Coremachine: The Witch By My Side


Can’t you see my death-fear?
I can hear her voice
Shoutin’ everywhere

Who knows what I’ve done
It must be so bad
That a witch does care…

Who fancies a walkthrough of a Warmachine army list? I hope it’s you, because that’s what you’re getting. If you’ve sat through my boring video you have some idea of how the rules work, and if you’ve encountered the Warmachordes community before you’ll probably know that we’re a very game-focused lot. That’s not to say that we don’t care about background at all, but when it comes to the crunch we’re not here for the fluff.

Anyway, the next stage in this ‘explain Warmachordes to Corehammerers’ endeavour should probably be something to do with actually putting together an army and slapping it down on the table. This is a basic, no-frills version of a moderately filthy list – it hurts like having scalpels jammed down both ears, but the low model count forces me to play fast and dirty and not ponce around hiding behind walls like some sort of Trollblood player.

System: Warmachine
Faction: Cryx
Casters: 1/1
Points: 35/35

Warwitch Deneghra (*5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Defiler (4pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
Leviathan (9pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)

Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Gorman di Wulfe (2pts)

I’ve picked a 35 point army because 50 points generally puts a bit more stuff on the table than I’m comfortable with managing – also because 50 points is the standard tournament game and I feel obliged to offer something a bit different. It’s also unusual in that there’s no infantry involved. Infantry generally make me play like a proper moose and so I avoid them unless there’s something specific that I want to achieve by taking them, like jamming up the middle of the field with bodies, and this list isn’t about that – it wants space to fan out and open up as many routes to the enemy warcaster as possible.

I have a few different ways to get the kill and take the game here. The first is the spell assassination. The two Deathrippers and the Defiler both allow Deneghra to project her nasty, nasty spells into the middle of the enemy army without risking her spindly goth ass, and the Skarlock can chuck another one out there. What generally happens: the Skarlock casts Ghost Walk (Deneghra’s ‘move through terrain and run past other models without getting hit’ spell) on one of the little fellas, a Warwitch Siren puts a focus point on it, and it pelts into a place from which I can make enemy casters go boom. Then Deneghra activates, moves upfield until she’s juuust about clipping the enemy caster in her control area, uses her feat (a horrible “reduce all the enemy’s stats by two” number) and chucks three castings of Venom (her acid-flamethrower spell) into the target’s face.

The ranged assassination is a variant on that approach, in which Deneghra stacks her feat and Crippling Grasp or Parasite on the target, and then the Pistol Wraiths and Leviathan open up. People don’t rate the Leviathan, you know, but a 13″ range gun on a reasonably tough platform, firing three shots with bonus damage against big stuff, ain’t easy to come by down Cryx way.

Finally, there’s the melee route, via the two Wraiths (who can fire their guns in combat), one of the Deathrippers (which only need to hit you once to keep hitting you automatically) and the Stalker. What generally happens with the Stalker is that people either ignore it (because they’re focusing on the arc nodes) or know how nasty they can be if they get near a warcaster and make an effort to avoid or neutralise it. Most casters don’t like to eat five melee attacks that ignore all their fancy-dancy defensive tech, after all.

Getting there is where Gorman di Wulfe comes in. This naughty little mercenary chucks around nasty little gas bombs that leave their target stumbling around blind or clutching at its trousers as its armour starts rotting off. Together with the two Pistol Wraiths, whose guns can force their target to forfeit movement or attacks in the next round should they both hit something, and Deneghra’s Crippling Grasp slowing down a key enemy unit and removing a lot of attack options, Gorman allows me to deal with the enemy’s biggest threats by crippling them long enough for something else to peg it into place and seal the deal.

If I fancy changing things up a bit, there’s a more melee-focused version of the list, which swaps out the Leviathan for Nightmare and the Defiler for a second Stalker. Nightmare is Deneghra’s special super friendly warjack – a melee monstrosity that walks through terrain and can’t be hit by most shooting save at point-blank range, and can nominate one enemy target at a time for special attention that makes it hit even harder and move even faster. I generally find that having three arc nodes is pretty important in a Deneghra list, since she’s so dependent on her debuff spells to get the job done, and I like having the Leviathan’s actually-quite-good gun as an option, but Nightmare is always an option.

The last tweak that I often make is to field the whole shebang as a Theme Force. Basically, this means giving up some options and obliging yourself to choose particular things in return for bonuses – either gameplay advantages or adjustments to the army selection rules. I really like Deneghra’s Theme Force, since it’s basically the same stuff that I’d normally be taking (minus Gorman and with no access to Nightmare), and it gives me extra Warwitch Sirens (mini-Deneghras who hand out extra focus and squirt acid on people), a slightly better chance of going first, and a free bonejack (I generally take the Defiler for free unless I have an odd point to fill, in which case it’s a Stalker instead). The Theme version of the list shifts into a higher gear, with the option of using the Sirens to clear out enemy infantry or tie up hard targets with their saucy melee attack.

Basically, it’s a whole bunch of goth witches, murder robots and ghost gunslingers, plus a zombie wizard and a nutter with a gas mask. Right up my street.

6 thoughts on “Coremachine: The Witch By My Side

  1. I got a Journeyman going this year, doing months instead of weeks, and I’ve spent a lot of it missing infantry. I actually like playing 50 points because of the infantry and extra toys that can go in to the list. 35 points of Farrow tier list doesn’t often let me fit Rorsch and Brine in, and I played 50 points recently with them back on the table, and I’d forgotten how much fun they are.

    Which Leviathan have you got? Metal or restic? If it’s resin, is it reasonable to assemble? If it was metal, you have my sincerest sympathy. I’ve spent the last two months hobbying time building all my backlog of unglued models, including pinning a full unit of Nyss Hunters, and the Harrower was by far the most horrible thing. So many failed attempts, and at least one throw-and-walk-away…

    • Metal. And it’s the second one I’ve built over the years. I think I’ve done three Nyss units too (I like them, but apparently not enough to keep them). The metal Harrower does make me nervous though – but I’d still rather do that than work with restic. Horrible stuff. At the moment I’m hunting down old metal pieces rather than buying restic; I may have to crack for Desecrator limbs, and if the Inflictor comes out in restic I’ll be one very sad panda.

      I think there are circumstances under which I’m comfortable playing 50 points and those circumstances are ‘running Mortenebra’. Weirdly enough, in today’s Colossal-crazed environment, I think I might almost be better off without Cryx infantry, since the fashion’s for multi-wounders at present. What I’m working up to is a Cryxian version of that one Retribution list with Vyros and ten Griffons…

      • I’m fine with restic. So much more convenient running a sharp blade over the Ceph infantry, then UHUing their six-seven bits on, and only having to pin them to their bases, than drilling and pinning every single one of the seven components of each of the Nyss Hunters.

        As the Inflictor is a Seether variant, unfortunately I can’t see it not being restic…

        I like Morty, but haven’t fielded her in a long time (haven’t actually fielded Cryx in a long time come to that). Just had a fiddle with the tier list, and 2 Warwitches, 3 Slayers, Leviathan, 2 Stalkers and a Scavenger would be 35 points at tier 4. Ouch. And you could get really silly using Helldivers…

        If the fashion is for multi-wounders, shirley that means the usual Cryx solution of “apply banes” works pretty well too?

        • I barely pin anything. To be honest I barely break anything as well, apart from extensively kitbashed Citadel Skeletons. Perhaps someone, somewhere, will not be sleeping tonight now that I’ve made that admission; I can but hope.

          The thing with restic is that I find it has what, for me, are the worst qualities of metal (hardness, tendency for parts to bend, and demanding superglue) AND the worst qualities of plastic (a particular lightness that makes it harder to fool myself into thinking that was twenty or thirty quid well spent, and being almost the same colour as grey primer). I’m more than a little bit pissed off that the whole bloody industry seems to have fallen in love with the stuff during the last couple of years.

          Helldivers were the unsung heroes of my Mark I Mortenebra lists. Pop up where they need to be, deliver a crucial slam or headbutt each and start the ball a’rollin’.

          The fashion is for multi-wounders because of Colossals, which are very, very good at scraping double handfuls of light infantry off the board. Multi-wounders are the solution rather than the problem, if you follow, which is a bit of a nuisance for me because Black Ogrun are a treasure that should stay buried. My workaround is to look for something that has lots of boxes (for managing the move-through-this-and-take-a-POW-12 control effects) and DEF high enough that the big guns have to make an effort to hit, ergo bonejack swarms. As a plus, I don’t have to spend a minimum of £85 on mostly-restic infantry swarms that I don’t particularly want to own anyway.

          • I find all the available materials have their downsides. I’m philosophical about it, and just work with whichever it is if I want a particular model. Though I’d rather not deal with Finecast or Forgeworld resin. I’ve had FW models with paint-repelling mould release all over them…

            I’d have thought that hard plastic would get the same “was that worth £20-30” reaction? (I got a cheap option on a Forge/Maulerfiend and a chaos doomchicken (can’t remember the proper name), and do keep thinking “those are £41 RRP? Really?”)

            It’s mostly been Mantic and PP doing restic, hasn’t it? Reaper and Soda Pop and the like go for the cheaper softer “boardgame piece” plastics, and Spartan and Battlefront like their hard resin.

            I never did try out the Helldivers…

            Ah, I’d not thought about the effect of colossals on single-wound infantry in that way. I’m planning to take Farrow to the ETC. That bit is going to suck unless I take one of the lists that brings all 6 of my Razor Boars along. Arkadius’ second tier list from No Quarter would be hilarious – 10 warbeasts minimum to tier 4, of which 4 are freebie Razor Boars.

            Again, never did try the Black Ogrun. Are they really that useless? I can see they’re certainly not the best choice in many circumstances, but…

          • Materials: Personally I feel ‘resigned’ rather than ‘philosophical’. It’s not worth ragequitting the hobby over, but I do often check myself before purchasing – “do I really want to handle this much of that material?”

            Hard plastic’s a bit more… fiddly. For one: I find it very easy to kitbash, and so it has a lot of innate appeal to me on that front. For two: there are some things, like Land Raiders or flyers or Colossals, which would be un-manageably heavy and brittle in metal (in restic, they’re merely brittle, which is an improvement), and hard plastic is a better way of realising those large pieces. For three: the price/value judgement varies, for me, based on how many of the kit I’m expected to buy and how much of my army it constitutes. £22.50 for a 35 point Trukk that’ll probably last one turn if it’s lucky and is best fielded by the double handful? I feel insulted. £41 for a Battlewagon? That’s a Big Kit, it’ll probably be a decent-sized fraction of my army and actually do something in the game? It’s… palatable. I’m willing to chew that around for a while and see if it sticks. Worth noting that I’ve had my idea for a Battlewagon/Land Raider crossover kitbash for actual years and still not seen it through because of concerns about getting my money’s worth – so you’re not wrong. I’m simply more inclined to entertain a big spend on hard plastic because it’s a more suitable material for the sort of things I want to buy and build for that kind of money.

            Colossals: I think that if you’re going to play competitive Warmachordes these days, you need a skew list for Colossals, and you just need to hope that the Colossal isn’t being run by a caster who’s a hard counter to your colossal-bashing list. Half a dozen heavy warbeasts sounds promising, although be warned; the Rhulic Colossal can quite happily point/click/delete two heavies a turn if it’s properly supported and you don’t keep a very close eye on where its arcs of fire are pointed.

            The Black Ogrun are… just not impressive. They’re not particularly tough (and that’s what I look for in medium-based infantry), they don’t chuck out an enormous amount of damage, and Drag isn’t exactly hot shit all by itself. They’re the poor relations of the heavy infantry world; I’d rather take cavalry and have something that can actually kill things.

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