Monday, December 5, 2011

Spotlight: Satyxis Raiders

It took me a while to warm up to these girls, but when I did I found something truly unique. The Satyxis Raiders offer a nearly limitless supply of tools, while being cheap(ish) and incredibly powerful when used right.

I'll begin by extending a couple of warnings, because this unit requires a lot of finesse, so don't worry if they underperform for a while. In addition the Battlecollege articles are severely lacking (as of December, 2011), and features information that is either useless, outdated, or simply wrong. I'll try and suggest some changes to the author when I get the time, but for now you should simply pretend it doesn't exist.

Satyxis Raiders, Sea Witch, and Captain

The Satyxis Raiders have plethora of abilities, and remembering them all can be a challenge. Actually writing about them is a challenge as well, because every ability hinges on another ability, making it very hard to pick a place to begin.

The Sea Witch (SW) is a part of the unit, since you should never field them without her, and I'd very strongly recommend including a Satyxis Raider Captain (SRC) as well, so I've decided to handle them all in a single Spotlight, and hope I can manage to cover everything at once.
Satyxis Raiders: Sea Witch
The Sea Witch defines a lot of what the Satyxis Raiders do, so let's take a look at the core abilities she brings to the unit, and talk a bit about keeping her safe.
  • Granted: Force Barrier
This is a disgusting ability, that makes the Satyxis Raiders defense sixteen against shooting, and grants them immunity to blast damage. The Satyxis are faster than almost everyone else, so making them ridiculously hard to hit, and immune to blast damage seems a bit over the top, but I'll take it. The ability is granted, so don't let her die.
  • Mini-Feat: Power Swell
It's a round of weapon master, on all their attacks. That means they suddenly threaten everything but the Devastator type models, and we're a faction with easy access to debuffs to boot. With the optimal setup and full available debuffs, you can have two Satyxis Raiders kill a mint condition Khador heavy on a single charge, and just to add a bit of insult, inflict two damage on their controller with Feedback (this will be explained later).
  • Tactics: Pathfinder
Sure they can charge fourteen inches, and now they can do it while ignoring terrain. The Sea Witch takes every single problem the Satyxis Raiders have, and nullifies it. Vulnerability to shooting (gone), vulnerability to blast damage (gone), low damage output (gone), and problems with terrain (gone).
  • Summary
There's no reason to leave the Sea Witch at home, and keeping her safe is a priority. The obvious thing to do is to keep her back, and if you have access to any sort of cover or concealment you should use it. Since the Satyxis Raiders are immune to blast damage, you can cover LoS to her with a few Raiders without getting yourself blown to pieces, but be careful if your opponent has access to AoE spells that aren't blast damage (pAsphyxious with Breath of Corruption is a good example).
Satyxis Raiders: Satyxis Raider Captain
I did warn you that the unit was complicated, and the Captain brings another set of core abilities to the table. She's a lot harder to keep safe than the Sea Witch, and her abilities are not as vital, but she's an incredible solo for two points, that I consider an auto-include for several reasons.
  • Commander
Satyxis Raiders are often taking two or three morale test per round, when they impact terror causing units, get torn apart in melee, or hit by spells, so the added command is more valuable than you might think.
  • No Sleeping on the Job (Satyxis)
I rarely ever use this ability, since anything that knocks down Satyxis usually kills them as well, but remembering it exists can really mess up an opponent who forgets it. There are several knockdown feats in the game, and an opponent usually plans around your screen being down, so remember to point and laugh.
  • Desperate Pace (*Action)
This is the real power behind the SRC, because +2 movement on a speed seven unit with reach is just crazy. This means fourteen inch charges, or engaging from eighteen inches away. This speed increase allows for some really crazy moves, but I'll get back to that later.
  • Summary
The Satyxis Raider Captain supports the main unit, but she also performs well as a backup sweeper. She has better MAT than almost anything else in our faction, and her sprint ability allows her to charge and kill a model twelve inches away, and then move an addition seven inches, allowing her to engage and lock models from more than twenty inches away.

Keeping her alive can be difficult though, since she has no access to Force Barrier, so keeping her in terrain can be useful. She comes with nearly all the abilities of the main unit, which means she can Advance Deploy, has Pathfinder, and she's even a Weapon Master to make up for the lack of Power Swell.

The mistake I see most people make with her, is to apply Desperate Pace in the first round, when it's not actually needed. Most games she would be better of moving to a safe position, so she's available when you really need those extra inches. 
Satyxis Raiders: Abilities
The Satyxis Raiders need bodies on the ground, so I recommend a full unit. The more stiletto heels you have on the ground, the more powerful power swell becomes, and the less morale checks they'll need to make.
  • Advanced Deployment
This getting downright stupid, but continuing the speed theme, the Satyxis Raiders have Advanced Deployment. I'll get back to that later, when I get around to talking about tactics, but to the best of my knowledge this makes the Satyxis Raiders the fastest infantry unit in the game.
  • Combined Melee Attack
If you charge, you can combine the Lacerator from one Satyxis with the Horns from another, and while that means losing a lot of attacks and the charge bonus on every other Raider, it can be worth it. The ruling is here, and the discussion is here.

I rarely find myself doing this, because it requires a lot of setup and it takes forever to explain to an opponent (they never believe it's allowed), so I just take my chances with two attacks instead, and it usually works out alright in the end.
  • Lacerator: Reach, Critical Knockdown, Feedback, and Chain Weapon
Internet lingo defines most peoples reaction to the Lacerator as: LOLWHUT. Their main weapon has three active abilities you need to remember, but when you do it's an incredible weapon (the Sea Witch has a non-chain version though). Reach allows them a twelve inch charge range, and the SRC increases this to an incredible fourteen inches, making them one of the fastest units in the game.

Chain Weapons allow them to dismantle shield walls with ease, and it reduces the armor of a few heavies as well, making it easier to abuse Feedback. Critical Knockdown rarely comes into play, but when it does happen it's a nice little bonus, and it makes them deadly screens (this will also be explained later).

Feedback allows the Raiders to damage a caster by hitting his jacks, and while you rarely get a kill with Feedback damage (I've never managed one), it can put your opponent in a really poor position. A worn down caster won't be taking chances, won't be able to risk free strikes, and if he's low enough he will have to pull his jacks out of the fight to avoid dying to Feedback damage, meaning you've got a lot less of his army to worry about.

The Feedback ability also has great synergy with unbinding from the Withershadow Combine, since unbinding also inflicts damage that circumvents a casters defense and armor, while inflicting low enough damage to make transferring a useless defense. Assuming you can unbind two upkeep spells, and get seven Raiders swinging, you've got 2d3+7 damage going straight to a caster, and that's going to hurt.
  • Horns
A non reach melee attack, with low PS and no special abilities might not seem like much, but it's a huge advantage when combined with their other abilities. With Desperate Pace from the SRC the Raiders can charge 12.5" with their horns, and with Power Swell from the SW they can kill a model with their horns, and swing at the second line with their Lacerators, allowing the unit a stupid amount of kills if your opponent allows it.
Satyxis Raiders: Tactics
The Raiders have so many applications in a game, that explaining them all in detail is nigh impossible, but I'll do my best. I'm going to cut some corners here, but I'll try and flesh out the most relevant tactics.
  • Pushers
A pusher is a model/unit, that forces an opponent to advance less than he would like to. This gives you a major boost in board control, and allows you to seize the initiative. I used the Satyxis Raiders as an example in my Pusher article, so instead of repeating everything I said, I'll make you go read it: Pushers
  • Screens
Satyxis Raiders are excellent screens, even if they're a bit expensive. I've talked about this before, so I'll make you go read that as well: Screens
  • Locks
A lock is something you put on a model/unit to prevent it from performing it's main function. Satyxis Raiders can run, and with Desperate Pace they can engage a unit from eighteen inches away. They have reach, and high defense, so putting a couple of Raiders in melee with a ranged unit can mess it up.
Even with aim bonus, another unit will be unable to clear out the Raiders with ranged attacks (defense twenty, due to Force Barrier and being engaged), which means that he needs melee sweepers to free them, and I see a lot of tournament armies without viable melee sweepers these days.
  • Flankers
Flanking in Warmachine/Hordes is a bit of a joke, but these girls can actually do it. If you run at full speed with Desperate Pace up, you'll be eight inches from his deployment zone in the first round, which takes everyone by surprise. 
In ninety percent of your games that will be a really efficient way to lose a lot of points, but occasionally your opponent forgets to take the sheer speed and Advanced Deployment into consideration, and opportunity arises. This move is often combined with "Locking", when a ranged unit is left to fend for itself on a flank.
  • Magnets
There's something very unsettling about seeing your own objective, and an enemy unit in front of it, before you've had your first turn. It's a sure way of losing your own Satyxis Raiders, unless he really failed deployment, but it's also one of the best magnets in the game.

Magnets are models/units that draw your opponent into position, and I guarantee you one thing: If you take his objective before he's had a chance to move, he'll come for it. You need a plan that involves more than just trying to hold it, because Satyxis Raiders don't hold objectives well, and their deaths will mean nothing unless you have a plan.

Magnets work best if layered, so resist the urge to put twelve models between him and the objective, because anything you place there will die. Satyxis Raiders are very hard to remove with shooting, so three or four models will do the job, and force him to take you out with melee models, and clogging up his own lanes badly. This also gives you a perfect second round, with power swell and 7-8 dual attack weapon masters charging in.
Satyxis Raiders: Warcaster
There are a lot of casters that will enjoy the Satyxis Raiders, but a few of them stand out and deserve special attention.
  • pDeneghra: I shudder at the sheer destructive potential.
Ghost Walk takes care of the free strikes and allows the raiders to exploit every bit of speed they can manage. Parasite and The Withering means three Satyxis Raiders taking down a Khador heavy, and if anything actually survives it's hard to take on defense 14/16 models when you have -2 or -4 to hit.
  • eDeneghra: Can't touch this!
Web of Shadows, then charge the raiders in and slaughter everything. The following round, cast Curse of Shadows or Ghost Walk, and destroy whatever is left without caring what's parked between them.
  • Mortenebra: Recalibration, I love you.
I love being able to activate Finisher on my Scavengers, and Feedback allows me to do that. With Recalibration up, and a warjack within reach, the Scavenger assassination run becomes even deadlier. Not only does the Scavenger have Finisher up for it's first attack, but the target is down a couple of boxes already, and that equals a horribly beaky death.
  • pSkarre: Dark Guidance and Blood Magic.
PS fourteen/thirteen Satyxis Raiders, with increased accuracy, is simply not fair (not to mention that the chance of a critical knockdown skyrockets). The Satyxis Raider Captain also makes Skarre immune to knockdown, which is nothing short of awesome. Then we have the infamous Feeback/Backlash combination, that allows you to kill a caster without ever touching him, and the package is just about perfect.
  • eSkarre: Black Spot and Backlash.
Immunity to knockdown on eSkarre, immunity to leadership issues on the Satyxis Raiders, the same Feedback/Backlash ability as her prime version, and Black Spot. They won't hurt heavies much, but point them at an infantry unit, and watch it vanish in a red mist of barbed-whip-killer-bikini-babes.
Satyxis Raiders: Summary
The Satyxis Raiders are faster than the speed of light, able to adapt to just about anything, and able to surgically remove just about anything in the game. They're dead if they're caught in melee with anything that knows how to fight, but will always hold the initiative, unless you as a player fail them. It's a unit that every caster can appreciate, and with the coming character restrictions I expect to see a lot of them on the tournament tables, so getting to know them can't be a bad idea.


  1. Thank god. That took forever to write, and I can see I need to do some editing, but that will have to wait.

  2. Good article, love the girls too. So much potential, one of my favorite cryx units (beating thralls hands down).

  3. Argh, leftover from writing something that included Dark Shroud and Rust Bomb. Editing now :D

  4. Very informational article.

    I appreciate the depth you go to in these articles. All of your spotlight articles make me want to run out and buy the model/s you cover.

    This isn't good because I'm still new and learning.

    I'd love it if you did an article for new Cryx players. I don't know what angle you could take, but it would be interesting. Maybe something focusing on lists at lower point armies? 15 - 35 and how to play to a lists strength? Or which models to focus on depending on the playstyle you have.

    Looking forward to future articles. I'd like to request one on Necrotechs, or Machine Wraiths.

  5. Necrotechs are on my fail list (models I continually fail with), but Machine Wraith should be easy to accommodate, since I'm testing three of them tonight :D

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hah. Good thing you have interested readers calling you out on this sort of thing.

    I really need to find the cash to buy a box of raiders and a witch. I've already got the captain.

    I think between them, the full mechanithralls and the minimum bile thralls I have I'll be able to field a solid list in the 35-50 point range. I've got plenty of jacks and other solos to fill in.

  8. You also didn't mention that Dark Guidance increases the chances of getting critical knockdown.

  9. Thanks Jason :D

    Attentive readers: 2
    Lamoron: 0

    I've added the Critical Knockdown information.

  10. First off, I just wanted to let you know that this page is not linked to your spotlight list. Second, I was looking for your advice on my pDenny list. At 25pts, my plan is for 2xDeathrippers, Skarlock, 2xWWS, either a max or min unit of Raiders with Captain & Witch, and some ranged attacks. The question is, do i run a min unit and include either Croe's or Nyss without the help of Dougal? If so, which one? Or do I drop the Captain for Dougal? Option two would be to run max Raiders and fill out the last 4 points with ranged solos. In-faction that doesn't leave much besides a single Pistol Wrait, or 2 Bloats. I suppose Gorman or Saxon could work. What are your thoughts?

  11. Ah thanks, it's linked now. I think I'd switch out a Warwitch Siren, and avoid the problem. Nyss are probably better if you can't bring Dougal, since Croe's lack range if he's not there.

  12. Thanks, so you're saying to run the min Satyxis, remove a WWS, add in Croe's & Dougal? I would love to keep the Satyxis at max and fit in Nyss, but removing the Siren only puts me at 6 pts remaining.

  13. I'd run min unit raiders, or try without the captain and use wave attacks instead.