Monday, June 18, 2012

Thinking Cap: In Defense of the Conquest

There’s been a lot of hate out there for the Khadorian Colossal.  There are many who feel like it is the least useful of the Colossals and many will argue that the Stormwall is hands-down the best Colossal out there.  While I will not disagree that the Stormwall is fantastic, I think it’s power is perhaps exaggerated by the fact that Cygnar previously lacked something that had both raw offensive output and damage resiliency.  Indeed, one of the Stormwall’s greatest attributes is that it will be effective in the hands of nearly all of the Cygnarian warcasters since it has both raw melee potential and some effective shooting.  Why then, is the Conquest viewed by Khadorian players with such disappointment?  Let me share some insights I’ve had about the Conquest and why I think it will be equally – if not more welcome – than the other warjacks that Khador can bring.

He's like a mini Colossal!
I think perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Khador players were far more disappointed than Cygnar players is due to one particular model: the Behemoth.  Sure, Cygnar players have “DJ” Thunderhead, but a 12 point model with only P+S 16 on his fists is not exactly going to strike fear into the enemy and you don’t see him on the table nearly as often as the Behemoth, who not only sports two large bombard cannons on his shoulders (curiously similar to the Stormwall…) and Armor Piercing fists.  Indeed, the Behemoth is incredibly frightening for a heavy warjack and Cygnar players have always been jealous of its raw power compared to the relatively lame Thunderhead. Now that Cygnar players have something almost as powerful as the Behemoth (high P+S in melee and effective shooting), Khador players are jealous because they already had something that great, and the Conquest really doesn’t do much that the Behemoth already does – but that’s not true either.

Haters gonna hate
So what does the Conquest offer Khador, then?  Well Khador is a faction that generally follows the military philosophy of ‘combined arms’ anyway – mixing infantry with warjack support – and I think that the Conquest offers a lot in that context.  While the Behemoth is indeed an amazing weapons platform, even with it’s completely full damage grid of 36 boxes, the Conquest offers more damage boxes and is harder to bring down by a single model.  Perhaps the most important difference, however, is the fact that the Behemoth is a character warjack, meaning that you can include it in only one tournament list – and I don’t see that changing in 2013 either.  This means that you can take two lists that each contain the Conquest in it, and that should not be underestimated!  Well who can make the most use of the Conquest anyway?

Well there are a two spells that are fairly common in Khador that will be quite beneficial for the Conquest, so let’s discuss those spells first and then look at the suite of warcasters in Khador and I'll list what spells or abilities will positively affect the Conquest:
Superiority – While the +2 DEF is not terribly impressive since the Conquest is only DEF 7 normally, having +2 SPD and +2 MAT is incredibly significant!  A single target buff like this is huge for making sure that the Conquest can get into melee faster or even just get into better position to threaten other targets.  The +2 MAT buff is also quite significant to make sure that each P+S 22 hit lands – let alone being really useful if you want to Power Attack: Sweep!
Boundless Charge – Colossals cannot move nor be placed outside of their normal movement and consequently it means that many extra ways of increasing their threat range will be less effective.  Fortunately, Boundless Charge will still work just as well as it did before – even if the Pathfinder benefit granted is redundant.  Even still, adding an extra 2” of threat range and allowing the Conquest charge for free is quite frightening for the low cost of this spell.

I think that Strakhov will offer the Conquest a lot
between Superiority and his feat!
So generally, what warcasters will have something of use for the Conquest?
pIrusk – Superiority
eIrusk – Fire for Effect, Feat + Warjack Bond (although neither particularly help the Conquest to a great degree)
Karchev – Unearthly Rage, Sidearms (great for getting lots of models in B2B), Feat
Old Witch – Augury
pSorscha – Boundless Charge
eSorscha – Boundless Charge, Shatter Storm
Strakov – Sentry, Superiority, Feat
pVlad – Boundless Charge, Signs & Portents, Feat
eVlad – Assail, Hand of Fate
Zerkova – Banishing Ward, Force Blast
pButcher – Fury (+3 to damage rolls, -1 DEF), Full Throttle, Feat
eButcher – Boundless Charge, Fury (+3 damage rolls, -1 DEF), Ravager (gives Berserk)
Harkevich – Broadside, Escort, Feat

In other words: Every Khador player will put the Conquest to some use!  I want to let this fact wash over you for one minute.  Every. Single. Warcaster.  Sure, either Irusk or the Old Witch will probably prefer to have other warjacks instead, but even then they still offer the Conquest something useful.  Considering that the Conquest offers an extremely powerful ranged cannon and a bunch of other AOEs, the firepower that this one model brings to bear is quite significant in and of itself – let alone its P+S 22 fists.  What the Conquest offers its faction most of all is efficiency.  

Khador lists rely on their warjacks and infantry almost equally and the difference between allocating 2 focus or 3 focus points could mean the difference between Iron Flesh on the unit that needs it, but with the Conquest you can allocate only 1 or 2 focus points and know that they will be spent well because those two P+S 22 fists can deal incredible amounts of damage.  To put it perspective, the Conquest can deal an average of 33 points of damage to ARM 18 with only 3 attacks – or only a 1 focus point investment.  That’s enough damage to completely scrap most heavy warjacks in the game – except for a Khador heavy warjack, which would need only 4 attacks or a mere 2 focus points allocated to the Conquest.  
In this fight, my money is on the Conquest
Let me say that again: you can wreck a heavy warjack with only 1 or 2 focus points allocated to the Conquest.  Consider that this doesn’t even consider boosted damage rolls and you’ll see why I believe the Conquest is far scarier than most believe.  In fact, if you fully load it with focus, it can deal a whopping 50 points of damage to the Stormwall, and it will still deal 35 points of damage to it while it has Arcane Shield on it!  While that’s not enough to wreck the Colossal, it’s definitely enough to knock out a system or two and probably guarantee that you’re still standing when it strikes back.

No, I believe that the Conquest is a frightening warjack to behold and it will slowly find its way into many Khador lists – and rightly so!
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