December 16, 2017, 05:01:32 AM

Author Topic: Araxian Crown Warlock  (Read 281 times)

silverclawgrizzly

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Araxian Crown Warlock
« on: October 09, 2017, 10:22:49 AM »
I'm back with another in depth look at a mage. I asked good ole Romeo for a suggestion as to which mage to do and he gave me the AC Warlock. I'm one of those idealistic fools who think this mage has just gotten a bad rep lately and is still pretty viable. I am not however idealistic enough to think I'm about to change a whole lot of minds but hopefully I'll give you some food for thought at least.

Lets get started with his stat card.

Base Stats: 38 Life and 9 Channeling. So immediately we're setting him apart from every single other mage in the game with a higher starting life than anybody else. Obviously there's a good reason for that with his abilities but it's good knowing you can most likely survive slugging it out with just about any other mage in a straight fight. Of course Mage Wars is NEVER a straight fight given the defenses that can be brought to bear but every advantage helps. Also the extra life as I said plays in well with one of his key abilities. The 9 Channeling is common among most mages so I'm not going into that other than to say this mage has some mana economy if he wants to go that route later.

Training: Dark and Fire. This is actually probably the best combo in the game(shut up Paladin.) Dark is by far one of if not THE most diverse schools in the book, right up there with Nature honestly. You get offensive and defensive gear and some sneaky enchantments I'll discuss more later. Fire gives you good solid attack spells and access to some conjurations others won't have the available SBPs to mess with. Both schools give interesting creatures.

Abilities:

Curseweaving- Why does nobody pay attention to this? He's literally the only mage that can put non cantrip spells back into his book! Know what's great about Curseweaving? You can freely cast it on non-mage creatures and not worry about it going away if you kill it. Ghoul Rot Cervere, Posion Blood the Thornlasher, and Mage Bane Fellela! Who cares? You're getting it back anyway so long as you pay attention. This combos awesomely with Death Link and with your own familiar. Another good trick is this combos with Demonic Bloodlust and Demonic Link, so if you beef up your heavy attackers and they die....eh you get it back to try again with Minion #2. It's all about making your book go longer than normal and it's a great ability to do it.

Blood Reaper- Ok lets get into the meat and potatoes shall we? This is frankly one of the main reasons the mage has 38 starting life. Giving him a strong starting life means you don't have to worry about sacrificing some of it to get your Blood Reaper out. It doesn't cost mana so that's a huge bonus and even if you sacrifice 4 life to get something good out you still have more starting life than the majority of other mages. In fact only three other mages have more than 34 only two tie it. Now a lot of people are going to tell you the best Blood Reaper is the Blood Demon and it's really hard to argue against that logic even. 6 dice against an injured enemy is hard to pass deny as are it's built in survival advantages presented by Vampiric and Flying. A Gators Toughness makes it a real pain in the butt to take him down. Now the advantage of a Blood Reaper other than beefing up the attack dice on a demon is it gives you PASSIVE healing. See without easy access to the quick and dirty heal spells warlocks really depend on that passive healing that doesn't take mana or an action on their part to heal. It's a good idea to have your reaper attacking smaller swarm creatures just to heal you the 2 a turn. Never ever ever underestimate passive healing and the advantage it gives you.

Battle Skill: Don't ever underestimate a 4 dice melee attack either. Other mages have to spend mana to get to that point and you're already there. His attack being non-elemental gives him more versatility than his female counterpart. The AC Warlock is a stud and he's meant to get in there and FIGHT. This is an obvious sign towards that.

Now lets look at schools shall we?

Attack Spells:

What can I say he's got some of the best in the game. He is fully trained in 9 attack spells, not a one of which is even remotely subtle. Fireball has been around since the core set and it's still amazing. 6 dice and a very good chance at a Burn token is pretty fair for the mana cost and the 2 range lets him fire at fleeing opponents or irritating conjurations in the back. He's got built in methods of dealing with dodge creatures with the obvious Flame Blast but remember Ring of Fire will do it too. In fact Ring of Fire is only 1 of the ways he can deal with swarms as Firestorm is great for the mana if you see the enemy gathering or for archers on a nearby hill. I think Devil's Trident is one of the most under rated attacks in the game and it synergies well with his equipment. Speaking of obviously he's got a ring that makes each and every one of these spells stronger so keep that in mind as well as Hawkeye can sometimes be worth it for him.

Conjurations:

From the fire side he's got cheaper access to Battle Forge than most and that's important given how good his gear can be. He also has access to Wall of Fire, which is a great way to set up a nice Force Wave trap for undead hordes or other swarms. It does 5 dice after all which is insane for a passage attack. The other wall he has access to is Wall of Bones which is a cheap and resilient way of keeping people locked in or at bay. The Sacrificial Alter is actually pretty cool if you're about to lose a creature and want to make the best of a bad situation. The rest of his conurations are controversial at best and bad ideas at worse. I'm not going to get into the Pentagram debate but I have found a use for it by casting it then immediately attacking. Alter of Infernia is honestly a bad idea for this mage.

Creatures:

Whoa boy here we friggin go lol. He has access to 48 creatures completely at cost and another at partial with the Magma Golem!! The powers of Darkness are mightly to behold!!!!! Now among those creatures a few stand out for him. I already mentioned the Blood Demon but it bears repeating it's his best flying option. In terms of low Level 1 creatures there's a lot of good options but I tend to think he's best off with the Level 2-4s unless you just feel like having a bat or two for kicks(not a terrible idea.) I'm going to say it now I think he works better without the spawn point and just hard casting a squad of buddies. That's not to say you can't make it work with a swarm, but this guys more a in your face beater. That being said your Necropian Vampiress, Dark Pact Slayer, and Flaming Hellion are all amazing fighters you can easily buff. Demonic Link on a Dark Pact Slayer is a sexy sexy thing my friends. For back up an Infernian Scourger is pretty cool, especially if you put Sanguine Thirst on them. But lets not forget the Warlock can cast every single undead creature also! Zombie Brutes make for fine body guards while guys like Mort and Blightheart should make any non-Necromancer tremble. A lot of these guys get passive healing by themselves or can be given access to it easily so make the most of what you got.

Enchantments:

Obviously the big deal here are the curses and like I said with Curseweaving they can stick around a little longer. The warlock is a big beefy fighter so you want to focus on the spells that are going to keep him around longer and help him kill. Curses like Agony, Enfeeble, Poison Blood, and Theft of Life can help keep things in his favor. Remember you can have more than one Theft of Life out at once if the enemy happens to be running more than one Regen creature(say for example a Druid) you can get a lot of healing off one zone attack. Don't forget that enemies HAVE to deal with certain curses like Ghoul Rot or Mage Bane when you cast them early or they're going to be in trouble. Marked for Death is so good it should be in most swarm books even outside Dark. New spells like Mass Cowardice are pretty cool for that turn you need to switch the momentum as you deal with a threat. Also Chant of Rage on a big threat like a Fire Elemental can help destroy the enemies own big guns. Vampirism is such an old stand by but you get amazing results from it when applied correctly. Remember passive healing is your friend. As I mentioned earlier Demonic Bloodlust goes great on a Blood Demon as they already have Bloodthirsty so you're not losing anything there. Curses are versatile enough now that they allow you to both weaken your enemy and beef up your own creatures now. He's also one of the only mages with an in school damage barrier which is actually pretty decent. Also his version of Dissolve is called Curse Item and it works at 2 range, even if it doesn't get rid of the item it still hurts the other mage. Good spell that can be cast from his familiar.

Equipment:

Half the mages in the game have in school access to the Elemental Wand and fortunately he's one of them. The obvious utility is it lets him stay in the range game for hard to access enemies. I honestly suggest either a Fireball or an out of school utility spell so long as the range is 2. You're good enough in close you don't need to bind a 0-1 range spell to your wand. He's got three choices for armor which is cool, the protection from Dragon Scale means he doesn't fear his own walls as much especially if you got out of school and get an Elemental Cloak. Demonhide is also cool if you don't want the enchantment damage barrier. Don't discount the Burning Cuirass  though as it's cheap and combines armor with a one shot damage barrier of sorts. Cloak of Shadows gives you the option of with drawing from a fight to lick your wounds but you may also want to consider the Cloak of Fire as a passive way to set things on fire. His rings are designed to increase his mana efficiency and damage out put which are both welcome. Now we've all seen the trick of casting an Eye of Baal on an unsuspecting enemy without demons, it's a sneaky and nasty trick thats worth trying. In terms of weapons He's got three good options but if you go with the big curse sword you need to plan around actually using it. I like both the flame weapons but remember the Hellstar is NOT doing flame damage so it's not going to get bonuses from the ring or any super fire vulnerable creatures. Your best bet is still probably the Lash of Hellfire. As with every other mage the warlock can also cast all the leather you want, which combined with the whip gives him sort of a BDSM theme....

Incantations:

You want to capitalize on your strengths and as I've said earlier his larger than average life is a strength for him, with that in mind Drain Soul actually works great for this guy! Even if he's got a strong Blood Reaper out he's at 42 life now! Drain Soul actually works best to kill off irritating creatures in my mind as a mage can get rid of those taints easily. Siphon Life is making it's way into more and more books and for good reason. Animate dead can make their lost assets your new strength and it's worth trying out. His other version of Dissolve is called explode and it's awesome! Just save up some mana and blow their stuff up. As you need to be spending most of your turns punching stuff with him anyway saving up some mana isn't actually all that hard. I'll be honest though he's a little limited here but that's likely to change with new expansions coming forth.

Going Out of School:

It's a given that every mage is going to go out of school eventually. Staples like Nullify and Dispel are going to be needed. I'd even suggest a Mage Wand as you'll need a way to protect yourself from enemy enchantments and Dispel on a wand is the best way. Just try to protect it as best you can. Might consider a Mana Crystal too. Looking at his "enemy" school I honestly do suggest a Hand of Bim Shalla. It's only 3 spell points and you can get a lot of use out of it. That being said I also recommend Cure to take care of conditions, you rely heavily on your mage and you just can't afford to let him get bogged down. Nature provides you with good buffs such as Bear Strength, Wolf Fury, Regrowth Belt, and Rhino Hide. Just don't get crazy with these. Novice spells like Brace Yourself, Mend, and Glancing Blow you can go stack up for great effect. He's not super reliant on Teleport except to get rid of Tanglevines and lets be honest he'll fight out of those in a turn most likely. Pack a Sweeping Strike if you want to attack the vine and your enemy. Use Rust to get rid of armor on heavy creatures and remember you can get it back too. For the most part though this guys got what he needs in school. He should focus on dropping big attacks as often as possible and he's covered there with Fire and Dark.

Basic Strategies:

Squad Build:

The warlock like most mages needs a little back up. With a squad you can get a crew of about 3-5 creatures going and just try to storm the enemy. Clearly Blood Demons are among these creatures as they make excellent reapers but you also want to focus on other big hitters. It's a toss up if you want to use Mhegedden as you've got the life to take the loss and could regain it back with a Drain Soul, but that's going to cut into your Blood Reaper ability....may be worth it though especially given how cheap he is to cast. The main thing to remember with a squad is not to ignore your own needs so if you need to take a turn off from casting to get some cheap gear on then do so. You can get 2 Blood Demons and 2 leather pieces in the first two turns though so it's not like it's super hard to get guys out. Just be sure to do your math and be conservative when you need to in casting. With a good squad a warlock can generally beat down other forces as his anti-swarm ability is excellent so you don't need to fear the weenies and you can reduce enemy big threats with liberal amounts of curses and high damage attacks. Remember: You do big attacks EXTREMELY WELL so do them as often as possible.

Flame Rush:

Yes this mage rushes exceptionally well. With this tactic you want the Fireshaper Ring on fast as well as Hawkeye. Run at the enemy and try to batter them down with high offense fire attacks and remove any and all Flame -2 garbage they try to put on. Sersiryx actually come sin handy here as he can cast the curses you want to soften them up early like Rust and Poison Blood before transitioning into a living Wizards Tower for you. It's a glass canon scenario but if you catch your opponent off guard then they are 100% screwed! This can work solid on Sirens, Druids, and any mage who needs to prepare. If the initial assault doesn't work you can Minor Teleport away and revert back to a more solid ground work. There's a lot to be said for making an opponent use a lot of their defenses early on especially as you should still have more curses, fire attacks, and some more creatures in your book. With your high life and ability to armor up pretty quickly you can recover fairly easily so long as you know when to cut your losses. However if you get an opponent in a compromised position do NOT let up for a second. Burns go away eventually and healing is far to available unless you went full in with a Deathlok.

Damage Over Time:

Dark has a great number of ways to hurt the enemy bit by bit. With your aptitude for passive healing and excellent starting life you can actually weather an Idol of Pestilence better than they can most likely. Using body guards like Mort, Zombie Brute, and Blightheart you don't really fear it decimating your forces either. True you're not a Necromancer but you can burst damage better than they can and burn the enemy to the ground while picking away at their life. Theft of Life will help you greatly here as you can reduce their ability to deal with the annoyances and keep yourself above all those problems. Chains of Agony is another good option as they're going to want to get at your idol or Deathlok and you may as well make them bleed for that privilege. This tactic transitions well into a more aggressive push mid to late game as well as most of your DoT tactics are fairly cheap mana wise. Ghoul Rot can be expensive yeah but Mage Bane certainly isn't.

So there's my review of the Araxian Crown Warlock, he's a tougher beater with some options most people ignore. As with my previous post I know likely missed some stuff(or intentionally left out to provoke discussion) so feel free to give me your thoughts as well.

As Romeo also talked some smack about another favorite mage of mine I'll be doing another one of these write ups soon.
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Halewijn

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Re: Araxian Crown Warlock
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 10:59:25 AM »
I'm one of those idealistic fools who think this mage has just gotten a bad rep lately and is still pretty viable.

I've actually never heard anyone say that he's not viable. Why would you ever think that??  ???

About the equipment, I think Sectarus is highly underrated. You know because it gets dissolved a lot. ;) Like you say yourself, the warlock is meant to attack with his battle skill. Attacking and getting out curses is very nice. You can always get the curses back with curseweaving. For me, sectarus has taken over the lash unless the opponent is vulnerable to fire.

Squads and DOT are his strengths. For a flame rush, I'd go with the adramelech warlock. The main differences are the choice of fellow squad members and the action generators. (Sectarus, Serseryx and battle forge)  :)

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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Araxian Crown Warlock
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 11:29:14 AM »
There's been a few posts, most notably a rant before Gen Con, about his perceived lack of effectiveness. I'm a big fan myself.

I also want to stay away from the "this mage can do it better" comments, clearly other mages can do some of these things better, this is a focus on what he's good at  8)
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