Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova
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| Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova |
Few people in the Khadoran Empire have more drive than Aleksandra. Most of her peers see her intensity and zeal for the occult as unsettling. She employs soldiers and warjacks with equal dispassion, and most who come to know her deem her heartless and cruel. Certainly she has the will and the courage to walk into the darkness without flinching, a talent that may prove vital to Khador's triumph in the months and years ahead.
- 1 Basic Info
- 2 Thoughts on Zerkova1
- 3 List Building Advice
- 4 Other
- Warcaster - All warcasters come with a stack of standard special rules - most notably being awesome. Click here for a newbie-friendly recap, or click here for the full rules.
Feat: Howling Wind
- While in Zerkova's control range, enemy models cannot make ranged attacks.
- Enemy models beginning their activations in Zerkova's control range cannot run, charge, make power attacks or special attacks, give or receive orders, or make special actions.
- Howling Wind lasts for one round.
- Immunity: Cold
- Arcane Artifacts - When this model casts a spell, you can choose to use one of the following special rules. Each special rule can be used only once per activation and expires after the spell is cast.
- Sacred Ward - This model cannot be targeted by enemy spells.
|Rod of Whispers|
| Freezing Mist
|Place a 3" AOE cloud effect completely within the spellcaster's control range. While in the AOE, models without Immunity: Cold suffer -2 to their attack rolls. The AOE remains in play for one round.|
| Frost Hammer
|2||8" spray||-||12 (Cold)||(★)||Yes|
|Frost Hammer causes cold damage. On a critical hit, the model hit becomes stationary for one round unless it has Immunity: Cold.|
| Ghost Walk
|Target friendly Faction model/unit gains Ghostly for one turn.
| Hex Blast
|Enemy upkeep spells and animi on the model/unit directly hit by Hex Blast immediately expire.|
|Once per turn when an enemy model advances and ends its movement within 6" of the spellcaster, you can choose a warjack in the spellcaster's battlegroup that is currently in its control range. That warjack can immediately make a full advance towards the enemy model and then can make one basic melee or ranged attack targeting the enemy model. The attack and damage rolls against that model are boosted.|
- Armored Korps
- Flame in the Darkness. Zerkova gains access to Mercenary and Cygnar warjacks in this theme.
- Jaws of the Wolf
- Legion of Steel
Warriors of the Old Faith
- Winter Guard Kommand. In this theme the caster gains Sacrificial Pawn [Winter Guard trooper model].
- Wolves of Winter
No changes since 2019.08
Thoughts on Zerkova1
Zerkova1 in a nutshell
Zerkova is an odd caster who boasts an excellent feat and clouds to ensure your army can make it across the table, but does basically nothing to assist them once they arrive. She therefore enjoys units that leverage her denial game or that pack a punch on their own but struggle with delivering it. New additions to the game have allowed Zerkova easier access to channeling and greater spell power, allowing her to add some offensive support with her sprays while maintaining a safe distance.
Her Arcane Artifacts offer her some additional flexibility with her spells:
- Focus Sphere: your most important option and requires little forethought; there’s basically no reason not to use it on the first spell you cast each turn. Note that it does not reduce ongoing upkeep costs,.
- Lens of Tarvodh: +5 RANGE on paper looks cool, but practically it is limited to Hex Blast and Ghost Walk. A long range Ghost Walk can be useful on wider scenarios, and Sniping out key solos with a long range hex blast can help Zerkova’s army capture flags. Unlike similar abilities, this one works even with channelled spells if you brought an arc node in the Flame in the Darkness theme (which you definitely should).
- True Sight: You'll only ever use it on Hex Blast, or if you need to choose your target behind cloud cover(sometimes your own). It’s very obvious when you need this and otherwise it can be ignored.
- Freezing Mist: Your cloud wall spell, with a 12” cloud being possible if you dump everything into it. The -2 can also be positioned to debuff shooty models (either cancelling their aiming bonus or forcing them to move) or boost the DEF of your force after they have already made their attacks.
- Frost Hammer: Works well with Focus Sphere; for the basic cost you can fish for critical hits with a boosted attack roll on a crucial model. In FitD (or off an extremely lucky Rod of Whispers) you can send up to 4 of them through an arc node each turn.
- Ghost Walk: Her only direct support spell. Essentially super-Pathfinder, it’s another tool to help delivery with the added functionality of allowing your troops to walk into unexpected places. Try to play around terrain rather than rely too heavily on this as you lose a cloud for every ghostwalk.
- Hex Blast: Zapl with decent POW. The upkeep/animi removal is the main reason to cast it, with solo or UA sniping another potential use. In very desperate situations you can use it on your own models to remove a particulary nasty enemy upkeep from them (like Parasite).
- Watcher: A life-insurance spell. Your jack can make attacks only against the model that moved. It does not say directly toward, so you can try to move around any screening models the opponent throws at you so long as you end up closer. Against fast, alpha striking lists you'll want to pop it early, and never let it drop.
Zerkova's biggest selling point is her feat. It offers one turn where the enemy is limited to walk-and-strike close combat attacks, making their threat range highly predictable. It is also quite effective against Gunfighter and dual attack models, who either have no other means to attack, or perform much worse with their Melee options.. Works well with Watcher, as the enemy will have fewer ways to lock down your Jack and Zerkova will usually be quite forward to maximize denial.
Drawbacks & Downsides
- Her feat can be bypassed by long range (>14") shooting, or by models who can advance up to 14" without actually charging (Stryker2, for example). The limitations for charging/orders/power attacks are also invalidated if the enemy activates outside her CTRL area.
- Very limited combat performance without investment both of Focus and putting arc nodes in your list (if you can), and not extraordinary defensive stats. Also, spell-immunity tricks will make her sad.
- She offers very little direct support for her battlegroup, and for her army.
- 2 out of the 3 Arcane Artefacts abilities are very situational.
- Grave Door only works on enemy models, so you cannot shoot your Mechanic in the back to get an arc-node. It is completely useless against a Convergence army.
Tricks & Tips
- Keep her Cold Immunity in mind, it can save her in match-ups against casters with stationary effects tied to cold.
- Playing Zerkova in the Winter Guard Kommand theme makes her a pain to assassinate. Spells are negated by Sacred Ward, shooting can be mitigated by sacrificing Winter Guard troopers and attempts at melee have to deal with Watcher first.
- Spell Ward does not makes you immune to spells. Bouncing lightnings, or overlapping AOEs from nearby models still pose threat to you.
List Building Advice
Zerkova is a fairly odd caster in the faction (and in the entire game). She lacks dedicated unit support, offers almost nothing to her battlegroup, and isn’t a one-woman powerhouse either. Her shtick is highly focused on delivery and denial.
When writing a list, it’s best to ignore everything about Zerkova (except maybe ghost walk) and make the assumption that most of your army will be able to reach the enemy. This will help make a list that supports itself for speed and damage, and Zerkova will then step in to make sure it’s applied.
Freezing Mist with Focus Sphere allows her to spend her entire stack to place 12" of Cloud Wall. With a Greylord Adjunct, she can do this while upkeeping Watcher. This LoS blocking synergizes nicely with her feat and allows her to deliver an army if the enemy doesn't ignore clouds. Even if they do, the clouds can be used instead to debuff the enemies chance to hit.
She has some assassination potential against squishy casters with Cygnar Arc nodes in FitD or occasionally the Rod of Whispers. Firing off enough Front Hammers to do the job will most likely eat up all your Focus pool, but odds are you will still be far enough from retaliation.
This is THE theme for Zerkova, as it offers her everything she ever wanted , while Zerkova helps with every weakness the theme itself has. They go extremely well together. Zerkova has no damage fixes and desperately wants an Arc Node, Flames offers both in spades. Flame units struggle with delivery, while Zerkova is an delivery expert with her feat and clouds. Among all the clouds and the rampart Shield Guard and Vengeance, it might also be able to function as an anti gunline list, which is quite valuable in todays meta.This will require any patriot kommander to invest into unreliable mercenaries and (gasp) even swan technology, but to protect the motherland from infernal invaders one has to grit their teeth.
- Hurricane - So you want an Arc Node? How about the biggest and beefiest you can find in all of the Iron Kingdoms? It makes for an excellent Watcher target as well, as anything that violates the precious personal space will be hit by its fully boosted slam gun. Colossals also really, really don't want to be charged so they can get an extra round of shooting to make their points back, the feat helps with this.
- Gallant and a Lancer - If you don't want to go for the big guy above, these two are the next best option. The Lancer is your shiny new arc node, Gallant is just a quality, focus efficient, beatstick heavy for Watcher.
- Talon - It can be a very nice Watcher at a bargain price thanks to its shock spear, being able to stop any warjack dead in its tracks.
- Precursor Knights with all the UAs - Your bread and butter unit for this theme. Among Shield Wall, Tough from Gabriel Throne, Rise from the WA, Vengeance from the Theme and Zerkova's kit, you should have no problem delivering them, upon which the hit like trucks under damage buffs and minifeat.
- Order of Illumination Vigilants and Glyn Cormier, Illuminated One - They bring a good shooting contingent to the list. Thanks to True Sight they can shoot through the clouds Zerkova can put in front of them, so maybe they won't die after they have shot something.
- Alexia, The Undying and the Legion of Lost Souls - They bring a strong recursion engine to the list and Alexia can buff their damage, as well as generate even more weapon master shield guards.
- Ragman, The Hermit and Grand Master Gabriel Throne- Damage buffs that Zerkova lacks can be brought by these guys instead, resulting in a caster independent +6 damage if all are applied at the same time! Gabriel can hand out Pathfinder to save Zerkova having to cast Ghost Walk, and the Hermit brings Telementry, which allows Zerkova’s spells to beat some Def skews without boosting.
- Morrowan Archon - Veteran Leader for your troops provides an accuracy buff that Zerkova lacks. Flight and Ghostly lets it go pretty much anywhere it pleases to wreck face as well.
- Thamarite Archon - He makes Zerkova frighteningly accurate and brings a great gun that can bypass your cloud wall.
This is probably the second best theme to take her because Man-o-War hit like light warjacks, without needing focus from Zerkova so she can keep casting her spells. She also augments their durability with her cloudwall and/or feat, as even the softer ARM 16 Man-o-War can be hard to crack if your enemy is unable to charge them.
All of this is good, because all Zerkova really brings for the Man-o-War themselves is Ghost Walk. Ghost Walk is very good for the Man-o-War, though, since their only other access to Pathfinder is via Kommander Atanas Arcanovich's Relentless Charge battle plan, and neither Shocktroopers nor Bombardiers want to be charging all game.
The Siege Chariot brings a big gun (the biggest), and a pair of spare clouds. And even though your opponent can still see it through the clouds, they won't be able to charge it if you drop some medium bases between the chariot and the clouds. Atanas can help with this, as his Tactician applies to all Man-o-War.
Demo Corps in particular synergize with Zerkova. The character UA gives them Defensive Line, which couples with the -2 to attack rolls from Freezing Mist to make them effectively DEF 14, which is pretty admirable. With Sylys and a boost, your chances to crit on Frost Hammer aren't terrible, and that activates Shatter for the hammers. Weaponmaster P+S 16 solves Zerkova's damage problem. And with Ghost Walk, you don't need to worry about Free Strikes stopping you from charging.
Alternatively, she can run a pretty decent Wolves of Winter force because she can protect the squishy Greylords and Doom Reavers. The Greylords can also extend the cloudwall by up to another (unnecessary) 33", though their clouds lack the staying power and utility of Zerkova's, as they must be centered on a model and disappear once the model is removed. Still, it can be fun to drop a cloudwall across the entire table.
Doom Reavers can't be targeted by spells, but Zerkova doesn't really want to cast any spells on her army anyways. Freezing Mist brings additional utility to the theme because the infantry is all DEF 13. And while DEF 13 isn't great, it's significantly improved by your enemy having -2 to all their attack rolls.
She can also run a pretty decent Legion of Steel force because she can keep the Iron Fangs safe from shooting while they get up the table. They might even be able to run for an extra turn, safe behind the clouds Zerkova pops out. With CMA and Ragman they hit decently hard, and Zerkova can bring the spells to make up for the theme's inability to get magic weapons. She also has the focus to fuel a couple gun jacks, making up for the theme's complete lack of ranged attacks.
These two are rather weaker for Zerkova in terms of synergies.
Jaws of the Wolf brings independent infantry, but they don't hit particularly hard. The jacks that the theme is centered around demand Zerkova's focus to perform, keeping her great spells off the table, and they don't need the protection of her feat as strongly as infantry. The infantry in the theme dont really need caster buffs to workz but they dont hit that hard by themselves. That said, there's probably a list that could be made by off loading the jacks onto Forge Seers, Malakov1, and/or Sorscha0.
Winter Guard Kommand brings cheap, cheap bodies and some good guns (CRAs and Rocketeers) and Zerkova can be very hard to kill in this theme between Sacrificial Pawn and Sacred Ward. But there is rarely any way for her to protect the numerous Winter Guard, and she neither helps them hit nor helps them damage. She also doesn't run jacks very well. This theme might be worth trying, again using Malakov1 and Sorscha0 to run fast heavies into your opponent while Zerkova protects the juniors and the Rocketeers against the enemy guns.
As mentioned, it is kind of hard to offer an army to her. Power Up, and a good amount of FOCUS seemingly allows you to run an extensive battelgroup, but the lack of support limits her to self-sufficient jacks.
- Juggernaut is a plain and simple wrecking machine. Remember that Watcher boosts the attack roll, making it likely to freeze an assassination attempt in it's tracks, even if the attacker survives the boosted damage.
- Rager - a shield guard is always nice, if the enemy tries to kill you from afar during your feat
- Mad Dog - usually content with the Power Up focus
- Behemoth - all casters from the motherland love Big B, and enemies in her feat zone will rarely be able to run away from its templates.
- Conquest - its Creeping Barrage under your feat can be a powerful area denial tool for softer targets.
- Released in Warmachine: Legends (2008)
Other Khador models
Video Battle Reports
- 2018.09 Arcane Assist 75 points vs Locke
- 2018.09 Not Snakes Gaming 75 points vs Hexeris2
- See also Category: Video Battle Reports for more casters with videos.
Rules Clarification : Feat : Howling Wind
|* The "Damage Type: Magical" is not inherited by "secondary" damage from a weapon. That is, stuff like arcs (Electro Leap) or hazards (Scather). (Infernal Ruling)
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