The Necrotechs Workshop – Goreshade 1 Post-mortem

I dunno whether or not I want to keep doing these as Tour de Cryx, or Necrotechs Workshop. I figured I’ll just write Necrotechs workshop topics on Thursdays, and splice it in with Tour de Cryx when they seem good.  This week, its kinda of a mix, as I break down what I liked, didn’t like, and can’t seem to get right about Goreshade 1. Come on in! 

The Plan

When I started out with Goreshade, the thought was to create a list that was pretty solid into most hordes and living infantry, that can also punch a bit above their weight class. I wanted to create a fairly impenetrable bunker that could absorb an alpha strike and be able to counter once it got there. I also wanted it to be resilant to standard shooting, able to drop an alpha when possible on slower enemies, sending waves while pinning them in place. 


So, how did it work out? 

This is the list

Goreshade 1
Wrong Eye and Snap Jaw 
Orin Midwinter
Darragh Wrathe
Satyxis Blood Witches x10
-Satyxis Blood Hag

I went 3-2, playing against Una 2, Siege, Morghoul 2, and Butcher 3 twice, Loosing to Una 2 and Butcher 3. I should have lost to Morghoul 3, honestly, but the dice favored me. 

The biggest problem: Positioning. This list with its dearth of models can leave wide open vectors to the caster or vital parts if you’re not careful. In the games I lost, or came close to loosing, this was the main reason. Against Una 2 I was too lazy to move my stack of focus, thinking that my Breathstealer would be safe. She was not. Against Morghoul I thought I had blocked movement to Goreshade 1 with Karn. I did not. In Butcher 3, I failed to measure to make sure that Goreshade wasn’t within 13″ of Ruin. 

I do not normally run small model count lists. normally the quantity of models and the difficulty of removing so many will buffer out semi-poor placement and allow me to probably skate by more often than not. This list, with some dozen or so total non-trooper models, is unforgiving in that aspect. Every model you loose has to be for a reason and has to be worth the loss. With no way to extend my threat range or move the army to get into a position to strike through non-linear movement, its positioning has to be excellent. I just wasn’t paying attention when I should. I lost Wrong Eye more often than I would like, well before I would like. I lost the breathstealer to dumb crap twice, and I lost jacks to models I never thought could kill them.

One of the keys to positioning is knowing your enemies capabilities and what to expect from the models on the other side of the board. I was extremely good at this in MKII, and am slowly gaining it in MKIII, but its coming along a lot slower than I had hoped. Talking it over with other people helps a lot to build that knowledge, as they often have insights into their armies which I often would never have thought about. Non-linear thinking is not my strong point.

I also was unable to really test this into more good lists than bad. This often happens when I play a list during a time I’m unable to get out to a tournament. I don’t tend to avoid bad match ups during casual play because I expect them to happen during tournaments, and gives me a chance to feel how I would perform trapped in those circumstances. Additionally, its like training with weights. Once, you’re free of those burdens its just so much easier!  Three lists being warmachine lists, in an age where warmachine lists often mean stuffing as many god-forsaken jacks in a single list and adding a unit or two (much like this list!), this spells problems for the list. Breathstealer, Darragh Wrathe and Crit Poison all affect living models. Starcrossed, Lamentation and Arcane Vortex are all indiscriminate, thankfully, so the whole layer cake isn’t completely gone. It does hurt to loose 12ish points from the list, though. 

On the more positive side, the list seems to work exactly like its intended too when I don’t mess it up and play against the proper target. Doing the math if I’d not mispositioned myself, I am fairly confident I can make it through. The bunker, as a concept, works. Lets go through the successes I had first, then I’ll bring up the failures

  • Nightmare does an insane amount of damage, if he is able to get the drop on the opponent, but that is hard with only the standard 1″ weapon range. 
  • Lamentation is completely amazing. Keeping it on all game, every game, is completely worth it. In an ADR/Specialist event, I would definitely have the Withershadow combine waiting in the wings to swap out with Darragh Wrathe for the free upkeep, giving him a bit more efficiency.
  • Darragh Wrathe is an amazing solo, and I have to try and fit his expensive 9 pt model into more lists. He seems to never die and make an impact almost every game. In those instances where he is facing off against warbeasts, he is pure gold. I’ve used him to unjam so many models with his impact attack and necroscythe followed by reposition 3. 
  • Orin midwinter is a Hardcore AF. He does more work, in every game, than I ever imagine him to do. Shooting GMCA’s with Lightning bolts. Beating Trenchers to Death with hist stick, Zapping the Legends and the Druid Wilder off the board. He simply has so much going for him even when he isn’t in the game for Arcane Vortex that I have a hard time not putting him into every list. He is absolutely my crutch, and I love that he works for both factions I play (Skorne and Cryx!)
  • I love snapjaw. He might be a bit slower (SPD 5) but he packs a whallop with Banes. P+S 20 on a warbeast is no joke. 

Now, to the unsuccessful portions

  • Positioning. As above, its not something I seem to be good at. Its got to be a focus. 
  • Wrong Eye seems invincible when facing him, but damn he just folds over when I am using him. Positioning aside, he just seems to have a huge target on his head. This is good to know because he is likely in my next two casters lists. 
  • Trading against Heavy Warjacks is pretty solid, but against 5 or more and/or Khador ‘jacks I just can’t put enough in quickly enough. P+S 18 is good most of the time, but there are clearly times where I want another armor debuff. 
  • Spread Scenarios are very difficult, as would be expected, but also leave the jack I often have to send out there compeltely stranded, as he is no longer under the affects of Shadowmancer
  • I only half like the Bloodwitches. They do the job I want them to by being stealthed and not being shot to death, but they also cost a lot of points for a unit that may or may not do anything. thinking about it, simply using carrion thralls may be the better answer, with pathfinder, stealth in the woods, CMA and better speed + repo. No, their weapons aren’t magical and blessed, but that’s probably OK. it will also free me up 7 points, which turns the slayer into something nice and awesome, like Erebus. I think that this is the segment of the army that I could do the most work on, trying out Bane Knights, Blackbanes, Croes, and other units until I found one that really works out for me. 


There is a lot of information to be drawn from the games with Goreshade 1, but two stick out more than anything. The first, is that the meta is stacked with warjacks, and if I want to be able to take them down, I am likely going to need some armor debuffs in most/every list. This is proving to be extremely painful as the quickest way to get both armor debuffs and someone to use them is to take Bane Thralls, often at 30 points for 18 of them.  I’m unable to really do that in this style of list, but even simply dark shroud isn’t going to be enough to carry me. I don’t know that casters in the faction without an armor debuff will be able to carry enough weight. 

Second, to the surprise of no one, is that I need to get better at positioning. A friend once told me that I was a good player, I just brought bad lists. I think I’ve changed a lot since then, taking better, more thought out lists with ideas that make at least a little bit of sense. Now, I’m bringing good lists, but I’m executing them poorly. I’ll need to get the threat ranges and positioning down in order to have a stronger chance at winning games, even the ones I feel I have well in hand can simply be lost with miserable positioning 

I very much enjoy the list I ran, and think I could continue to run it without tweaks, or with the few I’ve made above. Its a good list, that does its job, plays into some match ups I don’t like seeing very often, and plays a very different list than I normally play. In the future, I hope it may grace the table once again!