Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spotlight: Master Necrotech Mortenebra

Master Necrotech Mortenebra has a special place in my heart. The Overseer is a place where I champion the odd models and maligned options, so getting the opportunity to flaunt a devastating build, that just happens to fly in the face of every bit of Internet wisdom in existence, is simply priceless.

The first thing you'll notice when doing a search on the Privateer Press forums, is an overwhelming love for Mortenebras Tier list, and since I was quite new when I discovered Mortenebra, I jumped on the wagon, and bought a pile of Helljacks.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra, an architect of Cryx’s war industry, has emerged from the smoke and soot to lead her ‘jacks to war.
It was a horrible experience, with a clumsy list of heavies stumbling about, trying to exploit mistakes my opponents didn't make, and I soon realized that whenever someone tells you that Mortenebra can fight an attrition battle, you should smack him in the mouth. I won two games, then I lost two games, and then I realized I was using a scalpel as a club, attempting to bludgeon where I could simply slice.

I sat down and put on my thinking cap, and while I was doing that I was spectating a game. The Cryx player was doing some amazing tricks with Helldivers (slams & reverse charges), and something just clicked: Mortenebra can make them do that for free. Privateer Press noticed my interest, released the Scavenger, buffed the Stalker, and caused the birth of an abomination: Non-tier Mortenebra.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra: Abilities
Mortenebra is a very fragile caster, placed on a medium base, with nothing to protect her, except immunity to knockdown. That sounds bad already, but then we add the fact that she runs herself dry on Focus every turn, and it all goes to hell. It basically boils down to this: if they can see her, they can kill her. As always you can go to Battlecollege to get the specifics.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra: List construction
Running Mortenebra with her Tier list is possible, and several people do very well with it, but I find the non-tier option to be such a powerful choice, that I cant see ever going back.

When I introduced the non-tier Bonejack list, it raised a few eyebrows, but it was considered nothing but an entertaining experiment. A few months later I was told, that several people were very pleased, that my flying circus of doom didn't make an appearance at the Danish Masters. It includes Helldivers (2), Scavengers (2), Stalkers (1), Harrowers (2), and Warwitch Sirens (2). In a typical fifty point list, the core build is thirty eight points, leaving me twelve points to play with.

The linked articles should give you an idea about the different uses for the Helldivers and Scavengers, while the Stalker is kept in reserve for assassinations against warlocks, or if the Scavengers fail. The Harrowers castle forward, providing a safe place for Mortenebra (this is extremely important), and either clear drop zones for the Scavengers (using their Mortifiers), or exploit Thresher and Overrun to assassinate careless casters.

The real magic of this list is found in the remaining twelve points, which allows Mortenebra a host of options she lacks in her Tier list. I've tried out a couple of different builds, and these three are the most successful so far.
  • Satyxis Blood Witches, Hag, and Withershadow Combine: Granting Mortenebra access to major upkeep removal, a free upkeep, and an additional reroll. The Withershadow Combine also add another ranged element, able to clear out one or two annoying models blocking an assassination. The Blood Witches are able to charge, remove a screen, and then turn incorporeal to allow charges through them. The Hag shuts down Tough, which is otherwise a serious problem for a Harrower assassination run, and this is my preferred setup (add your choice of one point filler).
      An alternative build I've been toying with, is going with just one Warwitch Siren, and including Slaughterborn instead, giving me the ability to clean out two ranks of infantry, before sending in the jacks.
  • Bane Thralls, Unit attachment, and Tartarus: Have you ever seen a unit of Bane Thralls charge with rerolls on everything? It's like watching a truck with a front mounted plow, hit a wall of butter at fifty miles an hour. Bane Thralls allow Mortenebra to play attrition, and that makes for some very dangerous lists.
  • Satyxis Raiders, Sea Witch, and Satyxis Raider Captain: These girls provide an excellent screen, activate Finisher with Feedback, wreck lines on infantry, and occasionally manage to knockdown something important. In a list with multiple slams and knockdowns, they can really wreck some face, and in other games they can engage enemy ranged models to save your precious Harrowers.
The core list plays on Terminal Velocity, allowing me to perform slams and power attacks for free, with boosted attack rolls and increased range against living models. A friendly Trollblood opponent once looked at our match, and asked me if I wanted to save some time and surrender, so we could go get lunch.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra: How to win
I asked him why I would do that, when I was going to win in about thirty seconds, and he laughed. I can understand why, since I had four Bonejacks and Deryliss left, facing an almost intact army, and Mulg placed by his caster.
  • I upkeep Spectral Steel (Scav.) and assign three Focus (Scav.).
  • Mortenebra activates: Terminal Velocity & Recalibration.
  • Deryliss puts Overrun on a Stalker.
  • Stalker procs Overrun.
  • Scavenger moves with Overrun.
  • Helldiver slams Mulg to the ground.
  • Helldiver slams Grim Angus to the ground, inflicting two damage (not transferred)
  • The Scavenger charges through the lines, with finisher up, hitting Grim automatically.
Grim had two Fury on him, but with Recalibration up it just wasn't enough. He could have survived with some lucky Tough checks, but one wasn't enough.

Sometime after that, it was named the Flying Circus of Doom, and people began taking it seriously. Fielding the Mortenebra non-tier list is a lot like playing a pinball machine, and in one game against a Legion player I slammed every beast he had on the table. Helldivers slammed, Scavengers flew over the slammed models to slam the second rank in odd angles, and Overrun moved the Stalker into position for a charge.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra: Non-tier
I'm often asked why I find non-tier to be superior, and there's a simple answer. Terminal Velocity & Recalibration allows our different Bonejacks to perform amazing stunts, while our heavies mostly just increase in raw power. When I field non-tier I can include models/units that increase my hitting power with debuffs, weapon masters, and support, while adding some ridiculous shenanigans to the list as well.

Non-tier Mortenebra with Bane Thralls can attrition a Warjack heavy list, which is something Tier-lists struggle against. Non-tier removes every problem you have when facing infantry spam, which is something Tier-lists struggle with as well. Non-tier has very few bad match-ups, and that's what I feel makes it so superior to Tier -lists.
Master Necrotech Mortenebra: Summary
The best thing about non-tier Mortenebra is, that it isn't quite as boring as her Tier-lists. You've got twelve points you can tailor to your specific needs, change around as you please without endangering the list, and use to add the variety that her Tier-list so badly needs.

Non-tier Mortenebra is an incredibly powerful build, that melts right through an enemy army to annihilate their caster, or probes his lines before forming into a steel fist, and striking where he's weak. Nobody can catch you, and nobody can dictate where you fight. You will outmaneuver Legion speed lists and destroy them, you will ignore enemy infantry no matter how many lines they form, and you will teach them to fear.


  1. I have for some time been toying with a non tier Mortenebra list, using bane thralls and Tartarus a few heavies and some bone jacks. Inspired by one of your list ideas i fielded this list yesterday:

    Mortenebra & Deryliss
    2x Scavenger
    2x Helldiver
    Warwitch Siren
    Min Bane Thralls
    Bane Thralls UA

    The list worked out nicely, even though it was very hard for me to figure out what to do beyond my first turn (I got to start). I won by assassination in my second turn using overrun and a Scavenger with 3 focus. I'll have to test out the list some more as it's really fun to play as well as being quite effective :)

  2. FCoD strikes again!

    Was that your first game with the Desecrator, since I would love some comments based on actual experience with the thing :D

  3. As the game ended so quickly, I didn't really get to try out any fun stuff like slams or using the Harrower to kill of infantry. I was facing Zerkova with Black Ivan and the new Khador jack with bulldoze, a dragoon, Fenriz + Doom Reavers, 2x kayazi eleminators and assault commandos with 3 flamers + some support stuff. It was a bit difficult for me to advance after my first turn, as nothing of consequence was in charge or slam range. He had the Doom Reavers on the left with Fenriz and the Assault Commandos to the right. To move my frontline of Bane Thralls and Tartarus forward would mean almost certain death to most of them, depending on though rolls. Besides moving the Desecrator and the Harrower forward with Mortenebra behind them, I'm still a bit puzzeled on how to advance with the rest of my force :)

    Yes it was my first try with the Desecrator. As it didn't really do anything other than put out a couple of scathers I still haven't actually seen it in action. I plan to keep running this list with at least one Desecrator (I was actually considering running two and dropping the Harrower in my first build, but the potential of the Harrower is just so great that I feel it has to be in the list)until I get to see what it actually can do ;)

  4. The FCoD did it again. Was playing against Karchev and a lot of my stuff had taken a beating. Long story short, thank god the Scavenger ignores intervening models when charging (War dog standing in the way and blocking LOS) :) He had no focus but I still wasn't 100% sure that a single Scavenger could take him down. It did though :) With Terminal Velocity, Recalibration, 3 focus and a couple of good damage rolls the man went down :)

  5. Karchev has received a beaking! :D

  6. This blog made me glad I chose Cryx. This list is what I strive to play once I get a grip on the game. Xmas has come, and I'm close to having all the models I need to run this list. I still need a second Harrower, but I may sub a Leviathan in just to get an idea of how the list runs.

  7. How would you play the FCOD when there are character restrictions becouse im guessing other casters would want tart and WSC.

  8. I wouldn't which is a damn shame :/

  9. Ok so I tried the this list out today and it worked just fine.

    Mortenebra & Deryliss
    2x Scavenger
    2x Helldiver
    Warwitch Siren
    Max Bane Thralls
    Bane Thralls UA
    Machine Wraith

    I tried it out vs eStryker and his thugs, he had alot of inf with hockey dwarfs, sword dudes, rowdy, hunter, lancer and the standard support.
    At first i fucked up about everything and lost alot of things but my harrower charged in and did a ton of damage to the hockey dwarfs and efter he killed of about everything i had expet morty, DJ, scavenger, helldick and a stalker i had to go for the kill.
    So my scav was in range of his caster but before that i threw a doom spiral thingy on his jack so his caster took 1 point of damage, then i charged morty up with terminal and feated, after that i threw my 3 foc scav at him and he got beaked to death (he only had 2 focus on him).
    The list was alot of fun to play, lots of slams = alot of fun.

    ps. i dont read through what i lazy.

  10. So I've been really wanting to play this type of list since I started playing about a year ago. Just last week my wife surprised me with Mortenebra as a gift along with the two Scavengers. I was able to play my version of the list in a few games today and every game was just a blast to play.

    Mortenebra & Deryliss
    2x Scavenger
    2x Helldiver
    2x Harrower
    Warwitch Siren
    2x Pistol Wraiths
    Blood Witches (full)
    Blood Hag

    The ability to slam anything at anytime was just way to nice. I am thinking of switching the Harrowers to Desecrator to shave two points so I can add in a 2nd Warwitch Siren. I feel the Crit Shread could be more useful in dealing with the heavies and colossal I tend to see in my meta. I things I like about this list is the lack of characters in it leaving them all for ether
    Terminus or Asphyxious and that it can go up against both Hordes and Warmachine with little change in play.

    If you have any comments please let me know, a lot of your writings helped keep me in the Cryx faction as I was starting.

    1. It looks good. I think the list, and my version, took a massive hit with Colossals, but it's still fun to play ;)