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, Lord of Ruin.
IN SHORT: With two ways to inflict Stationary, some excellent buff spells, and a cheap way to bring back undead models, Goreshade is a force to be reckoned with. Did I mention he’s got a horse now too?
STRENGTHS: Where to begin with this guy?
How about, he’s a warcaster with Ghostly and cavalry rules. What does this mean? Well, for starters, no one’s getting free strikes against him, even if he misses impact attacks or performs a ride-by attack. That’s a chocolate and peanut butter combo if I ever saw one.
He’s also Tall in the Saddle, so he can ignore small and medium bases when making melee attacks. So forget about typical Shield Wall units preventing line of sight to a vulnerable warcaster when declaring a melee attack.
And while we’re on it, what a melee attack! His sword Voass is P+S 15 with Reach and Stationary. Even better, he’s effective MAT 9 when he charges (again because of those delicious cavalry rules). And after he’s hit once, every extra attack hits automatically.
So, a quick recap. No one gets free strikes against him. He can trample through enemy models. He hits like a truck, freezes enemies solid, and then is free to dish out hit after hit with impunity. That is an assassination vector opponents MUST respect!
But Goreshade is far from a one trick undead horse. He comes with a whole host of ways to support his army. Infernal Machine buffs one of his warjacks. +2 SPD and MAT on a Kraken anyone? Occultation gives out Stealth to units or models (potentially to himself for added safety). And Scything Touch enhances melee damage by +2, again to units or models.
For his feat, Winter’s Grasp, he can explode his own warrior models into 3” AOEs. And what do these AOEs do? Well, they inflict Stationary! He can literally freeze an enemy army dead in its tracks.
But the real gem in his spell list is Mockery of Life. For the cheap price of 2 Focus, Goreshade can bring back a friendly Faction Undead Grunt. Now, Cryx infantry does not lack for ways to increase its numbers. When combined with Goreshade’s new spell, this can get outright silly. Be sure to bring extra models!
He can even cast a spell for free once per turn if a living enemy model casts a spell in his control area. That gives him 4 potential Mockery of Life casts! I mean, seriously, even his basic magic attack spell is snazzy. With Siphon Bolt, he can strip 1 Focus or 1 Fury off models hit and add 1 Focus to his own pool, kind of making this a 1 Focus attack spell. Yikes!
Rounding out the package, Goreshade’s basic stats are solid. With DEF 14, ARM 17, Focus 7, and 17 hit boxes, so he can take a solid beating before going down.
Yeah, Goreshade comes fully loaded.
WEAKNESSES: Goreshade is sitting on a large base, which automatically makes him difficult to protect. He also has three upkeep spells and Mockery of Life vying for his Focus pool. Put those two together, and it’s easy to splurge and leave him vulnerable.
Ghostly and SPD 8 do help him use terrain to his advantage, and he can slap Stealth on himself for added protection, but the problem definitely exists.
Goreshade also lacks the conventional assortment of Cryx debuffs. While Scything Touch does aid damage output, Goreshade has very limited options when it comes to making Cryx models hit better. This mostly revolves around using his feat to inflict Stationary. Models that like DEF debuffs for more accurate attacks won’t find much support from this warcaster.
SYNERGIES: Goreshade loves undead infantry so he can bring them back with Mockery of Life, and that synergy is even better if those models can already add to their numbers. And if those models are self-sufficient, it gets even better.
For all of the above, Bane Thralls or Bane Knights with Tartarus provide an excellent option. For most of the above, Mechanithralls supported by Necrosurgeons do the trick.
Blackbane’s Raiders are also a potent choice. They’re undead and they can reanimate their enemies as long as Blackbane is around. But they’re also incorporeal with SPD 7, which allows them to race through the enemy lines and be detonated by Goreshade Stationary-inflicting AOEs. For this same reason, Machine Wraiths are an excellent vector for delivering Goreshade’s feat to enemy models.
Bane Riders are another choice with plenty of promise. They may lack a way to add more Riders, but they are highly self-sufficient when it comes to hitting their targets hard and accurately, plus each Rider that Goreshade revives packs considerable punch. Better than bringing Mechanithralls back for 2 Focus a model, right? Their large bases also provide a means to block line of sight to Goreshade.
JUST FOR FUN: It’s the Mechanithrall two-for-one sale! Enemy gun lines getting you down? Mechanithralls lying around in pieces? Well, have no fear!
With both Necrosurgeons and Goreshade on hand, each blown up Mechanithrall can come back not once, but TWICE! That’s because the Necrosurgeons and Goreshade both use a different resource to add models (a corpse token versus a destroyed status).
So yeah. Double-dip till your heart’s content. Even blow up some of your own Mechanithralls to get the process started.
SUMMARY: Goreshade is back and comes loaded with cool tricks and abilities. He’s a powerful assassin all by himself, and he can play a downright demoralizing attrition game with Mockery of Life. Plus, it’s a steampunk undead dark elf on a steampunk undead horse! Do I really need to say anything else?