Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spotlight: Leviathan

The Leviathan is a strange machine. It's a ponderous ranged combatant, that drains Focus from your Warcaster to perform even the most basic assignments, but it's not totally without merit. It's a sturdy Helljack, with immunity to knockdown, that can force opponents forward, and tank what would instantly destroy most other Cryx models.

The thing you need to realize is, that the Leviathan almost never kills anything. It has up to three high powered attacks with long range, but unless you completely luck out with your dice, it simply won't kill anything, but luckily it won't have to: The Leviathan isn't a ranged killer, it's a puller. It might sound a bit silly to use a nine point Helljack to pull, but it works.

For those familiar with MMORPGs the concept of a pull needs no explanation, but a pull is when one player engages the big baddie, and either tanks him or hands him of to the real tanks. The Leviathan is a puller, because it will force your opponent forward. Having two boosted PS 15 attacks hit a Juggernaut will inflict around ten damage, which won't bother it much, but your opponent will look at those ten damage and go "If I let him fire again, I'll loose some systems, so I better go all in before it's to late".

If your opponent hangs back you can keep denting him for ten damage per round, and if he advances he comes within charge range of the remaining army. Most cryxian models have excellent defensive mechanisms, and if you can take out the few models that circumvent those defenses with the Leviathan, you've won: He can't advance and he cannot fight back. There are several of those threats that can be neutralized in one round of shooting (there goes your gun arm Mr. Warjack), and several that cannot even retaliate without getting into range of your remaining army.

There's always the chance he outguns you, or that doing ten damage per round isn't enough to pull him, and that's why I recommend you bring two Leviathans (or none, obviously). Taking twenty damage per round (or loosing up to six models), from two sturdy Helljacks, is more than most opponents can ignore, and few armies can outgun them without getting in range of a counter punch.  This makes two Leviathans a rather good build, because you get to fight on your own terms almost every game.

The Leviathans also make handy tanks and road blocks, with good ARM and sturdy grids, and when your opponent does engage, they can put out quite a bit of damage if you're creative. The Leviathans can throw, trample, or simply hack things apart with it's PS 17 claw, but I've never actually done that. The Leviathans are a threat, and most opponents will attack the threat, even if that threat diminishes when the armies clash.

It's a funny thing, but my Leviathans always die. They're hit by melee monsters (Deathjack, Beast09, and others), or destroyed by a pile of weapon master infantry, and my opponents never seem to realize that they're doing exactly what I want them to (even the seriously good opponents fail this one). I bang up their models/units with the Leviathans, they destroy my Leviathans with some fresh models, and I destroy whatever did the deed. Now we've both lost our heavy hitters, and he has a pile of banged up models to boot. My infantry is usually better than his, and he has lost more than I have already.
Leviathan: Casters
There are plenty of casters that can run dual Leviathans, but few that can do it well. It requires a caster that can gain by throwing all they've got at supporting the Leviathans, and a caster that brings an army that can profit from the pull.
  • eAsphyxious: Two Leviathans provide a nice place to hide, and Caustic Mist + Hellbound can protect them from retaliation. Parasite allows for some heavy damage, but he does lack a way to increase their RAT. eAsphyxious also tends to blow most of his budget on Banes, so I think the Desecrator will assume this position when it appears.
  • eDeneghra: Two Leviathans provide a nice place to hide, and her feat allows them an extra round of shooting, and a round of great accuracy. She can keep them safe, get them out of trouble, and they should perform well with her.
  • Mortenebra: This is one of the Warcasters that are usually recommended for the Leviathan, due to her Interface rule. I find Mortenebra to be a horrible caster, when it comes to Leviathans, and I'll bring a Harrower or Desecrator every time. Don't bring Leviathans with Mortenebra, it's a trap.
  • Terminus: It's not a surprise if you've read my Terminus spotlight, but he quite likes two Helljacks, and the Leviathans are good choices. Unfortunately I think they'll be replaced by Desecrators, but until then they're lovely.
  • Witch Coven: Occultation, Feat, Increased movement, debuffs, and plenty of Focus to make it all happen. The Coven isn't a bad choice for the dual Leviathan setup, and with Infernal Machine they can do some real damage in melee. I was surprised when I noticed this combination, but it's actually quite powerful.
As you can see, the list of casters isn't worth going out and buying two Leviathans. I would however recommend, that you magnetize the coming spider jack kits (or proxy) and give it a spin. It's different and enjoyable, and when you get used to them it's quite powerful.
 Leviathan: Support
The Leviathans require a lot of Focus, and I mean a lot. They need at least two Focus each, and they would really like three if you can manage it. If you're shooting at ARM 18 or less, with poor defense, you can get away with two Focus, but otherwise you need three for two shots with boosted damage. I've found the Leviathans to benefit a lot from The Withershadow Combine reroll, and if you can get Gorman in there with some Black Oil, you can really lay some damage on a target, but that's about it.
Leviathan: Summary
Leviathans are not the best Helljacks you can find, and I fear they'll become extinct when the Desecrator arrives, but if you build an army to exploit them it can get ugly real fast. I've never actually lost a game, in which I used the two Leviathans, since playing on your terms is such a powerful tool, and they've revolutionized my relationship to Helljacks in general (before trying this setup, I rarely took any Helljacks at all).


  1. now im no pro by any means but between perdition, black spot and seas of fate dosent E.skarre also run them pretty damn effciently?

    1. eSkarre just does absolute wonders with any ranged guys. Hell, 'jacks in general love her.