Lich Lord Venethrax
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| 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
Feat: Vengeance of the Dragonfather
Enemy models cannot allocate focus points to, or leech fury points from, models in Venethrax's control range. Vengeance of the Dragonfather lasts for one round.
- 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 its focus during your next Control Phase, replace each soul token with 1 focus point.
- Dismember - When this model hits a warbeast with a melee attack, roll an additional damage die.
- Field Marshal [Countercharge] - Warbeasts/warjacks in this model's battlegroup gain Countercharge. (Countercharge - When an enemy model advances and ends its movement within 6" of this model and in its LOS, this model can immediately charge it. This model can use Countercharge only once per round and not while engaged.)
- Wyrmbane - 2" reach, P+S 15 melee weapon.
- Damage Type: Magical
- Eruption of Ash - If a model is boxed by an attack made with this weapon, center a 3" AOE cloud on it then RFP it. The AOE is a hazard that remains in play for one round. Enemy models within the AOE when it is put into play suffer a POW 12 fire damage roll. Enemy models entering or ending their activation in the AOE suffer a POW 12 fire damage roll. Eruption of Ash damage rolls cannot be boosted.
| Blood Rain
|Blood rain causes corrosion damage. Models hit suffer the Corrosion continuous effect.|
|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.|
|When an enemy model casts a spell while in the spellcaster's control range, double the COST of the spell. Additionally, enemy models must pay double to upkeep spells on models/units in the spellcaster's control range.|
|Target model/unit suffers -2 DEF and ARM, loses Tough, and cannot have damage removed from it. Mortality lasts for one round.|
| Terminal Velocity
|Warjacks in the spellcaster's battlegroup that are currently in its 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.|
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.
- Warlocks cannot leech from their warbeasts.
- Warlocks cannot leech from themselves (cut themselves for fury).
- Warlocks can gain fury by reaving from a destroyed warbeast.
- Warlocks can gain fury via Spirit Bond.
- Warlocks can gain fury via other means, such as Thagrosh's Athanc rule. Such abilities are rare.
- Warbeasts can have their fury "managed" normally by support models (things like Serenity and Condition)
- Warbeasts can be forced normally (although they may have frenzied from all the un-leeched fury).
- Infernals are unaffected by Venethrax's feat.
- Convergence Vectors are sort-of affected. They can't be allocated focus during the Control Phase, but they can still induct focus to each other during their activations.
- Cephalyx Monstrosities are unaffected.
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 (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). This is also a great feat to prevent enemy from making retaliatory strikes when you go in for the kill.
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. 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 fantastic - particularly against living high-def spams - and he will cast it most turns in most games. In fact the mere presence of TV will affect your entire list design; but beware that you don't lean on it too heavily, because the rest of his spell list is also very strong.
With the exception of Deadweight, all his spells are COST 3 which means Venethrax appreciates any arcane 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.
- Easing his own focus burden for jack support by means of abilities like Empower or Accumulator also helps out his spellcasting potential tremendously.
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.
- 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. A well-placed Deadweight can turn the game around. Crippling a Warcaster's ability to escape is very effective.
- 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. Always have Lamentation on.
- 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. Mortality can alleviate problems with high-ARM or high-DEF models as well as cripple regenerators.
- 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
- You can use your jacks to block LOS to Venethrax then you can use countercharge to unblock Venethrax before he activates. That strategy depends on your opponent, though.
- 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.
- If you're planning to have a second rank of flying warjacks (Scavengers or Shrikes) with the strategy that they countercharge over your front line just remember - they need LOS to declare a countercharge (even though flying models don't need LOS to declare a normal charge)
- Eruption of Ash:
- Eruption of Ash from your melee attack is not optional.
- Depending on the target's base size and proximity, there is a good chance Venethrax won't be within the cloud once it is placed (especially if you're attacking targets at your max 2" range). If you're not in it, you can't see through it. This can be good if it blocks enemy LOS to Venethrax, but it can also be bad if you wanted to fire some offensive spells at a target on the far side of the cloud.
- As mentioned in drawbacks, Eruption of Ash is an RFP effect so he can't collect souls from models he attacks in melee. He will get souls from models killed by the template, if any, though. If you really want to get souls on him, you need to park him within 2" of the victim then use something else in your army to kill it.
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 Scourge of the Broken Coast, 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.
Venethrax can bring a flock of Scavengers for a spin here. Keep them behind a skirmish line and have them Counter Charge over it; with Gang Fighter they actually become quite scary little attackers. The troops here are also rather independent and don't mind the fact that Venny doesn't support them directly.
- Doctor Stygius - He is your resident spell slave in this theme, ready to cast Mortality for him.
- Satyxis Blood Witches - Jack heavy lists always struggle on widespread scenarios. Ambushing troops keep you in scenario and these girls deliver!
- Satyxis Gunslingers and Blighted Trollkin Marauders - Guns go very well with Mortality.
- 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.
- A small downside is that the Descreator has Accumulator [Bane] so you want Banes in the list, but Venethrax doesn't really support Banes.
Starting a 25 point list
- Lich Lord Venethrax: [+26 WJP]
- Soul Trapper: [1 pt]
- Mechanithralls (Min unit): [6 pts]
- Command Attachment: [3 pts]
- 3x Weapon Attachment: [Free] (6 pts)
- 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)