Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reflections on the Kraken, volume 1

I finally painted, based, and assembled THE KRAKEN.  It's a sweet model, and before I get into the meat of the post I'd suggest that the purpose-made foam from Battlefoam is NOT a bad idea, considering that the gun and tentacles are kind of jutting out from the main body.

I've gotten a few games with the Kraken under Skarre2 at 50 points.  At 35, I feel you're making a Colossal the centerpiece, and at 50 you can bring enough support and/or a backup heavy hitter, because there's really no hiding these guys.

Why Skarre2?
If you were just to glance over the spell list and errata for her feat, you might think "Wait, you mean I can't protect it with my feat, or move it with Perdition or Admonition?  Wait, what?"

Ok, that's a fair reaction.  However, you're missing out on the fact that Skarre2 still has two things the Kraken really wants: an ARM buff (Death Ward) and an accuracy buff (Black Spot) that is hilarious with that 4" melee range against a unit.  Additionally, if the enemy is using heavy beasts/jacks as their hitters, they've concentrated their power in a few easy feat targets.  I'm accustomed to using Skarre2's feat as a "NYAH! YOU CANNOT TARGET MEE!" deal, but tagging enemy models is not without merit.

The List
10 Satyxis Raiders
-Sea Witch
Withershadow Combine
Necrotech/Scrap Thrall
Raider Captain
Warwitch Siren

I believe that's what it is; it's been a few days and I've reorganized my cards (plus 'real life' intervened and whatnot...).  The logic of the list is thus:

A backup hitter is never a bad thing.  In a pinch, I throw it in front of the Kraken as a reach barrier that threatens free strikes, and while people are focusing on the giant tentacle monster of death, they might not be as worried about the soul-threshering beastie of nastiness.  Plus, Ghost Shot combined with the Kraken's long-ranged gun gives me some shooting options.  I can also Admonition or Perdition this happy little thing, and black spot + thresher is funny, especially if there's a jack nearby so I can wander up, thresher for a bunch of dead guys and souls, then turn around and pummel the jack with soul-fueled smacking action.

I could probably go Deathripper if I wanted, but the node is out there for a timely Black Spot or Perdition.  I feel kind of light with just one node, but this guy starts out with Admonition and can always get the feat for additional protection.  In a pinch, the gun can mesh well with a Black Spot that's already in place, as a RAT7 POW14 is pretty fun to dole out to single-wound infantry.

Raiders + UA + Captain
This module is for jamming up infantry.  I can stop heavy hitters with the feat, but no one really wants to deal with a bunch of high-DEF, knockdown-immune blast-immune reach women.  Additionally, Backlash and Feedback on the whips is a potent combo against anyone that has jacks.  If I can't score the backlash/feedback assassination, I can make the enemy worry about the shooting from the Harrower and Kraken.

Also, the Captain makes Skarre herself immune to knockdown, which means they've got to deal with her DEF16.

Withershadow Combine
They're a solid utility unit, what can I say?  Skarre2 is potentially rocking three upkeeps a turn, and while she CAN cut herself to upkeep them, I can also just get one for free.  If there's a crucial shot, puppet strings, and if the enemy has something like an ARM buff (...because I don't have a good way to buff damage output beyond corpse tokens on the Kraken) I can undo that.  Plus, it's more shooting.

Warwitch Siren
She's solid, what can I say?  If I need to KO infantry, she might not get a second Venom off of black spot, but an effective magic ability of 9 along with ignoring concealment/cover is nothing to scoff at.  She also helps out with focus efficiency (duh) and can contribute to the fun with a timely Shadowbind on a heavy, which makes her one of the few things that can stop a colossal.  I mean, the big jack is going to flatten her for her temerity, but sometimes halting that opposing heavy hitter is worth it.

Necrotech/Scrap Thrall
Why not bring repair with a colossal?  If I take some early-game plinking, I can likely hammer the dents out.  Anything I can do to get more boxes on a stupid-durable ARM21 monstrosity seems like a good idea.  And scrap thralls amuse me.

Skarlock Thrall
Why not get more focus efficiency?  Most of the time this guy is just re-casting Death Ward on the Kraken, though he gives me an option for getting an Admonition back out, or even tossing Perdition out on lower-DEF infantry. 

In Battle
Some highlights of this list and the colossal include -

Death-warded kraken surviving a charge from Stormblades.  Black Spot + tentacles = hilarity and a LOT fewer Stormblades.  Then it beat the hell out of the accompanying Stormclad; rolling 2d6+2 for damage is sweet against a heavy.

Against a Hyperion under Vyros1, a long-distance charge from mini-feating Raiders (only about half got there) and Backlash meant Vyros lost about half his life, and suddenly the odd Killshot! from a Kraken punching out things is a LOT more frightening, especially with Seas of Fate and/or Puppet Strings. 

The Harrower's presence meant that heavy hitters had more than one target to go after, and of course black spot + reach + thresher is always funny.  He cleaned up a unit of Storm knights, then proceeded to unload soul tokens into a nearby Lancer, which was a bad time for the Lancer.  It was also feat turn.

Further Thoughts
I like the ARM buff and Death Ward's ability to let me pick the column.  Sadly, it doesn't let me pick the grid so the enemy still has some flexibility in knocking out systems (...ok, mostly an arm).  However, ARM21 is still much nicer than ARM19 when you're going to absorb that many hits.

Offhand, I'm tempted to gravitate towards casters that can buff my ability to hit with the Kraken's MAT6, and possibly run another heavy hitter.  Asphyxious3 and the Witch Coven come to mind as likely candidates, hampered only by the fact I need to assemble them (...and Vociferon).

I'm not sure I want to try this thing in 35, as the average caster's jack points plus an arc node is going to be around 16-17 points of the army already, which means an infantry unit and a minimum of support. 

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