Makeada

 

The Future Looks Bright

its been a while. There has been a lot going on in relation to Skorne recently, and its almost all been cool and positive. The Desert Hydra is going to be the next gargantuan for Skorne, and while I cannot wait, because the model is so freaking cool, their is that tickle of trepidation about anything involving the gargantuan. The first set were met with a resounding thud in the community, though they have had their stock pulled upwards due to their amazing sculpts. This batch has nearly the entire community worried to to a single statement:

“Through our design process and our development process and playtesting, we were able to come up with these models that are just as powerful and on the same level as their predecessors but don’t replace them in any way”

This is extremely troublesome to many, many players, especially those who feel that the original gargantuan were duds.  I’ve sadly only gotten to use the Mammoth once, but I think that it was a perfectly fine warbeast.  I do, though, think that the mammoth is the top of the line gargantuan. That something so meaningful on the board  with a significant amount of investiture of both points and actual dollars, turns out to be just fine is a little bit of a let down. I don’t know how I’d feel about the other factions.

Colossals were good enough to invalidate a number of other jacks for a number of years. Only now are we seeing a slight resurgence in the heavy warjack With Imperatus, Ruin, Dynamo and Moros leading the charge. These models do what the Colossals don’t do and they do it well. I seem to remember someone saying at last lock and load that they wanted these to be Apotheosis level characters, and I think they are doing that perfectly well.

The Gargantaun could serve to invalidate a number of warbeasts as well, if they want to be in discussion of how to spend ones points. Currently, almost no one talks about taking them because they are either on the shelf, or being forced into lists because someone simply wants to field the model.

The Desert Hydra has an awesome model. It would be a shame for it, or any of the round 2 Gargantuan to drop into either situation due to being obsolete before its even printed. I think, too, that the community won’t really be pleased with a second round of nearly unplayable models. As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, you can’t fool me again. I hold high hopes for them, but I can only wait to find out with everyone else.

And one more teaser

There is a caster, at least I expect that is what it is, teased during the spoiler reel at the end of the Gargantuans reveal. Among a number of concept arts for all of the factions, including (all guesses except Kromak 2 full art), Troll Oracles, Undead gator beast, gremlins, Gargoyle UA and more is something that looks like an insanely ornate ancestral Guardian. Many of his features are ill defined, which I expect is on purpose, and have caused something of a stir.

First, he has a lot of features in common with Mordikaar. This creates the thought that it is possibly a preview of Mordiakaar 2. However, features in common, to my eyes, simply means sharp and angular. There are ridges along the eyebrow that suggest piercings, something that seems difficult to do to a stone, prompting some to believe its a living Warlock. Even further adding to that is the thought that his chin-beard is strapped on, as there is this strange line going across his cheek from his face.

I don’t buy into any of that, because I think an Ancestral Guardian Construct Warlock would be awesome.

Quick Battle Report

I managed to get a game in against a good friend of mine a week ago, and it was my first time playing Makeda 2 in a long, long time. However, the list I brought was a simple but good one, modified to fit the current league.

Makeda 2
-Molik Karn
-Gladiator
-Archidon
Incindiarii x6
Swordsmen x10
-Officer and Standard Bearer
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Ancestral Guardian
Maximus
Beast Handlers x4
Mortitheurge Willbreaker

I played against a Jarl list with Warders, Fenblades and Highwaymen, which was all around a pain to chew through.

Jarl Skuld
-Impaler
-Earthborn
-Rune Bearer
Krielstone x4
-Stone Scribe Elder
Fenblades x10
-Fenblade Officer and Drummer
Runeshapers
Trollkin Highwaymen
Trollkin Warders
Fell Caller
Stone Scribe Chronicler

I really messed up on deployment, as Makeda deployed behind almost all of my troops and Karn, far away from either the Archidon or the Gladiator. Leash and road to War played very little part in this game. I stupidly lost nearly all of my swordsmen to Fenblades with vengeance after procing hero’s tragedy at least 8 times. Stay Death turned out to be pretty awesome keeping alive at least one key model each turn, if only for a single extra attack. Thankfully, trolls mostly rely on quality of attacks, not quantity. I was also able to use Molik Karn as a gun, shooting him out to kill the Impaler and then walking back.

I was feeling extremely under duress as my army got smashed to bits around the battlegroup. On my last turn, where I was finally able to get to Jarl with Karn, both my other heavies had frenzied, all my swordsmen and Incindiarii were dead, and only the Standard Bearer and his now fearless Beast Handlers were around.

As my friend pointed out, though, its extremely hard to chew through that many heavies, but I’m not convinced the Earthborn couldn’t do it. It was a hairy game that taught me some very tough lessons on how to deploy and play Makeda 2, and I am thankfull its here. Hopefully, tomorrow I am able to get in a game or two and smash some people in! I’ve got a Killer (read – Terrible) 15 point list.

Morghul 1
Pain Giver Beast Handlers x4
Mammoth

I got this!

 

MakeadaFist

Last time, I rounded up my tournament results, as unwell as they were. Going 2-3 in a tournament is not a common experience for me, as I can generally break the .500 mark. Though it left a bitter taste in my mouth the day of, and even a few days after, the farther I get from the event, the more I can see clearly what went wrong, what I didn’t like, and what I want to repeat.

The Good

I feel I played well enough for my second ever tournament with Skorne. The last time I took them out I think I went 2-3 as well, also with Xerxis, but his pairing was Zaal, back at the Gargantuans event. I feel that I had a chance to come out on top in every game, and that there were mistakes that were made that lead to some very serious uphill battles that I didn’t need to fight.

  • I love the way fist works. Its a very strong, backbone army that has a lot of strange plays that can make an opponent regret their decisions.
  • Xerxis can get the job done, though both times he was called upon, he could not. Dice were not with him, but that’s not his fault.
  • Incindiarii are freaking crazy. I was initially pretty reserved about them, but they came through for me every time. Autofire AOE’s are pretty sweet.
  • Cetratii under defenders ward are, to everyone’s’ surprise, incredibly hard to kill. If they died to a single hit, it was often a warbeasts boosted damage.

What went right

A heading that falls under The Good. I think there are a lot of things that I did correctly, and a few major things I did wrong. I feel that I deployed and played quickly enough with an unfamiliar army that I wasn’t going to clock myself. While not a great fear, it is something I worry about with any new army. Though its possible to clock myself, I just tend to take the turn as correctly as I can, worrying as little as possible about the clock. Its not easy, and doing with such an unfamiliar army made me pleased

I was within just a few rolls or a few minutes of winning all the games I lost. These are the points that hurt the most, but are the biggest takeaways to have. While a close game is awesome, It can be extremely draining. The same thing can be said for multiples in a row. Even though I was being put to the grindstone, I managed to maintain a positive disposition, a light banter, and play effectively.

I stuck to my guns and Played fist 4 of 5 times, even when it might not have been the right choice, in order to learn the armies.

I played against a withering barrage of good casters, and have a bunch of takeaways that I can look at for improvement the next time around. I’m not going to just walk out of the stables ready to win all the races, as much as I would like to. Instead, I have to play games, learn, and win, just like anyone else.

The Bad 

I lost. Thats bad. But more than that, I didn’t have a good game plan for The Fist of Halaak other than Be Fist. Now, a lot of that is based on the fact that I didn’t really have a lot of practice, and I was using units I had only used once before (Incindiarii) or only a few times (Arcuarii) This lead to a number of decisions that I would not make again, were I given the chance.

  • The Fist of Halaak is not as auto-pilot as some players, on both sides, seem to think. There are a hundred different things to go wrong, and a million little placement issues.
  • I am way, way to bloodthirsty with Xerxis. He moved out to kill models the rest of his army could have dealt with, and almost ever time it ended in some kind of tragedy.
  • a 10″ Control area is way, way smaller than I thought. Though I have a medium base and the Warbeasts have larges, I found it very simple to just run out of my own control area.
  • I deployed the same no matter the scenario, no matter whether I went first or not. Having 2 units of Arcuarii and Incindiarii means that I could very easily adapt to my opponents deployment and the scenario.

What I Wouldn’t do Again. 

Both Fist and Chain Gang are grindy, meaty armies that are going to just weather through the storm of the opponents storm. They both have high armor, high wounds and move slowly. Neither will get the alpha strike on the opponent, but neither really cares

  • Having two grindy armies can be hell on you, mentally. With no real method of finishing off a game quickly, you get really stuck in there and just burn through your opponents willpower, models, and clock.
  • I want an army with a more active playstyle. I feel that I have a much better grasp on a playstyle that does more in each of its turns. Fist is a perfectly good list, but I can’t rely on my opponents just grinding themselves out on the army every time.

Conclusions

After running through the lists and the plays and the way the armies worked, I really want to drop one of the lists, and pick up something more agile. This likely means dropping Chain Gang, as Fist, and Xerxis, feel the most fun to play, but I also want to run Chain Gang more because I have less practice with it. I’ve pretty much made up my mind that its going to be Fist, though, that I keep.

That means that I’m going to have to pull an agile, active army, and I think that Skorne has the tools to do it. I’ve been talking with a number of people, and this list is what I’ve come up with.

Supreme Acrhdomina Makeda+5
-Archidon7
-Molik Karn11
-Titan Gladiator8
Incindiarii (6)9
Praetorian Swordsmen (10)6
-Swordsmen Officer and Standard2
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)2
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)2
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Gatorman Witch Doctor3
Mortitheurge Willbreaker2
55

I Think is a very fun, interesting, and cool list. It originally had 11 points of Venator Reivers in there, but they just don’t synch well with the feat, and with what I feel I need to drop this against. I’m going to take my fist list, and drop it into any slogs I think will come up: Bradigus, MMM, Gators, and the Fist Mirror. Its going to be a list that is specifically there to pull into those gross grinds. This leaves a list here that has to deal with both high defense and high model count lists, able to counteract with a number of different strategies that will enable the list to start that more active game that I want.

To that end, I had someone suggest the Molik Missle as an option. Its active, its scary as hell, and its effective. In this instance, I can take, under perfect circumstances, Molik Karn from 22″ downtown into a caster. Where I once was concerned about running out of her Control Area, I now have a Mortitheurge Willbreaker. This means that as long as I have a living Karn, they have to play very cautious. Add to that the Archidon, a model with Flight and a solid P+S 17 bite, but a lousy MAT 6. On Makeda’s feat turn, this little sucker can fly an impressive 17″, overtop models and without fear of free strikes during the movement. This gives me a secondary assassination option if Karn Goes down.

Swordsmen are the backbone here, and I have done everything I can to get them into, and keep them in, the game. Road to War and press forward means that this unit can simply walk 10″ forward and make attacks, meaning that they don’t have to give up positioning and facing to make attacks. With sidestep, they can dig in up to 14.5″ and kill things sitting behind the Front Lines. Stay death makes sure that my officer stays alive to grant precision strike and sidestep, even if they fail the tough granted by the Gatorman Witch Doctor. Finally, Makeda’s Elite Cadre grants the unit vengeance, giving them an impressive 13″ walk or 14″ charge, with the Tyrant Commander there to give out reveille  when needed. Under Makeda’s feat, they can get into wherever they need, and with boosted to-hit rolls, their attacks will connect with all but the highest defense models.

The most recent addition are the Incindiarii, and I don’t know why I’d not thought of them earlier. I was worried about high defense, as Fist weathers that only a little better than I want, and I reached for a second unit of Swordsmen. A friend of mine, however, corrected me into taking a unit of Incindiarii instead. Their shots cause fire, so drifting can even be dangerous to the opposing caster, and with the Tyrant Commander and Road to War they can threat out up to 19″ away in any given turn. I think, at the very least, its a solid addition to any army, and with Mak around to get them out of dodge if they get tied up, its just a match made in heaven.

I know there are lots of permuations of this list already out there, but I am really excited to run this one here shortly. While it won’t be until the end of March at the earliest, Its gonna be a damn fun time when It gets there!

Any thoughts or ideas on the lists, and I’d love to hear them! either dig me up on Twitter or leave a comment!

 

 

MakeadaThis past Sunday, I made it to my first Tournament with Skorne since the Gargantuans release event up at Maplewood games a few years back. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun, but Jesus if I have never been more exhausted after a tournament. It was hard, with a slog through 5 brutal casters and armies over 12 hours on a cold and bitter Sunday morning. Though we started with 26, only around 10 finished the tournament, leaving the shop only a short time after 11:00pm

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Makeada

 

Last week, between Thursday and Sunday, I managed to get six games in with my Skorne. Totaled up, that is more games that I’ve had of any Privateer Press system in that short of window in a long time. Five of those were at a tournament on Sunday which ran extremely long, which I’ll get to on Thursday, but to prepare, I was able to get a game in on Thursday, which allowed me at least a single practice game in before I attempted to take on a cutthroat tournament.

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Makeada

 

Makeda and the Exalted Court

Archdomina Makeda (Makeda1) has always been one of my favorites when it comes to Skorne casters. I’d jumped into Hordes just a bit before Evolution came out, so I remember only having three casters to play around with and she was easily the one that saw the most table time. Her second form came out with Molik Karn, and for a long time the two were intrinsically stigmatized in my head. I used to have a problem playing the more powerful pieces, though that is no longer the case, and with the two tied together so tightly, I never really got around to playing much of her. Xerxis eclipsed my love of Makeda, and when Makeda 3 came out, I was deep in the grips of Cryx. To cut to the chase, I have wanted to play Makeda 3 for a very, very long time. Getting back into Skorne has now given me the chance to catch up, and I am extremely stoked to be doing so.

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Contents
  1. Xerxis 2

MakeadaLast week I mentioned that I’d try to break down the games I had in an ultimately non-battle report format, but I forgot that I’d need to write that on New Years Eve, So that one kinda never happened, but I still want to go over the lists and what I think could be done to maybe have had a better experience/game.

Xerxis 2

This was a caster I’d wanted to try for a long time with a list that I had, admittedly, thrown together at the last minute. I wanted to put the Mammoth on the table and with a +2 move from Mobility and the ability to assault, I figured being able to drop pie plates on the enemy from 33+ inches away was going to be something fun to do. The Praetorians were there to be bodies, at 6 points + UA, and to take advantage of Ignite. Whats better than +2 to melee damage rolls? +2 to two melee damage rolls! The Venator Slingers were there to get in the way of anything that wanted to try and make it to the mammoth swiftly. They’d have to waste attacks chewing through all 10 bodies, and it probably wouldn’t be easy. They also provide a wealth of souls to the Soulwarden, who would love to be able to boost a nice, juicy shoot at a ‘Caster or ‘Beast who wandered to close. The Krea was bonded to Xerxis to keep him from getting shot to death, which probably worked. Zaadesh had the Raider on him to make sure I could drop snipe on the Mammoth every turn without too much worry, even if the paingivers went down. The Tyrant Commander was there to give Pathfinder and press forward when needed, though it never really came up, and the beast support of the Soulwarden and the Mortithurge were there to make the Mammoth really worth while.

Sadly, I learned that Pre-deoployment means that you’re juicy targets are off to the wrong side of the board to get assaulted. Instead, you end up with something that is going to get you killed deployed opposite the giant beast. Same goes for the Praetorians, who ended up facing a pile of Nyss hunters that just shot their faces off. Both of those could have been mitigated with better play and/or deployment. I’m always worried that the Gargantuan/Colossals will be taken out of the game by bad deployment, and almost always send them front and center. Instead, I should probably lean them a bit to one side or the other and try to draw out, either by weakness too, or strength against, an element of the army. I made a few bonehead moves, but otherwise played a solid game. I was in it almost to the end, even though I had to worry about Butcher 3 coming in and slaying the Mammoth. Positioning Xerxis was key to that.

I tried to take a page from the Father Lucant Method, where you offer up your Gargantuan/Colossal to the opposing Caster/Big Meaty Thing and hope they take the bait, while leaving your caster in range to counter into whatever it is they brought. With Xerxis and the Krea being MAT 10 (12 on the Charge) or a possible Knockdown attack, its extremely likely that your opponent does not live.
with 5 fury, you’ve Upkept Ignite for 1, and are sitting on 4. with mobility and speed 7, you threat a hot 9.5″ with your mount attack, and your sitting on only 2 fury afterward. Mount attacks are unboostable, so you’ve got, with the Krea, a MAT 10 knockdown attack at pow 16 (3 damage to a ARM 20 caster), and afterwards a pow 17 (4 damage (7)) and a pow 14 (1 damage (8)) followed up with two more pow 17 (8 more damage, (16)). That kills a lot of casters, and gets better the less they are camping (5 more damage per point of armor less than 20)

Now, Charging non-mobility is probably the best option. Its a threat range of 12″ with MAT 10 (12 on the charge) but won’t be able to knock down, and certain casters can give us a worry here.no mobility gives us 4 fury and 2 initial attacks, Pow 17/14. on the charge we’re getting up to pow 19, which can really swing the math, and boosted Damage. so, here we go, ARM 20 caster – charge attack does 10 (10), Second Initial does 1. (11) Four follow up attacks do 4 damage each, popping 12 into him (23). Boosting to hit on the charge attack, just for good measure, to ensure that up-front wack, still downs most Casters, at 19 damage. With a 4.75″ base and a 2″ reach (if you sacrifice the Mammoth) that eats 6.75″ of your threat up. Xerxis, then, needs to be 5.25″ or less behind the Mammoth, which isn’t hard to measure. That’s the Magic number I have to worry about, then, and unless I am playing someone with TK, Stryker 2 or the Butcher 3, I feel pretty safe there as reprisal.

This list is something I think has some solid potential, and I love having two huge bases on the board. Its got the guts to punch through armor, the pathfinder to worry little about terrain, and the AOE solution to High Def, if it comes to that. I do think that there are some tweaks to be made, though. Zaadesh doesn’t really do a whole lot, and without him, I can afford to upgrade the Slingers to something less worthless. I can easily pop the Raider on Xerxis and have him follow around the Mammoth, dropping snipe on him every turn with the handlers around to cool him off. The Tyrant Commander is a fairly solid piece, but If I am going to go with the “all bodies in front of the Mammoth/Xerxis 2 theory, I might as well just pony up for either the Gatorman Witchdoctor to help jam, or just downgrade to Saxon Orrik. The Preatorians, with sidestep, don’t seem nearly as greedy for the +2” move as other, more reachy troops do.

My next incarnation, I do believe, will look like this:

 

Xerxis, Fury of Halaak+5
-Mammoth20
-Krea (Bonded)4
Gatorman Wichdoctor3
-Raider5
Praetorian Swordsmen (10)6
-Praetorian Officer and Standard2
Nihiltors (10)8
Mortitheurge Willbreaker2
Extoller Soulwarden2
Paingiver Beast Handlers(4)2
Swamp Gobbers1
55

Nihlitors and Swordsmen will both be tough, increasing the odds of keeping bodies between my valuable models and my enemy. Shooting Xerxis is already tough, so I am bringing along some +1, and giving him, and maybe the Gatorman/soulward/Mortitheurge, concealment.

I am really, really considering the Keltarii in place of one of those other units, but I want to move forward in a little bit of baby steps first. I’ll be getting about a dozen Xerxis 2 games in before I plow on over to a new caster, so we will see how it works out.