So we’re a ways into Mark III and I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts about casters that I’ve played and have played against so far. I feel some of the changes have really shaken up the meta and brought some new casters to the fore while also making some old mainstays very interesting.
I’ll start with Trollbloods as they are my mainstay faction and I’ve played nearly all of them in the new addition. I’m not going to go over them all. Just the ones I’m really excited about or feel have changed the most.
- Grissel Bloodsong: Marshal of the Kriels – I think this is the caster I was most excited to play in the new edition and I have to say I have not been disappointed. Let’s start by looking at her best new feature, in my opinion, her ROF 3 gun. Her rules have changed so that she can use any of the attack types on all of her attacks. That means she can make 3 quake attacks(3 in AOE knockdown on direct hit), 3 crescendos (3 inch AOE that remains in play with pow 7’s on models entering or ending their activation within), 3 range 10 pow 12 sprays, or any combination of the 3. So much flexibility and threat, especially with access to snipe from a bomber or impaler for 1 fury. Her stats are pretty much the same which is a good thing because she had a great stat line. Then we get to her spell list. Deflection is amazing, especially with concealment being far more useful in this edition and readily available in a Stone Scribe Chronicler. Champions become def 16 at range and 14 with no knockdown while b2b in melee. Dash is amazing for extra threat and for allowing units like to Scattergunners and Highwaymen to avoid engagement. This is very potent for the Highwaymen as it provides an easy way to take advantage of backstab from Braylen and lets face it you are always going to take Braylen. Discord(provides Wailing – no orders or spells from models within 5 in) can be very potent on a Earthborn or either gargantuan especially with her feat to help keep them alive. She is just so much more fun and so much more flexible. The one knock I have is it’s really hard to fuel the Krielstone which she really wants.
- Madrak Ironhide : World Ender – I’m sure if you’ve read anything about Trollbloods in Mark III, you’ve read about him. He was probably a top caster before and he got way better. I hate to even write about him as it will probably anger the nerf gods but all the hype is for real. The first game I played with him was against Kara Sloan, the other golden child of Mark III. My opponent confidently told me that he was going to shoot me off the table bottom of turn 1(this was before the supposed nerf to her feat) so I countered by running my entire army as far up the board as I possibly could turn one in a giant brick with Madrak at the center. My opponent proceeded to shoot nearly my entire list to oblivion through either direct attacks or from Grim Salvation(amazing rule that allows Madrak to shunt off basic attacks to friendly models within 3 inches of him) but he made the cardinal sin of leaving an entire unit of Trencher commandos within charge range of Madrak. Now we move on to Madrak’s best and probably most well know feature. I don’t know how familiar everyone is with the Madrak’s from Mark II but they switched feats in the new edition. The world ender’s new feat is called Crusher and it lives up to its name. It gives models in his control the overtake(if you kill a MODEL you get to move and inch) and beserk(if you kill a MODEL you get another melee attack). This ability combined with his ability Rathrok’s Awakening(for every model you kill you get an extra fury, with currently no top end) and his spell blood fury(extra dice on melee damage rolls for warrior model/unit) and access to Rage(animus that gives +3 strength) means that you are going to absolutely destroy enemy infantry formations unless they are spaced out just so. He also has grievous wounds so no tough and can go to MAT 10 with a fell caller. Long story short, I surfed through his unit and a opportunely placed warjack and ended up standing in front of Kara with 11 fury. This guy is the real deal. The key to beating him is spacing and staying outside of his 11 in threat range if possible but that is easier said than done with a scenario in play.
- Calandra Truthsayer: Oracle of the Glimmerwood – Her abilities didn’t change a lot from Mark II so I won’t spend a lot of time on her. The big change is the addition fury point she received. This makes her signature ability Starcrossed(additional die on attack rolls for enemies in her control, dropping the lowest). Just takes it up to 11. Plus the increase makes it easier to land befuddle(get to advance a target enemy model 3 inches) and misfortune(a damage model is knocked down) and just makes her sooooo much more flexible.
- Captain Gunnbjorn – This big changes here are his new field marshal[Kill Shot], which gives all warbeasts in his battlegroup a free ranged attack if they kill an enemy model in melee and his new and improved feat. Anyone who played Trollbloods before lamented Gunnbjorn’s lackluster feat. Now he not only gives cover and no knockdown but also gives protection to all friendly faction models from ALL ranged attack damage. They can’t still suffer other effects but one turn of that will often turn the tide against enemy ranged armies and provides the new and improved Trollblood ranged beasts the ability to actually impart the initial salvo against them even given our limited ranged weapons.
- Hoarluk Doomshaper: Rage of Dhunia – My favorite caster just got a whole lot better. He still has his ridiculous threat ranges(+3 speed on the feat turn) but he also gain field marshall[Overtake] which was a very fair trade for Goad(force a beast for a 2 in movement after a kill in melee). His spell list went up a notch by adding Hex Blast(removes enemy upkeeps and animi on a model hit) and Psycho Surgery(heals the entire battle group d3+1 for a very model fury investment) and only lost Refuge(the ability to make a normal movement after an activation in which the model hit an enemy model with an attack). He of course is the weakest link in the list with his victim stats and with Mulg’s loss of protective fit. All in all, I love the changes and am very excited to drop this guy at some tournaments going forward.
- Hoarluk Doomshaper: Dire Prophet – Wanted to mention this guy solely for the change to his feat. He lost half of it to Ragnar but d3+3 heals makes our beasts nigh unkillable on feat turn. This combined with field marshall[Hyper Regeneration] (heal d3 at the beginning of every activation) keeps his battlegroup going strong against even the hardest hitting enemy force. Grievous wounds shuts him down hard but if you can manage to avoid that he is an extremely strong option in the trollblood stable. His spell list is the same from mark II, as are the abilities provided by the scroll bearer and in my opinion it got better because of the changes to most of the troll animi. I no longer feel fury strapped with him because I’m not throwing around animi every turn to run my list at peak efficiency.
Next I’ll go to Cygnar. I’m going to stick with my theme for casters that changed from Mark II and skip Maddox although I’m a big fan.
- Jeremiah Kraye – Just played a game against this guy tonight and I gotta say, I don’t get why so many people seem down on him. The changes to the calvary rules have turned this guy up to 11 in the right player’s hands and my opponent played him nearly flawlessly. Power up has helped this guy tremendously as he wants to run a bunch of jacks but doesn’t have the highest focus pool. His feat makes jacks super efficient and the bump to bullet dodger(+2 def across the board now) make him a very versatile and mobile caster. Plus he plays so much different than anything else in Cygnar most people aren’t prepared for what he can do. He did lose mage sight, guided fire, and the big one full tilt which is significant blow but overall I think he has improved.
- Kara Sloan – Another caster I’m sure many have read about post edition change so I won’t go into great specifics. I think her biggest asset is her perceived threat. Playing into her I feel the weight of that threat and it affects everything I do from how aggressive I am to my positioning and I think that gives the person commanding her a very distinct advantage. Field marshall[True Sight] (model ignores cloud effects and stealth when determining LOS) is a big improvement on her list and even nerfed(if you can really say it was nerfed) her feat turns Cygnar’s amazing ranged warjack options up to 11.
- General Adept Nemo – I’m going to break the rules a bit and talk about a caster I haven’t gotten to play yet but I’m so excited about him I can’t help it. I think more than maybe any other caster in Cygnar, this guy benefits from power up. His biggest problem was always he wanted a huge battlegroup for his feat turn but couldn’t run them effectively the rest of the game. Well now between that and the change to power up, he can do exactly that. Not to mention his ability to pull focus off of jacks once per activation which means he can be playing with a lot of focus every turn and his spell list is just as good as it was if not better. He still doesn’t have a great stat line outside of his focus and has a huge weakness against casters that can get rid of upkeeps so I don’t think he will be a top flight caster in tournaments but he will be fun as hell and I look forward to putting him on the table with 5+ jacks.
Lastly I wanted to mention a caster from a faction I don’t play but have been very impressed by.
- Wurmwood – Wow did this underappreciated caster get a nice little buff. His feat is as always amazing and the change in his rules means that his potent spell list can be arced to almost anywhere with a model he can then return to safety each turn. He still has all that soul collecting goodness and is not trivial to remove from range given his soul armor ability and natural armor. Circle has always been a faction that can attack you from the most unexpected angles and this guy personifies that to a tee.
I’ve played a couple other casters but didn’t really feel that their schtick has changed greatly with the new edition. I’m looking forward to getting some more games in and hope to see everyone down at Rook’s in the near future! If you have played with or against a caster I didn’t mention that made a big impression, I’d love to hear about them. If you have anything to add to the casters/locks I did list, I’d love to hear that too! I’m hoping to be more active on the site and I think that next I will go over some jacks/beasts that have caught my eye. Cya soon!