Archangel - Legion Gargantuan

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Statistics

The Archangel has statistics similar to most other Legion heavy warbeasts (especially the Carnivean's SPD, DEF, ARM) with a higher STR of course. This makes the Archangel the fastest gargantuan around. MAT and RAT are both standard for a combined melee and ranged beast (making the RAT slightly better than the Carnivean). With only 4 fury, the Archangel is on par with our other heavy warbeasts. He's got a 50% more health than a normal heavy but costs the same as two Ravagores, so the hit box to point cost ratio is not as good. Threshold is catastrophic, by the way—never leave a single fury on him!

Animus – Draconic Aura

Medium COST and range SELF. Enemy models ending their activation within 2'' catch fire.

Weapons and Attacks

  • Dragons Breath – Medium RNG with a small AOE and very good POW for a ranged attack. Even the blast will kill most infantry on average rolls.
    • Damage Type: Fire
    • Strafe [d3+1] (★Action) 2-4 Attacks without having to buy them is great, and you can bank on getting at least 2 free attacks.
  • Bite – This weapon has a POW one higher than a Carnivean's bite, with Consume (not Critical Consume!). Consume on a heavy primary weapon is not as good as it first sounds for the obvious reason that everything that is not a Warcaster/Warlock with a small base should be dead against a POW 19 attack without the consume. But that's exactly it: it should. With Consume it is guaranteed that if you hit, the model is gone: no unlucky rolls, no Tough, no self healing or self sacrifice, no Vision, no other abilities like the Covenants shroud
  • 2x Claw – With a POW two points lower than the Bite, these are clearly secondary attacks but still good enough to threaten anything. Plus, free initial attacks.

Special Abilities

  • Ride By - The Archangel can perform ride-by attacks as Heavy Cavalry is able to do. This is one of his key abilitys and you should use it every turn you are not charging him (which you should not do often anyway). Note that with ride-by enemy end of movement effects (like Admonition) trigger after the Archangel was able to attacks even if you moved the complete 6'' in your first movement - a potential nasty combination against Warcasters who thought to be safe.
  • Flight - Yes he can use those giant wings.
  • Eyeless Sight - As all Legion warbeasts and really nasty with its ranged capability
  • Blood Creation - Please do not let him frenzy but if you must he at least won't chew on your warlock.


Thoughts on the Archangel

Some Speculation:
The Archangel will be an interesting centerpiece model for Legion, on the upside:
  • The Archangel offers the highest powered melee weapon in Legion that will probably be usable in both fields of fire with reach, good speed and flight along with an interesting ranged capability.
  • Flight has the potential to be strong. But with a lack of SPD buffs in the faction, it will be very hard to find any room to place the huge model after flying it over any models.
  • It will be the only Colossal/Gargantuan with a "kind of" hit and run capability: The "ride by" attack type is the only way to circumvent the normal "gargantuan can't move other than their normal movement" rule.
But on the downside:
  • The Legion's movement buffs are mostly about placing a model or giving it extra out-of-normal-movement advances; these buffs will be worthless on the Archangel.
  • The Archangel will be the squishiest Gargantuan around - that is a high investment for a model that can be removed quickly.

Some speculation on the animus: Draconic Aura might be the worst animus in the game. Draconic Aura was, for some reason, designed in mind as a defensive animus for the most fragile gargantuan. Draconic Aura means that you are spending half of the Archangel's fury allowance to have a 66% chance of making the enemy take a POW 12 damage roll. So not only does it not actually help your Archangel survive any better, but 33% of the time it won't even do anything. Even if you did spend 20 points to make your Archangel take up half it's fury to maybe make everything around it take a POW 12, a clever opponent will not tighten up his infantry into neat little blobs for your huge base to charge into. With the Archangel having, ironically, the smallest potential threat range of all the colossals and gargantuans, the ideal situation for the animus will never show up, and even if it does, it will never be worth it.

On the other hand, if you do consider that Draconic Aura was NOT designed as a defensive animus, it serves a purpose. It is in no way intended to keep people from attacking you. Instead, it a mechanism for the Archangel intended to kill men. Most Gargantuan and Colossi have some sort of gun or ranged attack that can wipe out a large number of infantry, usually at a cost of more Focus or Fury in order to dish out more shots or impacts. The Archangel's gun is ROF1, so it spends virtually no Fury boosting the gun and can still realistically slaughter men who have been clustered up into a small enough area. So, what to do with all that extra Fury? And that's where the animus comes in to play. The Archangel, being a Gargantuan, can fire that Ranged gun while engaged in melee, even if it ran into melee itself during this turn. So, the function for this animus is as an offensive weapon. You move into melee with a squad of enemies who would be hard-pressed to hurt the Archangel without a charge, or a squad that relies on ranged attacks, or some other quirk. You trigger the animus. Then you fire on another squad, killing them with the gun. The squad now trapped in melee with the Archangel have the choice of either remaining in melee range and catching fire, or leaving melee range and being Consumed by the bite attack. So, they're going to stay in melee, and they're going to catch fire. Is speed still an issue for the Archangel? A little. But even if you cannot use the gun, you can still force a warbeast to use an animus with a charge, which allows the creature to have a 10" threat range, and anything within two inches at the end of that movement is now either going to be eaten or going to burn.

Warlocks that will like the Archangel:
  • Vayl1: The Archangel loves Chiller and with Incite it becomes your enemy's worst nightmare. Archangel can't use her Dark Sentinel ability to move but can still attack. Archangel is a nice big model to be the Arc Node if not engaged.
  • Absylonia is one of the few warlocks who have the potential to make the Archangel worth it. Use Forced Evolution on Archangel combined with Tenacity animus to bump it to DEF 14 ARM 19. Then consider its many hit boxes and a 4 inch template where your enemy cannot spend fury, and your enemy will have a much harder time killing the Archangel in one turn. Afterward, you can heal it to full with the feat (beware of upkeep and animus removing effects though). Absylonia can stay quite safe behind the huge base.
  • Thagrosh2 can offer Manifest Destiny and +2 ARM to the Archangel - very nice but you could also take 10 Shredders or two heavy melee beasts which have more health and damage combined with Manifest Destiny.
  • Lylyth2 will boost Archangel's main ranged attack to D3+2 Attacks with 20'' threat range in the Feat, but two Ravagores instead are always better (same average number of attacks, same POW, same AOE and +4 RNG).
  • Lylyth1 can feat and enable the Archangel to hit almost anything on average rolls. Combined with Eyeless Sight, this could be very deadly. The maximum range is not so good though.
  • Thagrosh1's feat was ruled to be possible on the Archangel. The Archangel is excellent to help screen him from ranged danger while Thagrosh will help against melee models with his STR upkeep to Colossal threatening levels and Dark Shroud debuff which sets the Archangel on effective ARM 20 (+Spiny Growth if possible) against melee. All with the perspective to bring back the Archangel should it be destroyed. Be sure to take into account how much room the huge base needs to be placed before using the feat. Be careful that RFP will prevent the Archangel from being brought back.
  • Bethayne can Gallows an enemy model towards the Archangel for him to kill it, make him hit living things better with Carnivore (fantastic for a sweep attack) , push his defense in melee against living models to 14 with Tenacity and Ashen Veil. She also can clear him of stray engaging infantry models with Eruption of Spines (Cast on the Archangel who never gets the target in melee penalty and watch as 1d6 models around the archangel perish - you can actually cast it twice because you dont need to boost to hit) Oh and she can give the Archangel continuous corrosion on his ranged attacks which is not too bad. All in all many solid synergies - but you cant use them all at once.
  • Kallus actually has intriguing potential with the Archangel. Kallus generally prefers only a few beasts in comparison to the rest of Legion's warlocks, and he makes an alright replacement for double Ravagores. Kallus will have a lot of infantry. This is great because the amount of infantry that is otherwise unseen in Legion helps screen the AA and help it's survivability. Dark Guidance is a great attack buff to the modest MAT of the AA.


Warlocks that may not synergize well with the Archangel:
  • Saeryn will not be able to use their feat on the Archangel (this has been announced in the Forums and will be in an errata before the Archangel comes out); Saeryn's respawn will be less effective as well as the Archangel cannot be placed, but can still be healed. (Infernal ruling here. )
  • Rhyas's feat is useless on the Archangel as well (though Rapport is worth a look).
  • Vayl2's three main upkeeps are useless on the Archangel as it cannot receive stealth and cannot move outside its normal movement.

Some other synergys:

Warbeasts:
  • The Spiny Growth animus of the Carnivean is a superb deterent against enemy melee warjacks and warbeasts especially combined with another armor buff if available. There are situations when enemys will do more damage to themselves than to your Archangel while the Dragon has more hitpoints than they have.
  • If you could not afford a Carnivean at least bring a Shredder for a nice defensive buff.
  • The Ravagore offers a particulary nasty synergy with the Dragon Fire animus. 2-4 medium sizes templates that set enemys on fire and can be used while engaged in Melee - thats the better version of the Archangels own animus.
  • Proteus might be good if teamed up with the Archangel, he can lend his animus to offer some self healing to the archangel and drag enemys around to help the Archangel get to his targets.

Solos
  • Always bring a Shepherd for beast support. You can hide him behind the huge base.