From time to time, the people at my FLGS run scramble tournaments, 2 or 3 round tournaments that aren't scheduled, $5 buy in, winner take all. Some weeks we'll do one Monday and another Saturday, depending on attendance and other things going on, and we go back and forth between WM/H and Guild Ball. Last Monday (the 12th), I brought some Xekaar into a 2 rounder at the LGS. Round 1 I played into an opponent who was, for the first time ever, playing Cygnar - dicking around with Kraye and Trencher theme. Round 2 I played into Gaspy3 in the Bane theme.
Skorne Army - 75 / 75 points
(Xekaar 1) Beast Master Xekaar [+31]
- Basilisk Drake 
- Basilisk Krea 
- Chiron 
- Cyclops Shaman 
- Aptimus Marketh 
Paingiver Beast Handlers (max) 
Praetorian Ferox (max) 
Praetorian Keltarii (max) 
Praetorian Swordsmen (max) 
- Praetorian Swordsman Officer & Standard 
Note: The role of Chiron will be played by Bronzeback Titan.
Thought process:Not much in the way of heavy-hitters, Chiron and the Krea, and the swordsmen get a decent turn of it. Mortality, though, helps swing things in my favor, as does CMA on the Keltarii and Ferox. The list is fairly fast out of the gate, and I'm able to skew a bit into anti-ranged with multiple krea bubbles and good defense on the keltarii (who are also great at jamming down field quickly). I'm not entirely sure what the plan is, going into it, but I think I have solid chances of jamming round 2 and feating to hold things back. Parry and Leap let my front line break free, and the swordsmen should have time to pick optimal targets.
Game 1: Kraye Gravediggers
I lose the roll, and my opponent chooses to go second. He gets to drop his blockhouse downfield more, and I get stuck with a forest and a badly placed wall in my deployment zone.
Stuff moves fast. You've played Warmachine before, you know how it goes.
My opponent advances fin and pops a few swordsmen. The trenchers move up and take shots, dropping a few more. Bunker pops a cat. Defender shots go wide. Centurion moves up in the middle to contest the central zone.
My turn, cats go in and pile around the centurion and Ironclad, putting the hurt on them a bit. Keltarii charge the ironclad and CMA into it, doing some nice damage. Mortality goes on the trenchers. Swordsmen charge in and take out a few trenchers and Finn. Feat goes out. Counterblasts pop up on Chiron and the Shaman and I control the left zone, contesting everywhere else. I forget to take a picture.
Trenchers do some assault attacks and kill me down to 2 swordsmen. I lose all the cats, but the line is now set way back on my opponents side of the table. He now has an ironclad + defender, and centurion (both messed up) and a few trenchers contesting zones.
Mortality goes up on the trenchers again, and more of them go down to sprays. Keltarii drop the Ironclad, Centurion goes down to... honestly I think a drake. I use a forest and swordsmen to screen Xekaar, along with Chiron, as best as possible and I score 2, going to 3-0.
My opponent tries for a hail Mary assassination, goes south, he's left with a few jacks in spots where they'll die, and doesn't have the attack volume to get through my transfers. He concedes.
Game 2: Asphyxious 3, Bane theme.
My opponent wins the roll, and chooses second. I deploy stuff.
Then it moves forward fast.
Then I forget to take pictures. He also moves quickly towards the other end of the board (shock, awe). Bane Riders get Ashen Veil and move up into the zone to contest.
Here goes nothing. Keltarii charge the bane riders and pop 2 of them, and jam up pretty good into a unit of banes, cankerworm, and the riders. Cats go deep and put some damage into a devastator. Some counterblasts pop up in the middle, xekaar walks to the flag, krea toes the right zone and I pop feat.
Knights back up with vengeance and charge down some keltarii. Bane warriors pop a few more. As does cankerworm. I think I lose half the unit? All of the cats die, as does a swordsman (shot by devastator). I think I get a counter blast spray off. Kewl. More banes come in down the center to contest the middle and right zones. I go up to 1-0 on scenario, though. Gaspy feats, and is sitting on 4 souls.
Flag is still uncontested, so I can hang out on it. Swordsmen can easily clear the right zone, and I think I have the tools to clear the central zone. Marketh goes and walks into the circle, throwing mortality at the banes in the center and right zones. Swordsmen clear out their zone. Drake sprays down some banes. Chiron goes and sprays down more banes, clearing things up more. He pops his animus and Gaspy gains a soul. Swordsmen go and clear the zones out. Shaman walks into the middle and counterblasts. Gaspy gains a soul. 4-0 on scenario.
Gaspy has a lot of focus. I can't remember what happened to his arc nodes but I think it involved ferox and keltarii in Round 2. He sends a devastator into melee, and it rips into Chiron. He moves his little spell slave guy in front of Gaspy and goes to pop the bane's in front of Gaspy who... don't die. He was trying to clear the banes out so Gaspy lob shots, then the rest of the bane unit could charge, then the riders could charge. Now he has to move the banes before Gaspy goes. He curses using the devastator to melee Chiron, it could have ripped apart the banes in his way. Banes charge at some stuff, and finish off Chiron and drop a few Keltarii. Gaspy goes and lobs a hellfire, boosting to hit, and... misses. He can't burn through my transfers with what he has left, so he tosses calamity at Xekaar, and lobs another shot at him and eats a huge chunk out of my krea. He stabs the last keltarii in the zone to control it (1 more is behind the zone, though). 2 riders have an angle on Xekaar and they charge him, doing a ton of damage that gets transfered. I have another transfer left, but none of my beasts have more than 10 or so health (I think the drake and krea have 6). Opponent passes the clock, we're 5-1.
We're still playing for a 6 point spread, so I need to score 2 and keep him from scoring. A keltarii steps into the left zone. So that's done. Swordsmen mini feat and go into the central zone, dropping some damage into a devastator, some banes (tartarus included) and whiffing on Darragh. Fudge. Needed him at least injured for this to work.
Marketh walks forward and boosts a mortality into the back of a bane rider, on a hill, in melee. Needs a 9, and it gets there. Xekaar goes, and whips down the bane riders.
I've run Xekaar 3 times with a ton of infantry, and have won those games. Honestly I think the key is a small battlegroup that can hide back and benefit fully from his feat, and then some balls-to-the-wall jamming. Chiron, Drake, Krea, Shaman. Has been working well for me thus far. After that Ferox, even though I've gotten them killed super fast, work great to set the line of battle on your opponents half of the table. Keltarii play a similar role, for less, but don't do quite as much to armored opponents and don't have nearly as many tricks (and need help dealing with rough terrain and forests). Swordsmen and The Legends have been a really key offensive core, so far, being able to operate independently and also benefit heavily from Xekaar's kit (mortality, feat). I'd like to try Nihilators, I think - Mortality could really make them sing.
Having beasts relying heavily on ranged abilities made the full paingiver unit work hard, but allowed Xekaar to camp high enough to survive. Gotta say ranged seems to be the way to build his battle group, and thankfully he has a super efficient character heavy with an amazing gun to baby sit him.
He's still pretty bad. It might just be my desire to play hyper-aggressively (if you aren't threatening your opponent's AD after top of 1, you're doing it wrong), getting him killed (it is). But a list that can have infantry jamming past the scenario under his feat while he hides in beasts that are still contributing seems to work pretty well. I think once we get a Praetorian theme list he might... be... good. Keltarii, Ferox, Legends, and some free UA's/Solos etc could really let him build a list that can threaten far and wide enough that your opponent has to address your army, and can't just shoot him dead. Problem with that is just how damned close he needs to be... It's a balancing act between not having a caster and losing because your caster is, realistically, the easiest part of your army to remove.
List submission for the WMW qualifier in Rochester is Wednesday. So, I need to figure out what I'm doing by then. Since a few of the asshats who voted for me to play Xekaar are people I expect to see at that tournament, I'm not going to post a finalized list and pairing until things are locked in, but I'll do an in-depth post on my list pairing at the time of, and then afterwards I'll post about how wrong I was in everything I thought I knew.