The Witch Coven of Garlghast & the Egregore
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The witches of the Coven are seldom separated, and their powers are tied to their interwoven relationship. Wrapped in darkness and strange wind, their power reaches its true apex when the sisters ritualistically encircle the Egregore and enter a perfect conjunction. Though individually each sister lacks the raw destructive power of a Cryxian warwitch, together their conjoined magic enables them to see the patterns of fate connecting the present to the future and grants them the strength to reach out and twist those patterns into new shapes conforming to their desires.
- 1 Basic Info
- 2 Thoughts on the Coven
- 3 List Building Advice
- 4 Other
Feat - Nightfall
While in the Coven's control range, enemy models have their LOS reduced to 5". Nightfall lasts for one round.
- Arcane Nexus - When this model casts a spell, the Egregore is the spell's point of origin. This model must have LOS to the target, but the Egregore does not. All LOS modifiers are based on this model's LOS. This model can channel spells normally.
- Coven - An incredibly wordy rule (Long version here). Short version: (1) The witches are separate warcasters with separate activations but they count as a single warcaster for most effects (number of attachments, upkeeps, FA, etc); (2) They share a single focus pool that 'resides' on Egregore and is equal to 3x the number of witches in play; (3) Their control range is measured from Egregore; (4) Egregore can't be affected by 'focus-reducing' abilities.
- Perfect Conjunction - a Perfect Conjunction is established any time the Egregore is completely within the triangular area between all 3 witches. During a Perfect Conjunction, magic attack rolls made by one of the Witches are automatically boosted.
- Ritual Blade - 0.5" reach, POW 3, P+S 7 melee attack
| Curse of Shadows
|Target model/unit suffers -2 ARM and cannot make free strikes. A model can advance through an affected model if it has enough movement to move completely past its base.|
| Ghost Walk
|Target friendly Faction model/unit gains Ghostly for one turn.
| Infernal Machine
|Target warjack in the spellcaster's battlegroup gains +2 SPD and Murderous.
|Target friendly Faction model/unit gains Stealth. Models are not affected while out of formation.|
| Stygian Abyss
|On a critical hit, the model hit suffers Blind for one round.
| Veil of Mists
|Place a 4" AOE cloud effect anywhere completely within the spellcaster's control range. This AOE does not block friendly Faction models' LOS. While in the AOE, friendly Faction models gain Pathfinder and can move through obstructions and other models if they have enough movement to move completely past them.|
- Black Mantle - While B2B with a model with Black Mantle, friendly Faction models gain Stealth.
- Circular Vision - Models never gain a back strike bonus against this model.
- Companion [Witch Coven of Garlghast] - The Witch Coven of Garlghast is not a unit, and models in the Coven are independent models. The Coven can allocate focus to warjacks normally. The Coven can have only one Skarlock Thrall.
Egregore's version of the Companion rule is quite different to the standard version.
- Steady - This model cannot become knocked down.
- Sympathetic Link - When this model would suffer damage, it can spend 1 focus point to reduce the damage by 5. Assign the remaining damage to one or more Witch Coven of Garlghast models, divided as you choose. Coven models cannot spend focus points to reduce this damage. A Witch cannot be assigned more damage than she has unmarked damage boxes. This model does not suffer that damage.
- Unarmed - This model has no weapons.
No changes since 2018.01
Thoughts on the Coven
The Coven in a nutshell
The Coven are a real ball to play. They are difficult to learn yet highly rewarding once you master them. The Coven are delivery specialists, their toolkit is geared towards getting your army into the enemy line intact. Without exception every one of their spells improves mobility somehow or reduces enemy shooting capabilities.
Different combinations of spells can be used to get around seemingly impenetrable defenses. Ghostwalk lets units charge around Free-Strike zones with impunity. Curse of Shadows let's them dive deeper. Extend that reach with Infernal Machine. Run past another wall of models with Veil of the Mists.
Another aspect to consider is the impressive spell assassination power of the Coven with their almost-always-boosted boosted magic attacks and the second-best focus score in the entire game (second only to the Harbinger of Menoth). The Coven's control area is frankly enormous, combined with Cryx's access to high speed arcnodes (made even higher by Infernal Machine), any model relying on defense to stay alive within 28" of your arcnodes is in imminent danger of death.
Just as important as the Coven's capabilities are their crippling weaknesses. First off they are easy as hell to kill, seriously though. Secondly they do nothing in melee by themselves.
Second off, the Coven should win once they deliver your army. When you hit the enemy, you need to execute an Alpha Strike, wipe out enough enemies so that the counter attack is unable to break you.
Coven's special rules, translated for Newbies
The Coven have a huge number of tricky rules with some odd interactions. They're fully covered in the #Rules Clarifications section below, but to recap the main mistakes new players trip up on.
- 1) They are not a unit.
They are 3 warcasters and 1 solo. They do not activate together. You could activate a Witch, cast spells, then activate some of your army, then activate the next Witch and cast more spells, and so on.
This is a bit like getting to activate your warcaster three times each turn. That is what makes the Coven unique and powerful, and it has been their "thing" ever since they were released in mk1.
Why aren't they a unit? By default all models in Warmachine are independent models with separate activations, except units. Nothing on the Coven's card says they are a unit.
- 2) Casting spells
If you channel a spell, both the arc node and the Witch casting the spell need to be in Egregore's control range. Otherwise channeling works as normal.
But if a Witch casts a non-channeled spell, it gets weird. The Witch needs to be in Egregore's control range and have LOS to the target, but doesn't need to be in range. The Egregore needs to be in range of the target, but doesn't need LOS.
- 3) Egregore is a solo
Even though your control range is measured from Egregore, he is not a warcaster. He is a solo (which is useful for Steamroller scenarios).
Also, because Egregore isn't the model that casts spells or use the feat, he can run on the same turn you do those things.
Nightfall is an incredible feat. The best way to use this feat is to cover your advance as the lines close. Abuse the fact that enemy models can't declare charges vs models more than 5" away, because they can't see them. Even though they can still walk and attack, the extra 3" movement and +d6 damage that a charge normally gives you is essential to many army compositions, and by denying it you gain access to alpha strike capabilities.
Timing is critical to this feat and it is best used in the early game. Turn 2, maybe 3 at most.
Lastly, note that the feat affects all LOS, not just LOS to your models. You may be able to stop your opponent from casting spells/buffs on their own models, too.
Your spells curtail your enemies shooting, improve your movement, or sometimes both. Given the Coven's massive control range and feat, you are all but guaranteed to get the jump on the enemy.
- Curse of Shadows
- Place it on an armored target you need to be remove, a jamming unit you want to ignore, or on a clumped group of enemies you want to surround and crush.
- You can use it to move through enemies and get the back strike bonus, but this is often incompatible with doing a charge (due to the "must keep charge target in melee range" clause).
- Ghostwalk - Does what it says on the tin.
- Infernal Machine - This spell is more useful for the SPD bonus than the Murderous bonus, and is going to have two major uses:
- Get your heavy-hitting warjacks to their destination.
- Rush arcnodes into threatening locations. Combine with other spells to push them deeper into enemy lines.
- Occultation - Normally cast on a vulnerable or high-value target on the first turn, and let it drop off when the lines have closed.
- Stygian Abyss - This is the only nuke spell the Coven has. While it is somewhat humble in terms of it's power, Perfect Conjunction makes the critical effect likely. Also, with a FOCUS stat of 9, even high-DEF models can easily be sniped off the board.
- Veil of the Mists - This spell has pretty great utility. Block line of sight early game to protect your valuable units on approach. In the late game drop it on enemies to walk through other models to allow ingenious and wicked attack vectors.
Drawbacks & Downsides
- The Coven is remarkably easy to kill.
- Eregore has low defense, so heavy attacks don't need to be accurate to hurt the Coven.
- Witches have low armor, so accurate attacks don't need to be heavy to hurt the Coven.
- Apart from their feat helping deliver your army, they don't buff your army's survivability. Thus they can suffer in a drawn out fight.
- The Witches often want stealth, but that forces them to be in B2B contact. AOE attacks can then hit all 4. With their low armor, even blast damage is threatening.
- Analysis Paralysis: The sheer volume of combinations and possibilities the Coven is capable of means that they can potentially devour your clock in a tournament setting.
- The rules interactions, dear lord the rules interactions. The number of times these girls have needed an Infernal Ruling is ridiculous - make sure you read all the Rules Clarifications (at the bottom of this page).
Tricks & Tips
- To gain extra distance on the first turn, start by running Egregore and two Witches and having them run forward. Have the final Witch cast all your spells then charge a target beyond Ergregore (Stealth models don't block LOS). This way you can have 3/4 of your models run the first turn.
- Infernal Machine on an arcnode allows for the Coven's highly accurate spells to reach insanely far. If the opposing caster relies on defense to stay alive, keep an eye out for the chance for the assassination.
- If an enemy is trying to hold you back by body blocking your warjacks, they are probably in a relatively tight formation. Drop a Veil of the Mists to run right past them (Ghostwalk if you don't want to take Freestrikes).
- The feat is measured from Egregore, but triggered during a Witch's activation. So you could feat, then activate Egregore and run him forwards to get more of the enemy affected. This is risky though, as it makes it easier for the enemy to attack Egregore.
- You can spell-assassinate an enemy model standing inside a no-casting-spells, no-channeling-spells bubble of "safety".
- First run the Egregore to within 10" of the target, he doesn't even need LOS.
- Run two of the witches up to start a Perfect Conjunction triangle.
- Move the third witch somewhere that she has LOS to the target and where she is outside the anti-spell bubble.
- Start casting Stygian Abyss.
- The no-casting-spells won't work vs Egregore because he isn't casting the spell, the witch is.
- The no-channeling-spells won't work vs Egregore because he isn't actually channeling the spell. He just happens to be where the point of origin is measured from.
List Building Advice
A typical game is going to open with the Coven and their army running hard down the center pushing deep into the board. Place your spells wherever they are needed, Occultation against ranged infantry, Veil of the mists in LOS choke points, Infernal Machine on arcnodes or assault jacks, and throw the occasional Stygian Abyss through an arcnode to snipe solos. These spells should allow you to setup the board grossly in your favor.
Use your feat early, and move as aggressively as it allows you to. The LOS restriction should prevent enemy charges so, provided you stay out of their move plus melee range, you should be practically untouchable. Along with the setup of your previous spells, you should be in position to either obliterate the enemy or move so firmly on scenario the enemy is going to have to overreach like crazy.
The turn after your feat, leverage your position. Crash into their lines using superior positioning, you are going to have to. Once the delivery is complete, your advantage is going to wither remarkably fast. During this time the use of spells might change too. Curse of Shadows is going to be less about reducing armor and more about allowing you to walk through units. Ghostwalk is going to be less about terrain and more about avoid free strikes. Given how mobile the Coven's can make their jacks through free-strike immunity and two different spells that allow you to walk through other models, the game is more than likely going to end one way or another with one of your warjacks loaded with focus next to the enemy.
If you can't end on an assassination you the advantage you built in the first few turns should be gone by the fifth turn of the game. The Coven is going to be exposed and open as your lines suffer in a drawn out fight thanks to how easy it is to kill Cryx units in general. Perhaps your opponent played overly defensively and you can win on scenario, but usually desperation makes the other outcome much more plausible.
As a delivery specialist, all those awesome units you want to use but get shot on the way there are suddenly usable. Bane Warriors can have their stealth back. Getting the Kraken and Deathjack right in the middle of the enemy is far easier. Your units will reach farther and your enemies reach will be shorter. Units that are already fast will be able to charge very effectively on enemies.
The Witch Coven is a debuff caster with an anti-shooting feat, meaning that they are more or less theme independent.
It's common to use the Coven in an infantry-based theme where they can deliver Cryx's relatively fragile units across the board almost unscathed.
- Black Industries'}} core selling point (Carapace for all jacks to survive shooting) is almost overkill on top of their anti-shooting feat.
The Coven require at least one good warjack for Infernal Machine, but that doesn't narrow things down massively, and they also want a handful of arc nodes to land those curses of Shadows and boosted Stygian Abysses.
- A Kraken can do work with them. It gets sped up with Infernal Machine, and Veil of Mist can let it "skim" over many models that would normally block it.
First Seven Purchases
A few veteran players have put their heads together and tried to figure out the seven best things to buy for this specific caster. This is not designed to add up to a nice round points limit, nor be balanced vs other "First Seven" lists you find on this website. It is simply going to give you some of the essentials this caster needs most of the time.
- Warjack: Barathrum
- Warjack: Kharybdis
- Warjack: Deathripper (x2)
- Solo: Gerlak
- Solo: Axiara
- Solo: Satyxis Raider Captain and/or Warwitch Siren
- Unit: Blighted Trollkin Marauders + CA
- Originally released in Warmachine: Apotheosis (2005)
- Helleana has her hands at her sides.
- Morgaen has her hands over her head.
- Selene has one hand on her head and one hand on her blade.
- Sculptor: Jason Hendricks & Kev White
Other Cryx models
Rules Clarifications - Coven Specific
Rules Clarification : Egregore & Companion
Rules Clarifications - Standard
|* 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)
Note to Editors