Tour de Cryx – The Mortenebra Plan – Midpoint

Well, I’m two games into Mortenebra 2, and I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed playing her. The plan is solid, though the CID changed what I wanted to start using, and I tested some wacky lists to start out here with. Lets take a look at how I’m doing. 

Don’t Believe the Internet

We’re going to get right into it here: I think the internet and the vast majority opinion on this one is wrong. Mortenebra is actually good. Do I think she’s the best caster in the stable? No. I think there are a number of better casters, but she is clearly very good. Her spell list is simple, and seems fairly boring, but its been a joy to tinker around with. 

First off, Locomotion is amazing, but only in relation to her and Deathjack. Perhaps I’m spoiled, but the synergy with her casting locomotion and then deathjack either using it on himself or setting up another model, is excellent. Deathjack is nearly never out of position, either before or after activation, and can ensure that others are never out of formation as well. 

The First list I ran with her was a CID test list that tried out a few things. 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
Mortenebra, Numen of Necrogenesis [+27]
– Deathjack [23]
– Barathrum [15]
– Deathripper [6]
– Deathripper [6]
Wraith Engine [15]
Soul Trapper [1]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Knights (max) – [16]

This list was pretty solid. Testing the Theme list game me a little bit of wiggle room, so I dropped in Barathrum as an upgrade to the Seether, and I put the Wraith engine and some banes in. Playing against a Defender of Ios list, it was pretty brutal. What I learned that game was that having two ‘Jacks that can move around the table almost at will is pretty nasty. Countercharge, Drag Below, and Locomotion from two different sources really enables a list that is more mobile that it seems on the surface. The CID models performed well enough, though there was only one spell that could be spellpierced, and I never did it due to the damage I was already putting out (Inviolable Resolve). The whole game, Mortenebra played reposition and damage buff. At that point, I realized I really wanted to make sure that the lists with her, from here on out, would have to include these two jacks for maximum shenanigans. I missed having dark shroud on an easily applicable model, as the Wraith Engine just isn’t that easy to really get where I need it. 

What she brings to warjacks is very strong. Locomotion, above, really can cause headaches. Salvage felt strangely and remarkably potent though seemed to change almost nothing, and Fail Safe is freaking amazing. Both Games they were unable to scrap Deathjack because of it, and his ability to retaliate at full strength while also gaining HP meant that the opponent had to always contribute more attacks than he initially planed on at the start of the my turn. Her feat was, when applied as I intended it, very good. I don’t use it for assassination, and I don’t think I ever will. As I explained in the Overview, its for breaking the back of the enemy. This often will involve blowing up heavy jacks and colossals. In the first game, I used the feat to tear up Imperatus, completely destroying him in 4 hits. The second game I used it to remove every heavy in the army. 

Honestly, I was stunned. Deathjack and Barathrum were doing tons of work, she was fairly safe well behind my lines except when it was time to use the feat, and she enjoyed the troops abilities to work off by themselves. What I didn’t like, even though it won me the game, was the Wraith Engine. It just took up too many points in the list that wanted a huge pile of jacks to work off of. The Banes, too, while not bad, were clearly not what she had in mind when she goes to war. They weren’t fast enough to body block for her big boys, and they weren’t really a bully enough to keep people away, which lead me to thinking about what I should do. 

Where to next?

Well. Lets take a quick look at the unit by unit. 

  • Deathjack out peformed and undersold himself. I’m not sure that I can keep him alive over a long haul of games, as they will be trying to take him out as soon as possible as time goes on and more people get used to him being on the board with her. 
  • Barathrum was the highlight of the days, and though he was eliminated swiftly in the first game, and was out of control area for a turn in the second, he still managed to hold down the fort and feel worthwhile. 
  • She clearly needs faster models. Bane Knights and Bane Warriors are hard to justify, but that extra -2 arm just makes the list sing. 
  • Deathrippers are perfect for their role, tossing out locomotions in support of the Big Turn, getting in range for Curse of Shadows, and providing that critical flank bonus on the feat turn. Additionally, their melee has been, while problematic at dice rolling, very good in theory. 

I really think that she needs to have 5 jacks, at minimum. Barathrum and Deathjack are the soul of the list, being able to wander around wherever they want. I need models, though, that will get in front of the army and provide a meat shield to hide behind. Satyxis are almost always in that camp, and perhaps more than ever, I can get work out of them against these walls and walls of Jacks I’ve seen. Carrions, are also a good, fast option, but I’ve yet to really see them get the same work completed as the Satyxis. 

Other than that, however, I don’t see much change. The Thralls are needed in the list, and the jacks are pretty solid. I do have to add one heavy to take the place of the Wraith Engine. I first thought about keeping the Seether, like I did in the second game, but I really wasn’t pleased with it. Maybe a bigger jack that has a bit more to it before it explodes. Interestingly, the Desecrator was on CID at the time, and got a pretty substantial buff, so I was pleased enough to try it out. 

So, with those thoughts, I simply went right back the the page I started at, Pre CID. A simple list that is going to be able to run interference for the big jacks, create a big armor swing, and get me into place. 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points

Mortenebra, Numen of Necrogenesis [+27]
– Barathrum [15]
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Desecrator [14]
– Ripjaw [7]
Necrotech [2]
Soul Trapper [1]
Bane Warriors (CID) (max) [15]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [3]

I am pretty sure that this list is going to do what I want it to. The Satyxis will be in front, with the jacks and the warriors behind. They’ll take the heat off the army for a turn while they are eliminated, and I’ll be able to set up my next set of turns to pick off and trade for some good pieces. Once I’ve got Deathjack into position, safe and sound, I’ll be able to pop the feat and take care of the big threat to the army and himself. 

I don’t think its too risky, and is simply a way to play Mortenebra to her strengths. Speaking of which, I want to talk about her battlegroup for a moment, as I think its a fairly critical point of her list build. 

There were many times I considered running less than the 5 jacks, and there were a number of choices I could make that would leave me with two heavies and two lights, or just a single light and three heavies. There were also a few times I considered running greater than 5 with her, with a huge battlegroup that just lets me crush the world beneath my feet. Both of these thoughts were tempting, with the smaller battlegroup being more so. I wanted to be clear, though. I don’t think she has enough power in her to focus more than a a few heavies. Three seems to be the limit, though there could be more with the Desecrator. Allocation seems to be her problem, and Three heavies allows jacks that are in position be fully fueled up without needing locomotion. I feel its simply math. 

The smaller group, however, feels like it will lead to a wasted feat. Often you have to sacrifice a jack in order to start the trades that this game requires in order to get into good position. With Mortenebra, that position is often the back breaking feat and therefore the winning maneuver. Without a third heavy to put out there as bait that they cannot ignore due to the feat, its extremely hard to get them to go for it. Additionally, if you cannot start the trading,  it is very likely that you are going to lose one of the jacks on the way in. Being able to have a backup jack that you’re able to put in as a replacement is very valuable. 

I think the next few games are going to be a ton of fun, and using this list and this new caster has been a blast. 

 

Until next time,