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Whelpling Question: Cauldron of Blood? 
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Cold One Knight

Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:01 pm
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I've recently unpacked my dark elf army that hasn't seen the light of the sun for over 15 years (tho I'd imagine many dark elves would consider themselves lucky to go so long without witnessing that burning ball of fire in the sky...) I'm trying to re-learn the WFB rules and the dark elf army in particular.

Something I'm having some trouble wrapping my head around is the Cauldron of Blood. The current 7th ed incarnation is not at all the same thing as what I remember and am not sure how to use it, or even that I properly understand it.

Questions:
Can a Cauldron of Blood crew ever enter combat aside from abandoning the Cauldron, or being the recipient of a charge?

If not, how do you get a return on your 200 points of character comp without being able to directly use it in battle? The buffs it gives out aren't THAT good, and it's too slow to use as a spearpoint-charge absorber for your army. I'm just not getting it..


Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:11 pm
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Corsair
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I don't use that thing. Others did. See:
Cauldron of Blood is lovely.

See also the D.R.A.I.C.H. (top of tactics forum) for other links to threads such as cauldron BSB.

In the Army List forum and the Battle Reports forum, you'll find many examples.

Quote:
Can a Cauldron of Blood crew ever enter combat aside from abandoning the Cauldron, or being the recipient of a charge?
No.

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Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:57 pm
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You use it by having it's buff to another unit, allow THAT unit to earn more points. For example... Corsairs or Witch Elves given killing blow can actually eat armored units. Black Guard as well... and they work well as anvils with that ward save also. Executioners or cold one knights gaining +1 attack makes them even more likely to break units on the charge... and so on.

Really, the cauldron of blood is so amazingly good now that it's hard NOT to take it. It might not get 200 points of kills itself... but not every unit has to kill things to be worth taking. Harpies certainly don't need to kill a thing to be worth taking. Nor do dark riders. The cauldron makes our troops better at killing, and THAT is what makes it worth while. If you're using it as an anvil, you're doing it wrong.

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Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:55 pm
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Cold One Knight

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I'm not arguing that the buffs it gives out aren't nice.. they really are. I actually think that passive 'khainites are stubborn' one is the best one of all.

I was questioning whether those buffs were really worth 200 points though, especially since it also consumes a valuable character slot while preventing you from actually getting any use out of that paid-for character. To me it seems doubly dubious in a league that enforces army composition rules (no more than 25% in my local one can be spent on characters)

The main thing I was curious about was whether I was simply missing something in the rules that would otherwise allow me to use that lovely death hag in any offensive role whatsoever. (Part of the hard part to swallow is last time I used the thing, it was more like a witch-elf drawn chariot instead of a lump-on-a-log buff thrower)

Thanks for the replies all. This looks like the sort of thing I'll have to continue to digest. Perhaps my opinion will change when I get to see it in use in larger games (so far we only play 1000 to 2000 point games)


Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:28 am
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Malekith's Personal Guard
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It is expencive. But, it grants many benefits to our units. You only have to make it worth his cost. If played well it will never be caught by the enemy, and still be able to boost units.

You've to try different combinations to make it work at maximum.
Ex: Kb on witches
double attack on executioners
ward save on everything is under heavy fire

On the other side I think that if used well, you'll never need the stubborness. You'll only keep crashing any enemy unit.
You'll love it.

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Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:50 pm
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if its the character slot that bothers you try making it the BSB that way you don't feel as bad about the character not getting into combat. The cauldron also gives the BSB a ward save in addition to randomized hits from shooting for safety. Plus the only thing better than stubborn khainites is rerollable stubborn khainites


Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:39 am
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I use it a lot, and for 2009 it is going to be my General. You asked about how to get some benefit out of the character slot?

Well I have a 200pt general with ld9 (which is what most DE armies have these days due to the plethora of Lvl 4s out there...!). She causes terror, is stubborn, has a 4+ w save, the option to have +1 attack or killing blow. Has a combined 13 attacks in combat with her girlfriends, poisoned attacks as well, frenzy and MR1.

She has the ability to help protect or enhance any unit in the army (except Harpies) and she doesn't have to decide who to help until after all psychology tests have been taken.

Dude she is awesome in this way! I am finding it a very good allocation of points. Very good indeed.


Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:28 am
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Apart from an avoidance army the cauldron is a must have in the army. Gary, has expalined exactrly a timely use of the cauldron can turn the game.

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Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:03 am
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Well, I understand the good points in taking a Cauldron of Blood.
Still, I don't like a couple of features in it:

- its range is limited.
Like the Ring of Hotek, it incites you to keep most of your army in a restricted part of the battlefield.
Of course, if you use it along with the RoH, it is not that much a disadvantage. And neither require a Line of Sight.

- it is slow. Movement 5, no charge.
Even slower than a chariot. At least it can move in any direction.
OK, it can finish the game at 30" of its deployment point (magic move is not likely to be bestowed to this unit). Still, it is less than any other troop less the Reaer Bolt Throwers that may not move and be used - but which range is amazing.
With that, it is difficult to reverse the point of pressure from one side to the opposite.
Your intentions are clear.

- it is just another unit enhancer
I am not bothered by the idea of 200 pts or more not "used" in melee and taking a hero slot.
It should be compared to a sorceress and its babysitting unit.
With this comparison, it can be ssen that they fulfill a similar role in somehow a different way.
-- Both take a hero slot.
-- A level 2 and her 10 spears cost usually a little more.
The sorc has total missile protection... as long as 5 spears survive; the CoB cannot be hurt... as long as the Hags survive (they are not many of them but they have the CoB "ward save").
-- neither are supposed to go in melee, although the CoB has a clear advantage if it happens.
-- the sorceress can select to move away from its babysitting unit, suffers no terrain penalty and can go in a building, contrary to the CoB.
-- CoB "Lore" has 24" range, casts at 360° and require no LOS.
It cannot be dispelled and never fails nor miscast. It has only 3 "spells" but has all of them automatically. A single one may be "cast" for a total of 6 "spells" in a game. It can cast even when in melee.
-- with this comparison in mind, I find Magic more fun and random.

- the fluff.
I just have difficulty with most Khainite fluff:
why massacre the opponent when you could enslave them and make a good profit?
This is why I have no Khainite whatsoever, except assassins in limited number.
Actually, this is the only good reason for not taking a CoB, the above ones are not really decisive. ;)

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Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:54 am
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Cold One Knight

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:03 pm
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and really, the fluff isn't a decisive reason as it is particularly subjective. So it depends on your intent. It is more reliable than any caster or dwarf anvil, it can be potentially brutal. It is also limited somewhat. small games it becomes a point cost, and if you are playing MSU it may not benefit as much as possible because the returns are limited proportionally to the size of your army. But its precision could make up for that.

I kind of get bloodthirsty when i start unpacking the Witch Elves, i think the fluff feels very evil and reminds me of the fiction in the 6th edition book about Malekith on Death Night, and its pretty well one of the reasons i decided to play dark elves. Although, The Cauldron was a much later consideration in the scheme of play for me. But particularly entertaining in the uses it has had since.


Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:12 pm
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@Fuzzydeath. I see that you are aware of the "passive" benefits. The cauldron does indeed make our units bery tough. As mentioned, such ideas as giving and multi attack unit killing blow is nasty. I love to give my hydra KB and charge him into knights. Also the ward is great. I also give my black guard, witches, and executioners an extra attack when fighting undead so they can hack through them quicker.

Now, to address your issue with it taking a character slot. There are several ways to use the character in order to give them a more actice role. First, as DA said, you can make the Death Hag your general. This will give your main line, which you should be close to at all times, leadership 9.

Second, make the Death Hag your BSB. Once again, since you are close to the lines for the passive benefits, you should be in range for the BSB reroll.

Finally, use the cauldron as flank/rear protection. Move the cauldron towards flanking forces. They will have to take terror tests, then pass fear tests in order to charge, then they have to face 13 high weapon skill attacks that are poisoned. All of this before taking any special upgrades to the Death Hag. You also get a 4+ ward for the group, and it is stubborn. On top of that, if they lose, it is quite possible to autobreak small fast cav units with the terror causing if you wound enough.

This unit is worth the points cost and the hero slot it takes. I take one in almost every army I have.

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Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:24 pm
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Dark Alliance wrote:
I use it a lot, and for 2009 it is going to be my General. You asked about how to get some benefit out of the character slot?

Well I have a 200pt general with ld9 (which is what most DE armies have these days due to the plethora of Lvl 4s out there...!). She causes terror, is stubborn, has a 4+ w save, the option to have +1 attack or killing blow. Has a combined 13 attacks in combat with her girlfriends, poisoned attacks as well, frenzy and MR1.

She has the ability to help protect or enhance any unit in the army (except Harpies) and she doesn't have to decide who to help until after all psychology tests have been taken.

Dude she is awesome in this way! I am finding it a very good allocation of points. Very good indeed.



Hmmm I actually find this really intriguing. I'm currently running a CoB army with four hero level characters, but after reading this post I'm tempted to drop it to only a single character and use the remaining points on troops.

As for the actual topic: I love the Cauldron! I miss it every game I play without it because the benefits are just that amazing. My favorite use is the +1 attack for my CoK. These combined with hatred almost guarantees me to break a unit. Even though the benefits are given to other units it elevates them to do much higher deeds and jobs than they could before.

For example, DR in the flank of your standard RnF have a chance of breaking the unit. DR with the CoB blessing(+1 attack) have a significantly better chance of beating that unit. A while it can be argued that the 200 points could be spent on more units, no unit can help on one side of the board one turn and 2 feet away on the very next turn. The Cauldron's effects are always useful even on the first turn! Very worthwhile, but personally I would only take it in 2000 points or higher.


Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:54 am
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Cold One Knight

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Thanks to all those who have offered insight and replies.

Comparing a CoB to a lvl 1 sorceress was a very helpful analogy. I still think I'd prefer the sorceress for her flexibility, but I can at least see the Cauldron in a light other than 'waste of points'.

What I just can't get past is how I'm putting so much offensive firepower into a unit that just isn't allowed to use it without the opponent's cooperation. I mean, if I were playing against someone with a CoB, I'd under no circumstances attack the thing. That's just letting its ferocious combat potential come into play.. whereas I could otherwise easily and safely neutralize all that firepower by simply ignoring it. I wouldn't even have pressure to worry about the buffs it throws... the extra solid unit I'd have relative to him gives me way more tactical advantages than those buffs.

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Thu Dec 25, 2008 11:07 pm
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It is not true that the extra unit you would buy with the points gained by dumping the cauldron outweighs the potential advantage of the buffs. There are at least two reasons to prefer the COB to extra units:

1. Versatility. It is up to you to decide which unit to buff in which turn, and how. It might happen that in turn one you need the ward to save you advancing Black Guard from enemy fire, then in turn two you need the KB on your assassin and shades, who just attacked the nike saurus, and then in turn three you need to buff your COK, who got into the position to charge a unit of kroxigor. All these buffs would be given by one unit.

2. Uniquiness of abilities, which suddenly enable your units to perform in roles that they wouldn't be able to perform in:
- There is no other thing that can give KB to units (not heroes). How is this useful? Give you KB to corsairs, and they suddenly get the ability to kill knights.
- There is only one other thing that gives extra attacks - the hydra banner. And it can only be given to a unit that is joined by your BSB. And getting more attacks per model is often preferred to getting more models, simply because the frontage of the models in CC is limited. I.e. the +1A buff enables you own super-units to break other super-units, while without this buff they aren't able to do so.

Plus, if the opponent can't get point from some of your units (e.g. because of fearing to charge COB), this is always a benefit for you.


Thu Dec 25, 2008 11:23 pm
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Quote:
What I just can't get past is how I'm putting so much offensive firepower into a unit that just isn't allowed to use it without the opponent's cooperation. I mean, if I were playing against someone with a CoB, I'd under no circumstances attack the thing. That's just letting its ferocious combat potential come into play.. whereas I could otherwise easily and safely neutralize all that firepower by simply ignoring it. I wouldn't even have pressure to worry about the buffs it throws... the extra solid unit I'd have relative to him gives me way more tactical advantages than those buffs.

The cauldrons blessings give your elite units more combat power then the adition of a normal combat character, she do cost a little more, but you can choose where to use her each turn.

IMO, the cauldron is the best character for it's points in warhammer atm (not concidering special characters though).

I like to view it as a mage with a better then average lore, who can only cast one spell, that is always irresistible, who is almost invulnerable against shooting and magic, and who, on average should dispatch of all normal mage hunters on her own, also, the hag cauldron (who IMO do not need any other upgrades) come in at 200 points, which is only 15 pts more then a fully geared level two.

IMO there are two good reasons not to take a cauldron:

a) You run a very evasive army, with few powerfull combat units, limiting the benefits of the blessings, and making the staticness of the cauldron an issue.

b) You don't like either the model or the fluff.

Quote:
- its range is limited.
Like the Ring of Hotek, it incites you to keep most of your army in a restricted part of the battlefield.
Of course, if you use it along with the RoH, it is not that much a disadvantage. And neither require a Line of Sight.

IMO it is more of nuciance then an issue.

Quote:
- it is slow. Movement 5, no charge.
Even slower than a chariot. At least it can move in any direction.
OK, it can finish the game at 30" of its deployment point (magic move is not likely to be bestowed to this unit). Still, it is less than any other troop less the Reaer Bolt Throwers that may not move and be used - but which range is amazing.
With that, it is difficult to reverse the point of pressure from one side to the opposite.
Your intentions are clear.

It is a character, so you deploy it last, your genearl intentions should be rather clear to your oponent at this point anyway.

However, it gives away a lot less then other combat characters, since she can be anywhere within 24 at a given time. ;)

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Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:36 pm
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