Let’s not muck about: the mechanics of the Kraken-Eater in general, and his Takers Tribe in particular, are without a doubt the most innovative, exciting, new-shiny, powerful and generally fucking wonderful thing in the whole book, glistening like a diamond in a dog turd.
Today’s review is all about getting our kicks from Takers Tribe, and breaking missions apart.
In a world of puny, underpowered Mega Gargants, this guy stands alone as the most feeble of the lot. I’m not going to waste everyone’s time and energy going back over that ground, but suffice to say you’re not taking him for his brutal melee output.
No, you’re taking him for this:
Holy shit! Ok, there’s a couple of things to note here:
- It’s going to a new position on the battlefield (no kicking it off the board!)
- You must control it first (no grab ‘n’ kick on the same turn)
- It has to be more than 1″ away from all models, so don’t forget to leave a landing pad
Why is this so strong? First up, it plays into your gameplan. You have a chronic shortage of units, and the Mancrushers will start dropping dead from the top of turn 1, so projecting power to multiple areas of the board is a huge issue for this army. Well, what if we make the board come to us instead?
Secondly, bear in mind that per the core rules (p10), you can capture at the end of either player’s turn (but only score VPs on your own turn). So you can go second, capture objectives while your opponent does their thing, then you’re ready to rumble from your very first hero phase.
Thirdly, it busts a lot of Battleplans wide open. Our batrep went over that ground with a mission from the Core Book; let’s take a look at what other jank we can pull off with the GH20 missions
Objective in your zone? 1 VP
Objective in your opponent’s zone? 3 VPs.
BOSH! Kick em forward, and your opponent could be out of the game before they know it.
Bonus VPs for Monsters and Behemoths? Don’t mind if I do!
BOSH! Have one model within 6″ of multiple objectives, and they can hoover up multiple bonus VPs every time
Bonus VPs for having a leader within 6″, sounds good to me!
BOSH! No rest until all four are beneath our feet.
Battle for the Pass
1 VP in your own zone, 2 VPs in the DMZ and 4 in your opponent’s.
BOSH! Punt that rock 7″ turn one, and they can’t score 4 VPs all game.
Burn in your enemy’s zone, with a bonus VP for having a leader nearby
BOSH! Kick ’em forward, now you can burn and they can’t. Sucks to be them!
Knife to the Heart
Need to hold both, but don’t want to leave a huge chunk of your army behind?
BOSH! Shuffle your own objective forward with your army, until you’re in range to rush your multi-capping bodies forwards and swamp theirs. Kick and flood, kick and flood.
Counterpoint: Why Bother?
The fact is, you don’t need to take Takers to gain access to this game-changing mechanic. I believe the Kraken-Eater is the best backup Mega-G in Stompers, and even the best Ally to other armies.
With my Gloomspite hat on, I’m not averse to the idea of kicking an objective underneath a block of 60 Grots (maybe with the Madcap Shaman’s signature spell protecting him); and Theo Jansen has pointed out on Twitter that the Kraken Eater gets access to some generous “Friendly unit” tech in Fyreslayers.
I’m sure there are plenty of other unintended consequences in Grand Alliance: All The Toys, and the Kraken-Eater in Stompers may well be the best way to use him in Sons; but for today, we’re going to focus on leaning in to his Tribe, and where that can take us with the pure objectives ‘n’ jank playstyle.
Big boys count as 30, babies count as 15. Love it.
There’s a school of though that 20 and 10 in Stompers is enough, and I can see that argument, but anyone who’s played Stonehorns will tell you that you regularly win matches by retreating onto an objective late game.
Using the Boulderhead CA to zoom along in your top movement bracket is money, so this army will certainly be slower, but retreating a Mancrusher onto a point that already has 10 models on it, or a Mega-G onto one with 20 models perched there will win you games.
You also get a free Triumph for killing enemy heroes who hold artefacts. Whoop de doop. Triumphs are fantastic, but how often is that going to happen when you need to wade slowly through all their chaff first? Given how seldom this will happen, it’s more of a memory test than a rule.
All the standard stuff, including 40 wounds, but the one that stands out is Strong Right Foot. Kick objectives 3D6″ instead of 2D6″, sounds good to me! It’s that little bit more reliable and that little bit closer to getting one out of your deployment zone – in practice it could turn the kicking from a fun gimmick into a reliable win condition (as long as you can keep the fucker alive, at least).
The other one that catches the eye is Very Acquisitive. You can take a second artefact and even give it to the same dude, which genuinely breaks new ground in design space for this game. Trouble is, these artefacts aren’t worth giving up the 3D6″ kick (for my money at least), but it’s certainly interesting.
Thematically, these guys get 6 artefacts to choose from.
Unthematically, they’re mostly shit, and probably the worst selection in the book overall.
Some people seem excited about the ability to make this guy literally the worst non-wizard in the game. One spell, no bonuses to cast, no bonuses to unbind, no spell lore and not even access to the Wizard keyword that gives access to Dispell and Realm spells.
This doesn’t seem to have been thought through at all and is downright shoddy. Hopefully an FAQ will elevate it somewhat, but this artefact can get fucked either way.
Unfortunately there’s little in the way of defensive tech, and there’s a lot of situational, 4+ RNG crap in here. Jaws of the Mogalodon appeals for rerolling 1s left, right and centre, which should add up over the course of the game; Krakenskin Sandals makes your Stomp a lot more effective, and bumps it all the way up to a whopping 3 attacks.
Probably Jaws followed by Sandals I’d say, but it’s fairly slim pickings.
The Chuckle Brothers
- Kraken-Eater(General) 490
- Command Trait: Strong Right Foot
- Artefact: Jaws of the Mogalodon
- Kraken-Eater 490
- 3x Mancrushers 480
- Mancrusher 180
- Mancrusher 180
- Mancrusher 180
2000 Points, 142 Wounds
Double the Kraken for double the craic. Punt that rock and get that gold!
One thing that can’t be overstated is just how many keywords you have in this army for harvesting bonus VPs. Literally every unit you will run is a leader, a monster, a batteline unit, a behemoth or multiples of the above.
I’ve played Ironjawz a lot over the years, right through the era of the 30-odd% win rate, and I reckon I got tabled in at least half of the victories I won. This army turbocharges that playstyle: people will be setting new world-records for getting tabled inside 2 turns, and still being too far ahead on VPs to be caught.
Is that fun? Well that depends on your mindset and expectations. It’s not the brainless, smashfest drinker’s army it might have been imagined as, but you can have exciting games with this army on its own terms, especially with the right matchups on the right Battleplans. I honestly feel like getting a lucky run with this build could be your best (slim) chance of a 4-1, although let’s be clear, you could also wrack up a lot of heavy losses just as quickly!
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the Breakers Tribe, and then wrap it up with an overall review of the release. Until then: May Gork bring you strength, may Mork bring you wisdom.