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!

 

 

Xerxis has always, always, been my favorite Skorne Caster. His spells are good, his feat is awesome, and the amount of punishment he can dish out is unbelievable to my Cryxian eyes. He was pretty good in MK I, but his MK II Incarnation really connected with me, and I was able to settle in on a really nasty list after a few failed incarnations.

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Gladiator8
-Krea4
-Cyclops Shaman5
-Aptimus Marketh3
Cataphract Cetratii (6) 11
Nihilators (10)8
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Venator Reivers (10)9
-Venetor Officer and Standard2
Paingiver Beast Handlers (3)2

This list’s whole purpose is to give you nothing but bad choices. The Venators and Tyrant Commander deploy on the weak flank and run turn one, getting into position. The Cetratii and the Nihlitors take front and center, getting up the field as best they can, with Defenders Ward on the Cetratii. Turn two is when it really heats up, as I hot swap the Defenders ward on to the Nihilitors, leaving one behind the wall of Cetratii, and move the Venators 8″ up the flank and start peppering the soft spots of the army. The Nihliitors run in to stall the army, with the Beasts, Cetratii, and Xerxis taking up spots to both smash into the center of the army and start picking up scenario. The battle then shifts to the opponent, who has to make a dire choice: clean off and eliminate the Nihlitors, and try to fight the durable, killing center while getting shot at from the side and behind, or turn to attack the Venators and have the Pain Train slam into the center of the board. Neither of these is good, and its a fun game for me every time.

Gargantuans brought us the release of the Cataphract Incindiarii, and a new list is gaining in relevancy for Xerixis to work with. Welcome, to the Fist of Halaak.

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Tiberion11
Cataphract Cetrati (6) 11
-Tyrant Vorkesh3
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Tyrant Commander and Standard3

This army, in all its iterations, focuses on flooding the field with medium based, durable models, and this thrills me to no end. I’ve wanted for a very long time to be able to do this. Its going to be an incredibly entertaining list to run.

 

What this list brings to the table is a solid wall of force. Xerxis brings his feat and Fury to the Party, allowing a unit of Arcuarii to get to P+S 15 with 5 dice on the charge.  With 12 floating around on the board, you only need 5 to kill a colossal. He also brings Inhospitable Ground, for those moments that a Bane Thrall charge would ruin your day, and you need to make sure they burn another round.

Strangely, this list limited to only three units also has almost all its bases covered. It has 12, 8 wound, POW 12 weaponmasters; 7 arm 20, 8 wound shieldwallers; Tiberion; and it has 10 AOE 3 auto-fire templates.The Tyrant Commanders and Xerxis bring three sources of both Pathfinder and Press Forward, with a bonus of two reveille’s when called on. Its decently durable, with needing to damage roll of 23 to take out even the lowliest Cataphract.

The largest worry I have in this list is that I only have one beast, but that beat is Tiberion, who I have heard is really good. He should be able to wreck whatever I want him to, honestly, but I have to keep him safe, as its almost never good to trade him when its my only beast. Enough people have discussed that there is enough good stuff in this list to justify only one beast that I’m willing to do it.

The minimum units are there to maximize the points gained by the theme list. With each Cataphract unit being -1 pc, I pick up 6 points over a traditional list here, which I used to get the two Tyrant Commanders.

The largest contention point here is going to be Vorkesh. He’s a solid three point solo, but he comes with a pretty huge penalty of Spell Ward to his unit, the Cetratii, who are just begging to be Def 14/ARM 22. I’ve also read that most of the times that people have died with Xerxis is when they didn’t have Defenders Ward on him, pulling his stat line from a humble 13/18 to a more respectable 15/20. Removing the temptation to even try that from my list feels right, and just might win me the game. Pow 13 Weaponmaster under the feat with precision strike can really cause some havoc.

Xerxis

I really like that it asks a ton of questions of your opponents armies. Can they Crack high armor, ’cause Tiberion can be a 25 on the feat turn, and most dudes are sitting at 17. Can they take a beating, ’cause my whole army is MAT 7 and most of its weaponmasters. Can you deal with fire, because I am going to toss up to 10 Fire causing AOE’s out there, and it could get ugly. Finally, did you bring Pathfinder, because I have Inhospitable Ground.

After two or more months of playing the Cephalyx, I am going to be looking for a change of pace, and once NOVA comes around and I turn the page to a new army, I think this is going to be just up my alley. I’ve been told its not as simple to run as it seems, so I look forward to figuring it out. I’m about as stoked about this list as I can be, without having played it.

I do need to pick up a second Tyrant Commander, a second box of Incindiarii, and two more boxes of Arcuarii, but the beauty of the whole army will be worth it.

Now, what to pair it with in a tournament? Maybe Trevor Christiansons Rasheth + 6 Titans list!