Lich Lord Venethrax
| Lich Lord Venethrax |
Lich Lord Venethrax is supremely well suited to root out and destroy the Dragonfather's dark progeny. He is given to an obsessive, sometimes narrow focus of his duties, and his every thought is devoted to details of the draconic war. His vast web of agents has spread across the mainland, listening for whispers of the dragons and their plans. they have gathered the corrupt lore of ancient Morrdh, studied tales of the dragon Ethrunbal's defeat within Ios, and learned rumors of a new legion of blighted elves commanding dragon-spawned creatures far in the Immoren north.
- 1 Basic Info
- 2 Thoughts on Lich Lord Venethrax
- 3 List Building Advice
- 4 Other
- Warcaster - All warcasters come with a stack of standard special rules - most notably being awesome. (Click the link for a full rundown.)
- Undead - This model is an undead model and not a living model.
- Soul Taker: Cull Soul - This model can gain soul tokens. When a living enemy model is destroyed within 2" of this model, this model gains the destroyed model's soul token. After this model replenishes focus during the next Control Phase, replace each soul token with 1 focus point.
- Dismember - If you hit a warbeast in melee you get an additional die on the damage roll.
- Field Marshal [Countercharge] - Warbeasts/warjacks in this model's battlegroup gain Countercharge.
- Wyrmbane - 2" reach, P+S 15 melee weapon.
- Damage Type: Magical - This weapon deals Magical damage.
- Eruption of Ash - When a model is boxed by this weapon, center a 3" AOE cloud on it then RFP it. Enemy models within the AOE when it is put into play suffer a POW 12 fire damage roll. The AOE remains in play for one round. Enemy models entering or ending their activation in the AOE suffer a POW 12 fire damage roll.
- Blood Rain - Cost 3, 8" range, 3" AOE, POW 12
- Deadweight - Cost 2, 8" range, POW 12
- When Deadweight destroys an enemy living or undead model, choose an enemy model within 2" of it. The chosen model must forfeit either its Normal Movement or its Combat Action during its next activation as its controller chooses.
- Lamentation - Cost 3, Target SELF, Upkeep
- When an enemy model casts a spell while in the caster's control range, double the COST of the spell. Additionally, enemy models must pay double to upkeep spells on models/units in the caster's control range.
- Mortality - Cost 3, 10" range, offensive spell that does no damage
- Target model/unit suffers -2 DEF and ARM, loses Tough, and cannot have damage removed from it. Mortality lasts for one round.
- Terminal Velocity - Cost 3, Target SELF
- Warjacks in Venethrax's battlegroup that are currently in his control range can charge or make power attacks without spending focus and gain boosted melee attack rolls against living models. When an affected model targets a living model with a charge or slam power attack, it gains +2" movement. Terminal Velocity lasts for one turn.
Feat: Vengeance of the Dragonfather
Enemy models cannot allocate focus points to, or leach fury points from, models in Venethrax's control range. Vengeance of the Dragonfather lasts for one round.
(As always, there are exceptions to the "no way to gain fury". For instance, Thagrosh's Athanc rule.)
- Black Industries
- Dark Host
- The Ghost Fleet
- Infernal Machines
- Scourge of the Broken Coast
- Slaughter Fleet Raiders
Thoughts on Lich Lord Venethrax
Lich Lord Venethrax in a nutshell
Venny is a warjack-oriented-brutality made incarnate. He is a powerful Hordes counter, probably the best Cryx has, with Terminal Velocity, Mortality, and his feat all tailor-made to squash living armies like pumpkins. By himself, he can even kill Gargantuans with a good charge.
While pretty powerful and quite resilient, Venethrax is more of a mid-range caster than frontline. Be very careful how you position him, as he may die pretty quickly if overextended. You should pick your targets carefully while remembering that he is quite able to handle himself in a fight, just don't expose him too much.
However, don't except much support for troops. Venny doesn't like nor cares for foot soldiers.
Venethrax's feat is pretty straightforward. Against Warmachine armies, enemy warjacks lose a lot of effectiveness during a crucial turn. Against Hordes, you should use your feat the turn where the enemy's warbeast are full of FURY. The enemy warlock will have to deal with having little fury to play with and most of his beasts frenzying. This is also a great feat to prevent enemy from making retaliatory strikes when you go in for the kill.
However, the feat also has a number of caveats and subtleties. First, it does not prevent warlocks from replenishing their fury through Reaving or via Spirit Bond; on the flipside, the feat does prevent warlocks from cutting for fury, as this is a form of leaching. Second, the feat does not prevent fury managers like Paingiver Beast Handlers or Shifting Stones from doing their jobs on any beasts which pass their frenzy test. Lastly, remember that failing the frenzy check itself is no sure thing and that your opponent will be the one choosing the order in which beasts take their tests in the first place.
Taking these points together, one conclusion is that you will generally get less mileage out of feating on turns where you intend to remove some of your opponent's beasts from the table. Thus, a good feat turn may sometimes involve scalpeling out key support pieces while jamming or baiting those beasts most likely to frenzy. Machine wraiths are exceptionally good candidates for this job. With smart positioning and a little luck, frenzied beasts can incur painful free strikes, be pulled out of scenario zones or control areas, and lured into countercharge range. However, do not neglect to account for the possibility that some of your opponents' beasts will get lucky and pass their frenzy check. Operate under the assumption that your opponent will be able to retain control over their beasts on their turn and try to position your pieces in such a way as to account for either contingency.
Against Warmachine, the feat's effects are more easily predictable, with a lower ceiling for chaos. Again, there are a number of ways to gain focus that do not count as allocation, such as Power Up, Accumulator, or Empower. Factions with special rules for how their battlegroups interact with focus, such as Cephalyx and Convergence, are particularly untroubled by Venethrax's feat (although with Monstrosities being living models, Terminal Velocity becomes a relevant threat again). However, one potentially overlooked dimension of the feat is how scary it is for enemy colossals. A list which fields a colossal is more or less always planning on allocating it a full stack of focus every turn; denying allocation on a critical turn can severely limit their offensive output, especially when combined with a well-placed application of Deadweight. Sidenote: unlike Grievous Wounds, Mortality does prevent colossals from removing damage.
Venethrax's signature spell of Terminal Velocity is situationally fantastic - particularly against living high-def spams - but it is limiting to think of this as his only gimmick, because the rest of his spell list is also very strong.
You will usually want to take at least one arc node with him to project the full range of threats on his spell card, particularly Deadweight.
A further note about his spell list: with the exception of the aforementioned Deadweight, all are base COST 3, which means Venethrax appreciates any spellcasting or jack support he can get. Taking a Spell Slave attachment is usually a good call, as it will have three solid options to cast from his card.
- Blood Rain : Venethrax's only AoE spell. Best used against one wound infantry.
- Deadweight : Hard to pull-off but a reliable way to remove mobility from a target. Can be extremely powerful.
- Lamentation : If everything costs more for the enemy warcaster, he will have less resources to hurt you. Cast it once turn 1, upkeep whole game.
- Mortality : A good debuff spell, remove a lot of defensives layers from the target and prevent warbeast from healing a crippled aspect. Note that it is not an upkeep.
- Terminal Velocity : Signature spell, make your warjacks FOCUS effective against living target. Automaticaly boosted attack increase your chances of critical.
Drawbacks & Downsides
- For his statline he is rather squishy, do not overextend. He is also hard-pressed against sniping. Keep an Inflictor ready.
- Venethrax hates infantry. He doesn't need them, and he has no buffs to make them more effective. Just take more Warjacks.
- At the same time, Venethrax's strong spell list and desire to position himself aggressively puts a lot of strain on focus allocation decisions, especially on turns where you will be casting Terminal Velocity.
- Unlike his fellow Lich Lords Asphyxious the Hellbringer or Lord Exhumator Scaverous, Venethrax does not have ready access to the kind of remote harvesting tools that would enable him to hop aboard the soul train to focus city.
- To add insult to injury, he can't even use his own weapon to try and get souls himself, as he has to RFP anything he boxes.
- While amazing against Hordes, sometimes he has problems against Jack-heavy armies and other non-living, as his signature spell, Terminal Velocity, is moot on them.
- Read what his feat does carefully! It does not stop reaving from destroyed warbeasts, nor does it stop power up.
Tricks & Tips
- Always have Lamentation on.
- Jacks can be great at blocking charge lines without being in the way thanks to Countercharge.
- A well-placed Deadweight can turn the game around. Crippling a Warcaster's ability to escape is very effective.
- Mortality can alleviate problems with high-ARM or high-DEF models as well as cripple regenerators.
- If you get him into melee with a couple enemy warrior models, he can make a nifty cloud wall to stand safely behind so long as you keep your targets at the edge of his reach. Just remember that you won't get their souls, unless the eruption happens to kill a dude within cull range.
- Countercharge can be used to punish models that rely on abilities like Reposition, Sprint, Dodge, Side Step, or Vengeance. Similarly, it can completely neutralize powerful one-time effects like Admonition or Enliven.
- Eruption of Ash from your melee attack is not optional. Be careful not to block unintentionally your LOS to targets with the newly placed clouds (for example if you want to cast an offensive spell afterwards). You should also refrain from melee attacks with this weapon, if you want to use those targets to fuel your soul/corpse gathering mechanisms (see Drawbacks).
List Building Advice
Venethrax has to open the game with attrition on his mind. Venethrax doesn't have a very reliable spell assassination. Without a way to give pathfinder, even with Terminal Velocity he can struggle to deliver a jack to the caster's face.
Use your force multipliers like Countercharge and Terminal Velocity to shift the battle in your favor. Reduce your opponent's ability to hit you back using the feat, Lamentation, and Deadweight. As the lines come closer together, leverage Venethrax's impressive personal combat abilities.
Things you take in his army to help him achieve this strategy is Jacks, Jacks, Jacks. If this is not enough, throw in more Jacks.
While his spells give Heavies a lot more punching power, Venny also loves to have light Jacks to create charge choke points with Countercharge.
As a 'jack caster Venny prefers to be in either Black Industries or Slaughter Fleet Raiders, although a case can be made for taking him in Dark Host.
- Withershadow Combine are a great help for Venethrax. He always wants Lamentation for Admonia, Mortality is perhaps the best spell Maelovus can cast, and several jacks means Tremulus should almost always have a good target to help with Puppet Strings, although helping Venethrax cast a Dead Weight is a great use of the spell as well.
- A Soul Trapper if you have a spare point.
- This theme is full of jacks, but see the #Battlegroup section for advice on non-character jacks.
Slaughter Fleet Raiders
In comparison to BI, the jacks in SFR are weaker vs guns but hit harder when they do arrive. Also, SFR has access to a lot more units. So it's your choice whether you want a pure jack force in BI, or a combined force here.
- Between their native ghostly for ignoring terrain and the strong delivery benefits of the Dark Host theme, the only issue Banes really need help with is MAT-fixing, which Venethrax does support via Mortality (It also helps that Bane Lord Tartarus and his veteran leadership is a free choice inside that theme).
- If you do go with a combined arms approach in Dark Host, Bane Riders in particular are an intriguing choice with Venethrax, because they solve their own MAT issues, but more importantly can keep pace with or flat outrun the jacks. Leading with a vanguard of Bane Riders while leaving a second wave of jacks in position to countercharge can be an effective way to unpack against opponents who you out-threat. Since ghostly allows them to ignore free strikes when they reposition, Bane Riders are able to charge and dig into the back arc of their targets, threatening free strikes on a potential feat-turn frenzy; alternately, you can use reposition to dictate which model the beast is likely to frenzy into. In either case, on a feat turn against Hordes, you will leave your opponent with little choice but to try to remove them, incurring a Vengeance move next turn.
- The birdjacks, Shrike & Scavenger, can Countercharge from behind the frontline (so they don't get charged themselves) and don't care about intervening models (so don't need to worry about their countercharge lane getting blocked).
- Note that they do need LOS to trigger countercharge, though.
- Inflictors are good to have against shooty armies, as Venny is not that tough on his own and can be sniped if too exposed. The Inflictor also has a nice critical ability to go with with Terminal Velocity, and its two inches of reach helps create more possibilities for Countercharge.
- Have a much better chance to get their Critical Shred with Terminal Velocity.
- They have pathfinder innately, which Venny appreciates.
- Grievous Wounds on its melee weapon is likewise an extremely useful tool against Hordes.
- In addition, the pseudo-scather template on their guns is an effective countermeasure against the kinds of massed single-wound weapon master infantry which jack-heavy lists tend to struggle with.
- The downside is that taking a Desecrator sort of requires you to take Bane units which Venethrax does not directly support.
- Released in Forces of Warmachine: Cryx (June 2010)
- Nicknames include Venny and Thrax.
Other Cryx models
Rules Clarification : Feat - Vengeance of the Dragonfather
| * 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)
| Triggering Countercharge
What can your opponent do?
Attacks & Boosting
After the Countercharge
Enemy "Skipping" their movement
Unit with countercharge