Winning Immortality: Ice Caste

November 3, 2017 Community  No comments

Dragyri_IceCaste-200x200

Aaron Bohm gives us his insight into what it takes to win Dark Age‘s greatest tournament: Immortals. With the prize being adding yourself to the game, players want to know any sort of edge they can. That starts with what faction they choose to play. In this article, Aaron checks out the Ice Caste, one of the oldest factions in the game, and gives his thoughts about how they could go all the way.

Can any faction win a Dark Age Tournament? The competitive aspect of the game has been growing, spurred not only by one of the best prizes in all of miniatures gaming – the prize of adding yourself into the game by winning the Immortals Tournament – but also by the dedication CMON has been giving the game recently. So, likewise, a growing question in the minds of players looking to purchase into a new faction is, “Does this army have what it takes to crush my opponents and take home the prize?”

One of the more recent recipients of CMON’s attention has been the Dragyri’s Ice Caste with a set of brilliant new sculpts. However, whether for newer players looking to start their first army or for veterans eager to pick up the flashy new models, there isn’t much being said on how the faction plays. Indeed, some may even suggest they are underpowered, although this ultimately results in them being underplayed. So who can say if their power has truly been tested? Either way, this article is to provide a building guide for how Ice Caste not only could win, but how, with the right choices and in the hands of the right player, absolutely should win a competitive Dark Age tournament.

Here’s how I would do it.

DAG02004_Dragyri_IC_Starter_Box_2

The Concept

One of the reasons Ice Caste is thought to be a bit on the weaker side is that they are extremely straightforward. A key attribute Tournament winner Bobby Limoggio ranks all Dark Age factions on is “Tricks,” or the special, extra abilities and mechanics unique to them that disrupt the ordinary flow of play. Not surprisingly, Ice Caste is on the bottom of the ranking in this category. So, conceptually, that is where I have to start, but maybe I can build that into a strength.

One “trick” that does intrigue me revolves around the Arbiter ability on Luck’Kit’Kaii, “Now is Our Time!” Any Ice Caste list is going to have to be a melee powerhouse, looking to engage the enemy as quickly and as often as possible. In Dark Age tournaments, two aspects that players can struggle with are the randomness of the Initiative roll and dealing with aggressive or “divey” players. Luck’Kit’Kaii gives a bit of an edge on both fronts, and it’s a sufficient enough place to start my list.

Models of Focus

Since point values have been standardized in Dark Age to a base 25 point system, 75 point models are usually where I start list building. At 75 points, there is a discount for the second HP – most models are 50 points per HP – as well as a bump up in power and special abilities from 50 point models.

The 75 point Ice Caste standout is the Blizzard. Duel-wielding models hit just as hard as Extreme Damage, but ED models are either slowly becoming extinct or costing more points, like the current version of the Frostbite. Blizzard’s Special Ability, Chilling Aura, is especially useful for an Ice strategy looking to engage enemy models as much as possible and Chilling Grasp helps here as well, as Blizzard can first pull enemy models into it and then blanket them inside a de-buff.

DAG02023_Dragyri_IC_Blizzard_Unit_Box_2

The ability Infiltrate is also very useful in general but with Ice Caste it is near-mandatory. Since most of the game they will be heading straight for the enemy, Infiltrate gives them a flank option – for either tactical or objective scoring purposes. Soul Searchers and Dah’vid are both strong selections for Infiltrate.

Last but not least for any Dragyri list are the Spirit Lords. Spirit Lords have the same benefits in terms of hit power and survivability as any other 150 point model but additionally are Psychogenic wielders. The Spirit Lord of Ice is a really good value – able to Parry and hits as hard as the Death’s Device – but as the Arbiter faction rule allows, both Fire and Shadow Spirit Lords would also work well here.

Adjusting for Strengths and Weaknesses

Lack of range attacks is the #1 thing Dragyri lists struggle with. The Soul Splitter is Ice Caste’s primary option for range and the Obscuring Fog Psychogenic helps cover for the bad defense stats but the model does little else so my preference is the Spirit Lord of Fire. Its ST weapon should provide just enough range threat to snipe opponent models and give your melee time to get in place. Even still, that we have to “Grand Arbiter-in” the Fire Spirit Lord makes him a prime candidate for sideboard substitutions, so we could place a Soul Splitter in reserve and/or a Whisper or two.

DAG02025_Dragyri_IC_SoulSplitter_Unit_Box_2

For the same reason, the slave pick that makes the most sense is the Sling Slave. Normally it might be too much to hope that a 750 point Ice Caste list exceeds 9 or 10 models but this list will be powerful enough to drop a traditional 75 point slot in favor for a few extra slaves and even a Taskmaster which, even for the extra points, also gives us a little something extra.

Luck’Kit’Kaii of course is a given, as the list strategy revolves around either the use or the bluff of using his Arbiter ability near round 3 or 4. But the Blizzard is equally important to split the opponent’s focus and lock down models into melee. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to double up and take two.

My List

1 Luck’Kit’Kaii
2 Blizzard
1 Dah’vid
1 Taskmaster
1 Spear Slave
3 Sling Slave
1 Spirit Lord of Fire

Sideboard
1 Whisper
1 Soul Splitter

Play Notes: One of the favorite opening moves I have seen is Luck’ moved his full 12” right into the center of the table. While it often doesn’t make sense to do this, given his bad defense stats, without at least some cover it nevertheless illustrates how this list is meant to be played.

For Luck’, the two Blizzards, and a well-placed Dah’vid, envision an imaginary line between them and the place on the board they need to go, or the model they need to kill. Then get there as fast as possible. The other models are there to provide flexibility and support; the sideboard to add adaptability. After round 1, Luck’ should be the last model to activate. This will limit the amount of retaliation he will get before the end of the round and will help set up a dual-activation whenever it works out best to choose, “Now is our Time!”

ice cast finish

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