by Jake VanMeter
pThags has a pretty interesting playstyle and it is quite unique to legion as he is more attrition based that most of Legions warlocks, and has defense and armor buffing spells and abilities. This can help deliver his army to the opponent if they have average RAT troops that don’t ignore concealment. His passive ability Death Shroud allows his army to be a little more durable when the front lines are clashing. Death Shroud is pThag’s best ability outside of the free animus each turn. This allows his heavies, with the help of the Carnivean, to become armor 22 in melee and inflict some damage to warbeasts and warjacks with Spiny Growth, while making the opponent waste more resources to take down a single target.
pThag’s has an interesting feat. At lower pt games it is a ball buster that helps brings back a lot of points onto the table. At the 50 pt level his feat doesn’t have nearly as much power as it does at lower point levels. It is still a good feat if you use it properly. To use the feat well you need to setup a trade in which you bait the opponent into giving you a heavy from their army in exchange for your heavy. If you are lucky the opponent might not even be able to break through the armor 22 beast. That would be the ideal situation but that doesn’t always happen. If your warbeast dies you just bring it back, have another heavy kill the heavy that’s in front of you and proceed to trade heavies until you come out ahead. That is the power of his feat at higher pt levels. It can be stopped, however, by any RFP (remove from play) effects. You just have to be aware of which models can RFP and also read their cards to make sure there isn’t something that has to happen in order for it to take place. A good example of that would be snacking.
Next we look at his spell list; starting with an awesome spell that is matchup dependent, Bad Blood. Bad Blood is a complete kick in the nuts for any Hordes opponent without upkeep removal. With spell martyrs and a 10” range on the spell there is very little that can avoid it outside of Circle druids giving models protection from magic. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bad Blood it’s a spell that prevents a warbeast from being healed, having damage transferred to it and causes damage to the warlock for each damage point of fury they leech off the warbeast. Once you get the chance to throw this on a warbeast you take it. A warbeast with bad blood and no spirit is pretty much dead in the water and isn’t doing much for the rest of the game. Bad Blood is also important against Trolls, as it prevents healing which means it stops snacking from triggering, which means your heavy that just baited out that Earthborn Dire Troll wont be removed from play if the Earthborn was already hurt.
Next pThags has a control area wide defense buff against ranged and magic attacks in Fog of War. FOW gives all models in his control area concealment which grants + 2 defense against ranged and magic attacks. This helps his army approach a ranged army while keeping his heavies at least at a decent defense of 13 and the typically trooper model anywhere from 14-16, depending on what you take. The only drawback of this spell is that it will mess with his ranged infantry that don’t ignore concealment. This is the reason I like the striders + UA with him as they have built in hunter and ignore the concealment bonus.
Next we have his damage buff, Draconic Blessing. This spell gives any friendly faction warrior model or unit + 2 strength and terror. Great buff on a unit for multiple attacks and is a great spell on a heavy warbeast going in at something heavy.
Mutagenesis is his tricky spell but it is a good spell. You can try to win the game via assassination ot you simply can use the spell to try to RFP important models if you get a chance to land it on a model that might be brought back. Mutagenisis when cast from Thagrosh can allow him to place wherever the enemy model destroyed use to be. This gives him pretty large threat for an assassination run if the opponent isnt careful. You only get to cast it once per turn and it’s a pretty risky investment if youre going in for a kill. I typically don’t use this spell unless it’s a last ditch effort.
Finally he has obliteration. It’s a typically over-costed offensive spell that you wont cast unless he has nothing better to do. I think you cast this as a last ditch effort. Upkeeping spells and spreading Spiny growth around your army is your first priority.
pTthags himself is pretty durable for being a 14 defense and 16 armor. He benefits from Death Shroud which means he’s effectively armor 18 in melee before bumping himself up to armor 20 with Spiny Growth. He has a respectable melee weapon at P&S 16 that could go up to 18 if he puts Draconic Blessing on Himself. His Weapon is a nifty little tool that will not only RFP models destroyed by his weapon but also leaves a 3” Cloud effect that does an auto pow 12 to enemy models the are in the cloud when it is put into play or that walk into or end an activation in it. The power of these cloud effects comes from blocking LOS to Thagrosh if the positioning is correct. There have been plenty of games where I kill my own infantry models to make clouds to block LOS.
Next we look at a nice beast layout for his list. My list(below) was built with the 3 Carnivean type beasts. The Carnivean is the most important model in the beast layout because it provides a +2 armor buff that isn’t range self. This means I can give the Scythean or more importantly, pThags an armor buff. Next, the Scythean. It provides a nice animus to get rid of tough, it has reach, and a good P&S that can be increased via Thag’s spell Draconic Blessing. Lastly we have the Ravagore. He is in the list as a long ranged standoff warbeast that will hit enemies and force them forward. All three heavies have 30 life, can get up to effective 22 armor in melee which is really rough to take down for most things. I feel these three beasts are a good balanced combination with him. You’ll notice that I don’t have a Shredder in the list. This is because I feel he doesn’t need one. He already has access to Spiny Growth and is generally pretty survivable. At worst, you could spawn a shredder from the vessel if you feel you need tenacity.
So this past weekend was the Season’s Beatings tournament up in Detroit, in which we had a Warmachine and Hordes only Tournament the first day and the top four from each game system would play in the top eight on the final day. I decided I would take pThags to this event as he is one of my favorite warlocks to play. My list was as follows
Striders with UA
Spawning Vessel full
Spell martyr x 2
I typically have the Black Frost Shard in this list because they help with defense and armor problems. And, if needed, provide me with some magic attacks for incorporeal models. I would also have the BFS in the army if it was a hardcore list, simply to have all the tools needed to deal with the most situations. With the addition of the BFS, this list is well rounded enough that I would be comfortable playing it against pretty much anything. The only reason they are not in the above list is due to character restrictions and having them in my 2nd list. In my 2 the list performed well. Bad blood against only Hordes stopped the heavies in their tracks, both Mulg and a Cannoneer. The heavies marched up the field, baited other heavies in, did damage via Spiny Growth and won the attrition battle.
pThags is a good warlock and fun to play. I still feel he is a mid tier warlock at 50 pts simply because, at most, his feat will be a 12 point swing, lack of a mat/rat buff, and bad matchups against tons of the top tier warlocks and warcasters in the environment.