Crucible Guard Caster Overview
Locke – Definitely Not a Defector
Crucible Guard, All flames, fumes and fury. I’m back today looked at Caster number two, Aurum Lucanum Athanor Locke. Which, from my extensive knowledge of Caen linguistics translates to “I’m definitely not working for Convergence” Locke.
I’ll be honest, I hated on Locke for a long time. Partly out of bitterness she just seems to work better in Convergence than in the faction she was released it. She stole the Crucible’s thunder, but she’s worked hard to redeem herself, both on the table and in my heart. Her model is snazzy, a nice pose, fun to paint without being ridiculously fiddly. But focus 7, 18 boxes and ARM 17 definitely help her be a little more frontline than Syvestro. In melee, her measly MAT 5 POW 12s seem laughable for a gal in a robo suit, but Engine of Destruction is there to make sure she (and CoC) don’t go too crazy with her base stats. RAT 5 on those flamethrowers is sad, as is their range and POW. She doesn’t win awards for personal threat just yet.
This is where she starts looking snazzy! Repair D3+3 Means almost every column could be crippled and you can get the jack working. She pairs nicely with a Vanguard because of this. Shield guard both those Sloan shots, repair it up, say sorry and send it in to finish the job. Field Marshal precision strike is a winner, letting you slice off arms, cortexes, spirits, anything to stop an enemy counter attacking. Resourceful means past turn 1 she can actually fuel her large battlegroup whilst split loyalties is just there to remind you what you could have won.
Locke has an… interesting spell list, very battlegroup focused and excellent at making battleplans out of nothing with a 5″ threat extender.
Bombshell: Ahh the nuke. It has a nice crit effect, but cost 3, with another to boost leaves her vulnerable, with Alyce around it could see use, but meh, every caster has a nuke and Locke is definitely not the one to be slinging it around often.
Engine of Destruction: Convergence players that read this instantly start drooling and their friends put a bag over their head and dump them in an alley. They can complain about order of activation issues all they want. We’re here to talk about Crucible! EoD is a neat spell, +2 Speed means she can charge 10″ turn 1 to get up the board if you sacrifice an upkeep and it means at MAT 9 you can hit something and POW 16 means its going in the dirt. But if Locke is getting up close and personal, we have issues.
Jackhammer: Neat trick: Road to war a jack, make it run 14″ under redline, Jack hammer it until something explodes. With a Toro that’s blatting something 19″ away from where it started at the cost of not being able to boost. Definitely going to need a Liberator to get real mileage out of this.
Redline: Khador gnash their teeth. +2 SPD, STR and free charges means all the more hitting power. Let me drop some knowledge:
- Toro charging a Khador Jugg. 0.08% chance to kill
- Toro charging a Khador Jugg under rust: 6.46% chance to kill
- Toro charging a Khador Jugg under Redline: 37.28% Chance to kill
- Toro Charging a Khador Jugg under Redline and Rust: 79.99% chance to kill
It turns out a free charge and flat dice damage makes a big difference! Who knew!
Road to War: The unpredictable threat extender! Between this and Redline it can be difficult for an opponent to keep key pieces out of threat range, but there are some side benefits. Jack blocking a charge lane? R2W him to get outta the way without “wasting” his activation. Vindicators can still aim after R2W increasing their threat range to 19″ Even better, a jack can R2W themselves. Kill a jack with focus spare? R2W and keep going. Or walk backwards and toe a zone. Yummy.
Sentry: This spell is more about threat than doing work. An extra Withering Humour cloud is nice, but will cost you to upkeep. An extra vindicator shot is very nice, but its only range 12. A suppressor’s spray is short range… You see where I’m going? Very nice, but its something for your opponent to think of than actually do much with.
WALL OF TEXT! Basically, you wipe out all enemy upkeeps and animi (who knew crucible had so much spell hate? :D) then… Every time an enemy model spends focus or fury (or casts a spell) inside her control area, put a token on a battlegroup model for +1 DEF and ARM, stacking up to 3 times. You remove one every activation. Oh, and it gives magic weapons. There has been MUCH debate locally whether this is “op” or better than feats such as Stryker… Fyanna 2 etc. My short answer is. It’s not. Once again, like Sentry, Road to War etc, its about punishing an opponent for doing something rather than a straight up buff. The most tokens I’ve ever put down was…. 7? A good haul, but it left several jacks dead and more crippled whilst Stryker would have blunted that attack before it started. Part of the issue is that they have to be in her control area. Meaning if you want to stop something charging (or at least punish them for it) you need to be up close. anything with multiple initials really probably doesn’t care too much about the feat and most casters can arc spells from outside this range, but it is more effective than I first gave it credit for.
There is definitely a skill on determining when to put a token on which model. Locke herself is the first choice, pushing her to 17/20 is a nasty combo to assassinate, whilst a 14/23 Toro can cause issues for lower MAT armies. The Liberator or the Vanguard do great from the feat, from a denial point of view. Ashen Veil and base DEF 13 means the Liberator is DEF 18 against shooting! ARM 22. Not bad. It won’t win you games, but it could tilt your opponent.
Locke really only lives in one place. Prima Materia. The Jacks of Crucible are expensive, versatile, but there aren’t any spammable lights, nor does she have a force multiplier like synergy. Meaning it’s all about quality. The Vulcan is hit or miss. Unable to really take advantage of R2W or Sentry, its a static piece in a rather mobile list, plus the clouds from Prima don’t do much for it. The Vulcan also loves sitting with Prospero, and most of her spells, and feat are Battlegroup only. But Prospero does good things with veteran leader and Instability equation with crucible jacks so…
- Locke (+29)
- Liberator x2 20 (-9)
- Vanguard 10 (1)
- Toro x2 26 (27)
- Vindicator 15 (43)
- Prospero 5 (48)
- Suppressor 13 (61)
- Gorman Di Wulfe 4 (65)
- Trancer x2 6 (71)
- Alchemists x2 14 (84)
- Dragons Breath Rocket x2 10 (94)
Alchemists and prosper are free for 19 free points, list is 75/75. You could swap the suppressor for a retaliator, and take out some other stuff for an extra heavy, but I’ve had success with this list.
What it lacks, is pathfinder, so perhaps in the future I’ll take out 2 trancers for 3 mechaniks, though pathfinder only works for in activation moves I believe! The whole point here is to waddle up the board, hidden by clouds until your jacks can burst forth, slap a few things silly and use the feat to leverage a good defensive position. Prospero means the Vindicator’s sentry shot is RAT 6, and all those jack hammers can be MAT 7 when needed. Guided fire for the Suppressor takes massive focus strain off Locke to land those ice cages and rust. You lose Redline, which can turn the Suppressor into a cheap one jack army however. The Liberators seem like an odd choice, but their innate defences are good and the chain weapon makes them good at clearing shield walls. They’re also necessary for arcing jack hammers if required and you lose a serious piece of her kit without an arc node. Trancers are just annoying, and slams clear charge lanes!
Here are some nerdy stats, because I’m a nerd and I think about these things:
Vs the Slayer and Ironclad, I did some fiddling comparing how many ices cages to use with the Suppressor, usually 1 was enough to “maximise statistical output”
Obviously, this has some massive limitations. Like assuming the ice cages hit, no Prospero for +1 to hit and neither jack boosts to hit Nor when the movement column is taken out. But its interesting. Obviously a Toro handles armour better, but the suppressor holds it own against higher DEF.
The more I play with Locke, the more I feel she works. She might be the Shining Star of CoC, but she’s got a special place in Crucible too. Anyone else had success?