So with all the new players that we’ve been seeing at the LGS lately, I’ve heard a lot of the old sages being approached for general overviews of the factions. Now I don’t consider myself and expert or anything but I thoroughly enjoy the debate on different factions and units strengths and weaknesses so I thought why not write a blog about it! Starting with …
I have often been amazed at the lack of Skorne players in our local meta. I look at Skorne and I see amazing assassination vehicles(Molik Karn), extremely durable infantry(Cataphract), some of the most widely acclaimed beasts in the game(Bronzeback) and amazing support models. I always wondered why they didn’t seem to catch on, then I went to Lock and Load and discovered this was only a local phenomenon. I think I saw more Skorne armies than the other Hordes factions combined and I can see why.
There are a lot of options and different ways to play in Skorne. You can play masses of fast expendable infantry with Makeda, beast heavy with Rasheth, or brick up with Xerxis. Zaal can make anything a walking engine of death with his feat and Last stand. Ranged warfare might have been a problem but with the Mammoth and the Raider it has become more feasible. The biggest weakness may be dealing with swarms of high def infantry but the Incindiarii will help with that. Beast handlers rival the choir for best warbeast/jack support.
3 Strongest Casters:
Lord Tyrant Hexeris – Hexy has a lot of tools to work with. His feat is amazing against high mat/low def/low armor/single wound infantry(bye bye Stormblades, Fennblades, Iron Fang Pikemen, Dawnguard Sentinels, etc etc). Vampiric reaving can put a hurting on the enemies fury economy. I love Vengeance so Death March is a great spell. Soul Slave pretty much allows you to make an arc node out of any of your beasts. And on top of that he is a very capable warrior with a good fury stat.
Supreme Aptimus Zaal – Already mentioned Last Stand and his feat which are very powerful. Allowing extra dice and then the ability to boost as well makes every model in his army dangerous. In my last game an Ancestral Guardian killed a defender in one turn. The best part was then he got to drop the Kovaas in the middle of my army when the AG left at the end of the turn. His ability to control the flow of soul tokens and to multiply his fury into more soul tokens can be very powerful when you are staring at an army full of Guardians. Ghost Sight(what is the LOS thing you speak of?) makes his Spirit Eye(Low pow but you add the targets stregth) and Spells a threat all over the board. Hex Blast helps him deal with those pesky defensive upkeeps. Not someone who wants to mix it up in melee but if you can keep him protected he supports your army amazingly well. The Kovaas is a nice little bonus!
Master Tormentor Morghoul – Maybe I’m just bitter because I play Trollbloods and Morghould seems to especially love carving up Troll casters but Morghoul has some very strong tricks. He is always a danger as an assassin with Anatomical Precision guaranteeing at least a point of damage and the ability to buy two attacks with every focus. Overtake and Perfect Balanceallows him to get to places you wouldn’t think possible. Then if he kills something he can run away at the end of the turn. He supports beasts very well with Abuse and Admonition and with his feat stopping fury allocation and forcing, he pretty much can shut down beasts/jacks for a turn. If you hit him he goes down pretty easy but thats a big if with his very good defensive stats.
3 Weakest Casters(Weak does not mean unplayable just takes a little more strategy and finesse to be effective):
Lord Assassin Morghoul – Kind of a one trick pony. As his name suggests, he wants to assassinate and if you deny him that his strategy tends to fall apart. As a trollbloods player I hate seeing Silence of Death(gives a model or unit Grievous Wounds so no tough rolls) but other than that I know if I play smart and don’t give him the attack vectors he wants that I will probably be able to out attrition him.
Master Ascetic Naaresh – I think Naaresh was an admirable attempt to take all the Skorne teachings and personify them in a Warcaster but I think he falls just a little short. He has a couple of great spells in Iron Flesh and Lamentation but the rest of his bag depends so much on him wounding himself and being in the thick of it to get the health back by killing models that he leaves himself in precarious positions a lot in my experience. Definitely and interest choice that I think a player will have fun with but not a Warlock I see winning a lot of tournaments any time soon.
Void Seer Mordikaar – In a faction/game that seems to be built around being very aggressive and taking it too an opponent, Mordikaar just seems too oriented around defence. I’m not saying that you can’t win that way, I’ve just found that it isn’t nearly as effective. He does have a useful set of spells that allow the player to deal with different scenarios he just doesn’t really give you army any more punch and there are a lot of time that Skorne models need that little extra boost.
Molik Karn – Unstoppable force. Probably the most effective assassination beast in the game. I think he also might be the only warbeast with build in weaponmaster. He has great movement shenanigans and if he gets where he wants to go he will probably get the job done. He isn’t going to take much punishment though. Think scalpel not hammer.
Tiberion – Immovable object. Has amazing defensive stats and can take a beating. He can’t be moved out of his activation so park him in a zone and he’ll hold the line. He also hits pretty hard so a really good all around beast.
Despoiler – No solid opinion as I haven’t seen him proxied. He doesn’t have great offensive or defensive stats but that wouldn’t be why you would take him(Although gun mages show us how useful critical brutal damage can be). You take him to pop out void spirits and to lighten the spellcasting load on your warlock and put a strain on your opponents. Being protected from enemy control spells could be useful as well.
3 Best Beasts(Non-Character):
Brozeback Titan – Just an amazing melee beast. Maybe the best in the game. He hits like a ton of bricks, has 3 initial attacks, and has some great special Abilities in Chain Attack: Grab & Smash, Counter Charge, Hyper Aggressive and the leadership bonus that he gives all other titans in his command area. His animus grants beat back which lets you get places people thought were safe. 3Makeda really loves his animus with her feat. He needs some support to get to his full potential but the ability to one round a colossal makes this guy a force to be reckoned with.
Titan Gladiator – I know a lot of people don’t agree with me but I think the gladiator might be the best beast in the game for its points. Very good point cost, 3 initial attacks, an amazing animus and great stats. I would love to have him in any of my armies.
Cyclops Shaman – I love this guy. With him, Skorne warlocks don’t need to bother with bone grinders as he can extend their spell range by 2. He can clear enemy upkeeps on his buddies with his animus. His attacks aren’t great but his ranged attack has ghost shot which can come in really handy against certain targets. And lost but not least is his ability to cast any animus of a friendly warbeast that is in his command range. I just love this as it provides a psuedo-arcnode and also takes some strain off of the warcaster.
3 Worst Beasts:
Titan Cannoneer – Not a bad animus or gun but he just doesn’t get into many lists. I have actually only seen him on the table once and compared to Skorne’s other amazing titan choices he just doesn’t stack up. Maybe with the addition of the Raider he might get a little more play. I think what he really needs is some warlock support but pickings are pretty slim in Skorne right now.
Rhinodon – Just a very “meh” beast. He doesn’t hit very hard for a heavy and doesn’t have very good stats. He is a bit of a tweener beast that has an interesting price point but just misses the mark. His animus is extremely lackluster and corner case… course at least it isn’t on a 20 point colossal…
Cyclops Brute – I honestly just think the other light warbeasts are better. Intuition and shield guard are nice defensive abilities but like I mentioned before, Skorne just seems to favor more aggressive models.
3 Best Units:
Cataphract Incindiarii – 6 medium powered 3 inch AOEs are nice but give them continuous fire and they become amazing. Add to that the amazing cataphract ability of fitting 6 men into a unit type usually stuck at 5. They have decent stats and combined range gives them the ability to hit hard targets. Their defensive stats fall a little flat and they won’t be taking down Decimators in melee but if you need to clear out some infantry, they will get the job done.
Cataphract Centrati – Pricey but 6 weaponmasters with the ability to weather nearly any storm are awesome in my book. Course I like to turtle up and absorb your enemies first volley and counter charge and these guy do that very well. I have come up against them quite a few times and watched them tarpit in a scenario zone for an entire game because I was just unable to do enough damage to take them down. Oh and they have reach!
Paingiver Beast Handlers – Just an amazing support unit: good price, amazing abilities, and they even have reach if you need someone threaten some free strikes or engage a model to keep it from shooting. They are very effective at controlling fury on beasts and Enrage is a great melee damage buff.
3 Worst Units:
Praetorian Karax – Just not really effective at anything. Their armor isn’t high enough to weather concentrated fire(unless they are planning on taking you out with blast damage, thank you girded), they don’t hit very hard. They are cheap and they have reach though.
Venator Reivers – Just don’t hit very hard and have pretty bad stats. I think they would be better in other armies(think long gunners) but they don’t get much support in Skorne. They do get a damage bonus against bigger bases and have combined range so they aren’t useless, I just think Skorne has better ranged options.
Paingiver Bloodrunners – I think these guys could be good with a lot of practice and patience but they don’t seem to stand great on their own and need to be setup to be really effective.
Hakaar the Destroyer – Hits like a ton of bricks and can actually take quite a bit of punishment. Righteous vengeance is a great ability. If you want someone who can get in there and mix it up, he’s your guy. Oh and the model is pretty sweet too!
Void Spirit – Just not very interesting. He can do some helpful things but most of the time he is just around to torment people without magic weapons and if he manages to hit some living models he can earn his points back but he just really isn’t my cup of tea.
Note: Just wanted to remind everyone that these are my personal opinions from my experiences playing this army. I know people will disagree with me and welcome the open discussion.