Infantry machine is dead.
I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere.
Yeah, definitely dead.
Of course, Cryx specialize in all things Dead.
While it is true that an abundance of blast damage and covering fires have made life difficult for Cryx and for infantrymachine in general, the contention that the good old fashioned infantry horde is on the decline is incorrect.
Infantrymachine isn’t dead. It has evolved.
Nowadays, people bring a good amount of infantry clearing tools. With all of the High Def Low Arm troops that were running about a year ago, no-one leaves home without something that can deal with it. And now even Skorne have access to an abundance of explosions on the back of a massive elephant dinosaur. According to some, anti-infantry has won the arms race.
When you’re losing a race, you can either drop out, or run faster.
Here are my rules of thumb for building an infantry horde list for SR2013. Granted, Cryx seem to have to best options in all of these categories, but the general rules do apply to any faction trying to swarm:
1) 50 is the new 30. Before, you brought 30 infantry models to saturate the opponents guns with targets. With all the new tools anti-infantry has, you can’t do that anymore. Bring more. If you can get up to 50+ and still retain hitting power, do that. In Cryx, that’s not hard. All of our hard hitting troops are totally fairly costed.
2) Overlapping defensive mechanics. Most lists bring a specific set of anti infantry solutions. Your swarm shouldn’t be made up of units that all die to blast damage. If at all possible, it should require many different angles of approach. Look at a typical pSkarre list- it contains Satyxis Raiders (Blast Immune, High Def), Blood Witches (incorporeal for the turn where it really matters), Bane Knights (High enough arm to resist blast, and to be small-arms proof on feat turn, Vengeance discourages piecemeal killing). You’ve also got the option of taking Bloodgorgers (Tough/No Knockdown with Gerlack) and Blackbanes Ghost Raiders. If an opponent needs multiple answers, they’ll never be able to apply them all in time.
3) Recursion I feel that this is the thing that brings the whole machine to 11. With increased numbers, and multiple defense mechanics, your opponent’s resources are already taxed. Recursion makes all their hard work be for nothing. In Cryx, the solution is double surgeons and Mechanithralls. In other factions, you have access to Shamblers or Alexia who can fill the same role, or the Spawning Vessel in Legion. If you can turn your dead into free points, you’re laughing. Maniacally.
4) Need for Speed Many people have noted the power of jamming in SR2013. It’s not as strong as was first suggested, but it’s still a strong tactic. Your swarm should include fast models who can engage the real threats to your all consuming legions.
5) Wave after Wave Don’t deploy broad, deploy deep. If you have your force coming forward in waves, whenever a wave gets engaged and killed, the next one is right there to keep pushing. If you deploy too wide, units get left out in the cold. (Special exception for Satyxis and other speed 7+ models). If they can’t charge the line of engagement, they might as well not be there.
6) Force Multiplication If you put 60+ guys on the table and run forward, you’ll win some games simply by jamming the opponent out of zones. But that’s not half as effective as it could be. All of the previous points hang on the idea that whichever of your troops make it to the enemy do enough work to cripple them. Otherwise, opponents can kill the threats and arm brick (and there’s plenty of high armour about these days) with their key pieces and slowly kill you. So you need a good damage buff (or arm debuff) that turns every model in your army into a bona fide threat. Pirate Queen Skarre is the original and best at this in Cryx, though the Asphyxii and Deneghra1 can do this incredibly well too. In Trolls, I like eMadrak and Grissel for the same. Explore your options and see what your faction has to offer in this regard.
I was going to share my own pSkarre list here, but then I read Dan Simmons’ list from Adepticon. I cannot see a single thing that I would change in this list. It’s very close to mine, but he was packing even more recursion (I don’t yet own my second Necrosurgeon and McThralls unit), and it’s straight up better at doing what I was talking about.
So instead, I’ll share a Troll list that I won’t be playing for a while, but would love to:
Pyre Troll (5)
Full Kriel Warriors + UA (8)
Full Kriel Warriors + 2 Cabers (8)
Full Fennblades + UA (10)
Full Burrowers (6)
Bokur & Shamblers (6)
Fell Caller (3)
I would love to fit in a full stone, and in realistic terms I’m probably not buying another full units of Kriels anyway, so it could end up with Full KSB, a Chronicler, and an extra Caber instead. It’s not my beloved 50 dudes, but the 40 dudes are well protected, and the KSB can do surprising work with a Fell Caller and Blood Fury. Write them off as support at your peril!