It took me a while to write this. Real life interfered as usual, but now it’s time to take a look at our first cross faction caster. I almost cried when I heard about him, because this almost guarantees that we won’t see eKarchev playing for Cryx. These are sad times, but what did we get then?
The first thing I noticed was how ugly he is. I understand why they tried to mix Cygnar and Cryx styles, but it just doesn’t work (for me at least). He’s not mounted which is a relief, since that means we might still get a mounted Goreshade for our Bane Riders. The rules are here, but you have to download them in order to get all the information, because the web version is flawed for some reason.
The fiddly bits
As always when I see a new caster I go straight to the spell list. In this case I was somewhat puzzled by what I read, so I moved on to his feat. That didn’t exactly help and I was scratching my head trying to figure out what made this awesome. Then I noticed the wall of rules and I found the potential I was looking for, but… let’s just say I’m not impressed.
Taking a look at his spell list we see Blood Rain, which we will probably never cast since he has better things to do with his Focus, and Convection which is pretty horrible on a Focus 6 caster. Then we get Occultation which is a great spell, and if nothing else it increases his own survival greatly (stealth casters are fabulous).
Parasite is nice, though he suffers the same problems as pAsphyxious against high defense models, and with Focus 6 he has trouble landing the debuff on things like Warpwolves. Teleport is a great spell.
You know, this feat gets stranger and stranger every time I see it. My first idea was a Sturgis bomb (like everyone else), but I just can’t see this being very useful, except maybe against jam-past lists. It might turn some games around here and there, and with the right setup it can really blow some shit up, but if you’re in a position to do this your probably in deep shit already.
I think it looks interesting to pull enemy heavies three inches closer to your lines, and combined with Aiakos and Escort our jacks can attain some truly disgusting threat ranges (and the Withershadow Combine suddenly has 13.5″ threat when combined with Death Ride).
Scenario play also seems possible, but it requires Sturgis to be in some very unhealthy positions if he wants to drag things out of zones. I think we might see the most return of investment when playing the 12″ zone scenarios, where the threat range increase can be exploited when both players have a toe in the zone.
Weapons and stuff
Well you can see that he used to be Cygnar from the pathetic PS on his weapons. He has Reach and relentless charge, so he’s pretty good at getting to things he probably can’t kill. Dark Shroud is our most readily available debuff, and him being able to generate it himself isn’t particularly impressive. He can generate a bazillion attacks, but that means not boosting and with his low stats he’s not hitting and/or damaging much.
One blade has Soul Eater, which is a poor mans Cull Soul, but at least he can get them. The other blade has Death Strike, so if someone tries to jam, he can wipe a lot of models on his own, and then feat to wipe out even more models. It still seems sort of pointless until you combine it with Teleport, and this is the only reason I actually like this guy even a little.
He’s Undead so Darragh can add an inch to his threat. If he’s going for something other than the enemy caster, he can actually reach it from 18″ inches away (11″ threat, +1″ Death Ride, +3″ Intrigue, and +3″ Feat) but having trouble denting anything heavier than Light Jacks sort of limits the usefulness of that trick.
Why do I like him?
I don’t know. I did like him when I began writing this, but now it seems I’ve gone and picked him apart. He has some game with Soul Eating and Death Striking, followed by Teleporting away and hoping to stay alive due to Stealth and reversal, but that’s about it. If he does stay alive he can dish out an impressive number of attacks, and with Madelyn he has some solid threat, but it’s nothing other Cryx melee casters can’t do better.
What do I think we should do with him?
I think we should create lists to abuse the threat range aspect of his list. Initially I discounted the idea of Warjacks with him, but maybe that’s exactly what we should be looking at. With that in mind here’s a list of things that could really benefit from additional threat range (everyone benefits of course, but some benefit in ways besides simply adding threat range).
- Deathjack: With correct placement and pulling you could really line up some souls. Deathjacks main problem is getting to it’s target, and three inches of additional range turns him from super to fantastic. With the ability to generate his own Focus he also doesn’t drain Sturgis, and if Sturgis does get in a position to blow some models up with his feat, the Deathjack can be fully loaded on the turn it hit’s the enemy heavy.
- Malice: The long threat ranges and pulling shenanigans become even longer, and Malice gains a much needed ability to alpha strike enemy heavies in melee. This is something that always bothered me with Malice, because relying on the drag to ensure a first strike was unreliable in many games. Now you have the option of pulling his target into charge range if dragging doesn’t make sense.
- Nightmare: This one is interesting. The main problem with Prey is that people tend to avoid being in Prey range, but now Prey range is thirteen inches instead of ten. This also means that with a ‘perfect’ feat you activate Prey, pull his main target 3″ closer, and load him up to full on Focus. That’s sixteen inches of fully loaded nightmarish death, or thirteen inches of non-linear walking threat. This could also be combined with Aiakos for further shenanigans, although then Aiakos would have to load him to full instead of the feat.
- Bile Thralls: Sure he can blow up people himself, but with Madelyn in the list and his feat available, the Purge ranges go up to about 17-18 inches. You also get to bunch people up nicely for the purges, and Madelyn is going to be in his list anyway.
- The Withershadow Combine: This is where I begin to cackle. Not only does the WSC gain three inches on their Dark Industries shenanigans, but Admonia gains another three inches on many Unbinding attempts. Sure you can’t drag a Stormwall or the enemy caster, but that Iron Flesh unit has a model being pulled into Unbinding range, and combined with Madelyn and Darragh she can unbind from eighteen inches away.
- Satyxis Blood Hag: Same deal as with the WSC. The Blood Hags main problem is her low threat range, and Sturgis solves it nicely. Add to this that Sturgis most likely won’t show up without Blood Witches, and the deal becomes even sweeter.
- Machine Wraith: *snort* Fifteen inch Possession!!! Again Madelyn and Darragh teams up with Sturgis to bring us hilarity. Non-character jacks that can be pushed will never be safe again, and Malice will take care of the character jacks anyway.
- Wrong Eye & Snapjaw: Use the feat to move a living enemy model next to the target if needed, and move the target three inches closer. Snapjaw now charges a bazillion miles for free, and we all now how dangerous he really is. I don’t think there will be room for him in most Sturgis lists, but it’s still worth mentioning.
There are plenty more options, like Gorman with three additional inches of range, Ragman being able to actually apply Dark Shroud somewhere useful, and Satyxis Raiders with 17″ inch threat, but the above gain ‘something special’ in my eyes.
List composition and play style
Combining the above I’m thinking the list would look something like this. This is of course purely speculative with no experience at all, and it probably won’t ever see a tournament because of the massive character presence, but…
Sturgis the Corrupted
Bile Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 9 Grunts)
– Satyxis Blood Hag
The Withershadow Combine
Gorman di Wulfe
The list is designed to rely heavily on the feat, but with the ability to play even if it should somehow be canceled. Blood Witches are great because Gang solves the problem of his missing defense debuff or accuracy buff, and with Parasite and Dark Shroud available they hit really hard.
Bile Thralls solve issues with jamming, and combined with Blood Witches and Sturgis’ feat, this list is almost immune to jamming in general. Warjack spam is handled by Malice/WSC with the Machine Wraiths to help, while the Deathjack is there to solve Colossal issues.
Sturgis will have two jobs in this list. The first is to stay alive while getting in position, and the other is feating at the right moment. The Skarlock will apply Occultation and the WSC will upkeep it for free (most likely on one of the two heavies, depending on the enemy setup… Stealth Bile Thralls are game winners in some games though).
This setup leaves Sturgis to camp like crazy, in a cloud or behind some cover, and with the Ogrun Bokur nearby and Teleport to reach some good locations he should be hard for an opponent to deal with.
If you load him up with all the best Cryx tech and get the right opponent he can be a monster, but as a tournament caster I have zero faith in him. Since I’ve pledged to the Kickstarter I’ll be getting him automatically, and he’ll be getting a chance to prove himself, but for now he’s getting an F, and a letter to his momma telling them to do better next year.
It’s sad, but on the other hand I’m going to put on my happy-hat and assume we’re getting such a bad caster because Bane Riders and Goreshade3 will be so stupidly broken that we needed some shitty releases to compensate. Then again maybe he’s simply compensating for Aiakos… NO!!! REMEMBER THE HAPPY-HAT!!!