The big fella’s Warsrcoll is out now, and this one is already incredibly divisive. Points guesstimates range wildly for this guy: I’ve seen some top players saying they’d run him at 800, whereas (spoiler alert) I wouldn’t touch him above 500 myself.
I said in my last article that we’d either end up with another Archaon or another Gotrek, so which is it gonna be? An unkillable murderball with all the synergy in the world, or an expensive novelty that never sees top tables?
Go check out the Community article if you haven’t already, then let’s run through what we learned.
Worth pointing out is that I’m coming at this from a strictly competitive standpoint. I regularly attend tournaments, always run Destruction, usually play on top tables and usually go 4-1. And that’s the prism through which I look at something like Kragnos: is it something I can consistently go 4-1 with?
So if it seems like I’m focussing disproportionately on how he performs against things like Lumineth, DOK and Seraphon, then that’s because I know I will have to use him disproportionately against things like Lumineth, DOK and Seraphon. If that’s not the context you’re operating in, then fair play to you and I hope you enjoy using him, but that’s the context in which I’ll be reviewing him.
He slaps. Hitting on 3s and wounding on 2s across the board is a solid start, and his best attack doesn’t degrade. In fact…
He barely degrades at all. This damage table is incredibly generous: his first bracket alone takes him well past halfway on his wound count, and even beyond that point, all that he (gradually) loses is a little bit of movement and some minor attacks. Meanwhile his Bellow of Rage actually gets better.
He has excellent magic resistance. The Shield Inviolate will switch off most magic output and (more importantly) debuff spells – kudos to the pre-FAQ clarifying that you need to beat the casting value rather than the roll.
Those charge mortals. The modal outcome for a 2D6 roll is 7, which means the most common (individual) outcome is 0 mortal wounds. Don’t panic though – that’s still only a 1 in 6 chance, so it’s basically a 2+ that you do at least “something”. You could still roll 1×1 of course, but the mean outcome is just shy of 11 mortal wounds. The spike potential and chance to do something outside of the combat phase (looking at you, Manfred) is clutch; overall I feel like this is a genuinely fun and exciting gaming mechanic, and a well-crafted rule.
That 3″ reach. This is one of the most underrated stats in the game, and his best weapon has it. Hit over the top of screens, or better still, charge them off the board, then pile in to reach something that was almost 6″ behind them. And even if they deploy 6″ back from their screens, pushing key units that far back is a big deal.
So that’s what I like about him – but Kragnos brings significant limitations too:
He has no useful keywords. Like, none.
He gives out no meaningful buffs. That +1 bravery bubbles is a piece of shit, and he doesn’t even have a Command Ability. Lame.
He is slow. 10″ isn’t that fast, but what’s really crippling is that he doesn’t fly or even step over things with Longshanks. This makes him easy to predict, easy to screen and ultimately easy to deal with.
He’s not a wizard. So you can’t slow down Cogs. Furthermore, coupled with his lack of flight, this makes Kragnos wide open to being locked down by Soulsnare Shackles. I mean, the one thing we do know from the fluff is that he’s good at getting himself locked up, so I guess it’s at least thematic. It’s still shit though, and something that’s easily forgotten when comparing him to other God-level characters.
He has no Mortal Wound protection. This guy just collapses to Skinks. Or Wardens. Or Sentinels. Or Plaguebearers. Or Bloodstalkers. Or Fyreslayers. Or even bloody Zombies. So many popular units will just laugh at that 2+ save. Speaking of which…
He has no protection from an insta-jib. Tzeencth Archaon just raises an eyebrow then puts Kragnos in his sword, and meanwhile Morathi just sits there looking smug. Fact is, other God-level characters dunk on him.
He has virtually no synergy with anything. I’ll be doing a second article on what “friendly unit” stuff we can squeeze out of him, but it’s pretty bloody limited. What you see on the warscroll is pretty much all you get.
It’s the last of these that is the real killer – not just because it puts a hard ceiling on his power level (although it does that too), but because it sucks a lot of the joy out of list building with him.
What this release could have been is Destruction’s Archaon, a centrepiece that you can slide from book to book, constantly exploring new tech. You won’t get to have any of that fun with Kragnos.
Notes and Queries
Worth a mention is that his Destroyer… reroll is simultaneously highly precise and wide open in its application:
Crucially you don’t actually have to target the Drake to get the benefit: you can get all angry and splatter some Liberators instead, as long as the Drake is nearby. If your opponent doesn’t have one, of course, you’re screwed.
Maybe we’ll see more of them about when Stormcast get their 3.0 book, but even still, this is a rule that you will rarely get any use out of at all. It’s just a thematic little nice-to-have, so for that reason, I hope it’s not been priced into his points cost too much.
Secondly, he always counts as your general:
Niceeeeeeee! Straight away, we know that gives you extended range on generic command abilities. There may even be some additional benefit coming up in 3rd edition. But don’t sleep on what that means for GA: Destruction armies.
Rampaging Destroyers goes off on a 4+ for you general:
Rampaging Destroyers: Those that owe allegiance to Destruction are always eager to get to grips with their enemies.
In your hero phase, roll a dice for your general and each friendly DESTRUCTION HERO on the battlefield. Add 2 to the roll for the general. On a 6+, pick a friendly DESTRUCTION unit within 6″ of the general or HERO being rolled for. That unit can immediately move 6″ if it is more than 12″ from the enemy, can immediately pile in if it is within 3″ of the enemy, or can immediately declare a charge in any other circumstances. It cannot run when it makes the move, but can move, charge or pile in again later in the same turn.
Move or Charge are both huge. He loves the extra 6″ (that’s what she said), and fuck me does he love charging shit.
Bang ’em off in the Hero phase, then move up the board and bang ’em off again! BAM BAM BAM!
And finally, the Bellow of Rage affects friendly units too:
That could give Ironjawz some free movement, but mostly you’ll want to be careful how you deploy if you’re going to get shot up, so he doesn’t turn into a liability for everything around him.
There is a heap of blather about defensible terrain that will make more sense once we’ve seen the 3.0 rules, but I’m not going to worry about that until then. I’m not super excited that terrain rules already require multiple paragraphs of notes and clarifications on warscrolls, so it’s something I feel like the game could have happily continued without, but a lot of other people seem to like the idea of terrain rule bloat so it seems like something we’ll have to get used to.
As I said in my preview, we’d either end up with another Gotrek or another Archaon here, and it’s looking like the former.
Ultimately, this is a really well-designed warscroll, packed with checks and balances and interesting trade-offs. The reason why I’m down on his prospects competitively is that this balanced warscroll doesn’t exist in a vacuum: it is thrust into a world where a lot of the opposition doesn’t have checks and balances, doesn’t have to live with trade-offs and frankly isn’t always that well-designed.
18 Mortal Wounds isn’t hard to achieve in the current meta so in a game where too many other units just don’t play fair, his warscroll makes him DOA from a top tables perspective. Screen him, shackle him, shoot him off: Kragnos bangs but he’s fundamentally pretty easy to deal with.
So It’s Doom And Gloom Then?
Nope….we’re not done yet. Not quite, anyway.
Be’Lakor got his own legion, in Broken Realms: Be’Lakor, so will Kragnos get the same in his own BR book? Bear in mind too that Be’Lakor’s legion layered on top of GA Chaos, and we’ve already seen that Kraggy loves the GA Destro Battle Trait.
I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the Men Reading Books this weekend, and if Kragnos gets his own pimped-out Mixed Destro allegiance kit, we could be back in business very quickly.
If not, I’ll be skipping this release unless he comes in at or below 500 points, which I frankly doubt will be the case.
While we wait to see whether Broken Realms: Kragnos brings him life beyond his warscroll, I’ll be doing a follow-up article on what sneaky synergy there already exists for him in Destruction armies. We’re not talking Archaon levels of buff heaven, but there are a few things you can do, so let’s have a crack.
Until then: may Gork bring you strength, may Mork bring you wisdom.