Warmachine Tactics – Cryx: Skarlock Thrall

warmachine cryx skarlock thrall

Solos in Warmachine may not have the raw power and durability of warjacks or the sheer numbers enjoyed by infantry. But don’t discount them. For so few points, no models can tip the balance of a game quite like solos can. Today, I’m taking a look at the Skarlock Thrall.

IN SHORT: Who doesn’t like a free spell a turn? The Skarlock is a Cryx warcaster’s best friend.

STRENGTHS: Two words. Spell Slave! With this ability, the Skarlock can cast one of its warcaster’s spells for free, while in that warcaster’s control area. And for only 2 points? Seriously, that is just so cool.

Now, there are a few exceptions to worry about. The Skarlock can only cast spells of COST 3 or less and cannot cast spells with target SELF or CTRL. Even with these limitations, there are so many applications for Spell Slave, it’s ridiculous.

The savings in Focus alone are phenomenal. The Skarlock is great for assisting Cryx warcasters with support spells. From a timely application of Ghost Walk to applying or re-applying buffs like Scything Touch and support spells Occultation, the Skarlock is a huge boon to Focus efficiency. It’s just great to have along.

WEAKNESSES: With DEF 14, ARM 12, and only 5 hit boxes, the Skarlock is squishy. Keep it safe, because if your opponent can take a shot at it, it’s likely dead. This makes it very risky to use the Skarlock for offensive spells, which force it into range of reprisal. It’s best to keep the Skarlock back in a support role until it’s needed. That said, don’t be afraid to sacrifice a Skarlock to get that extra debuff applied. Often, the right debuff in the right place is well worth a dead Skarlock.

Also, it … umm … It can’t cast every spell? It’s not a 1 point solo? You can’t take two?

Seriously, I’m stretching on this one.

SYNERGIES: Almost any warcaster can take advantage of the Skarlock. It’s basically an auto-include in most lists, so it’s easier to cover the exceptions rather than the synergies.

The Skarlock is a warcaster attachment, so it cannot be included with Mortenebra or Asphyxious the Hellbringer, who both have their own character Skarlocks. Of the remaining warcasters, Goreshade the Bastard is probably the one that will miss a Skarlock the least, since the only spells available to the Skarlock are offensive. Though do not discount even this. Goreshade can often be hurting for Focus, and an extra Hex Blast at the right time can be game-changing, given its ability to strip enemy upkeep spells.

JUST FOR FUN: Let’s look at Iron Lich Asphyxious’s spell Scything Touch. This is a rare buff spell in Cryx that grants +2 STR and Critical Corrosion to a unit or model.

Start the round by upkeeping Scything Touch on Unit 1, activate Unit 1 and get the most out of the buff. Next, activate the Skarlock and cast Scything Touch on Unit 2. Activate Unit 2 and do some damage. Now activate Asphyxious and cast this spell on Unit 3. Activate Unit 3 and tear it up.

That’s three units benefiting from +2 STR in a single round for only 3 Focus and a Skarlock. Not too bad.

And remember, this tactic can also be used on debuffs against enemy units. Who wouldn’t like to smash three warjacks in a row, each afflicted with Parasite’s -3 ARM penality?

SUMMARY: The Skarlock has a place in almost every Cryx list. If in doubt, take one. Seriously, just take it. You won’t regret it.

Check out the complete list of Warmachine and Hordes articles here.

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