In the continuing trend of re-sculpting medium-based infantry in plastic, Privateer Press recently re-released the Cataphract Cetrati. Cetrati have always been pretty decent, but often weren’t seen on the table outside of a couple of very specific lists. I believe this may have had more to do with the models than their rules, as Cetrati are very good at what they do.
The old metal models were just not very easy to use. First, they cost over $70 for a unit of 6. Then, once you bought the unit you had to assemble them. the old metal Cetrati had these six little flags that you had to fit into six little holes on their backs. once you got them all in there (usually somewhat crooked), they had a tendency to just fall off in your gaming back. I also had trouble keeping my shields on, and the spears kept bending or snapping. Put simply, they were not user-friendly models.
The new plastic re-release seems like it’s going to work much better. First of all they unit is now a good bit cheaper. Unlike another gaming company, Privateer Press is willing to lower the price when they re-sculpt a metal model into resin. The design is now slightly better as well. if you choose to add your flags, they are now a single band with all three flags on them. if you don’t add the flags, the back of the shoulder pad still looks smooth instead of leaving gaping holes in your model’s back.
|the re-sculpted models|
All that to say, now that they’re out in plastic, Cetrati should be a lot more accessible It’s easier now to just pick up the unit and try them in different lists, instead of waiting to buy them until you’re ready to play Xerxis. Because these models aren’t seen very often on the table, and because I know a lot of people are being drawn to Skorne by some recent releases, I wanted to spend some time covering the abilities and uses of our heavy infantry.
Like the other two Cataphract units, the Cetrati have a low speed, high MAT and high ARM with solid average stats in the rest of the categories. they also boast 8 health boxes each, like most heavy infantry. Cetrati are carrying shields, which explains the extra point of ARM they have over the more ranged-focused varieties of Cataphract.
There are a few other key abilities on the front of the Cetrati card. Like all Cataphracts they’re fearless. The most disciplined warriors in the Skorne army won’t be running from a few undead! They also have Combined Melee Attack (CMA) which lets them combine their attacks into a stronger attack to threaten heavy targets.
The weapons themselves are a fairly low P+S 11, but they have the weapon master advantage, which brings the damage potential up a bit. They also have reach, which is always nice to have to extend the threat range on these slightly slower models.
The final ability to mention is really the reason you would want to bring Cetrati. they have the Shield Wall order, which allows them to link shields with members of the unit in base to base for a nice armor buff. Being an order you can’t charge and shield wall, but they become very hard to remove at ARM 20 with 8 boxes each.
|Yup, looks something like that|
Using the Cetrati
Like I mentioned above, the real reason you bring Cetrati isn’t for their weapon master attacks, it’s for their high ARM values. With only one attack a piece and a base pow of 11, they don’t do a ton of work with their attack especially when compared to other options you could be taking for their hefty point cost (11 points for a full unit!). This isn’t to say they’re attacks aren’t useful, it’s just not what you should focus on when using them.
Where they really shine is as a solid wall in front of your more important offensive pieces or as a place for your Warlock to hide. To build them into a list you want to accent this strength as much as possible. Because of this, the two best Warlocks to use with Cetrati are the two warlocks that offer them even better defensive stats coupled with some speed buffing.
The first and probably the best use for Cetrati is as the anchor to a Xerxis brick army. Xerxis will almost always have a unit of Cetrati with him. The Xerxis brick is the best army in Skorne for taking on a ranged force. A Shield-Walled unit of Cetrati starts at Def 12 Arm 20. Add in Defender’s Ward for Def 14 Arm 22 which is pretty beefy. Now let’s assume you’re building a list to deal with shooting. You’re not leaving home without a Krea, right? the Krea animus bumps the unit up to Def 16 Arm 24 vs shooting. Bring a Shaman or move Xerxis up for a second casting of the animus to catch the whole unit. Now let’s throw in a Swamp Gobber crew for a point and you’re up to Def 18 Arm 24 vs shooting. If you want to be really really careful you can feat defensively, adding an additional +2 Arm for models in B2B contact with each other bringing us up to a truly amazing Def 18 Arm 26 unit vs shooting with 8 boxes a piece. Good luck shooting your way through that!
Obviously that won’t happen every game. but most turns you will be sitting pretty at Def 16 Arm 24 against shooting attacks. Once you make your way to the enemy, Xerxis cranks up the melee damage output almost as well as he buffs armor. You could buff up the Cetrati, letting them get the most out of their weapon master attacks. Toss in Fury and feat, and they become Pow 14 with 5 damage dice on the charge! Generally I prefer to keep Defender’s Ward on them instead, but the option is there. Finally, Xerxis Martial Discipline ability brings it all together, letting a unit like Nihilators hide behind your solid wall of Cetrati all game only to pop out THROUGH your screen to do some damage on feat turn.
The other caster I would usually consider bringing Cetrati with is pMakeda. Once again, she brings Defender’s Ward tot he table, letting the Cetrati start out at Arm 22 in shield wall. Instead of turtling up her army to plod across the field with overlapping defensive buffs, Makeda will use this unit as a much faster threat to screen a much faster army (usually including Molik Karn). The way she does this is with one of my favorite spells, Savagery.
Savagery gives a model/unit +5 inches on a full advance. Put this on a unit of Cetrati, and give them press forward from the Tryrant commander, and they’re going to be able to make a full advance of 12 inches! That’s as fast as most units run! But because it’s only a full advance, they’re allowed to get the shield wall order. Once they get where they’re going and set up the wall, you can use either Makeda or Marketh to put Defender’s Ward back on the unit, making them Arm 22 again.
In addition, Makeda helps them a bit with their melee ability, bumping their Mat up to a respectable 9 with Carnage, letting them make the most out of their very low number of attacks. They also work pretty well with Makeda’s feat since it’s pretty difficult to remove the entire unit at once, so you can be pretty sure that any Cetrati who die on feat turn will be coming back in your next turn. I haven’t played this style of list in a while, but it is a very strong way to play Makeda.
Aside from the two usual suspects, what other casters might use the Cetrati? A lot of our casters don’t really want to move as slowly as the Cetrati force you to move, and will pass them up for a faster option. Morghoul especially has no use for a unit that can’t keep up. There are a few other casters that might get some good use out of the unit.
The first one that comes to mind if pHexeris. Death March helps speed the Cetrati up a little bit if one of them dies, adds a bit to their Mat to let those attacks hit more often, and adds additional attacks when they do get to use a Vengeance move. The other caster I would consider using them with would be Mordikaar who really likes to have a strong unit for Revive to bring back. On a side note Mordikaar is probably the only time I would ever bring the UA with the Cetrati giving the unit Spell Ward. In the other cases it hurts you, since your own caster wants to be putting spells on the unit.
|I’ll bet some of you didn’t even know they had a UA, did you?|
Overall, the Cataphract Cetrati are a very solid heavy infantry choice. They do suffer from some of the same issues as all heavy infantry and aren’t going to be used in every list. However, they do do very well in a list that brings out their strengths, and now that the unit is cheaper and in plastic I expect to see some more of them on the table in the future.
Discuss! have I missed any awesome interactions with the Cetrati? Are there other casters who might be making some use out of our heavy armor infantry? is 11 points worth taking Cetrati over another Heavy?