Hacking the Cortex: Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad.

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As I mentioned in the last article, I’m currently looking outside the box a bit to try and find a third list for the Irish Masters. And where I am right now is obsessing about Crabjacks. (Alternate titles for this article that were discarded include “I’ve got crabs” and “Feeling crabby”).

It’s no secret that Cryx and heavy warjacks are not often seen together. One reason for this is that the Slayer chassis just isn’t worth taking 90% of the time. In a world where there are so many boostable guns about, their defensive line is completely terrible. We’ve long joked that the Slayer chassis is much like the old crash test dummies action figures, with a button right on their chest that makes their arms pop off. And it’s true. Rendering a Slayer chassis’ armless (aha) is a very easy thing to do. Aside from the characters (in some circumstances) and a few rare spam lists, it’s just not worth talking about any Cryx jack on two legs.

But I still want to investigate heavier battlegroups in Cryx, and this led me to Crabjacks… which also brings me into the realm of boostable guns. 2012 was the year of the boostable gunline, and while they’re not as dominant in 2013, they still remain one of the things that makes for a jack worth looking at.

In particular, the Leviathan has an excellent gun. RNG 13, ROF 3, Pow 13-5. Those are not numbers to scoff at. But you don’t see a lot of them. Why?

Well, there are two problems. The first is that it’s a focus heavy gun, and a lot of Cryx casters are focus greedy. It really wants the three focus every turn to fulfil its potential.

The second problem is that you really, really to debuff your target (particularly the arm). Boostable Guns + Debuffs = pain. This doesn’t seem like a problem in Cryx, right? I mean, it’s precisely why I’m focusing on Leviathans so hard at the moment. However, the very same casters who debuff well tend to be the very casters who don’t have the focus to spare. The queen of debuffs, Warwitch Deneghra, doesn’t like to have to give out three focus every turn.

But I still want to run Leviathans. That’s right, plural. I still don’t know if it’s optimal, but that’s what the start of a playtest cycle is for. For the double Leviathan loudout, I’ve got two casters in mind.

The first is Skarre2. With Black Spot and Seas of Fate, the Leviathan can be a true terror, and Skarre doesn’t mind handing out her focus. Two Leviathans with her means that the battlegroup can evaporate a unit a turn. It means that you can put solid damage on enemy heavies from a long distance. It’s a really solid core. Throw in a Deathjack and you’ve got Black Spot cycling potential as well as a long range melee threat. The primary attraction to this build is the idea that I could hold the feat for at least a turn longer than normal, or perhaps more. Skarre2’s feat gets increasingly powerful as time passes and you winnow down your opponent from a distance. Having access to it late in the game can be absolutely ball busting.

The list that’s in testing:

Skarre2 (-6)
– Leviathan (9)
– Leviathan (9)
– Deathjack (12)

Bane Knights (10)
Min. Satyxis Blood Witches + Hag (6)
Pistol Wraith (3)
Pistol Wraith (3)
Gorman Di Wulfe (2)
Necrosurgeon (2)

The second caster I’m looking at very closely is the Coven. As much as I love Leviathans, I may have fallen in love with the Coven more. I turned immediately to Machine Minds as a possible way to abuse Leviathans. With a focus from a Siren and the free soul on the ILO, you get a turn of effective 3 focus, and 2 focus any turn the ILO can’t snatch himself a soul with Dark Fire. Furthermore, the Coven’s trickery and the ILO’s stealth means that the enemy doesn’t get to shoot back. It seems like a solid package on paper.

I’ve had a ton of fun testing variants of this list. I’m currently working with a Harrower on the Coven (as a great Infernal Machine target) and a Leviathan each on two ILOs. However, the list has some definite problems, not least a number of bad matchups and a lack of a good tarpit. But it has all the components I like in a shooty list – An arm debuff to turn the Leviathans all the way on, stealth Biles and a Mat 8 Harrower to deal with being jammed, and a way to break shooting symmetry.

Neither of those lists is anywhere near ready for a tournament. Indeed, I may be barking up the wrong alley altogether. But I’m really enjoying the shift in playstyle and the new challenges involved in playing distinctly un-Cryxian lists. The process of testing and playing with unlikely combinations of things can only make you grow as a player, as it orients you towards what’s not working in the current meta as well as having the potential to uncover something people won’t see coming.

You’ll be hearing more about Leviathans (and the other crabjacks) from me as the cycle rolls on, that’s for sure.

Know yourself, and go in swinging


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2 thoughts on “Hacking the Cortex: Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad.

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