In which Gdaybloke rambles some more about his experiences with the Old Witch’s theme force
Playing the Invisible Army has been a challenge for me. Prior to my taking up the theme force, I’d never before played Khador, let alone the Old Witch in particular. I’ve never had to deal with fielding light skirmishers that didn’t have a gimmick that let them take out specific targets, such as Daughters of the Flame and anatomical precision, or Mage Hunter Strike Force with Jack Hunter. Pertinent to this post, while I’ve enjoyed units of spellcasters before in the form of Battle Mages, I’ve never had to rely so heavily on three-man units of squishy fellows with questionable survival skills, for whom I have to pay four points.
Yup, we’re talking about the Greylord Ternion. I’m going to ramble on a bit here, but I hope you’ll bear with me.
These little wizard trios are possibly the backbone of the Invisible Army. Sure, Kossite Woodsmen ambush and shoot in the back and engage the gunlines, but after the first turn of the game, when the Stealth provided by the theme benefits has worn off, it’s up to the Greylords to help the army earn its title. They do this by providing a smokescreen behind which everything else hides on the advance. Your warjacks, mechanics, the Old Witch herself -If your opponent can’t see them, they can’t attack them. In this manner, the Invisible Army works in a similar fashion to the High Reclaimer’s theme force, which uses a smokescreen to cover the advance of Cleansers and the Avatar.
The difference here is that:
(a) the Greylord clouds don’t sap your warcaster’s precious Focus, meaning they’ve got enough for other spells and/or running warjacks
(b) the Greylord clouds require a target to be the centre of their blizzards
So on one hand, better. On the other, worse, because your opponent can still shoot or charge the models in the blizzards, having only a slight DEF buff to hurdle. As with many lists, though, it’s all about how the puzzle comes together.
Exhibit A: The Widowmakers
A unit that’s guaranteed to be in every Invisible Army theme force list at 50 pts, if only because you need to fill in the points. A unit with a reasonable DEF of 14. A unit whose DEF goes to 18 if you but a blizzard on them via the Greylords. A unit whose DEF goes to 21 if you add Iron Flesh to the mix. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a 12” wall of cloud effects that your opponent can’t easily snipe members out of.
Exhibit B: Scrapjack
A model you want moving on the front lines, likely near a flank. DEF14 isn’t the point, because once you target it with a Greylord Blizzard, Scrapjack’s Prowl triggers and you have a model with Stealth. This brings our cloud wall to 15”.
Exhibit C: Yuri and the Manhunters
This requires your keeping you Manhunters back with the army proper until you’re ready to launch them, rather then just letting them scooch ahead as a flanking force, but with Yuri and two Manhunters, you have another potential 9” of cloud wall on Stealth models.
Long story short, unless you’re playing against something like Legion or an MHSF swarm, if you can’t hid a couple of heavy hitting warjacks on the advance behind 24” of clouds, I’m not sure what to tell you.
Of course, the Greylord Ternion does more than just toss out Blizzard templates.
Ice Cage is a DEF debuff, which is wonderful if you have models that hit hard enough to take advantage of the debuff. In the Invisible Army, that means Warjacks or Yuri/Manhunters. Of course, the normal issue with Ice Cage is that you need to hit that first one. Second shot should be easier, and the third shot should be a breeze. It’s every Ternion unit leader’s dream to score three hits on a target and make it stationary, but you still need to tag that first shot.
This is where I bring in another lesson from my Menite days. One Kicky Monk, no big deal. Two Kicky Monks, moderately annoying. Four or five Kicky Monks in Amon’s theme force, and suddenly they’re a very real problem your opponent needs to deal with.
Same concept applies here. Prior to taking up the Invisible Army theme force, I can’t think of a single game where I’ve seen an opponent field more than a single Ternion, maybe with a Koldun Lord nearby. One Ternion means if you miss that first shot, you have no chance of scoring that Stationary tag; Three Ternions mean you’ve got a total of nine shots on the board if you really need to lock that target down.
Frostbite rounds out the Ternion’s arsenal, a Rng8 POW12 spray. As with the Ice Cage, the fact that you can slap nine of these on the board hitting with a Magic Ability of 7 can really add up. With Spd6 you’ve got a 14″ threat range, so you’ve got the option of marching through the smokewall you’ve established and then unleash some wintery death.
In the end, I’ve developed a fondness for the Ternion despite their being 4pts for three single-wound bearded gits, and I like the way they interact with the theme as a whole.
That said, I really wish they’d revise the theme to allow the Koldun Lord. It’d be thematically appropriate, would add another Frostbite and Ice Cage, but most significantly, it’d add a ‘Jack Marshal with Power Booster.
If I have one complaint about the Invisible Army, it’s that the list’s efficacy actively caps at 50pts. Most theme forces really kick in and find their balance at the 50pt mark, but since there is no FA increases in the the, the ONLY WAY you can get to 50pts is to field two heavies (or a Colossal). That’ll get you to 50pts, and… well, that’s as far as you go. If you want to go to any higher point levels, you need to put at least four+ heavy warjacks on the Old Witch, and given that she’s wanting to keep Avatar of Slaughter and Iron Flesh and Weald Secrets out there, as well as possibly slapping out some Murders of Crows, she simply can’t effectively run more than two heavies.
A Koldun Lord would not only fix that, but also give more options at lower levels, and damn it if ain’t a cool model.
Please, powers that be at PP? I can understand not including the Outriders, but can I have a Koldun Lord to hang out with the Old Witch? 😉