Legion CID Long Take

Okay, we're finally getting back into the swing of articles again, so now that the dust has settled a bit, it’s high time that I sat down and collated my thoughts on the recent CID. I started by doing them in the order they were in the document, but that stopped working when I kept making veiled references to... a certain model... so just click on the tooltips as you go if you need a frame of reference for anything. I’m gonna preface by saying that I didn’t like the end result of a fair few things in this CID, and I absolutely loved the end result of a fair few things in CID. I wager that nobody’s going to agree with every take that I or we have, and that’s fine, because I’d love to hear about your thoughts in the comments. For now though, there’s a lot of models, so let’s get going.

Nephilim Protector

This seems decent. I could see myself taking this with a combat Warlock like Rhyas1, the Twins, or someone else that dies to Knockdown and a wet fart. Actually, that last one may be the entire Faction, but given something that we’re going to be talking about later, I’m not sure that I would want to pay the points for this model in every scenario. Overall, good and well-targeted fixes, now it has a niche, job well done.

Angelius

Excellent, the most iconic Legion Heavy gets to sort of maybe be back on the competitive tables again. Honestly, the change around the second initial and Side Step instead of Overtake is clerical at best; what really matters is the points reduction. This is a situation where a 2 point discount was definitely warranted, and I’m really looking forward to seeing if multiple Angelius builds are viable again, because a flight of dragons looks awesome on the tabletop, and Warbeast-dominant Legion builds are exactly my playstyle. They’ll need building for, because a fragile MAT 6 beater that can have its biggest hit soaked by Hermit is a big oof these days, but I’m ready to put the work in and find someone that can go well with them. I want it to be Vayl2, Saeryn1, or Lylyth3, but it’s probably going to be Fyanna2, and I think that I’m okay with that. Solid job, well done PP.

Yes. I like these things. The main issues with the Angelius have pretty much always been that it was a premium Warbeast that was pretty bad at actually killing opposing Heavies. And while that was fine back in the olden days, they are just too squishy and expensive now for most casters to get value from. A 2 point drop, in this context, is a really big deal. 15 points is a sensible price for a utility heavy, where 17 was a premium price and unforgivable for a MAT 6 beast. Side Step certainly doesn’t hurt, also. Overall, a really solid change.

The Angelius is probably my favourite change from the CID. This one can go places, it can shank fools hard and at a usable price point. At the same time, it’s flimsy and is still at a price point where you can’t throw it away. It has strengths, and weaknesses. This is good. This is what we should be aiming for with models, not just throwing rules at a models card until it’s so long we need a TL:DR. 

Blackfrost Shard and second card because fuck the CID database honestly

These guys changed, they’re sort of vaguely good now, yay for getting to Stealth and run I guess? Unbinding is also good. 9 point unit with a spell-based Magic Ability 7 damage buff, I’m not hugely excited. Big thanks to the Legion channel of r/warmachine discord for reminding me that this unit exists, because I had genuinely forgotten them.

Raek

Literally doing nothing to change it other than making it 6 points was real bold, not gonna lie. We often talk about big reductions in points to make something aggressively viable, and for sure it’s a valid games design strategy. I don’t hate this model, but I’m not slamming it into lists. Maybe I will when the Blight Archon gets nerfed in a way that mandates it.

Teraph

It’s a sort of vaguely okay Warbeast at the moment; I have absolutely no idea why it’s RAT 5, rather than RAT 6, but hey ho. Burning Earth is meta-relevant, I suppose, even if the enemy directly hit clause is annoying, and now that the Archangel’s good (oops, spoiler alert) we can justify packing some mid-POW guns to buff up. My main disappointment, though, is that Dig In didn’t become its animus, a la the Aradus Scarab. Make it COST 1, restrict it to Light Warbeasts if you must and make it RNG SELF, but just let it max its stack by fully boosting a shot and digging in.

Proteus

Another win. We’ve knocked a point off, sure, but more importantly we’ve buffed up the Talons. This lines up nicely with my evolving philosophy about character models – instead of just making them cheap, make them really good. You can’t spam ‘em, so just let them be relatively more costly and be a major threat on the table, worthy of their notoriety. Now Proteus hits reasonably hard, and can realistically expect to scrap an enemy Heavy, maybe even without a buff if it’s lightweight enough. A force that’s sort of to be reckoned with, and probably fine. I might have asked for two initials on the Tentacles, but I didn’t, and I’m willing to just say “yeah, good enough”.

Blighted Nyss Legionnaires

Now these changes I like. The concept of a defensive single wound Unit is a rough one to implement in a game that has historically possessed a lot of single wound infantry blenders, but I think that there’s been a genuine success here. The key seems to have been moving away from them not actually dying, and instead focusing really hard on the all-or-nothing solution to Vengeance Units by making the option of just killing a couple very punishing unless you’re positioned well to avoid the counterpunch. In the correct context, I think that this unit can do really well, which is a great place for a ‘legacy’ unit to be. In a competitive context, I’d probably only look at them with Kallus1, but there’s possibly room for them as a skirmish screen in some more casual builds – I’d recommend them to a newer player starting with Kryssa1, for example.

Captain Farilor and Standard

Okay, so here we get to the first of the models that have genuinely annoyed me. Such an absolute missed opportunity here. I’m going to talk a bit more about my current philosophy on balancing character models in a future article, actually, because I keep mentioning it and it’s going to be important. For now, just consider it to be Named Thing Should Be Good and move on. Farilor is indeed Named Thing, but is definitely not Gud Modl. What is the point of this gent as stands? He adds a sort of vaguely okay combat solo-esque piece *coughs in Warlord* and a once per game Defensive Line that’s passe as fuck tbh. At the very least, that should be an always-on ability, and he should have some form of interesting once per game ability. I don’t know for sure what that is, honestly, but I would be looking at something powerful, and putting him at 5 points, which is a good bracket to be in for a powerful model that could either be a Requisition slot or could be paid for. Children of the Dragon doesn’t have great high-cost Solo options, so maybe I’m exaggerating the room we’ve got to dial this gentleman up, but I for sure believe that we can go much further. As stands, I’m not paying 4 points for this model.

I don’t really understand why I’m being encouraged to spend 4 extra points on my cheap speed bump unit to give them a single turn of Defensive Line. This is all he does and it’s very confusing. If we’re afraid of giving Legionnaires access to Iron Zeal along with all the other buffs available, just give him something to help them be a bit more offensive. Would Power Swell even be so offensive on a character CA? I’m not sure, but I do know that I find the idea of spending 4 points on him offensive to my delicate sensibilities.

Virtue Host and Virtue Champion

Hearken ye to my tale, of hype gone astray, and of woe to those who thought Everblight’s greatest creations yet would be anything more than spicy fart producers. The let-down with these models is palpable, and I’m not just talking about the sculpts. What this seems like is that someone in PP saw Flame in the Darkness and Strange Bedfellows, recognised that these models had a ton of infantry in them, and said “let’s just put Scather templates everywhere!”. They’re a really annoying kind of unit – you have to do fiddly work to get best use out of them, and best use amounts to ‘maybe get to do some half-baked attrition work or scare your opponents into flanking you’. If they were cheaper, like 6 points, I’d maybe care for them as a tech piece; they could have been a Requisition option at that point. But the core of the issue is that these models were hyped up as exciting and feel at least to me like a bit of a letdown. I won’t take them as stands.

If this is Everblight's idea of the perfect specimen then I don’t ever want to look at its pornhub history. Three expensive idiots with hands bigger than their price tag. I’m confused about why these exist. You have to dick about with potentially six(!) 3 inch AOEs a turn. They also have a wet lettuce of a rule that allows them boosted to hit and damage rolls against models that are corroded. Unfortunately because it’s a boost and not an additional die this ability has limited use. At least they got Pathfinder in the later weeks but why on earth don’t they have flight? For the perfect creation of Everblight they are a pretty sad unit. 

I think my main issue with this unit is that Peel Back the Layers feels like it should be a defining ability for the unit and it just….isn’t. Best case scenario, you’re going to get to boost the attack of your two underwhelming melee attacks and the non-charge damage roll. Sounds okay, but they also paid the price for this ability in both their MAT and P+S, so it’s an ability that needs setup and also doesn’t put them that far above par. The meta is in a good place for Scather to be relevant so maybe they’ll see some play. They’ll need protecting from Thamarite Archons, though.

"Rule seller, I require your middlingest rules!"

Carnivean

I feel like an opportunity was missed here. DEF12 is a decent change and while it’s very much not in the big leagues of defensive stats, it’s at least something. Grab and Smash is also… something. It sure does exist. I dunno, I just don’t find it super inspiring with base MAT 6. It’s an addition, I suppose, so we can’t complain too hard. The points reduction, though, is nice. It should probably have been 2 points again. 16 points feels like an appropriate place if you want to make sure Legion don’t have access to too many Heavies and instead focus on a glass cannon playstyle by buffing up a few of them. However, there’s a little too much glass here and not enough cannon. Maybe the change to Proteus should have been mirrored on all of this chassis, actually, and we do something more for Proteus to keep the difference?

First off, I do actually quite like that they added +1 DEF to the chassis in general. Unfortunately, the value of going from DEF 11 to DEF 12 is fairly minimal in a world where MAT 7+ is the new normal. Going down to 17 also doesn’t hurt, although that’s still a pretty premium cost for a MAT 6 heavy. Grab and Smash also suffers from that same issue. It can be a solid rule in a pinch, though, so no overall complaints. I think I’d rather the chassis just picked up +1 MAT instead, to be honest, to make the Scythean and the Carnivean feel more elite and to take the Ravagore up from its laughable MAT 5 to 6. Overall, this wasn’t a bad showing, but I feel like more could have been done for the chassis as a whole.

Zuriel

Okay, this one I’m pretty happy about. This, in my opinion, is how you do an elite character Warbeast without just going ‘numbers higher’, like I recommended with Proteus. To be sure, Zuriel all the more interesting as a dedicated assassination Warbeast, which isn’t something we see very often and is a neat concept. Dual Attack and Kill Shot instead of Quick Work and Assault makes for a much more consistent double-Spray setup without having to try and pull off some weird wombo combo jank to get value. The slight cost reduction is just the icing on an already pretty sweet cake here – in my testing, Zuriel has yet to let me down when I’ve used it appropriately, which is a nice place for a skill piece.

Time for another nugget of positivity. Zuriel got some cool changes, going from a pillow fisted, premium Warbeast to a combined arms terror against moderate ARM infantry or Lights. Dual Attack is always a very dangerous rule and combining it with Kill Shot on a spray is a real threat that you can’t ignore. It’s still pricey but it feels like it’s actually worth his points now. Kudos on this one. 

Blighted Nyss Swordsmen and Command Attachment

Yes, I’m being lazy and putting these as the same option, but that’s just because I don’t really have a great deal to say about them. They’re offensive single wound infantry in Legion; I believe that the changes made to them and in particular the utility the CA gives now are solid decisions that I wouldn’t change, but the fundamental nature of the faction means that I’m just shrugging and moving on. It’s no fault of yours, swordy friends, your relative irrelevance lies squarely with the Warlocks that just don’t really do enough for you.

Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters and Bayal1

These are still almost entirely a cool unit to use with Bethayne1, and not much else. Due to certain flappy individuals that we shall come to discuss, and the fact that the Hellmouth  continues to exist, a skirmishing unit like these requires a lot in Legion in order to justify its existence and cost. Stealth plus a slightly irrelevant points reduction to a CA we’re probably already burning a Requisition slot for means that this probably ain’t it, Warchief. Maybe take them with Bethayne1, maybe don’t bother. Overall, not hugely exciting to me.

Annyssa Ryvaal, and Craelix, Fang of Everblight

So forgettable, we left these two out of the final draft by mistake, and literally nobody noticed.

Blighted Nyss Archers and Command Attachment

Long Gunners done right, I suppose. They shoot many, maybe people can make use of them in some jank lists or by stacking debuffs on their targets. Dying to a stiff breeze doesn’t help but maybe they can skirmish well enough.

I mean, it’s hard to argue that this Unit didn’t get infinitely better. We all know that Reposition is low key one of the best abilities in the game and having it as a base ability immediately makes any ranged unit more viable. The changes to the Ammo Porter also can’t be overstated. Removing the 2” requirement, possibly the most awkward rule in existence, is a boon for anyone trying to play these models without losing their mind. My only concern is the overall cost of the package. The base Unit is decently costed at 8/13, but I feel like the CA is probably still a point too expensive and an overall investment of 18 makes me a little wary. With good synergy, I can see them seeing some play.

Azrael

The other half of the big character Nephilim changes is less inspiring. This seems to me like just a big idiot with a really good non-spray gun. Outside of that gun, we’re paying for the stats of a decent character piece, but there’s just not enough on the card for anything else beyond ‘yes, I throw my spear, my spear is good’. And that’s, frankly, not enough to sell me. Costing less is fine, but I don’t see Azrael making it into many competitive lists, leaving it with just its good looks to coast on – and it’s a nice model, but it’s not exactly setting the world on fire.

"I just want to staaaaaart... a Flame in the Daaaaaaark"

Archangel

One of the most beautiful models in the game finally got buffed to its rightful status, and I am here for it. I’ve not much to say other than “well done”, really. It’s finally the archetypal massive dragon it wanted to be – it hits hard, shoots well, and is generally just cool as hell.

The most revised model in human history, how many changes are we willing to make to get this beautiful model on the table? This time, we may have cracked it, honestly. Upping the consistency of shooting and the melee hitting power makes it feel thematic for a fucking massive dragon. And it also ups consistency in killing opposing Heavies in melee, where P+S 19 wasn’t cutting it previously (see 10/20, 11/20 sort of stat lines – the maths improves pretty heavily). Arguably the biggest change, though, is his gun going from RNG10 to RNG12. I can’t overstate how important this is when combined with innate Reposition (3"). I’d argue that it makes the Archangel a really viable pick now.

Bethayne, Voice of Everblight and Belphagor

Ben’s bae is restored to her former glory, with some protection against guns thrown in too, and yet I’m not massively inspired by her. She’s probably decent enough, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call her current Feat one of the big mistakes of early Mk3 Legion design, and a return to its old glory is long overdue. Sykes likes her, and I think I agree. Sadly, though, the Blight Archon pushes her more towards skewing armour with Primal Terrors, and while that’s totally viable, I can’t help but feel uninspired and bored as hell. Yeeting Ogrun at people with Big Numbr stats is probably good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not why I’m looking at Legion. If you’re not fussed by that or you like them well enough, go for it though; she’s pretty good at it.

Firstly, a lot of people (myself included) are going to be pleased that she got her real feat back, after a long time of having….whatever the hell she has currently. The Week 3 change allowing it to also affect non-warrior models (*cough* Thrones) is also a big boost. Her spell list is fantastic, also. There’s so much utility here, and she can be really resilient (that’s not new, I guess). She could actually be a reasonable contender for solving Legion’s age old problem of getting shredded by quality shooting. All of these changes are great without being uncomfortably over the top.

Blight Archon

Okay, here we come to the crux of my issue with this CID. Basically, and I don’t feel I’m exaggerating here, from a competitive standpoint almost everything I’ve said about Blighted Nyss is irrelevant. This model does more to push Primal Terrors above the two themes ostensibly being looked at in this CID than all of those changes put together. The discussion about how resilient it is and what kind of offensive output it can produce in addition to having a spell list that shames some Warlocks has been done already, by a lot of people, and I do note that until that discussion started nobody seemed to be looking at this model and actively saying “yes, this is fine”. Instead, a whole bunch of people turned up to defend it the moment it got criticism, and I don’t think that those defences reflect what this model has done to the Faction. My prediction is that you’re going to see two of these in every competitive Legion list. Don’t anyone dare @ me with any shit about taxes.

What if we took a Void Archon and just made it better in every way? Alright, that’s not strictly true. But the Blight was given fucking transfers, the best boosting mechanic in the game with more Fury available than almost any actual Warbeast, even some that cost more than twice as much as it. (it rhymes with Puremud - Ed). It also has spells. Very good spells. An ARM buff, Impending Doom and Sprint for your battlegroup. It’s accurate and threats far with the spray and due to the nature of Fury and transfers it is both more difficult to kill and hits harder in melee than a Menite Archon. This fucker does everything. It’s a master of all trades. But hey, at least they took 2 boxes off of it….

The sheer volume of words, abilities and power level of this card makes me want to assume the foetal position.

Bethayne, Pride of Everblight

Welcome to, as stands, the first Warlock in every top tables Legion pairing for the foreseeable. What is doubtlessly an innovative solution to Legion’s guns problem, and a really interesting Feat in general, gets turned by the combination of Primal Terrors and the Blight Archon into an absolute gamebreaker. She single handedly skyrockets into probably being top 3 or top 2 in the game, and that’s after she was arguably toned down somewhat. If she ever goes 2 up on you and Feats, without serious control effects I don’t see how she really loses games (unless you can’t add 11 and 2, on stream no less, and get your Blightbringer killed for no reason, rip). It’s honestly kind of super depressing? It’s probably not adding another rung on the power ladder, although we’d need more testing to know that for sure, but it’s at the very least adding another weight on a rung that already shouldn’t exist with the majority of the game in the position it is.

Love to print a feat that reads “If you just scored 2 ahead. Win the game.” The ability to feat on your Objective is possibly the biggest fuck up of the entire CID since under her Feat you aren’t killing what’s in zones under any kind of normal circumstance. This means you can be left in a scenario where you physically cannot score any points, and, with how hard Primal Terrors hits, to meaningfully contest you’re going to lose such a huge swathe of your army that you’re not going to be in a position to offer any further resistance. This Warlock was given one of the strongest Feats in the game and her spell list didn’t even suffer as a trade-off. 

If you want a picture of the future, imagine Bethayne2 projectile shitting on a human face - forever.

Kryssa, Conviction of Everblight

Okay, we’re going to end on a high note here. I absolutely adore Kryssa1 and she’s my favourite thing by far to come out of CID in a very long time. You can play her with pretty much any Theme, she rewards a ton of list options, and synergises excellently across the whole Faction, while rewarding the kind of Battlegroup-heavy play that Legion was once famed for. She’s not breaking the game, but I would wholeheartedly recommend any Legion player entering the game to start with her now. And all it took was some minor changes. This was dev time well spent, and my hat is well and truly off. I am positively ecstatic to see similar efforts made for other Battlebox Warcasters and Warlocks, and think that if these efforts are sustained, the game will be in a better place for it.

Overall Thoughts

Okay, I lied when I said we were ending on a positive. Sorry! There are things I’m excited about, for sure. However, the problem I personally have is that the combination of things that in my opinion haven’t been done right means that all the effort people have went to on the Nyss front is… kinda pointless from a competitive perspective. The models are playable, and maybe that’s enough, but I think that we should hold the devs to a higher standard of internal balance on this one, because basically a rocket has been lit under some Ogrun arses. Bethayne2 and the Blight Archon in particular catapult the Faction out of the bottom tiers, which is for sure an excellent thing, but overshoots acceptability and lands squarely in the range of meta-warping, while swathes of stuff that received good, solid updates still won’t see the table. Legion will get its time in the sun again, that’s for sure, but my heart bleeds for what might have been.

Competitivity Outlook: Strong

Internal Balance: Weak

Fun Factor: Strong

Overall CID Rating: Medium


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