Sunday, January 15, 2012

Warmachine the Way I See It: Warcaster Study, High Exemplar Kreoss

courtesy of Iron Kingdoms Wikia
[This article is part of the Warmachine the Way I See It series.]

I'm back with another look at Warmachine from a beginner perspective.  This time I'm going to get faction specific, and more importantly, warcaster specific with a little article about High Exemplar Kreoss or pKreoss

As is obvious in most games, in Warmachine there is a core ruleset.  In Warmachine, warcasters affect how an army plays within the ruleset to win the game.  Some casters use their abilities to support their army which in turn slowly wears down the opponent.  Some have rules to set up their army for effective and brutal caster assassinations early on.  Knowing how each caster effects their army helps a player determine the best course of action in dealing with that caster should they have to play against them.  I think this is why most Warmahordes tourneys allow a player to have 2+ lists to choose from for each battle, because it balances each player's ability to play the game well against a variety of other army lists. The key is knowing how other casters affect gameplay for their armies.

So, I've chosen pKreoss because he's the Menoth battle box caster and thus one of the first ones a new player will see. 

pKreoss is really an average caster by most accounts.  Fluff-wise he's the leader of the Exemplar order of Menoth in charge of Knights Exemplar, Knights Errant, Bastions, Cinerators, etc. Looking at his stats, he has slightly above average focus, is pretty slow, and has a decent MAT and P+S should he have to throw a couple of attacks at someone as a last ditch effort (which I don't recommend). His DEF and ARM are passable but by no means prevent him from easily being assassinated if you aren't careful. 

What makes pKreoss useful are his spells and his feat.  pKreoss possesses the spell list of a true all-rounder.  He has some punishing offensive spells that can really help start off a good assassination, especially with an arc node (luckily there is one in the battle box).  Cleansing Fire is a great albeit slightly expensive spell that has a really decent POW and causes continuous fire on a critical hit.  Immolation is the exact same spell with a slightly reduced cost and POW.  Generally if you are going to use these spells to start or finish off an assassination run, you are going to want to use Immolation since you can cast it more due to its reduced focus cost. 

He also has some great utility spells, two upkeeps and one debuff.  Defender's Ward is awesome.  This allows a friendly model/unit to get +2 to DEF and ARM.  It's an upkeep so it's going to be cast on turn 1 on your go-to jack or unit and kept there to make them incredibly annoying to get rid of.  Lamentation is an upkeep that affects your opponent.  Any models within pKreoss' control area pay  double focus or fury to cast or upkeep spells.  This is a great way to slow down your opponent's army and making them really inefficient before going in for the kill.  Finally, Purification a great way to prep for an assassination run as it cancels all continuous effects, animi, and upkeeps in his control area.  Getting rid of defensive buffs makes right before piling in for the kill can really be useful.

As you can see, pKreoss really has the tools to help his army, debuff the enemy, and cause some pain as well, but what makes pKreoss the caster he is, is his feat.  Menoth's Wrath knocks down every enemy model currently in pKreoss' control area.  This makes it really easy to hit and destroy quite a few enemy models on top of making it incredibly hard to get anything going in the next turn, should you fail in assassinating the enemy caster. 

This makes pKreoss an excellent caster for assassination, but also makes him pretty good at attrition.  Nothing is more annoying than getting your upkeeps up and going only to have them shut down and have to expend precious focus or fury to get them going again.

pKreoss' feat also sets him up as an excellent assassination caster in the form of the infamous "pop and drop".  This is a term used to describe a turn in which the caster pops his/her feat and then makes an assassination run to drop the enemy caster.  Being able to knock down all enemy models (with the exception of those that can't be knocked down due to various effects) allows such a run to happen.

So, what types of units and models benefit from pKreoss as their caster?  Lots really.  He runs many of the jacks well, but you have to be careful to not bring too many focus hungry jacks.  The Repenter light warjack is a great jack to bring as it's spray can cause great devestation on the feat turn and it only really needs a single focus to help boost its to-hit or damage rolls depending on the situation.  What's really nice about its flamethrower is that it sets things on fire without needing a critical hit.  This can really be a nightmare to enemy armies.  I think other ranged jacks can really be useful for a ranged assassination run.  Included here are Vanquishers and Reckoners.  That said, he also likes the melee oriented jacks and can run some of our heavier hitters well.  The Crusader can be really menacing in a pKreoss army and the Avatar is always useful at larger games due to its ability to generate its own focus.

pKreoss also likes infantry.  Defender's Ward affects an entire unit, so having a full unit of Flameguard or Exemplar Errants really benefits from this buff as they become incredibly hard to get rid of, allowing you to protect pKreoss and other units in the army until that feat turn when everything can open up and eliminate large portions of the opponents' armies and their casters. 

Finally, pKreoss likes all the normal support pieces that other Menoth casters like.  Choirs of Menoth, Vassals, and the Covenant all have their place in any Menoth army, especially at larger points games. 

I like the idea of pKreoss leading a ranged assassination force with a unit of Exemplar Errants, a Repenter, Vanquisher, and Reckoner, and then some support pieces.  With all of the shooting and fire continuous effect ability, this type of army can cause some incredibly nasty damage both in the turn you pop the feat and let loose and in consecutive turns due to fire damage.

Ultimately, pKreoss is the jack-of-all-trades caster for Menoth.  He has multiple useful spells and a decent amount of focus to use them with.  His feat is relatively easy to use and can yield truly devestating results if you do the prep work to get models into position early on.  While not exactly top shelf, pKreoss yields a fairly competitive caster for beginners right out of the battle box. 

Other Warmachine related articles:
Crusader Heavy 'Jack Completed
Warmachine the Way I See It: Part 2...err kind of
Warmachine the Way I See It: Warcasters
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