Preparing for masters/Iron Gauntlet – List theory

Posted: December 31, 2014 by midnightcarnivalwmh in Cryx
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I would be remiss if I didn’t start by saying this, but happy holidays!  Regardless of what you celebrate, hopefully Lord Toruk was good to you this year, and that you had some wonderful times with friends and family!

Today, we’re going to be talking about something that I’ve wanted to write something about for a while now, but haven’t ever felt like I had the proper framing for it.  With a personal goal this year to be in the Warmachine Weekend Invitational tournament and Iron Gauntlet top 4 (huge goals, I know, but if you don’t shoot for the stars, you’ll never reach the sun).  Now, while I’m not sure how realistic of a goal it actually is, any chance to play against top caliber players from around the world is really what I’m after, and to also give the best game I can.

That being said, I’ve decided that I am going to save mental and physical tournament prep for an entire other article due to that being such a huge topic that I could talk for ages about, and today, we’re going to discuss list theory when preparing for a tournament.

So first off, I’m going to unveil my lists:

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Asphyxious the Hellbringer (*4pts)
* Cankerworm (5pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard (3pts)
The Withershadow Combine (5pts)
Bane Lord Tartarus (4pts)
Darragh Wrathe (4pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Wraith Witch Deneghra (*6pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Satyxis Blood Hag (2pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw (9pts)

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Goreshade, Lord of Ruin (*5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
Aiakos, Scourge of Meredius (3pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan (2pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

Alright, so there are some familiar faces here as far as my lists go.  I was originally going to play Asphyxious2, but let’s be realistic for a second…did you really think I wouldn’t play Asphyxious3?  I love Asphyixous2, he’s an absolute powerhouse of a caster, but personally, I much prefer Asphyxious3 in terms of how he plays and how great of an army-wide toolbox he brings to the table.

So, here are the reasons I settled on these 3 lists:

  1. They are my favourite casters to play – This was a big one for me.  Skarre1 is often regarded one of our top 5 casters, and I would say that she fights for that spot with Goreshade3 (Skarre1 brings more raw power to the table, Goreshade3 brings flexibility).  However, I abhor playing Skarre1.  I don’t find her dynamic or interesting enough a caster for me personally, and while I’m sure that’s just the way I build and play her, I simply don’t find her interesting to play for me.  While this may not seem like it fits into a tactical discussion, there is something to be said about not only playing casters you enjoy playing (it is a game after all, and if you aren’t having fun..you’re probably doing something wrong!), but also the ones that you’re the most comfortable with due to the ability to think more about tactical decisions rather than the mechanical process of playing that specific caster and list.  I will be talking more about this particular point in a future article when I’m talking about mental and physical preparation for a tournament.  Nonetheless, I really wanted to take my 3 favourite casters and figured out lists that would work well and compliment each other.
  2. Flexibility – I’ve chosen to go with 3 of the most flexible casters in our faction, both in terms of what they bring to the table in regards to answers, but also, they each ask a very different question of the opponent.  This is incredibly important to me as I hate losing a game on list chicken.  I wanted to ensure that no matter what I picked into a match up, I wouldn’t be stuck in a 20/80 situation (Haley1 is the exception, because I don’t think there is another match up quite as bad as Cryx vs. Haley1).  I wanted to make sure that in each match up, I had 2 good drops depending on what the opponent was bringing, which would make my list decision less of an obvious one, and thus make it easy for the opponent to choose a list to drop into these 3.
  3. Match up Coverage – These 3 lists have a very wide breadth of answers to a what opponents may bring as their Cryx drops, while asking equally hard questions to the opponent.  Each list answers questions in a different manner, while asking a very different question at the same time.  Being able to cover all of the big match ups, while forcing opponents to pick between their solutions is a very strong state to be in, as it puts you in control during list chicken.

So with those reasons in mind, here’s an in-depth look at each list.

Winter’s Chill

I’m going to start with the list that you may be most curious about first.

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Goreshade, Lord of Ruin (*5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
Aiakos, Scourge of Meredius (3pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan (2pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

I’ve spoken at length before about Deneghra2 and Asphyxious3, so those builds are going to look very familiar for you guys.  However, this is the first time I’ve actually unveiled this Shade3 list, so I’m going to go through it in quite some detail.  At first glance, you’ll probably notice that this list has a monstrous assassination game.  Between Shade, Corbeau, Aiakos, the Stalker and 2 Helldivers, there is very little real estate where a caster can safely hide.  Not to mention, the Helldivers put a clock on an opponent where they have to win the game within a set amount of time or they will be losing their caster.  This is particularly potent in Kill Box scenarios, where the opposing caster simply has to get involved or at the very least, stay in a position where they are going to be in danger of dying at a moment’s notice, or risk losing on scenario.  This is only amplified by the presence of Corbeau, and Aiakos, who make Shade’s assassination run a very live thing that your opponent has to be concerned about due to how non-linear it is.

The Helldivers, Aiakos and Stalker are also excellent precision removal tools, with their ability to almost always make it to their intended target without fail.  They provide excellent support and are fantastic for killing things such as shifting stones, choir, vassals, and other key support pieces that would otherwise be almost impossible to get to.  This allows the assassination pieces to serve a secondary role when not performing or setting up an assassination run.  Aggressive positioning of these pieces will dictate where your opponent’s caster will be, especially since you have Goreshade himself threatening the opposing caster from all the way downfield.

Due to the fact that Darragh Wrathe is taken by Asphyxious3, I opted to forgo Soul Hunters in favour of Satyxis Raiders who bring speed, high DEF and the ability the to crack armour for a turn, alongside the Bane Riders who are probably the best catch-all unit we have now.  The Raiders and Riders both require significantly different answers, but the speed at which they can engage the opponent doesn’t necessarily give them a chance to react properly to it, or re-deploy their forces accordingly.  Those 2 units have a base threat range of 14″, not counting a Corbeau move on an individual model, which allows you to fully control the line of engagement in the majority of match ups.  Furthermore, the things that are used to deal with Satyxis Raiders are not the same things that can handle Bane Riders, and vice versa, which gives you a significant advantage during deployment, as your opponent deploys to counter the riders and then the Satyxis Raiders come in on those counters, while the Riders take the turn to redeploy themselves into a more favourable match up.  If you are going second, you can simply set those favourable match ups from the start, and the high speed of the list can potentially throw off a lot of people’s opening gambits if they want to ensure that they don’t simply get jammed up by the list.

The strength of this list lies in the fact that it accentuates Goreshade’s strengths, which is a very strong assassination threat, backed up by an incredibly flexible and dynamic plan that can adjust to whatever situation may arise on the table.  I have chosen to skew even harder towards assassination as a means to close out the game due to the fact that it is incredibly difficult to protect your caster from the combination of Goreshade3, 2 Helldivers, Aiakos and a Stalker.  Once you factor in Corbeau, the angles and vectors become almost impossible to protect against.

I have chosen to skew this way due to the amount of Kill Box scenarios that are in the SR2015 packet.  Keeping any caster within 16″ of Goreshade3 is a dubious proposition at best, due to the variety of ways he has to simply kill a caster dead.  When you add in the fact that Kill Box essentially forces that situation, your opponent will often find creative ways of keeping their caster alive.  By adding in the 2 Helldivers, Aiakos and the Stalker, you are putting a clock on your opponents caster, which forces them to play a riskier game.  The speed of this list allows you to control the line of engagement, and forcing your opponent to play that riskier game means that they will be forced into your threat ranges, and most often deeper into your threat ranges than they would like to be.  The goal is to constantly pressure the assassination while playing the rest of the game, and if your opponent makes a single mistake in caster position, you have multiple extremely reliable assassination runs at your disposal.  Furthermore, every combat element in the list is a minimum of SPD7 (Aiakos is effectively an 11 due to Leap when engaging, Helldivers are effectively 10 due to how burrow works), with the only things that are slower being the Skarlock and Corbeau.  The strength of the assassination run also makes this an excellent take all-comers list as well, being able to be dropped into most match up with a good chance of success.

I feel like in any 3-list setup, having a list that is heavily assassination focused is a big deal, as there are going to be occasions where you’re at a loss of what to do, and instead of focusing too hard on which one of your lists can play for a better long game or scenario game against your opponent, you simply put your strongest assassination list down and ask your opponent if they can stop you from getting their caster.  This list asks that question, and it asks it in a hard way, while still having the flexibility to play a strong scenario game if your opponent can bunker up their caster in an impenetrable fortress (albeit however difficult that is against this list or if they scalpel out some of the assassination pieces).  This was the second list I had decided on, as soon as I had settled on my 3 casters being Deneghra2, Goreshade3 and an Asphyxious of some variety.  As Goreshade3 is one of the least character dependent casters in our stable, I felt that he was a natural fit for this trio (especially since Asphyxious of any variety is just an absolute character hog).

Let’s move on now to my girl…

Shadow’s Fall

One day, my bad music puns are going to start getting old.  For now, subject headings being bad music puns are still perfectly fine!

That being said, there should have been absolutely no surprise that Deneghra2 is one of my casters.  I’ve said it time and time again, but she is my girl and how seriously I take a tournament is often determined by how many times I drop Deneghra2 in my match ups.  She has, in my opinion, the most potent toolbox of all our casters, the most versatile game plan and the most flexible list design.  Just as a refresher, here is the list:

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Wraith Witch Deneghra (*6pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Satyxis Blood Hag (2pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw (9pts)

There are a few things here that should not be a surprise to you guys.  Riders, Blood WItches and Nyss make up the core of the majority of my Deneghra2 builds, being capable of handling the most diverse amount of threats that your opponent can drop onto the table.  Gorman is forever anchored to Deneghra2 for me (my record is 4 black oils now in a single game with the pair of them) and Orin Midwinter is clutch.  This is a build that I’ve run many times with tremendous success and is probably my favourite all around build with Deneghra2.  On her Incorporeal turns, Orin allows Deneghra to stay extremely safe, and also gives a hard middle finger to outriders and a strikingly large amount of wrecking ball warcasters.  This build can play against opposing control casters due to the potency of her counter feat and Wrongeye and Snapjaw are in the build because this is a solid Cygnar drop, and both Caine2 and Siege love seeing Deathjack on the other side of the table.  With this version of the build not needing Deathjack, that frees up Deathjack for Asphyxious3, which was a huge determining factor in which Lich I opted for.  The nodes can really be any 4 point node, and I opted for one of each mostly for kicks.  That being said, there’s a very good chance that the nodes will become Nightwretches just because I do love gun nodes with Deneghra2.  However, there is a flexibility advantage in having one of each node, though it does mean you have to be more careful about which node you use as the suicide node in each match up.

The toolbox nature of this list makes it a great answer to a lot of opposing lists, while still asking some extremely hard questions to the opponent.  Much like the Goreshade3 list, the majority of this list is SPD7 or higher, with the Dynamic Gator Duo being a really strong anchor for the list.  This plays a really brutal scenario game with the threat projection of the list threatening a really strong assassination.  While the assassination isn’t quite as potent as Goreshade3’s assassination, Deneghra2’s assassination game is still among the best with all the ways you can manipulate opposing models.  The scenario threat that she brings to the table offers a really strong contrast to the extreme assassination threat that Goreshade3 brings to the table and gives you a leg up in list chicken.  Deneghra2 can effectively scare away quite a lot of other lists due to the fact that there are some builds that straight up cannot be dropped into her at all, and that allows your opponent’s list choices to be more predictable.  This is a list that I feel comfortable dropping into everything, and as I’ve mentioned above, playing something that you’re comfortable with is equally important, if not more so, than the raw power of your list.

This is a list design space I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and so the logic here is that you bring one extremely strong scenario list, and one extremely strong assassination list to decide your match ups with, then you bring a third list to serve as an attrition/scenario list.  Enter the list that you should all know by now…

Hellraiser

Ok, so, going back to my childhood for a movie title for this section name…..

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Asphyxious the Hellbringer (*4pts)
* Cankerworm (5pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard (3pts)
The Withershadow Combine (5pts)
Bane Lord Tartarus (4pts)
Darragh Wrathe (4pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)

This list is pretty near and dear to me.  It’s one of the few builds for me that I don’t see needs a lot of adjustments, but is flexible enough to modify in order to account for personal play style, this list tanks like a champ and plays a strong attrition/scenario game.  It requires a drastically different response than Deneghra2 or Goreshade3, as the list opts to play for more of a longer grind of a game.  Asphyxious tanks the world while supporting his army, allowing it to really get some work done.  There’s not much else for me to say about this list that I haven’t said before, but it brings a hard to kill caster into the mix, that plays a solid attrition game with scenario push.  Some factions really do not like seeing Asphyxious3 across the table from them, and this helps skew those matches in your favour during list chicken and into the game itself.

This completes the trifecta of lists that I was referring to earlier, one very strong assassination list, one very strong scenario list, and a solid attrition list to back it all up.  All 3 of these casters bring a good mix of questions and answers, and the lists do all of them differently.  Deneghra2 brings her usual slew of movement tricks and denial options, Asphyxious3 brings army wide buffs and Goreshade3 brings a very precision oriented attack that can systematically take apart an opposing list.  Furthermore, because each list asks a different question, and they don’t asks the same questions as your typical Skarre1 list, you can’t just windmill slam a predictable Cryx drop into these lists and assume that you are going to have all the correct answers.  That is one of the reasons why the Bane Riders have ended up in every single list.  Bane Riders require boostable guns to efficiently remove from the table.  Most Cryx drops simply do not have the quantity of boostable high value shots, due to the fact that the Skarre1 40 dude spam lists simply adore seeing high value shots across the table rather than volume of firepower.  However, volume firepower isn’t ideal against Bane Riders as they will shrug off low power guns with impunity.  The amount of volume low POW guns that need to be directed into Bane Riders to remove them from the table is simply astronomical, and if the opponent is directing all of those guns to remove Bane Riders, they aren’t using them on other targets, which would be more ideal for those low volume guns.  However, if they don’t remove the riders from the table, the will get jammed up forever as Bane Riders do require a fairly heavy investment from your opponent to remove.

Cryx has gotten significantly more diversified over the past while, and that trend looks like it’s only going to continue. Hopefully, the Inflictor will be released soon, which will allow us to start changing up our battlegroups and list builds. I feel like the Inflictor may even put several casters who are currently not seen, right onto the map.  While I was hoping the Inflictor was going to be out in time for May, I’m not holding my breath at the moment and will just revel in its glory when it’s finally released.  For now though, these are the lists that I’m going to be playing, unless I come to another breakthrough in list design that covers something that these lists don’t cover already.  Hopefully this gives you guys some insight into what I look for when I’m creating a 3-list trio and what I look to cover and catch!

Until next time!

 

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Comments
  1. strangelimp says:

    Now the new 2-list masters format has been revealed, how has this affected your list choices for masters?

    • I’ll be doing a full article on how my list choices have changed. 🙂 I’ve done a fair bit of thought, and after some careful thought exercises and list theory scenarios, I have decided not to take advantage of the Active Duty Roster, and stick with Deneghra2 and Goreshade3.

  2. far2casual says:

    Hello, I’m a new Cryx player who bought the All-in One box and thus starting with eDeneghra as a primary caster. I also have Asphyxious2 because I just love the fig, and already learned how powerful he is. That said, I really love Deneghra2 and how subtle and sneaky that caster can be.

    Starting with the All-in One box, I’ve learned how powerful the cavalry can be with her, so I really want to continue to play with them. By doing researches I found your blog and I have to say that I really dig that Denny2 list. And on top of that I already have a lot of the models I need to play hit, the main exception being the Nyss Hunters, which I plan to buy very quickly as they seem to be what Denny needs to get a bit of range firepower.

    My problem is : I’m mostly playing at 35 pts at the moment, and I’m having a hard time to decide what I can cut from that list. I was thinking :
    – WE&SJ, I don’t have the models anyway (-9)
    – 1 Siren (-2)
    – 1 of the two solos, probably Orin (-2)
    – Min Witches instead of Max (-2)

    Is that a good idea ?

    • That would work for playing at 35, as 35 points is often very skewed anyways. At that point level, the combination of the Riders with Nyss are enough to really control the board. I am more inclined to lean towards dropping Gorman instead of min witches at 35 points, as you want more business, and there are enough support solos with just a single siren and the Skarlock. Otherwise, the switch that you have there will work for 35 points.

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