Thursday, 4 August 2016

Some Musings

I believe that without some insight into my thoughts of meta, rules etc. a bunch of battle reports will not do much good. At least not to a wider audience. Plus, i need to get them down on paper. I believe it's a good start. Also allowing me to look back at a later date and try to see if gaming experience has changed my views on things. Therefore, before i start my reports, i would like to discuss a few things.

Note: I will try to look at things from a MK3 perspective only. Thinking about how things are compared to what they were in MK2 will get us nowhere.

So let's kick it off!


So, What are Skorne's strengths in MK3? On first glance, it does not look like we trully excell at any one thing. More of a mixed bag of goods and bads. We can pack a real solid punch in melee (and our shooting game is decent, though still mediocre compared to factions like Cygnar or Retribution), We can tank a lot of damage with our heavies, and a plethora of in-faction ARM buffs. We have a lot of elements that moves pretty slow, but can tank a lot on the approach, and units that can't take incredible amounts of damage, but in return can close the gap quicker than pretty much any other units in the game (Ferox FTW!) A pretty decent spell selection caps it all off. We're not a faction that's better than any others in a specific thing, but more of a jack of all trades. 

Specifically our ability to take several hits to the face, surviving most alphas (Because, let's face it. Not many hard hitting skorne lists will get a full alpha against their preferred opponents.) And then punching incredibly hard back. It will also allow to set up for decent piece trades if the positioning of our beasts and units is good, which i believe is a tough art to master.with easy access to tough, and hard to remove units with Steady (Like Ferox or Karax), We can Jam pretty well. As such, i believe atrition is one of our greater strengths. 

Our scenario game is also pretty decent, the aforementioned ability to take a punch to the face and remain standing means that we can block off lanes, lock out zones and flags, and create several good angles for piece trades and assasinations.We have several good control elements, both in spells like Stranglehold, Lamentation etc. Animi like Repulsion and Beat back, and model abilities like slams, Smites and the likes.  

And then, there's our assasination game, and it's pretty much impossible to talk about Skorne without mentioning this. All of our casters do it differently, but there's not a single one that cannot set up pretty good and straight forward assassination angles with relative ease. If it is by spells, beasts, units or a good mix, it does not matter. A fact that i think you will see a lot as i start to get into my reports, as i often look for, and try to set up good angles as a last ditch victory attempt, or just an easy way out. 

All in all it seems pretty great! But we do have some weaknesses. 

The general lack of speed and speed buffs to our beasts means that on most occations we have to eat the alpha, limiting our options somewhat. We have cheap and easy access to healing for our beasts, but Grievous wounds, which there seems to be a lot more of now than before, really hurts that game. Being slow also means that gunlines can be a real problem. It does not matter one bit that we hit hard if we are fighting at half strength (or less) when we get there. The increased access to shield guard helps in that regard, but a low average DEF means that most enemy shooters will have little to no problem hitting us, even with the DEF buffs that models like the Krea brings to the table. 

We also have little to no MAT buffs, Meaning that high DEF targets is something we might struggle with. Although we do have a few DEF debuffs, most of them will still struggle to actually hit. Luckilly we have power attacks and Feats that can also help us in this regard, but they will also most of the time leave our casters/beasts in pretty vulnerable positions. High risk - High Reward all the way!

So with that out of the way, let's start talking models. Since MK3 is still new, and i don't have unlimited amounts of time or opponents, i will keep this to the models i have actually fielded at least a few times, i might muse a little on things that i believe might work well given the chance, but to keep things as accurate as possible i will try to keep things focused on tested ideas. Starting with:


On paper it looks like we have a decent mix of Control and attrition, Beast and infantry warlocks. Mak3da seems like an absolute powerhouse, with access to Grievous wounds on a stick (also for ranged attacks FTW!) and packing a solid punch herself, as well as suporting beasts with her feat.
Our Beast casters like the great fatty McFluffypants and pMorghoul have some new company as Naaresh seems pretty solid, and Xekaar brings a pretty decent debuff game as well as supporting bricks of beasts like an absolute boss! 
On the other side of the coin, Makeda2 Seems pretty solid. Stay death is incredibly powerful in the right circumstances, her feat is slightly nerfed with freestrike imunity delegated to her spell selection. A pretty decent range of buffs and with prostration being a potential matchwinner.
pXerxis is still rock solid, Defenders ward still silly, and his lists still tend to hit ridiculously hard. The addition of Tactical Supremacy is just icing on the cake. Nothing will ever be like Fist of halaak again, but who needs that when you can have WM P+S 16 Ferox!?
Mordikaar is still strong even though Revive isn't as good as it used to be. Ghostly on his entire battlegroup is pretty damn good. Manifest Void is really good, especially now that animii are considered spells, and his interactions with Despoiler and Void spirits is just outright mean! Three times now, i have experienced a SINGLE Void Spirit singlehandedly clearing out an entire unit, once even clearing out the entire support backline of a Retribution list. Granted the positioning were pretty unfortunate on my opponents part for me to be able to pull it off, but it's still an amazing combo.

Our herd of Titans are still the heavy hitters we know and love. Taking a solid kick in the gonads and fighting through it to deliver payback in earnest. Tiberion is still incredibly strong, even more so with Xerxis granting him overtake. BB can still one round pretty much anything, and his leadership ability is a godsend with our fury management taking a hit. The gladiator still kicks ass, and Rush is pretty much the only speed buff for beasts we have. The Canoneer is pretty good, and lastly the Sentry is an absolute steal, Hitting hard just like any other titan, Tanking like a boss, and the addition of Steady and Shield Guard means that he can help out others survive the trip up the board. 
I can see the cyclopses doing pretty well in a wide range of different lists, especially the Brute, who for some casters is almost an autoinclude, it's Safeguard animus helping a lot for a more squishy 'locks. The shaman is still corner case good, it's Ghost Shot a pretty decent gun, and the ability to cast other beasts animi an remove upkeeps is pretty good. The Raider is no longer a support piece, insted we have to rely upon it to deal the damage himself, which he definatelly can, but he's going to be even more cornercase now i believe.
Our tiny abused baby-elephants can't handle much damage on his own, but with our easy access to shield guards he is pretty survivable nonetheless. Repulsion is a great animus, and his ability to stop spells, or debuff strength is golden for some lists. Luckilly he's not an autoinclude for everyone. 
The despoiler seems pretty good, Molik can still do some work, although not as much as before. 
The Aradus Sentinels are a big disapointment now, only threatening 14" on their guns means that they won't get to do much in the fast moving, jack heavy meta we mostly see at the moment. The Soldier on the other hand i believe can be pretty good in anti-shooting lists. Especially with pMorghoul, who gives them a much needed speed boost.
Most of our beasts seems like they could work given the right warlock. with few exceptions, which is good! Variety is king!


Ous Solos all seems pretty good, each with their own role to fill. Willbreakers are still amazing, given their ability to hand out tough and Puppet master. And removing continous effects are baller! PGMT is great at removing jammers, or to just hold a flag, and he hands out a decent MAT buff to the bloodrunners, making a good unit even better. The tyrants both seem great, especially Radheim, with the buffs to the Ferox, and back arc bonuses. The soulward is still solid at what he does. Puffypants Marketh can still be important with several casters. The new Venator solo seems like he can make a good impact on the game once released. All in all good. Void SPirits are better than ever, absolutelly slaughtering living infantry, and possibly leaving a large dent in light beasts and Warnouns. He definatelly works best with Mordikaar, but i can see them having game with several other warlocks as well.

On the Units side the Ferox are now incredibly strong. I firmly believe that they are an absolutelly integral and important part of our list building now. Their survivability with innate steady and easy access to tough, their incredible threat ranges rivaled by very few models in the game, and their pretty decent damage output makes them strong against so many different opponents. 
The Karax seems like a steal now for the slightly slower lists, Steady, Set Defence, Shield wall, Girded. What more do you need? Nihilators are still great, although not outshining all our other infantry anymore. Out medium based infantry can probably still work given the right lists, although they are priced a bit high compared to our other choices. Immortals are still decent, although way too slow to work with anyone besides Zaal2 who grants them a solid ARM buff with his feat to allow them to survive the alpha. I guess they could work as a second line unit, clearing up behind a jamming unit, but that quickly gets pretty expensive. 

All in all our model selection seems pretty varied and strong. We seem to be lacking a bit in the hard hitting infantry department, but with cheap jammers, hard hitting beasts, and some of the best cavalry in the game, i think we can stand a fair chance in the new edition meta.

Now onto a few list ideas.

I have managed to get a decent amount of MK3 games under my belt. Mostly with Makeda2, my favourite variation you can find below. My local meta have a decent variety of factions, with Protectorate and Cygnar most prominent, but with most other factions represented by at least one player. Lists with strong shooting and/or arm Skewed lists with plenty of beatsticks seems to be on the rise.

Because of that, i tend to build lists that can play into heavy shooting, while also being able to wither down large amounts of arm without taking too heavy losses in return.

But onto the lists! Starting with:

Supreme Archdomina Makeda WB+24
 - Titan Gladiator - 14
 - Titan Sentry - 15
Tyrant Radheim - 9
Morthieurge Willbreaker - 4
Morthieurge Willbreaker - 4
Tyrant Commander and Standard - 6
min Paingiver Beasthandlers - 5
Max Praetorian Ferox - 21
Max Praetorian Ferox - 21

At first glance, this list seems weird. It doesn't hit incredibly hard, but by the gods above does it attrition well! Steady and Tough Ferox in a 10" bubble around Makeda, who usually camps all 6 FURY for Stay death, means that it's incredibly hard to kill even a single cat. Threatening 18" with their jump they can push many lists hard back, playing very good into several different scenarios and threatening assasinations on virtually anything. The fact that they can jam and screen so good means that i can advance the two titans pretty safely getting ready to countercharge when the enemy eventually commits. With Dodge from Radheim as well the Ferox can get some amazing angles, and the ability to combine one spear with another mount for MAT 8 P+S 14 with boosted damage lets the Ferox themselves hit pretty damn hard as well. Anything with plenty of Grievous wounds, especially on shooting can shut it down hard, but since i almost always gets the alpha strike i have a chance to get rid of the Grievous elements before they get a chance to strike. This is Easily my favourite list in MK3 so far.

Fatty's Train of Titans
Dominar Rasheth WB+28
 - Agonizer - 7
 - Titan Sentry - 15
 - Titan Sentry - 15
 - Titan Sentry - 15
 - Titan Gladiator - 14
 - Bronzeback Titan - 18
Extoller Soulward - 3
Morthieurge Willbreaker - 4
Max Paingiver Beasthandlers - 7
Min Paingiver Beasthandlers - 5

A pretty straightforward list, reminiscent of the Chain Gang of old, albeit with a bit less punch. But what it lacks in hitting power, it more than makes up for in survivability. Beasthandlers healing d3 per model is a thing! and ARM 21 with Retaliatory strike is surprisingly durable, especially against heavy shooting as i can spread the damage across several beasts only to heal it all back later. I have tried similar list designs with Xekaar, who heals much better, but the fat mans spell list combined with a really solid Feat makes this list pretty damn strong, being able to tank the opponents alpha like a boss, then striking incredibly hard back, just like any titan list always does.

Fist of Ferox?
Tyrant Xerxis WB+28
 - Tiberion - 22
 - Bronzeback Titan - 18
 - Titan Sentry - 15
Tyrant Zaadesh - 4
 - Titan Gladiator
Mortitheurge Willbreaker - 4
Pangiver beasthandlers min - 5
Max Praetorian Ferox - 21

Although not as survivable as they are with Stay Death, Ferox with Defenders ward and Tough are still reall survivable. Add Xerxis' Feat and Stir the blood and you have P+S 16 WM Ferox on the Charge, Or P+S 14 Boosted WM on the pounce attack. Zaadesh should be pretty safe with Sac pawn and two Shield Guards, allowing him to throw out Rush on demand. This list is a solid answer to anything that thinks it's safe behind a high ARM value.

Bugs, bugs, BUGS!?
Master Tormentor Morghoul WB+30
 - Aptimus Marketh - 6
 - Agonizer - 7
 - Aradus Soldier - 18
 - Aradus Soldier - 18
 - Titan Sentry - 15
 - Titan Sentry - 15
 - Titan Gladiator - 14
Beasthandlers max - 7
Beasthandlers min - 5

Again, a pretty straight forward list. Handling shooting incredibly well thanks to carapace/Shield Guard, Morghouls feat stops pretty much any alpha dead in it tracks, stopping boosts. Abuse+Rush means that the Soldiers threats 12" with their claws on the charge and with an incredible P+S on the mandibles for when the enemy is pulled in. Admonition is still amazing. I have a very similar list with Xekaar, with two min units of handlers and a soulward as the only changes. The two lists works pretty much the same way easily tanking an alpha and striking incredibly hard back in return. The Morghoul list has the additional benefit of actually having enough speed on the beasts to actually manage to alpha myself from time to time.

I have also tried to make a few Mordikaar/Naaresh lists, but so far i haven't found anything i'm trully comfortable with. My Mordikaar list with ferox is too similar to my Mak2 list, having pretty much all the same weaknesses. While i struggle to play Naaresh corectly. Might be that i design his list wrong, but for now i'm shelfing him to try out the lists above.

At the moment my Pair is PXerxis+eMakeda. A pair that have both decent survivability, (Makeda playing strong into most shooters, and nasty things like Wurmwood, while xerxis can crack anything thrown his way. I need to try him into Haley2 to see if it's viable, My Rasheth list absolutely chrush her, but he have some other weaknesses that i believe Xerxis might be able to cover. If not i will probably fall back on a Rasheth/pMorghoul+eMakeda pair.

That's all for now! Sorry for the massive wall of text. I'll be back later with the first 4 Battle reports of this blog!

May the Skornergy leave you the hell alone! 

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