Starting Armies: Part 2 – Cryx

Startin Armies

Welcome back to Starting Armies! It’s been months! I’d like to claim good reasons, but I’m just slow and bad. Today I’m going to talk about Cryx. This article is both a buy list and some tactical starters. But, first I should start with a disclaimer.

“This is an article aimed at two kinds of people. The first group are those who are new to the game, having played a few battle box games and dabbled in the factions. You have decided your path to glory, but the big bad world of 35 points and above is daunting. You want to get to know your faction while building your way up to the more commonly used levels of play. Excellent, you’ve made a good start. The second type of person this is aimed at are those people who are looking to move into a new faction. Phenomenal! Branching out into other factions has certainly improved my play enormously. In fact it’s not a bad idea to play the faction that you have the most trouble against and learning the game from that side.”

For more background check out the first article, for now let’s get into ghouls and ghosts.


The Warcaster: Iron Lich Asphyxious (aliases include Lich1, pGaspy, skullso the iron lich clown).

Can’t you tell I’m smiling?

Much like Baldur1, Lich1 is not a common sight at the highest levels of play, i.e. 50 points, Masters tournaments, etc. However, he exemplifies much of what Cryx can and wants to do, and is very potent at lower points values. He’s also resilient when camping a few focus. Which is nice and forgiving!

Use Warroom, battle college, or your own cards to investigate everything he can potentially do. The following are things to be aware of:

His feat has multiple powerful uses.

  • The first classical play is to measure your control area, see that their caster/lock is outside of 11” then run an arc node towards them and start casting hellfires at their caster with your feat for more focus. If nothing else you should do this, and run the numbers to get used to when it will actually work. Try to figure out the most efficient way to use your focus on this turn.
  • If their caster is within 11”, you charge them, boost to hit the first attack and then kill them with 13 more Pow 15 attacks. Simples! Often however, you will be able to kill or finish off a heavy then teleport backwards. If Lich has scything touch on himself, or casts it and teleport he can spend 10 focus killing a heavy. This is often way more than you even need! Try to get used to teleporting backwards behind walls, or into safety.
  • A pro trick is to cast parasite on a unit with Arm 13 or lower and feat while they are in your control area to kill the unit with effective pow 8s to all of them. This is one of the best ways to kill Kayazy at low points values. If you combine this with killing a heavy, Lich himself may just have killed almost 20 points. That’s heinous at 35 points or less!
  • Finally, casting breath of corruption on your own infantry, or arc nodes, etc. allows you to make clouds that infantry often cannot pass through. And if it lands on your arc node (a risky maneuver) that arc node effectively cannot be attacked by non-reach infantry models.

Foray at Fifteen

So let’s recruit an army for our one man army warcaster!

Iron Lich Asphyxious, +6 warjack points
-Deathripper, 4 points
-Defiler, 5 points

Bane Thralls, minimum unit, 5 points
-Bane Thralls unit attachment, 3 points

Tartarus, 4 points

I’m assuming you’ve gotten your hands on the Cryx battlebox. Battlebox games are a good place to get a hang of how the game works, but I have a sad revelation for you. With the exception of one or two wacky theme forces, you’re never playing many jacks again. Cryx is THE infantry faction. Khador, and many warmachine factions come close, Trolls can field some convincing swarms of guys, but that’s the Cryxian pond! So get used to units, unit placement, and being fast! The clock is the enemy of a budding Lich player! I recommend playing on the clock always, as it will stand to you later in your career.

Another sad revelation is that infantry are expensive, and this purchase while it will stand to you as a very powerful module useable in most armies, will hurt your wallet pretty hard. If it helps warm the cockles of your black, black heart, Tartarus is totally bananas good! You’ll hear a lot of cries of broken as a Cryx player. Lap them up, they are your food. Feasting upon sorrow has been proven to improve your health and love life.

The Iron Lich himself and Tartarus cost 17 dollars (£13 GDP, 15Eur, 21Aus) each. Though I have often seen Tartarus for less. The full unit box of Bane Thralls is 50 dollars plus a whooping 28 dollars for a total of 78 dollars (£50 GDP, 65 Eur, 88 AUS). That’s a lot of money.


Tartarsauce knows no balance!

Everything in your army now basically trivially kills a heavy with parasite and scything touch. Your banes might get charged first, but the remaining models will kill the crap out of the offending model. People will try and kill Tartarus like nobody’s business, so get good at protecting him. If you get one good charge and make new models with him, as well as one or two curse backed bane charges you’ll probably win any game, even at much higher points values.

Learn off all of the rules, get a total grip of your basics, like slamming models with an arcnode to kd a caster, running a bane in to give dark shroud then spell assassinating them. The threat of that is an important part of playing Lich1.

Taking it to Twenty-Five

Iron Lich Asphyxious, +6 warjack points
-Deathripper, 4 points
-Defiler, 5 points

Bane Thralls, minimum unit, 5 points
-Bane Thralls unit attachment, 3 points
Satyxis Blood Witches, maximum unit size, 6 points
-Blood Hag unit attachment, 2 points

Tartarus, 4 points
Warwitch Siren, 2 points

Another points bracket, another unit. You may have encountered that pesky tough mechanic already, well you need not fear any more. Many Cryxian players advocate the bloodwitches with UA in every single list. Their mini-feat to go incorporeal is especially potent at lower points values. They have a lot of abilities, so read the cards carefully and really think about applications for them. Notice that with scything touch, and gang they become pow 14 charges which is powerful at mat 8, and parasite lets them also kill any heavy that you can conceive of, as well as most infantry.

What are a Tough?

Parasite and Death strike are a very potent combination for clearing infantry models, so now you kill everything trivially while having mechanics like stealth and incorporeal to keep your troops safe! Low points with Cryx are the best! Watch out for speed 5 on that UA though, it can catch you out. The remaining two points were spent on the ever useful warwitch siren, her early game job is usually letting your arc node run without cost to your caster. She has loads of rules though! So practice getting use out her spray and shadow bind attacks.

This increase will be 60 dollars (£38 GDP, 46 Eur, 76 AUS)  for the blood witches and hag, and an additional 12 dollars (£7 GDB, 9 Eur, 12 AUS) for the siren. Less than your first buy in, but still much more expensive than a heavy would be.

SA 2, 25 D

You have LOTS of models for this points level. So deployment is a careful game. A hard and fast rule of thumb is that you want to deploy centrally, often facing a zone, when going first. This can be hard with units. Here are some pro-tips: You don’t have to have the unit in one block. Notice that both of my units are split up by an arc node. It is really important to think about your order of activation if you do this so you don’t trap your own models. Notice that the blood witches are around but not behind the node, while a bane is behind the other node. I plan to run the witches, then move the nodes, then run the banes.

Also notice that I want certain models on the front line, like the nodes which I want to walk turn one a lot, or run as far and fast as possible. The Siren is with the defiler, so she can boost his gun if needs be.They are both on the front line in case she wants to walk forward and boost turn one, etc. The blood hag is on the front line as she is speed 5 and the run will leave he behind otherwise. Meanwhile the bane UA and indeed Tartarus are further back as I want them in my second wave. Apart from Order of Activations, your turn 1 is straight forward, throw scything tough where you want it, run an arc node and tag a unit with parasite or breath if needs be, etc. Mostly just run!

SA 2, 25 FT

Practice deployment and first turn lots with all of your models. Get it down before moving on!

Trashing the World at Thirty-five

Iron Lich Asphyxious, +6 warjack points
-Deathripper, 4 points
-Defiler, 5 points

Bane Thralls, minimum unit, 5 points
-Bane Thralls unit attachment, 3 points
Satyxis Blood Witches, maximum unit size, 6 points
-Blood Hag unit attachment, 2 points
Satyxis Raiders, maximum unit, 8 points
-Satyxis Raiders unit attachment, 2 points

Tartarus, 4 points
Warwitch Siren, 2 points

I think this last unit is a pretty debatable choice between Satyxis Saiders and Bane Knights. I chose Satyxis because they do something really fundamentally different, and because Advance Deployment really helps you deploy more carefully. The raiders are relatively straight forward, you jam into your opponent really hard to gain board position and let the Banes and Witches charge as they want. The Raiders and UA will cost 71 dollars (£37 GDB, 45 Eur, 66 AUS).

SA 2, 35 D

See! I just saved you incredible amounts of pain! Keep in mind that while your Raiders are blast immune, several AoEs are not blast damage, and many infantry removal abilities are better the more tightly packed you models are. So I’d still spread out a bit, it also stops you tripping over yourself and gives you a wider area in which to engage guns.

Your first turn with the rest of your army is unaffected, which is half the benefit of the raiders! This is an example of how far they go without even having the desperate pace granting Captain. From that position they can run to engage almost anything, hell if they were two inches further you could probably get most of them into the enemy deployment zone with a turn two run. However! They will often get shot at. Or hit by AD troops, etc. You don’t always have to run them as far as possible early on. It’s an art but learn to balance aggression with conservation, too many players throw away their throw away unit too easily. Make it a challenge, only give them enough to slow them down, etc.

SA 2, 35 FT

And of course, enjoy! Lots of people complain about their Faction at 35 points, you should never be one of those people. Lot’s of people will complain that Cryx is the easy faction where you just run hordes of troops, but moving lost of guys fast and well is hard, and conserving just enough models to go full Cryx on someone is a hard-earned skill.

Next time for Starting Armies we get Ron Swan-song with Cygnar on Starting armies! And next week sees the return of Nemesis! This time for real!

Thanks for reading! Stay classy!

Note: US prices are taken from the PP website, while other prices are taken from an online vendor. These are an approximate price guide.


8 thoughts on “Starting Armies: Part 2 – Cryx

  1. Multiple Hellfires as a spell assassin is good vs. the lower end of the DEF’s of casters.
    But, if you come across an enemy caster with a DEF of 2034948093842039420394, but with low armor, you can kill them by multiple castings of Breath of Corruption on them if you can get an arc node within 4″ of said enemy caster!
    I honestly believe he should be in the starter box and not pDenny. He’s got a Buff, Debuff, 2 types of magic missiles (one that teaches about AOE’s and clouds), he’s got a get out of jail free card teleport, he’s got an amazingly flexible feat, he’s got game in melee, and with the medium bases, teaches the Cryx player to focus on enemy threat ranges and staying out of them.

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