The Skorne Chronicles, Vol 13

Makeada

 

The Decision 

Its final! The tournament I’ve been excited for is right around the corner. Philly Games Con is coming up this weekend, and I’ll be making my way north for an awesome day of warmachine. In addition, I’ll be hanging out with some guys I almost never get to see, so I am stoked about going. It looks to be a solid 4 rounds of gaming.

That said, I have finalized my lists. I am, 100%* taking Fist of Halaak and Mordikaar to this tournament. 50 points, 10 points of specialists, and deathclock make this exactly my type of tournament.

On Specialists

I freaking love the rule, honestly, and I have found it to be one of the most underused and unappreciated variants in Warmachine. It only makes perfect sense, to me. Many times, or at least often enough to be concerning, the game comes down to list chicken. My list A is favorable against our list B, but unfavorable against Your list C, and My list D is favorable against C,m but unfavorable against C. We are both in a position where there are two good games on the docket, and two poor ones. Avoiding poor games should be one of the goals of a game and tournament system. I think specialists cover that gap extremely well. With those models in reserve, you can, while not confident, still make a choice and have a game of it. Being able to swap out 20% of your army (10pts) is significant, and can turn a game around simply on its own, pulling you up from a 20%  loss to a 40% and saving the game from being a steamroll.

A Tale of Two Fists

My Primary list is going to be Fist of Halaak. Its got the beef, its got the brawn, and it is a bastard to many lists. It is, however, extremely boring to play. Maybe not extremely, but its bad. I don’t think I’ll be relying on it as a drop against everything, but I can see that it has game, even when I mis-drop it.

To that affect, however, I am in a strange predicament: Both of my lists want Vorkesh, either in the side board or in the main list. This lead me to create a strange and non-standard specialist list.

The main list is your standard Fist of Halaak. Its got beater beasts, durable troops and Xerxis. Simple and easy

Tyrant Xerxis
-Molik Karn
-Gladiator
Cataphract Cetratii (6)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
Tyrant Commander and Standard.

Specialists
Venetor Cannon Crew
Venetor Cannon Crew
Venetor Catapult Crew
Tyrant Commander + Standard Bearer

Objective: Ammo Dump

This list functions just fine without specialists, so I want to be able to capitalize on them if and when its needed. In this case, I would swap out the Gladiator and the Paingivers or both Incindiarii for the whole of the Specialists if it came up on a scenario with the objective. I’d have to look at my opponent and assess which aspect I didn’t need: Either raw muscle, because I am facing something like Butcher with all the High Def Infantry, or the AOE’s because I am fighting either Meat Mountain or some other form of beef.

A Flayer Cannon (pow 12) firing at a wall of warders (arm 19) with boosted damage will be doing pow 24 hits on average, popping up to 3 warders with 5 damage each. The second cannon is only managing 3 damage a pop, but its still completely worth it. Against anything but Meat Mountain, the catapults pow 19 hits are going to be extremely scary, even on a deviation.

The extra Tyrnat Commander will allow much of my force to get into the fray quicker, or threaten deeper, than most other forces, and while I am not sold on this (tell me what you think) I figure its a better swap out than most, and can even come to my benefit if we end up at around 50% objective scenarios. Sadly, I won’t be able to take advantage of the Tier 3 bonus for the tier when I swap, but I’d otherwise be stuck with them no matter what, and I just don’t see enjoying that.

If I don’t go with that formation, I am going to go with the following:

Tyrant Xerxis
-Molik Karn
Cataphract Cetratii (6)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Venetor Cannon Crew

Specialists
Titan Gladiator
Pain Giver Beast Handlers (4)

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Here the Goal is to pop in the Gladiator and Handlers almost every time. The only time I wouldn’t consider it is if the opponent won’t have anything even remotely heavy on the other side of the board. Most times, It’ll be the Arcuarii, Venetor and Tyrant Commander that are removed, but sometimes, if there is a dire need for face-smashing, it could easily be both units of Incindiarii or one of each. This list is probably my favorite manifestation of the fist of Halaak, enabling it to overcome quite a pile of obstacles.

The Void Lord

My second list is going to be Mordikaar, simply because I have a few games under my belt and understand him a little more. Besides, I love the model I painted up.

So, the list I’ve brewed up is pretty damn normal.

Void Seer Mordikaar
-Tiberion
-Cyclops Shaman
-Cyclops Raider
Cataphract Cetratii (6)
-Tyrant Vorkesh
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Nihilators (10)
Agonizer
Extoller Soulwarden
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)

Specialists
Krea
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Swamp Gobbers
Orin Midwinter

This is a fairly straightforward list that is moderately bent to the meta I exist within (which, to be fair, isn’t where I am going to be playing). There is very little shooting where I play, or that which is is lightweight, so I can generally get away without a Krea, and I find the Shaman more utility with a rat 5 range 10+ magical Phantomhunter gun, dispel, the ability to Bump or Snipe Himself and his magical reach weapon. The raider, however, is specifically fit for my area, where there seems to be a load of vital support and stealth. This one piece can turn some of the enemies plans on their head, blowing up Gorman, Orin, or even Eiyriss with an average roll. The fact that he give Mordikaar and the shaman the ability to do serious work with their guns is a strong synergy that enables me to blow out key models when and where I need them. Recently, I added in the Extoller Soulward, who will enable my Cyclops Shaman to really do work if he needs to, ignoring Stealth, Cover, concealment and LOS  in order to get to those pesky solos. These support pieces have come invaluable in the few games I have played, and I look for them to be even more so.

However, when it comes down to it, I need this list to be able to tank shooting, too, and my specialists enable just that. The Raider is easily swapped out for the Krea and the Gobbers if the need arises, and will enable me to cover some 16+ inches of the board with Paralytic Auras between Mordikaar, the Krea and the Shaman, and a 5″ cloud for +2 defense with the Gobbers. Vorkesh comes out and is replaced with The Tyrant commander if there isn’t a need for Spell Ward, allowing the Cetratii to benefit from Ghost Walk and/or Press forward when needed, and the Agonizer comes out for Orin in games where he is simply not going to be needed. Mordikaar is nuts with specialists, and I love it.

The Specialist Key

What I see as the key to specialists is the ability to know ahead of time what you are going to swap out and why, so you don’t get bogged down with the details of their lists. Having these modules that you can plug in and play matter both to you being able to plan for the inevitable swap up and know your plan for what happens when you do.

I encourage you to explore specialists, and give them a chance. If I was to guess, I’d say that they are the way of the Future!