So the Oblivion CID has been and gone. It had a little bit of something for everyone, with the biggest faction represented being Mercs/Minions, and closely followed by Cygnar. We had a fair amount of representation within it, if only through our gaining access to 2 new theme forces (giving us the most in the game) as well as one of our casters going into Hearts of Darkness (Malakov). It was a pretty big set of models, so I’m mostly going to give some impressions about things that I think will actually impact Khador. Lets get started.
Flame in the Darkness and Warriors of the Old Faith:
Lets jump straight into the themes. Flame in the Darkness is pretty limited for us, being isolated to just Zerk 1 and 2. I’m going to straight up call it and say that Zerk 2 has better things to be doing than running this theme. She wants lots of magic attacks, and whilst this theme has quite a few, it just doesn’t stack up with the hilarity of all the Greylords in Wolves. Zerk 1 is where it gets interested. I did some testing during the CID, mostly with the desire to see what a mostly Thamar list would look and play like. Turns out pretty well. Her control, LOS blocking, and toolbox is pretty tasty with the new morrowan options available, particularly the Resolutes or the Legion of Lost Souls (more on those later), as they bring decent melee presence combined with decent shooting, both things that she wants. In addition, the theme allows her to bring a pretty ludicrous combination of models. I ran her with a Charger, Lancer and Gallant, as well as almost every Thamar model that I could come up with and 2 Thamarite Archons. This list included: Acosta, Alexia 3, Devil Shadows Mutineers, Ragman, an Advocate, and some others. What came out was a very toolboxy list that hit surprisingly hard and had a lot of ranged game. The Lancer was worth mentioning, as I’m still not convinced about it. The games I played with it, I traded it turn 1 each time to spaff all Zerks focus on sprays, and then lost it. I’m not convinced that’s the best use of 10 points, but it was a hell of a power trip (especially with the MA 9, re-rolling sprays; more on that later). Overall, I think this theme might be the best way to run Zerkova, but it really depends on how it all comes out in the wash.
Warriors of the Old Faith is an entirely different animal, being mainly cavalry based. The main 2 things here are that Vlad 3 is probably the best caster of the lot in here, with him finally having a theme that gives him access to all the tools he wants; and that we get access to Protectorate stuff, namely Choir and Judicators. There are some other interesting protectorate things that Vlad might like, such as a Devout for spell barrier or Flamebringers synergising really well with him, but the Choir and Judicator feel like the main take away. Vlad is probably the current best Judicator caster, bringing HOF and a speed buff, and lacking only access to Sevvy 0. In addition to this, Khador jacks with Choir and Vassal support is pretty crazy. I could see running Vlad with a couple of heavies, a Judicator and 40 points of Cav being a strong list, possibly even just straight up avoiding units and running a ton of solos. Champions of the Wall are just good, as is Fenris with him. Throw in a unit of Flame bringers or some Outriders and that feels like a fast list that has some strong shooting. I don’t know if it’s strong enough to make it into rotations, but it’s definitely giving us more options on what to take.
So the Archons are kind of interesting in as much as they give us some expensive options for our merc slot. We can take a few of them in some of our themes, but mostly we’ll be looking at taking the Morrowan, Menite, and Thamarite Archon as our merc solo in lists. Lets have a look at each.
The defensive one. This guy brings a pretty bricky stat line, as well as a couple of abilities. Def 14, Arm 20 with 12 boxes is pretty solid, but the main reasons to take this guy are for Soul Ward, Guardian Angel and Awe. Soul ward is going to be a toolbox piece, mostly interesting into the big soul collecting factions like Cryx and the oncoming Infernals. For us, it’s not that interesting, as we don’t collect friendly souls, leaving this as strictly a denial ability. Guardian Angel is kind of interesting, being an infinite shield guard that we can use to protect key pieces. Awe is a pretty powerful effect as well, but we probably aren’t the right faction to be taking advantage of it. We don’t tend to stack defense, and our jacks being base 10 means that the extra defense isn’t that impactful. Overall, the Morrowan Archon doesn’t seem worth it for us. Guardian Angel is always useful, but just isn’t worth 8 points on it’s own. To be worth it, we would have to be leveraging Awe in a big way. That list might exist in Khador (Kayazy or maybe Pikemen with the likes of Irusk 2 or Zerk 1 maybe), but it’s probably not very good. I wouldn’t expect to see it in Warriors of the Old Faith (as it won’t work with Menoth stuff). If it’s going to show up anywhere, I’d say it’s probably going to show up in Flame in the Darkness, as Zerk 1 could make some use of it, as well as having access to a wider variety of higher defence models.
The Punchy one. The menite Archon is straight up a melee beater, bringing a fairly tanky stat line of 13/19 and 15 boxes, as well as a wealth of special rules. Long story short, I can’t see us ever taking the Menite Archon. It’s never going to be faction, we are not going to be able to take it in Flame in the Darkness (due to Zerk being a Thamarite now), and it doesn’t really bring anything we want anyway. It’s a pretty decent melee beater, but we don’t lack for those. At 8 points we could just straight up take a Berserker, which would likely hit harder, and be harder to kill.
The shooty one. This one is kinda interesting. 16/17 with 8 boxes and dodge is pretty crazy, as she’ll be def 18 to shooting alot of the time. The gun is pretty interesting, being a true sight, rat 7 gun that RFPs or dunks on soul collection (the third shot type removes souls from models hit). On top of that, Beloved of Thamar gives Thamarite models re-rolls to hit. This means the Zerkovas, as well as a bunch of merc models that we normally take, like Ragman or Alexia. Outside of Flame in the Darkness, this is likely to be a dead ability, unless we are taking one of the Zerkovas (not the worst idea). In Flame in the Darkness, things can quickly get silly. These guys are FA2, like all Archons, and we have access to all the Thamarite models in that theme. This means that we can have some pretty deadly models, like Alexia, the Devils Shadow Mutineers, or Acosta re-rolling to hit over most of the game, and the Archons even hand it out to each other, bringing a feat level effect to most of the army every turn. Combine that with it’s ridiculous statline and great gun, and the Thamar Archon becomes a really good pick for us in Flame, and as a possible merc choice in any Zerk list outside of that theme. The Zerkovas become hilariously accurate between the rerolls from the Archon and Telemetry from the Hermit, making it worth looking at just for that synergy.
The spooky one. This guy is only available in Wolves…. for some reason? It’s statline isn’t as impressive as some of the others, but still solid at 14/17 and 10 boxes. The main reason to take this bad boy then is for the combination of it’s abilities. Dark Shroud is a model defining ability as it is, and combined with it’s teleport ability, good gun and ability to spray, it becomes a really interesting pick to use in Wolves. It gives Doom Reavers and Outriders that slight bump in damage output they need to be really dangerous, and when it starts stacking with Brittle Frost and the other debuffs in that list, the numbers start getting silly. We can now have access to effective Pow 16 Doom Reavers, independent of Caster buffs. Nuff said.
Alexia 3 and Legion of Lost Souls:
So Alexia 3 is kind of a non starter for Khador. The problem is that we just don’t really have much synergy with her. Generating shield guards in the middle of an opponents turn is interesting, but it just doesn’t amount to very much because it isn’t reliable and forces us to rely on our opponent making poor targeting choices. The one place she is kind of interesting is in Flame in the Darkness. Zerkova kinda wants a unit that can be both defensive behind a cloud wall, and that can put out a punch once the cloud wall goes down, and the Legion of Lost Souls delivers that, as it brings shield wall for decent armour, a decent pow melee attack and guns. Alexia synergises pretty well with that particular idea, bringing the Legion up to a very respectable pow 14. I’d expect to see her and the Legion in Flame in the Darkness (especially if the Legion come down a couple of points), but wouldn’t expect her to make the cut over her other incarnations elsewhere.
The Hermit of Henge Hold:
This model is dumb. Early on in the CID, it’s main thing that it did was Telemetry and being hard to kill, and frankly, that was worth the 4 point cost. Now, it also has an Arm debuff…. This is pretty crazy and makes it one of the most valuable solos in the game, right up there with Lord of the Feast in terms of impact on the game. Taking at least 5 attacks to kill, giving out a free use of Vision to a model once a game and boosting spell slinging is already an incredible deal for 4 points (I’d maybe take him just to sit on a flag and make my Warcaster harder to kill), and tacking on an arm debuff seems pretty crazy. I hope he comes out tweaked from his current incarnation, because this is the currently the kind of model that warps metas. Ignoring the Arm debuff, he is very interesting in Wolves, particularly with our casters that like to spell sling. Giving Greylords plus 2 to hit, as well as making the likes of Sorscha 1, Zerk 2 and Zerk 1 more reliable is absolutely worthwhile, and I’d expect to see him in a lot of lists, as he does quite a lot for Khador. Hell, him letting a Jack ignore a charge attack is pretty valuable, never mind the rest of his card.
I don’t know what to make of this model. I guess the healing effect is nice? As is a sucker model to score flags? Overall, it seems to suffer from all it’s abilities being situational. Bar the Gates is interesting, but probably doesn’t matter, as he’ll just die if that ability is being a pain. Doesn’t Kill you is interesting from a repair point of view, as it gives you a bunch of flexibility on what dies (and if any faction likes repairing constant chip damage it’s Khador), but it’s just a bit too niche. Hex Bolt is possibly the worst nuke he could have, due to it’s incredibly short range. Give him influence, or Bone Shaker, or even Hellfire, to get some spell slinging out of him. At the moment, I’m not sure why you would take one, unless you were taking 3 in Flames to do some cute stuff with mass healing.
Of the other models, I won’t go into great detail. The Morrowan stuff is interesting, but more from a Cygnar perspective than from ours. I fully expect Flame in the Darkness to become a Cygnar mainstay, probably with Connie B or Stryker 1 or 2. The Morrowan models are solid and kind of fill a niche that Cygnar has traditionally lacked: Infantry with staying power. Connie B in particular can put together a pretty disgusting combined arms list with Resolutes and Vigilants, just constantly throwing out boosted pow 13 shots. Speaking of which, Connie B has come out the other end of CID looking pretty damn tasty. It’s kind of a testament to PP that all she really needed were some tweaks. Moving Blessings of Morrow to a passive ability, moving Soul collecting to an always on ability and giving her access to some more Morrowan stuff. Suddenly, she looks competitive, and I would be surprised if she doesn’t start making appearances in top Cygnar pairings. The precursor knight change was warranted, and didn’t need to be expanded beyond that (we might even see them in Heavy Metal now). The Morrowan Solos are all interesting, though perhaps a bit rules heavy. I’m not sure why Cormier needs 8 special rules on her card, as it feels like they could cut tough and sprint from her card. Speaking of Cormier, she looks appropriate in terms of effectiveness now. A place on hit was pretty crazy, as place effects are some of the most impactful effects in the game, so limiting it to on damage seems like a good compromise. I suspect she will be most effective with Constance for that sweet boost, but that seems fine. Throne seems about the same, in that he looks to have about 1 rule too many, but seems pretty reasonable on balance. I think this release will be the shot in the arm that Cygnar need, as it gives them a decent melee theme to run.
Overall, this CID has been interesting. Lots of stuff to go through, that mostly seemed about right when it was released into the forums. Cygnar seem like the big winners here, as they get the most new toys, but it feels like we got a fair number of impactful models as well. Flame in the Darkness feels like it will be a good toolbox list, and likely the best way to run Zerkova 1. Warriors looks about the same, letting us bring a fast and hard hitting list, as well as giving us access to some of Protectorates toys. Of the 4 Archons we will be having access to, the Thamarite and the Void Archon look the most interesting, with the Morrowan looking like there might be a list for him somewhere and the Menite one looking like he’ll be staying on the shelf. I’m really interested to see how these models drop, because I think PP did well with this CID.