Nick and Todd were tangling for this week’s podcast game, which left me free to challenge our resident Skorne expert (Skornist? Skornologist?), Kassem! I love playing against Skorne, both because Kassem tends to employ off-the-wall tactics and lists, and because they’re so different from the other Factions!
As you can see, I’ve finally managed to get Thyra on the table! As for Kassem, he was happy to put Makeda3 on the table with a list consisting of a battlegroup… and Beast Handlers.
And that’s it…
My two lists were Thyra and The High Reclaimer, but after seeing that my opponent would be Skorne (and their ability to ignore clouds), I figured that HR would be a bit… suicidal. So Thyra it is! Which worked out well for me… I’m not 100% happy with the list only because I really think it needs another unit of Daughters (or two!), but hey, can’t have everything.
The Thyra list was as follows:
Thyra, Flame of Sorrow
Daughters of the Flame
Exemplar Errants (max)
– Officer and Standard
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance
High Paladin Vilmon
Choir of Menoth (min)
Covenant of Menoth
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
Vassal of Menoth
Aiyana and Master Holt
– Attendant Priest
Okay, so right off the hope, the Attendant Priest of A&H is nice, but completely unnecessary with Thyra… with Harbinger? Yes. With Thyra, not so much. Also, this list has a LOT of solo, but also a fair number of infantry… Pathfinder through Rhupert is nice (when needed), Tough is also nice for the Errants… to be honest, I think it’s a pretty solid list overall. Definitely better against Hordes (with their slightly-lower-ARM and vulnerability to “Silence of Death”), but a solid all-around list. If I could fit in a Vanquisher it would probably be perfect, but I hesitate to drop anything to get in that warjack.
As for Kassem, he was rocking out with his Titans out…
Makeda and the Exalted Court, Tier 4 “Armaggedon”
– Aptimus Marketh
– Titan Gladiator
– Titan Bronzeback (proxied by a Rhinodon, I think?)
– Cyclops Savage
– Cyclops Savage
Paingiver Beast Handlers (max)
A fascinating list… warlock, battle group, Fury-management, done. If I didn’t know better I’d swear it was a Legion list! The Mammoth is a solid choice, obviously, and the two Titans are capable of wrecking face… not a lot of attacks, and if I can manage to kill the Beast Handlers quickly enough, Kassem is going to run into Fury problems right-quick. And hey, I just *happen* to have a unit of Acrobatic Daughters for just such occasions!
The scenario we were playing was “Outflank”, 2 central 12″ diameter zones that give 1CP to control and 2CPs to dominate, and no Killbox. Simple, straightforward, and awesome-fun… I love this scenario!
We rolled for initiative, which Kassem won easily (with the +1 from his Tier bonus, he actually rolled a 7), and chose to go first. I picked the side of the table with the hill to deny it to the Mammoth, and we’re ready…
Kassem dropped the Mammoth in the middle of the table, with Makeda and Co. next to him. One Savage went to either side of that central group, with both Titans on the left flank. The Beast Handlers went behind the warbeasts, and he was done!
My deployment was a little more involved… I had a LOT more models to put on the table, after all! I put one unit of Knight Exemplar opposite the Titans, while the other went on the far right flank, ready to run towards the cannons of the Mammoth. The Reckoner went towards the Mammoth’s side of the table with the Choir spread out behind him and the Vassal to his left in B2B. Aiyana and Holt with their friendly Priest Attendant went near the middle, but far back, while Thyra, the Covenant, her Hierophant, and Rhupert went in the middle on a hill.
The Errants Advanced Deployed towards the Mammoth, well spread out, while the Daughters went opposite the Titans, and the Wracks were scattered liberally around with nothing nearby.
Me, scared of scattering 4″ AoEs on Turn 1? Nah…
Skorne, Turn 1
A simple and straightforward turn from Kassem.
Makeda and her court moved forward with their Advanced Move (from Tier), and then the Titans both ran (one put Rush on the other), while the Mammoth walked… or Assaulted?… forward, the shot scattering away harmlessly. The Cyclops both ran forward, and the Beast Handlers advanced and whipped off Fury.
Makeda cast “Vortex of Destruction” on herself and moved forward, Marketh followed along beside the cottage, and Kassem was done!
Excuse Kassem’s finger in these pictures… his Mammoth is magnetized, but tends to be top-heavy (imagine that) when he takes it off and puts it back on mid-game.
Menoth, Turn 1
Well, that was quick. But thankfully no casualties yet, so Menoth protects!
I do some quick eyeball estimates and figure that the Reckoner can actually get an Assault Shot off on the Cyclops Savage on his side of the table… might be good to blunt that spearhead as quickly as possible! So Thyra gives the Reckoner 3 Focus, and we begin.
In my excitement, I activate Thyra before the Hierophant (stupid)… she moves forward and casts “Occultation” on the Daughters (just to keep them safe(r) from spell-slinging), pulls Focus from a Wrack behind her (boom), and then camps that last Focus.
The Hierophant walks up behind her (slightly spaced out) and Harmoniously Exalts her… better late than never?
The Choir decide to sing “Passage”, giving my Reckoner permission not to be targeted by long range attacks… the Mammoth would normally outgun him by orders of magnitude, but I figure that if he can’t directly hit me, 1 POW13 Reckoner shot a turn will end up being better than 3 POW8 blasts… only time will tell!
Rhupert activates and gives the Errants “Tough”.
My Errants activate and run forward, again spreading out as much as possible. I’m going to lose a bunch, no question, but I keep most of them within 3″ of at least a couple brethren to minimize Death-trigger attacks.
The Daughters likewise run forward and spread out as much as possible. I’m hoping to bait Kassem into killing 1 or 2 of them to trigger Vengeance on the rest… which would give them a 13″ threat (not as much as, say, Satyxis Raiders, but pretty damn good!). I run the left unit of Knight Exemplar behind them, trying to keep all of them in FRONT of the terrain that would block their charges… sure, they don’t get the DEF-buff, but the only guns Kassem has are the Mammoth, and that bad-boy isn’t designed to be hitting squat anyway.
The Reckoner activates and Assaults the Cyclops Savage on the left side. Sure enough, I’m in by about an inch (phew!). I need a 10 to hit without Battle, though, so I boost the shot… and hit! And crit! The Cylops is now on Fire.
I boost the damage roll with its last Focus and ping the warbeast for 9 points.
The Vassal moves up behind the Reckoner and gives in an Ancillary Attack. I brain-freeze on the numbers (thinking that Kassem’s DEF15 on the hill meant I needed a 15 to hit) and therefore miss whereas I actually only needed an 8 to hit and may have gotten it… but whatever. These things happen!
Aiyana, Holt, and Frank (their Attendant Priest) activate and spread out. Aiyana gives herself Stealth, Holt fires his pistols in the air, and Frank prays that they not be targetable by spells. It’s going to be tricky keeping Aiyana alive until the late game when her “Kiss” could be the difference between a fully functional warbeast and a dead one… but I’m going to try!
Vilmon runs into the zone and up against a fence such that he can’t be slammed out of the zone on a later turn… risky, but hopefully worth it. Nicia meanwhile engages in an extreme flanking maneuver towards the extreme left, clearing the forest and heading towards the Titans on the left (I figured matching her up against the Mammoth was instant suicide… at least on this side of the table she MIGHT get a little work done before she punches it!).
The Covenant moves up and says Knockdown is Nay.
Lastly, the right flank Knights run forward and spread out, ready to take on the big guy in a few turns (hopefully losing 1 or 2 of their number on the approach!).
With that, my turn is done!
Skorne, Turn 2
So Kassem has what we like to call “a Target Rich Environment” in front of him… and no shortage of guns to take advantage of it. I’m not *terribly* worried, since most of my troops are heavy enough ARM to survive a few POW8 blasts (Daughters not withstanding) and spread out enough that he’s going to have a tough time getting more than 2 or 3 in a single blast… I hope… but it’s weird being on the receiving end of a barrage of low accuracy firepower, that’s for sure!
We start with the fire check on the Savage… which does not go out! It inflicts enough damage to cripple the warbeast’s Mind… not bad, not bad…
Marketh upkeeps “Vortex of Destruction” for free. Makeda pulls in all her Fury.
Kassem decides to start with the Supreme Archdomina herself. Makeda pops her Feat, spends a Fury to heal the Mind on the Cyclops Save, and charges into 2 Errants, while her stone guardians each charge their own Errants. The first Guardian hits and slays his Errant, who fails his Tough… I self-sac the death off to the charge-target of the other Guardian. He takes his second attack, which also hits and kills, and I self-sac that into an Errant behind me after failing to Tough again.
Kassem’s eye starts twitching slightly.
The other Guardian no longer has anything within its melee range, so no love there, but Makeda still has a target. She swing and hits, kills, and I fail another Tough check but self-sac that death off. She swings and hits again, and I’ve finally run out of self-sacs, and so Makeda finally gets a Focus from her Feat! She casts “Ground Zero”, but nothing is alive within the 5″ AoE centered on herself… she then casts “Eliminator” at a Daughter that was closer than 5″… thankfully, the shot misses. It scatters onto an Errant and a Knight, but both are unharmed by the blast damage.
With 2 Fury left and currently stranded right at the front lines, Makeda ends her activation.
Still plenty to activate, though!
Marketh moves up and casts “Eliminator” on a Knight Errant… he actually manages to hit! That Knight dies from the blast, and Makeda backs up 2″ as a result.
Next, the Mammoth activates and walks forward 4″. It opens fire on a bunch of Errants, missing, but hitting the Officer and Standard with blast damage. He boosts against the Officer… and kills him! Thankfully he decides he’s too Tough to die today… and the Standard is unharmed from the blast. Second shot goes into the Officer and hits! The Officer is killed and fails his Tough… I self-sac the death off, and again the Standard is unharmed. Third shot scatters away harmlessly. The Mammoth then puts “Counterblast” on itself.
The Savage, freshly healed, Charges the Errant Officer. He hits 3 times and I Tough all 3 times. Menoth protects!
The other Savage charges a Daughter out in front of her sisters… he boosts to hit and kills, and Makeda earns a 3rd Fury.
The two Titans move forward menacingly, but do nothing else.
Menoth, Turn 2
Well… Makeda is at the front of her army. She has 3 Transfers, sure… but I have Grievous Wounds on a stick… but not enough Focus to go around for everything. One of Kassem’s Savages happens to be directly between my Reckoner and Makeda (sad-face), and it’s engaging 2 of my Errants, so no shooting it to death easily…
I go into the tank and try to figure out the Rube Goldburgian victory here… can I get Aiyana close enough? Probably not… Makeda is exactly 12″ away from Thyra, which puts her easily within Feat + Charge range. But that means either something with Grievous Wounds has to get to Makeda first, which is impossible without giving up the charge from Thyra… unless she casts it on herself… but then she’s going to be Focus starved…
In the end, I allocate 2 to the Reckoner, drop Occultation, and camp the rest.
The Hierophant Exalts, the Choir sings Battle.
The Reckoner activates next. It walks to get LoS to Makeda and boosts a shot at her… sadly, it misses. Damn… that +2 to hit for all the other attacks would’ve been very nice… oh well.
Thyra activates next. She casts “Carnage” and “Silence of Death” on herself, and then pops her Feat. She moves 2″ towards Makeda, and then Charges!
The Charge attack hits, and at Dice-6, inflicts a whopping 15 points! One point away from one-shotting her!
Second attack hits! Of course, Makeda is now ARM19, and I’m out of Focus to boost damage… but it’s still a Weaponmaster attack, and I just need to roll a 9 on 3d6 to win… which I don’t. Boo!
No worries. The Daughters activate and move forward their 2″ and then Charge through all the intervening models to surround Makeda.
But Kassem has one more trick up his sleeve… the last charge triggers the Mammoth’s Counterblast! It misses the DEF19 Daughter (no surprise) but scatters to hit her and Makeda… the blast is enough to kill the Daughter, and if I’m really lucky might kill Makeda (on boxcars)… it does not.
The two surviving Daughters do a CMA on Makeda… snake eyes! NO!
They do their second attack… and hit! I need a 9 or better to win… and I nail it! Makeda is down!
Phew! That was far closer than I would like… Sure, I still had a few tools left (namely 2 charging Errants), but I keep forgetting how hard Makeda is to kill! She’s a tough nut to crack, no question!
Other than over extending is warlock (which, to be honest, is a pretty safe thing to do with Makeda 4 times outta 5), Kassem didn’t really make any big mistakes. He pointed out afterwards that if my Reckoner HAD hit, he would’ve Shield Guarded it off to a Guardian instead (giving Makeda the +2ARM before Thyra’s charge, and radically changing the odds on the assassination attempt). And, to be completely honest, I didn’t need to commit Thyra to killing Makeda… I could’ve just as easily put “Silence of Death” on the Errants, had the first one charge the Mammoth to remove Counterblast (it can’t trigger if the model is engaged), the others charge Makeda and the Savage, and then sent in the Daughters to mop up Makeda while the Knights took out the warbeasts… a less certain, but much safer play, no question.
Anyway, it was a nice, quick, fun game! Thanks for reading it, and hopefully you’ve all managed to learn something useful! Comments, questions, insults, and compliments are always welcome!