The Coven are strange to play for a few reasons. First, there are three of them, which means you'll get three activations out of your caster, which is very handy for some things, like your upkeeps and other spell-casting opportunities. In addition, they have the Perfect Conjunction rule to let them cast a lot of spells (it makes all their spells cost only one or two focus apiece). They are a bit more difficult to use, but they are VERY effective as a warcaster.
First, a look at the advantages:
- Extra Soulhunters and extra Warwitch Sirens. Combined with a later tier bonus, extra Soulhunters could be quite effective.
- Soulhunters begin the game with a soul token! It's much easier to get more soul tokens once you have the first, so this is great.
- You can re-deploy a model/unit. This isn't an overtly strong ability, but it's a nice-to-have. You can keep vital pieces out of danger, or put something closer to where it needs to be after seeing where your opponent has put his army.
- Advance Deployment for Helljacks. Another nice-to-have, as you'll be able to get your Helljacks into the action much quicker.
The Witch Coven of Garlghast
The Withershadow Combine
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall
The obvious focus here is on jacks, and getting them up and doing some damage. Hopefully, you'll be able to beat your way through your opponent's army before they can take too big a chunk out of you. With the Coven's spells- it's not even necessary to beat through them- you can walk through them!
Let's look at some of the parts of the army.
The Witch Coven of Garlghast: The girls can't do the job on their own, but will certainly make the job easier for your army.
Curse of Shadows, Veil of Mists, and Ghost Walk all help your jacks get into position, or at the least bypass models or terrain your opponent will have in front of your targets. You'll be using these spells a lot to get those jacks into and past your opponent. At 2 focus apiece (with Perfect Conjunction), they aren't going to strain the Coven's casting ability. The Withershadow Combine will make even that easier to swallow, since they can upkeep one of your spells for free.
Occultation will help keep your jacks alive as they move up. Throwing Stealth on the Deathjack will provide it some defense against ranged attacks.
Stygian Abyss is a fairly basic damage spell, and if the Coven have nothing else to do with their focus for a turn, this isn't a bad way to spend it. The critical Shadow Bind is probably the more helpful use of the spell, but POW 12s can still hurt if done enough.
Infernal Machine is the key enhancement that the Coven will provide, and since they'll have 3 activations, you can spread this around to every one of your heavy jacks every turn. Speed 8 and MAT 10 for all 3 of your warjacks is going to make your opponent very nervous every turn, especially with all the focus you'll have (since your jacks generate 4 on their own).
Warjacks: I chose two Seethers and the Deathjack. The Deathjack is an auto-include for most Cryx armies it seems, since he's very focus-efficient, and can even cast some of the warcaster's spells. With this build, all three of your warjacks get Advance Deployment, and all three can run/charge without taking focus from your caster. They are also all very scary in close combat, especially with Infernal Machine to make sure they hit. Use Occultation, Veil of Mists, and terrain to keep them protected, then Infernal Machine + Veil of Mists, Ghost Walk, and Curse of Shadows to destroy your opponent's army.
Two Defilers are also included, since the Coven badly need arc nodes- they are too fragile to ever be close to the army's front line. The spray attacks will help against infantry, since you don't have many ways to tear through them otherwise. Of course, RAT 5 isn't exactly tearing through infantry, but you could certainly hurt them.
Units: Unfortunately, the constraints of the tier requirements really take a lot of points, meaning you don't have the points for units. That's a shame, since your unit choices for this list are actually really good. Bane Knights really fit the theme, since they have Ghostly built in. They, as well as Blood Witches, are great for killing infantry, which you don't really have otherwise in this list.
Soulhunters are a theme of this list, and they are fantastic at killing infantry, but pretty poor at killing anything else. If this list were for 75 points, I would certainly include 2 units just to take advantage of the free soul tokens and Darragh Wrathe's ability to give them Incorporeal during their activations (again, a theme of this army). At 50 points, however, they are just too costly to fit! Of course, I don't see myself playing 75 points anytime soon :(.
The Withershadow Combine is another of those choices that seem to be an auto-include in Cryx armies. They have a lot of abilities, and if you play Cryx you're probably familiar with them. They may even create an extra Helljack or two with this list.
Solos: There were a decent selection of choices here, but only three made the cut.
Necrotechs are very cost effective, and provide some ability to keep your jacks up and running (as well as a way to benefit after killing your opponent's jacks). With two Necrotechs, all three of your jacks can repair throughout the game (assuming the Deathjack has living models to murder). Scrap thralls have some infantry killing ability as well, so certainly aren't a bad feature.
Pistol Wraiths are one of my favorite choices, but really don't add anything to the list. You can actually kill heavy warjacks, so freezing them doesn't really help. You'll want some infantry killing power, but these guys can't provide enough of it to justify their cost.
The Skarlock Thrall is another great choice, but I couldn't really see any spell that it would cast that I wouldn't be able to cast otherwise. It didn't really fit a need, so I skipped it.
The Warwitch Sirens are there to provide focus for your bonejacks to get them into position. You have an 18" control range with the Coven, so having your bonejacks far away is ideal- hopefully your opponent is far away from your caster, after all. They could also venom enemy infantry, which will come in handy (although if opponent infantry are that close, you're probably in trouble).
Darragh Wrathe is a necessity for tier 4, and although he has some nice abilities, the main benefit he adds to this army is likely to be either Beyond Death or Hellfire. If I had the points to take Soulhunters (which I would at higher points), his Leadership bonus is really fantastic, extending the places your Soulhunters can go. Throw him into a unit of infantry to kill one or two, and hinder the unit's damage potential.
Overall, the Witch Coven's theme list has some interesting potential, but I don't really see it fulfilled at 50 points, since you can't take advantage of the Soulhunters. At this level, I think this list will perform fine, although your only benefit is Advance Deployment on the warjacks, and a single re-deployment. Worth it? We'll see.