Friday, 25 September 2015

Jacob Lynch After Five: Part One

Introduction and Initial thoughts:
I’ve actually played 7 games with Lynch rather than 5 but played several in such close succession that I hadn’t had a chance to write this until now. As this is the first article I’ve posted on this topic I thought I should give a quick blurb on my idea for these posts and what you can expect in the future. Note: This is not a review of the master and his abilities, there are tons of those out there in podcast and/or blog form. Rather, this is my feelings about how I have been/will be using the master and my thoughts about him/her. Due to the length of the article, and the long-windedness of my writing, I am going to split this piece into two parts. Part One will cover the upgrades and models I have used in my 5 games with Lynch. Part Two will cover Strategies and Schemes that I like/dislike him for and where I view his place in my Neverborn collection.

Lynch was one of the Masters that I was most eager to pick up for my Neverborn and was actually the third master I ended up purchasing after Dreamer and the Viktorias, and my first plastic kit. Despite this, I only started playing him relatively recently and have still not fully finished painting his crew (although I have currently banned myself from painting any other miniatures until I finish Lynch, Graves, Tannen and my second beckoner, which would finish off all my Darkened models). Lynch particularly appealed to me because of his cool fluff and his card/hand control. I found Dreamer so card hungry that the idea of playing a master than has so much control over his hand very appealing. Also despite the model being very silly, Hungering Darkness looked like a ton of fun to play. Finally, Lynch’s crew has incredible killing power and as the killing strategies and schemes are not the ones that I tend to dominate with Dreamer, I thought he had a potential role in my competitive case as an option in killing scenarios.


Upgrades I always take:
Woke up with a Hand is the auto-include upgrade for Lynch. I’m not sure I’ve talked to anyone who has left this upgrade off Lynch. Even after being FAQd so the Final Debt attack is once a turn, being able to pump out 6 damage at the start of the turn (or more later) is great, especially CA7 with no gun symbol. The most damage I’ve ever done with this was 9, where I only used 1 card during the rest of the turn, drew two aces, and then activated lynch last for the 2 extra cards. I killed off a Blessed in one giant explosion (after hitting it for 2 damage/brilliance with Play for Blood). But, as previously alluded to, the main reason I take this upgrade is for the card draw. Drawing two extra cards a turn is incredible and even though I don’t use it every turn, as some times it is more important to activate Lynch early, even getting to use it twice a game is well worth it. This ability is one of the best parts of playing Lynch and I wouldn’t leave home without it.

Rising Sun is my favourite of the two limited upgrades. I haven’t tried the other one yet and will have to do so at some time, but for now I always take Rising Sun. Hungering Darkness only has Df 3 and 7 wounds. With incorporeal (and soulstones) he can survive fairly well but can become a drain on your soulstones if he is targeted by anything that ignores incorporeal. Rather than requiring a large cache to keep him alive, it is far better to be able to just let him die and bring him back. Since Lynch tends to kill a model a turn for me most games, and tends to activate last, I find I rarely have a turn with Huggy off the board. Though to be fair, he hasn’t even died that often in the first place and I think I need to try being more aggressive with him some times. This upgrade also holds a ton of value in certain strats/schemes which will be covered later.

Upgrades I occasionally take:
Addict on either Hungering Darkness or Lynch. If I am running an illuminated heavy crew (or Stitched togethers in theory but I have not yet run them on him) this upgrade can be incredibly powerful. Having Illuminated on plus to attack and damage when they are already at a 4/6/7 damage track is insane. Being able to cheat a moderate card for 6 damage is amazing. I took out Lady J with two illuminated in one game as my opponent had been too aggressive placing her and they illuminated just tore her to pieces (not my opponent had not taken Badge of Office). I also got great advantage of this upgrade in a recent hardcore henchman tournament. I originally took this on Lynch because I was worried Huggy would be too far away from the rest of the crew but later decided it was better on Huggy due to his height three (and the fact that it clears up an upgrade spot for Lynch)

Wanna See a Trick on Lynch. I’ve only taken this once and I didn’t actually get much use out of it as I didn’t tend to either draw aces or have them left at the end of the turn. I’m not sure this upgrade suits my playing style as I tend to ditch my aces with mulligan most of the time to try and get some better cards in hand for Final Debt or for the next turn. I will have to try it again at some point in the future, but not sure this upgrade will be a go-to for me. This upgrade tends to divide people a bit as I see a lot of people raving about the extra damage output (which can be spectacular) while other people who, like me, find they would either rather keep the aces (for sprint or other abilities) or discard them with mulligan to set up their hand for the following turn.

Mimic’s Blessing. This upgrade seems like a great combination with Woke up with a Hand
Aether Connection is an upgrade I take a ton when assassinate is in the pool, regardless of which master I am using. The extra damage prevention is incredibly helpful on Neverborn masters who all have such low health. If I ever had Lynch with Assassinate in the pool this would definitely be the third upgrade I would take on him. Other than that I’m not sure I would take it with Lynch as it does really help his survivability but is very resource intensive.

Fears Given Form on Hungering Darkness is a great way to up his killing power. Since you can be really aggressive with him (as he can come back) it is sometimes worth just double walking him early in a turn into a group of enemy models. His 3” engagement range and 50mm base allow FGF to have a huge effect and if they kill him you can just bring him back. The downside is it makes it so you have to watch out for tagging your own models. Especially if you are tagging models with Brilliance with him and then charging them with illuminated. Luckily illuminated can generally heal the damage they suffer from it in a pinch. I really like this upgrade on Huggy and tend to take it whenever I have a spare point (though would not drastically change a list to be able to afford it)

Upgrades I haven’t used but want to try
Eternal Hunger is the other limited upgrade that effects Huggy. Instead of being able to come back from the dead, he becomes Terrifying (All) and gets casting expert. An extra AP is fantastic, especially since both his attacks are casting, but it makes him far more delicate and I’m not sure if it’s worth it. It also means if you come up against his hard counters (CA targeting defence especially) you will really pay for it. I do want to try it out at some point as an extra AP is very strong.

Expert Cheater. This upgrade looks like a ton of fun. Squeel is a decent, but situational ability that can help Lynch get out of certain situations. But what makes this card look like so much fun is the ability to cheat face down. Not sure how powerful this ability actually is, and it probably depends a lot on how good at bluffing and reading your opponent you are (note: I am terrible at poker, I always just want to go all in every hand, regardless of what I have). That being said it could really up the fun quotient with Lynch and since I have tended to find playing him a bit monotonous so far this could be key to increasing my enjoyment playing him.

Models I reach for with Lynch:
Lynch is actually one of the few masters I’ve played who I’ve tended to stick closely to his thematic models. Also my crews have tended to look a lot more familiar across strategies and schemes than they do with other masters

I usually take two Illuminated in every game with Lynch. Three seems like a bit overkill as it cuts down on your ability to take different models, but two seems perfect. Their damage output in a crew that can hand out brilliance is insane. They are also really tough for a 7ss minion that hits as hard as they do and are wk 5 ch 8 so quite quick too. There is a reason these models are always in discussion for the strongest minions in the game and one of the go-to neverborn models (although I tend to use them less than many neverborn players outside of Lynch crews).

Doppelganger is the other model that makes it into every Lynch crew I run. To be honest it is hard to EVER leave Doppelganger out of a list when you are playing Neverborn. That being good Doppelganger is specifically a great fit with Lynch for her ability to copy friendly actions. Since Hungering Darkness is a henchmen not a master you can copy any of his attacks, both of which are fantastic. Furthermore, the extra damage on an illuminated is not a trigger, so she can hit minimum damage 4 against targets with brilliance. Finally it allows you to have an extra Lure if you decided to take a beckoner.

Speaking of Beckoners, they are another model I have taken in every game with Lynch. In 4 of 5 games I’ve taken one and I took two in the other game. I’m still not sure how I feel about these models. Having a Lure is fantastic and even though it is only CA 6 it still has it’s uses. Specifically it is great for moving your own models around without the beckoner falling behind (thanks to their push trigger). This is a nice way to help move up Lynch turn 1 since he is deathly slow with walk 4. The other great thing beckoners provide is an easy way of handing out brilliance without Huggy/Lynch having to do it. This allows Lynch to activate late in the turn and still have your illuminated hitting their extra damage. Two problems with beckoners. The main one is that they are paper thin. If something attacks them they will die (except for that one game when a Tara player had a fast nothing beast and bishop charge one only to watch it live). The other issue is they are expensive at 7ss in a crew that already wants a bunch of 7ss models. Also the doppelganger can’t copy their ability to hand out brilliance as it occurs on a trigger. That being said I do think they are worth it in certain matchups and I plan to keep using one in most of my crews.

These ones are converted from spare beckoner and illuminated bits
Depleted are great 4ss tanks that also hand out damage and brilliance in a pulse when they pop. I tend to find they are great in games where they can score VP despite being insignificant (turf war, reconnoitre) but tend to stay home in more active strategies (squatters rights, stake a claim). I know some people use these models as their brilliance delivery systems rather than beckoners but I haven’t had any luck with that yet as my opponents tend to ignore them.

The models that tend to compete with depleted in my lists (depending on strats/schemes) for the 4ss slot are terror tots. Let’s be honest, everyone who plays Lynch loves these guys. Getting the ace of masks in hand allows them to move 20” a turn, which is just insane. They area also decently tough for a 4ss scheme runner. They are great little models, although I do want to try Gupps in their place at some point. They are more terrain dependent to survive and a bit more fragile in general but they are capable of placing two markers a turn which is not to be underestimate and they are harder to tie up thanks to Leap. These are to be tested in the future.

Mr Graves seen her with his buddy Mr Tannen, who I have not yet used with Lynch
The final model I have tended to really like including in my Lynch lists is Mr Graves. If I am too worried about the fragility of the beckoners, or just want to further increase the mobility of my crew, Mr Graves is the man. Even though he has no synergy with the crew (despite also being darkened) he is such a great fit alongside doppelganger as it allows you to push two models (as well as Graves and Doppelganger) 6” up the board turn one. This allows Lynch to get to spend more of his AP shooting rather than walking. His pushes can also be used aggressively to remove lynchpin models of the opponents from an area (He’s a great brewmaster counter for this reason + being immune to wp duels in his activation) He also gives you a model over 7ss which makes Murder Protégé more obvious (although he’s not the best choice for it, at least you know it will be on him).

These are really the only models I’ve used with Lynch so far as I tend to find 2 illuminated, a beckoner, and doppelganger + upgrades and stones takes up the vast majority of every crew I build. That being said I do want to try some other models with him in the future, especially models that have discard a card abilities. Teddies come to mind as a fun option since they can discard an ace for flurry and also take advantage of Lynch’s wp targeting attacks for free strikes. I think Lynch has more cool options in Ten Thunders for the ace discard ability but I do want to spend some time brainstorming neverborn or mercenary models that are worth looking at for him. Johan seems like a great fit as Graves can increase his speed, he has flurry, and he can remove conditions (which are a pain).

I actually converted my metal Johan to go with my Neverborn by adding an Illuminated hand
That’s the end of part one of my Lynch After 5 review. In the Part Two I will discuss how I view him as a part of my Neverborn bag and look at what strategies and schemes he excels at or suffers in.

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