by Jake VanMeter
Kallus, Jam of Everblight.
Kallus is our 2nd male warlock in Legion and brings another face to our attrition-starved faction with some unique staying power and abilities to control scenario zones through his feat.
His feat, Host of Angels, replaces a friendly living warrior model disabled by an enemy attack immediately with an Incubi and grants all soulless warrior models +2 defense for 1 round. By reading the feat at first I bet most Legion players were not initially impressed and rightly so. Except that they finally get to use those dusted Incubi. It’s not until you see it in action that you really appreciate the power of his feat. I will go into more detail below.
Kallus also brings a passive Unyielding buff (+2 armor with engaging enemy models) to faction warrior models within his 8” command range, a melee MAT buff in Dark Guidance, a friendly model damage buff in Ignite and an awesome offensive spell in Eruption. If you look over it again you will realize that Kallus is Legion’s only warlock that, through spells and abilities, brings an armor, damage, and MAT buff in a single package without outside animus assistance.
Kallus has four spells in his arsenal to use, and each one of them has potential.
First we have his Eruption, which is a fury 3 spell with a range of 8. The spell is a fire damage spell with a 3″ AOE that does a POW 14 to all models under the template and remains in play for one round as a cloud effect. Enemy models entering or ending activation in the template suffer a POW 14 fire damage roll. You will see most lists utilizing a spell martyr early game to throw out an eruption towards bunched up troops or to block troop advancement. A very powerful spell when you have access to an arc node. Late game it can even be used on a key heavy warbeast of your own to center a 3” AOE on the model. This will stop non-reach troops from charging the model, as in order to engage it they will need to take a pow 14 damage roll.
Ignite is his damage buff spell that costs 2 fury, increasing the target friendly model/unit’s melee damage rolls by 2, as well as gaining crit fire. It’s upkeepable, but even better, being able to cycle Ignite to two units each turn can be quite powerful.
Dark Guidance is the big spell on his list. It costs 4 fury and grants an additional die to all friendly faction model’s melee attack rolls for the turn. This is a key spell as it buffs up poor MAT and makes your army very accurate in melee. If you are afraid of missing a model you can boost even further and roll 4 dice to hit the model. Rolling an additional die on melee attacks also help with crit effects. Dark Guidance is indeed a powerful spell, but knowing when to cast it is the most important aspect. When using over half your fury for a spell topped with upkeeping Ignite, you will only have 1 fury left for transfers. When holding 1 fury for transfers it can draw a lot of attention to try for an assassination unless the right procedures are taken.
Flashing Blade is a cost 1 spell that allows Kallus to immediately attack all enemy models within his melee range. It’s like having Thresher each attack, except without hitting your own guys. Also, it’s useful when wanting to charge a model but there is another engaging and blocking your charge lane. Use Flashing Blade, kill the enemy model and charge the intended model.
Unconquerable is his ability to grant friendly faction warrior models within his command range of 8” Unyielding. While the + 2 armor might seem like money, it is very important to know when to properly utilize this ability. When casting DG and upkeeping Ignite, you will have 1 fury for transfer. This can leave you exposed for an assassination run. Nothing is more tempting than a warlock who is sitting low on fury.
Flame Burst is his next ability and it’s quite simple. Kill an enemy model with a melee attack and all enemy models within 1” of that model are set on fire. Who doesn’t like fire?
Hyper Regeneration heals D3 every time he activates. A nifty little ability that can be sometimes overlooked. It helps if you are running beast light or if your beasts are dead and you need to cut for fury.
Host of Angels replaces a friendly living warrior model disabled by an enemy attack ( regardless of base size) immediately with an Incubi and grants all soulless warrior models +2 defense for one round while the model is in his control area. This means Kallus is defense 16 on his feat turn as he is also Soulless. The power of this feat is, in a single word, disable. The order of resolving model’s destruction happens in three steps: Disable, Box, Destroy. Because Disable is the first step in the Destruction process it means it bypasses the other two steps completely.
“Hey Neutralyze, What does this mean for us”?
Well Johnny, this means any enemy ability that would normally trigger on a model being boxed or destroyed is null and void. Here are just a few examples of what triggers the feat stops:
This means if you have your troops and you run them into a zone to contest it for a round with the feat going, the Warpwolf Stalker who just warped for Berserk would have to kill the initial target with his first attack, (not get a Berserk attack,) kill the Incubi spawned from the first target with his second attack (if within .5″ for his claw), then he would get his first Berserk attack, kill a model, and have to buy his next attack on the new Incubi to Berserk again. It really punishes Berserk as most models that have it are single attack models that can’t get additional attacks.
Believe me when I say this feat just doesn’t stop at the above mentioned abilities. Typically your feat will trump most special abilities in the game that happen on model destruction barring enemy models that have an effect that happens on Disabled. Remember, attacker’s abilities always take precedence over defenders abilities if they happen on the same trigger. The main one that is considered to be an attack would be Take Down. Take Down is one of the few attacks from a model that removes a model from play on Disabled and thus would prevent the feat from spawning Incubi.
Now that you have a better understanding of the positive side of the feat, let me now go into how the enemy can prevent the feat from happening. The feat triggers when an enemy attack disables the model. This leaves any model that has abilities or damaging effects that don’t attack the model but damages them instead. Some of these examples would be:
Damage from Dragons Blood (Thagrosh2)
Electro Leap on the additional targets
Eruption of Life
Harbinger of Menoth’s Feat
Morvhanna’s feat (if AOE is generated off spawned Incubi)
Old Witch Feat
Unstable Explosion from Berserker or Drago
I’m sure there are more but those are the ones the firmly stick in my mind as abilities that can trump Kallus’s feat.
Using the Feat
Host of Angels is extremely frustrating to deal with. Take your units, run them either into a scenario zone to contest and while doing so place them in such a way to block charge lanes to your warlocks and beasts. This means your opponent is going to have to double up on any model they are killing in order to make the space available on the board. Anytime you can suck up attacks from the opponent on lesser threats or they don’t attack the infantry in fear of spawning Incubi your feat is working.
*Mind Trick – Some interesting interactions with the feat would be Raptors charging targets then using the light cavalry move to back out and take a free strike. This will instantly replace the model killed regardless of base size with Incubi who can activate on the turn it comes into play. While losing a 2 pt model to do this trick might not be the best thing, it is always an option and can generate a follow up POW 14 to finish off a heavy target. Striders also can do this with Reform, but due to base size might not get the 3” distance for a charge.
Now that we covered the feat we can go into possible list builds for your play style. Kallus’s feat calls for warrior models and infantry units which isn’t Legions strong point. Most Legion players will tell you that Legion is a beast faction and uses mostly beasts with a unit thrown in the list for ranged support or to tarpit. With Kallus you can go beast light and use two heavies and a lesser at 50 pts in favor of trying to put three units in the list. The general builds I see for the two heavy version of a Kallus list includes a Ravagore, Scythean and Shredder as the beast lineup. Also I typically see most lists being very light on ranged support. I suggest if you don’t take a ranged unit that you at least take dual Death Stalkers as an anti-infantry option early on. The Ravagore provides ranged support while the Scythean is there to help the list deal with a super heavy (ARM 21+) that might be on the other side of the board.
Swordsmen full with UA
Spawning Vessel full
Deathstalker x 2
This version of the list is melee infantry focused and has models that are quite resilient while within 8” of Kallus. It has bad matchups with incorporeal models and superior ranged forces.
The next version of Kallus list throws out the melee rush and power for more diversity in having magical attacks:
Hex Hunters with Bayal
Striders with UA
Spawning Vessel Full
This list is a very diverse Kallus list and can handle incorporeal models, heavy armor and has a ranged unit that can harass. The problem is there is a lot of one wound, low armor models, but two units are generally safe due to Stealth until you close the distance between armies.
Finally there is a beast heavy version which I currently use and it is:
Ravagore x 2
Spawning Vessel Full
Deathstalker x 2
This list brings three heavies, two of which provide long range bombardments and board control. This list is resilient because the feat keeps your beasts protected until late game. By then, if you played it right with your feat, your heavies will walk around the board with little to retaliate against them. This is due to your feat jamming models up and then turning into Incubi.
Late game it isn’t uncommon for the list to still have 35+ pts left while your opponent is under 20.
Both of the Ravagores pitiful MAT 5 is assisted by Dark Guidance when it is time for them to get into melee.
The Gobbers have a recurring role in each list build because Kallus has pitiful defensive stats of 14/16. The Gobbers have the ability to block LOS with the cloud, give him +2 defense with the cloud, and even spawn as Incubi if they are killed during your feat. With Kallus always fury-starved if casting Dark Guidance, the extra protection is 100% necessary.
These are only three of the many list builds I have seen. Each list has its own strength and weakness and they only have models currently released in them. In the end, it comes down to personal preference as there is no best list, but only a best list for your play style.
In Scenario, Kallus is seen as an attrition caster but plays it different than his male counterpart, Thagrosh1. Kallus introduces the Jam into the Legion arsenal. (For those unfamiliar with the Jam, it refers to taking models and running them into key locations on the board or engaging the enemy army and blocking advancement.) Kallus is able to do this due to his feat which forces the opponent to grind through double the models in order to advance further. It takes resources from the opponent’s army that could be better spent taking down important targets.
Kallus excels at many of the scenarios that have central scenario zones, as it is very hard to opponent to remove all models from the zone if positioned properly with the feat. As SR 2012 comes around, you will begin to see an increase in central point scenarios and with it Legion gains a big weapon in Kallus.
In SR 2012 there is also a new rule that will change how the Incubi control scenario zones. Before you begin placing Incubi with Host of Angels you will need to group them into groups of five Incubi. This group of five Incubi acts as a unit when it comes to controlling scenario zones regardless if they are solos. This means in order to control a zone you must have three out of five Incubi spawned on the board and alive in the control zone. If you only spawn two out of five Incubi they cannot control a zone. For the purpose of Host of Angels I would mark each group of Incubi you can tell the difference between each group of five.
Kallus is a strong addition to legion but does suffer from some poor matchups. I will go over a few of them:
pKrueger – pKrueger can give a unit Electro Leap and Reach on their weapons. He also has a feat that auto-damages models.
Ranged heavy armies can put a hurt on Kallus’s army if you are not playing stealthed infantry. I can see hybrid armies such as Retribution and Legion giving Kallus a rough match.
Cryx Bile Thralls with Excarnate (Gaspy2, Scaverous) – Bile Thralls have a ranged 6 auto-hitting POW 12 that counts as an automatic hit and thus triggers Host of Angels. Problem is if they have enough Bile Thralls around to do it twice, it can lose Kallus his infantry and Incubi along with it.
Feora1 – Making a lot of our infantry models catch fire isn’t good. She can even feat after her army kills most of our models and kill the Incubi with fire. The infantry models who aren’t Incubi check at the beginning of next turn which wouldn’t be affected by the feat.
Putting It All Together
Just like with any caster, you want to get the most out of your spells and abilities. Early game, Eruption is a key component in stopping the enemy models from advancing or killing groups of troops who are too close. Late game it can be used to prevent key models from getting charged.
When playing Kallus, knowing when to cast Dark Guidance and knowing when to advance to give your armor Unconquerable is very important. With an average fury stat of 6, Kallus doesn’t have the luxury of some other caster in the game when it comes to gaining more fury from a spell. When using Dark Guidance and upkeeping Ignite you will sit on 1 fury for transfers and not even have a chance to throw Tenacity or other animi on your army with Kallus. You need to be sure the enemy cannot get enough shots or models on Kallus when casting DG. To do this you should back up and keep the models that need DG at the edge of your control area. This helps ensure the minimal amount of attacks can get to Kallus through one of the safest ways in the game, distance.
There are specific army builds that run more infantry and like to benefit from Unconquerable. In this instance you might want to upkeep Ignite, cycle it around and sit on more fury rather than casting DG. This is to remain safe while close to your front line. Camping fury is one of the best ways to deter an assassination run along with his feat granting him +2 defense for 1 round.
The Take Away
• Kallus Brings a new attrition style to Legion known as the Jam
• Knowing when to cast Dark Guidance and when to try to get the most out of Unconquerable can be the difference between getting assassinated and victory
• Kallus needs ranged options in his list
• Distance is a safe way the prevent assassination
• Kallus’s feat triggers on disabled which trumps most offensive abilities in the game
• Always take Swamp Gobbers
• Avoid pKrueger and Excarnate Cryx casters
Until next time!