Tactica: Intercessor Kreoss, by Hashmal Mar 3, 2017 8:39:56 GMT
Post by Nyx on Mar 3, 2017 8:39:56 GMT
(Written by Hashmal)
Intercessor Kreoss (Kreoss3, TheBoss Man™) is a beast of a Warcaster. The first mounted Warcaster the Protectorate received, he is also still arguably the strongest. Kreoss3 pairs a powerful personal threat that is among the best in the game with a deep pool of useful spells. He brings something for everyone: a defensive buff, a damage buff, an accuracy buff, and a movement buff. He can also strip upkeeps, clearinfantry, and blast heavies apart himself. While he sounds likeSuperman, the reality of a limited Focus pool keeps him in check.
Kreoss3 works well into armor skew and can play into most other armies at a good-to-great level. Depending on his build, Kreoss3 is not a fan of high infantry spam armies or pure gunlines.How you build Kreoss3 lists will largely be a meta call. This is one of those rare opportunities for Protectorate players to ask questions, rather than answer them.
For the TL; DR, yes he can run a double cav list well, better than any of our other Warcasters. If you have two units of Vengers, you *really* need to buy Kreoss3. Did I say two units of cav? Because I’m sure I run him with three. And Gravus. And my Warjacks would be mounted too, if they’d give me that option.
Stats, Abilities, Spells, and Feat
Kreoss3’s stats are among the best in our faction. He is Cavalry and so gets all the benefits implied therein. His SPD of 8 means he gets wherever the heck you want him to go and can keep up with any army. MAT 8 doesn’t go higher for our faction and is excellent on a Cavalry Warcaster. His DEF and ARM comboof 14/18 are as good as we can expect and are right up there with the Butchers in tankiness. Kreoss3 is packing what appears tobe, at first blush, a standard P+S 14 2” melee weapon with Magic Weapon and Blessed. Being Cavalry, Kreoss3 also has a POW 12 mount. His FOC 7 is good, affording him a 14” control area and flexibility in spell casting. Finally, his 18 wounds are as good as the Protectorate gets. Kreoss3 has the stats to be a tanky beefcake, but further on we’ll see why that’s not generally how he plays.
Kreoss3 has 28 Warjack Points, which is on the lower endof average for Warcasters. He is also on a large base, which can confound his otherwise good defensive stats.
Sometimes, Privateer Press spoils us. Kreoss3 is one of those times.
Divine Inspiration: Kreoss3 gains an additional die on melee attack and melee damage rolls, discarding the lowest die of each roll. Absolutely phenomenal ability. His melee weapon isn’t looking so bad now, is it? Note well that this applies to Mount attacks and Impact attacks too.
Elite Cadre: [Exemplar Vengers]: Hegives Divine Inspiration to his Vengers, too. This turns them from marginal melee-based Cavalry into heavy wrecking powerhouses. We’ll talk more about this later, but rest assured that this is an incredible ability that will govern list building choices.
Reposition [3”]: He is Cavalry, so no surprise here. Still, this ability lets Kreoss3 remain pretty live on later game scenarios, moving his large girth off the flag to deal with contesting elements before Repositioning back.
Brutal Charge: Divine Inspiration not being enough, Kreoss3 also gets +2 to damage rolls when he charges. POW 16 with DI hits hard. And we’re not done yet.
No fooling, Kreoss3’s spell list is ridiculous. It is almost a Greatest Hits: Protectorate! list. Not a dud on it.
Arcane Ward: A COST 2 upkeep that gives a model/unit +2 DEF and makes them untargetable by enemy spells. A solid upkeep that workswell on our best infantry choices. Kreoss3 can use it for personal safety too, which is good because the poor Devout has trouble keeping up with him.
Assail: A COST 2 upkeep that provides a friendly Faction Warjack the ability to charge or make slam/trample power attacks without spending focus. Additionally, the Warjack gains +2 movement when it does one of these things and models slammed move an extra +2”. Assail is a great spell to efficiently sling Warjacks down the field. While not specifically a Warjack ‘caster, Assail lets Kreoss3 run melee beaters better than others.
Crevasse: A COST 3 RNG 8 POW 12 spell that allows you to make a Spray 6 attack using a model boxed as the point of origin. The spray can target models in the back arc. Anything hit bythe spray suffer a POW 12 magic damage roll and all models boxed by Crevasse are removed from play. A solid infantry clearing spell that has a great deal of versatility and makes it tough foropponents to position effectively to shut it down. RFP is situational, but it is almost always awesome when it matters.
Death Sentence: A COST 2 RNG 8 offensive spell that allows your models/units to re-roll attack rolls against the affected model/unit. This amazing spell ups the efficiency of your army and enables you to seal the deal on even high DEF targets. It’s an upkeep too, which matters for his Feat.
Force Hammer: A COST 4 RNG 10 offensive spell that tags a model hit with a POW 12 slam. It’s an expensive spell, but versatile. You can use it to control a zoneor play keep away against a heavy (Force Hammer and then Reposition 3” puts a ton of space between you and a threat). You can also use it to engineer an assassination, which will probably be your more common use for this spell.
Ignite: A COST 2 upkeep that is a recognizable faction staple. +2 to melee damage rolls for a model/unit is always good. And, for those of you keeping math at home, Kreoss3 with this up is now POW 18 on the charge withBlessed and Divine Inspiration. Butcher who again? Note: for you Cavalry fans out there, Ignite applies to Mount attacks and Impact attacks. Kreoss3 and Vengers now have POW 14 Mount/Impact attacks that have Divine Inspiration. Really helps them clear outthe chaff, eh?
Kreoss3 purges all enemy upkeeps in his CTRL. He can then cast each of his upkeeps for free. He has four. That’s a lot of cycling! His Feat is on the weaker side in an absolute sense, but is game changing nonetheless. He can freely cycle Ignite, allowing two targets to benefit. He can freely slap Arcane Ward on himself for protection. He can smack a target with Death Sentence (free!) and boost the hit roll effortlessly. He can also freely put Ignite on himself for when he needs to goget busy, leaving his precious Focus reserved for wrecking face. And, it’s a free Purification that leaves your upkeeps intact which can put the enemy in a pickle the next turn – nobody wantsto spend a lot of Focus or Fury when Kreoss3 is breathing down their necks
Kreoss3 is something else—a Menite Adonis astride a war horse. He hits like the fist of an angry god (guess which one!), has a huge melee threat (13”!), supports his army incredibly well, has spells for infantry, Warjacks, hitting, damage, threat range, and a Feat that removes enemy defenses andsupport via upkeep stripping. Like I said, he seems like Superman.
The catch is, Kreoss3 can’t do it all at once. Unless it’s Feat turn, because then he don’t give a damn.
You will come to find his FOC 7 to be his biggest limitation—not in a bad way, but in a way that makes him balanced instead of broken beyond belief. Kreoss3 has a lot of spells worth casting each turn and it will be on you the player to determine what the best tool for thejob is. Even though Kreoss3 has tanky stats (for our faction), he is not invulnerable—cast too much and you’ll pretty quickly find some boosted firepower puts him in the ground.
Kreoss3’s theme of focusing your intent continues into his list building. He has a huge arsenal of supportive spells that work on a variety of targets. You, however, have between 28 and 103 points total with which to build an army and you can’t take two of everything (a valid build with him). Kreoss3’s list should focus on key strategies and act as a complement and foil to yourother list(s).
Or you can just throw this entire section out and take all the Cavalry. That works too.
The following are the Warjacks I like taking with him.
Dervish: Cheap as chips and takes well to Ignite or Assail. Kreoss3 doesn’t really turn him up to 11, but you can’t argue with a 7 point melee light that can tangle with a Warpwolf. And that’s a POW 21 combo strike once Ignite and Choir go up. I find myself taking one to round out list points in many cases.
Devout: The Devout gets special mention here because Shield Guard is something Kreoss3 can benefit from, what with him being on a large base and preferring to be forwards on the battlefield. Spell Shield will be darn tough to use, though, as Kreoss3 will routinely outpace the Devout. I consider it marginal, but it has its uses and if you want to build Fort Bull(@&* then this is a good place to start. And Ignite even lets the little duck get in there and finish a heavy off.
Redeemer: I make no bones about the fact that I think the Redeemer can effectively slot into any Protectorate list. Kreoss3 appreciates the Egg’s ability to pump out anti-infantry AOEs, which can be used to clear squishy chaff out of the way and open charge lanes. I’ve also used them to hose high DEF jammers off Vengers, allowing them to charge a turn earlier than my opponent wasready for. Special mention here, though, is the synergy with Force Hammer. Knock a ‘caster down, then 1-2-3 they’re dead. All this with a long threat range. It’s hard for ‘casters to spend Focus/Fury facing Kreoss3 with this threat on the table. It’s not an autoinclude, but I would lend this guy heavy consideration when building a list.
Revenger: Kreoss3 doesn’t mind having an Arc Node and the Revenger fits the bill in an affordable package.Being easily able to slap Ignite on him should the little guy need to do some heavy lifting is a big plus. One of the few ‘casters out there that can make good use of a Revenger in nearly every list. This also extends the potential threat range of the Force Hammer assassination run and can keep the Boss Man safe when he’s trying it.
Vigilant: What’s better than hiding Kreoss3 behind cover? Having cover that moves out of the way before you charge. If you are having trouble keeping Kreoss3 alive, the Vigilant will help you out.
Avatar of Menoth: The most meta of meta calls. Kreoss3 bears the honor of running the Avatar of Menoth better than any ‘caster in the Protectorate, with the possible exception of Thyra. The Avatar appreciates Assail more than any other ‘jack out there and it doesn’t require the Warjack to be in the ‘caster’s battle group. This is huge. An Avatar that can threat 12” is a problem, especially one that gets free charges. Kreoss3 appreciates the toolbox the Avatar brings: Gaze can lock down heavies crashing a flank, setting them up to be eviscerated by Vengers, amongst a ton of other shenanigans. Sacred Ward is fantastic, meaning Arcane Ward can go elsewhere. ARM 21 means the Avatar gets where he needs to in style. And, importantly, the Avatar doesn’t tax Kreoss3’s Focus, which is important given how much Kreoss3 likes to cast. The downside, however, is swallowing that 20 point tax outside of Warjack Points. If I could use WJP on him, the Avatar would be in every Kreoss3 list, no question. But I can’t. If you want to build Kreoss3 to focus more on Warjacks for armor cracking (which you can), then consider the Avatar. Otherwise, his role may be better handled by another squad of Vengers.
Castigator: No, really. Kreoss3 brings a great bag of tricks that helps the Castigator sing. He can fix its P+S problems with Ignite, keep it tough to tangle with vs. living ‘beasts with Arcane Ward, and give it a respectable 11” threat with Assail. And MAT 6? Death Sentence. Plus, the Castigator can help outa little on the anti infantry front with Combustion and brings double-handed throws into the mix for shenanigans. A solid inclusion and, frankly, I’ve gotten more mileage out of the Castigator than any other heavy I’ve taken with Kreoss3.
Crusader: It’s not hard to advocate for the Crusader when Kreoss3 fixes almost every problem the Warjack has. MAT 6 getting you down? Death Sentence. SPD 4 sucks? Assail. POW 20 not enough? Ignite. Okay thatlast one wasn’t really a problem, but still. For 10 points, theCrusader does a fine job. Depending on how you’ve built the rest of Kreoss3’s army, this ‘jack can find a home. Still not the place for Crusader spam, but one or two is pretty good to guard dog Kreoss3.
Fire of Salvation: I did say the Crusader merited aslot, so how does the super Crusader fare? The answer is… okay.Kreoss’ bond is appreciated (hey, who hates having more things with Dispel?) but isn’t the reason you take him. Fire sports a great Imprint that helps Kreoss3 deal with clogging infantry and high DEF heavies, and Righteous Vengeance helps set up long-distance charges. His SPD 5 legs appreciate Assail, and his MAT 7 P+S 20 (after Choir) mace doesn’t mandate Ignite so it can go elsewhere. This is all well and good, but at 16 points it almost feels like a bit too little. If you have him, he’s a decent buy with Kreoss3, but you can consider shaving him to another Warjack if points get tight. I’d also add that Kreoss3 supports Fire waaaaay better than Kreoss1 or 2.
Guardian: I did say that Kreoss3likes Arc Nodes and the Guardian is a good one! There’s little to hate about the Guardian with Kreoss3: Death Sentence allows you to go fishing for Crit Pitch if you want, Arcane Ward makes him DEF 14 versus charges, he hits hard, has an Arc Node for putting out upkeeps… all good stuff. I personally find him too slow for what I need and he tends to only enter the fight once it’s been decided for better or worse. However, this guy merits inclusion as one of Kreoss3’s Warjacks.
Reckoner: You can take one with everyone, no really. Kreoss3 likes the Reckoner well enough, helping it with threat range or hitting ability, and he certainly appreciates the gun for Force Hammer or general getting junk out of the way. I usually take one.
Sanctifier: What does Kreoss3 like more than heavies? Heavies he doesn’t have to personally fuel. Because Kreoss3 takes infantry and Warjacks alike, you will have opportunities for soul collection. Be warned, though: if you went Vengers + Gravus there will be soul competition. It’s alittle pillow fisted (only P+S 18 with Choir), but Ignite fixesthat up. A good buy.
Scourge of Heresy: By this point, you’ve probably realized that Kreoss3 does pretty okay with melee beaters, and even likes ranged ‘jacks too. Scourge, being one of our best melee beaters, is no exception. Arcane Vortex might save Kreoss3’s bacon on the turn he doesn’t have Arcane Ward up, or it could shut down a potential target for a pesky spell like Hellmouth. A word of caution: Scourge has a conflict of interests with regards to upkeeps compared to Kreoss3. Scourge likes them up and Kreoss3 can knock them down. Make sure that if you intend to put Scourge on a target with an upkeep that you Feat with Kreoss3 later.
Templar: It’s an ARM 21 heavy with Shield Guard. If Kreoss3 continues to indulge in his bullet allergy when you play him, then consider a Templar. I like them more than the Devout because of the beefy board presence they bring.
Judicator: Judy brings things to the table that Kreoss3 really appreciates. If you’re playing a Venger-heavy force, you know what it’s like to get your stuff totally jammed up. Judy can help wash jamming infantry off with ease. The firepower it brings helps with a Force Hammer-fueled assassination run. Plus, when were Assail or Ignite bad upkeeps? Having a Colossal helps Kreoss3 really anchor a flank, leaving the rest of his army to go play somewhere else. Not an auto-include, but a good buy if you choose it.
Revelator: The Revelator is good for the same reasons Judy is, though it focuses more on hard target shooting and less on unclogging a jam. I personally think it is better with Kreoss3 than Judy but I think that’s a call best left to the player. Both are good and have their place.
Kreoss3 helps our infantry with three main things: living via a DEF buff, hitting like freight trains with Ignite, and hitting accurately with Death Sentence. There are a few infantry choices I like taking with him. Y’know, besides Cavalry.
Choir: I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone but the Choir are pretty good with Warjacks. Even if you’re just taking one (like a Colossal), you should probably take them.
Exemplar Vengers: Didn’t take us long to get here, did it? No surprise, Vengers are pretty dang sweet with Kreoss3. He makes everything they do better. Vengers under Ignite start at P+S 16 with Divine Inspiration, going up to 18s if wounded. Oh, and those Lances are Blessed so we don’t give one toot about Arcane Shield or whatever else kids use these days to protect themselves. Even Vengers stuck in melee with a Kreoss3 army are a nightmare thanks to Divine Inspiration and Ignite (P+S 13 Weaponmasters with Divine Inspiration? OKAY). If your opponents have not played against Kreoss3 before, they are in for a world of hurt. A squad of 4 of these (assuming one died) can almost one-round a Stormwall. Even without being hurt, three or four on a heavy is bad news bears for the heavy. And with a 13” natural threat range, it is really hard to stop them from striking first.
The big question: are they an auto-include? Even though my personal answer is HELLYES, I believe the global answer is no. The only unique buff Kreoss3 provides them is Divine Inspiration. This is a great ability, but it is not the only thing that defines him. Kreoss3 has a fantastic spell list that supports a lot of other stuff too.
While you really should consider Vengers when building a Kreoss3list, don’t feel straightjacketed into taking them. If your meta is vicious against Vengers, try some other looks and see how they work for you. Can confirm, Idrians (for example) under Arcane Ward until they perform Ignited charges against their Prey… don’t suck.
Flame Bringers: The other Cavalry! And boy do they shine with the Boss Man. He packs both Arcane Ward to put their DEF at a healthy 16 and Ignite. Suddenly, those little knives of theirs are threatening to finish off heavies—or, in the case of Circle and Legion, kill them outright. Add in their movement shenanigans and high speed and you have a real stew cooking. I am a big fan of these girls with Kreoss3, especially as a vanguard for the inevitable wall of Vengers.
Flameguard Cleansers: I’m not going to spend a ton of time here. Cleansers appreciate the DEF buff of Arcane Ward (takes them to a DEF 15 vs. normal shooting). The reason I mention them here is Death Sentence—it works on ranged attacks too. This helps the Cleansers actually hit what they set out to hit. You can consider these guys if you’re looking for some spot removal of enemy infantry.
Idrian Skirmishers: We know they’re good with everyone and they love all the buffs Kreoss3 can throw out. Advance Deploy helps them keep up with Kreoss3’s faster moving army builds. Plus, they’ll help keep charge lanes clear for charging elements. For me, it’s always a choice between Flame Bringers and Idrians and that’s a tough call to make.
Visgoth Rhoven & Honor Guard: These guys get more capital if you’re playing with guns. Kreoss3 isn’t a big fan of Force Hammering a Stealth ‘caster only to have no follow-up. Rhoven can help him seal the deal. And hey, more shield guards! If you’re not playing with guns, I’d probably leave this unit at home.
Merc infantry generally do not provide our armies tools that we otherwise lack. There are a couple of options that can work.
Captain Sam MacHorne & the Devil Dogs: This unit accepts Arcane Ward pretty well, going up to DEF 15 on average (17 on Sam). Additional knockdown elements are appreciated and Ignite is pretty sweet with Dismantle.
Croe’s Cutthroats: It can be hard to keep the Attendant Priest alive, but the Cutthroats benefit well from both of Kreoss3’s infantry upkeeps. Plus, Death Sentence or an Arc’d Force Hammer can help them hit more reliably or open up opportunities to trigger Backstab.
Steelhead Halberdiers: I didn’t mention Temple Flameguard above, and for a reason: the only good thing about them with Kreoss3 is Set Defense stacking with Arcane Ward. Shield Wall is almost a dead rule with Kreoss3 because of how fast his armies tend to play. Halberdiers are a more offensive variant of the TFG and I like them with Kreoss3. They have the same synergy with Arcane Ward, but take Ignite much better owing to +1 higher native POW and Powerful Charge. Their MAT is a little lower, but Death Sentence fixes that right up.
Kreoss3 is often tight on points once you’re done cramming units and Warjacks into his list. Solos are a more scarce commodity and their inclusion must be weighed against their function in the list.
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist: A self-sufficient, high DEF, cheap scenario piece. For added hilarity, slap Arcane Ward on him and watch people turn purple trying to hit him. Kreoss3 has a pretty dominating (puns!) scenario presence already so the Allegiant isn’t quite as valuable with him. Still, there’s few things more satisfying than to watch your opponent tilt trying to hit both DEF 16 Flame Bringers AND DEF18 Allegiants.
Hierophant: Kreoss3 likes casting spells. Like, a lot. He needs Focus help where he can get it and the Hierophant is just the ticket. Don’t let that SPD 5 fool you – all it takes is some practice and you can make sure the Hierophant keeps pace. And don’t discount his ability to extend Kreoss3’s spell range, either as it has impacts for both his offensive and defensive spells. I include one in most of my Kreoss3 lists.
High Exemplar Gravus: Our only Cavalry solo, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Gravus shows up here. He is a Venger, after all, so benefits from Divine Inspiration. Being a native P+S 11 Weaponmaster helps, too. And he has Dispel on his weapon, in case your Vengers get tagged with an annoying Rebuke or something. Be careful with that, though, because he’s liable to one-shot a healthy Venger with an above average roll. Gravus can gain souls from the Exemplars who die in his CMD (9”), which lets him buy/boost attacks. However, the main reason we consider Gravus is that he’s basically a more offensive version of the Covenant of Menoth. Gravus, via Brothers’ Keeper, prevents friendly Exemplar models from being knocked down or made stationary. This takes a few Feats off the table and limits what your opponents can do to stop your Venger train from charging. It also protects Kreoss3 from a suckerpunch ranged assassination using those techniques. While the Covenant is cheaper than Gravus, its 5” no-knockdown bubble is far smaller than Gravus’ and its SPD 5 pales to his SPD 8. However, at 9 points, Gravus is no auto-include. Basically, if you find that your armies are routinely getting controlled via knockdown and stationary, consider Gravus. I wouldn’t take him if I wasn’t running a lot of Exemplar models, however (10 Vengers counts as a lot).
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance: Nicia gets a mention here because she can be a deadly scalpel when used correctly. At a native DEF of 15, she appreciates Arcane Ward if Kreoss3 has the bandwidth to slap it on her, and her P+S 10 Weaponmaster blade takes Ignite well. Nicia is useful because she is fast with Acrobatics, and so can get to places and scalpel out key support or unit attachments that might be bogging down your horses. You have to be a little careful with her, but she can bail you out of a tough spot, especially as the game closes and fewer jamming models remain.
Vassal of Menoth: The Vassal helps Kreoss3 run Warjacks more efficiently. Empower is a big deal, doubly so if you took the Avatar. Not my first solo pick, but a good choice if you’re running strapped on Focus and want to make sure your Warjacks remain relevant even on heavy casting turns.
Wracks: Yeah, Kreoss3 likes casting spells. I choose Wracks over Mechaniks for him because a 14” CTRL area is respectable for using them and he needs the extra focus far more often than a Warjack needs a d3+1 Repair.
Solos were already a precarious bag for in-faction options because of how tight points can get. For the most part, Mercenary solos are right out—Kreoss3 just doesn’t have the room for them. There is one extremely important exception, however…
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord: Rhupert is, in my opinion, an auto-include. The one thing Kreoss3 lacks is Pathfinder. Further, his Vengers only get Pathfinder when they’ve been wounded. Terrain interdiction is the easiest way to shut down a Venger charge. Rhupert makes it so you never have to rely on your opponent to trigger your Pathfinder. Unless your force is entirely Pathfinder already, you should probably take Rhupert. Bonus round: use Dirge of Mists on Arcane Warded Flame Bringers. Watch Cygnar cry and see Storm Lances struggle to hit at range. It’s a glorious feeling.
Anastasia di Bray: Okay, there are two exceptions. This one is much less important though. Kreoss3 plays fast and aggressive better than anyone in the Protectorate. When playing a heavy Cavalry list, you can really put the screws to the opponent by going first and being midfield before they even run. You can really constrict how opposing armies approach your forces. Anastasia gives you slightly improved odds of going first. The rest of her kit is neat, but not special for Kreoss3. Because Kreoss3 benefits more from going first than practically any of our other ‘casters, I mention her here. If you feel like this is worth the points it costs to take her, go for it.
Kreoss3 is not a big fan of our theme forces. They constrict his options while not providing him a ton of benefits. Of course, I say that and then go and build a Creator’s Might force with 8 heavies…
Guardians of the Temple: Not mincing words, I do not like this theme force for Kreoss3. It restricts his infantry options heavily, restricts his support options, and provides no real benefit to his playstle. Girded is very underwhelming on an ARM18 Warcaster and his typical armies play so fast that Ambushing Daughters aren’t as needed. Props to being able to take double Flame Bringers and get rewarded for it, but at the end of the day there isn’t a strong justification to run this over a standard army list. Additional Flameguard releases could change my opinion, though.
The Creator’s Might: This theme force is a mixed bag for Kreoss3. On the one hand, no infantry units to speak of, which hurts given his excellent access to buffing upkeeps. On the other hand, you can easily get 10 free points of support and field a *lot* of beef that he supports well. Warjacks don’t hate Ignite or Arcane Ward, and Assail means that Warjacks will always have a solid place with him. Free upkeeps on first turn is really nice, considering he has three you’re going to have up. I do not think this is the optimal way to play Kreoss3, but you can consider running him in this theme if you’re going to a Theme List-only tournament or something.
One of the best things about Kreoss3 is how flexible a Warcaster he is. With buff spells that work well on infantry and Warjacks alike, you’ll find many of our faction options have a home in his army list. That said, we have a limited number of points with which to work, so focusing is important.
The best thing to do with Kreoss3 is ask what hole his list needs to fill when compared to your other list options. For example, I frequently pair him with Sevy2 who provides some stonking great infantry clearing and a powerful, durable attrition game, which are the two things Kreoss3 sucks at. However, Sevy2 does nothing for the hitting game and tends to be pretty darn slow—these are areas in which Kreoss3 excels. With that in mind, a stew is cooking.
Here are some configurations I run him in and have seen others run him in:
Horse Spam: I had to list this first. Kreoss3 lets you live the dream of an all-Cavalry army and not be gimping yourself in some way. This is the look I run almost habitually. The list consists of two squads of Vengers and one squad of Flame Bringers. I recently added Gravus but I’m on the fence because he’s 9 points of questionable utility. After spending 57-66 points on infantry, you don’t really have a lot of options for Warjacks. Pick options that complement your army—I like looks such as double Redeemer and Revenger, a Castigator, Redeemer, and Dervish, a Reckoner and a Redeemer (playing 1 point down), a Guardian, Redeemer, and Dervish… it goes on.Pick Warjacks that up your utility, not necessarily your heavy stomping power. All goes right, you won’t need to worry about that.
Pros: Fast as hell army that commands midfield from the topof 1. A very hard counter to heavy spam. If Colossals/Gargantuans see a resurgence, this list rolls them and asks for more. Asks a hard question of the opponent: “Can you deal with my army inone turn? Because that’s all you’re going to get.”
Cons: Vulnerable to boostable shooting and struggles against infantry spam.
Double Vengers: Similar to Horse Spam, but instead of Flame Bringers you take another infantry element. I recommend Idrians. This list has a similar style, but plays a little cagier. You stand back and use ranged elements to whittle down screens and force hard targets to come forward. Then those targets get Venger’d upside the head. By the time they’ve cleared out your Vengers, your heavy ‘jacks are in range to seal the deal. Or your lights—Ignited Redeemers kill heavies. And Kreoss3 is sneaking up the tailpipe to close out the game personally if needed.
Pros: A morebalanced list that plays a great mix of defense and offense. Strong into many scenarios.
Cons: 40 points tied up in Vengers means if they go down before hitting your list loses a lot of punch.
Combined Arms: This list plays two to three quality infantryunits and supplements with ‘jacks. You will sometimes see a single squad of Vengers here complemented by Idrians and perhaps min Cleansers with UA for Death Sentence synergy. You may also seeZealots here—I didn’t mention them, but they do have a place insuch a list. Warjacks are typically focused on killing hard targets and cover a wide range of possibilities.
Pros: Very balanced list that can handle a host of different armies. Depending onwhich army you built against, can play into any faction in the game and will not feel like a “dead drop.”
Cons: More vulnerable to skews because it is not a skew itself.
Fort Bull&^@#: Thisis a look I’m playing with now. The idea is that Kreoss3’s battlegroup maximizes on keeping him safe and shepherding him up thefield to bully the opposing ‘caster. To that end, you’re looking at a Vigilant and Shield Guards. I like Templars. Kitted correctly, Kreoss3 can be sitting at DEF 20 ARM 18 with Shield Guards, untargetable by spells, and camping 7. Not much getting through that. The rest of the army should be focused on clearing lanesfor Kreoss3 to get busy. If the enemy ‘caster is ever within 13” of Kreoss3, your turn should be focused on how you’re going todeliver him to his target—a fully loaded Kreoss3 charging can kill even Butcher through full camp. Prepare to capitalize on thefact that your opponent will keep their ‘caster over 13” away from Kreoss3 as this will be highly relevant to scenario elements.
Pros: Very aggressive and lets Protectorate play in a style we usually don’t get to. Powerful scenario presence because of how limited the enemy’s movement must be to avoid the Boss Man.
Cons: Pretty linear and the assassination will rarely be executedbecause your opponent should know how deadly Kreoss3 is. Also does not play well into armies that can get around DEF 20 and 2+ Shield Guards (Sloan primarily).
Which one is better? I clearly prefer all Cavalry, but I’m not convinced that’s the best way to play him. I think a combined arms approach works well for Kreoss3. And let’s not discount Kreoss3 as a bully stick either. The best look is going to be the one that suits your pairing well and one that answers the lists you’re seeing on a regular basis (or makes them answer you in the case of all Cavalry).
Kreoss3 lists have a lot going on. As the commander of your army, each turn you will have to decide where Kreoss3’s great spell focus should be put, whether that be Force Hammering an important target, Crevassing some dudes, cycling upkeeps as forces are attritioned or ready to hit, or camping up like a boss.Kreoss3 plays a lot like you would expect a powerful general to: leading from the rear but not cowering, deploying resources strategically to aid his forces in battle, and then joining the fray when the battle is joined. There are a few salient points to keep in mind when playing Kreoss3.
First Turn: Depending on your build, your first turn should be spent establishing board position. If you are playing all Cavalry or double Venger, this will be split into Going First and Going Second. For other looks, first turn play should be as standard for most Protectorate ‘casters. Get your buffs up, don’t be afraid to get Ignite on a key target so you can cycle later, be aware of top of 2 assassination capabilities when spending Focus, the standard. However, this changes for Cavalry lists.
Going First: Live the dream. Your Cavalary should crash forward firmly into scenario elements, using your large charge threat to restrict enemy movement. What you are doing here is bullying them out of approaching the zones. Next turn, you capitalize on this by retreating to the back of zones, out of much of their threat range but within scoring range. This makes them come forward or they risk ceding many points to you. From there, melee engages and fun was had… by you, at least. This tactic heavily leverages the speed and mobility of your Cavalry elements to create a devil’s choice for your opponent.
Going Second: We don’t always get to live the dream. If you are going second with a Cavalry heavy list, your first turn should focus on pressuring scenario elements. You will get first crack at scoring, so prepare to capitalize on that. Your Cavalry should setup to threaten most to all points of a zone while remaining out of significant threat of your opponent. Because your threat ranges are so long, your opponent will have to engage scenario on top of 2 or risk ceding you easy points. From there, you can charge in and punish. This will be more of a cat and mouse game than going first, but can easily be won (approximately 70% of my Kreoss3 games in Mk. II have resulted in me going second and I have above a 90% win rate with him).
Midfield Domination: Kreoss3 is fast and favors models that are also fast. You should be focused on keeping zones clear utilizing your superior threat ranges and ranged elements while looking for opportunities for Kreoss3 to get in and start dominating. His personal bulk allows him to be quite live on scenario elements. Be warned that Kreoss3 can and will die if dedicated pieces get on him (heavy ‘jacks or ‘beasts, lots of damaging infantry, lots of boostable guns) so you will need to make a judgment call about when to engage him and when to keep him back. With Kreoss3, look for opportunities to score early and often, as his is not the most resilient army out there.
Assassination Potential: Did you take a Redeemer? Then you should be on the lookout for opportunities to engineer a Force Hammer assassination. ‘casters camping 3+ are generally bad targets (unless they’re ARM 14), but those that went down to 2, 1, or even 0 are potential targets. Be aware of Shield Guards that are nearby, too. Force Hammer is one of the few remaining ways we can slam our own models over enemy models, so do not be afraid to use this to your advantage. Kreoss3 favors Cavalry and fast moving elements that can easily get within slamming range of a Warcaster.
When to Feat: There’s a silver lining to Kreoss3’s Feat not being the absolute bee’s knees: it is less critical when you pop it. Through a lot of experience, I have found that most Feats are designed to allow you to play, on average, a heavy up on your opponent in terms of material denied or destroyed—Thagrosh1 is the most linear example of this math in that he returns a destroyed heavy to the field. Kreoss3’s Feat does not have that linear type of application. His feat should be used when the battlefield conditions are right for it. Namely, there is an enemy upkeep to remove, you will get benefit out of cycling your upkeeps, AND you will be able to capitalize on the saved Focus. Don’t look for opportunities to cycle ALL of your upkeeps. One or two will typically be fine. This is also a good time to get a free Death Sentence out in the wild.
The one exception to the rule above depends entirely on how busy you plan on getting with Kreoss3. If you are going to use the Boss Man as a bully stick, it benefits you to sit on the Feat for as long as possible so that Kreoss3 can clear any spells he doesn’t want to see (like Admonition) and slap Ignite on himself for free while charging in on an enemy. That gets him to an effective 8 Focus for buying additional attacks.
Kreoss3’s Feat isn’t likely to be the thing that tilts games in your favor like other Feats are and there is no proscribed time to pop it. This will require opportunity analysis on your part and a judgment of when you will best realize the benefits of its different components.
He Killed… What?!: To use a chess analogy, Kreoss3 is a King with the offensive output of a Queen. As the game goes on, it is entirely possible that your opponent will be able to get a heavy, even a Colossal in range of Kreoss3 to pressure him or to stop him from Dominating. Analyze this move and determine how safe you can keep Kreoss3, because he can kill it. In one round. Yes, even the Colossal, though it wouldn’t be bad to shoot it a couple times first. This will leave him flapping in the wind, but if no other threats are readily available, this level of output from your Warcaster can tilt a game heavily in your favor.
Closing Out the Game: Even when we’re playing fast and more fragile armies than normal, Protectorate games can still easily devolve into a grind. If you didn’t completely incapacitate your opponent with your first charge, the lines will be joined and from there it becomes a smacking game until pieces are reduced on both sides. This is one area where Kreoss3 shines. His personal threat is not contingent on a Feat or other models to enable it. As the game goes on, Kreoss3 becomes more dangerous, simply because the things that can stop him are dying. After pieces are reduced significantly for your opponent, Kreoss3 should become very live on scenario, Dominating and clearing points. Keep your focus on the scenario game because Kreoss3’s personal threat is so linear. If you find yourself down on points and can keep the Boss Man safe, don’t be afraid to get him on the scenario elements of the opposing Warcaster or Warlock—they’ll run away from him quick.
Matchups and Pairings
I’ll conclude with a brief discussion of matchups Kreoss3 likes and doesn’t like, and what can be done to ameliorate this with his second list (or third too).
As elucidated above, Kreoss3 is very good against heavy spam. Because he pumps the hitting power of Vengers through the roof and because heavy spam lists are generally light on infantry, little stops his Cavalry from getting on target and causing a god awful mess when they do. This is why I never feared Mad Dog spam and why I still do not fear Harkevich or Karchev—I’ve been running an all-Cavalry list since the first day of Mk. III. Of course, my local meta is wise to that and never runs these lists against me when I’m fronting Kreoss3.
Kreoss3 is very good against Hordes in general. Hordes fields fewer infantry models, which gum up Kreoss3’s works, and looks to more Warbeasts, which he loves. Warbeasts are, on average, squishier than Warjacks which makes our Vengers have even more game into them. Three-shotting a Legion heavy with Vengers is not uncommon and I have felled an Angelius with just two charge attacks. Warpwolves just die. Even Troll heavies like Mulg under stone fear Venger charges.
Kreoss3 is decent into combined arms because of the level of personal threat he brings and his versatile spell list. Fewer heavies on the table means that his Cavalry elements can be repurposed to impact attacks and infantry clearing.
Kreoss3 has two notable gaps. First, he suffers against long range boostable shooting. Cygnar is a tough matchup for him, doubly so if you took an all Cavalry list. It is too easy for them to reduce Cavalry to useless numbers before they hit, forcing Kreoss3 and his battlegroup to do the brunt of the heavy lifting. Casters like Kara Sloan and Haley2/3 are bugbears for him and will probably take the day without much difficulty. Even when not playing all Cavalry, Kreoss3 doesn’t have any way to buff the resilience of his army against shooting. I am not a fan of him into Cygnar.
Second, Kreoss3 has difficulty with overwhelming infantry spam. Gribblies gum up his works and can lead to disparate points exchanges as his army is taken down by cheap stuff. Khador’s Winter Guard theme force looks to be problematic and Exulon Thexus has been the stuff of nightmares since the dawn of Mk. III. Should Cryx resurge, this too will be a tougher matchup for him. A Madrak2 list with all the dudes ever, finally, is a big problem.
Kreoss3 pairs well with things that natively shore up his weaknesses and favors Warcasters who can play well into infantry and Cygnar. Fortunately, the Protectorate does pretty okay into Cygnar because of Passage. Here are some ‘casters I like, in no particular order.
Sevy2: Nosurprise here, Sevy2 is basically the antithesis to Kreoss3. Hepunks infantry and plays a very durable list with tons of game against Cygnar, infantry spam, even gun bunny spam. I rank him as the best pair for Kreoss3 because they cover each other so well.
Kreoss1: A solid option that plays more conservatively than Kreoss3, Kreoss1 will focus on ranged attrition and cleaning up on the gunfight through his Feat. Can easily be hid behind ‘jackwalls should Cygnar shooting get too close and personal.
Durst1: Durst plays a polar opposite game to Kreoss3. Instead of spreading out and crashing in, Durst bricks up and marches down the field. He fields a highly durable army able to weather a host of different attacks before unpacking and wrecking face.
Sevy1: Sevy1 plays into infantry well, provided you can keep him safe from being shot. His ranged game is the stuff of legends.
High Reclaimer: The High Reclaimer is a good option provided Kara Sloan isn’t on the table to ruin your day. He focuses on attrition and uses Hand of Fate to key his infantry up to 11. Bonus points: if HR takes a squad of Vengers, which he has been known to do, you can double down on bag space!