Terrible AWESOME’ – For the Motherland Blog
Author: Ben Robinson
The ‘Man in the Machine’ or maybe even the ‘Ghost in the shell’ for those that follow the latest adventures of Karchev in the Cryxian tunnels under the Thornwood. He has become a MKIII rompa-stomping legend on the tournament scene, casually dominating the World meta and probably leaving your local club members scratching their heads in vain. Fortunately the errata has changed all of that… or has it…
This short article will share some thoughts behind the choices made for the following Karchev list, it will discuss its tactical flexibility and briefly consider its place in meta play. I won’t draw much in the way of comparisons to the much famed ‘mad dog spam’, firstly as I never played it, favouring instead the tactically flexible list below, and secondly with the errata changes ‘mad dog spam’ is possibly no longer relevant.
So on to the list:
Armoury – Steamroller Objective
Karchev the Terrible – WJ: +30
– Behemoth – PC: 25
– Juggernaut – PC: 12
– Juggernaut – PC: 12
– Devastator – PC: 14
– Destroyer – PC: 14
– Kodiak – PC: 13
Widowmaker Marksman – PC: 4
Gobber Tinker – PC: 2
Widowmaker Scouts – Leader & 3 Grunts: 8
Like any Karchev jack’ heavy list, this build is asking your opponent ‘can you deal with this much armour?’ That is the simple part. The next foundation to the list is understanding how it aims to win. The main strategy here is to receive the enemy force, thinning them with the firepower assets and low cost attacks (more on those shortly), while allowing Karchev to keep most of his focus. Then when the enemy can longer handle all that armour the force drives forward to win by attrition/scenario. This can make battle charged the dominant upkeep for Karchev, but to maximise the lists effectiveness it is important to know when to use road to war.
Juggernauts – this choice is simple, they are the beat sticks and the threat of critical stationary has some worth too.
Behemoth – now more costly, though offset by the destroyer, big B provides great flexible ranged damage output and a powerful counter attack piece even without the feat. Often requiring one focus in a list that doesn’t need to hand out much focus is nice and efficient too.
Devastator – the anvil. The contester. The spear tip. This jack’ plays a different roll in different match ups. Sometimes it will be the piece that goes forward forcing the opponent to use a key asset to respond to it. If they seek to bog it down with infantry rain of death can free it up. Rain of death is also one of those low cost attacks I mentioned above, as it can clear several low armour warrior models for no focus cost. In some matches the devastator will sit on an off zone/flag to prevent enemy scoring. Then some games the rest of the force will castle behind using steady and sturdy to prevent any jacks being pushed out of line.
Destroyer- this model serves as part of the fire base, but also as a forward throw away piece in some games. It becomes a throw away as it lacks the attack volume of the other choices. However it remains a firm choice in the list as two powerful shots from big B and a follow up shot from a destroyer is often enough to take out an objective in a single turn or destroy a significant heavy over two turns. In a match when your opponent often has limited assets capable of dealing harm to your own heavies that fire base sets a time scale your opponent has to work within.
Kodiak- the Kodiak solves some big issues with terrain, this list often likes to clump up to make the best of the devastator against push or at least works in close proximity to make the most of counter charge. Thus having a jack’ that can work within terrain and thus free up space for the others is a big deal. Vent steam is also an invaluable troop clearance tool, especially against solid ground casters, which are commonly dropped against this build due to behemoth and the destroyer. Vent steam like rain of death is a low cost attack, the Kodiak is also an efficient melee piece with its chain attack often provide a free attack or sorts. The Kodiak also makes good use of road to war to get it to effective positions, enhancing the havoc.
Widowmakers and marksman- These choices are often seen in a Karchev build as solid providers of road to war moves that is one good reason to take them of course and is sometimes useful. However the usual purpose of Khadors finest marksmen in this list is different. They act as finishers for multi damage box threats, like cavalry, or hunters of dangerous unit models, such as sentinels or iron fang pikemen. Also the potential for 7 points of damage on an enemy heavy supporting the battlegroup ranged attacks can be great for pushing the scales in your favour. They also find use as early throw away models, when a list is designed to play the long game something has to go forward and contest the field and these guys are fairly weak in the late game anyway.
Tinker- obviously it’s about repairs right? Well sometimes, but I’ve really grown fond of him as a scoring model. In a list full of heavy jacks’ pressuring all the key areas of the field, a little solo with cover all the time seems like a problem for later, which makes him a great scenario scoring solo.
Why should of you consider Karchev?
Whether you are thinking of using him or facing him, Karchev presents an interesting prospect in list selection. Like all high armour lists he forces the opponent to have a list that has some method of dealing with that. If they don’t he is an easy choice to grind the opponent out of the game. Models like the devastator force the opponents response to go further than they may like, a small amount of push tech for example is relatively weak, one unit of weapon masters may not be enough. In a tournament your opponent will likely be forced in to having to drop a dedicated armour cracking list, or they risk having little game if you choose Karchev. Knowing what your opponent ‘must’ drop can be very useful. This karchev build also excels at compact scenarios like the pit or line breaker. By contrast it struggles with scenarios which force it to spread out too thinly or advance to quickly, and for that reason dislikes disruptive control casters like Hayley 2.
Like any list knowing its strengths and weaknesses is the key to choosing the right list for the right match. However for me the range of tactical options offered by the diverse range of jacks’ discussed in this article allows for a great deal of overlap with the lists I pair it with, enhancing the list selection advantage and that’s an edge worth having.