There’s a reason they’re know as “The Nightmare Empire”, they can be an absolute nightmare to face at times. They just do a lot of things well. They can go with the glass cannon approach and hit like a ton of bricks. They can bring masses of infantry that can bolster themselves through respawn mechanics and wear you down through attrition. Several casters can shut down your army through debuff spells and feats. They have some of the most powerful casters in the game with some amazing feats. Their weaknesses would probably be low armor and a less than dominant ranged game. They won’t be going toe to toe with a Khadoran jack and trading blows(unless they are able to stack some of their crazy good debuffs) and they probably won’t beat you with a gun line. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have any good ranged options because they do, just that they probably won’t center an army around that strategy.
Some people feel that Cryx has a few too many abilities and their casters are broken. I agree that they have some very good ones but they are all beatable. They just might give their army a little more room for error than some other factions. I like to call them the “Tryx” faction because outside of Legion, I don’t think any other faction has more ways to ignore game rules.
Top 3 Casters
Lich Lord Asphixious – Probably the guy you’ve heard the most about as he has a very good tournament record. He just has very few weaknesses. His spell list is amazing and makes it very difficult to get to him between the clouds and Hellbound creating rough terrain. Teleport allows him to get himself out of trouble. And if you actually manage to get to him, his stat line is very defensible and if you fail to kill him he will take you down in melee. Then there is excarnate which is amazing when you have access to bile thralls. And all this is before we get to his feat. One of if not the best assassination feats in the game(Captain Caine might have him beat) the ability to bring back 10 friendly models that are solos is just back breaking. Pop it early game to destroy half the enemy army or pop it late and take out there caster. The new errata has weakened it but it is still quite potent.
War witch Deneghra – She might not be so potent without the wide availability of cheap arc nodes but with all those bone chickens running around her spell list really shines. She can debuff enemy units to the point that they are nearly helpless. Combined with her feat she can nearly shut down an enemy army for a full turn. If you decide to feat and then crippling grasp the enemy caster, there is almost nothing they can do to avoid assassination. She might take a hit against purification casters or lists that can remove upkeeps but usually whatever she hits with her debuffs don’t last to the next turn to be cleansed.
Skarre: Queen of the Broken Coast – Amazing feat! Especially at lower point levels. The ability to make models untargetable allows you to almost move your army in with impunity. Or you can shut down some key models of the enemy. And she also does some great things to help her army, protecting jacks with admonition, making her satyxis buddies more effective with blackspot. This third spot was hard for me to pick out with all the great Cryx casters but I had to give it to the chick with the Great Rack….
Bottom 3 Casters
Lich Lord Venethrax – Not a terrible caster just really needs the right match ups to be effective. Probably better against Hordes than Warmachine. Pretty lackluster feat compared to the rest of the faction. He is pretty survivable and does some good things, lamentation is always useful. Probably just suffers mostly from being more niche and being in a faction with some amazing caster options.
Lord Exhumator Scaverous – Once again just suffers from being in a faction with some amazing casters. His feat is OK but not super powerful. He has a few really good spells though with Telekinesis(eat your heart out Haley) and Excarnate. Has an armor buff he can throw out and a good board control spell in Feast of Worms. Has decent stats and can survive some assassination attempts and then hit back pretty hard.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra and Deryliss – Outside of her feat, which helps her avoid failing due to bad dice rolls, she’s all about her Jacks. Terminal velocity is an amazing spell that lets her run more jacks more efficiently and Spectral Steel and Overrun allow you to get some tricky angles your opponent might not see coming. She just has some hard counters, and her feat is good but not top tier.
Nightmare – Good solid character jack. Can hit very hard against it’s prey target and with ghostly can pull off some trick maneuvers.
Deathjack – Maybe the best jack in the game. Self fueling which is great. Can cast it’s owning Warcaster’s spells. Hits very hard and has pretty good defensive stats. Expensive but usually will get its points back.
Malice – Haven’t seen this jack on the table much but he has some pretty cool abilities. Drag lets you move enemy models around and possession can be killer. You can also stack some soul token for better armor. Doesn’t hit extremely hard but can get the job done under the right circumstances.
Erebus – Probably the least used of the Cryx character jacks, he can be quite useful with Scaverous feeding him souls. Fairly decent offensive stats but won’t hold up in a knock-down drag-em-out brawl. Overtake can be situationally quite useful as can Poltergeist.
Cankerworm – Just a lot of fun. It can steal your opponents weapons and make for some very interesting combinations. Jealous of that long barrel on the defender. Kill it and take it!
Top 3 Warjacks
Leviathan – I just love ROF 3 with pow 13s. Burst fire is just icing. And he’s no slouch in melee.
Deathripper – Two words: ARC NODE! And a cheap one at that. Plus its a real pain in the but to hit without a concerted effort or boosted attacks.
Helldiver – I had to pick this little guy just because of the psychological impact he has on an opponents game plan. The ability to burrow and pop up behind an enemies defenses has to make even the most seasoned player nervous and probably makes them play a little conservatively. Just a constant threat that is impossible to remove if your opponent keeps him burrowed.
Bottom 3 Warjacks
Nightwretch – Still has an arc node but his gun isn’t very useful and Cryx just has better options in my opinion.
Corrupter – Does some neat things with it’s variable ammo types but has some Skornergy going on. Just doesn’t do anything super well in my opinion and I think other Cryx jacks just do what it does better.
Desecrator – Can be self sufficient if run with a unit of banes. I just think the other crabjacks do what it does better. Still a decent jack just not anything spectacular and I think you can get better options for the points.
Top 3 units
Bane Thralls – Unless you are a completely new player you have probably heard horror stories about these little guys. They hit really hard with good pow weapon attacks and death shroud just makes them hit that much harder. And it works for other models attacking the affected model. They have stealth to defend them on the way in and will probably shrug off most blast damage with their armor.
Bane Knights – If you haven’t heard about the thralls you have to have heard about the knights. Vengeance and reach are two of my favorite attributes in the game. They have ghostly to get around obstacles and free strikes and hit extremely hard.
Bile Thralls – Auto hitting attacks are always good and when you can take out a swath 6 inches around the model, it’s all goood. Probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had in a game is watching Scaverous reproduce this vile little dudes over and over with Excarnate and cut huge swaths in my lines.
Bottom 3 Units
Cephalyx Mind Slaver and Drudges – I drop this guys down because of their lack of use and what they are trying to beat out for space on the table. They have some neat abilities with reanimation and anatomical precision and they decent stats. You could definitely fit them into an army and have them be successful but I don’t think they are going to be winning any tournaments by themselves.
Black Ogrun Boarding Party – As with the drudges above, I just never see these guys on the table and that makes me think that they just don’t demand table time. They are a neat unit as I think they are the only multi-wound unit in Cryx and they have drag which is good for some shenanigans.
Revenant Crew of the Atramentous – Can be very annoying if you keep even one alive as they will be back next turn. They make a great roadblock but their stats are rather lackluster and it is quite possible to have the whole unit wiped off the board in one turn with some well placed AOEs.
Pistol Wraith – I know some people are screaming “What about Tartarus” and while he is a good solo, he is expensive and warrants an extreme amount of attention and in my experience rarely survives to engage the enemy. And with the nerf to eAspyxious’ feat, he’s lost one of his most beloved tricks. Now about the Pistol Wraith. In my opinion he might be the best ranged solo in the game. He has a good rat and pow and if he can hit you three times you are effectively shut down. He can shut down a jack as effectively as Gorman from much further away. Plus he has incorporeal so unless you have a bunch of magic weapons running around he can just cruise around and wait for the perfect opening.
Captain Rengrave – This is not a slight on the Captain at all, I just think Cryx has some great solos and I really never see this guy on the table. He is pretty survivable with sac pawn(of course that means you have to bring the Revenant crew) and can handle himself in a scrap.