Martin’s Martial Martyrdom: Part 11 – Ze brick woz ‘is shtick

Hello baseball fans, after some time I am returning to the old article formula and I want to talk today about someone who needs no introduction, yet I’ll give him one, after all, there is a word limit to fill. He has the highest batting average of the entire Hordes and Warmachine league with a recordsetting RBI score often bringing his entire team in. His success is tied to having not one, but TWO big bad baseball bats and ofc a ballbusting tier list! So then, refill your cheek with tobaccy, set your cap straight and scratch your pair, we’re talking Xerxis!

 

Tyrant Xerxis

 

 

Stats & Abilities

 

Our man is a bit on the slower side, but packs that much more oomph into his medium based manly frame. He has an above average MAT, since with just 5 Fury Xerxis doesn’t want to spend it on boosts. His DEF takes Defender’s Ward into account, though luckily the ARM stat is great even without it.

The most important rule is on the backside of the card though: Martial Discipline! At least to me, this is one of those rules that manage to make you happy in each and every game. It is so awesome to suddenly have such incredible freedom of movement with your army.

Not to be forgotten, are also Xerxis’ Battleplans which can be used on himself but otherwise are pretty self explanatory.

Finally, Xerxis can do a double home run with both his bats as a special attack, which might not be used as often, but a good slam in the proper situation is nothing to sneeze at.

 

Spell List

 

Insert embarrassing silence here interrupted just by a lonely cricket. Yes folks, there’s not much here to write home about, just two great spells and one dontcha-ever-cast-me spell. Defender’s Ward sure is a spell everyone would like to stick, which is more often than not a vain hope these days, but as I play more and more games I come to realize, the army can survive even without it. If it stays, great, your opponent will love your Cetrati, if not, your opponent will still love shieldwalled Cetrati 🙂 Fury on the other hand is rarely upkept, since it includes a DEF penalty. Of course there might be situations where you could cycle it for even more dps, but most of the time, it would be overkill.

In tier, without Marketh, dontcha ever cast the dontcha-ever-cast-me spell.

 

Feat

 

They don’t come much more neckbreaking than this. It is basically two feats in one, since the defensive part of it is pretty strong considering the army setup. With the particular build I am going to describe, you often don’t even need the offensive part, you use the feat to deliver the army with as few losses as possible and put an intimidating presence into scenario territory. The only issue keeping the feat in check is Xerxis’ small controll area, so it does need some planning when and how to apply the autowin button. Since the army will be outnumbered quite often, it can be difficult to concentrate several units on one target so I would suggest to still do your homework and calculate at least a rough estimate of your units’ damage output under the feat with or without Fury to correctly decide whether the Cetrati should charge or remain shieldwalled or how many more assests you need to use towards the destruction of a particular target.

 

Miscellaneous

 

The army has a deceptively strong ranged game. The Incindiarii have brought this theme list to a whole new level and drag can be a dangerous trick even on medium bases, especially since you can achieve an impressive threat range thanks to Press Forward as well as accuracy due to CRA. Martial Discipline allows the important ranged elements to get easily covered by other units and not remain in the frontline thus giving them a chance to strike repeatedly. A continuous barrage of Incindus rockets is able to dismantle many armies, because you can survive even shooting into combat among your engaged units.

A word of warning though, even if it may seem like you just barrel down the table towards your enemy, the army still requires significant positioning practice despite Martial Discipline. You have fewer models, which means fewer attacks and apart from the Cetrati the remaining Cataphracts can die swiftly if left exposed to appropriate threats, so your advance can get halted and bogged down.

 

The Army

Xerxis – The fist of Halaak

Tiers: 2
Tyrant Xerxis (*5pts)
* Archidon (7pts)
* Titan Gladiator (8pts)
Cataphract Arcuarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Cataphract Arcuarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Cataphract Arcuarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Cataphract Cetrati (Leader and 5 Grunts) (10pts)
Cataphract Incindiarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Cataphract Incindiarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer (3pts)

 

This is Pavel’s original build which helped him to 4 of his 5 wins at the recent WTC. He managed to play it successfully even against Cryx at the EU Masters, beating eLich and Mortenebra with it. As some of the more poetically inclined theorymachinists tend to put it, this list poses questions to your opponent. More precisely 28 medium-based questions. I guess it qualifies as a skew list.

I have been trying some alternatives now, eschewing the third unit of Arcuarii to upgrade the Archidon to Molik, which went well so far. I wouldn’t however take out more Cataphracts or even change the setup. Having a “symmetric” force with the Cetrati in the middle, offers flexibility for scenario purposes as well as enemy engagement.

 

Specialists

 

Again, silence, tumbleweeds, crickets – you know the drill. There is not much to change, since the theme list is quite restrictive. You can change your beast setup, though the Archidon fits well into the move-through-eachother philosophy, while Sprint allows Xerxis to help clear some jams and retreat into safety from the frontline. Also, under feat and with Defender’s Ward the Archidon is pretty tough to remove at 16/21. The Gladiator is the main transfer target and a late game bruiser. Rush helps the Archidon strike even from the 2nd or 3rd line.

You could probably have another unit of Incindiarii/Arcuarii to switch in if you felt like it depending on the amount of fire susceptible targets in your opponent’s army.

 

 

Matchups

 

I must admit I was myself really surprised by how well this list can handle even matchups I wouldn’t have imagined it doing well against, like Cryx. I guess there is a lot of fire in that list and if you can keep it alive and incinerating you’re good to go. One matchup that comes to mind that you should probably avoid is Siege, where even Gun Mages will oneshot Cataphracts under his feat. After my experience from the WTC I might hesitate to play it against pGrissel tier as well, but luckily both these matchups are easily handled by other Skorne builds, so I think this list would fit really well into a Masters multilist. Xerxis is the weakest link in the list, you have to be really carefull where you put him and how many transfers you leave him with.

The list is doing well against scenario casters, since the medium bases are difficult to push out of zones/objectives as you can place them to block each other, while it won’t be a hindrance on your turn.

Finally, since we decided to call it a skew, we can reasonably expect our opponents to take it into account during pre-match list selection and capitalize on it by having a vastly different beast heavy build as well for instance to keep them on their toes.

 

I have to say that I wanted to introduce this list even though I haven’t played it that many times yet, so this matchup section is a bit lacking, which I apologize for. A final note – I do belive Xerxis can have also some interesting non-tier builds, for example he would be one of the ‘locks I would try playing the Despoiler with apart from Marketh. You could play some tough beast bricks with Tiberion or you could play a Nihilator swarm as well since the feat turns them into awesome killing machines, while they can benefit from both Xerxis’ spells very nicely. However without actually trying all of the above out, my gut feeling is that the tier is the best way to go in no small part due to it’s skewiness.

See you guys next week and untill then if you have some good matchup info to share, please don’t hesitate to do so. Also, I am slowly reaching the point where I’d be gladly taking some requests for article topics.

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