[Confessions of an English Undead Fancier] Let’s Build A List, Part I

Conventional wisdom hath it that a Warmahordes player should pick their warcharacter first, as the strengths and weaknesses of the caster define those of the army. While I think there’s merit in Stelek’s argument that one should pick a good army first and then choose a warcharacter that supports it, I don’t think it hurts to start by thinking about the warcharacters you own… which is where I’m coming in today.

At present, I own epic Skarre and Asphyxious, and regular vanilla Deneghra and Venethrax, plus about half a Mortenebra model. Obviously something’ll have to be done about that; either a replacement or some dodgy home-made arms and spiderlegs.

Epic Skarre and I go way back – as a fast caster with a lot of movement tricks, melee damage potential, a decent gun and a spell to make Cryx guns actually decent, she fits me like a glove. Shame my paint-job doesn’t remotely fit the planned Cryx colour-scheme, really, but I might find a way to pull it off.

Epic Asphyxious, meanwhile… well. He may not be the best warcaster in the game, but he’d make most people’s top five, I think, and I’ve been threatening to run his Theme Force ‘Dark Alliance’ since Mark II came out. It’s this weird combination of the sublime – Deathjack is on the required list, Cankerworm, Bane Knights and Tartarus are all optional inclusions – and the ridiculous, with two units of Cephalyx and Drudges being mandatory and free Cephalyx Overlords being one of the perks. Perhaps I’ve been thinking all wrong about the Drudges; perhaps treating them as five Sacrificial Pawns for the Mind Slaver and Overlords is the way to go? Perhaps there’ll be an option to field more Cephalyx units in Cryx, now that they’re becoming a whole faction? Perhaps – dare I dream – the Cephalyx caster will be a Cryx Ally?

I won’t lie; I looked at them and the gist of my response was
“I think I’ve just come.”
Sorry about that.

Then there’s Deneghra. The classic. The ‘back to basics’ option. The ‘take all comers’ option. I’m not, in truth, a fan – sure, she’s good, but she’s not exactly fun to play against, and I seem to have lost the knack of using her in the two years I’ve been away.

Let’s talk about Venethrax instead. Venethrax is pretty neat. He’s much more close-ranged than I normally like my warcasters, but he’s built to rip open the Hordes factions (one point in his favour) and, well, he’s a huge undead-dragon-steam thing with a sword the size of a human being. Venethrax is a caster I’ve never played before and so, contrary to the end, I think he’s where I’m going to start out this time. I’m also quite interested in his Theme Force…

Taking a Venethrax theme force gets you a slight discount on Seethers, and I own a Seether, so let’s smack it in. While it’s more expensive than the Slayer and no more resilient, it is bloody efficient; higher MAT, runs and charges for free, receives a free focus point and, if it hits the same target with both initial claw attacks, gets a free power attack against that target. In a Dragon Slayers list, it costs the same as a Slayer plus Warwitch Siren and receives more free focus without the need for a fragile support solo. Could be worse.

In theory, I might want two Seethers to strive for Tier 4, but in practice, I think the points are better spent on arc nodes, since Venny has a couple of decent ranged spells and I want platforms for them. I own a Defiler and a Nightwretch, so in they go. Finally, a Skarlock, since hot-swapping Soul Harvester is a possibility, as is bunging out an extra Blood Rain or Hellfire at the right moment.

Dragon Slayers Tier Two requires two infantry units, with the options being Bloodgorgers, Mechanithralls, the Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls, or Black Ogrun Boarding Party. I currently own all of these, though I’m not enamoured of the Black Ogrun models and I’m not sure what’s worth Dragging and on a medium base. My medium bases will instead be supplied by Brute Thralls and a Mechanithrall delivery system for them; that’s a nice wall of wounds for Venethrax to hide behind if he must, and some suitably fragile models to explode on his feat turn and turn into cloud effects.

The second unit will be Bloodgorgers, purely because I own them and haven’t used them extensively; with Gerlak Slaughterborn to order them around they’re Tough without the Knockdown drawback, and with two melee attacks they’re ideal Soul Harvester targets. They’re also more medium bases, which means more restricted lines of sight to Venethrax.

Gerlak and the Necrosurgeon will also be present as support for the two units; Gerlak because he’s a mincing machine, and the Surgeon to heal wounds on Venethrax and the Brutes, and provide three more cloud-effects-to-be. Returning Mechanithralls is not such a huge deal as usual, since Venethrax’s feat trumps corpse token collection, but it’s an option during the distance-closing turns.

My last trick for my preferred 35 point games will be the customary pair of Pistol Wraiths. I’m a little light on non-spell ranged attacks, and I’m very, very fond of Death Chill for keeping naughty Colossals occupied. A couple of Incorporeal solos that don’t need to close range will also be very welcome for taking and holding objectives, should that be an issue.

Here we go, then:

Points: 35/35
Tiers: 3
Lich Lord Venethrax (*6pts)
* Defiler (5pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Seether (8pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bloodgorgers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
* 3 Brute Thrall (3pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
General Gerlak Slaughterborn (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)

A little bit different, but not completely stupid, I hope. It does, however, have a gaping weakness; it’s somewhat weaker against Warmachine factions, without so many big juicy living warbeasts for Venethrax to murder, and it has piss-all game against Convergence since you’ll be lucky to see one living target in their armies. I suppose that’s why Warmachine favours dual lists…

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