Theme - Infernal Machines

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Theme - Infernal Machines

Cryx Theme Force

The true might of the Nightmare Empire lies in its endless tide of undead thralls and the power of its helljacks.

Theme Rules[edit]

Theme Force Restrictions[edit]

An Infernal Machines army can only include Cryx models from the following list:

Allowed models Which includes
Last updated 2017.07
Cryx warcasters Too many to bother listing
Non-character warjacks
Note: Character warjacks can be taken, but only if bonded with their favourite warcaster (Cankerworm with Asphyxious, etc)
Too many to bother listing
The following character warjacks
Iron Lich models/units
Thrall models/units
Warwitch models/units
Wraith solos
Solos with the Battlegroup Controller ability
Various specific models
Up to one Mercenary solo and one Mercenary unit Too many to bother listing

Theme Force Bonuses[edit]

  • You may include one Mercenary solo and one Mercenary unit that will work for Cryx.
    • These models can be included even if they have the Partisan [Cryx] rule.
    • Mercenary units in this army can include attachments.
  • For every full 20 points of Thrall models/units in your army, you can add for free either
    1. One Necrosurgeon unit, or
    2. One command attachment, or
    3. One non-character solo.
    • Free models/units do not count toward the total point value of Thrall models/units when calculating this bonus.
  • Warjacks in the army gain Hyper-Aggressive. (Hyper-Aggressive - When this model suffers damage from an enemy attack, except when advancing, after the attack it can make a full advance directly towards the attacker.)
  • One Mechanithrall unit in the army gains Ambush. (Ambush - This unit may choose not to deploy normally, and instead be deployed completely within 3" of an edge of the board (excluding the back of your opponent's deployment zone) on any turn after the first. )

Recent Changes[edit]

  • 2017.06 Errata
The Wraith Engine was added to the theme force.

Thoughts on this Theme Force[edit]

Theme - Infernal Machines in a nutshell[edit]

This theme specialises in the Thralls of Cryx, which are the "cheap swarm" undead, and also warjacks.

Alternatively it's the Cryx theme force for warjacks, giving them hyper-aggressive for free. The trick to an Infernal Machines list built this way is that if you're building jack-heavy you build your list normally then see how close you are to this theme force.


Infernal Machines is considered the second best way of spamming infantry in Cryx after The Ghost Fleet. Lots of infantry, lots of recursion - but Infernal Machines lacks Gang when compared to Ghost Fleet. It also gets fewer free points than Ghost Fleet. It is generally considered to be not competitive.

The recent changes to Ghost Fleet (specifically to the Revenant Crew of the Atramentous coupled with the nerfs to Deneghra1) have opened some space for reconsideration of the place of Infernal Machines within Cryx. While the benefits of IM are indeed questionable at best--neither Hyper-Aggressive on jacks nor ambushing Mechanithralls are by themselves particularly impressive--the theme does offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of list building, has access to strong character choices, can take Wraith Engines (although sadly, not for theme points as in Dark Host), and can work with nearly any caster in the faction.

For the most part, the troop options that count towards acquiring a free solo in Infernal Machines are not as well-rounded as those that are available to other themes like Dark Host, Scourge of the Broken Coast, or Slaughter Fleet Raiders. Another constraint on list-building is that a number of the theme's best pieces do not count towards free points. For this reason, it is recommended to build with an eye towards meeting only the bare minimum thresholds for free solos (either two Pistol Wraiths or two Warwitch Sirens), typically aiming for 40-point modules in a 75-pt list. This frees up thirty-five points (plus a caster's WJPs) towards loading up on your battlegroup, taking support pieces like Aiakos, Hellslinger Phantom, and the Withershadow Combine, or investing in elite mercenary options like Wrongeye & Snapjaw.


Despite the variety of options available to the theme, there are no particularly strong synergies worth pursuing via a "combined arms" approach to list-building with Infernal Machines. Indeed, the units (and solos) available to the theme all tend to work best when spammed or taken in pairs. This perspective yields a few different archetypes:

  • Dawn of the Dead: Three full units of Mechanithralls with maximum Brutes (one of which is ambushing), and two units of Necrosurgeons. A Skarlock UA for one of the non-ambushing units and a Skarlock Thrall attachment for the caster (ideally, one with access to Ghost Walk) round out a 60 pt module. Since the days of MK2, this build has long been a bog standard for Terminus and Skarre1, although Dark Host is hands-down the better theme for both of them now.
  • The Birds: Two full units of Carrion Thralls backed by a pair of Necrosurgeons, with a min unit of Mechanithralls and three Brutes for the ambush. Again, 40 pts. This module has the benefit of not caring about a lot of terrain. This build gels very nicely with Goreshade3's typical gameplan. Casters with scary assassination threats like Asphyxious1, Captain Aiakos, or even the much-maligned Sturgis2 could also get a lot of mileage out of a module of fast, cheap, recurring jammers that come with two free solos.
  • The Purge: Two max units of Bile Thralls with Skarlock UAs for Advanced Deployment, trailed by two necrosurgeons, and supported by two Bloat Thralls with Mobius, and an additional two points to taste (Soul Trappers or a Skarlock Thrall, depending on the caster) to get to 60 pts. Alternately, downgrade the Bile Thralls to min units and add in a min unit of Mechanithralls and three brutes to ambush. This build is definitely more on the casual side, especially in a meta that favors high-ARM multi-wound models. Still, someone like Bane Witch Agathia could have a lot to offer this sort of build.

Drawbacks & Downsides[edit]

It does nothing to increase FA. So the only reason you can swarm better than out of theme is that you get your Necrosurgeons for free.


Popular casters include:

  • Any jack caster
  • Captain Aiakos goes well with McThralls, fixing their MAT - and also likes the jacks he gets - and finally gives this list an assassination threat.
  • Lich Lord Terminus makes the entire swarm tough. You can even bring Orin to protect him from spells.
  • Warwitch Deneghra goes well with everything.

Unpopular casters include:

  • Goreshade the Cursed wants a completely different list with more expensive infantry -- namely, Dark Host.
  • On the other hand, Infernal Machines is the only theme with Soulhunters, who certainly qualify as an expensive unit; as multi-wound models, they get completely restored by Goreshade2's feat and, moreover, they do not compete with him for souls. He can also give them Mirage or Occultation and sling Curse of Shadows at whatever is in their way. Additionally, Goreshade2's usual 6 pt Scrap Thrall tax counts towards free points of solos in this theme -- solos which he can feat to bring back. He also gains access to Deathjack and the Withershadow Combine to augment his formidable spell card, as well as Warwitch Sirens and Aiakos for jack support. The ability to cast Abyssal Gate twice in a turn (one with a reroll from Puppet Master) is certainly nothing to sneeze at. The only thing he really loses out on is his admittedly excellent Tactician ability; for some players, this can be a worthwhile tradeoff.

List building tips[edit]

Go for either your jack line or your McThrall swarm. Not both.


Rules Clarifications[edit]

Rules Clarification: Theme Forces     (Edit)
Warning: This is a long one.

Mercenaries and Partisans
  • When you take a Partisan Mercenary, it counts as your Faction. However this doesn't increase the number of total mercenaries allowed. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Exception: If the Partisan Mercenary is explicitedly listed as one of the models you can take in the theme (such as Cephalyx in Cryx's Black Industries theme), then you can take the full FA plus your "up to one Merc" allotment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Sometimes a specific Mercenary/Minion model/unit will gain a theme benefit of "If this model is included, it counts as a Faction model" (such as Greygore in Kriel Company). In this case, the model/unit might or might not count against your "up to one merc" limit:
    • If that Merc is in the list of models explicitly allowed (such as Savio in Storm Division), they won't count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
    • If that Merc isn't in the list, (such as the Devil's Shadows in Slaughter Fleet Raiders), they will count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
  • Partisans will count towards any relevant free points. For instance, Nyss will count twoards the "20 points of Retribution units" in the Defenders of Ios theme. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Partisans can be eligible to be taken as free choices. For instance, Erysis1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenaries and Ranking Officers

  • If you can include a Merc unit, and its attachments, then you can attach a Ranking Officer. This is true regardless whether or not that Ranking Officer is on the list of "Allowed models" . (Infernal Ruling)
  • Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
  • The Merc unit will count towards your "X points of [Faction] models/units" benefit (if your theme is worded that way). (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenary Warjacks, Warbeasts, & Companions

  • As per the errata to the core rules, if your "up to one Merc" ...
    • ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
    • ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)

Bonus - One [X] gains [Y]

  • If you need to choose which models get your theme bonus, then you do this choice after deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • An example is how Winter Guard Kommand gives Advance Move to one-warjack-of-your-choice-per-WG-unit.
    • In comparison, Destruction Initiative gives all Servitors the Shield Guard ability so you don't need to "make" a choice.
  • You should still write on your army list how many of these bonuses you get to hand out, though, so your opponent can clearly see. (Infernal Ruling)
    • ie at the bottom of your list, you'd write "3 warjacks gain Advance Move" but you don't need to state which three are going to get the bonus.

Theme Forces, free models, and Specialists/ADR in Steamroller

  • You can swap out as many models from your main list into your specialists and vice versa as you like, but you must completely recalculate the new army list when you do, including bonuses. As long as the new army list is valid, including all free models, it doesn't matter what the left over points in your specialists are. (Staff Ruling)
  • If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.

Unit Attachments & free points

Theme - The Bones of Orboros

  • Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Call of the Wild

  • When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
  • Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - The Faithful Masses

  • A Mercenary unit with an Attendant Priest does count as Protectorate unit for the purpose of calculating points for free cards. There is a bug in Warroom that prevents it counting properly. (Staff Ruling)

Theme - The Ghost Fleet

  • The "free solo" can be any kind of solo, it doesn't have to be a Revenant solo.

Theme - Kriel Company

  • Greygore/Dannon count against your "up to one Minion unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Llaelese Resistance

  • It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
    You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Scourge of the Broken Coast

Theme - Slaughter Fleet Raiders

  • The Devil's Shadows Mutineers count against your "up to one Mercenary unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Clockwork Legions

  • If you attach a small-based model to a medium-based unit, it is no longer a medium-based unit and won't benefit from Vengeance.
  • However, it will regain Vengeance when the small base dies. Furthermore, the small base dying will trigger Vengeance.
  • (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Hyper-Aggressive      (Edit)

  • Because you must move directly towards your attacker, you cannot change facing after completing your Hyper-Aggressive move.
  • HA can be triggered more than once per turn.
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Ambush      (Edit)

  • Whether a model/unit is going to use Ambush or not needs to be declared before either player begins deploying models.
  • Ambush occurs last in Step 5 of the Control Phase. You cannot use Apparition on a model that Ambushes. (Infernal Ruling)

Models in this Theme Force[edit]

Refer to Category: Infernal Machines

Other Themes[edit]

Theme Forces (Edit)
Cygnar Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division (Edit)
Protectorate of Menoth The Creator's Might - Exemplar Interdiction - The Faithful Masses - Guardians of the Temple (Edit)
Khador Armored Korps - Jaws of the Wolf - Legion of Steel - Winter Guard Kommand - Wolves of Winter (Edit)
Cryx Black Industries - Dark Host - The Ghost Fleet - Infernal Machines - Scourge of the Broken Coast - Slaughter Fleet Raiders (Edit)
Retribution of Scyrah Defenders of Ios - Forges of War - Legions of Dawn - Shadows of the Retribution (Edit)
Mercenaries Hammer Strike - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - Operating Theater - The Talion Charter - Llaelese Resistance (Edit)
Convergence of Cyriss Destruction Initiative - Clockwork Legions (Edit)
Crucible Guard Magnum Opus - Prima Materia (Edit)
Trollbloods Band of Heroes - Kriel Company - Power of Dhunia - Storm of the North (Edit)
Circle Orboros Call of the Wild - Secret Masters - The Bones of Orboros - The Devourer's Host - The Wild Hunt (Edit)
Skorne Winds of Death - Disciples of Agony - Imperial Warhost - Masters of War - The Exalted (Edit)
Legion of Everblight Children of the Dragon - Oracles of Annihilation - Primal Terrors - Ravens of War (Edit)
Minions The Blindwater Congregation - The Thornfall Alliance - Will Work for Food (Edit)
Grymkin Dark Menagerie - Bump in the Night (Edit)