The Swamp Horrow is a giant cephalopod monster of a beast with a suggestive toothy beak and many long tentacles. It costs as much as an Ironback Spitter, is much uglier, and comes with the following abilities:
- Steady - doesn't get knocked down, probably because it has 8 "legs".
- Impervious Flesh - impervious to guns at least. Its flesh gets sliced up by axes just fine.
- Amphibious - likes water.
DamageThe Swamp Horror we see on the table may only be a little cousin of the gargantuan monstrosity depicted in its book art, but it can still put out a decent amount of damage. Its primary weapon, its beak, is P+S 16 with Crit Catastrophic Damage. Like many crits, it's not usually worth fishing for by using a fury for a boost over an additional attack (unless you're facing something with high ARM and a huge grid like a Gargantuan), but it can come in handy and should be kept in mind as you roll the dice.
Aside from the beak, it has three reach tentacle attacks of mid-range POW with the Pull ability, which means anything you hit with them gets pushed directly towards the Horror. Note that unlike Drag, you don't have to damage to push, just hit.
SurvivalDEF 10, ARM 17 on a heavy is pretty pathetic, especially combined with its mediocre number of health boxes. However, it does have two redeeming factors - the first is access to Spiny Growth, and the second is the Impervious Flesh ability, which reduces its damage taken from ranged attacks by 1d6. Essentially, this means that it is not worried about getting shot at all.
Its tendency to be used as a late-game piece also helps it live to get there!
UtilityIts animus, Elasticity, is probably one of the best animi in the game as it grants any Minion model reach on all its melee weapons! Needless to say, reach is one of the best ability in the game in terms of additional threat range, ability to make attacks in grindy jam situations, blocking charge lanes and so forth. It is quite unlikely that the Swamp Horror will ever use it's own animus as it can pull its targets within the 1/2" range of its beak with its tentacles, but under exceptional circumstances (immovable target, desperately need a crit on the charge attack), it can also gain reach on its beak if needed (although the warlock would usually be casting it on the Horror then). Otherwise the animus is great on practically any other Gator model in the right situation - Snapjaw, Maelok and the Wrastler especially benefit from it.
Speaking of charge lanes, the Horror is also great at taking free strikes. Even though its tentacles probably won't do enough damage to seriously deter anything with multiple boxes, its ability to Pull any model it freestrikes will usually stop the attacker dead in its tracks. Note that if an enemy model tried to charge something behind a Horror and get clipped by a tentacle free strike, it has likely failed its charge and thus immediately ended its activation. Kaching! Pull also allows him to move enemy pieces outside zones and flags, or pull models out of shield wall and defensive line.
Oh, it also has three open fists. Seems that's no better than having two, but there you go. You can also use it to block LoS to your caster if your opponent is going to try a pop n' drop strat since it has steady, and it's probably going to be back there somewhere.
TacticaI like the Horror as a late-game piece. Its animus, multiple attacks and Pull abilities get pretty useful once the lines have engaged and stuff gets cluttered. It is quite frustrating for an opponent to simply not be able to get away from it - I remember once I managed to get it in melee with an opponent's warcaster and he rage quit as soon as I made my free strike and pulled him back even closer to my lines. Good times.
Because he is slow, he will usually not see combat until Turn 3 at the earliest. If he does, it means he got charged by some infantry or a big heavy and will die a quick squishy death. He just doesn't deal enough damage to warrant being an alpha striker. Use this walking time to throw out some opportunate Elasticity on some more aggressive warbeasts, or on some Posse members who could benefit from an extra attack. Once he's engaged, keep him stuck in there and give him as many opportunities to make free strikes as possible and make positioning and movement difficult for your opponent.
Note also that because of Steady, you can't throw it and then Rise it since it never gets KD. Just that little bit of Skornergy to keep the world turning.
- Of the three Gator warlocks, it is most useful with Maelok, both because it suits his playstyle to a tee, and because it can give him reach (which synergizes excellently with Malediction and Cull Soul).
- With Barnabas, I would usually prefer a Spitter as the Spitter has a gun and benefits relatively more from Warpath - you don't usually want your Horror further up front than it has to be since it will just die. Nevertheless, Barnabas makes everything better, Warpath is still good for the Horror, it has decent punch and open fists to throw heavies into swamps.
- With Calaban, I find it does very well at killing living infantry with Carnivore and doesn't require stealth due to Impervious Flesh. Since I preferred to run Calaban a bit more beast heavy (when I played Calaban), this guy was in most lists and surprised me by doing quite well every time.
- Finally, there is of course Rask, who is bananas with the Swamp Horror. Rask makes it fast via Boundless Charge, hit hard with Fury and much less likely to be charged with his feat and Inhospitable Ground. It's a match made in heaven, my 2 Posse "QB Rask" lists will always include a Horror for this reason and what the animus does with our other heavies.
ConclusionArt to Model Conversion Disappointment Factor:
Titan Sentry|----------------------------------------------X--------| Kreoss2
Seriously, the art scale for this thing is like 4x the actual model scale. I have seen some killer half-submerged conversions of it though. I am of the opinion that they should have saved the Horror for the Minion Garguantuan - just increase all its weapon damage by 3-4 POW, its life spirals by 125% (to make up for its puny ARM) and make the Beak crit proc on every attack. Boom - Gator Gargantuan.
The Horror is a pretty decent non-character beast. It won't make your opponent flip tables in jeoulous rage like a Bronzeback or Angelius might, but it does what it does reasonably well. I suspect its animus will also have a large impact on Blindwater design space, especially in the beast department (ie. unlikely to get many reach beasts)