Sunday, October 28, 2012

Impressions - The Helldiver

The other week, I had occasion to run a pair of the cheapest (read: least expensive...) warjacks in the game: Cryx's very own Helldiver.

Man, are these guys fun.  They're so fun I figured I ought to blog about them ('s also cleaner than taking a cue from a dog and relieving oneself in a fit of excitement without regard for current location).  I'll also explain just why there's a bloody dorsal fin there.

Like other models, this isn't something explicitly called out on the card (I mean, Steelhead Halberdiers have this ability as well).  However, it's a whopping 3 points for a Helldiver.  As such, I'd recommend fielding them in pairs, but I'll get into a bit more on that later.

These things have three systems: the head, the movement, and the cortex.  The damage grid looks an awful lot like a bone chicken's, but you have to pretty much half-kill  the thing to disable a system.  With DEF14, anyone that gets a shot at it is probably thinking about boosting, but ARM15 is so-so at best.  Most of the durability comes from the DEF, the system layout, and then of course how you deliver the boggarts.

HERE is the major perk for these guys - they only have one explicit ability, a special action called 'Burrow.'  On the first turn, you'll contemplate running if you have the focus and the other guy doesn't have anything that could shoot/damage these guys.  Otherwise, they walk up 5 inches and burrow.  When they burrow, you drop a marker in base contact with their front arc.  The marker's about the size of a penny.

The next turn, you place the Helldiver anywhere within 3" (note this is WITHIN, not 'COMPLETELY WITHIN') of the burrow marker.  The only way to stop this thing from coming up is crowding the burrow marker and leaving it nowhere to set the base.  This is...not...easy.

And here's the biggest strength - it's damned near impossible to stop these guys.  Yeah, they can't burrow into rock or man-made stuff, but it's advancing close to 10" a turn and you can't shoot it.

Angle of Attack
Note that they pop up ANYWHERE within 3" of the burrow marker.  If you need to grab an angle, this is how you do it.

Damage Output
You get one PS13 chomp on MAT6 with this thing.  That's it.  You're not going to do a lot of harm without outside help.

Basically, you've got a little dude that can go just about anywhere with relative impunity.  He's not too hot on holding territory but they can do it in a pinch.  Note also that once the Helldiver does something other than advance and burrow, the enemy might experience a reaction much akin to watching a Khador clam-jack open: HOLY CRAP IT'S VULNERABLE KILL IT!

The Slam-Bot
Throw it 1-2 focus and slam.  Resurfacing after a burrow gives you a ton of freedom in grabbing just the right angle and making sure you've got the requisite 3" to pull off the actual slam.  If you're slamming a large-based model, you might want a second focus for the boost, since you kinda take the -2 to hit since it's bigger than you.

Note that the slam-bot can of course play into assassinations by providing convenient knockdowns and/or opening LOS.  Or, you can just make the enemy spend time/resources in forcing jacks/beasts to stand back up.

The Solo Hunter
MAT6 PS13 is probably enough to handle a solo.  They get nowhere to hide.

The Assassin
If you're going to use the Helldiver as an assassination threat, I'd consider a pair.  One may not be enough to get the job done, and it's a lot harder to hide from a pair of these if one starts the game on either flank.  The major perk of using these guys as an assassination vector lies in

You will need to overcome the Helldiver's accuracy and damage issues, but we're Cryx! We can debuff armor and DEF, and of course someone can obligingly slam something into our high-DEF target to make it not so high-DEF.

Casters of Note
Basically, anyone can use these guys as slam-bots.  They need no focus until you want to crank out the slam, and they can always solo-hunt.  However, some casters can really make these guys, whatever squee-like behavior a Helldiver does.  I dunno.

Her feat and Dark Guidance is the perfect storm for these guys - the ideal turn is something like this:
1) Helldivers pop up, draw LOS on enemy caster
2) Thanks to Ritual Sacrifice, Helldivers get focus-loaded
3) Skarre pops feat.  Helldivers go up to PS18
4) Skarre casts Dark Guidance.  Helldivers are PS18 with 6+3d6 to hit
5) Hilarity Ensues

Even outside of feat turn, Dark Guidance is a huge help for these guys, especially if the enemy doesn't camp.

Warwitch Deneghra
On paper, Denny1 has the knockdown and debuffs to make these guys work, but in practice she's probably more comfortable using stuff that doesn't require as much focus to work, since Scourge is half her focus (assuming we can get a Siren to power boost the arc node and a skarlock for the potential ghostwalk).

She loves her some slam-bots.  They're cheap, and they LOVE terminal velocity.  Hell, a pair of these guys alone slamming living targets make that spell efficient - you're looking at a two-focus slam/boost done twice for three focus right there.  I'm pretty sure Lamoron has a hilarious bonejack swarm army  using a couple of these guys.

She gets the utmost accuracy out of these guys, honestly. (...ok, against living models, that is)

Feat turn TK + Feast of Worms runs you four focus, leaving ~3 to play with for these guys.  As an added bonus, they don't ask for handouts prior to doing stuff, and are cheap and can contribute to board control with the Scav.

Sample List
10 Satyxis Raiders
-Sea Witch
10 Bane Knights
Bane Lord Tartarus
Satyxis Raider Captain
Skarlock Thrall
3 Scrap Thralls
Ogrun Bokur (Skarre as the client, obviously...)
..,.invariably some other stuff, I think maybe I had the Withershadow Combine in there but I could be wrong.

Basic logic is to use Raiders as a first-wave jam if necessary, move the Banes into position.  Helldivers are here to move up on the side; Skarre can solve their accuracy and/or hitting power issues and probably fuel them as well, given Ritual Sacrifice and a Skarlock.

There are doubtless other uses for these guys, but I feel that the above casters can really make them shine.  Otherwise, this is the kind of jack that doesn't necessarily get a ton of table time, so you might also enjoy the 'OMG, what is THAT thing?' advantage.

Also, there's a delightful little psychological advantage.  You might make the other guy feel like they're on a clock, because there's a fair chance that the Helldivers WILL reach his back line, and the only way to stop them is deny them a lane of attack or a zone to dig up in.  Otherwise, they're kinda gonna get there.  For 3-6 points, you can get some decent utility that doesn't cost focus until you're ready to use it.

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