The Soul Weaver: Part 1

While I’m waiting for the models I ordered to arrive I’ve been giving The Soul Weaver some thought, but before I get to that you might need some background information. In 2011 – when I found Warmachine – we had so many match-ups that heavily favored Cryx, but slowly and steadily those easy wins vanished because of changes in the Steam Roller format, new releases, and new erratas. Now this was a good thing as far as I was concerned (good job PP), but somewhere around 2014 I felt a tipping point.

It was slow at first, but the years of releases we had no use for, the shoring up of other factions, and the multitude of little changes (and a few not so little ones) meant that suddenly I found myself going in to almost every fight (against a good opponent) with a list disadvantage. Now there’s no doubt that Cryx is still the premiere noob stomper, the destroyer of wills to live among rookies, and even the boogeyman among competent players, but when you get to the very top it’s a different game altogether.

There have been numbers supporting this theory, but they’re mostly from the WTC so they’re unreliable because of the match-up process, so it’s not like I have any hard proof. The good thing is that I don’t need hard proof to adjust, which is what the entire Cryx community has been doing for years now.


The community has dealt with this in two main ways, which are ‘Cryx Harder’ and ‘Cryx Differently’. I don’t personally like the ‘harder’ route to victory, because it tends to be incredibly mindbogglingly boring to play (and to play against according to everyone else in my meta), but the problem is that I’m not nearly as good a player when it comes to playing ‘differently’. The strengths I have as a player come from two main areas of expertise.

  • List design
  • Calculated risk

List design has become less of a factor over the years, and though it’s still highly relevant it’s now rare that you’ve won the game in the list design stage, unless Privateer Press already designed it for you like with Wold War and Evolutionary Elementalism. This leaves calculated risk and actual skill on the table as the main sources of victory, and calculated risk only works with large amounts of numbers.

Now if I have 30 models hitting and damaging the numbers will even out, but when I have 1-2 models swinging I’m vulnerable to dice-fluctuation, or ‘spikes’ as most people call them. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but most of the time it’s a bad thing, and when you Cryx differently you’re at the mercy of those spikes. This means that my two main sources of winning have been diminished steadily over the years, and I feel that when I’m playing against the very best.

I’m a good player, but when I encounter the real heavyweights I’m outmatched. I can take them on a good day, and have done so before, but unless I have some form of advantage I’d put my money on them instead, which is annoying because the very advantages I use to even the odds are eroding slowly and steadily. This issue then stacks with problems the entire Warmachine community is facing, which is the rampant stupidity of a few – but always present – theme forces.

The conclusion I’ve drawn through all of this is, that I need some list advantage back, and I need it against the players that are better than me. Cryx as a whole takes care of all the rookies, a combination of Cryx and skill will take care of all the competent players, so what I need are two things.

  • Something to deal with the truly unbeatable hard counters.
  • Something to give me a list advantage against better players.

Now I know who the better players in the Danish meta are, and more or less who they are in Sweden, but I don’t think I posses the level of external synergy understanding needed to build for it, so I’ve decided that I will build my lists to deal with the truly unbeatable hard counters instead, and then play my way out of the less problematic match-ups, or that’s the theory anyway. This finally brings me to Deneghra3, because I think she might solve – or at least let us have a game against – Haley1, which last weekends tournament clearly showed me we need.

Denghra, the Soul Weaver
– Helldiver
– Helldiver
– Helldiver
– Nightmare
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
The Withershadow Combine
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor
Ogrun Bokur
Soul Trapper (2)
Soul Trapper (2)
Skarlock Thrall
Wrong Eye
– Snapjaw

The list builds on Trent Denisons early idea of the denied approach – which is not what he called it, but I think it’s an accurate description. The denied approach simply won’t let enemies do anything relevant to you on the approach, and since the approach against Haley1 is three times as long it’s super relevant. The main objective of the list is to keep my opponent busy while the Helldivers make it to Haley (they’re actually FAST against her), then overload her Arcane Vortex with Mortality and eat her.


I can’t run, but you can’t shoot me!

If the Cygnar player brought Eyriss – which some of the new builds I’ve seen do – it’ll be all about keeping the Ogrun Bokur alive until Eiryss is dead. Orin Midwinter can electrocute her with some luck, Ragman can Boneshaker assassinate her with another of his models (again it requires luck), or you can get a Helldiver on her if you can keep away until it get’s there. Originally I had nine Scrap Thralls instead of the Bokur, but I don’t think the list can win against an Eiryss version of Haley1 without it.

Secondly the list should be well suited against Zerkova2. I just had my first game against her yesterday and she’ll be a problem when wielded by a good player. The sheer number of magical sprays that woman can have is ludicrous, but my list has some game against it. First of all there’s quite a few models she just can’t touch, and secondly the list has some counters to her. Orin Midwinter makes her feat turn hard (especially with the Ogrun Bokur to guard him), the Nyss Hunters are great against the spray ponies, and Nightmare has enough armor to withstand a lot of them.

Zerkova2 will most likely be paired up with Butcher3, and my list has game against him as well. His assassination run against Deneghra3 is gimped since she can’t be pushed, and Orin Midwinter is there to further annoy the hell out of him. If she’s paired up with a Vlad I’m in for a fight, but not one I feel like I’d automatically lose. Now Evolutionary Elementalism against this list could be interesting but playable, and I even think Runes of War could be doable, and while I’d probably lose against Bradigus there’s always the off chance that I could get some Helldivers in on him first, and he’s squishy. If he blocks the Helldivers it should mess with his positioning, and the Nyss are there to handle the forest wall.

Testing will be needed to determine if real life matches the theory, but here’s a raised glass hoping it will.



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23 Responses »

  1. Fantastic points at the beginning! You’ve hit the nail on the head with your description of Cryx’ current status.

    I feel like Denny3 is one of the casters who can profit from people taking counters to “Cryx Harder” lists. Others can be Skarre2 and Gaspy3.

  2. I have been thinking about this exactly for a long time. It seems the Cryx hate/anti infantry hate is now so powerful that the Cryx harder lists now only work if you are a incredibly skilled Cryx player with said lists, and know exactly how to beat the anti lists.

    I’ve tryed to get there for a long time, but it seems to take forever for me to come anywhere near that level of skill. I’ve found that my game has enough problems as it is. Adding a near impossible uphill struggle does not help one bit :)

    I have been playing around with Cryx different lists for some time, trying to deal with some of my problems with gunlines, but I always end up with very problematic list builds and eventually go back to Cryx harder due to some kind of stubbornness to get it to work.

    I think the points you bring here are exactly what I need! We play in a lot of the same tournaments, and I, being nowhere near as good a player as you, always end up against players that are way better at handling my lists than I am at handling theirs. The last year or more, I’ve had a feeling that by playing Cryx, your already at a disadvantage. A lot of people claim it to be the easy win button, but after playing Cryx for more than 5 years I disagree. It’s an incredibly powerful button if you know when, where and how to press it…

    I’m inclined to give this list a try tonight already, against some kind of lame Cygnar list if I guess correctly :)

  3. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. I personally can’t wrap my head around Denny3, but given that I like casters that can be played midfield (Gaspy3 is by far my favorite caster) I feel like I should like her more. I’ve been giving some serious thought to leaving the faction, which is really really scary. The Sepulcher is shockingly a tool that I’m most looking forward to.

      • I have two games with it so far and in those games it’s shot a Stormwall to death, using a spawned McThrall to finish off the last few boxes, and I’ve crit-paralyzed eCaine to set up the assassination. I was never a big fan of the Kraken because I always felt it needed to get into melee to be useful (for some reason). I don’t have that urge with the Sepulcher.

        • I hate the Kraken with a passion. It just doesn’t do what it’s god damn supposed to (in the words of The Onion).

          The Sepulcher has a much better ranged presence, only slightly less melee potential, more shenanigans with pulling models out of the way, spawns m-missiles, stops charges, and all for the price of a frigging cost reduction.

          The Kraken will go the way of the dinosaurs the second this thing hits the market.

  4. The lack of arcnodes seems really weird. Are you planning on just not having a caster at all until you go for the assassination?

    • Yes and no. Deneghra3 is cavalry, so she can ride by and throw some spells if needed, but mostly I plan on running Nightmare as my only focus expenditure in most turns. I might end up with one later, but I’m going to try without one first.

  5. Played against your list tonight with H3 and beat it, but I do like it and I think it has game vs my H1 list for sure.

    • I love it when I’m not the first one to play my own lists :) Duskern?

      • Haha yes :) I gave it a spin, but without much success I’m afraid. It had a nice feel to it though. I was just not prepared for a cloud wall. Also, my game always suffers when presented with limited opportunities.

        You can’t see anything, so the nyss can’t shoot. You can’t advance anything but the helldivers too close as you will get what’s hiding behind the clouds right in the face. Then there’s revive. He killed his own dudes to charge some of my juicy stuff from far away. If you finally get into melee with his stuff most of them are DEF 15 :( I’m not sure what to against stuff like that :(

        His list was something like:
        haley3 + sylys + defender
        forge guard + jonas
        full trenchers + ua
        jakes + defender

        • Every game is different, and I only have a few games against Haley3, so there’s not much I can contribute with here I fear.

          The games I’ve had against her all ended with Deneghra3 assassinating her, because there wasn’t much I could do about his rolling cloud wall, so since there was no Eiryss I feated on turn 1, and ran into everything on turn 2.

          That huge base with reach can engage a lot of models, and with ARM 30 there’s not much he can do about it. If Eiryss is on the table that’s obviously not an option, since he can feat -> repudiate Grave Wind -> hit with Eiryss, and then you’re toast.

          I think I would try to flank with the Nyss against that specific list, depending on terrain and scenario of course.

          • You have a valid point. ARM 30 is ok ^^ I considered it, but since it was my first game with her, I wanted to feel her out before popping the feat.

            In hindsight, I could have done a couple of things. I should have preyed his trenchers with NM for starters, just to kill a lot of them when I got the chance. Slamming a Helldiver with another Helldiver is also a valid option I think. A good roll on distance, and you move through a lot of stuff. Getting them KD is good, and with STR 8, most models die on average dice.

            I think I’m too used to playing infantry swarms that I messed up my deployment. Deploying such few models is somewhat complicated in my head :) It seems like everything really wants to be in the middle to have options. But they kinda can’t…

  6. Love your take on Denny3, Lamoron :)

    My list looks like this:

    4 Trappers
    10 Nyss

    Would like Darragh Wrathe in the list, and am warming to the thought of Midwinter in there.

    • The last two tournaments have taught me, that Orin Midwinter is all but required these days. Once the Inflictor arrives I’m certain to change some things to include it, but once my current order arrives (got a ‘sent’ confirmation this morning) I can field that list without proxies.

    • My first list looked like below, but reading this post got me thinking about the denied approach. It seemed good, fun, highly experimental in a nice kind of anti gunline way :D

      Deneghra, the Soul Weaver – WJ: +4
      – Helldiver – PC: 3
      – Helldiver – PC: 3
      – Helldiver – PC: 3
      – Inflictor – PC: 8

      Wrong Eye – PC: 9
      – Snapjaw
      Lord Rockbottom – PC: 2
      Soul Trapper – PC: 1
      Soul Trapper – PC: 1
      Soul Trapper – PC: 1

      Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters – Cylena & 9 Grunts: 10
      The Devil’s Shadow Mutineers – Mar, Morland, & Zira: 4
      Mechanithralls – Leader & 9 Grunts: 5
      Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls – Necrosurgeon & 3 Grunts: 2
      Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls – Necrosurgeon & 3 Grunts: 2

      It’s more traditional I guess, and probably not that resilient to gunlines. I could really use Ragman I think though.

      Why do you guys find Midwinter to be so important? He actually did good in my game last night. Went into cover and did null magic. The turn after that he threw lightning in the back of a Soultrapper. They are excellent lightning beacons btw, with DEF 9 in the back being difficult to miss :)

      • Zerkova2 is going to be a thing and Midwinter is a massive pain in the ass for her. Butcher isn’t perfect against D3 because he can’t pull her in, but he can pull in all the stuff she needs to crack his ARM so that’s something I’d like to stop as well.

        There are quite a few things in the game which he annoys the fuck out of, and he can always electrocute people if there aren’t.

        • He’s quite good at getting to Eiryss or other annoying solos. Power tokens help, but I have taken her out by hitting a friendly in the back and leaping to her. I’ve always liked him, but never really used him that much. What do you think about the list i posted?

          • Looks good, but I would be tempted to run it with Deneghra1 instead.

          • “I would be tempted to run it with Deneghra1 instead.”

            Still waiting on a list where this isn’t the case. The inclusion of Nightmare in your original list is a step in the right direction because I hate battlegroup heavies on pDenny as a focus sink and Nightmare is stealth to help on the approach since 3Denny doesn’t deliver her army.

  7. This Intrigues me for a concept.
    Denial of ability to retaliate.
    What would that look like

    -blackbanes raiders
    -Satyxsis blood witches with hag

    What else ?
    Which caster.

  8. I had my first game against Haley1 with the list, and I learned a lot. It was a against a new face in the meta who still has a lot to learn, so he lost himself the game where he could have won it (retreating when he should have pressed an advantage).

    1. Maneuvering a huge base SUCKS when you can’t run or charge, even if said huge base has SPD 9. I need to work on that come Tuesday, when I’m scheduled to face Stephan.

    2. Nightmare does not like getting hit with Fire Beacon + Kiss, and then taking every semi-high powered shot in the list because everything else is Submerged, Burrowing, or easily dispatched. Not sure what to do about that, except maybe sacrificing the Nyss Hunters to take out Lynch.

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