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Warmachine Cryx Model Review: Terminus

Long before there were huge based casters, there was a huge caster on a large base, Terminus. With a slew of abilities he's one of the few Cryx casters that tries to deliver himself to melee. He brings a debuff to defense and armor, but with a catch. The debuff is a 2" aura around him... So what does Terminus like to see the table with? Should they be afraid of him? Is he as bad ass rules wise as his model is? Well lets find out.

Okay to start with none of us know why he's holding his sword like that, or what his pimp hand is doing. Moving on from that he's a large based caster with 20 health boxes. A respectable stat line of Spd 6, Str 9, Mat 7, Rat 5, Def 14, Arm 18, Cmd 10 (this is important!), and focus 6. He has a Spray 10 pow 14 that causes corrosion and does corrosion damage. The Pimp hand is .5 rng PS 14 with Critical Pitch. The sword is Doomsayer, and it's 2rng PS 16 and magical. He has Assault, Flight and Undead. Thats a heck of a card front. Spray 10's are amazing, especially with assault and a continuous effect. Flight lets him get wherever he wants to go. And PS 16 is our 3rd highest melee pow in the faction, really it is (Kraken/Sep at 19, DJ at 18, Nightmare/Leviathan/Seether at 17, and a bunch of stuff tied with a WARCASTER!). At mat 7 he hits fairly well,  and should be respected and feared in melee.

It's time for the back of the card! He has Sacrificial Pawn Undead Model. Basically anytime he's hit by a ranged attack he can have a friendly undead non-incorporeal model be hit instead. This is an amazing self delivery device into gun lines. You can also combine this with say...Rengrave, to extend the bubble even more. Rengrave is 3 inches behind Terminus, Terminus can Sac Pawn Rengrave who then can Call to Sacrifice a model within 5 inches of him! Lets just say it almost makes Terminus immune to ranged attack assassinations. However keep in mind that ranged spells can't be Sac Pawn'd! Next up he has Shadow of Death. While in his command range (10!) friendly undead faction models gain Tough. I'll let that sink in. He gives us a HUGE bubble of tough on our undead swarms. Tough Ghost Fleet anyone? Infernal Machine? The combinations are legit and it works with Sac Pawn! Next he has Soul Take: Cull Soul. Allows the gathering of souls from within 2 inches. So to recap he gains souls, grants tough in a 10 inch radius bubble and can sac pawn ranged attacks onto undead models within 3 inches. So he's got some clear synergy with infantry swarms, but what does he do when he gets there?

Well lets go over his spells;
Annihilation: Cost 4 Rng 10 AOE 3 POW 10 for the whole AOE. Models destroyed are removed from play and Terminus always gains the soul for destroyed living enemy models. Can't go wrong with AOE pow 10's and RFP, though it's most of his stack to do it.

Hellfire: Cost 3 Rng 10 POW 14. Models disabled by Hellfire cannot make tough rolls. Models disabled by hellfire are removed from play. I think Terminus is the only caster with 2 RFP spells. 

Malediction: Cost 2 Rng Self upkeep. While within 2" of this model enemy models suffer -2 Def and Arm. This is how he wrecks things. Mat 7 goes to effective mat 9. Couple that with effective PS 18 and things get ugly quickly. This spell should always be up, always. But TT what about Wyrd's shooting him with boosted everything? He has sac pawn, this spell really should always be up.

Ravager: Cost 2 Rng 6. Basically it gives one battle group warjack berserk. I've seen it used well. It's more of a niche circumstantial spell though. 

Last but not least is his feat. When a living enemy model is destroyed in Terminus's control range he gains the models soul token, in addition he gains +1 arm for each soul on him. Very circumstantial. When it's great it's amazing, but a lot of times it's really meaningless. Don't ruin your whole game trying to get the "ultimate" feat turn. If you know you can pick up a few souls lets grab them and shove Terminus down their throats.

Okay so lets bring this all together. We have a beat stick caster who debuffes enemies close to him, and grants tough to friendlies within 10. The main plan with him is to grind the opponent down leveraging Cryx's already existing recursion coupled with a tough bubble. All the while you're threatening 11 inches from the big fellow for a really mean flight charge. This in Ghost Fleet or Infernal Machine has promise. Ghost Fleet means already is a hideous grind and if you want to inspire rage quitting maybe bring the big fellow. In infernal Machine he leveraged the free necro surgeons to keep the now tough Mechanithrall spam going. He can use the Brute Thrall shield guard to control shooting into his heavies or key targets while swarms of undead steam fists run at your opponent. In SR2016 clock is also a valid win condition. Your opponents will spend a lot of time and energy thinking and then killing the swarms of undead only to see them stay on the table with tough or being brought back. We can keep the pressure on our opponent by placing Terminus aggressively up the board, or by dominating early scenario pieces. Keep your turns practiced and short to ensure maximum clock pressure.

So what are some non theme based synergies. We've already covered the Rengrave sac pawn extension. Barathrum is his character jack and gains unyielding with him (Bathtub is worth a blog post at some point). For a jack that already had tons of tool box adding unyielding is certainly welcome. The Wraith Engine buffing our undead incorporeal models and BIG T granting them tough can be quite the combination. In addition the Wraith Engine completes Cryx Commandment #1 by brining two sources of ARM debuffs. The last CID version of the Wraith Engine had a lot of promise too, granting +2 arm to undead models from shooting and magic. Combine that with Shadow of Death for some real anti shooting tech. The Withershadow Combine is an interesting one. The grant us the free upkeep, Malediction. In addition Maelovus loves casting hellfire and Terminus himself wants the reroll when he goes into combat. Ab's granting Terminus a magic spray 10 is also incredible in the mirror, but I'm not sure they're always worth the points with him. From our Mercenary friends Madelyn Corbeau can add another layer of frustration. Parley prevents targeting Corbeau or Terminus by enemy warrior models while within 7 of Corbeau. He can block LOS to her from shooting and she provides protection against melee infantry for him. In addition Corbeau has sucker, so she can pass ranged hits off onto close models, or big T himself. 

Okay so some negatives to BIG T. Almost every army has multiple ways to kill Terminus in the current meta. If they can kill a heavy jack they can kill him. You'll have to get very good/lucky at placing him out of those threats, but simultaneously keeping his threat viable and meaningful to the game. While an 11 inch flight charge is scary, there are plenty of things out there that out threat him. His debuff being within 2 inches of him means we're relying on him being close to hard to kill enemy targets to swing them down. Stack your odds when you leave terminus next to enemy jacks or warbeasts to apply malediction. Make sure the models die! Or Terminus is going to be a sad panda next turn. He doesn't do a lot for his battle group either. Berserk is great, but the swarms of infantry we're fielding often can hold their own again other infantry. He also tends to want to camp his focus. So he doesn't have a ton to hand out to his battlegroup. While he himself has flight, he also has no way to hand out pathfinder to any model, so terrain can be back breaking for his army.

The last thing I'll say, and this is even more opinion based that this blog normally is, is that he isn't that much fun to play. I measure threats and run him where he can debuff but not die. Infantry runs at things and I hope I roll tough checks. He doesn't have intricate or terribly dynamic play decisions in my mind, not when compared to the gems of other casters we have. So while he can be brutally efficient/effective, for me he's not terribly fun to play.

So thats my 2 cents on Big Terminus. He can certainly win you games, but will you have fun doing it? Larsen once said winning cures all. What are you guys running with him? Any key synergies I missed and should try?