Hordes Domination: Epic Vayl Tactica
Here’s her base stats, spells, and feat:
Same Fury, Warbeast points, SPD, and DEF. She gained a point of ARM, though she’s lost her permanent concealment bonus. RAT 7. Her Oraculi is now a RNG 10 ROF 3 POW 8 weapon that still allows her to channel through models hit. It’s also still a magical weapon, giving her that one more option to kill off incorporeal enemies. She picked up Gunfighter, Quick Draw, and Serenity.
Quick Draw is sort of like her old Dark Sentinel ability, except instead of a nearby Warbeast getting to act when enemies get close, now she can make a single ranged attack when an enemy model declares a ranged attack on her within 10″. If Vayls attack hits, the enemy automatically misses with its ranged attack. And with RAT 7, she’s got a reasonable chance to hit most enemy models.
Serenity is yet another Fury manipulation tool, allowing her to remove a Fury point from a Warbeast in her control area after leaching, but before frenzy checks are made.
Her spell list is as follows:
Admonition, Icy Grip (see Khador’s Zarakova), Obliteration, Occultation, Purification, and Refuge. You’ve got a DEF debuff, a strong attack spell, a means of clearing out annoying enemy upkeeps, a spell to protect your own models from ranged and magic attacks, and two spells that allow your models to move. Her Feat allows her to cast all of those spells for free at any time during her activation.
So you’re looking at Epic Vayl, and you’re just not sure how she fits. I’ve seen a lot of folks already calling her a “2nd Tier Warlock”. Mainly because she doesn’t have Incite or Leash in her spell list. Yes, the old +2 to attack and damage rolls for Warbeasts attacking enemy models in her command range is gone. And you can no long drag Typhon forward to spray an enemy caster down three times. I can hear you Legion players crying from here. The fact is, I believe losing Incite and Leash actually makes her a stronger Warlock.
This ain’t your momma’s Vayl
Incite and Leash encourage you to move pVayl forward, opening yourself up to assassination, and exposing her biggest weakness: her lower survivability. Lets face it, DEF 15 ARM 13 isn’t all that great (even if Tenacity is stacked on top). Most of the top ranged assassination lists can get past her permanent Concealment, and it doesn’t mean a thing in melee either. Now, her spell list and abilities encourage you to keep her back, out of harms way. She supports
“But she doesn’t have any damage buffs”. No she doesn’t, but for the most part, Legion Warbeasts and units already hit as hard as anything in the game, and don’t need any sort of damage buffs to do their job.
So how does she work?
Epic Vayl gives an unprecedented level of mobility to a Legion army. A Warbeast, say a Seraph, moves up to the edge of its 10″ shooting range, fires its strafe weapon, hits a medium Warjack several times for solid damage, or kills off several smaller models. The Seraph then moves back to stay outside of enemy charge ranges. An Angelius can do this even better. The Angelius charges an enemy model but stays just inside it’s 2″ reach range. The Angelius hits an enemy model with its armor piercing attack, casts its Repulsion animus to push the enemy, pushing the enemy away 3″, then it uses Refuge to fly back 7″. At the end of all of this, the Angelius is now 12″ from the model it charged, safely out of charge range of most things in the game. Admonition performs some of the same function, though in your opponents’ turn instead of your own, and as a response to his moves.
The way I find most of my games with her going is to go for the assassination run, and just pay lip service to the scenario. I’ll send in cheap, expendable models to contest objectives while my main focus is getting her and several ranged elements close enough to take down the enemy caster. I also feel like she works better at 50 points than at 35, simply because she can take enough Warbeasts to fuel her Fury, and enough other support options to contest objectives and help out on the assassination run.
On the Feat turn, two boosted Obliterations arc’d through an Oraculi target will normally lay some serious damage onto an enemy caster, if not kill them outright. The numerous ranged elements available to the Legion army can then finish the job. A Forsaken (or two) can help discourage enemy casters from camping their Focus/Fury, and present your opponent with an ugly choice- camp and get nailed with a Forsaken Blight Bomb, or don’t camp, and get hit by boosted POW 15 spells. Neither prospect is appealing. The free Purification during the Feat turn ensures most magical defenses won’t be available to your opponent.
One thing some opponents might do is try to protect their caster by hiding behind hard cover, but an Angelius can solve this problem quite nicely. Charge the Angelius in, try to hit the enemy caster for damage, but then cast the Repulsion animus, and push the opposing Caster away from the cover and the defensive bonus. Raptors, Annyssa, Seraphs, Ravagores, and other options can do the rest.
What to watch out for
There are a few tough matchups for eVayl. pHaley’s vortex spear shutting down magical assassination attempts can be frustrating, though a list with enough other ranged options can make up for this. Players and lists who often use Shield Guard models to help protect their casters will also require a little extra thought- you’ll need to account for the extra attack necessary to get through those shields. Stealth casters are vulnerable to Legions Eyeless Sight warbeasts, but eVayl doesn’t benefit from that rule, meaning you’ll need to get her or a pseudo arcnode that much closer. You need to be cagey in scenarios that require you to hold points. Use cheap infantry, solos, and lesser Warbeasts to contest objectives while preserving your big options for the assassination run. Don’t be afraid to give up a control point if doing so will allow you to win the game on the following turn.
Here’s two 50 point lists I’ve been trying, one is a Tier 4 list, the other is a mixed bag:
eVayl Tier 4
6 Nephilim Bolt Thrower
6 Full Legionnaires
3 Captain Farilor & Standard
2 2x Shepherds
2 Minimum Spawning Vessel
4 Blighted Sorceress & Hellion
4 Annyssa Ryvaall
6 Minimum Raptors
6 Full Legionnaires
2 2x Shepherds
1 Spell Martyr
So who’se been trying out their new Epic Warlocks? Have you played eVayl? What have you seen?