Tour de Cryx – The Mortenebra Plan – Retrospective

Well, Here we go. 

This is one of the fastest I have ever turned around a caster, and I’m pretty happy with it. Is Morty 2 perfect? Nope, but she is really fun, has some great tricks, and feels good. 

Following the CID in the overview and the settling down of the list during the midpoint review, I really got into a groove with how Mortenebra was playing. I’d played two Ret armies, both of which were solid, and I had learned a lot. I’d decided to play her fairly close to what the original intention was when I saw her spoiled for the last three games I had. 

The Final List

However, the CID introduced some more changes, and I had to get a least one game in there with set defense on the Bane Knights and the new Desecrator. That game ended up being against Karchev Rockets, a list with 5 jacks and 6 rocketeers. It was pretty brutal, and though I lost, I learned a lot from it. First and foremost, was that I needed to have a bit of extra push in the list. I wiggled some things around, Pulled some math, and ended up on a list I really liked, Sadly, the CID of the week before the games, the Bane Warriors went up in cost, and I completely forgot about it. The problems with CID. 

This, is that list (that is no longer possible, but man) 

Mortenebra, Numen of Necrogenesis [+27]
– Barathrum [15]
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Deathripper [6]
– Nightmare [18]
Bane Warriors (CID) (max) [15]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [3]

This list is Sexy as hell. I recommend it to anyone who can figure out how to play it. Nightmare provided that extra bit of oomph against lists that needed it, allowing me to sacrifice him and still keep deathjack up and running if needed. The Warriors provided dark shroud, and the Satyxis covered the advance. Its a truly great list. My plan is to shuffle in the Knights instead of Warriors, but loosing out on that -2 arm debuff is pretty huge. 

Overall Impression 

Honestly, I really like playing Morty 2. She was in peril a lot, she lost a pair of games on poor attrition plays, and she has a large base with all the baggage that comes with it. That said, her suite of tricks is more fun than I originally gave it credit for.

Fun is well and good, we all know and love our favorite casters. But what she brings to the table is also very important.

At Def 14 arm 17 with 19 wounds, she’s actually durable. a pair of focus protects her from all the most egregious of POW10’s. With Speed 6 , Pathfinder and Steady, she ends up keeping her defense almost all the time, if not higher, wherever she wants to be on the board. her personal power is such that if she is threatened by any warrior model on the board, she is extremely likely to be able to simply pluck two up for souls. Without her feat, though, sheer damage potential and accuracy deserve only lackluster remarks. She is clearly here to support the army.

Of all her spells, the one I was most excited for, Spellpiercer, I only got to cast one time out of five games, and that didn’t even net me the yardage I wanted. Instead, It benefited only a single model, and I failed to spike high enough to take out the colossal. More than anything, She is focus strapped, and feels like it. Deathjack makes you want to cast Locomotion every turn for awesome results, pushing jacks 3-6″ up the board or into better positions. Barathrum makes you want to punish the enemy for daring maneuvers or out of position models using counter charge and drag below to enable better positioning in the future. 

I used every spell on her card, some only once, over the course of the 5 games, and I think they helped me be in stronger positions every time. I use Arcantrix Bolt to prevent counter-charge, I used Spell Piercer to nullify Arcane Shield, Curse of Shadows for Debuff Stacking, and Locomotion to be everywhere I wanted to be. Fail-safe was clutch in nearly every game. I will say that I sometimes stuck to the plan way to much, and had moments where I would have preferred failsafe to be somewhere other than DeathJack, because he was way out of harms reach. 

The feat, though. When set up properly it is back breaking, and if you get the chance to commit two jacks to individual targets, I would use it. It can be held too long, though, and will be absolutely worthless when you’ve only got a single jack and Mortenebra is across town. I cannot, though, commit enough praises to it when it is used correctly, timed correctly, and simply wins you the game because nothing left can bother you. 

So, the caster herself is good. She’s durable enough, has  no reason to be up front, and stands out as someone able to direct and coordinate the movement of jacks on the table. 

The nature of those jacks, however, prove a problem. Deathjack, the bully of the group and the hardest to take down, is only an innate ARM 19 with 32 boxes. They are both respectable numbers, but he’s got a really big bulls eye on his face with a points cost to match, losing him early or without great sacrifices on the opponents part will be disastrous to the plans. Nighmare hits as hard, but is easier to remove. Barathrum moves around as easy, but both doesn’t hit as hard and is easier to destroy. 

These jacks are why I’m pretty confident that the army needs a solid screen. I often reach for the Satyxis Raiders when I want a viable, useful, and difficult to dislodge screen, and this time was no different. Running ahead of the jacks and forcing engagement on my terms is exactly what I need them to do in order to put pressure on the opponents army in the exact areas that I need to. Dictating the flow of battle, with fragile, powerful jacks, is how I feel she has the maximum impact on the game. 

Problem Areas

all of that said, there are still problems that Mortenenbra will suffer from. While she is durable, she isn’t safe from concentrated fire or a full charge. it only takes a good 2 or 3 boosted shots to pull her off the board, given bad luck. This means that she, like many casters in the game, has to be cagey and hide whenever possible. in 2016 this is fairly easy, provided you get a good table, and should be better in ’17, but if you get shafted it on terrain it will make for a swift and often unforgiving game. With the speed she provides and the maneuverability she brings to her battlegroup, I wouldn’t worry about going second if it means having trees or a building to hide behind. these days, walls aren’t enough. Keep her safe, outside of any threat ranges but the longest of guns, and you should be fine. She is definitely one of the casters that will benefit from the change in Killbox from 14″ to 12″ come SR 17. 

Her feat timing, though I talked about it above, is also a problem. Knowing when and how to apply the feat and making sure that it is worth using is a huge decision point. Blow it early, and you may not have enough oomph to push through to the end. wait to long, and you won’t have the models to pull it off. Its a delicate balance, but one I think presents itself obviously most of the time. 

Focus, unsurprisingly, is an issue. She never has enough, and when she needs to cast critical spells just doesn’t have enough to do everything immidiately. If you see a big target, as I learned, Sacrifice an arc node to get Curse of Shadows on it quickly. only having to spend 1 instead of 4 on the critical turn to apply that debuff is absolutely a must have. You very much can live the dream of a Deathjack getting into melee with an Arcane Shielded, Invincible Stormwall and destroying it from further away than it seems, but you need to have Curse of Shadows out there first. 

Locomotion can tempt you to be sloppy in your play, which isn’t a good thing. You can often make up a half inch or inch with no problem, but this means that you weren’t playing right when you were placing the models on your turn. Locomotion should be a threat extender, not a mistake corrector. 

Final Thoughts

Internet: Thanks. Though I know most of you voted for Mortenebra out of spite, like you did for Agathia, Sturgis 2 and now Denegrha 2, she has been one of the most fun casters I’ve played in a very long time. I got to use and appreciate Barathrum, Deathjack and Nightmare all together, as well as find the joy in the hit and run tactics that she can employ. Her playstyle is enjoyable, her army list is interesting, and she plays very different from many of the Cryx casters I have played over the years. 

I enjoy playing her, and look forward to a time when I can tinker with some different builds, trying different setups and seeing what nearly a month of playing her could accomplish. She takes a little bit of getting used to, and a touch of remembering all her abilities when the time comes to use them all, but she is an all around caster that has a lot of interesting, fun plays to be had. 

Until next time – The Start of Agathia, 

Jonathon