Take a second look at these two Skorne Warlocks for Warmachine and Hordes.
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with the second in my series covering each faction in Warmachine and Hordes considering which Warcasters and Warlocks might deserve a second look. Especially now that the World Team Championships lists have been revealed for 2016, the meta is solidifying: there is clear data about what the top players are deciding to field as the “best” for each faction. The goal of this series is to give two “second look” warcasters or warlocks for Warmachine and Hordes factions, to hopefully keep players’ minds a bit more open for longer. The usual “rush to what’s popular” is going to happen, but there can be some real benefit to taking the less-beaten path at times, especially once other players sort out their strategies for defeating the top casters that are most likely to be seen. For whatever reason, there are faction Warlocks that are more popular than the two I’ll be detailing here, so a moment for a second look seems appropriate.
Last week I covered Cryx, with the logic that the very faction was due for a second look in Mark III. And for the same reason, I’m covering Skorne early as well. I don’t think they’re as poor as everyone seems to say that they are. They’ve had some serious changes, and that means re-thinking them as a faction. They already weren’t widely played in Mark II for a combination of factors: no truly dominant Warlocks, army builds that required wildly different model inclusion, and residual difficulty of assembling many faction models. Thus, when fewer people played them and they went through big changes, well… of course they’re rare to see as a faction. That said, they have some representation in WTC lists, so at least some of the world’s top players are confident in them. It may be time to at least see what they can offer.
With the WTC data released, we’ve got good data on the trends in preferred Warlocks. The four top appearances are Rasheth, Xerxis, Hexeris2, and Naaresh. There were a few others represented as well, but in smaller numbers than these four. Rasheth is no surprise, as he’s quite a solid Warlock that can be run with a variety of models and battlegroups. And the others are all solid enough in their own right. That said, two other Warlocks that were taken rarely in the WTC might be worth a second look to see what they could add in a pairing.
Second Look: Master Tormentor Morghoul
He just wants a big hug.
First off, I think that the Mark II starter box warcasters and warlocks are often overlooked–at least the solid ones. And Morghoul1 is no exception. He was and is a solid warlock that opens up some fun options. In particular, his feat can be very nasty. Two big uses: first, to blunt the enemy’s alpha strike by limiting what their warjacks or warbeasts can get done beyond their initial attacks, and second, to manufacture an assassination run against Hordes warlocks. Being able to stop transfers can be huge, but you’ve got to manufacture your own luck with this somewhat (eliminate warbeasts that run on the wings so they all can be caught in the area when you do make the attempt). Morghoul1 also gained Steady, so his defenses are much stronger. Combine with the right animi, and he can weather some enemy attempts as well as many other Warlocks are able to. His spell list isn’t overwhelming, but Admonition can be a solid piece trade starter, and Abuse can engineer some surprising long range strikes. Because he doesn’t really do anything for models outside of his Battlegroup, including self-sufficient infantry with him seems like the right move to make. Because he can ask a very tough question of Hordes forces, perhaps that alone is worth inclusion in a two-list pairing. That could allow placing the right anti-Warmachine tech into your other list with a caster like Xerxis, Naaresh, or Rasheth. Again, not a dominant caster per se, but worth a second look at the very least.
Second Look: Void Seer Mordikaar
“In brightest day… in blackest night, I intend to do evil under my lanterns’ light”
Yeah, appeared a bit in WTC pairings, and given how relatively few teams fielded a Skorne player, he actually wasn’t all that under-represented. That said, the internet being the internet, focus will be heaped on those casters that appeared in lots of lists. Despite the scarce-ness of Skorne, Mordkiaar is worth a consideration at least, as he brings some serious upsides to his force. The big one for me is his Host of Shadows spell. Giving Ghostly to the entire Battlegroup enables some unexpected routes for your advance. With the new recommendations for tournament terrain placement, a traditionally slow force that can ignore all intervening terrain suddenly gets a lot nastier. Mordikaar also comes with some defined synergies with other models. He gives Void Spirits the ability to take another swing, and allows Despoiler to make new Void Spirit models. That latter ability is nasty enough alone that once you explain it to your foe, you’ll know that they’re going to direct a lot of energy to make sure the Despoiler never gets to activate it. Knowing where your opponent is likely to direct their force is not a bad problem to have. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of Mordikaar’s essence blast to catch foes napping. It can hit like a truck if you are willing to sacrifice larger points models. Finally, he’s got a defensive buff feat, a means to collect souls while denying them to others, and a way to increase the Fury of Focus cost of enemy spells. I’m puzzled why he isn’t seeing more mention, but I think he’s at least deserving of a second look by Skorne players (and anyone considering trying out the faction).
~ So how do Morghoul1 and/or Mordikaar do when you give them a second look? Do they offer enough that they’re worth taking instead of the current “consensus choice” warlocks in Skorne? Could they be a solid half of a pairing? Do they ask a question of opponents’ lists that’s worth another round of consideration?
And if you haven’t seen it lately (or ever), take a second look at Chalkboard’s Warmachine and Hordes blog at: