Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Iron Lich Asphyxious Tactica

So some people over on the PP forums were asking for a writeup on one of my favorite Cryxian characters. I know that D. Vader or Aldarrion were in the process of writing one, but it's been several months, so I figured I'd just jump right on the bandwagon.

Iron Lich Asphyxious – aka pGaspy. Some people dislike the name Gaspy, but I find it to be funny myself. Asphyxious ~ asphyxiate -> gasping -> Gaspy!

This undead former druid sets the bar for the spell assassination that other casters/locks aspire to. This is due in part to his spell list and feat, but it is also backed up by some good defensive stats. For the most part, he wants to support his army via his buffs and debuff, unless he can make a hole to the enemy caster to spell assassinate them. Even if you lose his army, he can singlehandedly win you the game because he is so hard to put down. Spell assassination isn't all he's got, although having it around can really change the way your opponent can play. When you run the Iron Lich, your army will be trashing everything that it hits, which shows his biggest weakness (high DEF).

He’s not too slow at SPD 6, but he’s one of the relatively tougher casters at DEF 15 ARM 16. Combine this with his FOC 7 and you can just walk around the table at ARM 23. On the downside, he’s a medium base, so protecting him from ranged attacks is a necessity, whether you use the terrain on the table or bring in a bunch of medium based infantry to help. His MAT 6 would lead one to believe that he’s only mediocre in melee combat, but this is what you want your opponent to believe. This guy is actually a melee monster due to a combination of his feat and weapon.

Terror, Undead, & Cull Soul. Nothing special to see here besides a typical undead Cryxian caster. Cull Soul rarely comes into play unless your opponent throws a bunch of infantry right in front of him.

Weapon - Soulsplitter
Like all casters, it has the ubiquitous magical weapon tag, so you can smack around incorporeal models, etc. What really makes it matter is two-fold. Most importantly, sustained attack. Once you hit the model once, every other attack against that model auto-hits. This makes up for the piddling MAT 6 that Gaspy carries around, meaning he will kill whatever he gets in melee with. The P+S 15 is nice, but deceptive like his low MAT since he can up his DMG output significantly via his feat and spell list. It’s also a reach weapon, so pGaspy has a 11” threat all by himself (more if you take a Reaper, or Madelyn Corbeau, or both).

Breath of Corruption (BoC) – RNG 8, POW 12 AOE 3” is nice, but what sells this is that it doesn’t do blast damage. The spell states that any model under the AOE takes a POW 12, so it’s great for clearing out infantry or for a multitude of other uses. It’s also good to remember that if you get an arc node within 4” of your target, the 3” AOE can’t miss. Sidenote is that it also leaves a cloud that deals 1 pt of dmg to models entering or ending their activation in it. Aside from spell assassination, it can be used
Hellfire – your typical magic missile attack. RNG 10 POW 14 can put the hurt onto key solos.
Parasite – A -3 ARM debuff to target model unit. Fairly common in Cryx.
Scything Touch – A +2 to DMG rolls for friendly model/unit, meaning it’s Merc friendly. It’s also great for the infantry that we have with multiple attacks (McThralls, Satyxis Raiders, Bloodgorgers, & Soulhunters come to mind).

Teleport – This is your safety net for when you get a bad roll on the attack or damage, or when you just need to get out of harm’s way quick. Also, since it’s a place effect, you won’t be taking damage from Harby’s/Old Witch’s feats or trigger anything off of advance.

Feat – Consuming Blight
This is the kicker. Gaspy is good with all of his other stuff, but this is what makes him great. POW 5 to all living enemy models in his control area? P’shaw! This is all about the focus. You can burn through Gaspy’s 7 focus with Spells or melee attacks, and then get it right back again. Having the ability to throw out 4x POW 12’s or POW 14’s in one turn is scary, especially when 2 of them can have boosts attached to them. On the other hand, you can use the first load of focus to set up your crazy assassination run (Scything Touch on Gaspy himself, Boosted Parasite onto the target) to get yourself a P+S 20 melee monster with sustained attack. Then pop your feat to keep buying auto-hitting attacks. Done & done.

Army Composition

Spell Assassination is the name of his game, and supporting his army until he can pull that off is generally the key. If you can't get the spell assassination, Gaspy still runs a mean support game, essentially giving +5 dmg to his army against specific targets. In general, he’s greedy with his focus because he really wants to be slinging spells or increasing his armor. You can try for attrition by bringing the right units, but that’s really only because of how attrition oriented McThralls & Banes can be. Gaspy doesn’t help his army hit more accurately, but what does get hit will be smashed into smithereens thanks to Parasite and/or Scything Touch. If you do lose your army, don’t lose hope. Gaspy’s decent SPD 6 & great spell list can enable you to outmaneuver your opponent. Keep in mind while playing though, that your medium base can be targeted over small based models or through models with stealth. If the enemy is packing ranged attacks, it’s best to keep him out of sight as much as possible.

So let's look at what he really likes to bring with him to the battlefield.

1) Arc Nodes, he wants them. With his spells and the threat of force that a single functioning arc node can be with him, you’re going to always want to have an arc node available. For me, it depends on the point size, but generally he will want at least 2 arc nodes (if you play conservatively with them) if not 3 (if you don’t).

2) Helljacks – while it’s always good to take a heavy, he doesn’t care about many of them that much since he wants to hold on to most of his focus. Best choices here are Deathjack, Seether, & Malice who can run unsupported from caster focus for the most part. I also really like taking a Reaper with him because it can open up those charge lanes for that arc node to run through. The Cankerworm is also practically a superfast heavy with Gaspy as well, so he's a great choice here (even if he is technically a light).

3) Units – Since Gaspy does nothing to help out the hitting capabilities of his army, it’s best to take things that just need help in the damage department. Bloodgorgers are the first thing that come to my mind since they have Gang to help them hit, but don’t always have a high enough power to drop jacks. McThralls can do well with him because of 2 attacks and great tarpitting capabilities, but I would always try and take the Brute Thralls as well, to block LOS to Gaspy and/or trample lanes. Either version of Banes can be a good choice too, depending on your meta. Satyxis Raiders can be great thanks to engaging those threatening shooters very quickly, combined with the extra damage output that Gaspy gives them.

4) Solos – Gaspy loves the Warwitch Sirens because now his arc nodes can run while he boosts the damage on his spells. The Skarlock can also be good to cycle Scything Touch between different units or to drop Scything Touch on Gaspy when needed. A necrotech is usually a good choice too since his medium base blocks LOS to Gaspy, plus he can fix up those busted arc nodes. Also, a bloat thrall shooting at a Parasited unit is always great. A Satyxis Raider Captain can be a great choice for solo hunting so that Gaspy doesn’t have to drop his focus as well.

5) Mercs – Gorman di Wulfe is great for dropping the cloud to block LOS to Gaspy, as well as having another source of a POW12 to everybody in the AOE 3. Add in Rust for taking down the armor of warjacks even further, and you can start scrapping Devestators and the Behemoth with ease. Saxon Orrik to give pathfind to your units is also great since Gaspy doesn’t have ghostwalk. Madelyn Corbeau can also be a great addition when you really want that melee assassination (much like any caster who wants the additional threat range). In general, he’s very Merc friendly with Scything Touch being friendly model/unit and Parasite going onto enemy model/unit. Units that I’d consider running with him would be Nyss Hunters & Boomhowler for their guns, but Steelheads probably wouldn’t be too bad either.

My army generally includes 2-3 nodes, a heavy, and then infantry & solos to taste.

Here is a sample 35 pt list of mine

Points: 35
Iron Lich Asphyxious (*6pts)
* Cankerworm (5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Reaper (7pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bloodgorgers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
General Gerlak Slaughterborn (3pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)

for 50 pts, I would max the Satyxis, add Saxon Orrik, Gorman diWulfe, a Warwitch Siren, a 2nd Necrotech & Scrap Thrall, and the Withershadow Combine.

How it tends to play out:

Infantry pulls the load, with Scything Touch support, cycled between units by the Skarlock. The Raiders play first strike while the Gorgers/Gerlak come up behind. With Scything Touch, Gorgers can become P+S 15 with Gang and even higher when Parasite's involved. The Cankerworm plays Solo/Support Hunter if there's something that just has to die. Otherwise he helps kill off enemy jacks. If the infantry kills it before he gets there, he can even upgrade his replicator (assuming it's better power, or a cool ranged weapon. The Reaper generally hangs back to help block LOS to Gaspy and provide a good countercharge (Reach + Sustained attack P+S 16 is awesome). On key turns, he can also pull enemy models out of position, so that you can kill them easier, or deal with them later. The feat is generally saved for those times when a spell assassination opens up, or when something presents itself as an awesome target for death (Behemoth in charge range of Asphyxious or somesuch).

Spell assassination isn't all there is to his game, but the threat of spell assassination can be a game-changer for your opponent. If you hold your feat + a node in reserve most of the game, your opponent will generally need to play a bit more conservatively with their caster (there are exceptions, as always). This may entail camping a few more focus, keeping farther back, and in general, not getting into the thick of things. While this may keep you from the spell assassination, it also leaves you a little more wiggle room while you slaughter their army with yours. If you do lose your army, don’t lose hope. Gaspy’s decent SPD 6 & great spell list can enable you to outmaneuver your opponent.

There are some tricks to a successful spell assassination though. First of all, arc nodes that are run behind your target will get the back-strike bonus (+2 to hit) when your caster activates and starts slinging spells. Second, BoC can be made to auto-hit (node within 4” of target) those high defense casters, giving you 2x boosted damage BoC’s, and 2 more BoC’s. Third, Hellfire has a 10” range, so those low DEF high ARM casters are going to have a harder time hiding from it. Basically, BoC for those high DEF casters and Hellfire for those high ARM casters.

Other Tricks (courtesy of Resurrection, Juckto, & 2liveis2die)

- Engage living enemy models with Banes before feat makes the feat dmg into an essential POW 7. If you cast parasite onto them, it's a POW 10, killing most singlewound infantry.

- Target your own McThralls with BoC in order to place the clouds exactly where you need them to deny charges or LOS. If you drop it onto Asphyxious (via node or Skarlock) or Gorman, they become untargetable by non-reach single wound infantry.

- Parasite on friendly models to give +1 arm to Gaspy. ARM 24 and effective 26 vs living, with Beyond death from Darragh Wrathe, is very nice. Scraps or even a Skarlock can be good targets.

In all, Gaspy is a great learning tool for how to play Cryx. Pretty forgiving and quite capable of handling things himself. He's not terribly picky what you take as long as you have some way to mitigate high defense troops.


  1. If you're worried about LoS, you could try placing 2 mechathralls at whatever the range of BoC is (I forget atm), 1.5" apart from each other (measured base to base. Or 3" measured centre to centre), then hit them in the back with 2 BoCs. Declare a charge and move up to directly behind your 6" wide cloud wall.

  2. The only problem with that is that a POW 12 will kill any McThralls that you target, so you won't be able to charge them. Keeping pGaspy protected is just one of the fun challenges of playing him against Retribution, Cygnar, & Legion. Not nearly as bad against anybody else, just something to keep in mind.

  3. Charge one of 2 (stay at 1" from charge target) and cast spells before melee attack.

    Some "tricks" that i like to use:
    - Engage living enemy models with Banes before feat.

    - Parasite on friendly models to give +1 arm to Gaspy. ARM 24 and effective 26 vs living, with Beyond death, is very nice. Scraps or even Skarlock are good targets.

    - Target Gaspy with BoC (Skarlock or through node)and make him immune to single wound non-reach troops. You can do that to Gorman, too.

    - BoC on line of McTs to make 9" smoke wall to protect rest from shooting (3 dead is better then more then 3 dead :) ) You can even make 11" wall of death for single wound models.

  4. Arc nodes run behind your target DO NOT get backstrike bonus. The point of origin of the attack (the arc node) must begin its activation in the back arc to get the bonus.

  5. You can declare a charge against a model off to one side - as long as you end a little bit closer to them, then you've "moved towards" them. Failed charge ends your activation, but my advice was only for moving around.

    @Anon - yes they do. See http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?11313

  6. Or rather, spells channeled through the arc node do get the back strike bonus.

  7. @Anonymous, Juckto's right. Look at the rules thread that he linked. It's cut and dry. The point of origin needs to be behind the target for the entire activation of the person casting the spell. The only time the point of origin isn't the person casting the spell is with arc nodes.

  8. @ Resurrection & Juckto - good ideas, I'll add them into the bottom as extra tricks.

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