Friday, February 13, 2015

Hooked on a Demon: A Beginner's Guide to Jakob Lynch

Come on, first taste is free! 

I started playing Lynch just a few weeks ago, and have been amazed by the amount of strength he brings to the table as a Neverborn master. Lynch is equal parts card advantage and damage dealer who wants to play close but not too close to the action. He brings along with him some of the toughest models in the faction and plays inside of his theme of Brilliance very well. This article will of course be speaking of Lynch in a strictly Neverborn style though he is certainly potent as a Ten Thunders crew as well. 

Pusher Man

So what does Lynch do? He gets his own crew and his opponent's crew hooked on a demon essence called Brilliance. The Brilliance condition doesn't do anything on its own, but when teamed up with the other Darkened models in Jakob's crew, things suddenly start adding up. 
Lynch's stat card isn't that great to look at and most of his power comes from the large amount of upgrades that has available to him. He has a decent Def, pretty good WP and his wounds are on the low side for a Master.  He can bring Darkened models in his crew, which isn't really a big deal because all the Darkened models are Neverborn anyway. Anyone who cheats against him takes 2 damage after the attack resolves and its pretty awesome because it goes off even if Lynch wins the duel When you combine this with Tannen's Cooler ability that says enemies in LoS must discard a card to cheat, it makes your opponent really pay to cheat cards against Lynch. 
Lynch is immune to Brilliance which comes in handy during the mirror match and if one of your guys gets Obeyed, Alpha'd etc.  

Ace in the Hole is an interesting ability of Lynch's that doesn't see real use until you get to his upgrades. This ability allows him to pick any aces up that are used during another friendly model's activation. (Note: A trick with this is that you can basically always sprint with Terror Tots if you have an Ace of Masks in your hand, because Lynch will just pick them back up) 

Lynch has 2 attacks in the form of a shooting/melee attack with 8/2 range respectively called Hold Out Pistol. This attack gives Lynch a decent damaging shot but more importantly allows him to discard cards for triggers. He can give a model Slow, add some extra damage, force the model to discard a card or give them Brilliance. (Hint Brilliance is the important one)

His other attack is a CA attack that forces a WP duel. The loser of the duel takes 2 damage and can be triggered to give the model Brilliance. (Sensing a theme?)

Lynch has 2 (0) abilities. Mulligan, which allows him to discard up to 3 cards and draw that many and Pay Up, which allows him to flip cards for the top of his deck for every enemy model with Brilliance on the table. He gets to keep all Masks revealed this way.  While Pay Up is risky, Mulligan is just fantastic. Lynch gets to do what most crews need to spend soul stones for. Admittedly you take what you get, but if even one card is better than the others you discarded you have come out ahead. 

So from a straight card perspective Lynch isn't that impressive. 2 attacks with so so damage and a decent (0) ability. Its not the stat card that makes Lynch shine, its his upgrades. 

High Quality

Like most Masters Lynch's upgrades factor into his play style. 
The Rising Sun is a Limited upgrade allows Lynch to summon his totem/henchman Hungering Darkness back into play after an enemy model with Brilliance dies within 6" of Lynch. This is the aggressive Lynch upgrade, turning the Hungering Darkness into a guided missile of death and destruction as long as Lynch is close. Notice, Lynch has to play pretty forward for this to work out and if Lynch gets aced, the Darkness can't come back to play. (Thanks to a friendly forum member I have to amend this section and add that Huggy coming back is dependent on enemy models dying). This means that your opponent might play a bit more timidly in case their models get mowed down and reveal a demon in their midst. Perfect for controlling certain parts of the board through fear.

Endless Hunger is the other Limited upgrade for Lynch, despite the fact that it sounds like it should be the one to bring back the Darkness. This model turns the Hungering Darkness into a Terryfing(All) Turret with 3 total CA actions to spend. Hungering Darkness has a very fun Obey style ability called Heed My Voice, which with this upgrade allows him to play towards the back field and control the battlefield.  If Hungering Darkness goes down though, he doesn't get back up as he does with the other upgrade so be careful.

Woke Up With a Hand is my second favorite Lynch upgrade but it does force you into decisions about when you want to activate Lynch. If he activates last in your crew, you get to draw 2 cards at the start of his activation, which is awesome, but Lynch is a very good source of getting Brilliance on models for the rest of your crew to deal out extra damage. Illuminated and Hungering Darkness lose out a little bit if they are not attacking models with Brilliance on them. 

It also gives him a very strong CA attack called Final Debt. This CA attack does damage to a Brillianced model equal to the number of cards in your hand. Drawing two cards makes this attack even better, but is of course much stronger at the beginning of the turn unless you have been very conservative with cards. Still, this attack can't be ignored as it does a static amount of damage with no flip needed and I love being able to count on exactly how much damage I can do. Alternately, Lynch's Ace in the Hole ability can add extra fuel for this attack by putting aces back into his hand. 

This upgrade is my favorite mainly because it offers you solid choices. No matter when you activate Lynch you will get some sort of benefit from it.

Expert Cheater is one of the most fun upgrades that Lynch has. It allows you to cheat upside down as long as Lynch has LoS to the friendly model. The uses of this upgrade come in handy to pysch out your opponent, especially if you get to cheat first. The unknown factor of the card you dropped down could force them to spend high cards when you actually cheated in low when you know you aren't going to win the duel anyway. Your mileage may vary depending on your play style and your opponent. You also get access to Jakob's only defensive ability in Squeeel! Which lets him push 4" from a model that damages him with an attack. Its perfect defense if your opponent is playing a melee heavy crew that wants to use lots of flurry attacks and take him down all at once. 

Wanna See A Trick gives Jakob the 52 Card Pickup ability which allows him to discard Aces to do damage to a Brilliance model. Since Jakob has the ability to put Aces back in his hand when allies spend them, this can be a really nasty bit of burst damage. 

Addict upgrade can go on Jakob or Hungering Darkness to give positive flips to models with the Darkened keyword positive flips to attacks and damage vs models with the Brilliance characteristic. This upgrade is very good if you are taking a Darkened crew with Jakob. His out of the box crew has all darkened models plus Beckoners, Mr Graves, Mr. Tannen, Stitched Together and The Depleted are all Darkened and make a very solid crew choice for Jakob anyway. 

These upgrades are pretty much the staple for Lynch and considering most of them clock in at 2 SS cost, you won't find too much room to go outside of them. On Dreaming Wings can give Lynch flying to provide some extra mobility but that might be my only other real suggestion. The biggest choices come from the Limited upgrades and how you want to play Hungering Darkness and whether you are planning on taking a Darkened crew with Addict. 

Hungering Darkness 
Feed me, Seymour!

I would be very remiss if I didn't talk about Lynch's henchman totem in this blog. He will always be tagging along with Lynch and he is an important part of the viability of Jakob's crew. 
Hungering Darkness has a good WP and a very very small Def and Wound count. He is Terrifying (Living) and Incorporeal. At 7 wounds though, he can be focused down hard, so choose your placement wisely. 
 His movement and charge are very nice, especially combined with a 3" melee attack that gets positives vs Brilliance models and hits very hard. It also has triggers that give models brilliance or heals him for 2. 
Hungering Darkness is scary. 
He also has an ability called Heed My Voice that is an enemy only Obey style attack. with a decent range. So even when he isn't chomping people's faces, he's still a threat.
He can also consume brilliance and heals a wound for each brilliance model in 6" inches, forcing them to make a horror duel. Be very careful who he's around here, as you might end up spending cards to keep your own models from being paralyzed. 

Huggy can be a big centerpiece model for your crew, able to be both controlling turret or melee shredder with the ability to stay alive even with low wound count. Just like Jakob, he centers around opponent's models having brilliance to give him that extra edge. 

As far as upgrades go, if you are playing against a melee centered crew you can't go wrong with Fears Given Form. Huggy already has Terrifying(Living) and forcing extra WP duels digs more cards out of your opponent's hand and deck. To me, that's the best upgrade to see on him. Lynch only has 1 SS in his Cache, so those extra points are probably going to go to shoring up your SS pool instead of upgrades.

Strategies and Schemes
I plan on stealing  Allen's grading scale for Strategies and Schemes. Here it is for reference:

5.0 - All Star in this Strategy or Scheme
4.0 - Staple Choice for these types of Strategy or Scheme
3.5 - Very Good in the Strategy or Scheme
3.0 - Good at the Strategy or Scheme
2.5 - Average at the Strategy or Scheme
2.0 - Has some bright moments at the Strategy or Scheme
1.0 - You should probably pick another Master/Model/Upgrade


Turf War: (4.0) Lynch and Hungering Darkness can hold the middle of board on their own with sheer killing power. Add in his Darkened crew, especially The Depleted and you are going to score points all day. 

Reckoning: (4.5) Lynch excels at killing things. Tack on some Brilliance and his burst potential is pretty huge. He is fairly squishy though, so he has to remove as many threats as possible. 

Squatter's Rights: (3.0) Lynch isn't fast, he has no movement shenanigans and he can't do much to help out the rest of his crew in that regard either. The good thing is that between him and Huggy he can hold two claim markers.

Reconnoiter: (2.0/3.5) The same problems Lynch has in Squatter's Rights are doubled here. He can keep one quarter of the board cleared, but he's not able to divide his attention very well. Not my first choice in a faction that has plenty of other movement tricks. (Note: His Ace in the Hole trick with Terror Tots tips the scales a little bit. They can always get a sprint off meaning they can get across the board and away from other models pretty easily. If you take them, it ups his chances with this Strategy)

Stake a Claim: (2.0) Same difficulties as before. Lynch just doesn't get a round very well. 


Killing Schemes: (4.5) Jakob has no problem removing all obstacles from his path. The double shot combo of Lynch and Hungering Darkness is hard to pass up. 

Marker Schemes: (2.5) He doesn't do badly with them, but he doesn't add anything either. The lack of movement bonuses or marker dropping abilities means his crew will have to do all the work by themselves.

Miscellaneous:(2.5) Once again, Lynch doesn't specifically add anything to these schemes but he doesn't hinder them either. He is much better at putting models in the ground than he is slowing them down or stopping them from removing conditions. 


Lynch is a powerhouse master when it comes to blasting his way through the enemy lines, but he has a definite bubble that he plays the best in. He's not a front line guy, but rather likes to hang about 6-8 inches back. His upgrades are where the real package is, so choose wisely and make sure to keep Hungering Darkness up and ready for business as they are most definitely a package deal.  The best way to play Lynch is that the best defense is less models on the board to hurt him. He has a few tricks he can turn out, but for a Neverborn master he's pretty straight forward. I would rate him pretty high on the beginning Master scale compared to someone like Pandora or Zoraida for the faction.

1 comment:

  1. Just for clarity, Fears Given Form does not require a Wp duel, its a Df 14 duel. Great write up though. He is one of my favorites to play for sure.