Last week, the CID went live for the Cryxian Black Fleet, and man, it seemed pretty cool. Things were pretty quiet, compared to other cycles, so it was very sudden that the update went live today, and what an update it was!
I went over my thoughts on the original themes here, but come in to discuss what happened this week once your done reading!
While I generally like the CID cycles we have had before, this cycle, this single update and the week prior, have been extremely stressful for me. I want my faction to be good and fun, and I don’t want it to be a heap of garbage. The start of MK 3 is still a very fresh wound, and its shadow lingers over all I say here.
The first change is an interesting one that affects many models over the whole of the game, on both sides of the Hordes/Warmachine aisle: Unyielding. Currently, Unyielding grants a +2 bonus to ARM against all attacks, as long as your engaging an enemy. With this proposed change, we would be making the rule to read much simpler: +2 to ARM against Melee attacks. I think this is a better rule by far. I had a case, just this week, where I had a model engaged in melee with an enemy, giving me the benefit of the rule, and I was being sprayed and still got the +2. Its strange, its fiddly and I think this recreation of the rule is very smart. It has downsides, to be sure, but I think its got some very strong reasons to stay.
Next we moved onto the Cryx Changes
Skarre, Admiral of the Black fleet had a few changes going into her.
I was pretty happy with her, and though that, if anything, her damage output needed to be scaled back. I liked the durability of a giant boat, and wanted to see her be one of our first survivable casters since ’06ish when Terminus came out. It would be a cool change of pace. They decided to chip away at that durability but in a very modest and fair way.
Her defense was lowered from 13 to 12
Her damage boxes lowered from 28 to 26
She also had her warjack points reduced, which makes sense for the type of model she has to be in order to work correctly.
Bulldoze was cut due to weird interactions, which I support.
Admonition was cut to help peel back her personal survivability, but they gave Cryx access to a nautical themed slip-stream, which is pretty clever, and I support. I also like not having an upkeep on her personally, meaning that she gets more out of the Blood Priestess.
Deneghra 1 was further nerfed. I don’t think its warranted with the changes already made to her, and having it exist it could even make room to roll back a portion of her changes from last week. Deneghra has always been a back breaker, and I think its fine to have casters of that power level in the game. I do like that she can no longer fit 2 nodes + 2 stalkers in every list because the points just shake out that way. Maybe put back on no running, or no special attacks. I could see it working. Not being able to charge under the feat should stay, though, as its a solid way to make sure she’s not overbearing in every aspect of the game.
Deneghra 2 Was changed to make her feat not affect herself. I am a bit sad to see it go, because I was looking forward to two turns of incorporeal making her a viable threat for a bit, but it seems like its not to be. I’m overall OK with this change though, as two turns of incorporeal on a caster could very well be a back breaker for some armies, and she has plenty enough tools.
A Wild Kharybdis appears! in a method of giving and taking away, Kharybdis has now had gunfighter added to his rules and he’s had his PC reduced to 17. I think he is in great company, there. Its a strong piece with multiple threat vectors and doesn’t get shut down by his own weapons. Well done.
Black Ogrun had a simple change to drop their MAT to 6 after the addition of gang. This change is highly reasonable, and makes sense with their new abilities. I don’t expect any unit to gain gang without a subsequent reduction in at least their base MAT. With their current MAT and their viable P+S after gang, I think the unit is in a good spot. I don’t see many lights in the game, though, so I could be undervaluing the power of drag. We will see.
Black Ogrun Iron Mongers Their stat line was brought into parity with the rest of the black Ogrun, and they are now 13/15. makes sense. I like it. Its nothing big but it makes keeping the stat lines in my head a bit better.
Black Ogrun Smog Belchers These guys had their RAT reduced to 5 and their Ranged POW reduced to 13. I think the POW reduction is cute, but has only a slight impact, so I’m fine with it. Blast damage stays the same, but those few times that the target is actually hit it makes a touch difference. It definitely pulls it back from damaging heavy armored targets. The RAT change hurts, because RAT 5 is hard to stomach on any unit, but its probably fine for models that can shit out clouds every turn, even if moving through the cloud is hard.
BloodGorgers!! These guys getting put in here seemed inevitable, but it is expanding the scope of the test way broader than I like. They have simply been poked a little bit to make them more accurate and much more likely to do their job in melee, when they get there. . Upping their MAT to 7, and hitting 8 with Gerlak around, is welcome. I think its a great change. It makes them a true and viable threat against enemy infantry.
Blighted Trollkin Maurauders: These guys got a slight tweak downward, loosing Unyielding and CRA. I think CRA hurts more than unyielding, and I think I would prefer that Gerlak (see below) lost Veteran Leader, and the Marauders gained +1 RAT. RAT 6 is where its at, even with CRA gone. Overall, the unit is probably in a good space now. Gerlak and Jussika really turn them up to the point where I think they are great in almost every phase of the game.
Revenant Crew of the Atramentous. So, lets talk about stirring the pot. PP really did a number, on the Pirates, reaching out and sliding a knife across the throat of the Ghost Fleet. It was both one of the first themes released and one of the most derided at the time. Now, its sitting in a position of prominence, and it seems like it needs to go.
Both changes, Speed to 5 and loosing Point Blank, seem like reasonable changes, but vastly change what the unit will be able to accomplish on the table. Together the nerfs will likely put an end to ghost fleet because no one will take it when Dark Host is around to hit harder, and sometimes more accurately, and all three other infantry themes are faster. . Between the changes to Deneghra 1, and the changes to the Rev Crew, I would be surprised to see Ghost Fleet in any tournaments.
(update! They reversed the change to speed the day after it was announced, and though I don’t think the loss of Point Blank makes sense, it is a first step)
Satyxis Gunslingers. These guys were doingfine, but had a bit more versatility than they did before, with their Heart Seeker, Ghost Shot, and Black Penny. Now, they’ve lost Ghost shot, and replaced it with the returned and fairly unworthy Feedback, changed heart seeker to only be signs and portents for Damage, which is likely fine, and then upped their Cost, which feels overbearing. Nerfing models in three ways in a single update doesn’t seem like its going to promote people using the models. I expect they won’t get used to much during the CID, but will be used, because its one of few options, in the Scourge theme. 8 points might be right, but I don’t know. needs testing.
Scharde Dirge Seers: Too expensive for their abilities, they saw a reduction in price to 6 points, which is probably about right. I like where they are at, and find the abilities they bring to Cryx a breath of Fresh air. I really wish that they were available in more than one list, though, and one focused on infantry so heavy. I don’t see their guidance being really worth it in many Slaughter Fleet lists.
Axiara Wraithblade: Corrected Timing of ability. nothing to see here, move on!
General Gerlak Slaughterborn: This guy looks cool again! Dropping his cost to 6 was a good first move, and then they kept on going. He loses finisher in exchange for Weaponmaster, which is a straight up improvement, and replaces leadership [Berserk] with Elite Cadre [Berserk] which is another flat out upgrade. All these upgrades are exciting. I honestly think that he could, at this point, simply lose veteran leader and still be just fine, though I think MAT 8 Bloodgorgers is pretty awesome.
Jussika Bloodtongue: Too good for her points, which is very possible, she goes up to PC 5. I have no complaints here. She fells quite good here, even if she is almost never going to cost any points. During the one game I got in, I did have problems with her survivability, but it could have just been the amount of guns in the list I played against. I managed to get only one vengeance off before she died, and that was really disappointing. I wanted a bit more from here before she died, and maybe a touch of survivability would be in order.
Sevara Blacktide: I didn’t get a chance to use Shadow Bind on her, but it did seem a touch over the top. The ability to tag two enemy engines and make sure they didn’t go anywhere for a turn seems good, but replacing it with Ghost Shot seems like a strange replacement: control ability v. assassination. Additionally, her heart Seeker Shot was also changed to reflect the changes to the Gunslingers, which makes good sense, overall.
in addition to these models changes, there were two pretty significant changes to Cryxian Theme forces. The first one is that Scourge of the Broken Coast replaced Pathfinder with a form of RFP on melee attacks. This isn’t take down, because it doesn’t remove tough, and still provides soul and corpse tokens. Its a very cool ability that, while I like it, doesn’t feel right. Pathfinder was great, especially with all the terrain on the tables, and the benefits of Ghostly with the Dark Host list having some competition for the ignore terrain shtick. I don’t know that the list is worth playing, currently, though its possible. the loss of pathfinder and the limitations of the Blood witch abilities makes it seem relatively worthless to pursue the theme.
Secondly, They added Karybdis, the Devils Shadow, and Axiara Wraithblade to the Slaughter Fleet list, allowing them to be included as standard army composition. Devils shadow isn’t Cryxian, this go around, but it still seems fine. The list swill function just fine, when and if someone plays them. Axiara will allow some interesting flexibility with placing and other effects, and Kharybdis is just an all around solid model at 17. I look forward to using them all.
all in all, while the big changes are big, the majority of the changes, while small, are positive. I don’t think ghost fleet comes out of the bag ever again if this goes through, but I hope that more sensible, less angry heads prevail. The theme is fun, and flavorful, and powerful; which every theme should strive to be.
Until next time!