Archive for February, 2015

This was my first game with Bethayne and was one of, if not the first for Dave with Skarre so we were both expecting some ugliness but looking forward to it. This also was our first with the new SR2015 scenario Recon.

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The table ended up looking like this, with the flat piece next to the zone to the left from my facing being a hill, and the entire piece of terrain to the right that was a part of the Butcher3 Gencon release being considered impassable. Dave won the roll and chose his table side, giving me first turn. I deployed as in the picture above. My main plan going in was to use the ravagores to funnel single wound infantry where possible, to try and avoid the huge chunk of impassable terrain since his soul hunters had the definite advantage there – I’d try and kill them as soon as possible since they out-threated me – and camp out in Belphagor for much of the game to increase survivability. I’d pop out of Belphagor, use his animus and move back in to essentially be safe from non-reach models, and use my feat to try and kill off the reach ones and try and grind out a win. That was the initial broad strokes plan for a win anyway.

Oh yeah, the lists. I brought effigy of valor objective because failing command checks with hex hunters sucks.

Bethayne, Voice of Everblight
– Succubus
– Ravagore
– Ravagore
– Raek
Spell Martyrs
Spell Martyrs
Blighted Nyss Shepherd
Blighted Nyss Shepherd
Blackfrost Shard –
Strider Blightblades
Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters
Spawning Vessel
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew

And Dave’s Skarre list from memory (so there might be an error in here somewhere) was and I think his objective had impervious flesh (is that armory?):

Pirate Queen Skarre
– Skarlock Thrall
– Deathripper
– Helldiver
Bane Lord Tartarus
Darragh Wrathe
Pistol Wraith
Scrap Thralls
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Necrotech
– Scrap Thrall
Bane Knights
Bane Thralls
– Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
Soulhunters
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls

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Dave’s deployment looked like the above. Although this Bethayne list has quite a few more models than I am used to running with Legion (feels a bit more like Khador and is more comfortable for it) I was still looking at a whole lot of models across the table. It looked even more like Khador since when I unpacked I realized I had forgotten my magic using model tray so had neither Blackfrost Shard nor Hex Hunters, so Dave kindly let me proxy in Kayazy as Hex Hunters and Great Bears as the Shard.

For my turn 1 there wasn’t a whole lot of point in putting up either carnivore or ashen veil since there wasn’t much in the way of shooting or living in his army. I wanted to grab as much table as I could early and conserve as much clock as I could after my deployment fiasco in realizing I didn’t have the models I needed. I also forgot to run a spell martyr on the left the full distance, and that would come back to haunt me.

 

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The cryx turn was pretty similar with most things running forward. The skarlock only advanced and ritually sacrificed something insignificant for skarre. Darragh Wrathe moved over in order to provide his Death Ride buff for the Soulhunters increasing their threat from fast to insane, and moved them into the trees to set up for the next turn, and jammed two of them way down my throat so I had to deal with him.

 

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Turn 2 I ended going into the thinktank for a lot longer than I should. I didn’t want to feat this turn because the Hex Hunters weren’t quite in range to hit much of anything – I think realistically only the front 3-4 would have benefited from it, and those would likely have been killing the same ones that Bethayne could have killed with the spell martyr on the left that I forgot to run last turn. I was still seriously considering it though, so I decided to keep the blightblades off the table so they wouldn’t suffer from any eruption of spines, and Dave, having faced them before didn’t leave me any really good targets for them to ambush toward.

I also had to deal with those soulhunters on the right or they were going to cause me a great deal of heartache. I wasn’t too worried about the banes of either variety – even with death ride, they were still a turn out, but with Skarre’s feat, the soulhunters could do some damage, and my stuff is fragile enough that the banes wouldn’t need to the feat to do enough damage to wipe me out. It was quite the pickle. Ultimately I felt that I could hold off on the feat one more turn, the shard only needed a 7 to hit the soulhunters, I’d hit them with Kiss of Lylyss, put harm on there, the Raek could jump in, with harm up, kill one, possible damage the other if I was lucky, the ravagore could kill the second, I’d survive 3 with the raeks defense, the other ravagore could maybe set Skarre on fire and keep her back while she burned, and that would eat up some of her rit sac focus and then next turn I could really start the attrition battle in earnest. The ravagore did, indeed, set Skarre on fire and did a couple of points but nothing major.

First ice cage comes up a 6. Second ice cage, another 6. Fine, I guess we just raw dog the Kiss. Final one comes up a 6. Damn. The fates were saying I should have feated I guess. The raek charges over, says don’t worry boss, I got this. Boosts the hit with the non reach attack, one shots the soul hunter, hits with the reach attack, buys a second reach attack, no boost, gets the 8 to hit and does enough damage to kill the second one. The ravagore kills a leading bane thrall and puts a scather down in a really obstructive place.

Belphagore advances and puts up his animus. Bethayne advances into base to base with Belphagore and arcs an eruption of spines foolishly through him at a bane thrall since I can’t target the objective yet and misses due to stealth. Oops. So many better targets. She merges with him. The hex hunters do a run/charge order into the bane knights and I keep a few back for the next feat turn. They killed four or five bane knights on the charge and then another couple of models with battle wizard. I was hoping their high def would help out when vengeance came around. The crockpot advanced to collect those whose defense didn’t save.

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Skarre’s fire didn’t go out but a lousy damage roll only saw Skarre take a couple of points worth of damage. The bane knights rolled pretty well for their vengeance checks and killed, I think, three of the hex hunters. Skarre cast dark guidance, the skarlock thrall cast dark ritual. Darragh Wrathe did his death ride again and shifted everything forward in his range just a bit. The soulhunters charged forward and killed the raek. The pistol wraith advanced and shot the ravagore 3 times deathchilling him. The bane knights killed some more hex hunters filling the crockpot to overflowing. The surviving hex hunters stayed in the fight thanks to Bethayne’s commanding Voice. A couple of the bane knights made it to the ravagore on the left and knocked out his body. The bane thralls were lined up protecting skarre who was near her own objective as well as a couple of them having charged up to the raek on the right (we realized after the game that they were out of command and shouldn’t have been able to attack but missed it in the moment).

(I forgot to take a picture sorry)

For my turn I brought in the blightblades to support the beleaguered hex hunters. It was also definitely feat turn, before it was too late and I had nothing left. The blightblades charged in and let me just say, those guys continue to amaze me, they each killed off what they charged at  (4 or 5 bane knights, plus a scrap thrall and a necrosurgeon or something) freeing the remaining hex hunters up. Bethayne went next and popped her feat. She cast 1 fully boosted eruption of spines one targeting the thrall standard bearer. I rolled a 4 for that one, which killed the flag bearer (he failed his tough check yay!) and then both of the other guys near him, the next one killed two axes I believe, hit the objective and skarre but did nothing to either of them but killed a couple of other bane thralls as well, and then I camped the rest and retreated back the full distance. The gobbers put up a cloud to block LOS from the side flank, the recently freed up hex hunters advanced and destroyed the arcnode jack. The Blackfrost Shard used the feat to kill off one of the three surviving soulhunters that had made it to the back line as well as a threatening bane thrall  the crockpot spawned a harrier which used truestrike to kill off the other soulhunter. Once all the dust had settled I was pretty happy with the table state. It would have been nice to get the final soulhunter, it just hadn’t been possible. I just had to hope I could survive.

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Dave worked on clearing out some things, Skarre popped her feat and cast dark guidance. He didn’t really have much else that could get there, so went to the main event, the soul hunter at +5 strength is no joke, especially when it has a couple of souls on it. Luckily for me, Bethayne while riding the Belphagore meat suit is no joke either and can take a punch like nobody’s business. The first attack did something like 15 which I was able to take and still have transfers available, and a healthy about of boxes left I was feeling like I might survive, then his second roll was a duff roll, something like a 4 I knew I was safe and Dave conceded at this point as his clock was just about out of time anyway and the able position was looking pretty healthy for me.

 

After action review.

Whew. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I’ve had a bit of a run tough losses lately, so it was nice to get a win. None of them have been blowouts and all of them have been on time, but still one in the W column is nice. I’ve been trying a lot of new things, and this is no exception, but this feels kind of comfortable, a bit like Khador. I think because I have models to spare. Not a ton, but at least some. I’m really happy with the current pairing of Thagrosh1, and Bethayne. Both are a bit forgiving, and I really like playing up a bit and both play that style – I’m not really one for the pocket quarterback style of play.

What went well

I felt that my time management was a bit better – I was still under 2 minutes at the end of the game and think I should have been closer to 8, so it’s not great. But it is a bit better. My target priority was better, I stuck to the plan a bit better than I have in the past. Happy with my blightblade play. Those guys are so useful and flexible.

What I could have done better

Much too long in the think tank for feat turn. I should just decide and go. Ultimately I am not sure if I made the right decision or not still. If I had used it, for sure the threat of the soulhunters would have been eliminated much earlier which would have let me focus on other parts of the table. As it was, that almost cost me the game. I am not sure that the ravagores are necessarily the right choice for this list. The ADR option might be better suited for something else.

Thanks for reading this far, if you have any tips for Bethayne, I’d love to hear them, I am having a blast with her.

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My Challenge model

Posted: February 14, 2015 in legion of everblight
Tags: ,

So, as a follow up to the Paint or Donate challenge that I posted about before I am going to be painting up Lylyth3 that I got as a gift from my friend Ryan (who I also happened to challenge). So here is the a pic of the model, I’m hoping to get a video of me doing some painting.

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It’s something we say in competition from an early age in games, at least here in America, is put your heart into it. Win or lose, if you give it your all one of the best things you can say about a person is that they’ve got heart. I’ve never really thought about it before but the video linked below from my friends from the Chain Attack podcast, and their #DonateOrPaint challenge got me thinking about it.


One of the things I love about this game is it’s competitive nature. It is designed to be competitive. The developers work hard to make sure that all factions have an equal chance of winning and at the end of the day it is down to the skills and strategies of the player, the layout of the table, and the fickle whims of chance and the dice. THOSE are the magical alchemies that keep this game so intriguing to me and so fun and keep me coming back to the table day after day, year after year. That keeps me tweaking my lists and talking to people across the street all the way to Sweden and Australia and everywhere in between about tactics. And not just talking to people, but making friends who share this passion.


It’s not just about pushing those models around and drinking a beer and having some pretzels though, it is still competition. I am going to bring my best game, and I am going to expect you to bring your best game. Bring out all of your tricks, all of your knowledge of the game. Don’t cheat. Don’t Quit. Have heart. Be passionate about the game. And the amazing thing about this community is that as passionate about the game as the members are, they are also compassionate.


And heart is also about that. Which brings me to that connection I never made before. Warmachine/Hordes players get criticized sometimes for the competitive nature that our game has. The Chain Attack podcast in particular has a focus on tournament play, something they have never been shy about stating. They are also vocal about stating it isn’t the only way to play, and this blog post isn’t about that at all. It is about heart, and about giving it all and about not quitting. It is about passion. I love this game. I love the friends that I have met across the street and in Ohio and Idaho and Australia and Sweden and Ireland everywhere else because of it. I’ve met some of you in person, but there are a whole lot more I have never met in person, and likely never will, but we still share a passion. Our hearts race when we see that assassination run coming at us, or our opponent is stepping into a trap and we hope they don’t realize it before they end their turn.


One of our own, Marc Harrison, is working hard, he’s leaving it all on the table so to speak, so let’s get behind him here and help him out.


MarcHarrison


We share a passion for a stupid, silly insignificant game that is more than the sum of its dice and rules and models that is not stupid silly or insignificant because we love it and we love the challenge and we love the companionship. Here is a chance for a challenge and companionship in compassion and I know we’ll all Page 5 the shit out of it. edit – This isn’t about painting a model for him – this is about painting a model for your army – about doing what you love in his honor, using your passion to celebrate his passion for something he can’t do right now, and maybe never again. Let him fucking game and paint vicariously through you. You are Leonidas kicking the messenger into the pit on his behalf, be fucking bold!


I nominate Todd Carrigan, Inyoung Whang, Dave Ziegert, Ryan Shepard and Anthony Wang as well as anyone who wishes someone would nominate them but are pretty sure that they will not be nominated by anyone else. If you think that might be you, then it is. If you accept this challenge and want to be listed on this page, message me, I’m on twitter @somnicidal and I will list you on this page by name.


To read more about the #DonateOrPaint Challenge go to the Chain Attack Page at http://www.chain-attack.com/donate-or-paint/


Thanks,
Patrick
Thoughts on… Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight
thagrosh1
It is kind of shameful to admit, but I first got interested in playing Thagrosh1 this time around while listening to Jeremy from Crippled System on his drunken rambling unplayable trashfest when Nathan was trolling him hard and came up with the idea of using Zuriel’s animus and going for a crazy double jank mutagenesis assassination. Not only is this a terrible plan, it is also not a legal play. But it was enough to turn my eye back the big guy and I’m glad it did, because it reminded me how fun he can be, and how different of a play experience he is from most of the rest of the Legion casters we have. As usual, let’s begin by taking a look at the front of the card.
He’s pretty slow at speed 5, but the rest of stats are solid – Mat 7, Rat 5, Def 14,  Arm 16, and Cmd 9 – the only higher Cmd in faction is himself when he becomes the Messiah – it’s worth remembering his high command, since all Warlocks have the commander trait build in, it can help with the lower command of Hex Hunters or Striders if you don’t bring a UA, as well as shepherds and sorceresses on hellions if they get too close to a forsaken or something. It also matters for something on the back of his card, so remember the 9. With tenacity, he sits at 15/17 defensive stats which is pretty solid (although with many of his lists you may prefer to run him at 14/18 with spiny growth – more on that later) and he has 18 boxes combined with a warlock’s ability to transfer damage make him pretty resilient, despite being on a medium base. He’s got a decent fury stat of 7 as well as a couple of tricks we’ll get to in a minute that actually make it seem a bit higher that that. A pretty respectable stat line and he also causes terror which only affects enemy models infantry models, which is a nice little thing, but don’t count on it because it probably won’t do anything, but don’t forget it either.
Next up, his weapon load out is fairly interesting. He has a rate of fire 1 spray 8 fire type pow 12 gun (his blighted breath) and 2 melee attacks – Rapture, his vaguely klingon looking weapon that has reach and is a magic weapon with P+S 16, and his claw that is not reach and P+S 12.  Let’s get back to Rapture now, because it’s got some rules that are on the back of the card, but we’ll cover them here because it makes sense to. In addition to having the same P+S as our heavy chassis which is pretty impressive, Rapture also centers an AOE on the models it boxes and then removes them from play. The AOE is a cloud and lasts for a round. As if that wasn’t cool enough, it also does a POW 12 fire damage roll to ENEMY models hit when the cloud is put into play. And ENEMY models that enter the cloud, or end their activations in the cloud. Those damage rolls can’t be boosted. Note that the clouds don’t trigger on boxing an enemy model, so if you need to put up a cloud wall, you can do it on a couple of your own models. It does remove from play, so those models won’t go into the pasta pot. It can make him functionally immune to charges from models without eyeless sight, and functionally immune to single wound models of armor 13 or less, and realistically immune to single wound models of about armor 16 or less (I figure most times you are going to roll at least a 5) unless those models are fire immune.
Okay this takes us to the back of the card.
Attuned Spirit [Legion] – Once per activation Thagrosh can cast the animus of Legion warbeast in its battlegroup as a spell without spending fury. This is one of those abilities that makes it seem as though he has a slightly higher fury stat than he does. It just makes sense to try and get out those 2 cost animi here for free and is a reason you see carniveans with him because, combined with Death Shroud (below) you get a very survivable battlegroup, and Thagrosh himself can be an effective armor 20 to melee with 2 more transfers than he “should” have for what he cast. That is incredibly tanky and unexpected for a Legion caster. Beyond that it is just really flexible – the Raek’s Shadow Shift animus for instance is a really good one in ignoring free strikes, but at a 2 cost it is often cost prohibitive, but when you can cast it for free, it opens up some options you might otherwise have not considered. Realistically, though, it will be spiny growth or wraith bane.
Athanc – Immediately after leaching if you have less fury than your fury stat you gain 1 fury. Basically this lets you cut for less. It’s good late game if you’ve lost your beasts, if you are bad at math it is a nice safety net, and if you are new to Hordes it’s a good crutch. Not really a lot to say about other than it might give you the idea that the designers intent is to run beast light with Thagrosh between Athanc and the feat, and along with a couple of his spells I suppose you could make that argument.
Death Shroud – Models within his command range (remember that 9) get a –2 to their strength. So that gives most things near him an effective +2 armor to melee and thrown (most shooting is a straight POW). For this reason there is a tendency for people to brick up with him and his beasts and keep things in kind of close, which isn’t necessarily a bad play and is something you can’t usually do with Legion. It can make Thagrosh himself surprisingly tough to kill when combined with a few transfers and either tenacity or spiny growth – I’ve face-tanked Molik Karn before and it is kind of fun getting him on a rope-a-dope, and isn’t necessarily a bad use of your feat, but you probably will not get an experienced player with it.
The last thing on the back of his card is Rapture and since we already covered Eruption of Ash above let’s just move on to the spell card.
Bad Blood – This two cost upkeep has a range of 10, does no damage to the beast, does 1 point of damage for each fury leached, the beast can’t be healed or have damage transferred to it and loses regenerate. At a glance it looks like a pretty mediocre spell, but it can actually be pretty clutch for a few reasons. If you are facing some common anti-Legion Skorne and Trollblood meat mountain builds there will often only be 1-2 beasts so causing some damage for leaching can be annoying and preventing transferring damage to it can actually be game winning. Where it can really matter against Trollbloods or Circle is if they plan on robbing Thagrosh of his feat by snacking your model out of play. Snacking heals the model to RFP and Bad Blood will prevent the heal. Obviously if they are running Morvahnna or pDoomie, they will just cast purification to remove it, but you want to force them to cast it anyway, and honestly, as a Legion player we’d probably rather they run both of those casters against us than, say Bradigus or a pGrissel Meat Mountain. So yeah, it a lot match ups it will probably be a dead spell, but there are some match ups, or when you get your hordes opponent down to just one beast it can be a game winner, so don’t forget about it. Unless they are playing Warmachine, then just forget about it.
Draconic Blessing  – Another 2 cost upkeep, this one on friendly gives +2 strength and terror. Pretty straightforward in application. I’ll go more into nice places for it below with some specific synergies.
Fog of War  – A 3 cost upkeep that gives concealment to all models in Thagrosh’s 14″ control area (not just friendlies). Our beasts get to ignore it, our infantry doesn’t. For most casters we wouldn’t care, but Thagrosh does pretty well with infantry, but since this helps us out, you will probably cast it most games.
Mutagenesis  – This has a really long writeup but is basically a 3 cost range 8 pow 12 that if you cast it from Thagrosh and kill a warrior model you get to replace that model with Thagrosh. You can’t advance after you replace the model and you can only cast it once per activation, which is why the double mutagenesis dream is a lie. What you can do though is a pretty insane charge 8″, cast this 8″ then hit the caster at reach 2″ for a total distance of 18″ surprise threat in a perfect situation. Which could actually add 2″ for Seraph, 2″ pull for Neraph, and +2″ for Bone Grinder if you were getting ridiculous and everything were just right in the world, which it never will be. But it is a fun mental masturbation exercise on just how the table would have be setup and how Thagrosh could pull it off and what an amazing thing it could be, so go have fun with it. Because really it is about the most fun thing to imagine in this game, and there will be one point in a game and you’ll see it, and you’ll look at the table for about 5 minutes, and then you will get to attempt a mutagenesis assassination and it will fail, probably leaving your target with 3-5 wounds left, and then they will kill you and you won’t even care because it will have been AMAZING. Trust me, I’ve been there. IT’S AMAZING.
Obliteration  – Vayl2 does this too, but better, but it is still a cool and solid AOE. You might cast it once every 5 games, but probably not. It is decent for clearing high def infantry jammers off of your beasts, but the game right now seems to have moved away from there for the time being. They might come back.
And now his feat.
Dark Revival  – While feeling to me that it should come with a tent and a white suit and laying on hands, it does bring a warbeast back from the dead. That warbeast is placed within 3″ of Thagrosh and must forfeit its action but can still move. This is a decent feat for getting up on attrition as long as you can keep it from getting removed from play (Bad Blood can help), you typically want to start off the piece trade with this, but you might also just want to bring something back based on its animus if it is something you really need. It’s flexible and it is a useful, workhorse feat, but isn’t super flashy. There are games where you literally won’t even use either because your opponent has denied it to you via RFP, or you just never really needed it because your beast didn’t die or you flat out forgot about it (I’ve done that, but I am kind of a moron sometimes, especially under the clock). You can bring back character beasts which is pretty cool, and I have actually brought back harriers before if I was facing high def things – I didn’t want to mess with trying to hit a ridiculously high warp wolf stalker one game, so I just brought the harrier back, killed the last threatening beast and bullied my way to victory. It’s a useful feat that I’ve found plays into your list consideration. If you are thoughtful as to what you put in you get more out of it. If you are just throwing in things out of rote it is a pretty meh feat.
Let’s look at some of the things that Thagrosh might consider taking to war:
Warbeasts
Rather than just repeat myself over and over again, Death Shroud is pretty good for helping keep beasts alive, especially with a defensive animus on top of it like tenacity or spiny growth. It is a tough choice as to whether you are better off with an effective +1/+3 or a +0/+4 that does d3 points of damage. When making the determination which animus is best, consider what the probable target hit number is and make your choice which you want to go with. Some example numbers here to help you out I’ll just throw down a couple of samples:
To hit:
5  83%
6  72%
7  58%
8  41%
9  27%
So, as you can see, if you can bump it from needing a 6 up to a 7 you are quite likely better off with tenacity. 5 to a 6 is probably a wash, and 4 to a 5 you should probably go with armor. At least that is my rule of thumb, anyway. If they are willing to boost, it changes the math significantly, but it takes away focus/fury so is probably a net gain and is out of the scope of this anyway. Also, I know it is a static 16% jump, but whatever. On to the choices.
Carnivean – The carnivean is usually a tough sell. He is expensive he is fairly fragile even with his animus, he is fairly short ranged even with his assault spray, and he doesn’t have reach. Thagrosh sort of helps out on 2 out of 3 of those issues. Fog of war helps out a bit vs shooting but the real difference is that Death Shroud combined with the animus makes him pretty survivable, especially versus warbeasts or warjacks when that damage can take out a system making him even more survivable and Thagrosh’s feat can bring him back which helps offset his price. Thags himself likes putting out the animus for free either on himself or on one of the beasts. Draconic Blessing let’s the Carnivean lay out a serious beatdown when he can actually hit (more on that later). You won’t see him often, but Thags and Abby2 are where he’s most commonly found and he can do some good work there.
Typhon – Typhon has a lot of the same problems as the Carnivean so a lot of what I wrote above applies here as well. The animus is a bit different in that it is a heal after taking damage, and varies from 1-3, so there is the temptation to say it’s the same as +2. It’s not. First you have to survive the hit. Then it might be 1 back, it might be 3 back. You get to heal wherever you want, which means that you don’t need to worry about losing a spiral like you do with the carnivean. It’s lazy and inaccurate to treat it as +2 armor and people need to stop doing it. Sorry, it drives me nuts to read when people say it. He is extremely survivable, and can also regenerate and when he does, the affinity with Thagrosh means they both get 3 wounds back. Typhon has no pathfinder and Thagrosh has no way of helping him out there, and no reach. I’ve tried to make him work, but honestly, I’ve always been disappointed.
Scythean – You need to be able to handle tough in the current meta and that makes the scythean kind of important. Thagrosh himself with his high melee potential can put slaughterhouse on himself along with draconic blessing and take out a couple of tough models and create clouds. You don’t want to unless you have to, but it is an option.
Zuriel – Our newest heavy character nephalim fits well with Thagrosh. Draconic Blessing bumps Zuriel’s weapons up to a more respectable PS18, and Zuriel’s mat is decent to begin with which helps offset the fact that Thagrosh doesn’t have a mat fixer.  Zuriel’s Sprays and animus make him a very threatening and effective piece trade option and also mean you want him to be in a forward position which makes him vulnerable to retaliation and Death Shroud and Dark Revival make that option more much more favorable for you. Thagrosh in return gets a resilient piece and an animus that helps out with his spray, potentially with the Rapture cloud wall (possibly putting the harrier out of work – see below), and most importantly, the SUPER SWEET MUTAGENESIS ASSASSINATION (though obviously not the assassination part).
Shredder – Probably always want to take one of these guys. He is a surprisingly good choice for draconic blessing, as with rabid giving a fully boosted pow 12 and causing terror the little guy has been a surprise MVP in many games for me. I am addicted to my spawning vessel and don’t usually buy a shredder but spawn one early.
Harrier – Another thing that I spawn practically every game. Autohitting pow 12s (thanks to draconic blessing) are pretty sweet and being able to auto hit with Rapture is also a big deal. It is almost like having a 1 cost spell to create a cloud that does damage that requires you to sacrifice a model within 2”. Think about it, if you had that spell, you would do it every game and think it was broken. You do have that spell, bring along cheap infantry models if you can fit them in to use it. Remember that they are removed from play and do not go into the crock pot. Sorry, I know this isn’t related to the harrier, but it because you don’t usually have the points for extra models, so I find that I usually end up using 2 of my hex hunters at a critical point for this, and their def is high enough that I have to worry about missing, so I just place them carefully and use this animus – though with Zuriel, this guy might end up being less popular depending on the list pair, although a fire and forget missile is always nice.
Naga Nightlurker – This guy will get Stealth no matter where he is as long as Fog of War is in play and his animus stacked with Draconic Blessing gives you an effective 5 point armor swing vs. arcane shield.
Raek – The raek is an amazing beast with just about anyone. In a lot of Legion lists he can fill the slot of an infantry unit (more on this in an upcoming Thoughts On… the Raek) and I know I am starting to sound like a broken record but Draconic Blessing’s strength boost and terror can be amazing since he is often a bit pillow-fisted. That +2 strength really helps him for sniping out those 5 wound solos and still having extra attacks to either put some damage on a caster if they are in position or taking out another solo, or a few models in a unit. He doesn’t need it for this job, it just makes him more efficient, and it also makes him a bit more more threatening to a caster.
The list could go on and on, Thagrosh has great synergy with most every beast in the faction for the reasons harped on above, but I am just going to move on to units now, since Thagrosh is a surprisingly effective infantry caster thanks to Draconic Blessing being model/unit and fog of war with his fury 7 covering a large area of the board, providing a buff to our already not insignificant defense. Basically, any infantry unit that would like a strength buff, and +2 def will like Thagrosh. He also has an above average CMD of 9, which helps our non fearless units like hex hunters if you aren’t running a UA. That being said, there are a couple of standouts and things to watch which I’ll list below.
Warspears with UA – They don’t benefit from the terror part of Draconic Blessing since they already cause it, but the +2 Str stacking with Prey brings them up to P+S 17 which means on an assault charge vs. conquest at armor 20 you should do 50 boxes which comes incredibly close to wrecking it on average dice, any spikes at all and it is a wreck marker. If you can get Kiss of Lylyss on it from the Blackfrost Shard it is definitely going down – I had just 3 of them wreck mine from full when I was playing Khador against it. It is surprisingly effective.
Hex Hunters – Bumping the P+S up from 10 to 12 is huge in getting off Battle Wizard if they aren’t charging. I usually don’t bring the UA along – he gives hunter which seems like it might be helpful because of ignoring concealment, but it doesn’t actually work for spells which means if you have fog of war up they go down to effective magic ability 4. Either keep them back until you drop fog of war, or charge them out of the area (or at least make sure that their target is out of the area). Their speed of 7 lets them trigger terror on a lot of targets, so if your opponent is susceptible to terror (not that anyone is much these days) they can cause a fair amount of checks.
Raptors – Raptors are fantastic units on their own and Thagrosh’s buffs are solid with them. They have good mat on the charge and then become pow 12 weapon masters with Draconic Blessing, they are usually out on the flanks but can toe into fog of war with their light cav movement and will have a great defense vs shooting.
As I said, anyone that wants more def vs. shooting, or a higher strength will like Thagrosh. Now let’s look at why you don’t see a whole lot of him. I know I gave a whole lot of rah rah! above and he is a solid warcaster, but let’s look at why, in my opinion he’s good but not great.
First up, he doesn’t have a mat fixer at all. He can’t help our infantry hit any better, and he can’t help our beasts hit any better. The majority of our beasts are mat 6, which means that even against a mediocre def 12 they are missing over 25% of the time. He has to be able to bring them back, and when he does they can’t attack that turn. What that means, is that a quite likely scenario is that you will initiate your trade, kill one of theirs, lose your beast, possibly fail to kill theirs, bring yours back, be unable to attack with it, and then just lose it again. That is going to bring us back to the next point which is his feat.
There are a lot of games where you won’t get a feat. Either due to RFP – sure, bad blood can stop one way of RFP, but only on one beast since it is an upkeep, assuming they have no way of removing it. There are plenty of other ways of removing a model from play. Or they might not kill it until they are ready to stop you from bring it back, or they may just kill several beasts in a single turn, and you can only bring one back. Also, as mentioned above, all it can do is move on the turn it comes back.
Thagrosh also specializes in making what are, essentially, fragile beasts, less fragile. He doesn’t make them anywhere near as resilient as what trollbloods can bring, and opponents are fully capable of bringing down those beasts. He can give you a false expectation of what you can survive and make you overcommit as a result. Don’t get me wrong, you will surprise your opponents, and yourself on occasion, but to quote Han Solo, don’t get cocky, kid.
Thagrosh can be really fun, and bring a different play style to your toolbox, he can change up your regular game night, and he can really throw a curve at the tourney table and give you some unexpected game for some of the scenarios that Legion traditionally struggles with, like Incursion and Close Quarters. I’ve already rambled on way longer than I meant to on this, but I will do a couple of battle reports and pictures to show what I mean when I get some time. I’ve been having a great time with him lately.
Congrats on making it through this, if you actually did.