a great, long scenario game with a ton of solos, a pile of units, and a powerful jack to hold those rectangles. Its a great list to play, and I’d still love to see more peoples favorite lists with her and hear how she plays for them. 

That is all for her, though, now it is onto Goreshade 3. Only 3 more casters to go after him! 

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