Dienstag, 25. Februar 2014

Khador 2014 Part 03/2 - Everybody's Darling?

So, yesterday I gave you the leaks I got on the PP forums, and did the initial gushing. Because, hey, 8pt gun-'Jack.

But why exactly is that so gush-some to me? In this second part of the article, I'll walk you through my reasoning. We'll be looking at how the Grolar (I'd prefer Growler, but Grolar is a term for a mix between a Grizzly and a Polar Bear, go figure) might work with each 'Caster - making some upfront assumptions, but that's cool, it's how science is done anyways. We'll also look into intersting interactions with other models (as far as I discover some), and the Theme Forces he can be included in. I know of at least one I'm stoked about, but I presume there are more gems to be found here. I'll intertwine the 'Caster and Theme Force discussion, and I'll give Pro's, Con's, and a brief verdict (with my *-Ratings that I used in a Khador '13 article before).

So let's get it on!
I won't go through our Warcaster stable alphabetically, 'cause I'll certainly get that wrong. Instead, I'll go by order of appearance, with Epic incarnations grouped together with the original. I'll mention theme forces together with their respective Warcasters.

Preliminary Assumptions:
We'll have to assume that all the statements made in Part 1 are true. Also, we'll assume the regular Khador Heavy statline, as well as P&S 16 on the hammer. (I could see 17, but let's stick to the low end, shall we?) On that note, a further cool thing I overlooked: with Virtuoso, you can go ahead and buy gun attacks after making power attacks (Tramples, Slams, Headbutts, in this case)!

Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff
   Pro: Ye olde Sorscha has four things that benefit the Grolar - her feat, Freezing Grip, Boundless Charge, and Tempest. Stationary targets can be shredded by Khador shooting regardless of RAT 4, and five shots from a single Jack are good, not to mention stuff that he could kill with his hammer beforehand.
   Contra: She's only FOC 6 - so when she's casting Freezing Grip/Tempest, there isn't much left to allocate, and if you want to BC the Grolar, you'll likely use your feat... ...and you're certainly not Wind Rushing to safety! Getting the most out of the Grolar at any given time will be doable, but it might leave you with having to make so very uncomfortable decisions. This is sth for all Khador 'Casters, tho.
   Verdict: Plausible(**)

Theme Force: Mechanised Infantry
   If included, the Grolar gets gets advanced move from the Tier 1 benefit. That isn't bad, but the theme force also allows Beast 09, sooo... yeah. The theme does bring and require Winterguard, too, so depending on the set-up, there may be an overabundance of Rng 8" Pow 12s, making the Grolar overly redundant, OR they may be more Mortars - those certainly like KD attacks. See also the "other models" segment below.

Forward Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff
   Pro: This Sorscha also sports Boundless Charge and Freezing grip, to top that off she can bond the Grolar to give him an additional point of focus AND make him a real nuisance to deal with. She also has Shatterstorm which could end up in some serious crowd control work done by a single Warjack.
   Contra: She also has Iron Flesh, and Shatterstorm is better off on units - so her focus pool will be drained even more than that of her prime incarnation. The bond tends to get more work done on a Conquest, too.
   Verdict: Rather not. (*)

Theme Force: 5th Border Legion
   The Grolar has nothing to benefit from in this Theme. Also, Beast 09 is allowed in this Theme Force, which is an additional bummer.

Theme Force: Full Assault
   The Grolar is not allowed here (as he is neither a Destroyer, Conquest, Spriggan or Demolisher).

Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Prince
   Pro: Vlad has Boundless Charge, his feat, and Signs & Portents that'll all either extend the Grolar's threat (to 4*2+2+2+3 = 15" charge range) or jive well with the gun's potential high number of shots.
   Contra: Vlad is FOC 7, but S&P takes up most of that, most turns. So you're realistically looking at 13" threat on feat turn, which cuts into the Grolar's focus budget - but then again, you may still be in range for S&P. If Vlad's casting BC to really throw the Grolar out there, he won't do S&P most likely. So again, decisions, decisions.
   Verdict: Plausible (**)

Theme Force: The War Host
   While it is allowed, the Grolar does not benefits from any tiers, and its inclusion will block access to Tier 4.

Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Champion
   Pro: Vlad2 has Assail and Hand of Fate. Assail jives nicely with the aforementioned ability to buy gun shots after a trample or slam, so the Grolar will always have an option to KD (should it, say, lose its melee arm). Hand of Fate, like S&P, emphasizes the gun, and is cheaper, so Vlad has more focus to go around.
   Contra: That focus, as well as HoF, is usually reserved for Transference/Infantry. So it will likely only come around when Vlad is losing. Also, there's Drago in the same point slot, who's just ridiculous with any Vlad. (He has no gun, though.)
   Verdict: Still plausible (**)

Theme Force: Legacy of Heroes
   Herein, the Grolar does not gain direct benefits from the tiers (excluding the Deployment Zone increment - and that requires Drago, making it Jack #2 on an infantry 'Caster. Make an educated guess).

Vladimir Tzepesci, Great Prince of Umbrey
   Pro: I have not played Vlad3 yet, so the following is theory. He has Infernal Machine as his 'Jack Buff, Hand of Fate, and another Feat that works with his Warjacks. IM gets the Grolar's charge range up to potential 13", and the feat granting side-step will stack will follow the movement granted by Ram, which is nice and could provide the Grolar with more targets to kd, and thusly Ram. Vlad might also appreciate a gun that fast.
   Contra: HoF suffers from the same problems from above. Vlad may be miserly with handing focus out on his feat turn, because that would mean less Flashing Blades.
   Verdict: A serious consideration (***)

Theme Force: Charge of the Horselords
   In this theme force, the Grolar would gain +2 SPD from Tier 2 and cost reduction from Tier 4. And it brings a gun. ;-)

Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher of Khardov
   Pro: The Butcher has three things for 'Jacks - his Feat, Fury, and Full Throttle. The Feat loves numerous attacks. Full Throttle, even though the Grolar is a gun-'Jack, works really well on him: It boosts the hammer attack, and gives free charges - so the Grolar would get by with a mere two focus for full efficiency that turn. He also brings the cheapest gun on a 'Jack chassis to the army.
   Contra: Fury does nothing for the gun, which is supposed to be the main shtick here. Also, Butcher with several 'Jacks is... not that great, because he is only FOC 6, too. The list really has to made around that.
   Verdict: Still plausible. (**)

Theme Force: The Heart of Darkness
   The Grolar neither counts for nor benefits from the Tier 4 benefit in this theme force, which is... very saddening. He still brings a gun to an otherwise highly melee centric list, but does that cut it here?

Theme Force: Claws of the Dragon
   This is the Black Dragon spam list - the Grolar doesn't even qualify ('cause it has a gun).

Kommander Orsus Zoktavir
   Pro: Butcher2 has Conferred Rage and Fury. And Ravager. Huh. If the Grolar really has auto-Ram, that + Berserk could turn it into a miniaturesque Butcher against tight formations / trooper swarm.
   Contra: He has Arcane Dementia - random Focus. As nice as a gun with a predictable amount of shots is, there's no way you bring the Grolar to capitalize on his gun, here.
   Verdict: Rather not, needs testing though (**)

Theme Force: Mad Dogs of War
   Eh, the Doom Reaver spam list. It doesn't really do anything for nor really require Warjacks, guns or no guns.

Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher unleashed
   Pro: This incarnation of Butcher has Energizer - which is really nice, because an aiming Khadoran 'Jack is better at hitting things, which multiplies the usability of its gun. Also, Butcher's own active threat helps the 'Jack out. And if it's not aiming - well, it's a pseudo charge extension (taking the Grolar 4+2+3+3= 12" far). And, it's very likely to get cast!
   Contra: The Butcher unleashed doesn't really need a 'Jack with a gun. And with all his aggression, he'll tend to keep his focus to himself.
   Verdict: Plausible, but probably unnecessary. (*)

Theme Force - The Great Unknown!

Kommandant Gurvaldt Irusk
   Pro: Well, I-nfantry-rusk only has two things, Superiority (which helps SPD and hitting with the Hammer), and possibly a few leftover focus. That may be all it takes...
   Contra: ...but unless it's not more sensible to double cast Battle lust, probably won't be around. He'll only have one 'Jack, Conquest is better at keeping him safe, and Spriggan has better synergy with his troopers.
   Verdict: Rather not. (*)

Theme Force: Advance Assault Force
   The Grolar does not benefit from tier 1. Also, Behemoth is allowed in the theme force of a 'Caster that prefers a single 'Jack.

Supreme Kommandant Gurvaldt Irusk
   Pro: E-rusk has both Energizer and a bond (also, FFE, but that not as convincing), and terrain mitigation through Artifice of Deviation - he could make the Grolar work for his money, while the Grolar provides him with a good way to close out games.
   Contra: He's still into troopers, mostly, and often strapped for Focus as a result.
   Verdict: Plausible. (**)

Theme Force: The Art of War
   The Grolar would gain a free focus turn 1 at Tier 4. However, that means you have already doubled up on WG Infantry and Kayazy Assassins... also, Behemoth  is permitted in this theme force.

Theme Force: Heavy Armour Battalion
   As the Grolar has no open fist, he does not qualify for inclusion in this theme force.

Karchev the Terrible
   Pro: Karchev can ride gunboat-style, taking the Grolar with him for shooting or on a sling shot.
   Contra: For both of these tactics, there are better options. Destroyers, even Decimators have better guns, and Juggernauts are cheaper beatsticks. That couples negatively well with Karchev being FOC 5 and Unearthly Rage only affecting melee attacks.
   Verdict: No. ( )

Theme Force: Iron Curtain
   The Grolar gains a point cost reduction at Tier 4 when in the BG. However, Behemoth is allowed, and the aforementioned problems are still real.

Zevhanna Agha, the Old Witch of Khador
   Pro: The witch's biggest shtick for her 'Jacks is Augury, but there's also Weald Secrets and the indirect support through Murder of Crows - and plently of Focus.
   Contra: The usefulness of Augury is debatable with an 8" gun that'll likely be fired from closer distances... and to get through a forest, it'll need Weald Secrets. Meh.
   Verdict: Meh. (*)

Theme Force: The Invisible Army
   The Grolar would benefit from her upkeeps starting in play and the 1st turn Pathfinder, and would provide additional 4" forest. In this theme force, I'd rate it (**), just because the rest of the force is so bad...

Koldun Kommander Alexandra Zerkova
   Pro: Lady Z has focus to hand out, Force Blast, Watcher, and general awesomeness. ;-) The Watcher interaction especially is worth mentioning... earlier, you'd bring Juggernauts for Crit:Freeze, and now we can have auto-kd? Sign me up the bloody justice league!
   Contra: Well, it's still Zerkova. Like that counts. You won't really bring more than one additional 'Jack, so now you have more choices to make! Le gasp!
   Verdict: Serious consideration. (***)

Theme Force: Wolves of Winter
   Tier 3 grants the Grolar Advanced Deployment when marshalled, and Tier 4 gives him +2 SPD if he's part of the Battlegroup. This is kinda cool as well as odd, but he's cheap, and that might just work. This may be the only time worth marshalling it, but also the Koldun Lord entry below.

Theme Force: Hunting Wolves
   This is the big one. The Grolar is allowed (cause of the gun), and gets the points reduction from the tier 4 benefit, and of course benefits from the extended deployment zone. Finally, a reliable anti-assassination tool in this theme force! Auto-kd to boot! OHHH... I'll be in my bunk! (****)

Kommander Oleg Strakhov
   Pro: Strakhov brings Overrun, Superiority and his feat to the party, the synergy of which are well-known. The Grolar brings KD. I think both will thrive together because Strakhov's abilities/Spells hum really well with this 'Jack. I'm especially thinking of Overrun being used to manouver the Grolar so it can aim.
   Contra: It's neither a Spriggan nor Beast 09, so it doesn't quite have the same threat of a turn 2 assassination. Also, Strakhov is highly strapped for focus, so using the Grolar to full effect will be tight on him.
   Verdict: Plausible (**)

Theme Force: Black Operations
   The Grolar gets no direct benefits from tiers - aside from upkeeps starting in play, which may be enough here, but then you're taking this theme force anyway. ;-)

Izak Harkevich, the Iron Wolf
   Pro: Harkevich has Broadsides, Escort, Fortune, and the Feat - all from which the Grolar could benefit at the same time, but probably won't. With Broadsides, the feat, and Virtuoso, you're looking at potentially 7 (in words: seven) shots from a single jack. However, Harkevich will have only one Focus left after that, but he'll like himself some KD.
   Contra: Let's face it - Hark's still focus six, and Broadsides on a RAT 4 Blunderbuss, even rerolled? Probably not that worth it.
   Verdict: Still a serious consideration. (***)

Theme Force: The Hunting Pack
   Here, the Grolar gets the points reduction from tier 4, provides additional wreck, and will be teamed up with Winterguard Weapon Crews (See also below). All that combines, IMO, to another (****) rating for this case.

Other Models: (Warning! This is certainly not extensive!)
Andrej Malakov: I did a full article on Kovnik Douche back in 2013, but my take is that he'll be a really good choice to pilot the Grolar. The main argument is Redline stacking with Boundless charge for some banana-threat ranges, all with greater P&S and an independent focus source. And then there's even more banana potential with Strakhov. It'll be good times, I feel.

Greylords: Well, as explained under Sorscha, a gun with a lot of shots multiplies hit- and damage-buffs. With a GL Ternion, we have Ice Cage on demand - and they won't even need to make a target stationary (-4 DEF tends to be enough). The Koldun Lord is not the greatest option, but due to Power Booster, if he marshals a Grolar, he'll at least get SOME work (i.e. Hammer + 3 shots) out of it, more certainly so if he is teamed with Ice caging ternions.

Weapon Crews: Who likes auto-kd a lot? Guys that don't like to hit! This mainly boils down to... wait... MORTAR COMBAT! Sorry. But seriously, the kd disengages the Grolar's target from combat. So if the Grolar doesn't take it down, he could call in some Pow 16 aerial bombardement to help. Or he could kd sth in the LOS of a Fieldgun with a spare hammer attack.

Mercenaries: Well, there's mainly two to really consider, and that goes with the above statement regarding buff-multiplication: Aiyana & Holt and Gorman di Wulfe. If five Pow 12s aren't your thing - why not make it five Pow 16s (that follow a (at least) P&S 20 charge attack)? That'll wreck stuff dead, I'm telling you. And even if you need Gorman to blind that Colossal - how's about Pow 14s against a whole unit?

Conclusion: I'm feeling very very positive on this one. As always, the initial rumours made our imagination run wild and thusly expectations were not met and feelings were likely hurt. Therefor, hear me: Don't wish for the broken, you won't get that, not in this game. My take is that we will receive a Warjack well worth it's eight points, and if he's more finesse than you like - maybe you've become a bit blunt? That happens to everyone. But the year's still fresh, so there's still room to breath and to expand into.

I say we should take our new bear, and go crush stuff with it's paws so hard the forums feel it.

Picture is courtesy of PP, spoiled yesterday.
Thanks for reading, and share any insight you have with me. I'll incorporate it and give you full credit!
Until next time, farewell!