Today, I’m going to try to get excited about fielding a very cool model with very lukewarm rules.
After Reckoning dropped, and everyone had a chance to finish digesting the rules for their new character warjacks, the most resounding “meh” probably came from the Cryx players. In fact the nickname the community coined for Barathrum isn’t nearly as flattering as my own “Big Bad Barry.” Nothing about the new character Seether quite added up. None of his special rules seem to justify his 10 point price tag, and his slightly increased P+S is about on par with what all of us thought a regular old Seether should have anyway for its 9 point cost. Additionally he lost two of the Seether’s coolest abilities: Aggressive and Chain Attack: Grab and Smash. His bond with Terminus might be the weirdest part. Terminus wants an Amphibious Helljack to meet his Tier requirements and has no inherent bond. There isn’t much he can do with this guy (maybe when we get a Terminus 2?) So just what does Barry have going for him?
While I was a little quick to discount it, Barathrum’s P+S is actually the highest of any Helljack after Deathjack. Since almost every competitive event will have character restrictions in play, you’ll only be able to put Deathjack in one list. If you want the most concentrated threat in one place you’ll need Barry. Or I guess Snapjaw could work too. Or a Seether. They actually do more damage if you need to charge since they essentially get a free attack. Man I’m not selling this guy very well. Let’s move on.
Dig In is probably the biggest reason to field Barathrum. Gun heavy lists remain popular. Especially ones with two Storm Walls and therefore four of those nasty Big Guns. I think we can probably expect the Protectorate to start running double Colossal lists when the Revelator hits as well. With Dig In, Barathrum will be harder to take down than any other Cryx heavy. Sure he can’t run and use it, but he does have Advance Deploy so he won’t be lagging behind. Drag Below can also help him get upfield faster and still be dug in. Of course if you’re close enough to your opponent’s army to trigger Drag Below by killing their living models, then there’s probably something big and scary nearby that can charge you. This means Drag Below will only be useful in optimal situations.
Counter Charge might not be as important as Dig In, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Unfortunately its conditions are restrictive. You can only charge the model that triggered the ability. Furthermore that model must have advanced – not just forfeited movement. Nonetheless, any out of activation movement can throw your opponent’s plans out of whack. They’ll have to think carefully before they activate any support pieces or try to move a model to open a charge lane. If they don’t do everything just right, Barathrum might not be where they were expecting him to be anymore. Counter Charge can also be triggered on your own turn if you cause an enemy model to move with Admonition or some similar spell/ability. This can be very useful against casters like Rask or Doomy3 that use the spell to stay out of harm’s way. Finally it can help protect your own caster from long range assassination runs that require multiple movement actions like Molik Karn sidestepping or my own favorite: Kreoss 3 with Fire of Salvation – Righteous Vengeance, Warpath, Charge. You’ll likely lose Barry in the bargain but you won’t lose the game.
There’s also a great solo that can help this Helljack out. Aiakos has been pretty popular with Cryx players, and I think he’ll be your most helpful tool with Barry. Escort’s usefulness is obvious, and Deathbringers will help Barry spare himself some embarrasment if he finds himself in melee with Tough infantry.
So what is my first Barry list? Hopefully it won’t shock you any more than the fact that I’m trying to use Barry in the first place. I mean we all know if I’d just gone with Deneghra or Skarre you’d say I was only running them because they can make anything seem fieldable.
55 / 55 (50+5) Warcaster(s) : 1/1 Warjack(s) : 2 Battle Engines : 0 Solos : 5 Units : 3
Lord Exhumator Scaverous – WJ: +5
– Skarlock Thrall
– Ripjaw – PC: 5
Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius – PC: 3
– Barathrum – PC: 10
Soul Trapper – PC: 1
Ogrun Bokur – PC: 3
Warwitch Siren – PC: 2
Warwitch Siren – PC: 2
Bane Riders – Leader & 4 Grunts: 11
Bile Thralls – Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Bane Thralls – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Bane Thrall Officer & Standard – Bane Thrall Officer & Standard 3
I know neither of these warjacks are in that list but this is my stock Scaverous photo so just let it be OK?
After a brief romance with Scaverous when he was first released (Cryx warcaster with TK WHAAAA!!!?) the Lord Exhumator quickly found himself put on the blacklist. Of course the same can be said of Trollblood Warlock Gunnbjorn who, thanks to a spate of recent releases, is now quite competitive and well loved. I’m not sure if old Scavvers will undergo quite the same Renaissance, but with the Bane Riders, Aiakos, and Soul Trappers, I think the old Liche is worth another look. He’s come a long way since I first fell for him. I can’t believe it’s been four and a half years since I wrote this article about him.
While Feast of Worms will get Barry’s P+S to respectable levels, I’m most interested in Scaverous for Telekinesis. It can combine with Escort to give Barry a potential 15.5″ threat. Those of you who are quick with the math will realize this involves TK’ing not only Barry himself but also his charge target. Isn’t that always how it goes when TK is involved?
When Barry can get to grips with your opponent that much sooner, Counter Charge is more annoying since there will be far more enemy models in range to trigger it. Of course it’s probably better to try to coordinate his charge with the Bane Riders. They can help mitigate Barry’s threats from other models, or even put the finishing blow on a hard target the Helljack couldn’t finish off himself. With Death Ward they also tank quite well.
Of course with Barry there’s also the option to wait, Dug-in, until some sideways assassination attempt presents itself. Then you can use multiple TK castings on Scaverous’ feat turn to create an unexpected charge angle and score a victory for yourself.
So have I convinced you that Big Bad Barry is worth fielding? No? That’s OK, I’m not really convinced either. I keep thinking about how I could swap him out with an Inflictor in that list. This would probably let me drop the Bokur and free up a total of five points for… I don’t know, Wrathe and a Machine Wraith seem like a good investment. But hey it’ll be a little while before the Inflictor gets here. In the meantime, I’ve made a list that has me looking forward to at least trying this weird new toy. For now I’ll call that a win.
~So did I miss something? Is there some dirty combo that Cryx has that I forgot about that will drive Barry to ascendancy? We’d all love to here about it so let loose in the comments!