In our first glimpse into this new mercenary contract we get a look at 1 warcaster, 3 monstrosities (Cephalyx Warjacks basically), a unit, a UA, and a Solo. While there’s a lot of interesting stuff, we’re still only seeing a small part of the picture. There will be a Forces of Warmachine: Cephalyx on the horizon so this new faction may end up with as many choices as we saw with Convergence; possibly complete with a Colossal and Battle Engine. Although this isn’t really a new faction is it? It’s just a mercenary contract.
Continuing on with Exulon, his spell list further drives home the psychic theme with Deceleration, Hex Blast, Influence, Psycho Surgery, Rampager, Telekinesis. Man that is a useful list, especially on a Focus 8 caster. You’ll be able to cast a boosted Hex Blast, a couple of TKs, and still have the focus to boost here or there. Or you could cast Deceleration once and still have five focus to load up your Monstrosities with. 8 focus means lots of options. Go nuts.
He has some helpful abilities as well. The Sacrificial Pawn [Monstrosity] ability well let him shunt off a lot of ranged damage to his hulking pals. And he can let them or any other models that happen to be in his battlegroup run or charge for free if enemies are in his CMD range thanks to the Agressive Reaction ability. He can also channel spells through battlegroup models with Spell Driver although he’ll inflict D3+1 damage on them each time he does it.
The big downside to this guy is his big base, which coupled with his low defensive stats makes him a big target. 14 DEF/ARM and only 15 hit boxes mean that against any opponents with guns you’ll want to keep a Monstrosity close at hand to soak some damage.
And that brings us to the monstrosities. Boy these guys are cheap for heavies. And that’s just one of the things they have in common. Despite being flesh and blood creatures, these guys are a lot more like warjacks than beasts. They work using Focus rather than Fury. They all have systems and a damage grid. And what a grid. We’re looking at 36 boxes on each – that means every box on their grid is fully loaded. Their low ARM stat of 17 means these guys are going to be a lot squishier than you might think. They’ll be especially vulnerable to mobs of infantry since even a lowly P+S 10, if charging, will do about three or four damage to one of these guys. And hitting them won’t be a problem since they’re DEF 10. The biggest real difference between them and typical warjacks is that they have a Brain instead of a Cortex. The Brain functions pretty much identically to a Cortex, but since it’s a brain it’s immune to anything that affects a cortex. Also, these guys all have Eyeless Sight so there’s no hiding from them.
For our first monstrosity we have the Subduer. He’s tied for second most expensive Monstrosity at a whopping 7 points. And he’s the only one with a gun. This Net Launcher doesn’t do any damage but has the Catch ability. This is like Drag from the Reaper or Galleon, but doesn’t have to do any damage to reel em in. It just has to hit. The Net Launcher has an AoE of 3, which seems weird for a gun that does no damage, until you notice that it has the Quake ability. That Knockdown is going to be really helpful since the Subduer, like all the Monstrosities in this month’s No Quarter, only has a MAT of 5. He’s also quite the pillow fist with the low low P+S of 16 on his only melee weapon, the Impaling Blade. Still a useful guy. Pull effects like Catch are a little less useful with all the Huge Bases out there, but they still come in really handy.
The Mind Bender has three choices for spells. Concussion Pulse will center a POW 12 magical 4″ AoE on top of the caster or one of his hapless Grunts. Psychic Assault we’ve already seen on other Cephalyx. But the most interesting of his spells has to be Adrenal Pulse. This one will give a Drudge Grunt +4 MAT and STR and let it advance 4″ immediately. And you can throw this one on Drudge Grunts from other units if you like, as long as they’re within the spells 6″ RNG. Sigh… I’ve been waiting for years now for a mercenary contract that will let my Mind Slaver unit shine, and now that said contract is here I feel like this new Mind Bender unit is the better option. Oh first world problems…
The downside (of course you knew there would be a downside) is that it’s an aura style effect that only affects models within 5″. You can’t just cast it and send your models charging on ahead. This means you’ll need to plan turns carefully. Not only do you have to be careful about when you activate the Agitator, you’ll also have to think hard about where you activate him. You’ll have to activate him first obviously, so he may need to be sent up-field to where you’re anticipating having models later in your turn. You’ll have to make sure you don’t block any charge lanes with him. Keep him too far away from the front, and your guys might tear ahead of him and out of range. Put him too close and he’ll be even more likely to be killed. Fortunately he does have Sac Pawn Monstrosity, like Exulon, so that should help a little.
All in all, the Cephalyx look intriguing. They seem pretty powerful, but if your opponent is clever enough to find ways to pick off key models, everything will fall apart. This design feels very appropriate thematically with the Cepahlyx themselves as the brains with their minions being fairly useless without them. The Cephalyx will definitely suffer from some bad match ups. There are more than a few armies out there that can throw a lot of templates around, drum up a lot of magic attacks, or just find ways to attack at range indirectly. Fortunately these guys are technically just a merc contract so if you’re at a tournament and you don’t like what you’re up against, you can just break out your favorite Earthbreaker list, or whatever else you’ve brought. Additionally we have no idea what kind of abilities future warcasters may show up with. This game is full of feats and spells that return models to play or prevent their destruction. Is it crazy to imagine a Cephalyx warcaster showing up with an ability like Martyrdom? Maybe one that works only on Cephalyx models? So many possibilites!
Of course there’s plenty more in this new No Quarter for you even if you have no interest in Cephalyx. There are spoilers for all the new lesser warlock models, as well as the two new Circle warbeasts that released this month. If you have War Room you can check all of those out right now! There are also card previews for High Command, content for the new Zombies Keep Out, more previews of Warmachine Tactics, that Kaelyssa Theme List that got everyone so riled up before they errated it, a cool hobby article about custom Ogrun, new scenarios and NPCs for the IKRPG, plus loads more.
~So what do you guys think of this new Cephalyx contract?