For a certain segment of players, Lock and Load brought out a bunch of cool previews. Theme force Previews were among the largest, with Cryx, Legion, Khador, and Blindwater Congregation getting the most information regarding future themes. Additionally, it was revealed that each faction would be getting a model around Christmastime, hopefully every year, to ease a bit of the pain of not getting something on a regular basis. While many of these things were cool, I’m really excited about the Cryx stuff, because its what I am going to play. Lets take a look!
Lets start off the the Factions of Christmas spoiler, because that is the one that is least, though pretty solidly, connected to the Sharde Island Theme forces.
Agrimony, Crone of the Dying Strands
Talking with Doug and a few others at the show, Agrimony is going to be one cool character. First off, she’s a spirit, so she’s going to be incorporeal. Second, and this is pretty awesome, there is no way for her to break out of Incorporeal on her own, which means she can affect the battle without being vulnerable. I think that’s going to be pretty awesome. She is also a Revenant, meaning that she can play in the Ghost Fleet theme. If that tag holds, that also means that she will, if she has any Magic Attacks (she can’t have melee or ranged as they break Incorporeal) she would get the +1 from Captain Rengrave, though I doubt that she has any. Speaking of Rengrave, she is supposed to be like an evil Genie in a bottle (you can see the skull bottle at the bottom) that is “owned” by Rengrave, though he does lend the bottle out. That is a cool piece of fluff that adds to both Rengrave and Agrimony.
She has a few solid abilities – Undead and Incorporeal are both pretty obvious and apparition has obvious applications as well as not being to surprising. It’s her last two abilities, and any more she may have hiding, that are really neat. Creating Terrain is extremely broad, and could be any of the standard abilities we have seen: Shallow Water, Elevation or even a wall template, to something more left field like rough terrain, forest or even large obstacles and structures. The relevance of that ability will determine her points cost but honestly, if its about 4-5 points, or even 6, its a large boon to the Ghost Fleet simply for the added freebie model. Finally, as spoiled, she has the ability to remove tough. This one is tricky to place in the right category because its going to be situationally awesome, but sometimes simply dead space on her card, and could be extremely worth while or not useful at all depending on the size of the bubble that I assume will be tied to her Command. All in all, I’m looking forward to seeing her full rules next month (August CID is Christmas CID), and getting to play her from there.
Now, onto the awesome stuff
Last year, I complained to Soles that I was really missing the fact that Cryx didn’t have a set of their own, living, pirate crews. He told me then that he had been writing their rules just that day. Well, the day to reveal them has come!
-Sharde Island Pirates
Man, do these seem like fun. We don’t really get a lot of information on the unit, to be honest. We know that they are a Skirmish unit, so I expect Def 13 or 14, and low armor. Reposition isn’t out of the question, but we won’t know that until the CID comes up. Their weapon, the Deck Sweeper, is really cool. I had wondered how they were going to be different from Revenant, Blackbanes, Sea Dogs, and Press Gangers without being irrelevant. I think Deck Sweepers do that. With Spray 6, which isn’t particularly far but does increase the reach of the unit buy 2.5 ” which is solid, and Crit Fire, even if we have no other information it looks to be a good gun. Sprays are some of the best ranged weapons out there. With the rest of the stats, we can make educated guesses: Speed 6, MAT 5, RAT 4, Gang, DEF 13 ARM 12, but that is it at this time.
We do get a lot of information, though no model – unless its the Big Boy at the end, for the obvious UA for the unit. I could be wrong, but I don’t know of a single mini-feat on a standard unit, and I sure don’t think units come equipped with Tactics, they would just be rules. Their mini-feat is amazing, honestly, though I see it being the secondary reason you take the UA. AD is great for Cryx on a unit that has strong offensive potential and/or solid defensive tech. This unit looks like it has both.
Provided speed of 6, the minifeat threatens 30 Inches of the board on the bottom of 1. I don’t assume that it will often be the best move but with Feign Death on their card I am also making the educated guess that they are tough. This unit could be an awesome first strike, sacrificial roadblock that causes a ton of headaches for the opponent.
Sharde Dirge Seers
This is an interesting model because the word unit seems to indicate it could be a 3 model trio, but it could also be a moniker for a solo. I think I would prefer this as an actual unit, though. As a solo, I don’t know what slot it could take, and what stats it would have. Breaking down the abilities above, it has some interesting combinations. Battle Wizard with Puppet Master could be really interesting, and Summon Vortex is completely in line with the cloud theme that Cryx seems to be having lately. Hex bolt is a great spell, powerful and dangerous, especially with a defense debuff to allow them to hit with their paltry RNG and Magic 6. Riposte is interesting, though it won’t trigger Battle Wizard, which is fair but disappointing. In order for riposte to be worth while the Dirge Seer would have to have a pretty significant defense (15 or higher) and a strong MAT (7 or more). Without the threat that the ability is going to be useful, it’ll just be wasted space on her card. I think the potential is there, though, to be an interesting model. Three point combat solos seem to be extremely good (Trapperkin, Allegiant of the order of the Fist), so they could be uniquely powerful in the faction.
– Jusika Bloodtounge
Be still my dreadfull heart! I love Bloodgorgers, and I asked for them and Gerlak for a long, long time before I saw them on the table. For a few short, glorious months, they were unstoppable, but then MKII came, and they were only solid. The end of MK II saw their rise again, but with the advent of the third edition, they have been relegated back to the dustbin. I hope that Jussika means both that they will get new life via rules and a revitalization in their dated and expensive models. (PS, I just now noticed the blighted Pyg. sweet… )
If the Bloodgorgers remain the same, rules wise, I don’t know that Jussika can save them, but she does try very, very hard. Vengeance is a great ability on a unit with tough, as simply damaging them will trigger. Normally, tough does not synergize well with Vengeance, but they were thinking of that when they gave her Tactics: Rise, which thankfully remains even in the strange event that she is removed, because she has Sucker. Sucker is pretty awesome, but can be a detriment. Prior to Andrei Malakov – and maybe even as a nod with him, it was only given to models that portrayed lust for the character: Madelyn and Hawke. To have it with Jussika is pretty rad, even evil trolls have desires. Its not voulentary, though, so it also imparts her using her bloodgorger cadre to deliver herself to the enemy. She better have some awesome rules in order to validate that. It does, however, Trigger vengeance, which is a pretty cool synergy as well. She seems like she could do some work in an army that could figure out how to deliver her.
Black Ogrun are a dark spot on my otherwise pretty positive view of Cryx Models, even from the start. With the reduction in wounds to 5, and the curse of tough that came in Third, I’ve had even less reason to play them. And their models are old and kinda not my thing. I would love to see a resculpt to go along with the Smog Belchers, here.
And these Guys look freaking cool! I don’t expect it to be a 10 man unit, but to be, like the other Ogrun in Cryx, a 3/5. Unless the points cost is absurdly high, I see them performing admirably on the field.
The only thing we know about them, though, is their gun. RNG 12 is excellent, especially for Cryx. If they retain the faster SPD of 6 on their compatriots, they will have a range of 18″, which is not insignificant. Their RAT will be demonstrably poor, probably 4 or 5, but with an AOE 4 and P+S 13, they are going to be solid rivals to the Bloat Thralls for ranged output, and that is just the cannon without its two abilities! Magical Weapon and Bitter ash are both abilities that won’t be used all the time, but they will be critical when they do. Magical damage means that blasts can often take down Blackbanes and Pistol Wraiths in the mirror match, and they can be used to bring down Protectorate Jacks under passage. Until now, passage has really been a secondary thought when protectorate players were lining up against Cryx, but with some solid ranged units becoming a Cryx staple, it will likely be a consideration, and now the Smog Belchers don’t seem to care. Bitter Ash is a really cool ability, and one that alongside the Dirge Seer and the Blood Hag could really bring the Cryx faction into an Anti-healing role. Tough is healing (removing damage), as is regeneration, Hyper regeneration, and forced healing from casters. Interestingly, you just need to tag a warbeast once with this to prevent the caster from healing it to full force prior to its activation. It won’t help out all the time, as some models can move and then be healed, but on Huge Based models and other regenerating monsters (Typhon, Mountain King, etc) it could be a big swing. I’ll like to see the rest of the stats before passing judgement, but I am hesitantly excited.,
What a great concept! An undead Gibbet that collects corpses, is immbobile, and can turn it into focus? Yes Please!
I’ve always been jealous of the protectorates Wracks, and getting our own, necromantic version makes me pretty happy. Again, like the Smog Belchers, we don’t really have a lot of information. I can see this being pretty much everything the model does, though. Immobile, maybe defended in some way (when it has corpses it has stealth?) or something, but this is pretty much all I need. Distant Deployment (up to 22″), corpse collection of friendly and enemy living (maybe undead) models within 7″, and the ability to turn them into focus seems fine by me. The only breaking point is if the model is only able to collect enemy corpses. If that is the case, its likely an unnecessary model at 2 points, and only the barest consideration at 1. I have low hopes, but high expectations for this model. It has such potential.
The Commanders of the Fleet
Well, I thought I was done with Jussika. Axiara Wraithblade is one of the models I’ve been crying for since Superiority, when she was noted in a table alongside Skarre Ravenmane as an Admiral in the blackfleet. I love character models, and I love character models I’ve been waiting for even more. This one looks like she’s got some excellent abilities to go along with her model.
Tactician is the best way to cheat in the game, bar none. the ability for a group of models to move through each other is amazing, and with models this fast and nimble, its going to be a great boon. Battle plans, as a Skorne Player, are very, very strong. I assume Relentless is Relentless Charge, and That is a solid order. Throat Cutter I feel I should know, but I just can’t place. Quick work is the one that has me thinking the most, though, especially combined with Black Spot. In Theme, it seems like you have Black Ogrun, Smog Belchers, and Sharde Pirates. Out of theme it seems like Revenant Crew could get something done, possibly, but we will have to see if its living only. I assume it is. I feel she’s going to be a 5 or 6 point character solo and really going to be a model that you have to make the decision to include outside of the theme, but within the theme will both be free and effective.
Next up, as a bonus to Axiara, are resulpted Satyxis Raiders. These new Sculpts look fantastic, and I’m really glad that Doug is getting a shot at re-doing them. He really hit the Gypsy asthetic that he was going for, and man, will the new Sea Witch be much better to store! I cannot wait to get a hold of them. Anyone looking for metal ones I’ve got a bare metal unit I’ll be looking to rid myself of here in the next few weeks!
-Skarre, Admiral of the Blackfleet
Finally, we reach the Pinnacle of the Black Fleet, the Captain and Admiral of the whole set, Skarre Ravenmane. While her model might be a little over the top, I really like it, with cannons, broken mast, Satyixs crew and all. I don’t look forward to having to paint her, but playing her, if she remains close to the current form, will be a blast.
Her cannons, though impressive, are less impressive than the smog belchers, though these can be boosted, so there is that. I don’t expect that there will be a ton of melee prowess on the boat, but I could be wrong. Hopefully the Cannons have Reload 1 because with a crew of Satyxis on board, I think that would be both characterful and appropriate. Guided fire needs to be appropriate to cast some time, right? Thankfully, all her spells that are previewed above, and they might have more, who kows, are great. Each of them gives a benefit to a specific chunk of the army at a certian time, and timing them all to get the greatest effect will likely differentiate between novice Skarre 3 players and the masters. Deceleration is a spell that I asked for a long, long time ago as a delivery service for our jacks, and I think it still works. Getting some of our more ranged centric jacks a boost to survivability and a more reliable ranged presence seems like it could really be strong.I mean, who doesn’t like an ARM 21 Inflictor?
Draconic Blessing coming to Cryx is likely the reason that Scything touch changed. I don’t know that I like it better that way, but it does make Skarre pretty solidly immune to Legion Shooting death. Finally, Dash is an amazing spell for warriors everywhere, and Speed 8 Satyxis seem like they should be a thing, as should speed 7 Sharde Pirates. Immunity to free strikes without needing ghostly is also an amazing thing. I’m liking what I see, and I think she could be really enjoyable to play as our second caster.
The last point, and this is that of her feat, which along with Agrimony, was spoiled during the Live CID pannel. Supposedly, it will enter testing as her being able to take a point of damage to cast a spell from her spell list, with each spell being cast once. While I can see this being really useful in certain, very extreme situations, I can also seeing it never being used in some games. Realistically, there are also spells on her list that we’ve not seen, including a nuke, either 2 or 3 cost.
While I am really pleased with many of the spoiled abilities above, I am also very aware that those models are going to go into CID before being finished, with all of the abusive and busted combos beaten out of them for more realistic, simply powerful combos. I do look forward to testing the models, though, and providing feedback on them both in the Christmas cycle and the Sharde Islands Cycle. What about you? Are you looking forward to the Sharde Pirates? Do you see any potential abuse or limitations that I’ve not? Let me know, I’d love to talk pirates!