Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Archdomina Makeda: Why do I like her?

I've been playing Makeda 1 a lot lately, after bringing her out to practice for champions, and realized I really enjoy playing her. At GenCon I went 3-0 with her in Champions, and went 1-1 in Masters qualifiers. At TempleCon I went 2-1 in Champions, giving me a 6-2 record, granted 5 of those wins are in a very limited format. At any rate, this success with a caster that, on paper, confused me and I figured I'd do a break down of her to help myself and anyone else that might be interested in trying to unlock this strange, strange lady.


Pretty standard for a Skorne caster. 15/16 defensive stats, Mat 7, Speed 6. She used to be an impressive CMD warlock, but that doesn't do anything anymore. Her weapons are, likewise, unimpressive. 2 Pow 12 swords, and she lacks the Combo Strike of Makeda 2. 1" reach is a nice thing to gain, though.

On the Card:

Blood Quenched makes it look like she wants to kill things and be up front. This is a lie. +1 Str and +1 Arm is, at best, something you'll just take as a given if you kill an infantry model while side-stepping into a caster for an assassination run. She is incredibly squishy in melee, and has no other tech to keep her alive besides the possible few armor she could gain here. Meanwhile, she's actually incredibly safe as a midline support caster. This might be worth +1 or 2 armor when killing things that came in to contest your flag, but don't ever bank on this being worthwhile.

Side-Step, oh how we knew ye. She doesn't have parry, or any way to ignore free strikes. At most this has come up, for me, when walking off a flag to kill a contesting model, and side-step back onto it.

Spell List:

Carnage- This spell is actually just what a lot of our infantry and beasts need. I have no idea why our infantry are all mat 5 or 6, but this gives them the boost necessary to make them sing.

The Lash- Expensive, hard to hit, has a weird threshold penalty. I'm not really sure what the point of this is, but at least it is AOE 4, so it might get some play killing clumped up infantry. In the 10 or so games I've played her, I have never cast this spell (I just realized it was an AOE).

Quicken- In my opinion, this is THE spell from her. In the current shooting heavy meta, any added defense helps. Factor in the bonus speed, and this spell is amazing at helping deliver our infantry to combat. Great when layered with, say, a Krea or used on models with innate defensive tech (Ferox boxes/arm, Nihilators with tough, Keltarii). Also incredibly useful for shifting stances in scenario, as +2 speed really helps models run around the board. I've won several a scenario when a quickened model ran to grab a flag from an opposing caster (nyah nyah casters don't contest).

Subjugation of Will- Okay, so this is her "Signature" spell. It is basically a purifiable field-marshall shield guard. This doesn't seem that great... but in my experience it is. Compounded with quicken you can have a very survivable line of models, even positioning a few in range of shield guards to stay alive on feat turn. It also really helps her play close to the front, surrounded by cheap shield guards. I tend to couple a scarab pack with Orin Midwinter to have a little bunker for her (and him) to hide in.

The Feat:

When the spoilers for Mark 3 came out, the only thing I could really think of to do with Skorne was confuse the shit out of my opponent. I'm used to dealing with an activation nightmare, and it looked like, card after card, that was what we were best at. This is where this feat shines. Keltarii reforming deep, blood runners harassing flanks and reforming behind enemy lines, ferox jumping into back arcs. Swordsmen swording-men then sidestepping. Hit and fade into the enemy lines, then pop her feat. Hell, leave a dude hiding back with Makeda and Orin as well, if he's out of formation now, there is a good chance he'll be the unit leader next turn anyway. Having your opponent jammed into activation hell makes it much harder for them to clear out entire units, or get much of anything done. 

The big downside is you have to be up front (her kit allows for this), and have to have at least one model from each unit survive (easy to do, with her kit and proper model selection). Even if your opponent goes out of their way to kill that last Nihilator, odds are their turn wasn't nearly as powerful as it could have been. And if 1 survived? Well, hell, now their next turn is more of the same shitshow.


Scarab Pack- Okay, these little bastards are great shield guards. Armor 16 vs shooting with 10 boxes and pretty mediocre threat projection makes them unappealing to actually shoot at, they're dirt cheap, and her feat brings them back. At first I tried playing her with high-quality beasts as shield guards, and quickly dismissed that as the things I wanted to shield guard to keep safe were, turns out, my shield guards. If one of these eats Alton Ashley's shot, who cares? I like to keep them in a little circle around her, with Orin hiding behind to cover all 5 of them in case of magic attacks.

Despoiler- This beast has quickly become my MK3 favorite. His free upkeep helps keep Makeda safe, allowing her to camp 5 or cast carnage and camp 3 while leaving up subjugation and quicken. He's a bit squishy, but hey you have shield guards and infantry to keep him safe, right? He also helps out with cracking armor, helping turn gladiators up to p+s 20. I've had him and a gladiator take down a stormwall in one turn. He's also faster than our standard beasts at speed 5, and hits as hard as a bronzeback while also having crit brutal. Yep, DJ Dezzy is now our heavy hitter. Weird world, right? You have to keep him safe, but if he isn't behind a line of infantry and in range of at least 2 shield guards, you're doing something weird anyway.

Titan Gladiator- You're reading this blog, so you know why you bring one of these. They're beefy, they hit hard, they have a great animus. I take 2, usually, but if your list lacks one something has gone wrong.

Aradus- My first thoughts with her. I... didn't like it. They're expensive, so you can't have a ton of shield guards if you're bringing them, but they are damned near immune to shooting. They have merits, but I feel they take away from points that would better be spent on infantry. I know, heresy. If the Sentinels were still good, I'd bring them in a heartbeat.

Krea- No, she isn't a good shield guard, and no she doesn't hit things. But she does help skew anti-shooting even further. That has some serious merits, when you can have Def 17 Nihilators running down the field at speed 8 and immune to blast damage. Just... keep her safe from shooting (you have some shield guards near her, right? Or at least a wall of Ferox?). Having Makeda surrounded by def 17 blast immune scarabs while def 17 and blast immune herself is pretty great.


Blood Runners- I use these a lot, and for good reason. Without support they threaten 11.5", which makes them ideal for hunting shooting models (threaten further than most things can walk and shoot into stealth). They're really resilient when hiding in back, and apparition makes for some interesting placement opportunities, especially on the feat turn. Their natural high defense and reposition makes them great jamming models, and having to unjam from them twice is aggravating to say the least. Perfect anti-trencher tech, which is not a thing I'd have ever assumed would be worth bringing.

Ferox- Okay, I run a lot of Ferox. Yes, I may have a problem. But they're really great. With a possible 12" advance followed by a 5" place AND reposition, they can really screw with an opponents army. They're great at cracking annoying lights, like Thorn. Or killing annoying solos, like Journeyman warcasters. Just telling your opponent their threat range with Makeda can make most people sigh sadly.

Do Note: Currently I do not believe revived Ferox can use leap. This is something awaiting a ruling on the rules forum, but I'm going with a judge ruling I heard until more is said. 

Nihilators- 13" threat if quickened with def 15, natural tough, and berserk. Carnage really helps them out, too, as at mat 9 they can mulch just about everything you'll see. I almost always bring a TyComm with Makeda, and he brings so much utility to them it is hard to not bring some.

Legends of Halaak- They don't really need her support, but thrive with it, and are a great source of armor cracking in an infantry package. If you're going light on the heavy warbeasts, I'd say bringing these as a second line is almost mandatory. Just... keep them safe (Did I mention Makeda can bring a lot of shield guards?).

Keltarii- Naturally shooting resilient, incredibly jammy. Charging 11" then repositioning 3 into enemy lines is pretty great. Their biggest issues is their mat, which Makeda can fix every turn. 

Support & Solos:

Paingivers- Bring at least a min unit, you're playing Skorne.

Willbreaker- Make those sticky infantry even stickier!

Master Tormentor- Good on scenario, makes blood runners better, definitely worth considering. If you jam your opponents front lines with the rest of your infantry, it should be possible to get her into a great thresher spot on the next turn.

Void Spirits- Great scenario piece, but doesn't really benefit from Makeda in any way.

Orin Midwinter- You've tried being immune to shooting, why not add in magic as well?! For the low low price of 5 points you can negate 3 spells targeting a model near him. A cheeky opponent trying to get around your shield guards using magic? Screw that, Orin Midwinter! Someone trying to pull Makeda off a flag? Orin Midwinter! Someone jamming you back? Orin Midwinter! Orin Midwinter, for all your spell hate needs.

Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer- +2 threat range on your Ferox, pathfinder for your Nihilators, or standup for all that tough infantry you threw into your enemies face that survived and is the only shit you can attack with this turn? Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer is the unit for you! So good I bought 2! (I have never ran 2, but I own 2 for some reason).

Marketh- 2 upkeep spells, and lots of infantry. Marketh seems like a great bet. The Lash is even not that bad for him to cast, giving a nice AOE that can be boosted to kill important models. 

Hakaar/Ancestral Guardians- Double dip on souls, why don't you? They love it when infantry dies, and being able to get souls off the same models twice is great. They're also high-priority targets that you can keep safe with shield guards. SKORNE-BONUS: Immortals don't benefit from her feat, so don't take any! No more fighting with that pesky Immortal UA for souls on your Exalted solos!

Extoller- Did you notice this gun now works on Cryx casters? Because this gun now works on Cryx casters.

My List:

The list I've been running consistently is a little light on the infantry, but the ones it brings tend to hold things down on scenario rather well. I've also ran her with a Nihilator package in place of the Ferox, which worked nicely (had 3 survive in the back, and charge forward to mulch my opponents infantry under Carnage). The main idea is scenario, jamming your opponent hard enough to keep them from scoring while you keep Makeda safe in your zone/flag/whatever. 

Skorne Army - 75 / 75 points

(Makeda 1) Archdomina Makeda [+29]
 - Scarab Pack [10]
 - Despoiler [18]
 - Titan Gladiator [14]
 - Titan Gladiator [14]
Praetorian Ferox (max) [21]
Paingiver Bloodrunners [9]
Paingiver Beast Handlers (max) [7]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [5]
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer [6]


Seriously, let me know what you're doing with Makeda 1. I have no idea what I'm doing, this is just what has, for some reason, worked for me. Were it not for the current ADR roster including such gems as Hexeris 1 I would never have touched her. Even today, writing this, I still don't know why I like this caster.

What models/beasts/units have you tried with her? Let me know in the comments and I'll include it in the above. 


  1. Great write up! I'll be trying her out this coming week, so I'll let you know how it goes. I'm surprised Karax didn't get a mention. I haven't played them enough yet (don't own them yet) to know if they're the kind of unit Makeda 1 wants, but she sure does a lot for them.

    1. Don't get me wrong, I love MK3 Karax. I think the next competitive event I go to I'll have to bring Xerxis 1 with Karax and Ferox again. I don't really see them as benefiting as much from her kit, though, as other infantry do. They love a speed boost, and can even shield wall after her feat, but I feel like def 14 is just shy of where I want it to be... Granted, 14/19 with a potential 10" shield wall is pretty appealing. Saying that now, I think I might have to try them out again.

  2. That makes sense. If Mak 1 is delivering infantry, then they should probably do more work than the Karax.