Tour De Cryx – The Admirals New Boat – Retrospective

Once I’d played a few games with Skarre 3, I was pretty solidly in love with both the concept and the character. She is a strong and versatile caster that runs melee the way I like to run melee. I’d not run into anything that challenged the casters durability or long game, but I was confident with her. So confident, I decided to take her to a tournament, and pair her with a list I was determined not to play unless I saw absolutely no way to win with Skarre 3. She did well, let’s see the lessons. 

Skarre 3 is a monster and the tournament proved it even more to me. Her durability was challenged, her maneuverability was challenged, and her scenario game was made obvious. The list I brought with her was slightly tweaked after her midpoint in order to take advantage of the Reinforcements rule, but I’m not sure, one way or the other, which one is better overall. Crowd clearing with the Overlords is great, but having just that many more Bane Warriors is useful as well. 

Things I Learned

When playing in the tournament, both games I was put in the position where I was going to have to eat long range, powerful shooting almost no matter what I wanted. The choice of spells to cast every round was one that I didn’t envy, and I believe that if the opponent put me in a position where I needed a number of spells in order to be able to execute my plan, I would likely be forced to feat to deal with the problem or, if I had already used my feat, spend way too long making likely the wrong decision. While it’s not an extremely difficult list to run, there are hard choices to be made turn to turn that gives her much more depth than her card and rules seem to imply. 

Skarre is also much more durable than I gave her at first glance. I’m pretty jaded when it comes to survivable casters, so DEF 12, ARM 19 with 26 boxes doesn’t feel like a whole lot when I have a Def 13, ARM 19 character jack that seems to get exploded even through his 32 boxes pretty easily. Deceleration makes a huge difference, as does focus – though I was never able to use focus because Skarre is strapped every turn, and the one time I did have it, I forgot. 26 boxes are the perfect amount to make dice spikes seem possible, but having that extra 5hp with a focus, or 10 with 2, make all the difference in the world. 

She’s also, for having three RNG 12 guns, not involved all that often in ranged combat, because she doesn’t have any way to take care of herself once she’s committed, and with so many small bases, it blocks the LOS to many of her possible targets. Her melee prowess is strong, but it can come at a significant cost, as she isn’t bolstering her battlegroup or her army then, and that is pretty much all she has. She’s a buff bot for a faction that doesn’t really have that function, and its a welcome change, much like Gaspy 3 was when he showed up in MKII. 

Final List

Skarre 3 Slaughter Fleet is great, and I think it has legs, but Skarre 3 Dark Host is one of the fastest, hardest hitting lists I have experienced with Cryx. Few things are better than Satyxis Raiders, but one Bane Knights that threat as far as Satyxis, that is better. The final list I believe is the method I would play her, is as follows. 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
Dark Host

Skarre, Admiral of the Black Fleet [+27]
– Desecrator [14]
– Desecrator [14]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Darragh Wrathe [9]
Necrotech [2]
Soul Trapper [1]
Bane Knights (max) [15]
Bane Knights (max) [15]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]

This list is extremely simple, powerful, and direct.  It’s got plenty of models to take advantage of cycling Draconic Blessing, fills her Control Area with models that get +2 ARM v. Shooting – Cryx’s greatest weakness – and gives them +1 SPD. Darragh gives them another +1 Movement, and Tartarus provides +1 MAT. Bane Knights running 13″, engaging 15″, and threatening 12″ are pretty impressive, and Bane Warriors threatening 11″ are just as fun, especially as a second wave behind the resilient and durable ARM 20 Bane Knights. 

The few things I got wrong pretty constantly with the list was Tartarus’ Vet Leader bubble, as it was nearly every time in the wrong spot for my goals, and Darragh’s switch from delivery to protection, as well as abandoning my great friend the necrotech, whose sole job is to heal Skarre of her feat damage. 

The overlords in the other list were good, and they did their job, but I really just felt like if I had more dudes swinging axes, I’d have a better go of it. I’m going to give them some more work before kicking them out, but I’m pretty sure that they are doomed as I play the list. 

Additionally, the Desecrators are clutch players in the list, blasting models off the board while denying board position, and even getting the use of, essentially 4 focus a turn in ranged attacks if you want it. 

Overall Impressions

Skarre3is a great caster, and I can see playing many lists with her. She cycles a damaging spell better than most of our debuff casters in the current edition, which is both depressing and interesting, as well as making every model in her CTRL faster and more elusive. While it is great to make slow things faster, it is also good to make fast things extremely fast, and I can see how a Scourge list could really benefit from her leadership. 

Her offensive power is lackluster, but it could be from the games I was able to play her in, as they often didn’t have many models I could take advantage of picking off when I placed myself in a better position. Additionally, her Guided Fire spell is completely awesome. I wish we had a solid selection of light jacks with guns, something in the 8-10 pt range that we could splash into a list for some decent shooting without devoting yourself to an arc node, though the idea of pulling out the Overlords and replacing them with either a Nightwretch or a Defiler, however, I’m not sold on either concept. It would be nice to have that pocket gun and be able to put Draconic Blessing where I want it, which was a giant pain in most games, but I don’t know that I want to lose what I do for an interesting gain, but not something I think I need. 

Strong Points

It’s hard to sing enough of Skarre’s praises because she has so much going for her. She’s durable, with three guns, 4 melee attacks, and 7 focus. Her feat is something along the lines of a 10+ focus swing, and there are games where it can completely demoralize the opponent, having to stare down two fully loaded Jacks, Deceleration, Dash, Dark Waves and Guided Fire along with a possible two charging units of Draconic Blessing Banes, in addition to the caster camping 4. No big. 

Skarre Delivers her army quickly into the enemy, through harsh gunfire, while often times keeping herself safe and delivering a few pot shots with Jacks and her own guns to key pieces through the opponent’s army. Cryx having more ways to deliver its army into the heart of the enemy with as few losses as possible is great for the faction, and being able to execute this in a number of different themes is even better. She definitely feels like she gets more out of a living army, but it is almost always possible to bring living models that you can recur to the table if you like them. 

I didn’t know I wanted a caster that does what Skarre 3 does, but now that I have it, going to something else, something slower and less durable to guns is going to be a real pain. 

Problem Areas

While Skarre is very durable, she is easily targeted and can take chip damage over the course of a game that can make an opponents assassination run, if they go for it, more likely to succeed. I really think bringing a Necrotech or other repair model is key with her, and its the main reason I feel I have to abandon the Overlords In the Dark Host List. She also struggles every turn to make sure she casts the correct spells for the correct situation. Dash, Deceleration, and Guided Fire are all single turn spells that feel pretty necessary to her gameplan every turn, and with only 7 focus, and the spells costing 8 all together, you have to make those important choices carefully.

Honestly, Guided Fire seems to be the lest necessary turn to turn, and if you’re the one doing the shooting, you likely don’t need to Dash, and often don’t need Deceleration. She isn’t going to win any gun battles as she is. 

Additionally, building a list for her is really tough. She needs living models, models that can use Deceleration, Jacks that want to use Guided Fire, and infantry to take advantage of Deceleration. It’s a pretty eclectic mix of abilities that only really seem to shine to their fullest in Dark Host. I’d love to see most lists that take advantage of almost all of her rules and still provide a credible threat to enemy models, maybe something in Slaughter Fleet. 

Final Thoughts

I am surprised by how much fun Skarre 3 is, and impressed with her more than I thought. She has complexity, efficacy, and a simple game plan all wrapped up into one awesome, huge package. She’s much more than a Satyxis caster, and I cannot wait to see how she is used by other players, and hopefully, someone gets an idea that’s much better than mine as time goes on. 

Caster Rating, 8.55 – Better than most, and close to the top tier, but I don’t know just yet if she crests into it or sits right below. 

Until Next time! 

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