After 7 games with Zaal 2, I had settled on a list that was flexible, resourceful, and applied pressure to the opponents army with a method that I could employ. Once I get to that point with a caster or list, I like to set it aside, especially with a limited time frame left for the faction (come on Denny 3!), and pick up another caster or list and try to get a grip on what their approach to the game is. This time around, I reached for Hit Squad Morghoul 2’s new theme force, released in Forces of Distinction and available in Warroom.
Hit Squad has seen a decent amount of play, and as a list that is built to raise up one of the lowest Skorne casters, perhaps even the lowest, it takes a reasonably good shot at it.
Lord Assassin Morghoul Theme Force
Allowable Models: Non-Character Beasts, Paingiver Units, Minion Units that work for Skorne, Agonizer, Paingiver Solo
- Include only the above. Bonus: Blood Runner Master Tormentors gain Shadow Whip
- 2 or more Bloodrunner model/units. Bonus: Your opponents model/units cannot advance deploy
- Morghoul’s Battlegroup includes three or more Heavy Warbeasts. Bonus: -1 PC on Heavy Warbeasts
- Include 1 or more Beast Handler units and an Agonizer. Bonus: The Agonizer begins the game with 1 fury for each Paingiver unit.
Hitting Tier 2 is where all the work gets done, but the extra three points from tier 3 are juicy enough to be a temptation. Playing three points up, in this case, allows me to get the list I want without sacrificing more than I am comfortable with. This means that Morghoul is going to have three solid heavies and two Bloodrunner model/units. The rest is up to my discretion, which pleases me.
The list is one that I’ve been kicking about for a while in various forms for at least a year. Its feels like a dumb list in both setup and list building, but I had hoped that it would translate to good results on the board. Two things have come together to make the list you see below come together. The first, is Hit Squad. The concept was always there, but allowing me the bonus of creating the list within the Theme Force in order to gain substantial bonuses that allow me to further capitalize on my gameplan was too much to pass up. The second thing was Croak Raiders. This AD unit is considered one of the better options in the game, with exceptional personal rules and a small host of new ones that synergize in a what that makes the Skorne army completely jealous. These two relatively new additions to the Skorne army allowed me to take what was a simple concept and give if flesh and form, a twisted homunculus of my concept.
Lord Assassin Morghoul – Hit Squad
Lord Assassin Morghoul
-Aradus Soldier (8)
-Bronzeback Titan (9)
-Titan Gladiator (7)
Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor (2)
Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor (2)
Paingiver Bloodrunners (5)
Paingiver Bloodrunners (5)
Bog Trog Ambushers – Min (5)
Bog Trog Ambushers – Min (5)
Croak Raiders – Min (5)
Paingiver Beast Handlers – Min (2)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
The concept behind this list is explicit from moment the game begins. The flanks of the battlefield are mine, and you have to come to the center. The center of the battlefield is a very bad place to be as it has a Bronzeback, a Soldier and a Gladiator. Bloodrunners fan out to either side with the Croak Raiders taking a midfield position. enter. Ambushers threaten both edges of the board, with the Battlegroup and Morghoul just a bit further back, threatening the middle of the board, as they do not have advance deploy. This combination, I hoped, would lead to the opponent being pressured from all angles and being forced to make some mistakes, allowing which portion of the army was available to punish them. I thought it was a strong plan, one that I would enjoy testing on the tabletop. I got my chance on Tuesday.
One of my strengths when it comes to Privateer Press games is my familiarity with a vast majority of the models. Growing up with them and playing against them as their strenghts and weaknesses were probed and discovered has helped me in many, many games. This week was a caster that I am extremely familiar with. Goreshade 2’s Heresy of Shadows is one of the best theme lists that Cryx has, and I’ve enjoyed a very good record with them, so I know their ins and outs. This list adds Bane Riders, which are a welcome feat addition.
Goreshade the Cursed – Heresy of Shadows
Goreshade the Cursed
-Scarlock Thrall (2)
Bane Thralls – Max (8)
-Officer and Standard (3)
Bane Thralls – Min (5)
-Officer and Standard (Free)
Bane Riders – Max (11)
Necrotech and Scrap Thrall (1)
Necrotech and Scrap Thrall (1)
Scrap Thralls -3 (1)
I won the roll to go first, and looking at the board and scenario (Destruction), decided I was going first. He chose sides and set up the Kraken. I deployed my non-AD models, Morghoul, the Bronzeback, the Titan Gladiator and the min Paingiver Beast Handlers.(and the Swamp Gobbers, which I left out of the list by accident). I passed deployment and he set up his army – He’d have been denied any AD if he had any, but alas. Riders went to my far left with the Scarlock thrall, followed by the Max unit of Bane Thralls, then the Min. Tartarus lined up in the gap between the units. Goreshade squeezed in next to the Kraken, with Scrap thralls and Necrotechs behind.
We moved to AD, and I deployed the vast majority of my forces, keeping the bog trogs off to the side of the table so that I, and my opponent, remembered them. Both units of Bloodrunners were deployed in the forest, with the Master Tormenters to the left of each. Leaving the left flank fairly uncovered, I put the Croak Raiders against the Bane Riders. Pow 12 Fire Darts might bounce, but Boosted ones will likely kill. The Solider was placed almost exactly in the center of the board.
Skorne Turn 1 I took first turn and, basic as it gets, everything went running forward. The Bronzeback got rush from the Gladiator, who walked forward, and the Soldier got Rush from Morghoul, who then charged the Kraken. Nothing Fancy.
Cryx Turn 1 He did something quite similar, allocating a single point to the Kraken, and running everyone else. The Bane Riders received occultation from the Scarlock prior to the run, and the Kraken Phantom Hunter afterward. True to form and good sense, the Standard Bearer of each unit stayed nice and behind the formation. The Kraken moved forward and shot the Main Cannon at a Master Tormentor, and though it missed, it still clipped her and she took 4 damage, leaving her with just one.
Skorne Turn 1 This turn I started to get a little bit of work done and put pressure on my opponent. Bog Trogs came in from both the left and the right, angling for charges on a pair of bane riders on one flank, and the swath of Necrotechs and Scrap Thralls on the other. Morghoul failed to apparition, because I’m a dummy, and fury was Leached. The Croaks took the initiative, and played it cagey. One Raider advanced towards each clump of Riders, while the rest of them took some advice I had been looking to enact and pulled out to what I thought maximum range at the target was. To late, I realized that the Riders had Occultation. I was only going to get two Flaming Darts, instead of a whole fusillade. Thankfully, the Oil Gourds are AOE’s and missing didn’t change the result, as long as I landed nearby. Four gourds were thrown, and eventually I managed to oil targets that were close enough to two of the Raiders so as not to be affected by Stealth. Both connected, one killed, and the other has only a single point remaining (I forgot about fire, next turn, not that it would have helped)
Next, The bog Trogs took their turn, and got into the flanks. The unit on the right tore into the Scrap Thralls and Necrosurgeons, causing widespread havoc as the Scrap Thralls blew each other up in a cascade of used corpses and broken steel. The other flank, granted a bit of room by the Rider that the Croaks had killed, charged and killed two of them with Reach, Powerful Charge 3 man CMA’s. Man, do I love CMA.
The first Master Tormentor skipped into some Bane Thralls, killing one, which triggered both Shadow Whip and Sprint. She sprinted back to relative safety after pulling the Soldier three inches closer to the mass of infantry. The Two units of Bloodrunners then went, one running in to jam on the left and the other trying to chain charges on the right. Sadly, my charges went awry, and I stabbed a fellow Bloodrunner in the back, killing him. The Bronzeback received rush from the Gladiator and moved towards the zone and cast Train Wreck on the Soldier.
My final Master tormentor swung into a pair of Bane Thralls, hoping to trigger Shadow Whip on the Bronzeback, which it did, but failed to kill and get out of the way following a successful tough check. The Soldier had his good lane blocked. After I activated the beast handlers, enraged the Solider and cooled off the Gladiator and Bronzeback, the Soldier was able to get in there and work through a few models, but It didn’t feel like enough. My 9 point model was going to be charged to death by Banes, so with my final Beat Back I moved adjacent to a wall to try and stop some Thralls from getting to me. Finally, Morghoul 2 moved up, popped his feat, and drained off some fury.
Cryx Turn 2 With his feat reduced in effectiveness, three of five Bane Riders removed, and my models effected by Morghoul 2’s feat, It was a hard turn to get rolling. Kraken got 2, and Goresahde camped the other three, upkeeping Phantom hunter. Needing 10’s against the feat targets, the Kraken rolled up first, into the woods, engaging the leader of the Bloodrunners from behind. I didn’t know it, but thankfully Perfect Balance negates back strike bonus. Amazingly, both initial, boosted attacks missed, though he rolled the hard 10 on the final bought attack to tag the poor guy. Into the insides of the Kraken the poor dude rolled, fueling a kill shot that took out the last point on the already injured Master Tormentor. Tartarus moved in, Cursing the Bloodrunners on the left side and taking two out himself, adding to the Min unit on the right. The larger unit then Charged in, sending two at the Soldier, a couple at the Bloodrunners, and the rest ran into position. He did a significant amount of damage to Soldier, knocking out both Body and Spirit, and slew one of the Bloodrunners, turning him into the third thrall of the evening. The Min unit of Bane Thralls then activated, with one of them running into the zone. That one was promptly charged by the Bronzeback who, though powerful and mighty, cannot get passed a simple tough check. The rest attacked the Bloodrunners and, needing valiant 10’s, didn’t manage to kill any of them. The Riders were next, and they charged into the Croak Raiders, overrunning two and killing another Goreshade then activated, moved a bit towards the center, and popped his feat, slaying three Bane Thralls in order to create more Bane Riders in optimum positions, tying up a large part of my left flank. At this point, he has half a dozen banes and a Bane Rider in the zone, contesting and preventing me from scoring two.
Skorne turn 3 Turn 2 was the heavy turn, and it gets shorter from here on out, with less and less each time. Morghoul remembers to use Apparition this time, moving diagonally closer to Goreshade. I measure the control area and am just outside 10″ negating the possibility of me getting an assassination in (except, as I write this, I have a .5″ melee range, Bah!) unless I can get in a Shadow Whip. I Start with the Bloodrunners, who Charge, out from in the way of where my Master Tormentor needs to be to get 2 attacks off, into the bane riders. I get the charge off one, and don’t get 3″ on the others. The Charge attack, though, at Dice -10, removes an untouched Bane Rider, so I’m not all that sad. The Bog Trogs come in and, with another pair of 2 Man CMA’s, remove another rider. The Croak Raiders attempt to finish the job on one of the two who slew all their brethren, but fall abysmally short. His route clear, its all up to the Master Tormentor, who charges in and threshes, catching two. The first attack hits, and the second attack misses. However, because I’m a moron using models I’ve never used before AND can’t read, I somehow thought that Shadow Whip was on damage, and my failed damage roll was disheartening. However, that just lead to the scenario play that was available, and I switched gears. The Bronzeback activated and killed both the objective and the Knocked down Bane Thrall in front of him. The second unit of Bloodrunners engaged a few bane thralls, but failed to break armor of more than a single model. Morghoul went next, needing to heal the Soldier, and spent two fury. He then charged the Bane Rider in the zone and summarily dispatched him, holding onto the three remaining fury he had. The Aradus Soldier made me sweat a bit, but with beatback and using all of his fury he was able to slay all three banes contesting the zone in his general area. Next, my beast handlers cleared up the fury on the board. The Gladiator simply riled and ran into the zone, ensuring that even if my front lines disintegrated I’d have something in the zone. The second unit of Bog Trogs and my final unit ran up to put themselves in position to charge something juicy in the back next turn.
Cryx turn 3 With Goreshade trying to avoid the Fish Hooks of the Bog Trogs and Morghoul’s Mercy, He allocated three and kept 4. Tartarus went first, cursed the nearby Master Tormentor, and charged the bronzeback, getting dark shroud and a significant amount of damage into him. The Minimum unit of bane thralls then went and cut down three of the remaining four Bloodrunners, and though he tried, his Banes felt no need to rid the world of the Soldier. The space left by the dead Bloodrunners enabled him to trample the Kraken over to my Bronzeback and, more importantly, into the zone. He killed his own thrall doing it, but he made it. Unfortunately, he only connected with one of his MAT 6 attacks against the Bronzeback, though he did a significant amount of damage. The Large unit of Banes then moved in and took down the Master Tormentor and the a few more Bloodrunners, with another charging bane thrall refusing to deal damage to the poor, new Soldier. The Riders activated and took out another few croaks, leaving me with but one. The Scarlock moved over and hexblasted Morghoul, needing 10s, scattered and took out yet another bloodrunner, leaving me with none. Finally, Goreshade activated and charged the Soldier. His charge attack missed, but the follow up hit at dice -1 from Dark Shroud took him out of the game.
Skorne Turn 4 I looked at the board and, after a quick Apparition move, decided I was in walking range of Goresahde provided I could clear out a spot. With my last remaining Bloodrunner, I walked up and cleared the path. A failed tough check later, and Morghoul was clear. I wanted to try and get in any extra damage I could to make sure the deal was sealed, so the Bog Trogs charged in, and though the one hit, dice -6 isn’t an easy target, failed to damage. Morghoul then walked around 4 banes and just polite as you liked took a trio of swings at Goreshade and ended the Curse.
I really like how this list plays, though I can see it has a number of flaws. Anything with high armor or high defense would really give it fits, though the Soldier and the Bronzeback can take out concentrated armor, and the Bloodruners can, with Def 16 on the feat turn, Tie up a number of models. while Morghoul tries to figure out a way to the caster. I’ll definitely be trying this out again.
Things to remember for next time:
- Fire Darts Cause Fire Continuous effect
- Grievous wounds gets around tough
- Shadow Whip works on hit, not on damage.
Thanks for reading!