I’ve been doing some thinking on what the Archangels animus might be. We saw with the mountain king that they gave him an already existing animus, so there is a decent chance that they might also give the AA a pre-existing animus. I complied a list of the animi in the game, and had a few thoughts on each of them.
A few things: I doubt they will give us an animus that we already have, and they don’t seem too keen to give the original Metamorphosis character beast animi out to other beasts (although, they had no problem giving the Dom characters pre-existing animi…except for Proteus). They could always create a new animus for AA like they did with Proteus, but with the large numbers of animi in the game already, I suspect they are just going to recycle one that’s out there already. It’s always possible that the Ride-By-Attack is from an animus, in which case I would be a very happy legion player.
Sorted by faction where the animus is available. I have color-coded the animi based on my estimation of the likelihood of the AA getting the animus. I have also provided some thoughts and justifications for the rating. I have doubts on some of the possible animi because PP’s general design seems to be to grant tools to make up for inherent weaknesses, not overbuff an existing strength (movement buffs instead of armor in Khador; Armor buffs in Cygnar; etc.) However, its not outside the realm of possibility if they were to choose to put such a tool on the AA, seeing the steep cost as a balancing factor against abuse. I use fluff as a justification on some, which may be wrong, but PP has generally stuck to animi that kind of ‘make sense’ for the beast, so I assume they wouldn’t give “Submerge” to a big flying dragon. Furthermore, I would guess that the AA will not get a strictly support animi (like spirit blade), but something that it can use to make itself awesome-er.
Repulse: we already have this in faction, so probably not
Bomb Shelter: while a somewhat useful animi, I highly doubt they would give it to a gargantuan. It’s pretty corner case. However, on a huge base, it has some possibilities
Rage: +3 strength is a pretty awesome buff to be able to have in faction, but they have so far been pretty stingy on giving Legion melee damage buffs outside of warlock spell lists. Not that they wont, but since they haven’t really offered it before, I see it as less likely to happen. The counter point, of course, is that we would have to pay 19-20 points to get it in the army, and there is a lot less room to fit other heavies in to benefit from it. Still, if AA had Rage, then his P+S 19 bite would be pretty nice to play with, and his throws and sweeps would be a lot better. Also: Dragons do seem pretty angry all the time.
Elemental Communion: Highly unlikely, this animus seems to be pretty specific to the beast it comes from. I don’t see any real fluff-justification for giving it to a big dragon.
Flaming Fists: This I see as a little more likely; its like having ignite as an animus. It still buffs melee damage, but since its not strength, it wouldn’t increase the range on throws. Probably more likely than rage, and fits with the theme of a firey dragon thingy. If they give AA a melee damage buff, its probably this one.
Primal: While this would be a nice tool to have, it both runs into the above issue of rage and flaming fists, that PP has been stingy on handing out damage buffs outside warlocks (and the BFS…). The other major issue there would be having an auto-frenzying gargantuan. I would guess that the other gargantuans will have some kind of mechanism to mitigate frenzying (i.e. whelp generation, construct, etc…) because that’s a LOT of points to lose for a turn.
Acidic touch: Like FF and Rage above, I have my doubts about getting a melee buff, but this one doesn’t really fit the theme of ‘a fire breathing dragon.’
Lightning Fists: Really don’t see a fluff reason to have e-leap on our AA
Swarm: while it would be nice to grant the -2 to hit in melee, the AA would be unable to benefit from concealment. Additionally, there seems to be little fluff justification.
Rush: Similar to PP’s apparent hesitancy in granting us melee damage buffs, they also have yet to give us much in the way of movement buffs outside of SS. Additionally, we really don’t need the pathfinder. Not to say this would never happen, but the heavies beasts that traditionally have had access to rush were speed 4 or 5, and needed the animus to compensate for a weakness. In our case, bumping up to 8” walking threat after a 2” SS, while awesome, is probably not going to happen. The counter point is that if AA has ~5-6” movement, Rush would let it better utilize ride-by-attack by extending its overall distance.
Farstrike: I have gone back and forth on this one. On one hand, we have a very strong ranged game, and don’t really need the help extending our shooting. On the other hand, I think that if the AA had a gun that was ~10” and this animus, it might make sense. The MAIN thing that people worry about with legion getting access to snipe is 18” range Ravagores. However, eLylyth already provides this, and in my experience, the one turn of snipe is usually the only turn that you really need it. The fact that ~40% of your army will be tied up in gaining access to the animus (and on a model that isn’t really exploiting it to extreme lengths) means that the number of other ranged beasts that can do whacky things with it (ravagores) is severely cut-into. The other benefit of Farstrike is that it would really help-out the lesser-played pieces; namely pLylyth and Proteus. The Vayls could get some nice use out of it as well. However, Snipe has been given out sparingly, and usually to factions that either: 1) have short range across the board (trolls, Skorne) or 2) pay a hefty tax on it for models that can use it effectively (Cygnar).
Freezer: again, not really in the fluff.
Bounce: Hilarious, great defensively. I don’t see a dragon being terribly springy on the outside. The other 2 beasts with this have shields. Tho, maybe he swats you back with his wings or tail. Probably not.
Amuck: I doubt they will give 2 gargantuans the same animus
Tracker: Oh, please god no. We don’t need pathfinder, and circular vision on a model with thresher and reach will only make sweeps harder to get off without clipping our support models.
Baying of Chaos: Pretty specific fluff-wise to the model it’s on, and no real fluff-justificaiton for AA
Retaliatory Strike: I could see this one possibly, to give you the auto-gimp on a charging weaponmaster solo, but it doesn’t seem very fluffy.
Virility: This one seems pretty possible. The MK got an animus that buffed its power attack, so another animus that does similar seems quite likely. Adding some range to a throw from a gargantuan seems pretty nice.
Bounding: Again, an issue of giving legion more melee threat range. While it’s in circle, who has lots of spd 6 or more beasts, they don’t also have SS. It doesn’t grant pathfinder, so of the movement buffs, I see this one as more likely, because it wouldn’t waste half of it’s abilities, and it’s restricted to charges, slams and tramples. However, I don’t really see this as fitting the idea of a fire-spewing dragon-thingy.
Primal: see above.
Wraith-Bane: we already have it (and it’s magnificent!)
Shadow Shift: Have it.
Winter Coat: Cold isn’t really a thing that our beasts do. +2 armor would be nice, but we don’t hurt for armor buffs, and its restricted to self. It wouldn’t be very good for us, and doesn’t fit the fluff.
Flesh of Clay: While it would be a nice addition, it doesn’t fit the fluff.
Wild Growth: The blight kills. This would make no sense.
Earth’s Blessing: We already have safeguard. Additionally, its pretty circle-specific fluffwise
Arcane Suppression: would be a pretty awesome tool to have access to, but we are not really a faction that has ever been given much hardcore denial. Magic-hate isn’t our thing.
Lightning Strike: AA cant make use of it, so this would make little sense (but would be AWESOME to have access to…)
Lurker: Have it.
Paralytic Aura: I can see some kind of blight-y fluff justification for it, and granting a LARGE bubble of +2/+2 against shooting would be pretty boss. Perhaps, though, the large base, and the sheer amount of the army that could be protected might make this one unlikely.
Trainwreck: As much as I would love beat-back, and it might jive with a rampaging dragon, he can’t use it, so it’s a moot point.
Safeguard: Have it.
Prescience: The future-seeing animi are pretty Cyclops specific. I can definitely see the use, but I don’t really see a fluff justification for a big-ol-dragon to have it.
Spirit Blade: Great to have access to. The name doesn’t jive with the fluff. Perhaps if it were something like ‘arcane sundering,’ or some such, I could see it being added, but I feel like the name itself precludes it from being used. Still, a great tool we don’t really have access to. Not terribly killy, though.
Bomb-shelter: See above.
Amuck: see above.
Bounce: see above.
Diminish: This one has some potential. Perhaps some kind of blight-y aura that saps the strength of those around it. It would prevent stacking with Spiny Growth on the AA himself, but would provide protection to beasts nearby who can also have SG. Stacking with pThags would even further enhance this effect. May be too good? I would hope, though, that they give him some kind of offensive ability, and not ANOTHER defensive animi.
Rush: see above.
Locker: Kinda seems pretty specific to the Sentry, as he is trained to block enemies from getting past him. Additionally, on a huge base, that animi would provide a massive area of shut-down movement for enemy war-nouns. Probably not for fluff and gameplay.
Rise: He cant be knocked down, probably not
Swarm: see above
Spiny Growth: have it.
yOrner: see above
Elasticity: he already has reach. As awesome as giving it out to a carny would be, I doubt they would give AA an animi he cant get use out of.
Submerge: that would be ridiculous!
Counterblast: Have it.
Lightning Strike: See above
Massacre: have it, and he cant get the extra move.
Pig Farm: no. just no.
Bear Hands: not a bear. BUT auto-knockdown would be awesome!
Serpent Strike: fits fluff-wise, but would be terrible! Who is going to miss a Def 10 model?
TL;DR here are my guesses as to what AA will have for an animus:
Flaming Fists if they are going to give us a melee buff at all.
Bounding if they are going to give us a movement buff at all.
Farstrike since we wont be able to rava-spam with a 20 pt. model in the list.
Diminish since it would be a defensive animus we wouldn’t be able to stack ontop of SG.
‘insert animus name here’ which would grant “ride-by-attack.’
Thoughts? What do YOU think the AA is going to have for an animus?