Saturday, 7 January 2012

Tactics 'R Us: Coven Cryx

I’m going to give this whole ’tactics’ thing a go.

I might be crap at it.

We’ll see…

 So, so far I’m nine for nine with my Cryx. A large part of that is the fact that I know what, exactly, each piece in that army has as its task. Its raison d’etre, if you want.

Believe it or not, these are much more easily categorized...
So, rather the rant on about general principles that I haven’t actually played widely enough to know anything about, I’m going to try to run through my Cryx Coven list, and define each piece’s purpose.

First, the list as it stands:

Witch Coven
Skarlock Thrall


10 Mechanithralls
Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls
6 Bile Thralls
The Withershadow Combine

The Witch Coven
Aren't they cute together?
This is my Warcaster. The three little girls with the unsettling relationship with the big, floating, spiky metal ball has a number of potential uses. Most importantly, though, they need to keep back and stay safe. Every single way they’re good at hurting the opponent is dependent upon other pieces, so I’ll go through the specifics under each of those pieces.

Skarlock Thrall
I couldn't find anyone stocking the Skarlock, so I build my own. Haven't got a picture, though...
Support Piece. The Skarlock offers another way of getting spells off, and helps with coverage, as it usually keeps on the opposite side from the Arc Nodes, giving me another bubble in which I can cast a support spell.

Not the prettiest model Privateer's made, and about as much fun to paint as a brick wall, but boy can they kill.
The Slayers are the true Kill Pieces of this army. Infernal Machine gives them SPD 8 and MAT 9, which is enough to threaten a large portion of the table from midfield, and hit most things in the game fairly reliably. The combination of Ghost Walk and either Curse of Shadows or Veil of Mists makes it almost impossible for the opponent to shield their Caster, and with a Cortexful of Focus, a Slayer throws out five STR 16 unboosted attacks. So far, I haven’t had to empty a Slayer of Focus to take down a Caster…

Arc Nodes

Chickens o'Death. I actually made my Ripjaw from a Deathripper and Plasticard. Not that tricky...
 Yes, they’re different. Not by much, though. True, the Ripjaw occasionally hurts something big, but their primary use is as channelers.

With Perfect Conjunction, the Witches can cast three Stygian Abysses with boosted attack rolls (to increase the chances of a critical hit, and hence Shadow Bind) or damage rolls (to actually kill something), and with a FOCUS stat of 9, they generally hit what they’re aiming at. This is actually how I usually assassinate enemy Casters.

A Chicken o’Death with Infernal Machine on it runs 18 inches. This is almost always enough to threaten the enemy in turn two. And if a Chicken dies with its mission incomplete, well, they’re not that expensive…

Then, of course, the Chickens can be used to channel non-offensive spells at my relatively strung-out army, which lets the witches keep their itty bitty nails from breaking…


Zombies with steam-powered Power Fists! If that's not Steam Punk, I don't know what is...

These are a distraction.

Yes, they can oven-mitt anything big and heavy to death, and do rather well even against high-DEF opponents due to their ridiculous number of attacks.

So they’re a distraction you can’t safely ignore. That doesn’t make them any less vital to my plans. They advance, they maybe hurt something, they threaten objectives/flags/scoring zones/whatever, they die. I’m fine with this.

Necrosurgeon and friends

Aw, they're all so cuddly. Kinda like broccoli is cuddly.
 Support piece. (Duh!)

Make step four of the Mechanihrall cycle of life take a little longer. Occasionally help me set up new, fun charges. And that’s about it. Still, they usually buy the Mechanithralls an extra turn of being a pain, so two points well spent.

Bile Thralls

Yay! A picture that's actually mine...
 These are the newest addition to the army, and I haven’t played them enough to be entirely sure, but their intended use is as field clearers.

The Slayers are good at killing big things, or tightly bunched, small numbers of smaller things. The Mechanthralls can clear larger numbers of models, but remain in the way themselves.

The Bile Thralls deal with small (preferably hard-to-hit) models in large quantities. And then remove themselves from the field, letting the next wave reach a juicier target.

They also have the potential to let me deal with those ridiculously high-DEF models/units, as their Purge hits automatically (or, actually, doesn’t need to hit).

The Withershadow Combine

These were a bitch to assemble. Like they didn't even want arms...
 Support Pieces.

Yes, really.

The Combine is there for two reasons: Black Arts and Puppet Master.

Black Arts gives me an extra Focus each turn after the first, as it’s a rare game when there isn’t at least one spell I want upkept.

Puppet Master is a support spell. I’ve never used it offensively, but rather put it on the friendly model that will be doing the killing, allowing me to re-roll a crap roll, fix that one crap dice that’s making the roll fail, or drastically increase the chances of Shadow Binding a target with Stygian Abyss.

The Combine’s offensive capabilities are secondary. They‘re a nice tool to have (especially if you can somehow get Dark Industries off) and offer both considerable anti-jack power, and some ranged oomph that is otherwise seriously lacking in this army.

Conclusions (which is a sub-heading that’s only really necessary to end the Combine’s bit…)
This is a fast army. If it hasn’t started hurting you turn two, that’s because you’re hiding in a corner. Even then, it’s probably started hurting you turn two.

The Coven excels at getting things to places they weren’t meant to go (from the opponent’s point of view), and that is what this list is meant to capitalize on.

This army also excels at assassinations; it is not an attrition force. Out of the nine games I’ve played with it, I’ve won two games through objectives; the rest have been finished by (more or less desperate) assassination runs.

So, that’s my army. I expect my clubmates will study this ‘Guide to Incarias’ Cryx’ thoroughly, to take me down from the lofty Pedestal of the Undefeated. Bring it.


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