Sunday, July 10, 2016

What is Skornifest Destiny?

Hey everyone, welcome to the inaugural post of this blogging attempt! I've been posting mini battle reports, my painting, and list building thoughts around various places for awhile, and I figured it was time to condense things into a blog. So first, a little background:

I've only been playing WM/H for about a year and a half, Skorne exclusively, and it has turned into somewhat of an obsession for me. This summer I'm going to be turning things up a notch, hitting GenCon and TempleCon, and trying to be competitive at a wider-scale, after becoming one of the top players in my local meta and doing well with traveling a few hours outside of my small bubble. This blog will include some of my painting work and tips, battle reports, tournament reports, and a bit of theory/philosophy.

And Philosophy is where I'd like to start, with Skornifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny was the idea that the USA should stretch from coast-to-coast, spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Skornifest Destiny, then, is based on building lists that bully the board, taking the mindset during list building that I should be in control, from board edge to board edge. This winds up giving us a very strong scenario game, in my experience, that works incredibly well with our attrition edge (Beast handlers for healing, native ease of healing beasts, a tendency to bring enough meat and armor to be fairly safe when the charging is all done). There are a few parts to this that I'll discuss below: Speed, Threat, Delivery, Durability, and Follow Up.


Slightly counter-intuitive in Skorne, as at first glance we look like a "slow" faction. However, we have many ways to extend our speed via warlocks (pMorghoul, Xerxis 1 & 2, Makeda1 & 2), Tyrant Commander, and the fantastic Titan Gladiator. We also have some of the hardiest and hardest hitting advanced deployment heavy warbeasts in the Aradus Soldier, and with the changes to Bloodrunners and Master Tormentors some incredibly fast stealth infantry. Ferox & Rhadeim, additionally, can advance, jump, and reposition 16" per turn with native pathfinder. Finally, with the Makeda's, Nihilators have some incredible charging threat ranges, clocking in at 13" and 12" under Makeda 1 and 2 respectively.


Being on the other side of the board, however, isn't particularly useful if you aren't able to do anything while there. So, threat is the second part. With just rush and enrage on an Aradus Soldier it threatens 10", with incredibly powerful weapons (p+s 20 bites are nothing to sneeze at). With a turn 1 run from the 13" line, you have something that threatens the 31" mark, or just shy of your opponents AD. Titans Gladiators work out as later game threat pieces, having the same threat range under rush, lacking advanced deployment, and having lower pow on bought attacks (20 vs 18). Slam and followup, though, gives the Gladiator an interesting threat/assassination vector, being able to slam models through other ones, walk up to the now knocked down targets and then buy 4 attacks. Useful, and fantastic if your opponent is trying to screen their army with heavies under armor buffs. Honorable mention goes to the Aradus Sentinel, who still threatens an assassination or seriously hurting a warbeast from 16" away with Rush, and up to 18" under Makeda 1, Morghoul 1, or Xerxis 2.

Ferox, meanwhile, threaten 13" with their charges, with brutal charge and cavalry rules go to P+S 14 with boosted to hit. Pretty great, but why not add in leap + CMA? The "Pouncing Waterfall", wherein each Ferox sacks his spear attack to another one's mount attack, after they advance + leap, gets you to the same P+S 14 and mat 8. Maybe worse than the charge for hitting higher defense (+2 vs an additional die to hit), but with a 13.5" threat range. Add in Push the Limit for a 15.5" threat range on the Pouncing Waterfall, or pXerxis for Stir the Blood and feat to get a 13.5" p+s 16 4 dice for damage Mat 8 attacks that are non-linear, and you have a package that can either cripple heavies, wipe out lights, and generally turn your opponents next turn into the order-of-activation nightmare that Skorne itself is so notorious for. Rhadeim, in my experience, works better as either a guided missile, going in after Ferox have ripped a hole and re-positioned out of the way, or hitting an opponents flank and fading into their back lines. Armor piercing p+s 12 charges from 13" away threaten just about everything short of a colossal.

Bloodrunners (along with the Master Tormentor), function much the same as an activation puzzle for your opponent, with their high defense and ability to dig deep into your opponent's lines. They aren't going to rip apart a heavy, but screening infantry is still going to be a thing and being able to rip them apart will always be useful. Bonus points for negating tough and ignoring armor. With Mordikaar they also turn into mini-missiles via essence blast, scalpeling out key models and solos (Alten Ashley, Junior warnouns etc).


Stealth, defense, armor. Pick 2, and figure out how to get them. Skewing over armor or defense is also acceptable. The alternative is failure to get much further than your own deployment zone. Ferox with Defenders Ward, Makeda1 and a krea, Aradus with anyone, Mordikaar's feat on Void Spirits and blood runners.

I'd also like to give a shout out to the Mortitheurge Willbreaker here, as he can help deliver a heavy ahead of your caster before your caster has to activate. Morghoul 1 might want to feat and failcharge forward, but if he has a brick of beasts in front of him his short control area really hurts trying to use them first. Marketh can doubly help here by abusing a beast, and then letting it fly into the willbreaker's CMD bubble before Morghoul activates.


Okay, so you've dug into the other side of the board, now what? Hopefully you've dealt some serious damage to your opponent, maybe crippling a few key jacks/beasts. Once you've dropped a cortex, most jacks are useless for a turn, and a crippled aspect on a beast really helps take the wind out of your opponents sails as they have to activate their warcaster pre-emptively. If you haven't, though, better hope you've brought a list that has something in it to keep the line of engagement on your opponents side of the board.

Warlocks are key in this. Xerxis1 is one of my favorites for this, where between Defenders Ward and his feat can give your jamming models a +4 armor swing and +2 defense.  Makeda1's feat may not bring models back in practice, but it can force your opponent to over-commit to a single unit giving you another turn to move up your slower beasts and units for a second wave. When the choice comes down to spending most of their activations pumping attacks into Nihilators, or having to kill 9 of them over again, most people will make sure they never come back. This brings up a point that I think is key to durability, where rather than expecting to stay there, you rely on your opponent having to spend a turn digging themself out. Just make sure you have something else that can get there right afterwards.

Morghoul1 really helps beasts "stick" as well with his feat, as few things can take out a Skorne warbeast without focus/fury (note: make sure he's not going to take a warnoun to the face). Mordikaar, on the other hand, really sings with the bloodrunners and master tormentors. Defense 17, poltergeist, and stealth can really ruin someone elses day. Xekaar works great with both, as effectively giving +3 armor and +3 defense is a fantastic swing to our infantry and beasts. I think there is something there with him and cyclopses, but I've only tried it a few times thus far and found it a bit dull.

Follow Up

Depending on your list, your followup will vary. Void spirits and heavies with Mordikaar, more beasts with Morghoul1, Tibbers works great with just about anyone. I'd even go so far as to say Immortals have a place, as with Makeda1 they can be speed 8, incorporeal, and as always hit hard. If those nihilators do come back, leave them away from the enemy while they themselves can't attack, and throw Immortals through them. If your opponent did jack spam, and had to devote focus and jack activations to try and punch through 15/21 Ferox, or boosting to hit defense 17 bloodrunners, being able to throw one of our heavies into them the next turn will keep them on the back foot. Be constantly aware of what will threaten you and make sure that you have a second wave positioned to bludgeon it into oblivion.

Lists to Try

Here are a few of the lists I've been working on, that will hopefully make sense with the above, and function as a possible starting off point for others:

Skorne - CatManDo

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Tyrant Xerxis - WB: +28
- Basilisk Krea - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Titan Sentry - PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 15)
- Agonizer - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 6)
- Tiberion - PC: 22

Tyrant Rhadeim - PC: 9

Praetorian Ferox - Leader & 4 Grunts: 21
Paingiver Beast Handlers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Praetorian Karax - Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer - Tyrant & Bearer: 6

Currently my favorite list. Ferox make a wall in front of the krea with Defenders Ward, Tibbers and the Sentry help deliver with shield guard, as well as functioning as a second wave of beaters. Karax are a flank or screen, depending on scenario. Top of 2 the cats can threaten into your opponents advanced deployment zone, getting onto casters that aren't properly screened (fairly easy against jack heavy lists). Late game, swapping defenders ward onto Tibbers can leave you with a fairly untouchable beater, if you've properly neutralized threats.

Skorne - TriBug

Theme: No Theme Selected
75/75 Army

Master Tormentor Morghoul [+30]
 - Aptimus Marketh [6]
 - Aradus Soldier [18]
 - Aradus Soldier [18]
 - Aradus Soldier [18]
Paingiver Beast Handlers (max) [7]
Void Spirit [4]
Mortitheurge Willbreaker [4]
Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor [4]
Tyrant Zaadesh [4]
 - Titan Gladiator [14]
 - Cyclops Shaman [8]

This is a bit of a weird one, and came from me helping someone test their gunline, should they happen to drop it into a tough brick. Key parts involve getting the Soldiers as far down field as possible round 1, via abuse and rush. Prior to Morghoul1 activating, one of them can run 12", which is just short enough that he can snag them in his control after a 7" walk forward, pull the fury off, and abuse the other 2. Top of 1 you can have 3 beasts that are all but immune to shooting sitting on the 25" line, threatening 12", again into your opponents advanced deployment zone. The Willbreaker really just wants to run forward so that during round 2 any beasts activating before Morghoul can still be forced. 

Skorne - F@#$ Mufasa

Theme: No Theme Selected
74 / 75 Army

Beast Master Xekaar - WB: +31
-    Aptimus Marketh - PC: 6
-    Agonizer - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
-    Bronzeback Titan - PC: 18 (Battlegroup Points Used: 18)
-    Tiberion - PC: 22 (Battlegroup Points Used: 6)
-    Titan Gladiator - PC: 14
-    Titan Sentry - PC: 15

Tyrant Zaadesh - PC: 4
-    Titan Gladiator - PC: 14

Paingiver Beast Handlers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5

A bit on the slow side here, but part of this list is getting Xekaar far forward for a round 2 feat that helps his brick. The goal I had when throwing it together was getting titans up the board without Xekaar having to do anything round 1. I think this list accomplishes that, assuming you maltreat your bronzeback and position your handlers appropriately. 

Skorne - Clopsy, Flopsy, and Mr. Puffy Pants

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Beast Master Xekaar - WB: +31
-    Aptimus Marketh - PC: 6
-    Cyclops Brute - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8)
-    Cyclops Brute - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8)
-    Cyclops Savage - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8)
-    Cyclops Savage - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
-    Agonizer - PC: 7
-    Cyclops Raider - PC: 9
-    Aradus Sentinel - PC: 16

Tyrant Zaadesh - PC: 4
-    Titan Gladiator - PC: 14
-    Cyclops Shaman - PC: 8

Paingiver Beast Handlers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Paingiver Beast Handlers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5

This is just a really weird one round omni-skew... Again it is about throwing beasts far down field before Xekaar activates, but in this case you are throwing them really far. Round 2 should be Xekaar dumping some fury, charging, and feating and hoping that 16/19-23 cyclopses can time walk your opponent well enough that you're dominating the board and can, hopefully, win on scenario or clock. I don't think this list is great, as it sort of relies on Zaadesh's group for heavy hitting or viable shots for the sentinels. Possibly good into Hordes. You do get a lot of healing out of psycho-surgery, though. I'll be honest, though, in that I probably won't run this iteration again. Swapping the raider for another brute, and the Sentinel for a cannoneer is going to be my next test with it. Keeps far strike for the Shaman and gives, in my opinion, a much better gun along with a third shield guard.

Skorne - bait'n'switch

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Archdomina Makeda - WB: +29
-    Agonizer - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
-    Titan Gladiator - PC: 14 (Battlegroup Points Used: 14)
-    Basilisk Krea - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
-    Scarab Pack - PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 1)
-    Bronzeback Titan - PC: 18

Swamp Gobber Chef - PC: 1

Paingiver Beast Handlers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 7
Nihilators - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer - Tyrant & Bearer: 6
Immortals - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
-    Extoller Advocate - PC: 4

I mentioned some of this earlier, so I figured I should throw out my current list build. Again we're seeing defense 17 front line models hugging a krea bubble. You want to make sure you have enough ablative armor for the Krea (re: shield guard scarabs) to keep her from going down, as Nihilators aren't going to save her. The TyComm can help if, say, your nihilators are lit on fire (You'll lose like 40% of them, thanks to tough and fire going out). He's also handy for popping an immortal when the time comes, and of course for pathfinder on the Nihilators. Round 2 should see Nihilators running 16" to engage at 18", or charging 11", maybe backed up by a feat. After that you're relying on a wave of immortals to start cracking things down enough (they're also getting up to speed 8 here) that your heavies don't have to do too much work. Just keep Makeda nice and cozy with transfers and a pile of shield guards for herself, because she'll want to be far forward on her feat turn - 4 transfers and a possible 8 shield guards should make this doable.


I hope this was a helpful insight into my current view of Skorne listbuilding. There are a few models that keep cropping up, like the krea as a delivery mechanism or the Agonizer to help things stick in place, that I feel are worth calling out. They're expensive, will draw attacks, and lose steam after the first 2 rounds if they're still alive, but overall they can help change crucial turns (the approach or the initial clash). I also have a Zaadesh + Gladiator + Shaman package twice, as a means of getting out 4 castings of rush per turn without relying on a caster. This is also a surprisingly viable late game armor cracking package, and the shaman should be able to get work done consistently throughout any match as well.

Your mileage may vary, and it is important to keep an eye on victory conditions (Scenario, Assassination, and Clock) and target selection. I hope this might serve as a bit of inspiration for any aspiring, conspiring, or perspiring tyrants out there.

No comments:

Post a Comment