Posted By MJ;-) on August 5, 2013
Greetings, Bunnies. I present to you a non-PG post (our first, maybe?) by our good friend and Servant to Lord Toruk, Liam P. Liam and I have been in cahoots in the background, and let’s just say that the “series title” gives you a decent idea of what to expect from Liam’s articles in the future (coughrhuliccough).
Anyhoo… Onto the Bastard!
Playing The Bastard
I love Goreshade in the fluff. He’s a very dynamic character and really pushes some great plot points forward (the whole Nyssor arc, the fights with Vyros and Ossyan, the pinning Eiryss to a tree…well we all want to do that when she shoots our caster). Plus, unlike most Cryx casters, he’s not a 1970s Dick Dastardly mustache twirling villain (we still love you though Gaspy). He’s very fun to read; however, as much as I love his fluff, playing him is something else to look at entirely.
First let’s look at his stats.
He’s got pretty good stats across the board with a Mat of 7 and Def/Arm of 15/16. Like all good Cryx casters he’s got a 7 Focus score.
His feat is very simple – he summons a minimum unit of Bane Thralls to the board, placed within 3 inches of himself (note: not completely within), and they can activate the turn they’re summoned.
Ok, so that sounds good on the surface, and the lower the point game, the more effective this is. It’s incredbily strong in MM/TC and at the 25 point level. It kind of becomes a middle of the pack feat at 35 and loses a lot of its uhmph at 50. But with Steamroller play, it still lets you potentially control a zone/flag, and/or they can run to contest things if needed.
Next we’ll take a look at his spell list.
Bleed. A Range 8, PS 10 spells that heals him d3 points if he’s injured. Well, this sucks and will likely never get cast. “Why not?” you say. Well Goreshade has a lot better spells to cast and they are all pretty expensive so he’s going to make them count. What about the Skarlok? Well, he’ll be casting Hex Blast since it has a higher POW, longer range, a special ability, and an AOE.
Speaking of Hex Blast. What a great spell, not only does it give Goreshade a way to remove upkeeps, but it’s a decent POW AOE. One of his saving graces as he can negate a lot of the nasty upkeeps in game.
Mage Blight. Man, this spell is a 5 cost and can be ground breaking. It prevents spells and feats from being cast in his control. There are a lot of ways around this, but anyone that has an aura feat will need to watch out for this control. It also prevents stuff like Battle Mittens and Druids from doing anything which can be game changing.
Shadowmancer. Battlegroup stealth is a pretty big deal. It also gives jacks Dark Shroud (enemy models suffer -2 ARM if within the melee range of a model with Dark Shroud). Both are dependent on the opponent but can stop the Ret Mage Hunter assassination as well as those big Defender/Stormwall shots.
Soul Gate. Goreshade can remove from play a trooper model and replace it with a Jack. The jack can’t activate after Soul Gate though. This is great for when you over extend your jack. It allows you to be a lot more loose with them and then just “yo-yo” them back to safety.
Finally, Goreshade’s little helper, his BFF, his Significant Other…
We can’t end talking about Goreshade without talking about the best thing he brings to the table – DEATHWALKER. The Deathwalker is a solo that has to end her activation within 3 inches of Goreshade or she’s destroyed (her “Tether” rule). But she provides a -2 STR and DEF debuff to all living enemy models within 5 inches of her! Wow, that’s a passive ability, and an awesome one at that. She also brings to the table another passive ability – If Goreshade the Bastard is disabled while within 3? of this model, this model is destroyed and Goreshade the Bastard heals 1 damage point. Damn, what an ability. It’s like auto passing tough and not being knocked down. This can be the difference between losing right there to some crazy assassination.
With all that the Deathwalker provides for Goreshade, her downfalls are: a horrible stat line (she dies to anything), she doesn’t have a weapon, and again we have to focus on the Tether rule that she has with Goreshade, which limits some of her debuff movement shenanigans. The good thing is that if she does die, Goreshade can summon a new one by killing a living enemy warrior model with his sword.
Building a List with Goreshade
Like so many casters in Cryx, Goreshade brings an armor buff, a couple of debuffs, a speed/movement buff, and….wait… What? He DOESN’T?!
Well, Ok. So then what does he do for infantry, solos, and jacks? Truth be told he doesn’t really do anything for them in an active manner. So how do you build for a caster that does that, or should I say, doesn’t do anything for his infantry? Simple, you take a lot of self-sufficient stuff.
Units: Since Goreshade doesn’t provide any type of buffs to units, you need to make sure they have either high Mat/Rat, some form of pathfinder, decent speed, and damage dealing. Examples of this include Bane Knights, Blackbanes, Black Ogrun, Satyxis of both types, and some of the Mercs like Nyss and Steelheads. Make sure you also take the unit attachments as they always add something to the units. Since Goreshade doesn’t add anything, you really need what you can get.
Solos: Going with the trend of Goreshade not doing much for his army, you can use the solos as more of unit/jack buffers. Tartarus provides three things – (a) a damage buff in dark shroud to anyone that engages a model in his melee range, (b) a to-hit buff and movement buff to Banes against his Curse target, and (c) he also allows you to add to your units (but that’s more of a HOLY CRAP thing than needed in this list). Darragh Wraith can provide an armor buff against living models, along with the Deathwalker, this can add up fast. He can also add a movement buff to any undead models in his command with Deathride moving them an inch. Warwitch Sirens can provide Shadow Bind dropping Defense on models to ensure you hit, as well as adding a magic spray to take some pressure off of Goreshade’s magic needs. Rengrave adds a melee bonus to any Revenants including Blackbanes with LOS to him.
Jacks: Goreshade can help make sure jacks get where they are going without damage thanks to stealth. He can also yank them back out of the fire when they get too involved thanks to Soul Gate. But what he doesn’t have is a lot of focus to allocate and he can’t speed them up or provide pathfinder. So you need jacks that either have native pathfinder or something like it, and aren’t focus hungry. The Kraken, Nightmare, Deathjack, Cankerworm, and the Stalker all have ways to help get around some of the issues that Goreshade has with running jacks.
Mercs/Minions: It’s also worth noting that both Wrongeye and Rorsch are good to run with Goreshade because they don’t require his focus and the rest of the list will provide buff/debuffs to help them out. Conversely, while Merc staples like Saxon, Gorman, Nyss, etc. all work well with Goreshade, they’re likely better used in another list (assuming character restricted multi list format) since most of the units/solos you’re taking with Goreshade won’t need the support they bring. Having said that, Saxon and Gorman can certainly add to the Goreshade list assuming they aren’t needed elsewhere. Gorman always has Blind to save the day, as well as providing a huge melee/range buff to the army via Black Oil. Saxon provides some movement buff (pathfinder) to the list, and is otherwise fairly self-sufficient on his own.
That does it for this first installment on The Bastard. Tune in next time, kiddies, when Liam will delve into more specifics about Goreshade the Bastard list building, and regale you with stories of some real-life tabletop action he recently had while fielding The Bastard in a recent event.