Last time, I talked about the Long Grind that I feel i have put myself through the last few months. While I enjoyed the games, I rarely felt like I was really playing Skorne. With Zaal 1 and Zaal 2 I felt very close to Cryx, and with Morghoul 2 I felt like I was playing Minions. Both of those lists really don’t have the same type of power that Skorne emanates. I needed something bolder, something that hits hard and lays its targets low.
I needed a Mammoth.
I’d picked up a mammoth on pre-release at Lock and Load years ago, and I’d gotten around to using it about once, maybe twice in the span of time. I want to make the purchase worth it, so I figured I’d drop him on the table a few more times and see how I like him.
That meant that I’d be picking up an old friend and dusting her off: Makeda 1. She was the first caster I really enjoyed playing nearly 10 years ago when I first gravitated to Skorne. I figured I’d be able to pick her up and start right off again where I left off. I gravitated to Makeda because I’d seen, and fallen in love with, Jason Watts Makeda 1 Mammoth list before I’d made my way back to Skorne. Its a list with just a few big, beefy parts that really make each other portion of the army shine.
Archdomina Makeda +5
-Basilisk Krea (4)
-Cyclops Raider (5)
Cataphract Cetratii – Max (11)
Nihilators – Max (8)
Paingiver Beast Handlers – Max(6)
Extoller Soulward (2)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2)
It looks like a simple enough list, but it has a huge pile of moving parts. Essentially, it is the full package of support for the mammoth along with enough pieces, Offensive and Defensive, to make the feat work.
Building a Better Behemoth
The better portion of this list, 32 points, is dedicated to the Big Buy himself. As the centerpiece of the army, he is able to do almost everything you’d want a node that expensive to do. He’s got POW 21 weapons on demand, and can easily be arm 22, 24 against shooting. He has 5 fury, and a boostable, ROF 3, RNG 14, pow 16, AOE 4 gun that can be magical, with possible re-rolls on a model with eyeless sight. He can easily have a walking threat of 11″ with his three initial melee weapons. finally, on top of all that, if he doesn’t get rerolls, he can get another shot, or melee attack, with those sweet weapons he’s got.
with his potent offense, he can threaten a large portion of the board with carpet bombings, and ensure that anything getting even close to him is pounded into mash, but those aren’t his only good traits. In addition to being slightly heartier than your average titan he also comes equipped with the Great Beast rules, making him immune to placement effects and unable to move outside of his activation, making him a very solid scenario piece.
I’ve really liked him in the games I’ve played, but he has some matchups that forcibly shut him down or make him one dimensional. My last game, in which Rhan pounded me pretty good, was one of them. Immunity to blast damage, high Def v. Shooting attacks, and force field really made it a hard day for the big guy. You really have to watch, much like any list these days, what type of list you play him into, and try as hard as you can to make it a favorable one.
The Best of the Best
The rest of the list contains two of Skornes best units and one of their best light beasts. The Cetratii are excellent defensive pieces, able to screen almost all of our casters as well as be durable and cary pow 11 weaponmaster reach MAT 7 melee attacks. Often they will be def 14 arm 22 with her, and a whoping def 16 arm 24 against most ranged attacks. Its a simple, large, middle finger to many attacks, especially with 8 wounds each.
The Nihilators are to offense what the Cetratii are to defense, able to clear large swaths of infantry with relative ease, especially given Makeda’s spell Carnage, granting them MAT 9 reach berserk attacks. Often, I’ll send them in with Def and Arm of 15 under Defenders Ward in order to make them event that much harder to kill.
These two units, one durable, the other insanely offensive, combine well with her feat. The ability to return dead models is fantastic, if you can keep one or two of the models very safe in the back of the army so that you can, actually, resurrect the rest.
Finally, the Krea provides Makeda, the Mammoth and the Cetratii with another layer of defense that enables them to continue to weather a withering hail of gunfire and still make it to the other side moderately in tact.
With all of that, I still had some tweaks I wanted to make. Well, really just one. I wanted a Tyrant Commander in the list. With Tough, Shieldwall, Reach, Beserk, I really wanted Revellie an Press Forward, and with no inherent pathfinder, I really wanted his Overcome ability. The soulward and the Max unit of Paingivers were on the chopping block, and I’ve not regretted it.
Its The Ends That Matter
Really, though, the proof of a lists viability is in its execution on the tabletop. I’ve only gotten two recent games in, and in each of them the list felt powerful. The pieces all align in such a way that I was able to react to what my opponents battle plan was, and still have it be a strong play.
Rhan, for instance, forced the Mammoth to be a simple, Melee only beast. This worked just fine as I was able to get into the zone and beat to death two lights without breaking a sweat. The Cetratii also performed admirably, getting CMA + Carnage attacks on both Narn and a Mage Hunter Assassin in order to remove the threat of them trying to kill my caster.
Makeda herself is surprisingly adaptable, and fairly resistant. a 15/16 statline that can, under duress be 17/18 or even 19/20 v. shooting is impressive. Her spell list – Savagery, Carnage, and Defenders Ward, really enable her to play all of the roles of the game at once. Her army is fast, durable, and hits accurately. It does leave her with only a single transfer, but you just have to be cognizant of what her limitations are.
I’ve had a much more positive experince playing her, even in just the two games, than I did with either Zaal 2 or Morghoul 2. Makeda feels like the epitome of Skorne, with giant hard hitting monsters, Durable, effective troops, and a little bit of necromancy thrown in there for good measure. I’m really looking forward to getting more games in and trying to make sure that I don’t leave a 1.5″ gap though my lines to Makeda when she is only 12″ from Rhan. Its just not the best of plans.
There is, always, next week!