Tour de Cryx – The Lich2 Kingdom – Full Experience Post

While I was busy writing all the articles for Asphyxious 3, I was also playing games, and the Community decided that I was going to have to save Skarre 1 until the end of the tour, so I was stuck playing Asphyxious 2, the original Lich Lord, first. What was I possibly going to do with this paupers caster? 

Part 1

Lich Lord Asphyxious, or Lich2, is an old school caster from the days of Yore, a monster in MKI and a nighmare in MKII. He’s fallen a long way from his heights as the scourge of the world, but he’s still, due to changes in the meta, the game, and to himself, still a very powerful caster that can contribute in all phases of the game and has a number of awesome tricks up his sleeve  to make sure the opponent pays no matter what they do. He’s a great caster that won’t let you down, if you understand how he wants to play and his while toolbox. 

Initial Impressions

Gaspy 2 has a ton of layers, much like an ogre. Lets start with his offensive capabilities. 

Having just come off playing Gaspy 3, and having relatively recently played Gaspy 1, I think that Lich 2 is the least melee versatile of the three. While they all have soul cages, and are moderately rewarded for stabbing the chest of a living victim by consuming their souls, Asphyxious 1 has a weapon with sustained attack, making him more focus efficient, and Asphyxious 3 has blood boon. Lich 2 has nothing. He still has a ton of offensive potential, however.  Though his speed is low, it does enable him to teleport nearly back to his starting position. He’s got a fairly mediocre MAT, but still hosts a P+S 15, which is very strong. While he cannot get a ton of work done in melee,  his offensive spells are very strong options. Excarnate is a solid nuke with upside, enabling more models to buffer for the feat. Death Knell is a great crowd clearing spell, often pow 14 with blast 9. Parasite is, by far, the best ARM debuff out there. While there are a number ARM debuffs out there, no trick or added effect will top just one more point of arm. I had disparaged it in the past, but I’ve since come to realize that its just a better spell. While a -4 ARM swing is great, -5 just turns the whole game on the head. He’s both able to turn up the pressure on heavy armor and get at tight clumps of troops. 

Defensively, Lich 2 is one of the best casters that Cryx has in its stable. He can, if he so desires, place 3 Caustic Mist clouds and prevent charging to a broad swath of the board. He can also, if he decides, make himself unable to be charged and create a huge swath of difficult terrain as a nice side effect. Teleport, which I talked about a bit earlier, is also an amazing defensive tool. His speed 5 and 6″ teleport enables him to shuffle 11″ across the board, faster than he can run, while also casting spells and threatening zones and flags. On the other end, he can easily walk out from behind a wall, clouds or a building, toss offensive spells, and then teleport back to safety. One of my favorite spells that he, and Asphyxious 1, have. 

Asphyxious II has one of those feats that has been a legend for ages. In the new edition its had its ups and down, but its rightly settled in a pretty strong space. The history of this feat is pretty storied, and worth a little bit of telling. From his publication until well in MKII, His feat returned 10 Cryxian models as incorporeal solos. Soulhunters, Tartarus, and other strong and powerful models were favored for their speed and power. Slowly, it was picked apart. First it limited it to small and medium based models, then grunts, so no characters or UA leaders, and then finally to pulling it back to be ghostly instead of Incorporeal. Each way changed how the feat worked, but throughout it was great. With the change of editions, his feat was once again tweaked, making it a paltry d6+3. The swing potential in the feat made it completely unreliable at doing much of anything. Putting Asphyxious in a pretty dangerous position and not knowing if your going to get 4 models returned or a whopping 9 was really rough. Thankfully, it was changed to a strong d3+5. Now, with the feat as the cornerstone of his game plan again, he seems pretty solid. I think he’s been left for one of the last casters by the community for a reason, so I was looking forward to a set of great games. 

First list

One of the things I like the most about Lich 2 is that his game plan is straightforward, while still having a ton of options from turn to turn and matchup to matchup. This is my first take at a list for him: 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Host

Lich Lord Asphyxious [+28]
– Cankerworm [9]
– Deathripper [6]
– Desecrator [14]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Darragh Wrathe [9]
Machine Wraith [2]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Bane Knights (min) [9]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]

This is a list that, nearly to a model, is pulled from Aaron Wale’s Lock and Load lists. Its got speed, hitting power, and a bit of reach. Every model has its purpose. Cankerworm bounces in and out, the Deathripper delivers spells, Desecrator performs ranged control and can take down more than a few heavies at effective P+S 20 when needed. Tartarus can add models to units, if needed, but generally stands in the right spot to give +1 MAT to all of the infantry. Darragh Wrathe is an amazing piece that provides almost everything that a list needs, whenever it needs it. With his abilities to increase threat range, increase armor, and provide utility spot removal in Hellfire, he has the power to adapt to whatever the situation is. He also has the speed and melee potential, along with battle wizard, to clear out any models that manage to reach the back lines, and to top it all off, he is durable enough to take a bit of a beating, often needing boostable support to take down. The Machine Wraith and soul trappers provide Flag scoring and solid utility. 

The infantry, as with most cryx lists, are the heart and soul of the build. Bane Warriors, with 24 of them on the field, provide a threat, at MAT 7 with Tartarus, to plenty of infantry and any heavy or colossal on the board. Bane Knights provide great fodder for the feat, with fairly accurate, powerful attacks that also have a 2″ melee range, and are durable enough to require a dedicated response. Lastly, the Bane riders provide hard hitting and accurate attacks, able to take down many heavies with minimal support. Its a great list that I look forward to playing. 

Part 2

Normally, the first impression of a caster comes after 2 games, but like Asphyxious 3, this guy’s first games came at a tournament, so there were three games that I played before I was able to really tweak the list and make some changes I felt were really necessary to the caster and how I play  him.  

First Games Impressions

Three games in, I was able to make a few observations about how the list runs. 

First, I’m terrible at Cankerworm. I know he’s a good light, and does some pretty nice things, but there are two problems with him in my lists; I don’t value what he brings, and I am no good at getting work out of him beyond his points cost that would cause me to value him higher than an arc node. Sadly, he has to come out. 

Second, I really want more Bane Knights in the list. I want a full unit, but will settle for another min, one day. I do think that means sacrificing the Bane Riders, though. Removing or reducing the Bane Riders comes with its own complications (and one of the things that really, really annoys me about the current Thememachine environment). Dropping Bane Riders to min is 2 more points than increasing the Bane Knights to Max,  but I can only afford to loose 1 point from the total bane models and still keep the list, as when I lose anything more I also lose a free model, which’ll kill the list. Adding a second min unit of Knights isn’t possible either, as I don’t have anywhere else to pull points (see below). That means that I have to replace the whole unit, which I’m not really a fan of, and it would be replaced with two min units, one of each bane, in order to get the 19 points. Irritating doesn’t even seem to express the correct idea. 

Finally, the list needs a way to play into rebuke. Too often, I am getting smacked around by that one spell, and my meta is lousy with it. That means I am taking out all of the ancillary models and stuffing in Eilish, who I do not like, because he can pull off rebuke, among other spells. 

Tweaks and twists

That leaves us with the following list:

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Host

Lich Lord Asphyxious [+28]
– Desecrator [14]
– Nightwretch [7]
– Nightwretch [7]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Darragh Wrathe [9]
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist [5]
Bane Knights (min) [9]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]

This list does a couple things very differently than the list I started out with, but it really only changes a few models. Cankerworm pops out for another arc node, but the Jack Points makes it so that both are able to be upgraded to Nightwretches, who bring much needed ranged weapons to the game, great for spot clearing. The extra point that frees up, along with the extra solos turns into Eilish. This should, If this plays like I want, give me a bit of a leg up in a number of games, making it much easier to play this horde of models into debuffs. 

Part 3

Things I learned

These last two games I played after the change up felt really good. I both didn’t miss the models that were removed from the list , and really appreciated the models that I introduced, including Eilish. Lich 2 does much of what he used to, and does it very well to this day. Parasite and Dark Shroud wreck armor deeply and consistently alongside the weaponmasters and their equivalents in the list. The vast quantity of models is punishing for low model count lists, LOS denial with both Caustic Mist and Theme List clouds is strong, while still maintaining plenty of anti-infantry tools. Even the light recursion in the list, with Tartarus, Excarnate, the Feat and a pair of mini-feats from the Bane Thrall UA’s make it pretty solid at dealing with ancillary model loss on the first turn or two. Its not going to make up for major placement errors or a while volley of concentrated fire, but it is going to keep up the already massive numbers past initial contact. I absolutely love the caster, and look forward to using him in tournaments for a long time. 

Final List

The list above is the best list I have for him, at this time. There might be a stronger list out there, and I really want to test it with 12 more dudes on the board, but I’m happy where this list stands. Its a strong and capable list that is versatile, plays into plenty of archetypes. In the world of MK III, It gets enough MAT on the board to take out most dodgy targets, and had enough power on the board to take out the heavy ones. Its simply a strong list. 

Overall Impressions

Asphyxious 2 is a Cryx players Cryx ‘Caster. He’s one of the few in the list with a diverse and strong suite of tools that allow him to approach multiple situations with the correct solutions. In the past, he was able to cover almost every scenario with the correct, and very strong, tools. He’s not the powerhouse he was in those days, but he is still capable. I feel like I say this every time I get done playing a caster, but he was extremely satisfying to play. With his strong spells and powerful-enough feat, he was able to control the board in a way that many other casters couldn’t, and I think its a direct and specific design. Lich Lord Asphyxious was a powerful player for a very long time in the fluff of the game, and it does right by him to have a powerful and significant role in the game as well. I welcome his stature and power in my pairings to come. I’ll often be reaching for him if I don’t need to cover two situations that I cannot cover otherwise in my list pair. 

Strong Points

Asphyxious excels at pulling armor from the board, and can often do so with little to no risk of his own. His feat has, right about, an 19″ threat range (SPD5 +1 for Darragh, Feat 3, Charge 8+1 for Darragh, 1″ melee for the Bane Thrall), and while the Bane Knights have reach, they also have to be placed on a curve, or stacked behind each other, which often nets the same distance as it would if they were on the straight-line target. Even with a minimum feat, it can pull off almost every heavy, and with a larger feat can threaten 2 or more if they took chip damage coming in. Caustic Mist plays a great cloud wall, especially with the terrain of SR17, and in the confines of Dark Host where the clouds can trigger prowl when placed on top of troops, without causing the Corrosion. Hellbound is a great positional and situational tool that enables him to play forward for a turn or two, if needed, to put pressure on the opponent and hold a zone. as I’ve repeated over and over, he just has the tools to do whatever it is he so desires, and its a great feeling knowing that going into the match, you’ve got a shot. 

Problem Areas

While Lich2 does have a lot of tools, what he doesn’t have is the ability to use all of them every turn. Instead, he must pick and chose each round what he will protect from. Caustic Mist is the favorite paradox here when people dojo him, and other casters like him. I have heard, within the same sentence and conversation: he puts up three clouds, Hellbound, and Parasite. He just does to much! he solves everything. In the past that may have been true, and there are turns, if he gets a great soul reaper off, that it can be true in today’s world, but it rarely the case. Hellbound eats a cloud, parasite eats another, and together they eat all of the clouds he can place. Boosting to hit the parasite leaves him empty. If you want to teleport, your down a cloud on the turn. Each and every one of these tools that you want to use to keep your army and your caster safe simply cannot be used every turn all the time. Its just not possible. 

Beyond his resource problem, he is also fairly impotent on his own, and his feat relies on models being able to be returned to the board. If models are being RFP, the he starts to lose efficacy because he isn’t returning models with his feat. He is also extremely pigeonholed in the lists he runs, and therefore the theme he plays, because his feat models must be worth it. Cephalyx, Thralls, Satyxis, and living pirates do not often have the individual bang for the buck in enough of a numerical weight to bring to bear well on the feat turn, and he also will lose excarnate targets with a number of themes. Sadly, this leaves him with only the Dark Host theme to play in. This is perfectly fine, as the theme is great for his purposes, but it stifles list creativity when he’s terrible in nearly every other theme. 

Final Thoughts 

Playing Lich 2 really gave me a better appreciation on how strong he really is, and how much his style fits my style of play. I wish I had played more with him in his super-phase in MKII, but I had a different goal at that time. These days and ages, I like pushing around powerful stuff, getting my face beat in and beating others. Lich 2 is great for that. He’s strong and fun, and I will likely be putting him into my pairings once I am done with the tour. 

I give him one of the best ratings in the faction, only slightly below Denny 1, Scaverous and Coven, easily topping the rest of the faction

Rating: 9.4

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