FACE_DOOM_II’s thoughts on some of the new Lesser Warlocks/Journeyman Warcasters
So it’s been a pretty exciting 10 or 12 months for releases and there is still a lot brewing in the near future for Warmachine and Hordes fans. Gargantuans has nearly completed it’s release schedule and Vengeance has brought a lot of new and unique options to the table. Every faction is being given interesting new pieces to play with and there are some very sexy interactions happening as a result. Butcher 3 and Issyria have effectively changed the game in the tournament scene and I have been seeing a lot of use for all those cool new light cavalry units (and that terrifying new Cryx cavalry unit as well!) but what I want to talk about today are the new Juniors, or at least a few of them.
Obviously I need to talk about Tyrant Zaadesh, because Skorne, but I’m also going to cover the other factions I have dabbled in over the years and still harbour some vague, traitorous interest in. They are also the factions that I have WarRoom decks for, and can therefore research this article; because knowing is half the battle! Fyanna the Lash, Tristan Durant, and Andrei Malakov all bring very interesting ‘tech’ to their respective factions so I am going to offer my thoughts on their potential use, impact and overall tactical value, as well as their ‘fun factor’ in this riveting two part article!
Let’s begin with Initiate Tristan Durant, the new Junior for the Protectorate of Menoth. This guy brings a very neat option to Menites that has not previously been available to them. The Bastion Seneschal, sometimes affectionately known as Big Brother, introduced Jack Marshalling to the faction but this is the first time the fanatically fiery zealots of the creator of man have been able to add real focus to the table. This is, of course, the main strength of any Journeyman Warcaster but for some factions that means more than for others. The Protectorate is definitely one of those factions.
The Choir of Menoth are still the best ‘jack support unit in the game, bar none. Paingivers and Arcanists are very good in faction but still wish they had the magical abilities of those choir boys. Every ‘jack effectively gets more survivable and more effective under their watchful eyes, so the only real limit on the number of warjacks you can take is your ability to provide focus for them. There are a lot of really powerful spells in the Protectorate so it can be a very difficult call committing two or three focus to a ‘jack when it might be spent on other things or saved for overboosting armour. Durant is a great source for that extra focus without being a drain on your Warcaster’s Focus, and any warjacks he brings will still benefit from choir buffs and Severius’ Eye of Menoth. So at three points that would be worth it already; but that’s not all the stoic looking young Initiate brings to the table.
His offensive stats might leave a little to be desired but when you consider that he has True Sight and a Blessed melee weapon, a boostable mat 5 is actually not that shabby. Tristan is very handy for eliminating enemy solos because even though he is only magic ability 4, he ignores camouflage, concealment and stealth from True Sight meaning he is a good solution for the Blood Hag if she is stopping your Exemplar Errants from using self sacrifice or having the Harbinger Martyrdom them. Immolation is also a high enough pow at 12 to take out UA’s with decent armour and damage boxes, but the real treat on this card is Fortification. Durant really wants to be paying to upkeep this spell on a jack and handing out his other three focus to something big and mean after the Choir has sung to it so it can go and kill all the things. Getting the additional armour is great but the immunity to knockdown, pushes and slams for the target and any friends base to base with it is a big deal. Remember that a model does not need to be in a warcaster’s control area in order to upkeep spells on it so this can be cast on a ‘jack who can then go and hug your Senior warcaster for the rest of the game keeping them safe from knockdown and shooty death.
Defence might be Tristan Durant’s only glaring weakness and that is a concern when you run the risk of losing his battlegroup. He can’t transfer like a lesser warlock and at 14 defence 15 armour he will drop to any kind of concentrated shooting. You’ll need to be careful where you put him in order to avoid having an inert warjack or ‘jacks glaring at you uselessly from your board.
So taking this all into consideration I have a few potential ideas for Durant. The first is a relatively safe support loadout where he will sit at the back with your choir boys and his Redeemer. He can either upkeep Fortify on it and have it base your caster for protection or just save one focus per turn but the other 3 will be going to the Redeemer. It will be rat 5 if it gets the aiming bonus and with three focus it can buy all of it’s range 16 pow 12 rockets and boost to hit or damage on one of them. This loadout is great for prime Kreoss and his ‘pop ‘n’ drop’ shenanigans but Kreoss3 and prime Severius (who can get it up to rat 6) would also benefit greatly from this combo. At 9 points for the pair it is admittedly a bit expensive but you’re getting three attacks per turn after round 1 from 16″ range, they are effective pow 14, AOE 3, and it costs your primary warcaster nothing!
Another option I see for him is to be a focus battery for any one of the amazing heavy ‘jacks the Protectorate can field. A Reckoner is the obvious choice but a Templar is a great option at 8 points as well. Tristan can get Fortify on it for armour 23 and give it 3 focus per turn to beat back through your opponents force with that effective pow 19 chain weapon. Because he will need to be moving up the field with his warjack in order to keep allocating I would also give him a Devout in this build, as it’s Shield Guard and ability to protect him from enemy spells make him much more survivable. If that isn’t your cup of tea you could also try running him as a solo hunter alongside a speedy little Arc Node like a Revenger. I love Arc Nodes with reach because they can usually get 2 cracks at a valuable enemy target who doesn’t have the same ability. Tristan can allocate this fellow a focus to charge, send him after an important solo or UA within his 10″ threat (still in control area due to reach) and if his effective mat 8, pow 17 halberd attack doesn’t finish the job a boosted immolation through his arc node probably will! This is a fun idea but is once more fairly dangerous for Durant so you may want to put him on the same side of the table as your Bastions or keep a shield guard or two nearby so he doesn’t find his way back to your army bag too early.
All in all, this guy seems very cool to me. I think he will bring a lot of fun new options and ideas and I hope to see him more often. Free focus in Menoth is a thing now, so watch yourselves because those ‘jacks were scary with just choir boys and their initial attacks and now they can load up on focus without taxing their main warcaster. I give Tristan Durant a 7/10, and he only misses the 8 because the Protectorate already spends a good deal of points on support, but I do think he is worth his points and that you’ll see quite a bit of him. His fun factor is odd because you won’t very often do something with him specifically as much as just hand out focus to awesome ‘jacks…which I guess is really fun! There is also the potential that this funny little mat 5 priest with his Blessed staff could get you an unlikely assassination one day so I think his fun potential is middle of the road, let’s call it 2.5 bananas out of 5.
Switching over to Hordes we now take a closer look at “Fyanna the Lash”, the new character solo for the Legion of Everblight. I know, I know, she’s not a lesser warlock but Legion doesn’t really need a character lesser and this devious little goat-legged seductress is going to be every bit as fun and exciting as a character lesser warlock would be. Legion has some of the best ranged solos in the game in the Strider Deathstalker Rangers but lacks a really good flank option with a melee threat. Fyanna might be more match-up dependant than some of the Juniors but in the lists you would like to have her in she brings a lot to the table.
Just looking at her card she’s already not bad for a 3 point solo. Fyanna is speed 7 mat 7 solo with Pathfinder and a pow 12 reach weapon. She is defence 15 which is not too shabby but armour 12 with only 5 boxes which is admittedly pretty shabby – but let’s turn the card over! WHOAH that’s a lot of text! Holy options batman! So now we find out that her pow 12 reach weapon has the chain weapon benefit of ignoring shields and the chain strike benefit of having 4″ melee range during Fyanna’s activation. She has Prowl, granting her stealth while in forests or clouds, Evasive so that after ranged attacks miss her she can advance 2″, and Rapid strike for a second attack each turn. Her real value though is in her three different attack types, from which she selects one each time she makes a melee attack. Her options are Dismember which makes her a weapon master against warbeasts, Pitch which throws any small based target up to 3.5″, or Beatback which pushes enemy models 1″ on hit then allows Fyanna to advance 1″. She is not fearless but her command is 9 so she won’t often be failing Terror or Abomination checks. Wow that’s a lot of tech right there.
So this model can charge 10″, threatening 14″ and throw her target for another 3-4″…then do it again to something else within 4″!. This gives you knockdown on a stick with a little luck (although Mage Hunter Assassins have taught us all that mat 7 isn’t always good enough). The Pitch attack is probably best suited for use on low defence models with small bases that Fyanna can reliably hit and throw at other small base targets that you want to knock down. The collateral damage will be pow 7 which is enough to kill many low armour support models and even some infantry. You still won’t be able to throw larger based models than her but there are some small based models that need knocking down (most notably the Khador war dog, who stops providing his +2 defence bonus when knocked down). Fyanna can also throw tougher models into your opponents way, blocking counter-charge lanes or requiring them to change their order of activation if the thrown model survives. Her Dismember attack combined with her chain weapon make her a great choice for taking down warbeasts with shields like the Titan Sentry or Troll Bouncer, or lower armour heavies like Warpwolves. Between the charge and the rapid strike attack she has a decent chance of crippling an aspect, and doesn’t need to get within 2″ so she can finish the turn unengaged and even in the enemy beasts rear arc with relative ease. Beatback is probably the ability you’ll see her use the least, as almost any model you want to push you’d be happier throwing 2″ further anyway, but it does allow Fyanna to advance after the attack, and will affect models with larger bases than her, unlike her pseudo throw. Sprint would have been great but you can’t have everything. 😉
So I think the obvious choice for who you are using her with is Rhyas, because the speed from Dash gets her up to a very impressive 15″ threat with no free strikes and grants her an extra attack on the feat turn. At that point you have 3 mat 7 pow 12 attacks from one 3 point solo and that seems like a good deal to me, especially considering she can teleport after the first one to select targets even deeper into your opponents field. Fyanna with Rhyas is a great answer to enemy casters who hide behind colossals as she can charge and hit the colossal (even gaining an additional die if it’s a gargantuan), place herself behind it base to base, then make 2 attacks on the enemy caster trying to Pitch them out of the kill box or control zone, or to a place where your guns can reach, or just for laughs! It’s important to note as well that if she throws a model on Rhyas’ feat turn she places base to base with it at it’s final destination, giving you even more range and board control options. Any warlock who takes a Nephilim Soldier can help her too as its animus will likely get you a third attack most activations, especially if working against low defence infantry.
Fyanna has a great deal of potential to me in a sort of unexpected way. I think she is a very significant scenario piece because of her various abilities to move and relocate enemy models. On my first time through her entry I read her as a Legion Mage Hunter Assassin, but I have gradually come around to thinking that this is a red herring, and that her true strength lies in her board control ability. With the Nephilim Soldier animus Fyanna can reliably remove 3 enemy infantry models from a control zone, or pick apart the front rank of a small based shield wall unit (like Iron Fang Pikemen) so that other friendly models then get to attack them at lower armour values. If a single enemy model is contesting a flag she can push it twice pretty reliably using beatback to let you score the flag. Her extra long melee range means you should be able to activate her early, throw or push a few models (maybe even knock some down) then move more survivable pieces into engagement in front of her so she is harder to retaliate on. Used in this way I think she could be a critically important late game piece when your opponent has less and less models to contest zones and flags.
There has been a good deal of grumbling in the Legion of Everblight community about this model due to it’s point cost and a few rules it was rumoured to have and didn’t get in it’s release. Not having sprint is not that big of a deal for Fyanna as her threat range is already so long and versatile without it. I had a discussion with a very competent legion player about it and he took the stance that for one more point a Raek can do the same things but with more damage boxes and mat 8 with Rhyas. This is true but I feel like they serve different purposes. I read Fyanna the Lash as a lane clearer, disrupter and general annoyance for your opponent, harassing and tossing around their support and solos. Sure there are lots of things she can’t do but there are a good number of things she can do as well and as time goes by I think you will see her find her way into a few Legion lists. Outside of the Repulse animus and Rampager Legion does not have very many push or place shenanigans so this could be a solid addition to their arsenal. I’m going to rate Fyanna 6/10 with some serious dark horse potential. She has a load of fun abilities and a great model but mat 7 will miss higher defence solos often and they are going to be the priority targets. I think she will be a total blast to play and a pain in the butt to play against so I’m giving her 4.5 out of 5 bananas. The fun factor is the real clincher with this model, and you know you want to throw some stuff!
That’s all for now folks but in the next instalment I’ll cover Skorne’s Tyrant Zaadesh (who I’m very excited about) and Khador’s Kovnik Andrei Malakov, so stay tuned and in the meantime if you’re a Legion or Protectorate player take another look at Fyanna the Lash and Initiate Tristan Durant and see if you can’t find some fun tech I missed! Good luck out there fellow Hysterics.