Warmachine Cryx Review: Warmachine Cryx Commandment #1
My name's TT and let me start by saying I'm a good player, not a great player, not a bad player just a good one. Why am I good? Well I'm overly confident, and have little to no pragmatism. Seriously though I win more than I lose. I compete well locally, but I'm not a national level player. The objective of the game is to win, but I play the game to have fun. So take my advice, ramblings and musings with that grain of salt.
I've been playing Warmachine, and Cryx on and off since mk1, which apparently was over ten years ago! When I came back to the game last year I went back in with Mercs, but ended up playing Cryx shortly after. Cryx casters have always been really dynamic and enjoyable to play. They boost some of the most impressive spell lists, feats and abilities. The cheap arc node just opens tons of doors, and you get to make a lot of fun and interesting decisions. With the announcement of MKIII I sold my cryx, and picked up Khador. We're almost a year into mkiii now and I'm back with Cryx. Why you ask? I'll tell you.
The "play style" of buy 30 banes, walk across the table and smack things has lost a lot of it's effectiveness. Bane Knights lost weapon master and gained brutal charge. In addition the general meta shift with pre-measuring has made it harder for them to walk across the table reliably. Cryx in general screamed foul and a lot of people jumped off the bane bandwagon. Now don't get me wrong I won plenty of mki and mkii games off the strengths of banes, but I was pretty sure Cryx still had plenty of game in them. I had been playing Mercs with a decent amount of success. In 6 events I was at 3 final tables, and while never the winner I took a few seconds and thirds. That being said I couldn't help but get excited reading the Cryx casters again, and when my friend John G bugged me for the 12th time to buy his Cryx army I caved, and back to the Dragonfather I went.
I now own literal piles of undead, now where to start? I'm fairly analytical so I decided to take a long look at the meta and decide where Cryx could slide in. In addition the ATC was coming up. If I was going to be able to talk my teammates into letting me play this unplayable trash I had to get up to speed quickly. I decided to go with Venethrax. A caster that seemed straight forward with an amazing spell list. He's a solid hordes drop and I can figure out my Warmachine drop later. After a dozen games of Jack heavy Venethrax lists I decided on the first Cryx Commandment I'm going to follow for MKIII!
Bring at least two sources of armor swing
Why? Because we're pillow fisted and the meta has lots of armor and boxes. It's no secret that many factions are assumed to always have X when a model/unit is "balanced". Cyngar has snipe, Trolls have the stone, Menoth has the choir, and Cryx? Well we have debuffs for days, armor in particular. In no real order we have the following armor debuffs; Parasite, Crippling Grasp, Calamity, Mortality, Dark Shroud, Feast of Worms, Curse of Shadows, Malediction to name a few. Our highest P/S jack is 18, and our common P/S on heavies is in the 16 range. So to really swing down armor 18-20 heavies we need to bring a debuff, or two in my opinion. Lets look at the math. For the sake of these dives we'll assume we always hit, so in reality the numbers are worse.
A jack charging with a delta of 4 is as follows (arm 20 p/s 16 arm 19 p/s 15 etc etc) nets you 17 dmg. A jack with a delta of 3 nets you 19.5 dmg, and from here on each delta shift changes dmg done by 4 (2 initials 2 bought). We need to get to the 30 ish range to take a jack with one jack, and as you can see we're not even close to that.
Okay so best case we need 2 jacks to drop another heavy, worst case 3. What about the tusks? Yes some jacks have tusks/chain attacks. Add a few points of dmg for them but it doesn't change the final number needed. Our jacks also don't do a great job of charging in, doing some damage, and finishing them off the next round. We tend to be easier nuts to crack as far as warjacks go. So we'd like to kill them in a round, how do we do that? Debuffs! Now a normal debuff on target adds 2 dmg to each swing, and really changes the math. We're now in the realm of one of our jacks killing another by itself. To push the odds even more in out favor we stack it with another 2 debuff and we're really cooking with gas. You can clearly see in the image below that even the 4 delta is in the range of one rounding a jack.
So you're saying lowering their armor is good? This isn't exactly revolutionary material here. And while it's no shocker to anyone that lowering armor is amazing, I'm going to go out on a limb and say casters without an arm debuff will have a hard time in the game as it currently stands if you're trying to swing your way to victory. So now when looking at caster I want to try lets assume each caster brings a unique armor debuff, and we're getting dark shroud somewhere else in our list construction. This lets us swing armor in a few places, or once place heavily. Venethrax brings Mortality. This is great as it's not an upkeep so in theory he could have a few model's units effected a turn. In addition I ended up settling on a wraith engine for my second source. This 4 armor swing let me run my Cryx jacks into other heavies with confidence I should be killing them. Hence the first Cryx Commandment,
Thou shall bring two sources of armor debuffing, most of the time!