Praise Gork for the leakers! Thanks to some kind soul with a heart of gold and a camera phone that looks like it was at least produced this century, we now have the full rules for Krondspine, Incarnate of Ghur:
First thing to note is that this thing has the Behemoth Battlefield Role, but is not a Leader – which means it fits neatly into the Monster slot in the Battle Regiment battalion. This is a nice place to be for your listbuilding quality of life and a great start – but Krondy has a lot more than that going on, so let’s really dive into it.
Ready? Let’s go.
How it works
This thing joins your army as an unique enhancement for a specific hero, which means he can’t be bonded to a named character. That’s a shame for Gobsprakk, because he’s crying out for casting bonuses, but probably for the best overall.
Note also that the opening paragraph specifies that this thing does count as a unit for rules purposes.
You can chuck the Incarnate in any army, but if you do so, you don’t get to take any Allies in that army – although note that there is nothing preventing you from taking a Warmaster. Welcome to the era of Gloomspite armies starring Kragnos and an Incarnate, and only 40-odd percent actual Gits. GINO – Gits In Name Only.
You can’t kill an Incarnate outright – you apply Damage as normal, and then have a 3Dd roll off in the Battleshock phase against the number of wounds allocated (meaning that shooting and combat damage will both accumulate in a given turn). The more damage you’ve taken, the easier it becomes to fail the roll off (by rolling equal to or below that higher value); and if you do roll below it, the Incarnate drops down a level. The Incarnate starts on Level 2 and when its level reaches zero, it is removed from the game and is effectively killed.
So for example if you put 5 damage into Krondspine with shooting, and another 7 in melee, that’s 12 damage total. In the Battleshock phase you roll 9 on 3D6: that’s less than or equal to the wounds allocated, it brackets down a notch and the slate is wiped clean for damage. The average roll on 3D6 is 10.5, so you’re looking to slap at least 10 damage on this thing to have a good chance of levelling it down.
Krondspine can level up by killing Monsters or eating Endless Spells (more on this below); it levels down by taking damage and failing its roll off. The attacks on its main profile (also covered below) will degrade as it Levels down, as will the range on its abilities (referred to as Domination Range) – starting at 10″ on Level 2.
This means it is almost (but not quite) guaranteed to be around for two turns: you start on Level 2, and have to bracket down twice to reach zero and be Abolished. However thanks to my mate Pat Nevan for pointing out that Krondspine will bracket down with any insta-kill abilities and this is in addition to the above, so if you can apply an insta-kill and some regular damage in the same turn, it will level down from the insta-jib and then take its regular roll off in the Battleshock phase too. So be aware.
What does it do?
First up, it’s a reasonably good beatstick. Its best profile is the same as Kragnos (3+ / 2+ / -3 / damage 4) but with only 1 attack plus the current Level. So you start out with three attacks on this big profile plus a further 6 at rend -2 damage 2. My view is that it will generally be quite hard to level up in most matchups, so I would assume this is your max damage rather than setting yourself up for disappointment with dreams of consistently getting 4 attacks from the Tearing Fangs.
Overall it falls into that bucket of dicey, but hard to ignore – it can go off, or it can get bogged down. This will make for some exciting moments for both players.
There’s also quite a lot of techie stuff going on here. If it’s bonded to a wizard they get +1 to cast, unbind and dispell when nearby – but it also dishes out -1 to all of the above to any nearby wizards that it’s not bonded to. Obviously that’s a handy debuff when it’s ripping through enemy lines, but it’s also something to be very much aware of when you’re deploying your own army.
The Incarnate acts as a synapse for All Out Attack: if it receives that CA, then all friendly units wholly within range also receive it. Ironjawz players know how good this can be, and it’s on-theme with Ghur that it’s the aggro option that gets the signal boost. If it does receive AOO this transmission is not optional; so you can accidentally fuck yourself if you wanted a nearby unit to receive All Out Defence instead, because a unit can’t receive two CAs in the same phase. Note that this can be played around quite easily by leaving the toenail of one model outside the range: this is certainly a piece that rewards precise technical play and thinking about your actions.
Oh yes – there’s plenty going on here. All units wholly within range get to reroll run and charge rolls, and likewise all units wholly within range cannot retreat. Holy shit! Again this can either help or hinder both you or your opponent: you can give them rerollable runs and charges too. The important thing here is that of course you get to move it – so make sure you measure carefully and declare your intentions for any given unit to be just on the right (or wrong) side of the wholly within bubble.
As a Monster, Krondspine gets to do Monstrous Rampages – and he has a special one all of his own. He is allowed to charge enemy Endless Spells as if they were units, and for his Rampage he can try to eat them! You have to beat the casting value of the spell to devour it (applying your current Level as a modifier), so on your starting Level 2 you get +2 to help you on your way.
If you succeed, the Endless Spell is dispelled and you go up a level; but if you fail, you go down a level. Risky business!
Incarnates Go Wild
Last thing to cover in the rules is what happens when Krondspine is cut loose. This happens when the hero it is bonded to is slain – at that point it is considered an enemy unit by both sides, but crucially you still control its movement.
It has to charge if it’s within 12″ of a unit or Endless Spell, and it can run and charge – so you can’t avoid charging your own dudes just by making it run. But here’s a tip for ya:
It is always in range of itself, so you can always opt to reroll a charge for the Incarnate.
This means that when in its Wildform, you may choose to reroll a successful charge and try to turn it into a failure, to prevent it from charging your own units.
I’ve seen a lot of people panicking about this thing ripping through your own army, but that should be quite easy to avoid in practice by running it one way and your troops the other. With a 12″ flying move, you should almost always be able to get this thing the hell away from you when needed…as long as you don’t deploy like a spud.
Notes on Deployment
For the love of Gork, please do not deploy this thing in the middle of your army if your opponent has decent ranged output.
Imagine the scenario: your bonded hero gets shot off, and Krondspine goes Wild with half your army within 3″ of it. They cannot retreat – neither can it – and so unless you can airlift them out with a teleport, they are stuck there fighting each other to the death.
At the very least, make sure any units nearby to it are sufficiently spread out that they cannot be “wholly within”, but even then, and I can’t emphasise this enough – just do not deploy within 3″ of it.
So who is going to enjoy using it? The first thing that springs to mind is “anyone who lacks a beatstick monster of their own”, so I’m sure Nighthaunt for example will have their eye on it.
Kraggy synergises well with the rerollable charge rules, and with its flying move the Incarnate is a nice piece to wear an Unleash Hell to the face and then tie up key enemy units, liberating Kraggy to do his thing. 1120 points in total is a punishing investment, but something like Gits can supply the chaff and supporting units to let the heavyweights run rampant, and are generally happy to spend as few points as possible on their own stuff.
I don’t hate the idea of keeping the bonded hero off the board for an early turn or two, to deny the opportunity for this thing to run Wild in your backlines; so any heroes that can start off the board jump straight onto the shortlist (especially if you don’t need the casting bonus).
Anybody with a friendly-unit bodyguard save is in clover: shoutout to Joel Graham for flagging up that your Kruleboyz general for example can take the Egomaniak command trait and palm off damage* to nearby friendly units on a 4+. Keep rolling those 4+s, and keep passing off the wounds – an infinite wound dump is pretty nice to have, hey?
Credit: Games Workshop via Wahapedia
In my view the strongest ability on there is the no retreat clause. I’ve played my share of Bonegrinz under the previous Warclans book, and a 60-wound block of save-stacked Savage Orruks that you couldn’t retreat from was game-winningly powerful. The Incarnate has a smaller footprint, so you can’t reach out your tendrils and tag most of their army, but tying up key units with something so tanky is serious business.
I’m sure there will be a matchup that occurs where somebody is going to pin their opponent in place, then unleash a broadside of shooting into their army that they can’t escape from – you’ll need to screen the Incarnate off to keep him out of engagement range and prevent this, while at the same time making sure your own chaff doesn’t block you in your own deployment zone. So something guaranteed to disappear in a turn (while not giving away easy Battle Tactics) is ideal.
Conversely, Krondspine doesn’t always put out reliable mega-damage, so you can actually bog him down for a couple of turns with your own tanky units and draw the sting that way. Sometimes he’ll spike, but it’s just as likely that he’ll fail a roll or two along the way and take a few turns to grind through. It’ll be an interesting little mini-war where both sides have a real chance of things going their way.
Endless Spells are currently a rare sight in the mortal realms, but look out for them coming down in points in the next GH. It’s a massive gamble to try and swallow one since you risk levelling down – and giving your opponent the chance to cast it again in a new position often works in there favour – but it’s something to track, because as things stand that signature ability will rarely be seen.
I also hope that GW can resist the temptation to “explore design space” around how these things are bonded by letting something like Seraphon or Lumineth steal your 400 point unit and bond it to their army instead – please don’t do that.
I can’t justify the dollar price, coming bundled with all that terrain, but you know what? From a rules perspective, the more I look at this warscroll, the more I like it.
Krondspine can punch his weight as a combat piece, and that explosive upside tied to a low number of dice will deliver swingy and exciting engagements. The rerolls, buffs and debuffs will take careful positional management, but the upside is there to make it worth the effort – and a durable unit that your opponent can’t retreat from is always going to be serious business.
The price point of 400 points is spot on for my money – he brings enough to make it justifiable, but it blows a big enough hole in your army to make it a tough call.
At first pass, I thought the warscroll was needlessly bloated, but once you’ve got your head around it there is some really nice rules design in there.
Krondspine is good, but not too good; an intriguing inclusion, but not an auto-take. And that’s just the perfect place for a release like this to land.
*The wounds are healed, not negated, so it looks like this one works
Originally published on https://plasticcraic.blog April 7, 2022