Hordes: Metamorphosis Part 2 – Legion Warlocks
I’m going to start this one by saying that I feel pretty positive about all of the new units that the Legion of Everblight got in the new Hordes book. Nothing seems too…overpowered or an automatic include in the same way that other stuff has been in the past, and I personally don’t see anything as being completely broken but that could just be because I am a Legion player and to me nothing we have is “broken” as such. Talking about the book with other people at our club has helped a lot in this regard – an outsider’s perspective is always welcome.
First on the list is the much-vaunted epic warlocks. Thagrosh the Messiah seems to play completely different from how his original incarnation was. Because he was very fragile it was pretty difficult to determine when to have him hit things and when to have him stand back and support people with Death Shroud and Draconic Blessing. I tended to prefer the latter option but I also had to keep him fairly close to the main battle in order to prevent assassinations and make him at all effective at doing things. I don’t see this as being a problem with eThagrosh; his spell list seems designed to go completely on the offensive with Glory of Everblight giving him a Signs and Portents type spell for all warbeasts in his control area. Unnatural Aggression also seems to be pushing him in the direction of an all-out offensive with warbeasts, but Dragon’s Blood allows him to work well with Blighted Legionnaires, making them highly resilient while in defensive formation while punishing people even further for killing them. I’m excited about the possibilities of using them with Incubi and with Thagrosh’s amazing command keeping them in line. The main disadvantage of his spell lineup is that his two offensive spells are ridiculously expensive. Realistically you’re going to be casting them once, maybe twice per turn and saving a point of fury to transfer damage. That said, if you think you can rely on Excessive Healing (I’ll talk about Typhon later) and there aren’t too many enemies that can threaten him at the time, dropping a Black Chasm on an enemy and having his warbeasts pounce on them sounds like a fantastic way to go.
His feat is a last-ditch blitz to mop up whatever remains of the army after your initial strike, which I find incredibly helpful for two reasons. First I tend to not roll well and fail to completely kill any warbeast that I really wanted dead, and second there are times where the stuff I really wanted to kill is hiding behind a wall of sacrificial pawns that I had to cut through and then accept their retaliation. For people who aren’t keen on assassinations but still want to play Legion, eThagrosh provides a more direct alternative, picking a point on your opponent’s line and crushing it with overwhelming force, then running rampant throughout the rest of their army. There’s not much else I can say about him, he’s hard as nails and has some pretty amusing stuff. Auto-Fire on his shooting weapon is pretty evil.
The other epic warlock is one we’ve known about for a long time, and sung the virtues of from here until kingdom come. eLylyth is basically everything I wish the original Lylyth was. I have a few problems with original Lylyth. Firstly she doesn’t add or contribute to the army in a way that I think a warlock should; she has one gimmick and that gimmick is to mark two targets for free charges with every beast in her army and have them tear it down through sheer weight of attacks. Her feat is nice and solid, and it works well, but after awhile I found myself just doing the same tricks over and over, and not getting any use out of her spells. They’re nice but situational. Now my opinion of original Lylyth is substantially more positive than it was (I compared her to Khador super-solos before, but without the super) after discussions with a fellow Legion player who has probably racked up more time using her than I have, although not as much time playing Legion. From that experience I learned that I have to swallow my pride and accept that I’m wrong, and I do; Lylyth does have her uses. I still feel that they are few and that her much-expanded toolbox was a breath of fresh air that revitalised the hunter-seeker theme of the Legion.
People on the Privateer Press forums have debated and analysed eLylyth endlessly so I think most of my (3) readers should know what she can do. I would just like to say that Striders are not the be-all and end-all of units that benefit from her support. Shredders are even more fantastic with Shadow Pack and make great tools for hunting those annoying utility solos, especially Lanyssa Ryssyl who seems to have been made solely as an anti-Legion solo. Alternatively, just have eLylyth walk within 10″ and Snare her; the Arcane Archer special rule makes her spells a lot more reliable and worthwhile. I actually prefer it over the Witch Mark ability on Hellsinger, though for what reason I’m not sure. Having seen what War Spears can do, I definitely want to have a unit of them with her, under the influence of her feat, and shooting at a pin-cushioned model. Also, they can have Shadow Pack. I love eLylyth and the units that Legion got in Metamorphosis only sweeten the deal for me.
This brings us, at last, to the newest addition to our arsenal – the Terror of Everblight, Absylonia. I think that her moniker is quite appropriate, she is a terror of a beast-oriented warlock with her feat completely restoring our lost momentum and redefining how we play our so-called ‘glass cannon’ army. When that charge hits the enemy line, your opponents are going to have to spend inordinate amounts of resources to kill off your warbeasts completely or be stuck in an unwinnable battle as they recover their full strength in an instant and continue the beating. I predict that she will work well with Typhon and several Carniveans, with Forsaken, Shepherds, and a few other units for support.
Her spells will allow you to monkey with the enemy’s battle line and make sure that they can’t bring enough resources to bear against any one of your warbeasts, between Arterial Spray mucking up infantry and Blight Field preventing warbeasts from spending the resources they need to get all those powerful attacks, I think opponents are going to have a hard time. As with many anti-anything tactics, they are easier said than done. I really like Playing God as well, just the fact that it gives a warbeast Reach is enough and on top of that allows it to make power attacks that normally require Claws. This spell seems tailor made to address the issues that players like me have had with Carniveans. Finally we have Tendrils, a really interesting spell that can allow you to drag out unit leaders and even light warbeasts that are giving you problems and have them die, either by one of your warbeasts or Absylonia tearing them to pieces. I think I might even take a Nephilim Protector for just this purpose – have her run out, drag an Axer forward out of range of the Krielstone, and then have her damage it as much as she can or even destroy it so she can steal whatever fury is on it and continue casting spells.
Yeah as you can probably tell, I love all our new warlocks. I’ll just need to get in as much practice as I can so I can put all of this speculation into practice.