[Confessions of an English Zombie Fancier] Wipe Away Your Tiers

With week two of the league out of the way (or rather, it will be by the time you read this; I, on the other hand, will be on a barge, drinking heavily with the rest of my vice-ridden colleagues) the time has come to advance to 25 points, which brings with it a troubling question; to Theme or not to Theme?

I’d been tempted from the start. Merely for accepting the restrictions of the Scavengers of the Line Theme Force, one gets to slam one’s Mechanithralls upfield with Advance Deploy. Hot diggety damn, you might think; certainly having one’s screen six inches further forward and thus one’s screenables on one’s starting line helps with the all important business of Getting Across The Board.

I stole this from Nikephoros because I’m a bad person. It depicts something Cryx don’t like to see.

Getting Across The Board is generally a big deal for Cryx unless you’re one of those weirdoes who runs a Deneghra or Coven or epic Skarre list where everything that can have a gun does. Asphyxious’ Theme Force, the Scavengers of the Line, are full of ways to help with that. Advance Deploying Mechanithralls in Tier One; free wreck markers of all sizes for Asphyxious to bunker up behind as he drifts steadily forward; a battlegroup bolting ridiculous distances (from 14″ to 18″) on turn one. Not only that, but I’ve been crunching some numbers and I’ve found a way to make the Scavengers fit perfectly with the league’s expansion structure. From my original 15 points, the first step (to 25) would look like this.

Iron Lich Asphyxious

  • Cankerworm
  • Deathripper
  • Deathripper
  • Corruptor

Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall 

10 Mechanithralls

  • 3 Brute Thralls

Taking three Necrotechs unlocks both Tiers Two and Three; I get a one point discount on Slayers and Corruptors, and a free wreck marker for every warjack in Asphyxious’ battlegroup. That, to me, looks like four pieces of cover, and a seven point gun platform/large base to interpose ‘twixt Asphyxious and the enemy and give me some sorely needed non-focus-draining ranged options.

Also, let’s be honest, it looks a bit boss, doesn’t it?

From 25 to 35, we’re allowed to rearrange our battlegroups, if we see fit, and in our hypothetical scenario, I would definitely do so.

Iron Lich Asphyxious

  • Cankerworm
  • Deathripper
  • Deathripper
  • Slayer
  • Slayer
  • Corruptor

Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall 

10 Mechanithralls

  • 3 Brute Thralls

That’s Tier Four unlocked. Three Slayer-chassis ‘jacks barrelling 16″ forward, the Cankerworm potentially managing 21″ if I play my cards right (and it starts off with Advance Deployment, don’t forget!) and the Mechanithralls ending up a credible 28″ onto the board by the end of turn one.

The trick to running this sort of list, I find, is not to expect that every warjack has a huge impact in every turn. You might think “Asphyxious doesn’t have the focus to feed all of those”, and you’re right, he doesn’t – what he does have is the potential to fully feed up any two of those, boost a shot with the Corruptor or run an arc node into place, and still have seven focus’ worth of spellcasting on his feat turn. It’s about presenting so many potential threats that your opponent has to worry about the kill coming from so many possible directions and simply can’t shut them all down, at which point you load up the ones that are still operational and go to town.

At 50 points, incidentally, the list loads up on the support pieces that are missing so far – Necrosurgeon, Skarlock, either Bane or Bile Thalls or maybe a third arc node, and either a Machine Wraith or a swap of Corruptor for Inflictor (because a Shield Guarding heavy that runs for free is everything Asphyxious has ever wanted).

There’s just one problem. I don’t actually own three plain Slayer chassis, or three Necrotechs, or an Inflictor, and at this time of year, I’m not made of money. That’s the major reason why I’m not going to run this list. There are others:

  1. Missing support elements. For all that I’ve said Asphyxious can run that many ‘jacks if you don’t expect all of them to be doing all the things every turn, it sure would make life easier to have a Siren around, or Tartarus or Darragh Wrathe to help with Getting Across The Board. The Withershadow Combine might ease the focus burden slightly and improve the accuracy of his Parasite casts.
  2. Lack of Pathfinder/Ghostly, and no access to any means of getting it save for a few jacks that aren’t discounted in-theme (though a Harrower would be verrah naice).
  3. Accuracy. Asphyxious does a lot in terms of helping his minions hit harder, but actually helping them hit in the first place isn’t really part of his idiom. At all. See also: lack of Tartarus.
Mostly, though, it’s that I just don’t have the hundred-plus quid it’ll take to run. Still, it was nice to think about.

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