Warcasters are the stars of Warmachine, and Cryx has no shortage of powerful and fun-to-play warcasters. Today, I’m taking a look at Goreshade the Cursed!
IN SHORT: Do you like Bane Thralls? Want to field a horde of infantry that can actually end the game larger than it started? How about targeting the enemy no matter where they’re hiding? Goreshade the Cursed can do all of this and more!
STRENGTHS: Goreshade comes loaded with useful abilities. Foremost is Elite Cadre [Bane Thralls]. Any living enemy infantry killed by Bane Thralls become Bane Thralls. Yikes!
Curse of Shadows is an ARM debuff with a useful side effect. In addition to losing 2 ARM, the target model or unit cannot make free strikes and Goreshade’s army can walk right through them. This can be very useful in bypassing an enemy’s powerful frontline defenders.
Phantom Hunter allows a model in Goreshade’s battlegroup to ignore Line of Sight when making any sort of attack, as well as ignoring Concealment and Cover. It’s a powerful ability. Want to shoot through walls and enemy troops? Check. Want to charge through clouds or forests or enemies afflicted by Curse of Shadows? No problem.
Goreshade also has a number of ways to hinder the enemy. For starters, he has Arcane Consumption. If an enemy casts a spell in his control area, they suffer 1 damage point and Goreshade health 1 damage point. This can soften up a warcaster/warlock or completely shut down 1 hit box magical infantry. They can cast a spell, but as soon as they do, their heads explode!
Hex Blast is a classic Goreshade spell. Target a model with an annoying upkeep spell and blast it away. Remember that he can also use this to clear debuffs from his own army, as long as you’re willing to take the hit.
He also has access to Occultation, which gives a model or unit Stealth. Always a great ability to have in order to provide that extra layer of protection. Goreshade can even apply this to himself, to help defend against enemy shooting.
On top of all this, Goreshade is reasonably tough and he hits hard at P+S 15, MAT 7. The best part is, his sword, Voass, inflicts Stationary! That’s just nasty! Hit once and then just pound away!
WEAKNESSES: Goreshade does not have access to Ghost Walk. Given how heavily he relies on infantry, this can be a big deal, depending on how much terrain is on the game table.
Goreshade also does not have a DEF debuff. Keep this in mind when selecting his army. Hex Blast can help there, but plenty of models have very high natural DEF.
Finally, his feat, Reanimator, can be completely nullified by a smart opponent. The feat allows Goreshade to sacrifice any number of infantry models and then bring the same number of infantry models back. For example, sacrificing 9 Scrap Thralls to bring back 9 Bane Thralls. However, this only works if the original unit is present. A smart opponent will focus their efforts on completely wiping out one unit at a time to prevent this feat from having any effect.
SYNERGIES: Bane Thralls. Serious, just take them. And while you’re at it, take Bane Lord Tartarus. He benefits greatly from Goreshade’s spell Sudden Death, which can allow Tartarus to charge the enemy during the enemy’s turn. He can even make some more Bane Thralls while he’s at it.
Goreshade likes one or two Arc Nodes to cast Curse of Shadows or Hex Blast while he hangs back in relative safety. He also wants cheap warrior models to sacrifice for his feat. Scrap Thralls or Mechanithralls are great for this.
Finally, what warjack to put Phantom Hunter on? There are a number of possibilities, but my favorites are a Leviathan, Nightmare, or the Kraken. The Leviathan’s synergy is pretty clear. It can shoot its formidable gun 3 times. With Phantom Hunter, it can shoot at anything within 13”.
The Nightmare works well because it has Imprint: Ghostly. Combined with Phantom Hunter, it can charge enemies through walls! Combined with Curse of Shadows, it can charge through just about anything!
And finally, the Kraken. This is an absolute beast with Phantom Hunter. With 4” Reach on its melee attack as well as formidable ranged abilities, there’s no running from this monster. It can strike at things through walls or lines of infantry, all while laying down Kill Shots across the map. It doesn’t matter what the enemy is hiding behind. It won’t help!
JUST FOR FUN: Try out Goreshade’s Theme Force, Heresy of Shadows. Two full units of Bane Thralls with unit attachments, and the second attachment is free? 24 Bane Thralls that can make more Bane Thralls and Goreshade’s feat to bring back dead ones? Yes, please!
SUMMARY: Goreshade is a powerful warcaster with a host of interesting abilities that make him surprisingly well-rounded. The combination of Phantom Hunter and Curse of Shadows opens up a lot of attack vectors that can easily surprise your opponent. He also takes my favorite infantry unit, Bane Thralls, and makes them even better!
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