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January 22, 2013

Skorne: Those Last 2 Points

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Skorne is known for their awesome beasts. Once you have your titans, we have some great options for filling out a list!

This is Muffinman again, talking about the wealth of 2 point solos we can take. There are of course other options for filling lists, like taking another unit of paingivers, or bringing 3 point solos. there are really too many options to cover in one article. In my opinion, the 2 point solos are where most of the hard decisions are made, so that's where I'm going to focus. I'm going to list the models in order from the most used to the least used, based on lists I see people posting on the Privateer forums.


Agonizer

The Agonizer is one of the most popular choices in Skorne. The traditional advice for a new player looking to go beyond the Battle Box is to add min paingivers and an Agonizer for your first 15 points.

If you're newer to the game, you might look at the Agonizer and feel a bit underwhelmed. I didn't actually pick one up for the first 4 or 5 months of playing Skorne. A model with no weapons? No offensive abilities whatsoever? Why was everyone pushing this model on the forums? Of course, now I use him all the time. In fact, I think more people say things like "ugggh, I HATE that guy" about my Agonizer than any other model in the faction.

why does everyone want to kill this guy? he's so innocent
The Agonizer is all about shutting down enemy heavies. Skorne tends to be at least slightly ahead when comparing the heavy hitters on both sides of the table, and the Agonizer makes that gap much more apparent. against Warmachine players he's a nightmare. A 'jack with no focus has very little chance of killing a Skorne heavy. The Skorne heavy in return will usually have very little trouble demolishing the enemy jack. Preventing arc nodes is slightly more situational  since they can usually stay out of the bubble and still be in range to cast, but since you get both abilities with a single cry, it does come up sometimes.

Against Hordes he has several different choices for his cry, but usually you'll be using the -2 to damage rolls for enemy beasts. Again, this helps keep Skorne heavies alive. It's not as good as preventing focus allocation, but the effective +2 to all your models' armor against beasts can really help keep stuff alive.

The Agonizer works in almost any list, and does well against a variety of opponents. Certain warlocks like him more than others. If you don't have much Fury to spare it might be hard to keep him filled, so I often don't bring him with Makeda or Morghoul. Warlocks with 7 Fury really have no reason NOT to take him, and he's in almost every Zaal and Hexeris list I make.

Soulward

The Soulward is one of my favorites. I probably put him in more lists than any other solo. He only ranks second to the Agonizer because of the popularity of the Agonizer on the forums and with new players.

First off, I really like soul collection. It's one of my favorite general themes in Skorne. Abilities that recycle your chaff unit make losing your units almost fun. Your opponent gets a few shots off, killing your front ranks and you just smile and put tokens on your Soulwards.

The Soulward is a good utility piece that helps make sure you don't run into things you can't handle. It makes sure your guns and spells can still hit those pesky stealth models like Gorman and Tartarus (or stealthy casters). It makes things like Blackbane's unit or other incorporeal models less of an issue. It lets you charge Molik Karn through the forest that your opponent was hiding their caster in. Basically, it lets you get just a little taste of what it must be like to play Legion, if Legion had speed and damage buffs.

You can kill my guys. I'm just going to shoot them at you later
And of course to top it all off, the Soulward has a gun that ignores LOS, cover and concealment. Against warbeasts it is usually rolling at dice -1 or 2 with boosted damage. Against the Mountain King it's hitting at pow 21. Not bad for 2 points.

Orin Midwinter

Orin Midwinter is one of the only character solos I use. The nature of character restrictions means that he isn't in lists as often as some of the popular 2 point solos. He is definitely a strong character in the list he goes in, though. He is a strong control model that can give many casters headaches. Against some match-ups he's just back-breaking.

He has 3 different spells, but you'll usually be taking him for null magic. While that spell is active, no spells can be cast within 12" of Midwinter. This is a huge bubble for a 2 point model to project. No spells is obviously a huge deal. If you can catch an enemy caster in the bubble, you can really mess with their plans. Some casters can sit pretty far back and not worry about the null magic bubble, but there are lots of other spells this little ability can cancel. Keep in mind that any * action listed under a model's "magic ability[n]" score count as spells. This means Midwinter stops druids, battle mages, and lots more. It's actually surprising how many powerful * actions out there are spells. I obviously can't list them all right now, but if you're playing Midwinter keep an eye out for models that don't necessarily look like spell casters.

Midwinter also has 2 other spells, either giving himself stealth or shooting a lightning bolt that jumps to D3 models. With a magic ability of 7, this is actually decent at hitting average infantry. He can boost these rolls with power tokens, but I have almost never put tokens on him. If the enemy has spells they will be casting within 12" of midwinter, why aren't you using null magic?

Task Master

The Task Master is a very specialized solo. His abilities make Minions better, but he doesn't do much if you're not bringing Minions. Personally, I don't even own a minion unit to use him with, so I haven't gotten one of these guys yet. However, I am one of the few people out there that doesn't like Gatormen (sorry, I just don't like the models, and I don't like to play models that don't look good to me) and those many Skorne players that love Gatormen love the Task Master.

The Task Master can give 2 different buffs to Minion units. They can either get tough and fearless or +2 strength. The usual target is the Gatorman Posse. Gatormen with 2 pow 15 attacks is really nice, and Gatormen with Tough are very hard to get rid of.

He also prevents Minions from being knocked down, which makes tough even better. Combine with Naaresh's Iron Flesh and you have a seriously annoying unit of gators. Really, if you're paying for Gators you have no reason not to use a Task Master as well.

Master Tormentor

The Master Tormentor is, in my opinion, quite underrated. Sure, I've had plenty of games where she didn't really do much, but I've also had those games where she earns her points by turn 2 and keeps going. The Skorne forums don't seem to take her very seriously, and I don't often see lists with her included. I tend to take her in about 50% of my lists.

The Master Tormentor has a really nice set of abilities that work together very smoothly. To start off with, she has a reach thresher with Anatomical Precision and a nice MAT score. Obviously, this is really good against low Def high Arm infantry. If you're lucky enough to get her lined up against a shield-walled or Defensive line unit, she's amazing. I've had her take out half a unit of Iron Fang Pikemen in one turn. Against one opponent, I got her into a unit of Legionnaires with their new UA's mini-feat active making them Arm 20. She killed almost the entire unit in one go.

To round out her abilities, she has sprint, stealth and advanced deployment. She gets to start out up the field a bit, many armies won't be able to target her for a turn or two, and if she kills a handful of models she can sprint to a position where she is tying down the rest of the unit. Even if the enemy doesn't have a shield wall unit, you can often kill 2 or 3 models in one attack and then sprint to tie down more models. Especially good against a small ranged unit like Widowmakers that won't easily hit her in melee.

Void Spirit

The Void Spirit is another solo that doesn't get much attention. He has some cool abilities  but will often get passed over for some more rounded solos. He does nothing to support the army, and is a bit of a one-shot wonder. Still, he has his uses.

The Skorne afterlife must really suck...
The biggest advantage the Void Spirit has is being incorporeal, which can be a really big deal in scenarios if the enemy doesn't have many magic weapons. Against trolls I've had him sit by himself in the middle of a zone for an entire game, allowing me to focus all of my force on the zone I needed to capture. He also has abomination, allowing him to run into the middle of a unit, force some command checks and harass them until a magical weapon is able to come to bear.

He only has one attack, but if the attack goes off it can be pretty decent. The Void Spirit is essentially a weapon master against living models, and if he kills one it turns into an ash cloud that gives concealment and damages enemy models that touch it. this can be used defensively by creating a cloud and placing one of your own models in it, making it immune to non-reach infantry that can't take a pow 12.

The Void Spirit was a perfect model to use with a Flank force in SR 2012. With flanks going away, I will likely not be using him as much. He still has his uses, but I tend to bring something else in his place. I do like him with eHexeris and will run one with Mordikaar for the boosted attack rolls, but he may be staying in my case most of the time.

Saxon Orrik

Saxon is one model I don't own yet. I've seen him in a few Skorne armies, but I honestly can't see why you would ever take one over a Tyrant Commander. If you really really can't spend that one extra point I guess he's a good cheap way to get some pathfinder. A Tyrant Commander offers the same thing plus a whole lot more with his multiple battle plans, nice weapon master attack and a banner that gives inspiration. I really don't see using this guy much...

Willbreaker

And finally, we get to the Willbreaker. The only reason I'm mentioning him last is because he's not out yet. However, we got some spoilers this week that should be out in the NQ about now. I'm pretty sure this guy will quickly rise to the top of the list as an auto-include in almost every single list I ever make from here on out.

don't let his appearance fool you, this guy is good!

Why is this model so good? Well he extends forcing ranges for casters like Morghoul, or can allow makeda to fire the Molik missile without needing to get close to the action in case it fails. He can give an extra attack to ranged or melee beasts, which can be a pretty big deal (just ask a Menoth player).

But what really makes this guy good is Puppet Strings. I never even imagined this would be given to Skorne. even in our wildest wishlisting when we had no clue what the Willbreaker did, none of us came close to asking for something as good as Puppet Strings. There is no list that won't benefit from this ability. Any assassination just got a whole lot more reliable. Just imagine this on molik karn in combination with his own ability to boost after he rolls. Or on eHexeris when he goes for the spell assassination. Or on a Krea, making sure he can hit things in the range of Def 15 reliably, which will in turn allow the mammoth to hit that target reliably with 3 boosted pow 15s. People are already getting some early playtesting in with this ability, and the consensus is that yes, it's that good.

I hope this rundown has been helpful to my fellow Skorne players. We have a lot of options for 2 point fillers, hopefully this guide will get some of you more experienced players to try some solos you don't generally use. And maybe newer players will have a better idea what to add to their armies as they move past the Tooth and Claw level games.

How do you fill in the last few points in your lists? Are there certain solos or combos that find their way in to most of your lists? do you rank your Skorne solos differently than I do? Leave your thoughts below!
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