Welcome back my blighted friends. Paul here from Mid South Gaming with another dose of my Legion article series Embrace the Dragon. In this edition I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss some things that may benefit those who have yet to embrace the blight. Granted this information will also be useful to us as it is likely you will find yourself opposed by a fellow blighted brethren. This edition will find us going over some of the most likely warlocks you may see being fielded by Legion players in Steamroller 2013.
With the release of Steamroller 2013 almost a distant memory and the first major con of the season already completed it is safe to say that many of us have had at least some experience with the new scenarios. Through my own experiences I can definitely say one big change caught my eye in most of them; PP wants us up in the middle fighting. The changes to the kill box artifice as well as scoring conditions are a major component of this. No longer can our Warlocks or Warcasters contest or control objectives or zones they can only dominate. Thankfully kill box doesn’t off your Warlock or Warcaster immediately but giving the opponent 2 control points can be just as devastating.
These changes have opened up the way for some of the less seen Warcasters and Warlocks from Steamroller 2012 to take a more center stage and Legion is no exception to this rule. Over the course of Steamroller 2012 the bulk of Legion tournament lists would usually utilize one of 3 different warlocks: Saeryn, EVayle (thanks largely in part to none other than JVM himself) and ELylyth. While I do not see these 3 going away any time soon there is now an opportunity for a few more to add to their ranks and be just as effective in aggression and scenario play. In addition to the previously mentioned Warlocks I also see PThagrosh, PVayle and Kallus making a strong appearance in SR 2013.
Saeryn has not lost any of her effectiveness with the scenario and scoring changes for 2013, in fact I would argue she has become an even stronger pick. In 2012 gun lines ran rampart and were arguably the top tier of play. Whether it was EHaley and the Stormwall for Cygnar, one of the many different Menoth gun line variants or even Grim Angus with bomber back up for trolls usually 1 of most peoples 2 lists in 2012 had some type of gun line variation. Simply put it was just too good to say no to. Traditionally speaking gun lines were a challenge for Saeryn and with the emphasis of pushing to the center and holding, the style of all the shots will start to fade a bit. Are gun lines still viable, of course! But will we see those that just sit at the end of the table and shoot you off the board, probably not. Additionally Saeryn offers some amazing infantry clear with her spell kit and tends to run beast heavy which most of us love to play as Legion. Beyond that Saeryn is one of our best choices to run against Cryx, which can be a challenging match up for many of our other warlocks.
EVayle is arguably one of our top scenario warlocks. With the power of her spell kit and versatility pioneered by Everblight’s new Messiah Mr. JVM, she has become a powerful force to reckon with. EVayle’s tier 4 list is a thing of beauty. It takes all of our favorite tools like war beasts with flight such as Angels (at least 3 fliers), the spawning vessel, Legionaries to fuel the vessel, solos like shepherds and spell martyrs and as long as you have 3 or more heavy beasts they all cost one point less. Additionally EVayle is ok with moving up out of the deployment zone as she possesses the highest fury stat in Legion. Getting her out of the kill box will put most of the battle field in her control zone. Also EVayle’s spell kit helps to handle a good mix of melee and range focus. Not to mention Purification is still immensely powerful and even more so now with the push for the game to become a giant dance in the middle of the board.
The blighted queen of all the shots or ELylyth as most people know her still remains a very strong choice for Stream Roller 2013 events. Yes the stand on the edge of my deployment zone gun line may not be as strong as before but ELylyth never really fit into that genre for me. Her smaller control area than most of the other gun line casters’ requires her to be closer to the action. This plays into a favorable position for Steam Roller 2013. Additionally her feat is still just as devastating. The extra range can allow her to even pop it as early as turn 1 and really lay in a lot of punishment to the opponent’s front line before it can get to the zones and objectives. Shadow pack will also keep most of her battle group nearby to protect them as they advance into the middle. Once centrally located she can continue to dish out ranged punishment as an opponent advances what they have left after her feat turn. With ELylyth being immune to free strikes it also allows her to disengage from melee whenever she needs to and still put her bow to use to help clear out objectives or zones for her to dominate. One other factor that plays well for ELylyth is that the most common ranged heavy used by Legion is the Ravagore. This beast, while known for its amazing ranged shot can also be quite effective in melee. Having two open fist melee weapons gives it access to all the power attacks, many of which are useful to clear out a zone or objective.
PThagrosh is a lock I am really happy to see making a return to active play with the Steam Roller 2013 changes. His tool kit is exceptional for central map control and scenario play in general. A caster that has a solid stat line and can do the work of a heavy beast in melee is always nice to have. His upkeep spell Fog of War really helps to get his force up the board to the central zones and once there his Death Shroud helps to reduce the melee effectiveness of the opponent. Additionally he can cast a friendly animus for free, another amazing boon for spreading out Spiny Growth or Tenacity on multiple targets. On top of that his Feat, which will also work on the AA, is perhaps one of the best attrition based feats Legion has access too. His spell kit rounds out with a nice buff spell in Draconic Blessing, a nice anti hordes de-buff upkeep in bad blood, an interesting damage/placement spell with Mutagenesis and finally the powerful Obliteration. The fun doesn’t stop there with this bad boy, his sword is P + S 16 with reach and when it boxes a model it removes it from play and causes a 3 inch cloud AOW to spawn that does power 12 fire damage rolls to other models caught in it. If that isn’t enough Thagrosh has a spray 8 power 12 ranged attack and a second melee weapon in a claw with power 12. All of these add up to 1 thing, a lock that can’t wait to get into the zones with his forces and start cutting through your lines with overwhelming force. While I wouldn’t put his melee scariness in the same class as the Butcher, Thagrosh is no slouch and can quickly cause you a lot of strife if not kept in check. Do not underestimate his ability to do work on his own.
If I had to pick a caster that would be considered our most aggressive all around it would have to be PVayle. While EThagrosh comes close, the ability to alpha strike and then set up to alpha strike again via PVayle’s feat Cat and Mouse is almost invaluable. Add in the ability to cast incite to really beef up the damage of that alpha strike and you have the makings of a really devastating warlock. PVayle has a little bit of everything in her tool kit that we blighted followers could ask for. If you need movement shenanigans; Leash. Damage and attack roll buff; Incite. Punish a charge against her or a nearby target; Dark Sentinel. Make a target your unit is charging easier to hit; Chiller. Need to kill that bronze back that just took out your Carnivean in 1 activation well try this combo; Rampager to show its back to you and cast Malice which is pow 10 but adds +1 to its damage roll for each fury point on the target. Follow that up with a rear charge from your own heavy to clean it up. In addition against hordes Rampager is just a beautiful spell that can set up so many interesting situations, plus it’s always nice to damage your opponent’s army with their own model. On top of all that she also has a ranged nuke spell with good power, aoe 3 and critical effect stationary. And just like her epiced self she has an 8 fury stat giving her the largest control range Legion can get access to currently and the highest fury stat. She is another caster who loves to run beast heavy and can certainly do so with a little less fury management than many of our Warlocks. I have a feeling PVayle who saw a lot of action early on in MK2 will return as a force to be reckoned with in 2013.
The final Warlock that I have on the list may seem like a rather unorthodox choice when compared amongst the other 5. His play style is far different than Legions usual alpha strike and control the board. Kallus caters to the concept of jam. He is Legion’s top troop based warlock. Most lists will run Kallus with at least 3 different troop units and will love to move that group into the middle of the field as fast as possible. Essentially jamming them into the path of your first wave and tying them up as long as possible while his second line and himself control and dominate objectives. This strategy is quite effective and not something that has been seen from our faction much in the past. Kallus’s spell list almost caters to infantry. Dark guidance, while conveying a huge cost, is almost obscene to see as a spell. The ability to add an additional die to melee attack rolls to all friendly faction models in his control area is amazing. There are feats in this game that do that and he has it as a spell. He also has ignite to buff melee attack rolls, Eruption as his nuke and finally Flashing Blade (one of the very few 1 fury cost spells in the game) to get him out of being locked down in melee. Kallus will also give all friendly faction warrior models Unyielding when in his command range (important to note that this does include himself). Rounding it out he heals himself D3 at the start of every activation, making cutting yourself for fury a lot less painful. The feat is perhaps the coup de grace of the jam concept with him. All soulless warrior models gain +2 defense while in his control area and when a non-Incubus warrior model in his control area is disabled by an enemy attack you can replace it with an Incubus. One of the few effects in the game that will trigger on disabled, his feat Host of Angles helps to ensure that the jam holds true. I honestly feel this guy will be a sleeper choice for 2013, not seen a lot in the beginning but once honed and learned properly will give a lot of people a headache when trying to deal with him.
That wraps up this edition of Embrace the Dragon and as always I now turn the discussion over to you. Remember this list is what I think will be what to look out for from Legion in 2013. You may notice that I left out Lylyth 3 from this list, even though her abilities, spells etc. was spoiled not too long ago. I did this because at this point she is mainly the focus of theory craft rather than true testing. As myself and others do more testing with her she may find her way here or be left behind but only time will tell on that. So with that being said what Legion warlocks do you feel should be added or even left off this list? I look forward to your comments and until next time may the blight bring the sweet music of your enemies’ lamentations to your ears.