Kommander Orsus Zoktavir
So there are already 2 great tacticas written about epic Butcher: one by 0ver.d0se and one by PG_ChainGun. Butcher’s epic incarnation quickly became my favorite caster last summer and he’s been my go-to guy ever since. So I wanted to do a tactica of my own and figured it might be helpful to have a more recent one. Plus this guy's so much fun I think it's only right that he be our first caster with three tacticas!
If page 5 was a warcaster, it'd be Epic Butcher.
Aggression and carnage. When you pull the trigger with an epic Butcher list, it's not uncommon for your opponent to watch as virtually his entire force disappears from the board. Aggression pays huge because with the epic Butcher the best defense really is a good offense. He doesn't boost his army's survivability in any way and he likes troops that are glass cannons. The only way to keep Butcher and his army alive is to kill the enemy before they can kill you. He's an all-out agression caster in a game of all-out aggression.
I think this is why Butcher2 has really clicked for me. I often go for a big, crazy plan one turn too early with other casters. With Butcher, that timing is just about right.
This play style definitely puts the pressure on your opponent. If you feel that you often face an overwhelming number of threats and have to react, epic Butcher might be your chance to be in the driver's seat. Keep in mind that an opponent is dangerous with their back against the wall, because those desperate assassination attempts might work. In fact, they are one of the better responses to an epic Butcher list.
Generally, my games with Butcher2 tend to go something like: first turn run; second turn kill a few models and run; third turn pop feat and kill as much as possibe, either the enemy warcaster/lock or anything that could threaten Butcher himself. Fourth turn (rare), either get assassinated because I didn’t kill enough or finish them off (possibly by scenario if their caster is WAY back).
Butcher himself can neutralize just about any threat on the table. He can carve through entire units of infantry or crush multiple heavies. He's got fury, so high armor isn't much of a concern when combined with our already hard-hitting stuff. His feat rewards you for killing by letting you kill even more stuff. And with the feat you can pull off some of the longest range melee assassinations in the game, leaving epic Stryker and Molik Karn in the dust. Given his offensive output, his buff spell, and the potential of his feat, he can be one of the most devastating casters in the game when everything clicks.
Having random focus each turn makes him unpredictable and requires you to be flexible. His medium base, low defense and lack of reliable focus-camping ability make him susceptible to assassination. That can spell disaster since he likes to play up close. He also provides virtually no support for a combined-arms type army. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want ranged pieces, just that he won’t improve them in any way. He’s got relatively little in the way of infantry support period, no way of improving your army’s durability, and his ‘jack support is partly conditional on him killing things.
I find that his hardest match-ups are gun-lines or kiting lists in non-scenario play and elite-level ranged/magic assassination lists. Tough and other shenanigans like self-sacrifice or Roth's mercy can be a pain, too, but are definitely not insurmountable. They can stop berserk cold, which means they can derail Butcher's ability to mow down infantry. Look out for things that can take out your troops before they get into the action (AOEs, chain lightning, bile thralls, etc) or things that can stall your advance (either Haley, inhospitable ground). ChainGun mentions jack/beast heavy lists as a tough matchup since you can't generate as many feat tokens, but I think that the theme list has changed this. Those kinds of lists can struggle against a lot of infantry, especially infantry that can take them out with ease.