It’s worth reading the fluff stories for each faction, as it can give you a flavour of what the warcasters and units are like. Being a Cryx player, this was obviously the first one I read; so probably makes more sense to me.
Warcaster – Lord Exhumator Scaverous
As always with Cryx, the artwork looks cooler then what the stats seem to indicate. Scaverous appears to be a support caster, with several debuffing upkeep spells (Feast of Worms & Icy Grip). Death Ward supports friendly faction troops with a +2 ARM buff, while Excarnate can resurrect grunts to a small based unit. There is another spell – Telekinesis, which is both offensive and defensive; depend on who it is cast on. Scaverous’ feat though is a clever one, called Black Gate it essentially makes magic much ‘easier’ for your troops; but harder for the enemy. Stats wise, low DEF with high-ish ARM. He certainly won’t be fighting, if he can help it.
Character Warjack – Erebus
Scaverous’ jack Erebus, is just going to be a combine harvester for Scaverous. The affinity allows Erebus to feed souls to Scaverous, while in the control area. Add in Overtake, Erebus will be eating through infantry; like cheap candy. With a DEF higher then a Slayers, Poltergeist is more likely to trigger; allowing Erebus to push enemies d3 away. Built on the Slayer chassis, it has the standard MAT and P+S of the Slayer. While it’s nice, it just doesn’t make it seem unique against a Slayer.
Retribution of Scyrah
Warcaster – Lord Arcanist Ossyan
I quite like the look of this Caster, which first thoughts brought to mind Prince of Persia. His spell list is balanced, even though it seems he only has one offensive spell (Arcantrik Bolt). Shatter Storm, isn’t directly offensive; being cast on friendly faction models. However, boxing an enemy model triggers AOE 3 (unboostable) POW 8 blast damage; on adjacent models. The big spell though, is Chronomancer, giving models in the battlegroup; Future Sight (add dice to an attack/dmg roll after rolling). This is where the Persia bit comes it, winding back time; you know you miss so try again with 3/4 dice. Ossyan’s feat (Gravity Well), gives friendly troops an extra dice, while enemy troops get 1 less. Be aware though, this is only for ranged attacks; not melee.
Character Warjack – Hypnos
Of all the new character jacks, Hypnos is the only one with an arc-node. It seems a waste, with Ossyan’s one lonely offensive spell. However, the devils in the detail; when you look closer at Ossyan’s spells. Shatter Storm for instance, instead of the caster being 6″ from target; he can channel up to 20″ away. Front line infantry, suddenly find a walking bomb next to them; when Hypnos fires it’s ranged weapon. Stat line is average for Retribution jacks, low DEF; but high ARM. MAT on the two Arcano-Pulse Fists; will certainly hit most things. Hypnos, can not be targeted by enemy spells either; with Sacred Ward ability.
Mercenaries – Free Company
Warcaster – Captain Damiano
The Steelhead warcaster, doesn’t appear to be very special; certainly not in the league of Ashlynn D’Elyse. That said, he is going to work well with most units/models, specifically Steelheads. With both ranged and melee support spells (Deadeye, Death March and Surefoot), he gives them a better chance of hitting, surviving and taking Vengeance (with Death March). Stats are average for a caster of any faction, though Paymaster makes it a little better. His feat (Conquest), is all about holding the line. +3 to STR and ARM, while denying any move by the enemy in their turn.
Character Warjack – Rocinante
Named after Don Quixote’s horse, this jack seems to suit the name well. A tough workhorse, it will guard its master to the death. Affinity gives Rocinante, the ability to box enemy model in melee; then make a ranged attack. Provided it is no longer engaged that is, so swarming infantry; could cause it a problem. That said Defensive Strike, could help in this respect; allowing it to make one melee attack on an enemy advancing into melee range. As mentioned he is also trained Guard Dog (yes that is the name of the ability). When within 3″ of Damiano (not knocked down or stationary), the caster is immune to free strikes, gains +2 DEF against melee and no bonus to back strikes. With typical low DEF and high ARM, he will be a tough nut to crack.
This concludes the run through of the new Warcasters and Character Jacks. First of all thank you for sticking with it, while I may have enjoyed reviewing this; it might have been a slog for you to read. I also apologize now, that there is little in the way of hard statistical facts; this is due to copyright issues with Privateer Press. I have tried to give as much information as possible, without breaching the trust that PP extends to people like me. I am sure others will have other opinions on these models, so feel free to comment or critique; I value all opinions on this great game.