"A witch who is bored might do ANYTHING", Terry Pratchett.
With ADR set to rotate some time in January, it's about time to start exploring the non ADR casters. As many of you know I've fallen in love with the King of Nothing! After a lot of theory machine, I decided to try Zevanna Agha, the Fate Keeper. First I'm going to call her Old Witch 3, or OW3 for the rest of this article. Second, she's very similar to her Khador version, so my Red Brothers please read on! She has a delivery system into shooting, a threat extension, a nasty gun, and a lot of cool tricks. Here's my initial review! (and a list I totally stole to start out with)
Stats and Abilities
Let's start with the fact that she's huge. Literally, she's on a 120mm base. Scrap Jack might have been doping. She's a Battle Engine Warlock, and this brings some interesting things into play. Almost no terrain blocks LOS to her. She can't be pushed, and never gains the "in melee bonus" against ranged and magic attacks. She can be targeted by combined ranged attacks even when in melee, so be extra careful when you're trying to keep her safe. On the plus size, she has the second largest control area of any of our casters base, and can have the largest when she wants to. The King is fury 8, but on a 30mm base has a control area of roughly 865 inches. Old Witch 3 on her 120mm base has a control area of roughly 841 inches.
Okay onto her stats. She's Speed 6, MAT 5, RAT 6 caster thats Fury 7. She is DEF 12, ARM 19 and has 20 boxes to try to keep herself alive with. She's Command 8, and has innate Pathfinder. Scrappy will stomp you, literally, at RNG 2, PS 15. Keep in mind she's a Battle Engine, so these melee attacks have fields of fire. This means that if there is something on the left side of her base, and she doesn't rotate to face it, she can only attack it with a single initial melee attack.
She has an amazing gun that we'll cover more in depth in a few, that is Range 12 and ROF 1. It's worth noting that she doesn't have a magical weapon. I believe that Grymkin is the only faction to have three casters without magical weapons. Fortunately, the faction also has access to the Wraithbane animus, which gives magical weapons and blessed to compensate for this. The front of her card is solid, but it's nothing special.
Once we flip the card over, the real fun starts. For an Old Witch she has quite the backside (I'm not objectifing her, I'm objectifing Scrappy!). Arcane Machinery allows her to benefit from one of 5 abilities a turn;
- Arcane Calibrations reduces spell cost by 1 when cast by this model.
- Divinator allows models in it's battlegroup to reroll failed attack rolls. (Note, this includes ranged and magic attacks)
- Hellhole returns d3 friendly faction grunts to play.
- Range Amplifier increases the range of spells cast by this model, when this model is the point of origin.
- Vexing Alignment increases this model's control range by 4 inches.
There's some serious gold in there. I'll go over each as they are relevant and synergize with other pieces, but it's an incredible list of abilities.
She has Dual Attack and is Repairable. Each of these is self explanatory.
Her gun, Carrion Crows doesn't do damage. On a direct hit against an enemy model it centers a 4 inch AOE, and Blinds living and undead models touched by the AOE! It also is a hazard that causes 1 point of magical damage to models entering or ending their activation inside of it, and is a cloud effect that stays in play for one round. It needs to directly hit, but we can use Divinator to help make that happen.
Thanks to Dual Attack, Old Witch 3 actually has one of the strongest personal assassination runs in the game. On feat turn, she can cast Boundless Charge on herself for one Fury which gives her a 13 inch personal melee threat range. Combine this with access to a re-roll gun (Divinator) and a (now) cost 2 Curse of Shadows, she can be essentially MAT 9 PS 17 with re-rollable attacks. Not much is safe from that!
Similar to the Dreamer, Carrion Crows provides for a lot of control play. You can use it to completely block off zones to single wound infantry if there is a handy obstruction or piece of hazardous terrain next to it. It lets her control entire units with a combination of Carrion Crows and Scourge (which we'll cover in a second). It's also an extremely solid "hit buff" against anything you can get under that template.
Lastly she's Old School, which means no Arcana... That's right, the thing I like more about Grymkin doesn't even happen with the Old Witch. While it's a HUGE drawback, she's got enough bells and whistles to make a compelling argument to get into your tournament pairing.
I'm not going to let the fact go that casters used to have spells equal to their casting stat. Old Witch only has 5 spells, but they are each extremely solid! I'll go over my thoughts on each spell, and attached the image if you want to read the spells.
- Boundless Charge: Threat extension and pathfinder! Not to mention when combined with Arcane Calibrations you can sling out 7 of these bad boys! Costing 1 makes it way more viable to tossing this out in handfuls for a Bump in the Night list.
- Curse of Shadows: You guys know how much I love ARM debuffs. The no free strikes and ability to completely move through models are game changing! Note that it's upkeepable.
- Respawn: Be mindful of Grievous Wounds, or anything else that prevents the removing of damage, as that will make this spell useless.
- Scourge: As mentioned above, when combined with Carrion Crows it's a bit silly. We can use Range Amplifier to make it range 13 as well. Those models there, yes those ones. They are blind and knocked down. This makes for an amazing amount of control, or a really mean start to an assassination run.
- Windstorm: I mentioned early that she had a delivery into shooting, and this is it. Combine this with Vexing Alignment and you get there vs most shooting lists. Don't forget that you also get to chose AOE deviation!
That's an incredible combination of spells. Threat extension, delivery, arm debuff, and utility! What else could you ask for? Okay, we could ask for more but really it's an exceptional spell list.
Yes that's right she has the best feat in the Grymkin Faction! But it does come at the cost of Old School. Her feat allows her to benefit from all of her Arcane Machinery effects. Whenever you use it you should ask your opponent, "What time is it?". Then you can scream it's the "HOUR OF RECKONING!" That alone might be worth it. At first, the feat can seem lackluster, so I'll go ahead a list exactly what it does. Spells cost one less, and she gets to have +5 inches of range. She returns d3 destroyed grunts back to play. Her battlegroup rerolls failed attack rolls, and her control area goes to 18 inches. It's legit and makes for some really interesting decisions during that turn.
I quickly just wanted to go over some clear synergies.
- Twilight Sisters: We can bring back 2+d3 models a turn. While not Ghost Fleet like numbers, the quality of the models we can return is really incredible. Neigh Slayers and Piggy Backs are our most expensive in terms of points per model.
- GoreHound: Sprint, the Old Witch is more than capable of doing some solid work herself each turn, Sprint helps her stay safe afterward.
- Cage Rager: We mentioned she doesn't have an innate magic weapon, WraithBane fixes this. She also certainly doesn't mind having an arcnode.
- Frightmare: See in the Dark, if we're taking the Old Witch we need to get work done with Carrion Crows. Ignoring stealth and cloud effects can be a godsend.
- Rattler: Living the dream and kiling entire units of infantry is amazing. Being able to reroll each berserk attack once...priceless.
So that's the "old lady". She's a solid caster that does a little bit of everything. No Arcanas and being huge are certainly tough pills to swallow. But she's got a really incredible toolbox. If the King of Nothing rotates off of ADR I'm likely going to play the OW3 in Bump in the Night. Below is the list I've been playing with her so far ;
Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper - WB: +27
Cage Rager - PC: 14
Frightmare - PC: 9
Gorehound - PC: 6
Rattler - PC: 8
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist - PC: 0
Lord Longfellow - PC: 0
GlimmerImp- PC: 0
Hollowmen - Leader & 9 Grunts: 13 - Lantern Man - PC: 3 X2
Murder Crows - Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
Neigh Slayers X2
I did swap in a Glimmer Imp for a Witchwood, but otherwise that's an Ode to Dunford. It plays similar to the King of Nothing, as we're relying on the delivery of Neigh Slayers to drop the big targets. I'm tempted to swap out a unit of Hollowmen for some Rots and a Mad Cap.
What are you guys running with the Old Witch? How much do you miss Arcana? In an upcoming article, I'll go over some thoughts on making a list for the OW3, and post some battle reports!