Choosing a dark and winding path

It’s going to be Father’s Day in North America shortly. As I was pondering what to write about for this morning’s post I pondered paternal units in the Iron Kingdoms and didn’t come up with a lot of options. A number of characters we know are parents, but are kept distant from their children due to estrangement, indifference, or the necessity of war. We don’t get to see a lot of parent-child interaction, other than Iron Mother Directrix telling her willful daughter that she can’t get all chromed up yet, which would really be a Mother’s Day thing. The most prominent father that comes to mind is Toruk, which is somewhat appropriate given yesterday’s bloggery.

The Father of Dragons isn’t a big fan of any of his children. Each of them took a little piece of him away, and ungrateful sots they are, fled the nest as soon as they could. Now they don’t write, they don’t call, they just run around doing foppish thing like razing settlements, spreading blight, and in one case, floating around all disembodied and thinking of ways to stab his siblings.

Now, I’m not planning on collecting the full faction, but having some options to dabble with is rarely a bad idea. Four warcaster options immediately present themselves to build from, mainly because I already own the models.

  • Warwitch Deneghra
  • Bane Witch Agathia
  • Goreshade the Bastard
  • Sturgis the Corrupted

Captain Rengrave and the crew of the Atramentous are here, backed up by two Pistol Wraiths, and I have a smattering of Helljack and Bonejack options; I’ll likely be playing these with whichever warcaster I settle on, but as I was pondering my Lostie sense was tingling. Traditionally, we like to champion the unloved, and I think on that list the most unloved would be Sturgis the Corrupted. I can’t think of a single player locally who put in the time to really  see if they could make him work.

Natural progression of this train of thought was to check what changes there were from MkII to MkIII for the ex-Cygnaran dervish. So I checked with War Room.

  • Stat card (front): Unchanged, other than the necessary point scaling.
  • Stat card (back): Unchanged
  • Spell card (front): Almost completely unchanged: Teleport was reduced to 6″
  • Spell card (back): Feat unchanged

Wait, so with the game being rebalanced and all that jazz, Privateer’s solution to the unpopularity of Sturgis the Corrupted is to… ever so slightly weaken his teleport shenanigans? Has the impact of the changes to Focus altered his tabletop effectiveness that significantly? There’s got to be something we’re missing.

Privateer doesn’t do things willy-nilly, despite all the moaning online and the memes about design space and all that crud. MkIII’s been in development for years. Models have gone through both internal and external review and playtest. And don’t give me that guff about how he’s just unplayable. Forumthink said the same thing about Wanderers of the Faith and Fires of Reclamation, two theme forces that required Menites to play withoutthe Choir of Menoth, and through actually playing the damn lists I was able to make both work quite effectively.

So what is Sturgis’ deal? What makes him so damn deadly in MkIII that the sum total of changes from his MkII version is a reduction in the effectiveness of his yo-yo game? Are Dark Shroud and Parasite, when combined, that much more effective against Focus’ new damage mitigation as opposed to ARM buffing? Is it just that he’ll have an easier time keeping some Focus on himself for trickery now that Warjacks can power themselves up?

Some tire kicking may be required. At some point I’m going to have to stop talking myself into these situations…

… and I’m still using him with Mobius, dammit.


One Response to Choosing a dark and winding path

  1. Avatar Border Prince
    Border Prince says:

    Pure theorymachine here…

    The change to overboosting makes a difference to him. It’s not just parasite+dark shroud, but the volume of attacks. He should be able to land enough hits to get a warcaster to burn through their stack and still get damage through, maybe even still having attacks to spare, whereas in Mark 2 he would struggle to break armor against a camping caster so all those attacks were wasted. His attacks are of decent (but not stellar) quality, but he might have the most attacks of any single model in the game, which is a quality all of its own in the Mark 3 world.

    The new rules for back strikes might also make a massive difference. He no longer needs to begin his activation in the rear arc of his target. If he can get to his target and get his first two attacks to hit, he can then chain attack: flash into the back arc of a small-based target and get the back strike bonus for all the remaining attacks, buying two with each point of focus. Up to 12 back strike attacks is not something any caster can take lightly.

    Put those two together and he looks like a pretty good melee assassin. Even more so when you add in pathfinder on charges (which should be more relevant in Mark 3 than it was in Mark 2). Just figure out how to clear a path for him…