WARMA-TEACH SPECIAL ED #2- Butcher Unleashed
While I know I am risking a small amount by basing a Special Ed on a model not yet released, a good friend and fellow gaming philosopher posited that Butcher Unleashed was being undervalued as a Super-Solo and not getting the love from the Khador community that he deserved. The following is my reaction to the idea based upon the minuscule eeButcher proxy games I have tried and my experience playing other “Super-Solos,” of which I love dearly.
Perhaps it’s easiest to begin with the basic limitation of melee casters: movement. The latest Butcher has an excellent threat range, but his medium base limits his maneuverability, and Energizer doesn’t compare to extreme maneuverability abilities (like eStryker’s Velocity or Terminus Flight.) He’s also hampered with limited access to support solos that can buff his killing speed/power (like Aptimus for eeMakeda or Squire for eCaine) Madelyn Corbeau is an obvious, excellent include, but she’s available to any Warmachine faction, and those factions all have access to other, equally potent game-makers (like Lanyssa Ryssyll for Garryth.)
The biggest and by far most glaring issues are his lack of focus efficiency and need to be obliged by opponent placement. If he needs to use his whole kit to make melee range happen (Energizer, Impending Doom, Silence of Death upkept), he’s left with ZERO focus. And hopefully you brought the Wardog and can get him in the right spot. Otherwise you’re getting hit by free strikes while you’re ARM 21 (because you had to cast Energizer first.) Of course, things change completely if your opponent is obliging. You will be able to spend about 18 minutes on Butcher’s activation if they’ve left something within 10 inches of both Butcher and Corbeau. Intrigue move, Charging, Impending Doom, Flashing Blade(s), Feat, Energizer, Flashing Blade(s), Impending Doom, Flashing Blade(s). It’s pretty cool. However, it relies completely upon your opponent leaving something 9”-10” away so you can charge first (or maybe if they kill an Argus, if they’re REALLY nice.) Otherwise, you’ll be spending every last drop on just getting to melee, and you’re only moving 11” if there are no intervening models because he can’t kill them or ignore them on the way in.
Now, if you pop your feat, and the caster/lock is in your melee/ Impending Doom range, you’ve won the game (well, if they aren’t Iron Flesh Camping Butcher, ironically enough.) If the caster/ lock isn’t in range because there are intervening models, you miss-guessed if they were 18” away, or they are hiding behind things that can’t be moved (I’ve heard of these cool things called Colossals, and walls are pretty neat, I guess), you will also be popping your feat, but not for killing anything. That’s for your new camping spot. Don’t be tempted to Doom+Flashing Blade at this point. 3 focus for all those attacks seems keen, but DEF 14 is not going to save you from being bitch slapped for your silly attempt to kill things. Now, interestingly enough, an eeButcher camping in the middle of their army is not an entirely horrible idea, especially if you’ve locked down a bunch of stuff in melee. This could probably be where he differentiates himself from the other super-melee-solos. Oh wait, Terminus can fly in on feat turn (literally), kill anything he wants, still be unkillable next turn, and has infinity focus on his next activation that can’t Eiryssed or Arcane Assassined. I’m not saying Terminus is better. They play a different end-game obviously. However, the number of cogs that need to fall into place for eeButcher to do his thing against a crafty player become pretty numerous, and I haven’t even mentioned the road block that is Gorman or a charge-control effect/ spell/ feat yet (all of which eCaine eliminates/ignores handily.)
Now the casual observer might mistake this for a harsh critique of an intriguing new model, and argue that he is “entirely playable,” or even see it as sour grapes when compared to other super-solos. However, I believe he is just as playable as the other melee combat casters, and I am NOT worried about my faction’s ability to mix it up in melee. If anything, desiring another, more versatile melee powerhouse would appear greedy in a faction spoiled by the likes of Karchev, previous Butchers, and Vlads. I think he adds something into the faction that is missing and refreshing, so you’ll definitely see him when players feel like shaking off the stellar “kill you with my wave of awesome guys” Khador list, but he’ll probably see shelf time when major tourneys come around, ESPECIALLY if someone read this article and saw all the ways to shut him down hard.
Teach you later!