Tour de Cryx- The Goreshade 3 Ruin Nation – Retrospective

At the tail end of MKII, I played a lot of Goreshade 3 and Deneghra 3. I got very good at them, even taking them to the Last Masters at Lock and Load. To play them again, back to back, and get a feel for how they worked again, was a real nostalgic trip. To realize that both of them, while changed a bit, are still strong, was a really good feeling. Lets talk Goreshade 3!

The strangest thing about playing Goreshade 3 was that it fell on a CID cycle. While I normally would dive right into testing, Goreshade 3 offered nothing to the models being played in week1 – all of the Black Fleet models are the living portion of the faction, and he loses a large chunk of his efficacy by abandoning Mockery of Life, which is probably too large of a statement, but it is one of his best tools. So, while I was unwilling to test him with the new models – which I really wanted to do, I did get a chance the second week to test some ghost fleet models with the new nerfs, which was interesting. The last game was, finally, one of the Infernal Machines lists I’d made in the first article, bringing me full circle. 

Things I Learned

Goreshade 3 is a right pain to play against, still, but his angles and approaches are all different now. Where he used to angle for a personal assassination through Siphon Bolts and his own personal melee prowess, two specific changes removed them from consideration many times. Removing Ghostly from his card really tones down his personal threat. In a world that still has guns that ignore LOS, Ignore Stealth or can make models not block LOS, this one really hurts. Was he really this strong that he needed that taken away? Alas, it won’t be anymore. The other change, that to Siphon Bolt, really pulled his assassination from the spell out of the game completely. Before, every other siphon bolt that hit would net him another siphon bolt, and he started with 3.5. His total net would top out at 6, and now with the added COST he would top out at 3. Its just huge. I don’t think that the change was bad for the game, though. How he ruled over hordes was probably not the best for the game. 

Overall, though, he really puts the pressure on the game from the start, no matte what list his is running. Occultation is defensive enough many times, Scything Touch is not my favorite spell in the list, but its more than passable at its job, but only just. Mockery of Life, though, Is a great one. Turning him into a recursion engine puts him in a vulnerable position, often sitting on 1 or 0 focus, but he’s camping the back lines, just like the rest of our casters, so its not a great big deal. He’s just able to drop the new models off more efficiently. While its not the Goreshade 3 of old, he is still very entertaining to play. 

Final List

While I tried a number of lists with him in plenty of different themes, I really have to say that my favorite, by far, is the Dark Host list. Its a solid, durable and recursive list with multiple threat vectors, simultaneous problems to deal with for the opponent, and is pretty well covered on the approach with a giant Kraken and ARM 20 Bane Riders. I can’t take credit for the list creation, much like many of them, but I will say that its worth a play. 

The same goes, honestly, for the Kraken-Fleet I played during the CID Cycle. Its a simple but fun list, and even with only one attack each, the Rev Crew were solid enough, and bringing back dead Blackbanes was a real blast. I’d not make any changes to any of the lists I’d created, but here is the Dark Host list, just for reference, as well as the Ghost Fleet. Infernal Machines list is in the Overview.

Dark Host Goreshade: 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Host

Goreshade, Lord of Ruin [+27]
– Kraken [36]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Darragh Wrathe [9]
Necrotech [0(2)]
Necrotech [2]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Wraith Engine [15]

There is a single fiddly bit in this list, and I dunno where it goes, and that’s the two two point options. I like double necrotech, so that my Kraken and the Wraith Engine can keep up and running. I also like double machine wraith because it gives you some really cool feat targets, and it keeps a little heat off of the Wraith Engine, so hopefully he can create another that gets in there. 

The Ghost Fleet was this: 

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Ghost Fleet

Goreshade, Lord of Ruin [+27]
– Kraken [36]
Agrimony, Crone of the Dying Strands [4]
Captain Rengrave [0(5)]
Hellslinger Phantom [0(7)]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders (max) [17]
Revenant Crew of the Atramentous (min) [9]
– Revenant Crew Rifleman (3) [6]
Revenant Crew of the Atramentous (min) [9]
– Revenant Crew Rifleman (3) [6]
Revenant Crew of the Atramentous (min) [9]
– Revenant Crew Rifleman (3) [6]

This list is just recursion heaven, and I can’t say enough about it. Having a huge, monster beat stick to back up your three million troopers is pretty joyous, and having a feat that works a bit like Deneghras, but has less counters to it (because less casters are immune to cold) means that it feels like your rifles threaten strongly all game. This theme is just so fun. I’ll still be playing it after the nerfs. 

Overall Impressions

I really enjoy playing Goreshade 3. He’s a strong recursion caster with an interesting assassination feat. He has few themes he can play in pretty well, but also has shortcoming that need to be overcome in order to get the most out of him. It seems like he really needs a strong, centerpiece colossal in order to get the most out of Infernal Machine, but that leaves precious little points for any arc nodes or support jacks. He’s got a wonky spell list that has contradictory goals, but I still love the flavor and style of play that he brings to the table, even if it is rather limited. 

Additionally, I love that he brings a colossal, and can get great work out of either one. It is fun to be able to use these big, centerpiece models from time to time, and staring down the opponents caster is even more enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, this guys has some problems, and is nothing close to an all around caster, but he does bring a lot of cool tools to the table every time he’s on it. 

Strong Points

This iteration of Goreshade is our Necromancer. He’s running around on an undead horsed, reconstructing undead and piling them into the enemy at a break neck speed. While only three models a turn might seem small, it is often enough of an push to turn the tide in your favor. If you compliment that with a theme or list that excels at creating more models, like Ghost Fleet or Infernal Machine, or one that has hard to destroy models, like Dark Host, it can quickly pull the opponent under. 

Recursion is a strong mechanic, because the opponent is, if everything is going correctly, losing models every turn and is having their force output reduced, while you are able to keep apace with where you started the game and loose force much slower. 

Infernal machine is always a good spell to have on hand, though I really miss the +2 MAT from prior editions, as high defense, non warrior models is a problem for most lists in Cryx that he just can’t solve outside of a single turn, and that may not be enough if there are multiple targets, especially because they can shake. Still, it makes the Colossals both into infantry mulching and Caster intimidating machines. They can own much of a battlefield while taking shots downrange at targets of opportunity, and its  speed just exacerbates where it can be at all times. 

Honestly, though, its just the sheer recursion that he can bring to the table that makes him sing. I’ll love returning Blackbanes Ghost Raiders to the table until the end of time. 

Problem Areas

So, with all that said, there are still some issues with Goreshade. He’s no Denny 1, to be sure. His large base gets in the way so often that it can be comical, and he simply rides around the back lines summoning undead and trying not to die. Using mockery of life, instead of trying to position for an assassination, also bottoms him out nearly every turn, leaving him very exposed. SR17 has helped that a lot, though, as they have given plenty of terrain to hide in and around, and his 14/17 stat line is very good for not getting pop-gunned to death if it comes to it. 

Additionally, his armor debuff kinda sucks. Scything Touch is a cool spell, thematically, but Dark Shroud on a single model, that is not something massive and terrifying in and of itself, is often not worth it. Rengrave makes a day of it, though, popping up to P+S 17 with Gang Fighter, but other than that, he often wants to put it on warjacks, who he generally doesn’t want many of, and of those few he has, they often want infernal machine instead. I am glad that its got some flexibility to it, but nearly every game I would either simply not cast it, or not upkeep it past round 1 when the model was out of position. It did help me win a single game, but 20% success rate isn’t a great usefulness tack record. 

Lastly, he’s got no MAT fixer, and with the generally underwhelming MAT on the undead models, it really causes him to suffer. He’s got one great turn, which is awesome, but it comes at the expense of either recursion or model activation, which generally sucks the quantity of oomph out of the list. Combined with the generally terrible ARM debuff in scything touch, and he’s just got to rely on the few models that hit hard and are accurate in order to get work done. It really seems to pigeon hole him into one of two types of lists: Overwhelming numbers of the worst models around, or elite models that need nothing from him. 

Final Thoughts

I really love Goreshade 3, even though he does pretty much nothing for his army on paper. His feat, if timed properly, can be a back breaker or simply game ending, and his personal threat, while much diminished, is still on the board. Recursion is something that is in a fragile state right now, what with the huge eye glaring on Ghost Fleet, but once that eye shifts to something else, he should be able to come back pretty well. At the very worst, he is a fun caster with a solid toolbox, and at his best he can simply overrun anything in his path. 

That said, he does have issues, so I can’t grade him way at the top of the curve, though he is still very good. 8.3

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