Posts Tagged ‘thoughts on’

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.

Epic_Lylyth_by_andreauderzo Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight. Epic Lylyth. eLyl. Ugh, not her. However you say it, it’s usually received with dread when you announce her as your caster. Easily one of the most despised casters to see across the table and for good reason. Many games have been ended before they have been truly begun. Even I have managed a bottom of turn 1 assassination with her. But is that really all she is good for? Is that even the best way to play her? You are likely to get that assassination off once against a newer player, or someone who hasn’t really seen her before and then not likely again. She definitely has a solid assassination threat, but is that the only thing she brings to the table? Let’s take a look at her card a bit more in depth and see what she brings. On the front of the card, a few things jump out right away. She has pathfinder and eyeless sight built in which means when we step up to the table forests will not matter to us negatively, only potentially our enemy, but hills and obstacles still will. Her speed is 7 so that is pretty quick so most scenarios are in play, but while her defense is decent at 16, her armor is poor at 14 and she only has 15 boxes. The ubiquitous tenacity buff bumps us up to 17/15 which is solid, and with forests being hindrance in neither movement nor line of site, we can get that to 19/15 fairly easily but knockdown and stationary are also pretty easily obtained as is blast damage and purify. Luckily, she has no melee to tempt us in closer and her bow is range 12 with a rate of fire 2, so we want to stay back with distance being the best defense. She also has an astounding RAT of 8 which combined with her range of 12 let’s her often aim getting that up to an almost absurd 10. That pretty well covers the front of the card other than the painfully low fury stat of 5. Flipping over the card she has 4 different abilities.

Snap Fire – basically this lets her make a second attack when she destroys an enemy model with a ranged attack during her combat action. She doesn’t get to trigger it with counter blast for instance, but it is a free shot which is nice. It doesn’t trigger another snap fire, so if you want to shoot a mix of single wound infantry and multi-wound infantry (like the UA for instance) during her activation make sure to shoot the single wound during the normal shot and the multiwounder with the snap fire shot otherwise you might lose out on the snap fire shot, whereas you have no chance to generate extra shots with the “free” shot so there is nothing to lose other than a dead enemy. On a normal turn she can potentially get 4 shots off and on feat turn she can get 6 shots off.

Swift Hunter – when this model destroys an enemy model with a normal ranged attack it can advance up to 2″. This one lacks the caveats that snap fire contains, so you can move out of activation with it if you have counter blast up, as well as on free shots. During a normal turn she can potentially move 8″ from swift hunter and on feat turn move 12″ even while aiming.

Evasive – this model cannot be targeted by free strikes and if a ranged attack misses it then Lylyth can advance 2″ unless she was already advancing. This can come up against opponents with a lot of blast damage since Lylyth has such low armor your opponent might be tempted to try and scatter onto you. If that is a tactic you think they might try, make sure to leave nothing else nearby they can target instead. Also watch for models with sprays, this can be a good way to get out of range of them. It won’t come up often, but it can come up.

Range Amplifier – This adds +5″ range to spells cast by Lylyth where she is the point of origin which means that if she casts through a spell martyr it is just the range on the card. One of the coolest parts of this is that animi cast by the warlock are also spells, so this means if your warbeasts are in your control area you can put probably an animus on them. Primarily this will be either Wraithbane, Tenacity or Dragon’s Fire but it’s a good trick to have in your pocket. Next up let’s take a look at the spells. Humorously she has more special abilities than spells. Also, all 3 of her spells are upkeeps which is awesome for a 5 fury caster.

Pin Cushion – this is her signature spell and it gives friendly faction models an additional die on ranged attack and damage rolls against target model/unit. It’s a good spell and definitely an enabler for both armor cracking or hitting a higher def than would like. Plus the fact that it is an upkeep is interesting and with an effective 15″ when cast from Lylyth you can spend a couple of turns finishing off a unit or a heavy/colossal. Unfortunately you have to land it against the target and her fury 5 is a definitely liability.

Pursuit – another offensive upkeep where her fury 5 hurts her and encourages you to put it on something easily hit like a heavy. When the target model/unit advances during its normal movement immediately after ending this movement one model in the battlegroup gets to make a full advance. This can be Lylyth or someone else. Remember that killbox is only counted on your own turn, so this can be a great way to get Lylyth to safety on those killbox scenarios where she is up much closer than she would like to be. You can also shuffle around a heavy to contest or possibly even get the heavy to have a better line for a melee assassination. People often forget a ravagore can get things done with its hands.

Shadow Pack – this one costs 3 and gives your entire battle group stealth. It’s a good defensive measure, but not infallible. As an upkeep it can be purified off, Lylyth is still fairly fragile as are, frankly, all of our heavies. Any damage buffs that affect blast damage can still see our beasts crippled. It is good, but don’t rely on it too much. Finally that brings us to the feat.

Decimation I like to think of this feat in terms of its origin from the Roman military. It was a removal of a tenth. Obviously I hope for more than that, a feat that only killed 5 points wouldn’t actually be that fantastic, but if it kills 5 points MORE than I would otherwise have killed, I am happy with it. It gives snipe (+4″ range) to everything in my control area and my battle group all get an extra shot. This is an extremely flexible offensive feat. There is the tendency to want to pop it right away to maximize the snipe benefit but that is usually not the best use of it. Often I will wait until turn 3 to use it when the snipe will give me full coverage to the back lines of the army and the extra shot will allow me to, er, decimate, the front ranks and still keep me safe from effective retaliation.

I have played Lylyth2 now more than I have played any other Legion caster and to answer my question above, I think playing her just for assassination is depriving yourself of a great play experience. She has a level of depth beyond that. She can team with a pair of deathstalkers and wipe out pretty much any unit of single wound infantry in the game in a single turn. She is incredibly mobile and versatile. She struggles a bit against a hard armor skew more than her previous incarnation – pin cushion is not quite the same as parasite for cracking armor, I’m afraid but she brings a level of personal mobility that is unmatched in the game. On feat turn, assuming your opponent has a few single wound infantry models for you to kill, she can move 19″ from her starting position. That is an amazing field switch that is difficult to see coming and you can easily end games with that kind of mobility – you can get 15″ not on feat turn – it could be possible to get a game ending dominate.

I have to credit Ben Leeper with the list I am currently running and opening my eyes to the idea that Lylyth2 has game beyond the traditional use as an all-or-nothing assassination caster – although in the very near future I am thinking of doing some switches to include Strider Blightblades.
Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight 
– Succubus
– Angelius 
– Naga Nightlurker 
– Ravagore 
– Ravagore 
– Shredder 
– Teraph 
Blighted Nyss Shepherd 
Blighted Nyss Shepherd 
Strider Deathstalker 
Strider Deathstalker 
The Forsaken 
Totem Hunter 
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew

To see Mr. Leeper in action with it at the WTC check out this game here:

If you are interested in the more traditional style of playing here, there’s a great write up including some tips on common tourney matchups like eHaley and eKreuger at
http://torbjornhansson.blogspot.se/2014/12/elylyth-big-red-button.html

UPDATE:

Since the release of Zuriel, Ben (and I) have both changed our lists a bit. I am going to include both of them here for completeness, they diverge quite a bit. His is:

Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight (*5pts)
* Succubus (2pts)
* Naga Nightlurker (5pts)

* Nephilim Bolt Thrower (6pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Ravagore (10pts)
* Zuriel (10pts)
Blighted Ogrun Warspears (Leader and 4 Grunts) (8pts)
* Warspear Chieftan (2pts)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt) (1pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Strider Deathstalker (2pts)
Strider Deathstalker (2pts)
Totem Hunter (3pts)

Mine is:

Lylyth2
-Succubus
-Zuriel
-Ravagore
-Nephilim Bolt Thrower
-Nephilim Bolt Thrower
Strider Blightblades
Incubus
Anyssa Ryvaal
Shepherd
Shepherd
Deathstalker
Deathstalker

Don’t forget the rule which I have dubbed the Nick Freeman rule since he reminded me to add it: “Always remember to bring a jewel-encrusted goblet in which to catch the tears of your opponent to wash down the snacks you will undoubtedly have time to enjoy between rounds. Also, at least be a decent enough opponent to bring enough snacks to share.”

One of the really great benefits of the journeyman league from Privateer Press is that it forces the basics. I am fairly new to the Mark 2 version of the game but I did play for a while way back in Mark 1 so it isn’t something that I felt compelled to do to learn the game. That being said, I really wanted to chance to slow grow this army and learn how to play it well.

One of the things I learned back in another life as a corporate trainer was how much more one learned when writing about a subject. I thought this would be a fun way to start putting down my in-game observations to share what I have learned and, hopefully, in writing them out learn a bit more. I was also curious how many times I could write “learn” in a sentence.  And obviously, if any readers have anything to share that would be great 🙂

Since this is my first analysis it might be a bit rough and disjointed but hopefully later on it will be a bit better.

Lord Carver, The Bringer of Most Massive Destruction (esquire the third) is the warlock in the officially recommended battle box for the Thornfall Alliance.

Carver’s stats are pretty decent but nothing great. His defense is a bit on the low side for a warlock but his armor is a tiny bit higher. He is faster than most of his army and with the reach on his weapon his threat range is shy of his control area which means you should never fail a charge unwillingly even with mobility (more on that later).

His weapons are both pretty impressive, however. His melee weapon, Hand of God (or HoG if you want to have fun with pork flavored puns), has a hefty power+strength of 15 and reach in addition to the standard magic that all casters have. This combined p+s is enough that he can reliably kill pretty much any warriors and most cavalry in the game without breaking a sweat. He’ll hit a def. 14 on an average roll. The downside to his melee attack is that it is only a single attack. This combined with his mediocre fury stat of 6 means that he won’t be able to go on a rampage and decimate units of warriors or even a heavy warjack/beast once you figure in the necessity of boosting to hit. If only he had thresher!

If he is in danger of being swamped it is probably better for him to shoot with his sawed-off scattergun. This gun is a non-magic 6″ spray. The power on it is a decent, but not amazing, 12 which means you should be able to deal with lighter warrior models as long as their def isn’t too high. His rat is just okay. Where the gun gets really good is when you notice it has a rate of fire of 2. That is right, he can do 2 str 12 sprays per turn which can really clear out infantry that are trying to jam him. Additionally, if you need a bit extra stopping power, you can fire both barrels and trade that rate of fire for +4 to the damage result as a *attack.

Next up let’s take a look at his spell list. He has 4 spells on his list and as a warlock can also use the animi of the war beasts in his battle group – I might mention the use of an animus, but they will be discussed in greater detail in my Thoughts On… that model.

Batten Down the Hatches – This spell will take up fully half of his fury and in most cases you will be casting it without batten an eye. See what I did there? Seriously, this spell increases the armor of models in your battlegroup (including Carver himself) at the cost of a loss to defense. Additionally it makes you immune to knockdown so I guess you might say that it gives you a better defense than you would have if you were knocked down. It isn’t an auto-cast however. You need to be particularly aware of units in your opponents army that ignore these bonuses as in most cases they will only ignore the bonus but not the penalty. Also, bear in mind that war beasts have a decent defense and the farrow beasts have a decent armor to begin with. There might be times when the only threat to you is a bunch of infantry that are going to be doing dice -4 or -5 without the buff and only hitting on a 7. In that case, you might be better off taking a couple of minor hits and hopefully getting a couple of misses on you. I haven’t actually run the math on this, by the way. If you are good at it, I would be curious what your results are. Immune to knockdown is absolutely brutal against those models whose feat is a knockdown effect. This also helps out against things like headbutts and throws. If you felt like it you could put up batten down the hatches and then have Brine double handed throw the warhog at something to knock it down. The war hog would still have to forfeit his movement but could then pound on whatever was knocked down. It is pretty risky though because you could go out of Carver’s control area and lose the effect from Batten Down the Hatches. Overall it is a great spell though and one you will use a whole lot. It isn’t an upkeep spell so you need to plan on paying the full cost every turn for it. Conversely, since it isn’t an upkeep it can’t be dispelled.

Mobility – Another great spell. As the name implies this spell greatly improves your mobility. Like Batten Down the Hatches Carver casts this spell on himself and it is not an upkeep. This is huge because that means you can stack the effects giving you both more resilient and faster war beasts which are always a good thing. Mobility increases the speed of battlegroup models as well as giving them pathfinder. Since it is a speed bonus it means that your run doubles the bonus rather than adding it straight at the end. Pathfinder is a beautiful thing as well since having our slow war beasts get stuck in terrain is painful. It also allows you to charge over linear obstacles or through forests meaning you can use them for a defense bonus to help offset the penalty from Batten Down the Hatches or give you the option of not casting it for a turn and trusting on a higher defense to protect you. Also it combines well with Rift in giving you more options in activation order as you don’t have to worry about locking your own models down. It won’t leave you much fury left over but flexibility and options are good.

Quagmire – This is a really interesting upkeep spell. It gives enemy models in base to base contact with the unit/model a defense modifier of -2 while also preventing them from moving other than to change facing. The obvious use is to prevent things from trampling over a unit of brigands or locking models in place for a turn since you can’t usually move after doing your combat action. This can be very useful in scenario play for keeping a model out of a control zone. Also the -2 is what I call a “soft boost”. What I mean by that is that it isn’t quite as good on average as a normal boost but still helps break the curve. This soft boost also makes war beasts a good target. Anything that helps your war hog (or Carver himself in a pinch) get more hits can only be a good thing allowing you to save those forces for extra attacks. If Carver were a fury 7 caster I would advocate casting it on turn 1 and upkeeping it for the rest of the game. As it is, there are so many turns in which you will want to cast Batten Down the Hatches and Mobility you will probably be better off having that emergency transfer for whatever sneaky thing you missed that your opponent is about to do to you.

Rift – This is a decent power 8″ aoe spell. The aoe on it is 4″ which is pretty sweet on its own but it also remains in play through your opponents turn as rough terrain. If they are lacking on pathfinder this can be a huge inconvenience and go a long way to making sure that your hogs are the ones doing the charging. Bonegrinders give you an extra 2″ range helping to offset the short range of the spell. It is fairly expensive, but you can still use that and pathfinder and have that emergency fury I advocate which helps with some of the order of activation issues that could come up.

This brings us to his feat – “Hog Heaven”. This feat gives all farrow models in his control area an dice of damage and Overtake. It is important to remember that it is only farrow models meaning that those other support solos like Gudrun the Wanderer and Saxon Orrick will not benefit from his feat. Also it is only while in his control area so it is possible to overtake out of his control area and lose the overtake on future attacks and the extra dice worth of damage. It is a pretty straight forward feat which I like to use pretty early in order to give myself an advantage on big models by taking out opponent jacks/beasts.

I made a mistake in dismissing him as a boring caster when I first read him over. Lord Carver, BMMD esq III can be played in a straightforward manner as a beat-stick but he also has some tools which enable you to play him a bit more patiently and tricky than it would seem at first glance especially by blocking off movement with rift and quagmire. A great thing to keep in mind is that he is a bandit king and play him appropriately. He is not going to stand up in melee to the likes of the Butcher but he has the shenanigans to ensure that he doesn’t have to.