So last week, I planted my flag on what I thought some competitive pairings might look like in 2019 for Khador. This week, I thought I might do a bit of a retrospective style post, as I want to talk a bit about what the meta looks like at the moment, at least from where I’m sitting. This probably isn’t going to be a massive piece, I just wanted to take some quick snapshots of each of the factions and what they might be playing/what that might mean for Khador.
We are in a very different place, meta-wise, at the start of 2019 than at the start of 2018. For a start, every faction has all of its themes (pretty much) and has had at least 1 CID at this point. Crucible Guard has come out and rocked the boat, as has the reworkings of various older models, like the Tharn and Exemplars, as well as the introducing (or in the case of Sorscha 0, teasing) of new models, like the various 0 incarnations and models introduced in each CID.
So where does that leave us? With a rapidly shifting meta that we have to adapt to. Hell, back before September and the WTC, Gaspy 3 and Haley 3 were all the rage, and now they have taken a decided back seat to the likes of High Reclaimer and the Tharn. All of which means that this post will be massively out of date by the time we hit February, but such is the fate of a blogger. I don’t really subscribe to faction rankings (other than Khador being the best of course!), as these things are far too fluid to be useful. To quote the song, ‘sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down’, so some of these factions that I rate as less of a threat are sure to change in the future. Anywho, to move on, we’ll go faction by faction and discuss what their current state is, at least as far as Khador is concerned.
Cygnar has been kinda of a bug bear for Khador since the days of Mk 2. They have been a power in the meta for just as long. Which is why I’m as surprised as the rest of you to say that Cygnar is in kind of a slump right now. The combination of mass shooting denial in the meta as well as the introduction of a bunch of things that dick over Haley 3 (Spriggan changes, Primal Terrors, mass access to guidance, etc) has meant that the might swan has taken a bit of a back seat. Cygnar has always been a power list faction, by which I mean that they historically would take a single strong list and crush the meta under it’s boot. This reached it’s apex a couple of years ago, when the usual pairings built in Cygnar has Haley 2 and something to play against Haley. The most recent hotness for Cygnar was Haley 3, riding high in Gravediggers after it’s release from CID. It combined a massive cloudwall, incorporeal hard hitting Echoes, the ridiculous ranged output of Trencher longgunners and other stuff to make a list capable of soloing tournaments. The thing is though, the meta has adapted. As I said above, even usually trick short Khador now has ways of dealing with the cloud wall, and the rest of the game has been marching forward. Cygnar still has some fangs, and Haley 3 is still strong, but they are no longer the faction to beat at tournaments. I’m sure that during 2019, we will see a resurgence from them, especially if some of their flaws (like somewhat mopey jacks and infantry outside of grave diggers) get tuned up a bit in CID. Cygnar is a sleeping giant at the moment, with just a few tweaks required to make them a worrying match up again. Currently, expect to see Haley 3, Sloan, Kraye and Siege, mostly in Heavy Metal and Gravediggers. The meta marches ever onwards.
Protectorate of Menoth:
Currently known as the Judicator faction, Menoth were big winners in the CID roulette this past year. The exemplar interdiction CID was pretty unremarkable, turning out another good theme of warrior dudes that is competitive, has good options and a reasonable selection of warcasters that support it. And then there’s the Judicator. Holy hell that thing is strong, single-handedly warping the meta. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the thing is broken or OP, but it is certainly at the top of the power curve, and results from the year prove it. Able to put out a ridiculous amount of ranged fire, and murdering basically anything in melee, this is a model we have to plan for. Whether it’s Windstorm from Witch 2, or Windblast, or just a ton of hard to kill models, failure to plan for the Judicator in competitive play means you are getting blasted off the table. It runs particularly well with High Reclaimer (for that double Signs and Portents effect), but also runs well with a host of other casters, such as Cyrenia (double Judy with Tristan) or Reznik 2 (for that sweet 12 inch threat and blessed/magical).
Of course, the other part of this puzzle is the hilarity that is Severius 0, also known as the Eye of Menoth on a stick. +1/+1 in control is pretty ridiculous, and that’s without getting into all of his other tricks with Road to War or just his own focus stat of 5, making everything in the same army just a little bit better. Road to War being able to slingshot a jack for a precision scalpeling brings an ability to Menoth that they don’t usually have otherwise. All of this is, of course forgetting to mention that Exemplar Interdiction is an incredibly solid list in and of itself, especially with High Reclaimer, and can force situations where you either die to the Judicator or die to the Exemplars. Ugh.
Expect to see more EI and Creators might, possibly with a smattering of Faithful masses and Guardians. Casters are likely to include a wide variety, such as High Reclaimer, Harby, Reznik, Thyra, and more. Menoth is definitely one we currently have to plan for.
Cryx is probably the most diverse faction currently. Black Industries with the likes of Gaspy 3 or Denny 2 still present an issue for us, bringing fast hard hitting jacks that are difficult to deal with at range, as well as incorporeal from the latter. Our magic weapons situation has improved massively in the last year, but can still cause issues if we don’t think about it. Dark Host is still good as well, if less dominant than it was last year. Banes themselves are not that much of an issue for us, but Wraith Engines continue to be a pain to deal with. And for gods sake, don’t underestimate Ghost Fleet. It may have fallen from grace somewhat, but the pain in the ass recursion and mass shooting is still strong there and will screw you up if you don’t have some combination of shooting denial and mass infantry removal. The bell of the zombie ball is Slaughter Fleet though, which presents an interesting comparison. It’s strong, attritions well and has a lot of beefy infantry backed up by good theme bonuses. It also doesn’t present any major gear checks for Khador, which puts us in an odd position of having to worry more about the Cryx players not playing the current power lists. As far as I’m concerned, bring an out for Wraith Engines (which can be the Magic Weapons objective in a pinch), and we should be fine. Witch 2 continues to be good into Cryx, with the Blind Gun being a particular bugbear for any of the themes barring Black Industries. Vlad 2 or Zerk 1 in AC, or even just taking a ton of jacks with Karchev are all pretty good into current Cryx. The releases on the horizon, such as the Adjunct or Wolves changes promise to give us some even better answers into Cryx, with easier access to magic weapons and a whole theme that does pretty well into the majority of Cryx.
Ret has had a bunch of cool updates in the last year, with a bunch of adjustments, a new warcaster, and a new battle engine. And me oh my, the changes are pretty great. Goreshade 4 is pretty ridiculously versatile and the various updates have made him a good choice in either Legions of Dawn or Defenders of Ios. Expect to see more infantry spam lists out of Ret, as well as more gunlines, due mostly to the new battle engine. The Trident is a pretty bonkers piece, bringing a ton of options and a high level of shooting output. Pow 13 seems low at first before you realise that it is fast, can boost and is in a faction that supports shooting well.
We can generally expect the updated infantry lists, as well as the usual jack bricks with Vyros, the return of the Pacific rim lists with the likes of the new Ravyn and the gun lines that Kealyssa and Gareth 2 can run. Despite all this, Khador tends to do pretty well into Ret, bringing just enough in the way of armour and accuracy that we can actually deal with a lot of Ret tricks. We tend to out attrition them in an even matchup, and as long as we are building our lists well, nothing that Ret is doing is particularly concerning or requires us to specifically tech for. Witch 2, Vlad 2, Zerkova, etc are all pretty good into Ret, bringing elements of threat extension and shooting mitigation. Goreshade 4, in particular, would be more concerning if it weren’t for our own updated ways of dealing with cloud walls and stealth (Spriggan, Adjunct, etc). Don’t get me wrong, they’re still strong, and not to be underestimated, but there are other factions that we actually do have to make tech choices for.
Mercs are stronk right now. Ossrum continues to be bonkers (even after the bulldoze change), as does Magnus. Thexus, Gorten, and others are all good as well, and the release of Crucible Guard, and the new Exemplar update, has breathed new life into Llaelese Resistance, and by extension, Ashylynn and Crosse (Cinerators with Crosse are particularly good). Irregulars is scheduled to be nerfed slightly but is still strong (if only for the masses of great solos it can get).
Khador does tend to attrition well into Mercs, with alot of Merc jacks struggling to trade well without layering buffs, but can do pretty well with control. Being aware of what each piece does in a Merc list is the first step to beating it (good advice with any faction really), and trying to scalpel those pieces that most affect you is crucial. Lists that can do this well, such as Vlad 1 Rockets, Zerk 1, Witch 2, etc do well. Having a fairly varied pairing is also important, due to the varied nature of the current Merc meta. Hell, Ossrum can run about 6 different archetypes of list (Bunny farm, Heavies, Gunline, Hammer Dorfs, Battle Engine heavy and control). Due to this, it’s hard to cover Mercs as a faction, or to tech specifically for them. My best advice is to build your pairing as strong as you can, and hope to dodge that particular Merc pairing that hard counters yours. Don’t worry too much, the odds are you’re not going to see it.
The new kid on the block, Crucible Guard has exploded onto the scene with a very interconnected set of models that layer buffs/debuffs together to make slightly underperforming models perform incredibly well, as well as bringing strong gunline elements and a glass cannon style of gameplay. Probably more than any other faction, a
CG list is at it’s strongest at the start of the game and goes very rapidly down hill as it loses pieces, which means that our combined arms lists are going to be the most effective. CG suffers much more than Khador from the effects of attrition. Removing a Suppressor or Dragons Breath Rocket isn’t just removing a jack or artillery piece, it is making every other piece in the army objectively worse. On top of this, Khador has some Warcasters that CG can randomly struggle with. Witch 2 for Windstorm, Zerkova 1 for feat and cloud walls, Vlad 2 for Windblast, etc. Having shooting mitigation is a very powerful effect into CG. Overall, Vlad rockets, Vlad 2 AC and Old Witch 2 Jaws are all great lists in general into CG. Just make sure you respect the sheer output that CG can acheive.
Convergence hasn’t changed much this past year. They got a bit of an update with the CID for the Frustrum Locus, which will probably put some Clockwork Legions on the table. Frankly, it’s kind of welcome and brings some of those infantry lists back into cirulation. Just remember, COC infantry is kind of crappy, relying alot on the ability to recur constantly throughout the game. Try to keep ahead of the attrition game and you should be fine. As for the old standby of Destruction Initiative, it received one update worth looking at: Locke. Locke brings some interesting game plans to COC, taking a faction that is slow and giving them a caster that can bring a real turn of speed. The sheer threat range that Locke can give her jacks is impressive, especially when it’s combined with COCs cheap arc nodes and Jack Hammer. Playing against Locke in Convergence is an exercise in keeping your caster safe. Do that, grind, and you can win. Other than that, the usual go to with COC is still true. Our infantry lists grind their jacks well enough, and our jacks tend to trade well. Be aware of stuff like Tow Cables and TEPs and Khador can capably win games vs COC.
So that’s the first half of my current reading of the meta. I purposefully haven’t done Khador because I’ve already done some posts on the upcoming releases and changes in Khador. Next week, I’ll be looking at the Hordes factions.
For the Motherland!