This years main focus, gaming wise, was the Tour de Cryx, and though at times i had extreme doubt about whether or not I was going to be able to finish it, I made it to the end with plenty of time to spare. Its a great feeling, but now what? First, I have to look back in order to look ahead.
First, I want to thank everyone who gave input or even simply enjoyed the articles. It was great to interact with so many cool people over the course of the year. Second, I want to say that this is likely to be a little bit rambling. I’m just gonna let my thoughts wander, type as I think, and get the general thoughts out about the whole thing. Should be fun!
One of my biggest strengths at the end of MK II was the sheer, unadulterated knowledge I had about the game. I knew almost everything that could be known about the game, and was able to recall it with pretty regular accuracy. During a game, under the pressure, i could and did make mistakes and lost plenty of games, but I was able to push through most times and simply know my way into a victory. It was pretty cool, and it made up for my serious lack of positional and tactical acumen. With the new edition, all of that was out the window. everything I knew about the game, about my faction, about the rules was all invalidated with a single stroke of the pen. It was pretty shocking and intimidating to be put in that position, and I didn’t really know what to do about it.
Right after the start of the new edition I pulled out some of the models I’d not used in forever, ones that I wanted to give another shot in the new edition. Coven, Terminus. A friend asked me to play Goreshade 2. I did all of that, but I’d not felt that I knew what was good, and what wasn’t, and even what I was looking at honestly. My faction, even as long as I’d been playing, was a mystery. I decided that what I needed to do in order to get my head around the game was to play the whole roster of casters. I didn’t need to play them all long, just long enough to get a flavor of what they liked and dislikes, what models really rung and what felt worthless. And, I figured, why let myself chose what casters to play. Why not let the community, the Cryxian Community, help me figure it all out.
So, that’s where I started. A simple way to get through the casters of the faction to learn how the faction functions in this strange world that is this new edition. At the end of it all, I have to say It really did what I wanted it to. I’ve played casters I never would have, tried tactics I didn’t want because it fit the caster, and played almost every model in the faction, excepting four: Black Ogrun, Helldiver, Mobius, Bloat Thrall. I’ve become familiar enough with what models wan’t and don’t want in a caster and in a list, and what they need in internal synergies in order to maximize their use in the list. I have an in depth knowledge of the faction in a way, even in the past, I never, ever did. Its refreshing and enjoyable, and I think it puts me on a path to be both a better competitive player and a better casual player, which was really the end goal of the whole process.
What added variety and chaos to that process, in order to keep it interesting the entire time, was the community input. From the very first time I put up the poll in the Cryx and Seething Ginger Facebook Group and saw the immediate results, I knew I was going to be in for a treat. The first caster they picked was Sturgis 2, the worst caster in the faction during the entirety of MKII and arguably just as bad now. From there, everyone went on a spree. Agathia, Mortenebra II, Deneghra II. It was a who’s who of the bottom of the barrel. It was interesting, though. I learned a lot with those casters, laying the foundations of the faction as a whole. From there, the community continued to move its way up the ladder of casters, until I ended up playing some of the best casters at the end of the road. It was a surprising boon, as the casters I had expected to fail with, I had, but their failures and their trials put me in a better position to understand the faction as a whole so that when I got to the stronger casters, I felt much more confident as a player. It was a difficult road, but I enjoyed it.
It was a long road, to be honest, and a lot of the rules changed as the game wen’t on. Themes were released early in the year, but only a few at a time. Battle engines were revamped and updated, as well as a number of models in the Faction under the Dark Host CID. By the time July hit, lists and reasons I had played those lists were off the table due to changes to a few units. By September, we’d been given a great heap of themes and were expected to play in them the vast majority of the time, if not all the time. By then end of the year, Cryx also had a major revamp of Deneghra 2, a new caster go through CID in Skarre 3, and a whole slew of new models prepared to release. There are plenty of experinces that I have had that I can’t rely on in this new, theme based world. Lists that need to be redone, casters that have changed and even rules that no longer function in the way they once did. I have a lot of catching up to do list-wise, having been focused more on casters than I was on competing in tournaments and winning accolades. While I am never going to consistently win tournaments, I am very good at going 3-1, and its something I want to try and do a few more times here soon.
The future of Cryx seems pretty solid. Ghost Fleet, despite a lot of words to the contrary, isn’t likely to completely vanish. It’s been toned down, but I still see it having a lot of use. Recursion without penalty is pretty strong. Additionally, I don’t expect the RFP that is prevalent to keep its relevancy when the Ghost Fleet slides out of the boogeyman spot, allowing it to sit in the middle to high tiers for a while. I’m also excited to play the new Deneghra II, when she comes out in a CID drop, and Skarre 3 looks like an interesting and strange caster, one I look forward to getting a bunch of games in with.
The Tour immersed me into the game in a way I’d never been before, and allowed me to pick up casters I never would have otherwise. Though the community was cruel to me in the voting process, it isn’t something I regret. I don’t know that I would have been able to put myself through some of those casters without some sort of incentive.
During the whole process, I realized that I kept saying that the caster was fun to play, even when they were really miserable power-level wise, and that got me to thinking about what made casters bad, what made them good, and what made them simply enjoyable casters to play, and the answer isn’t even a remote epiphany, but it often comes down to two things: Options, and efficiency. Casters that ride the line along the high end of both are going to be strong, powerful casters, while ones that ride the low end of one of the two will often be fun, but not very good. Its only when you get to the low end of both options and efficiency that you end up in an area where a caster is both unfun to play and weak, and its often why low focus casters feel so strapped and miserable. Sturgis II and Aiakos 2, for example, both have middling options with moderate to weak efficiency, and very much feel hindered by it. A little tweak in design is all it would take, just a little efficiency I don’t have to pay real points for would be much appreciated.
Having played, in addition to all of my casters, nearly all of my models, there are a few that are standouts in the faction that don’t always get the recognition they need, though their use may be restricted now that we have 6 Cryxian Sub Factions, and the models in them can’t be compared to models outside their list in a realistic way.
The first standout is the Carrion Thralls. These guys were simple and pure gold to me in nearly every list. When list composition wasn’t restricted by the themes, I would often have to balance the points cost of Satyxis Raiders and Carrion Thralls, and for me the Carrions, even with one extra point, were often the better choice, with more bodies, a similar, if not as extreme defense, and a tiny touch of recursion. Satyxis could be used when the caster needs some extra killing power, and the Carrions would be used when you needed some troopers to jam into position.
Second, is Deathjack. In nearly every instance that I played him, I was glad to have a giant, meatfisty bastard that I could have hang out in the back, pick off models with his spell-gun, and towards the end of the game, drop him into something juicy and mop up. He is expensive, but nothing else in the faction brings that level of sheer, unmitigated brute force. I’ll often stick him in a list without as much debuffing as I find to be tastefull, as his P+S 18 fists act like their own, innate +-2 to armor.
Last is the solo I found most using, and here we slide all the way down the scale to the lowly Soul Trapper. With the new SR2017 rules, I found it much easier to keep him safe, happy and in a position to provide the three souls to the caster a turn, which was pretty great. In lists that have multiple ways to collect souls, it could become a problem, but more often than not these guys would provide a few souls, capture a flag for a point and/or contest for half a turn later on. They were totally worth it and are worth in it ever list [sighs] that they are available in theme for. I was happy to have them almost every game.
My goals with the game, though the tour was awesome, will likely be more hobby related this year. I want to get all of my casters painted, As I’m behind by a significant margin, and I want to finish off some more of my converted models and units to fully painted. I am not looking forward to painting a number of 10 man units, including Bane Warrior Templars, Undead Cutthroats, Viking Blackbanes, Blighted Trollkin Marauders and 20 Carrion Thralls. I need to get them done and out of the way, though, so that I can enjoy the continuation of the faction.
What are your goals with 2018? What do you want to know about the Tour? Would you ever consider doing one?
Let me know!