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– NightmareCylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)The Withershadow CombineOrin Midwinter, Rogue InquisitorRagman
Soul Trapper (2)Soul Trapper (2)
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.
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.