Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lylyth, Herald of Everblight at a Glance

I've put a couple games down with Lylyth, herald of everblight, and I think I'm getting a feel for her. At a glance, she's a support caster that likes to set her army up for a precise assassination run.

Speed 7 mean that she's going to be able to keep up with her battlegroup well. Bushwhack means you can shoot first, THEN take that move. Keep thatFury of 5 in mind, though. The MAT is inconsequential because you're screwing up if you're using it.

Lylyth is reasonably hard to hit, with a nice DEF 16. She's only ARM 14 with 15 health boxes, so she's not exactly durable. At least she's got six warbeasts points.

RAT 7 on top of Hellsinger is the main thing you're getting out of Lylyth: POW 12 is so-so and ROF 2 is nice, but there are two big perks: Blood Lure means your beasts can charge whatever you shoot without being forced, and Witch Mark means instead of hoping your piddly Fury 5 can hit, you can shoot the target and slap a spell on the model. Oh, and like all your beasts, you have Eyeless Sight, so you can put that arrow in someone's skull through a forest or cloud, too.

You've got a whopping three spells, which isn't a surprise: You're a friggin' 5-fury warlock.

Bad Blood is hordes-only, but if you can slap it on a target it's disgusting. If they want to leach fury from it, it's 1 damage per fury leached, and the beast ALSO can't heal, take transfers or Regenerate. If you have two spare fury and can line a shot up on a beast that looks important...this'll hurt.

Parasite is self-explanatory, and your setup spell. It's three fury to knock 3 armor off the target, and give Lylyth +1 ARM. If you want to assassinate, consider slapping this on the target. Or, if you need a hard target KO'ed, -3 ARM is basically like an average boost roll.

Eruption of Spines is a lane-clearer. It's 3 Fury, and hits the d6 closest models within 5" of your target take POW 10's. Now, look back at Hellsinger and Witch Mark. Now, remember that you want to shoot a target that a POW 12 won't kill. Or, if you can line up a shot against a low-DEF target, you've got RNG 10.

Field of Slaughter says that friendly faction models get an additional dice on attack rolls this turn.

Bear in mind that with Hordes, beasts tend to have lower MAT/RAT in order to compensate for their ability to force and throw out a HUGE number of attacks. (IE: a charging Carnivean that blows all its Fury can throw out a POW 14 spray, a PS 19 bite with a boost, two PS 16's, and then buy three more bites. Ow.). Note that Field of Slaughter is not a BOOST, but an additional die. Against high-DEF targets, you can boost the hit and throw out 4d6 to hit. That's an average of 14.5, which means even the least accurate of targets WILL hit.

Also bear in mind the sheer joy involved with high rates of fire. Beasts with sprays and anyone that can crank out a decent number of shots/swings will get the most mileage out of this feat.

If you can't arrange a knocked-down caster, this is your insurance for an assassination. In a pinch, it'll also help you clear out a great swathe of the enemy.

Warlock Summary
She's a support caster that can plant debuffs and attack spells pretty squarely on the target. Her low Fury means she probably wants a fury-management solo or two, or just some intelligent fury-management.

I've gotten a couple of 35-point games with pLylyth so far. My force looked like:

Lylyth, Herald of Everblight
-UA: Officer & Musician
Strider Deathstalker

The striders are there as a self-sufficient element that can operate on the the flank, and take out infantry. They're stupidly mobile, between Swift Hunter from the Deathstalker and a 3" Regroup movement from the UA. They also have DEF 15, Stealth, and Combined Ranged Attack. In a pinch, I suppose the high DEF can make them a tarpit in melee as well. On the downside, ARM 11 is deathly allergic to AoEs.

The Shredder is there for the joy and easy fury-management that is Tenacity, and then it turns into a guided missile.

The Seraphs are in there for versatility. Slipstream is just plain fun; who can resist pulling a Carnivean 2" closer to an unsuspecting target. That aside, a pair of them can put out a fair number of shots. They'll average 3 POW 12 shots each at 10" given Strafe (actually 1+D3 shots...), and with 4 Fury they can potentially kick out a few well-boosted shots. Combine that with the feat and you're landing 2-4 fully-boosted POW 12s on a target, which could potentially end a caster.

Failing that, the Seraphs have a PS 14 Stinger with Critical Poison, which provides an extra damage dice on living targets. It's a bonus against pretty much everyone but Cryx, and it's nice in Hordes as well.

The Carnivean is there because I wanted a beatstick. It's got a decent Animus (allowing it to go up to ARM 20) and capable of a volley of high-power attacks. If I get the chance, Slipstream can get me closer to the target and I can crank out an 11" charge, then profit ensues.

Short Version of the Battles
The wins I have so far are due to assassination. First time around, she popped her feat, slapped Parasite on eStryker, and then a Seraph charged him and ripped him in half. I don't care what youre defense is; MAT 6 + 3d6 with several swings IS gonna kill most small-based casters. Another victory, against Sorcha, went a little different: I had to clear a lane to her, which involved slapping the Eruption of Spines on a Khador Jack, then using Striders and one Seraph to open the way for the other Seraph and Carnivean to get to her, and when a Carnivean hits a half-dead Sorcha....yeah, that ends that

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From 40k to Warmachine: Scenarios

I'm going to assume that some of my readers are checking out this blog out of morbid curiosity. Even if that's not the case, I'm going to look for some personal benefit by sitting down and cataloging the differences between 40k and Warmachine as I transition between the two.

In fairness, there are a lot of differences between the two, so this will be one of a few articles.

So, we'll start with some of the basics: scenarios. What is your goal in the game?

A Basic Difference
In 40k, there are three types of scenario, and three deployment types making in total nine different games you can play. In comparison, Warmachine has a half-dozen scenarios that differ only in terms of objectives.

What's the big difference? Well, part of it's a scale thing, but 40k starts on a 4x6 table with deployment along the 6" edges, whereas Warmachine does a 4x4 setup. There are always two win-conditions for Warmachine/Hordes:

1) Kill the Opposing Caster
2) Control the Territory
-Break The line (divide the non-dz territory into six squares; control two on your side and one on opponent's)
-Killing Field (three points across the middile; gain a point when holding it at the end of a turn, score 7 to win)
-Mosh Pit (fight over a 16" wide circle in the middile)
-No Man's Land (8" strip across the middle)
-Throw Down (10" wide circles, one on either flank)

Mangled Metal/Fang and Claw are the exception; it requires a specialized build with a caster and beasts/jacks only; win condition is assassination or the destruction of all opposing beasts/casters.

Generally, the objectives don't matter until turn 3 (the Control Points in Killing Field start counting on turn 2).

Warhammer 40k
There are three scenarios:
1) Seize Ground
-place d3+2 objectives, cannot be w/in 12" of a table edge or each other
2) Capture and Control
-each player places an objective in their deployment zone
3) Annihilation
-kill the other guy. Book rule is KP; 1 unit/vehicle dead = 1 KP; this is the subject of much debate.
-Alternatively, add up Victory Points.

Now, an important note: in 40k, the 'objective' is loosely defined; it's just something both sides agree on. Personally, I've seen folks use a 40mm base as a marker, and you just have to have a Troop unit w/in 3" of it at the end of the game.

That aside, the objectives are fluid in the game, and so is the deployment zone: either it's table quarters with a limit on distance to the middle; a strip across either side, or the ever-wonky Dawn of War, which makes everyone reserves-heavy and makes people want to bring transports.

What Do the Differences Mean? Aggression
Well, in case you haven't read page 5 of the Warmachine book, the short version is 'crush thy opponent's trachea, for failing that he/she shall in turn surely crusheth yours." The objectives mean that you WILL clash in the middle, one way or the other. Flanks will either be the source of objectives, OR you will possibly sneak something in to smash your opponent on the flank.

40k matches with objectives often feature a 'home' objective, either because you deployed it deep in your deployment zone because you rolled Capture and Control, or because you're close enough to one in Seize Ground to just push forward a little and get it.

What's that mean? In 40k, part of your army si just fine with sitting on the objective, either by virtue of having some long-ranged contribution to the fight (IE: 20 Guardsmen with a pair of autocannons, or a squad of scout sniper marines) or being cheap enough to not CARE about sitting there (10 Termagants sitting there with Fleshborers are 50 points of 'eh' that can still win you the game by doing nothing more than sitting in range of a Synapse creature and going to ground...).

Either way, you're still going to likely scrum for objectives, EXCEPT in a pure 'kill the other guy' scenario. Now, both game systems have forces capable of slow, steady advances and rapid, more precise applications of force and so on and so forth. There's shooty and there's assaulty-oriented armies (though in fairness, Warmachine DOES tend to like brawling a bit more than shooting) and neglecting one aspect in favor of the other can still screw you over.

Still, from what I've seen Warmachine games are generally more aggressive and often end up in close quarters, excluding abject shooty armies that are fortunate enough to annhilate the enemy before they close (...because an enemy in melee can still be shot at, but +4 DEF is huge in that game...)

A Time Difference
One thing that's driven me towards Warmachine in lieu of 40k is that it's an admittedly quicker-playing game.

How so? Barring tabling your enemy (which CAN happen, but isn't a regular occurrence unless one person screws up royally), your win-condition in 40k is ending the game in possession of the objectives. Games end on turn 5, 6, or 7. 33% of games end on turn 5, 33% end on turn 6, and 33% end on turn 7. Your goal is to have the objectives at the appointed time, and some games are close enough to of course make that 'appointed time' very, very important.

But, on turns 1-4? You're fine without having bodies on the objective. Lots of players camp a unit on them, or near them (the aforementioned sniper squads or cheap troops) but it's just as possible to move troops BACK into position around turn 5 with judicious planning.

Bottom line? You've got a minimum play time set.

Warmachine ALSO has a minimum play time: 2 turns. Why? Unless you're really new or have a bad, bad brain fart against an enemy with long range, you probably won't get your HQ killed on turn one. However, it's possible to make/exploit an opening as soon as turn two and win via assassination, instead of objectives. Some armies can play for objectives, some plan for assassination, and some do both. The bottom line is that at a minimum, you have to play to not lose the objectives.

But, the time factor. Secure the objective or kill the caster? Instant end of the game.

Bright side? You're not stucking for an hour or two playing out a lopsided game that you've screwed up, and if you have bad dice then it ends sooner.

Down side? ...not as much forgiveness. Some mistakes you can come back from in time with 40k; some you can't. In Warmachine/Hordes, a few mistakes can help the opponent kill you or win the scenario out from under you. (I maaay be a little guilty of being on both sides of that).

But, you can also get back to another game. In the time it takes me to play a reasonably-social game of 40k at 2,000 points, I can get in 3 games of WarmaHordes at around a 35pt level (which is mid-range for a game; enough that you can start fleshing out support).

Another speed factor is simply army size:
Seriously, a 2,000-point Guard army probably has 60-80 infantry and 5-10 vehicles; even a 2,000 point mech-marine army has something like 3 APCs, 3 heavy tanks, 3 skimmers, and potentially 3 walkers and still another 30-40 infantry.

A large horde army in Warmachine might be 40-50 figures at 50 points (I think Terminus lists can pull this off, just because he loves cheap troops to eat bullets for him). On the low end while still being competitive, I can bring about 15 figures or so in a Mortenebra list (the equivalent of running tank-heavy, since the list is like 6-7 warjacks and a handful of support figures).

WarmaHordes scenarios encourage out-and-out brawling, and the games terminate immediately on completion of your objectives (either kill the enemy HQ* or hold the requisite territory). 40k games usually involve taking territory, but it's entirely possible to ignore the objectives for most of the game.

If you're coming to Warmachine from 40k, just be ready to go for the throat in a hurry, and know that you can win or lose the game in a turn.

*Ok, so some folks are probably asking 'why is killing the other general that big a deal?' In 40k, some armies can probably operate just fine without the specific HQ choice in the fluff; Tyranids have multiple links to the Hive Mind and most everyone else probably has this thing called a 'chain of command' that tells them what to do when Captain Space-Bob pulls his terminator helmet off and promptly eats a krak missile and dies.

In WarmaHordes, the warcasters/warlocks have an empathic connection with their heavyweight units to go along with spellcasting skill. On incapacitation, Warjacks tend to shutdown from psychic feedback/loss of fine direction, and the warbeasts under their control tend to go wild. Additionally, individuals with this talent don't grow on trees, so it's in their side's interest to recover them for treatment if at all possible. If you're Cryx, then you may yet want to recover the body and resurrect them, which has happened...ask Denegrha how it worked out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thoughts on playing against eGaspy

You only have to go to page 5 to pick up on the fact that Privateer Press wants you to go for the throat.

Look at it this way: most anti-infantry stuff has something like MAT/RAT 6, DEF 12-13, and ARM 15 tops with a low end of POW 10.

That means they generally need a 6-7 to hit, and a 6+ to kill you, and that's average power. What's that mean? You probably want to shoot first and, y'know, cripple the other guy.

Now, some folks CAN play attrition; Lich Lord Asphxious is one example. He can swell the ranks of his undead troopers by killing yours, AND bring back a chunk of them for one last charge via his feat, which usually kills you or takes out a large chunk of your stuff.

Bottom line? He's happy to trade troopers with you, since he can always get more. Worst case scenario, he trades a unit of Bane Knights (mmm, weapon masters with reach and Vengeance for when the other guy kills some...) for something, then fires them at your caster via his feat.

The Situation
Since I occasionally suffer from a critical lack of reading comprehension skills (...I thought the league point value had changed; we're doing an escalation league with gradually increasing points levels and I thought we were at 45...) the matchup was thus:

3 Slayers
Necrotech/Scrap Thrall
3 Scrap Thralls
2 Warwitch Sirens

10 Bane Thralls + UA
10 Bane Knights
2 Deathrippers
Bane Lord Tartarus
Gorman di Wulfe
2 Warwitch Sirens

Scenario: Mosh Pit

End Result: turn 3 Caster Kill for me
Casualties: 4 Bane Knights on his side, 4 Scrap Thralls on mine

What's the Lesson Here?
So, there are 20 Weaponmasters across the table, and he can probably trade most of them for most of my jacks, and then promptly pop his feat and assassinate Morty, since her Tier 4 list does not bring infantry units (so, no easy screening...)

Frankly, I lucked out a bit because he wasn't aware of the power of Overrun (I put the spell on a jack; it kills something and another jack gets a free full advance outside of its normal movement) combined with a Leviathan and Mortenebra's interface.

Basically, Deryliss slaps it on Deathjack, DJ crushes a couple of Banes after the Warwitches and Slayers clear some space. The Leviathan Overruns up, Morty pops her feat and moves into base with it. The Leviathan then uses its access to re-rolls, an aim bonus for RAT 7, and and Morty's 7 focus to blow Gaspy to hell (again) with a pair of fully-boosted POW 14's and one boosted to-hit POW 14 in reserve.

So, what's my point?

For me, this is kind of the 'Aha!' moment, the proof-of-concept that sometimes, assassination really IS the way, and some kind of crazy balls-out aggression really IS the way to go. Frankly, if that had failed, it would've been game. Then again, I'd rather play the odds* early and go for the win than try to fight attrition, since I saw a shot while I still had my ranged assassination guy intact.

Bottom Line
Sometimes, crazy plans, "Where did that come from?!" tricks and catching your opponent off-guard will get you the win. However, I don't think it'll work a second time. On the other hand, it's always good to have that tool in your arsenal.

*On the odds: Leviathan's RAT 7 vs Gaspy's DEF 15 means an 8 to hit on 3d6. The average of 3d6 is 10.5; so I was probably shooting at a 60-70% chance before a re-roll, so I could reasonably assume two hits. He had 1 Focus on him, so that's ARM 17, so it's 3d6-3 damage. That's an average of 8 damage. Given re-rolls, again, it's a fairly reasonable assumption I could take him. It could've backfired, but again, at the time, I didn't see really great options for me in this matchup.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Game 1 with Everblight: Focus vs Fury

Today was the first time I've tested out my growing Legion of Everblight collection, and the first time I've operated a Warlock and the Fury mechanic. I've only played about one game against Hordes as well.

My goal, then, is to give readers a first impression of the Fury mechanic coming from someone accustomed to Focus.

Context: The Army
35 Points of Everlight
Lylyth, Herald of Everblight
Striders w/ Unit Attachment
Strider Deathstalker

What are the important parts?
1) Lylyth has a Fury of 5, so she can leach 5 and spend up to 5 herself
2) Carnivean capacity: 4 Fury; Animus costs 2
3) Seraph Capacity: 4 Fury; Animus costs 1
3) Shredder Capaicty: 2 Fury, Animus costs 1

What's the Context mean?
At the beginning of my turn, Lylth can leech fury from any beasts her her mighty 10" radius, and reave it from anything that gets killed during the turn (barring any of the effects that stop it).

Lylth can cast the animus of her beasts, and they can cast their own. So, if I'm aiming for a zero-sum turn (like my first) I can have Lylth spend 5 fury and make sure her beasts don't force for more than 5 fury.

OR, I can force my beasts to the max, and generate a total of 14 Fury. Ok, so I could clean off ONE beast, remove one fury from another, and use the Shepherd's ability to remove all the fury from a third beast. Then, I'd be taking threshold checks to avoid them berserking.

An in-game example
Here's what it looked like: since aggression is rewarded in this game, my buddy playing epic Stryker (along with Old Rowdy, a Storm-something heavy jack, jack-killing infantry and some gun mages) runs up in the mosh pit, and on his turn two he's feated, hit me with two heavy jacks, and has a decent grip on the middle. Note that in this game, turn three generally starts the check for objectives and a scenario win.

I have two choices: try to assassinate his caster, or try to put a full unit into the mosh pit to contest. Everblight specializes in speed, mobility, stupid LOS tricks and hitting power. I've already used this and my Striders ripped up his melee infantry, denying him use of them in the feat.

So, I pop my own feat (gaining an additional dice on attacks) and decided that I'm going to kill his caster. I spend some time thinking before I realize I can't position my Carnivean for the charge, and I was hoping to tear it up. Anyway, I've already de-buffed his caster. Now, I eventually realized I could put a Seraph into it on the charge, and boosted the hit, smacks it for a chunk, and after spending a total of 3 fury I'd turned his caster into a gooey paste.

I'd ALSO run my Carnivean through it's full 4 fury to reduce Ol' Rowdy to two damage boxes, and then the Shredder went rabid and beat it down with both ITS fury.

So, by the end of the turn, I've spent:
5 Fury from Lylyth (one to heal a beat-up Seraph to repair its Spirit, the rest to shoot Stryker and Parasite him)
4 on Carnivean
4 on Seraph
4 on Seraph
2 on Shredder
Total: 17 Fury expended

Compared to casters who MAX at 10 focus and usually have 6-7, that's a huge output. Now, the problem? Even with a Shepherd (who can remove all the Fury from one beast) I ended up:

Shepherd to the Carny
4 Fury from Seraph closest to me (rendering it safe)
1 Fury from the Shredder (I can deal with it punching the Carny; I'd rather not watch the carny one-shot the Shredder into oblivion...)
Seraph closest to the enemy sits on four fury.

That means the Shredder needs to roll 6 or less on 2d6, and the Teraph downrange needs to get a 5 or lower on 2d6.

Of course, you don't HAVE to make a check if you won the game.

Frankly, at first glance I'm impressed by the 'alpha strike' capabilities of warbeasts. I mean, the Carnivean has four base attacks (spray for assault, bite, two claws) and cranked a full compliment of them into Old Rowdy (...freaking durable heavy jack...) while another beast ripped into his caster with well-boosted melee attacks.

On the flip side, if you DON'T accomplish what you want, you will have to be careful about running beasts full of fury. Gone crazy, they'll tag the closest thing, which is asking your opponent to abuse the fact that you won't be able to control the beast.

Overall, I'd have to warn people that a list full of beasts can throw out a STUPID amount of abuse in a turn, but that gets close to make-or-break, because their next turn will be much, much less impressive.

Also, I dig Eyeless Sight and the ability to ignore a bunch of pesky LOS restrictions, and SPD 6 guys with reach rolling 3-4d6 to attack are friggin' sweet.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A glance at Lich Lord Asphyxious

Also known as 'eGaspy', or 'That Freaking Thing Across the Table' or any number of epitephs. I've recently had the joy of playing against him, and I believe he's reasonably strong despite the fact that his Feat can no longer be used in conjunction with Soul Hunters.

There are two traits about eGaspy that come out to me: first, his ability to stay the hell out of danger, and second, his ability to play a mean game of attrition.

We'll start this look at eGaspy by analyzing his stats, spells, and Feat. Then, I'll launch into what thoughts I do have about his army list.

He's reasonably durable with DEF 15 and ARM 16 on top of 18 health boxes. He's only got one weapon, Daemortus. It's a fairly standard-issue caster weapon; P+S 15 with Reach and Magical weapon. Hey, gotta be able to smack those annoying Incorporeal models in the face with something, right? Speed 6 is also pretty decent for casters as well, and 7 focus is typical for Cryx.

Now, if you're coming to eGaspy from the non-epic form, you're going to miss Sustained Attack. You can't just boost the first stab and then buy damage rolls from there. You lost entropy on a stick for a Lich Lord on a stick: Daemortus' special action gives up your melee range & melee attack in order to place a 5" AOE completely within your 14" control area, and you can reap the souls in it (subject to normal restrictions like who's closer, etc.). Combine that with the standard-issue cull soul rule, and you can rack up some focus.

The Defensive Side
DEF 15 is nice, but it's nothing a good MAT/RAT plus a boost can KO. You've got three spells that make you much rougher to get to, though:

3 Focus, Upkeep, and you cannot be charged while it's up. Enemies count 5" within eGaspy as rough terrain. Translation? The enemy needs Pathfinder or Reach to have a chance of just walking up to you and punching you in the face. Or, y'know, they can just SHOOT you. Beware enemies that can do the previous or have ways of dropping Upkeep spells.

Caustic Mist
Or can they? 2 Focus puts a 3" AOE cloud effect into play fully in your control area. You can upkeep a spell and throw out three clouds, which SHOULD generally hide stuff you want to hide. If the enemy enters or ends its activation in the cloud, it eats a point of damage. Single-wound infantry are more or less sad freakin' pandas, but Jacks, Beasts, and heftier units CAN just walk through it and not care, but it cuts out the charge range.

If you can't fully surround a unit with multiple damage boxes, you can drop a cloud on it for a +2 DEF vs. ranged and immunity from non-reach single-wound infantry. It's an option to consider.

2 Focus, place yourself completely within 8" of your current location, and end your activation. It's a 'I'm gonna charge this turn' card, or a mobility card, or anything else your feverish mind can conjure up card. Just remember it ends your activation.

The Attrition Side
He's hard to kill, and there's a decent chance he can outlast you if you have plenty of living units. Failing that, his feat means he's actually fine with trading a unit for a unit if he can open up a hole to your caster and fire it off.

Spectral Legion
The feat is fairly simple: bring back up to 10 friendly destroyed not-large-base warriors. They're incorporeal solos that must charge in their activation, and go away at the end of the turn. You can use this to clean up a heap of beat-up stuff, or you can use it as an assassination tool.

If you're going for the kill, you're probably hoping to combine Bane Lord Tartarus' bane curse with a bunch of effective MAT 8 weaponmasters on the charge. The standby is Bane Knights for their Reach, though Bane Thralls may have some merit when it comes to army composition. Past that, since you're all solos, you want to be able to HIT the target without a combined melee attack.

The other part that makes you want to play attrition is that every time the enemy kills a warrior model, they're just loading up your feat. It's a wonderful psychological weapon.

So, you lost that POW 14 hellfire. Ok, it went down to POW 13, and if it takes down a living enemy model, you get an undead model for a nearby unit. This helps to dictate your troop selection.

Caustic Mist
Are you a gunline? If you don't have Eyeless Sight, your melee troops ARE probably gonna get into the contest. You can avoid losses on the way in, and then still afford to lose troops.

Other Spells
Typical cryx armor debuff. -3 to a target's armor, +1 ARM for you. It does sort of pay for itself in that you get the upkeep AND the benefit of camping the focus.

Death Knell
This is a spell answer for shield-wall infantry, or anyone else that wants to group hug on the field. It's a 4-inch AOE that's POW10, but adds +1 to the damage roll for each enemy caught in the AOE. Direct hit on four guys in a shield wall? The guy you hit eats a POW 14, and his buddies eat POW 9s. Not shabby, BUT it does cost four focus and likely a fifth for the boost.

If you're rolling with Deathjack then you can use its Necromancy and allocate it a couple focus to get the spell off, but past that it's not going to be a mainstay.

Army Composition
For starters, you have +6 'jack points, which is pretty solid for Cryx. Parasite and Excarnate are prime candidates for arcing. Consider a couple of Arc Nodes, though preferably ones that don't need so much Focus, as you're playing a spell-slinger.

Consider Canerkworm as well. It's 5 points, reasonably durable, and can hit bloody hard with Armor Piercing. A charge off Cankerworm is doing 11+3d6 against half the other guy's armor value, which is going to do a serious number against jacks. For extra hilarity, you can use the Imprint to repair AND steal a nice weapon. The Affinity for Asphyxious is that you get a free full advance at the end of its activation, so long as it ends the activation in Gaspy's control area. Combine this with Parry (immunity to free strikes) and it charges someone, rips a great chunk out, and then darts off pointing and laughing.

If you're going to take heavy jacks, look into the ones that aren't focus hogs. This means Deathjack and Seethers. Honestly, these provide alternative assassination vectors as well, so it's worth considering them for that angle too. Just don't take focus hogs or ones that need to-hit boosts, which more or less kills the ranged jacks we have.

Excarnate suggests going for undead infantry. Consider Banes of one form or another. Bane Knights have superior range on the feat charge and you can make up for their lack of stealth by hiding behind Caustic Mist.

On the flip side, Bane Thralls don't NEED the caustic mist, so you can keep more of your force safe from shooting. Additionally, for one more point that a full ten Bane Knights you can get the same number of Bane Thralls, along with the officer and standard bearer. What's more fun than a unit full of Tough, auto-standing-up weapon masters? A unit full of Tough, auto-standing-up weapon masters that GROWS! Between Bane Lord Tartarus and Excarnate, the enemy has to etiher NOT have living units, or pretty much level your Banes in a go.

Past that, Mechanithralls can bulk up your numbers, but MAT 5 isn't so hot on feat turn unless you're using them to try to combo-strike heavy jacks. You don't have any way to buff their MAT, either. Still, it's 5 freakin' points for 10 guys, and you can ALSO bring back the Brute Thralls. They do work nicely with Caustic Mist shields, but I'd prioritize Banes of one sort or another before adding Mechanithralls.

You can always use the Mist to deliver Bile Thralls as well. No one likes the Purge, especially when most of the unit gets through to DO it.

Soul Hunters don't benefit from the Feat, but they're still worth considering at higher point levels as a distraction. Bear in mind, though, that they'll be the center of attention if the rest of the army is stealth/behind a cloud.

The Withershadow Combine gets a nod because of the free upkeep and they're about the only way for Cryx to undo debilatory upkeeps. I'd consider them at higher point levels (IE: 35) because they're great utility, but not THAT offensive.

Warwitch Sirens are EXCELLENT for getting your Arc Nodes moving. Free focus for a jack? A Spray on top of that? I'll take it! Certainly worth considering for the army. Hell, they're just all-around utility solos. Every Cryx player should own a couple.

Gerlak Slaughterborn is excellent for clearing out infantry, which he can ALSO do on the feat if you need to clear up lanes. He also gets boosted attacks against wounded enemies, so he's effectively ANOTHER MAT 8 weaponmaster.

Oh, since you're bringing Banes, get Bane Lord Tartarus. The ability to occasionally hit that high defense is necessary. Even with Bane Curse, I almost had eSkarre survive a run of Bane Thralls because of her DEF 16. You have to HIT to roll 11+4d6 against thier ARM -2.

I'm not sure a Skarlock is absolutely necessary, since you don't have buffs for it to hand out. I'd not be surprised to see it get off either a single Excarnate or Parasite before the enemy decides it should die. Thing is, those are the ONLY two spells you can cast; Death Knell is too expensive and the rest of your spells are range 'Self' or 'Control.'

Darragh Wrathe is solid if you're bringing Soul Hunters, and even if not he can help advance your army with Death Ride (since you brought mostly Undead, right?) or help your attrition game with Beyond Death (living models with -2 to damage rolls in your area, combined with high-ARM infantry? Think I can make that work...).

Sample 25-point eGaspy Army
Lich Lord Asphyxious +6 WJ
Deathripper [4]
Deathripper [4]
Cankerworm [5]

10 Bane Thralls [8]
Unit Attachment: Officer & Standard [3]

Warwitch Siren [2]
Bane Lord Tartarus [4]
3 Scrap Thralls [1]

We have a couple of Arc Nodes, we have a hefty infantry unit with support solo, and then we have a Warwitch for focus support and 3 scrap thralls for filler. If we wanted to, we could probably drop down to a minimal unit of Bane Thralls, freeing up 3 points. Since our Deathrippers are 4, we could try to scrounge points for a Seether, but that means dropping our Warwitch Siren. It's a thought, and we could perhaps get away with it at 25. Depends on how many living models are out there waiting to be recycled to the glory of Bane Thrall-dom.

When it comes to assassination, we have a few venues:
1) The feat + heap of dead Banes + BLT
2) Spell Assassination via Arc Node, boosted Excarnates and a good round of harvesting from Daemortus
3) I suppose we could always try to abuse Parasite + Sustained Attack off of the Deathrippers; 3 focus means a boosted to-hit for the charge, an effective PS16+3d6 and a PS16+2d6, which has a decent shot of taking care of a caster.

A Final Note
Note: I don't have a hell of a lot of experience with Lich Lord Asphyxious. This is mostly what I see as his playstyle, and have seen of it. He DOES look versatile and forgiving, and I'd hate to have shooting that can't get through stealth/clouds.