Dynamic Re-Entry 2

The hot takes keep coming, and they don’t stop coming. Today’s it’s what we were all waiting for; the long-awaited and oft-previewed secret update to a whole class of models, namely the Battlebox Warcasters and Warlocks.



Fuck commas, all my homies hate commas - Shipmate, probably

First on our list is Maddox.

Gains Resourceful.

Gains Flank [Storm Knight].

Gains Electro Leap on Storm Strike.

These changes don’t seem to do a huge amount for her, honestly; like, they’re cute, but I get the feeling that these are going to make more sense in 60 years when life finally allows the Storm Division update to see the table. We’d give you an example list, but there’s not really much point without seeing what’s coming.

Our friend Tom, a.k.a. LuckGod, wrote a longtake about this, which is worth checking out if you're particularly interested in her and want to know his thoughts on where she stands now.

A slight tweak here; giving her gun Electro Leap is a decent quality of life improvement and Flank gives her some incentive to play in Storm Division. I would argue that she should have received Weapon Master and a MAT bump as a baseline and then had a different benefit for playing in SD, but never mind. The main change to consider is Resourceful. Worth noting this doesn’t make all of her upkeeps free as the vast majority of the time you’ll have Dauntless Resolve on a unit and not on Maddox herself but there is a reasonable situation where you’d have Assail, Snipe and, of course, Onslaught on Battlegroup models which gives her an extra 3 Focus to play with, or to camp. The is an excellent change although I feel as she still has nothing to do turn by turn except upkeep spells and look angry. The changes should have been alongside something else as I’m not convinced that she’ll be played in any large way over someone like Stryker2. Still, not bad.


Next up is Kozlov.

Gains “Additionally, friendly Faction models activating in Kozlov’s control range gain an additional die on charge attack damage rolls.” on Feat. Feat loses Unyielding becomes flat +2 ARM.

Gains Gang Fighter.

Gains Field Marshal [Gang Fighter].

Gains Jackhammer

An attempt has been made to give him some Warjack-related stuff in an attempt to make someone who wants to play in Jaws of the Wolf, or at least run a medium-sized Battlegroup. Jury’s out on whether that’s actually succeeded, but right now it looks like his home is in Wolves of Winter, where he can send Doom Reavers a very long way in a sort of new flavour of Vlad2. I’m just not sure that Khador Warjacks really reward this kit. The Wolves of Winter build is going to be very solid though. Not enough to displace things, but perhaps a viable third list in tournaments that might scare people, as well as a Warcaster that any Khador player can pick up and get the hang of without too much effort. Here’s an example list.

Wolves of Winter

Kozlov

- Marauder [11]

- Marauder [11]

- Marauder [11]

Alexia Mistress of the Witchfire [7]

Koldun Lord [0(4)]

Koldun Lord [0(4)]

Void Archon [8]

Void Archon [8]

Doom Reaver Swordsmen [10]

- Greylord Escort [3]

Doom Reaver Swordsmen [10]

- Greylord Escort [3]

Doom Reaver Swordsmen [10]

Doom Reaver Swordsmen [10]

Greylord Ternion [0(7)]


Kozlov is currently getting a lot of hype on the internet with many people saying he’s incredible and some even saying he’s over tuned. But honestly, I think he’s just kind of average. These are nice changes, but I have to ask. Where do you play him? Wolves of Winter? Why not play Vlad2? A Warcaster that has speed and damage, hit fixing (which is a biggie), cloud removal, shooting denial and other tools that Kozlov doesn’t. Jaws of the Wolf, to make use of Gang Fighter? I’m not convinced that it will be better than Karchev, or even Butcher1. Armored Korps is maybe a home for him as it appreciates the SPD/ARM stacking, and the damage is also welcome since with limited attack volume they need to count. But is one turn of +2 SPD enough? I feel like it’ll still fall into the same issue the Theme always has, in that it can’t contest efficiently and struggles with lists that require high volume of attacks. Time will tell. I don’t hate him with double Uhlans in Legion of Steel but I’m unsure if it will be good enough. Overall, the changes are nice but I’m still not convinced that what he does is enough to see him get consistent play over the other options in Khador.

We corralled Chris Davies of Dark Guidance for some thoughts. It was a mistake. Essentially, he doesn't want to get shot like a peasant, so in between sending us lists with Devastators purely to annoy Stephanie, we got a decent Jaws of the Wolf list he thinks might be a good shout. If you want to know how they work, ask the cunt, I'm not getting stuck hearing about clamjack bullshit again. -Ed



Jaws of the Wolf

Kozlov

- Berserker [8]

- Devastator [14]

- Devastator [14]

- Marauder [11]

- Marauder [11]

- Greylord Adjunct [4]

Alexia Mistress of the Witchfire [7]

Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [4]

- Marauder [11]

Yuri the Axe [0(5)]

Kayazy Assassins (max) [15]

- Kayazy Assassin Underboss [4]

Kayazy Eliminators [0(5)]

Kayazy Eliminators [0(5)]


Malekus is our first breakout hit from this update.

Gains:

Divine Passages - Once per turn at the start of this model’s activation, it can use one of the following effects.

Fable of Ash - While within this model’s control range, friendly Faction warrior models gain Ashen Veil. Fable of Ash lasts for one round.

Hymn of Might - This model can cast one of its spells without spending Focus this turn.

Verse of Cinders - Friendly Faction Warjacks activating in this model’s control range gain Blazing Wrath. Verse of Cinders lasts for one turn. (A model with Blazing Wrath can charge enemy models suffering the Fire continuous effect without spending focus).

Trades Immolation for Brand of Fire.

Yes, this is the kind of change that we really like to see. He was never outright terrible, but there was no actual reason, competitively speaking, to take him before now. However, with a global DEF buff to match the other prominent Protectorate Warcasters, and an actual niche in the form of being a competent spell assassin (seriously, it’s actually a respectable threat if you don’t have the Hermit or transfers; being put on your ass and taking 4 dice POW 14s is no joke), Malekus is the first of these changes that really puts a model on the map. I can see him hitting pairings pretty damn soon, and doing reasonably well. It’d be really cool if he opened up a different version of The Faithful Masses for Protectorate players, because it must get super boring playing that Theme after a while, and getting to do new and interesting things with it, like taking a Faberge Egg masquerading as a Warjack, will be respite for a time.


an egg with legs; a legg if you will (I will not -Ed.)

The Faithful Masses

Malekus [+30]

- Eye of Truth [20]

- Judicator [35]

- Hierophant [3]

Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]

Menite Archon [8]

Menite Archon [8]

The Covenant of Menoth [4]

Vassal Mechanik [1]

Vassal of Menoth [3]

Wrack [1]

Choir of Menoth (min) [4]

Holy Zealots (max) [12]

- Monolith Bearer [3]

Initiates of the Wall [0(7)]

Initiates of the Wall [0(7)]

Initiates of the Wall [0(7)]

Here’s something inspired by the tireless efforts of Zilvinas in the UK, who’s been repping the smol egg for a very long time. We have some cool additions to the generic The Faithful Masses template, with some assassination spice and unusually high ranged damage output.

Along with one other update, Malekus is a winner here. Firstly, Immolate getting swapped to Brand of Fire is excellent. POW 16 with a Menite Archon is a real scary number and the leaps allow you to spread a lot of Continuous Fire around ready for the Feat turn. The Divine Passages give him SO much extra flair. Ashen Veil on Allegiants and Initiates is going to tilt some people into the sun (it’s another update that says fuck you to living models, so that’s fun). Hymn of Might is superb for both Feat turn and/or assassination runs, allowing either a free Scourge or a free Brand of Fire, both of which are excellent options. I anticipate you’ll be singing Ashen Veil every turn besides Feat turn or assassination runs which you’ll be using the free spell; the free charges against models on fire is… okay? But it’s certainly the weakest of the three passages and will get used the least I expect. Overall, Malekus is one of the best changes for this update – the pie man is here!


Helynna is... another odd duck.

Gains Tune Up [Faction Warjack]

Gains Field Marshal [Conveyance]. (basically Telemetry but 5”).

Let’s be real, there’s probably something coming in the upcoming Retribution CID that makes these changes make more sense in context. As stands, we can draw two conclusions. These are very limp changes, so something must be coming to the Warjacks that she plays well with. And consequently, whatever list we build as an example for her will be outdated in like a month. As a long time Helynna fangirl I am distinctly unimpressed, but hope springs eternal, and one can only assume that this is in aid of some massive buff to Shyeel that puts her back on the map.

I know Ret players are disappointed with the very lukewarm changes to Helynna, but the thing is, she’s already a good warcaster. Her problem is just that the models she wants to take aren’t, but with a CID just around the corner that could very well change. Tune Up I think is the more substantial change and it does seem good on Discordia and the Hyperion, although with the Hyperion not getting use from her best spell I don’t personally like it as much. That being said, not-Telemetry will have its uses. I think looking at Shyeel is the wrong way to view this ability. I see it more as an option for higher accuracy spells from Helynna. +2 is really handy if you’re trying to land a Hand of Destruction on a Warcaster, or a Heavy behind a wall, and with Rhythm of War, good terrain means you don’t even necessarily lose your Arc Node afterwards. It’s not stellar, but it’s a handy bonus to have.


Agathia sure does have some changes alright, so let’s dive right in.

Exchanges Dark Shroud for Death Shroud.

Gains Irregulars [Bane Knights].

Gains Henchmen [small-based Bane] - Choose one friendly small-based Bane unit at the beginning of the game to be Henchmen. The chosen unit gains +2 DEF and MAT and Apparition.

Gains Ghostly.

Gains Apparition.

Feat affects models in her Battlegroup.

Well, I can safely say that I don’t think anybody saw this coming. Agathia sheds her status as the only Bane without Ghostly, picks up some cheeky rules to free some Bane Knights from the tyranny of Dark Host-based mediocrity while also making them good, and also slaps a neat little passive onto her kit. While I weep for the Dark Host hotfix that she could have been, and that she’s inevitably just going to play in Scourge of the Broken Coast, it’s hard to complain too vehemently when she’s went from one of the worst Warcasters in the game to this passable B-tier inclusion.

Scourge of the Broken Coast

Agathia [+29]

- Ripper [6]

- Kharybdis [17]

- Slayer [10]

Axiara Wraithblade [0(6)]

Darragh Wrathe [9]

General Gerlak Slaughterborn [0(6)]

Hermit of Henge Hold [5]

Misery Cage [2]

Asphyxious4 [14]

- Talon [7]

Bane Knights (max) [15]

- Bane Knight Officer [4]

Bloodgorgers (max) [15]

- Jussika Bloodtongue [0(5)]

We pay a lot here, but we get a passable brick for our points. It’s not particularly exciting or meta relevant to be perfectly honest, but there’s some neat stuff to be done by stacking Mortal Fear, Unyielding, and Death Shroud, while piling on the buffs and debuffs to shred whatever you touch. Maybe if your opponent lacks guns we can deliver a really punishing hit here and then get hit back without too much issue, the latter of which is kind of rare in Cryx and might be neat to explore.

Agathia is upsetting to me. It seems like PP wanted her to play in Dark Host, realised that the majority of her kit is pointless for that Theme, but they still wanted her to play Banes with the Henchman update. But, since nobody would play Dark Host with her, they just hotfixed her by giving her Irregulars. Agathia is a Warcaster that I think was deserving of a full re work but unfortunately she was denied it. As a result there is one question. Are Bane Knights in Scourge of the Broken Coast a good enough reason to pass up Crippling Grasp, The Withering and Dark Seduction? If not, you still aren’t going to see her over Deneghra1. Not as bland as the Helynna changes, but still not exciting.

Ben's thoughts on this matter were so unrelentingly full of malice that we had no choice but to seal them away for the good of all humanity. If you want them anyway, be sure to throw an email to xxbiddydunkahamps94xx@gmail.com -Ed.



Tanith was easily the most competitively viable of these models before the update, and her changes reflect this in their relatively limited scope. 

Gun becomes RNG 12 and POW 14. 

Feat now reads “The cost of spells Tanith casts cannot be reduced to less than 1”. 

Gains Dark Power

It’s no real surprise that this is relatively tame. The fix to the Feat is long overdue and very welcome. Dark Power is cute for making the Feat seem partially relevant if you ever need to spot-remove something. The gun improving is nice mostly because it’s the most impactful thing that she does, and now she can do it from further away and with more damage to big targets. Honestly, the best part of this is that if you put your ear to the wind, you can hear the shrieks of glee from Canada, as one man’s favourite Warlock finally gets some buffs. I can definitely see Tanith seeing more play after this update, and with the ever-increasing power of Secret Masters, her stonks are rising too. 

Secret Masters 

Tanith [+31]

 - Storm Raptor [34]

 - Woldwyrd [9] 

Blackclad Wayfarer [4] 

Chuck Dogwood [4] 

Dhunian Archon [0(6)] 

Dhunian Archon [0(6)] 

Hermit of Henge Hold [5] 

Primal Archon [8] 

Primal Archon [8] 

Scythe [0(6)] 

Thamarite Advocate [3] 

The Wastelander [5] 

Croak Raiders (max) [16] 

Farrow Valkyries [8] 

Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew [2] 

I’ve put the classic Ratelle list from VTC here, but honestly there are so many options in Secret Masters right now that the sky is the limit.



Just because he doesn't care doesn't mean he doesn't understand.


Finally, we come to Xekaar, the noodly boi. 

Trades Enrage for Alpha Hunter. 

Gains Reposition [5”]

DEF to 16. 

Trades Witch Mark for Dispel.  

Chained Whip gets Chain Weapon (lul), P+S 10 

MAT to 7. 

Gains Parry

Another set of very solid changes. Xekaar gets everything he needs to be a competent battlegroup player, and can reasonably expect to see a fair bit of play in Disciples of Agony now that he’s a. less killable and b. does more for his Battlegroup. Now that those fundamentals have been tuned up to a more appropriate level, he pairs quite well with Zaal2, and therefore can serve well as an offlist to deal with the stuff that Exalted want to avoid. Honestly, you could probably play Xekaar in Exalted if you really wanted to, but Alpha Hunter is too good not to build around. Overall, I’m pretty happy. 

Disciples of Agony 

Xekaar [+31]

 - Agonizer [6]

 - Archidon [10]

 - Archidon [10]

 - Basilisk Krea [0(7)]

 - Blind Walker [10]

 - Cyclops Brute [8]

 - Cyclops Brute [8]

 - Cyclops Brute [8]

 - Cyclops Shaman [8]

 - The Terrorizer [0(7)]

 - Aptimus Marketh [5]

Hermit of Henge Hold [5] 

Paingiver Task Master [0(3)] 

Paingiver Task Master [0(3)] 

Swamp Gobber River Raider [1] 

Swamp Gobber River Raider [1] 

Void Archon [8] 

Void Archon [8] 

Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) [5] 

Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) [5] 

 You know when you get the feeling you’re missing something really obvious in a list? I have that right now but can’t work out what. Drag me in the comments when y’all realise I guess and laugh at whatever silly error I've made. For now though, this is a decent compromise between the different Warbeasts that you want to take with him, and has a few solid lines of play while also presenting a formidable defensive brick in the classic Skorne style.

Update: Thank you to Steven Sill for being able to remember that I forgot to take a Primal bot in my buffbot list. Quality page, quality content.

The other big winner from the update. Xekaar is an excellent Warlock now. His list of changes was like a shopping list but the TL:DR version is that he got Alpha Hunter, and got better at killing things and not dying. Skorne have some very efficient Lights and cheap Heavies with things like the Cyclops Brute and the Archidon that can be sent off as high-threat, high-damage missiles, and given their low cost you can get away with using Primal on them without too many tears shed. I think Xekaar will be a legit option for many people to pair with an Exalted list and has been given some excellent changes.

Jake emerged from his thousand-year slumber recently to get pretty excited about noodleboi. Having spent the latter part of his Skorne career searching for a possible answer to Khador in the Faction, he's now exploring the new possibilities that have arisen with these changes. When we can drag him away from real life, we'll try and get him to write about them. -Ed.

In summary, these changes vary between “not much but can’t complain” to “hey, this is a viable choice now”. This isn’t the same level of changes that one might have expected if Ragnor or Kryssa were the baseline for your expectations, but it seems reasonable to expect at least a mild shakeup in some pairings, and definitely some experimentation at the mid tables to keep things interesting. I’m particularly looking forward to the Tanith and Xekaar lists that come out of this update, because they’re the most likely to be meta-relevant by my current perception. I also look forward to seeing how the Helynna and Maddox updates pan out once we see them in their full context, because while they might not be inspiring right now, they probably make more sense in relation to other changes.

Just the Trollbloods changes to cover - while this is going up a bit later than advertised (it's still Tuesday somewhere I guess), we should have a bumper crop of articles tomorrow to stick with the 3 a day schedule, including some guest content. Tune in as we talk about blue idiots and try to say more words than 'yes these are slow models'.



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