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.
When I started looking at Makeda 3’s rules recently, I realized that she could chew her way through a ton of infantry, if given the chance. Given the right battlegroup, her battlegroup could also plow through tons of infantry, and being warbeats, could probably end a heavy or two. Deciding that if you are going to do something, do it all the way, I decided to make a Cryx/Merc solution to an army that has all the infantry but not a whole lot of high defense. Some sort of super-blender list, like this one.
The concept was simple: Have as many models that can make multiple attacks as it is possible to jam in a list. This way, because Makeda does not support her army at all, I can still take a ton of casualties on the way in and try and level the place anyway. Praetorians have two swords, side step and up to 11 models with attacks. Nihlitors, if a little more unreliable on the 2 attacks, definitely have durability and a higher MAT and POW on their side. Molik Karn is the obvious beast choice, being Makeda’s character and a supporting pair of Savages would hold the line up just fine. With speed 6 and reach, they’d reach out at 11″ and touch someone. Mat 6 is pretty solid for a light, and being able to boost after rolling makes sure you can get those extra feat kills. Sadly, I somehow have managed to get rid of three of the four I used to have, and had to sub in a Brute on actual gameday. Though I wanted the higher MAT, the Shield Guard and animus proved invaluable during actual gameplay. I’d forgotten how useful they were! to round out the list, I placed in two Bloodrunner Master Tormentors, both of whom have Thresher and Anatomical Precision. Finally, a unit of Keltarii to jam in and get deep, threatening the back line support while the front committed to being a blender.
All in all, it felt good. Not perfect-good, but something I could start out with. A unit of 10 Def 13 models has to kill 6 Preatorians in order to come out ahead before I charge. Its even harder to kill that many Nihlitors, and they can be even more dangerous. The part of Makedas feat I fear the most is that she wants to do so much work herself that she can end up completely empty afterward. Along with her Exalted Guardians, the Savage and Molik Karn can ensure that she’s full up, and Karn can kill a whole unit of Infantry on his own. The Brute is just extra insurance. So, I set out to do battle and eliminate all the infantry that an army set upon this earth.
The First Game
Sadly, the army I faced did not have much. Vengers, who barely count, Daughters of the Flame and Knights Exemplar were all that it had. Fires of Salvation, a Reckoner and a Vanquisher faced me across the table, backed by Kreoss 3. It wasn’t the perfect battle, but I don’t shirk.
Honestly, It was a bloodbath. Holy Ward on Daughters of the Flame were impossibly hard to hit, and the Def 13 of the Praetorians was not enough to save them from their wrath. The Vengers under Ignite and Elite Cadre were not going to tickle, each of them hitting at up to P+S 18 with four dice, drop the lowest. Under good circumstances (pow 16) it takes 3 charges to finish him off. Until I get them out of the way, I was just under a massive gun. He deployed them on my weak flank and got to jamming them in, and I was hemoraging models from all fronts. In a list ditch effort to try and track down either Kreoss or the ‘Jacks threatening Makeda, I tossed them into the center of the table. My opponents dice helped me a bit with a missed Force Hammer from Karn into Makeda. I was able the next turn to pop Makeda’s feat and send in all the ‘Beasts, filling her back up and clearing a landing place for Karn right near some Choir, and then to Kreoss. A set of attacks latter, and it was done.
Though I won, the list didn’t perform the function I wanted it to. I wasn’t in a strong position against three jacks and a pentad of vengers. The Def was higher than I liked (17) on the Daughters, and it proved to be a significant problem.
All in all, though, I like the list. I want to try it out against its preferred targets a few times before I commit it to the dustbin and starting from scratch, though there are a number of issues that come to light with the list as written – Pathfinder, high defense, shooting and a dense model count. Honestly, that’s almost the whole field, other than Cryx. I think I’d have to trade out something for a shaman (Crippling Grasp) and then I might have a really solid Cryx counter, with models that can de-jam from Satyxis and can threaten the mid lines if necessary.
With a small sample size of one game and not against the best of matchups, I think I’m not making a ton of changes here. The Simplist one is to reduce the Beastmasters to four, and drop the Taskmasters. Though they didn’t really get a chance to shine, I need the points. Stick in the Tyrant Commander to help both with any of the three units that might need it: +2 advance on Keltarii with reform is bonkers, using reveille on the Nihlitors is fantastic, and giving the Swordsmen Pathfinder for charges is just the right thing to do. That leaves me with two points. Maybe I leave one of the Master Tormentors in. Before I drop the Savage for the Shaman, I want to see if I have to dedicate it to being a Cryx-Only drop and use it in a couple more games.
I’ll be going to a tournament in February, so that’ll be the first time I might get to place this on the board, though it’ll be opposite Xerxis 2, so I’m not sure they make a good tournament pairing.
So, the list looks like this, until I get another game in with it!
|Makeda and the Exalted Court||+2|
|Praetorian Swordsmen (10)||6|
|-Praetorian Officer and Standard||2|
|Praetorian Keltarii (10)||8|
|Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer||3|
|Paingiver Beast Handlers(4)||2|
|Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor||2|