Welcome to Skell: Part 2

This is the Second of a series directed at new players, but hopefully with some nuggets for veterans and journeymen alike. This is a post about my opinions on Cryx from the vantage point three editions and dating back to 2004. Today I’ll delve into how our Warcasters breakdown, and what to expect from them 

In last weeks article, I introduced the faction as a whole. I also gave my opinions on what I think of Multiple parts of the faction, including our reliance on Infantry and the many special aspects that Cryx has over other factions. Today I continue that with a bit of a talk about warcasters. 

Warcaster Comprehension

In Cryx, much like other factions, we have our armies lead by powerful warmages who sling powerful spells that both bolster our troops and wither the opponents. Each faction has a different proportion of spell types and what they typically enjoy in army composition, which we will get to later on. Cryx’s own chunk of that sphere focuses on combining a fairly specific set of ingredients to make them powerful,. 

  • Debuffs – Spells that target the enemy models and units that often lower their stats or prohibit them from performing their intended function. Spells like Curse of Shadows, Crippling Grasp, and Mortality
  • Offensive Spells – Spells that directly cause damage, often to a single target and sometimes to more. Many times they also have a small benefit attached that helps the spell be worthwhile. Spells like Hex Blast, Siphon Bolt and Hellfire
  • Offensive Control Spells – Spells that enable our models to enhance their abilities beyond what is normally expected without being an upkeepable buff. Spells like Veil of Mists, Ghost Walk, and Terminal Velocity

There are many other spells tossed into the mix as well, but not every caster will have access to them. Nearly every caster, though, is a combination of two or three of those spell types. 

Contrary to their spell lists, Cryx ‘Casters have a wide variety of feat archetype, ranging from debuffs (Skarre 2, Denny 1) to attrition (Gaspy 2, Goreshade 1, Goreshade 2) to Assassination (Aiakos 2, Goreshade 3, Mortenebra 1) to Buffs (Skarre 1, Scaverous) to Control (Coven, Denny , Gaspy 3). There is very often a feat that will dovetail perfectly with your style of play. Cryx has some great feats. 

The Cryxian casters also have a higher than average focus pool. Many on the outside find this to be a boon to our faction, and it certainly has its upsides, but it is also a balancing factor. Most of the Cryxian spell list has to hit its target as an offensive spell, and these spells are many times a bit more expensive than their buff counterpart. (Compare Fury and Parasite) This often means that in addition to paying a more expensive cost to cast the spell, we are also boosting the hit to make sure it lands. This will often tax more than half of a casters stack, even with the factions higher focus stat. It is something to consider. 

Taking everything that Cryx offers, most of our casters are at least solid. There are a few out there that are generally unappreciated, (Sturgis 2, Aiakos 2, Morty 2, among others) but there are still people who find joy playing them. Our casters generally break down, as many factions do, into three types: assassination, support, and combat. 

Many people will reach for an assassination caster first. Assassination casters are generally going to be seeking out the demise of the opposing caster. Sometimes, like with Scaverous, this goal is an early game elimination, and other times it is after a long and drawn out grind. They generally have strong debuffs with a good range, solid defensive tech, and a good offensive spell or a delivery method for models to get to the caster. These casters often don’t have amazing stats outside of their focus stat because so much of them relies on their ability to take out the opponent before they get killed. Sometimes this is referred to as exposing ones self, or “just dying” both of which are apt comments. Assassination casters also tend to have focus efficiency tools and a high focus stat, enabling them to perform their duties without outside assistance, and even more efficiently with help. Assassination casters are a ton of fun to play, but are very hard to get used to because of their aforementioned tendency to simply explode if you place them in the wrong position or are too aggressive. or not aggressive enough. Many top notch assassination and control casters have both the ability to affect the game strongly turn to turn and good defensive tech. 

Support casters are much more enjoyable to start the game with, and are the casters I would recommend to a newcomer. They often have weaker defensive tech and stats, but have a much more forgivable tolerance for hanging back. Their feats and spells promote them being as far back from the action as they can stomach while also contributing strongly to the momentum of the game. Support casters often have either debuffs or good nukes, and also have strong spells to deliver the army to the opponent. They will typically also have feats that affect your army or change how the enemy interacts with the army instead of simply providing a determent to enemy models in their control. Support are a lot of fun because they both tune your models and are pretty forgivable in positioning and placement. They do rely on your ability to maneuver into and through the enemy army, as they aren’t likely to be the ones doing the heavy lifting and removing chunks of the opponents army. They are also the ones least likely to last through a long game, as they have no real assassination ability and have a fairly weak personal combat stats. 

Speaking of which, we come to the combat casters. These casters are not what you think. They are not the front line fighters and monsters that can tank the opponents entire army, though anything is possible with good dice, or bad. These casters would love to get into combat, but they often are not going to do so unless the game is already over, or they are going to end the game right then and their. Many combat casters have excellent stats and powerful combat spells, but generally lack in focus and the ability to manipulate the battle field beyond simply killing their problems. They are wholly unable to be front line fighters and will quickly die to weaponmasters, guns, and heavies. Many times a combat caster will spend the entire game trying to maneuver to set up the assassination or the destruction of the only models able to threaten them on the board. Being extremely aware of which enemy models can likely destroy your combat casters and which ones can’t is key to making these types of casters work. 

Supporting Cast

Something I waited on from last week, when discussing the advantages that our faction has, was a discussion on arc nodes. I thought it git better in the context of warcasters and their abilities. so here we are. 

Arc nodes are something that Cryx simply swims in, having 4 choices of fairly cheap light’s with the ability. Arc nodes, simply, enable your caster to measure the range and line of site/effect from the arc node instead of from the caster himself. A caster with a spell range of 6″ has their walk + 6″ to target a model with the spell. This is extremely unhelpful when trying to assassinate a caster halfway across the board with a 10″ spell and a 5″ walk. Arc nodes have the casters entire control range to sit in and be channeled through, while also having the range of the spell as well. For many of our casters, that is 14″ + 10″ for the spell, a great deal better than the 15″ earlier. These things are a godsend, even if every caster doesn’t want them. Assassination/Control Casters often want as many as they can fit, Support casters want 1 or 2, and most combat casters want 0-1. They will almost always come in handy, but be careful with them because they die to a butterfly sneeze. 

Lastly, we have the supporting solos and units that the caster often brings with them, depending on the type of list build and army composition. This can range from free upkeeps on the withershadow combine, to immunity to troopers from Madelyn Corbeau, to extra focus from Warwitch Sirens and even free spells with the Scarlock Thrall. 

There are so many warcasters, and so many styles of play. I’ll list off my opinions of each of them here. Many of them are hybrids, but you’ll get the point.