We’ve got a lot of new toys in the recent Hordes: Forces of Skorne book. A new Warlock, a new heavy Warbeast, several solos, and several units and unit attachments.
There’s way too much to get into detailed tactics in this short space, but we can at least go over the basics.
- Dominar Rasheth– This is the new Warlock for the faction, and he’s a big guy on a large base. He rides around on a palanquin carried by three Agonizer titans. Stat-wise, he’s definitely a caster’s caster. 8 fury, with low defense and armor and a large base will have a lot of players wondering how they’ll keep him alive at all. He does have some defensive buffs to aid him. #1, he has the same number of damage boxes as the Butcher. #2, attackers roll one less damage die when hitting him with ranged attacks. #3, once per turn he can sacrifice one of his own warrior models to effectively “arc” a spell. #4, he has a cheap spell that takes away enemy Arcnodes in his control area. This means you’ve got a Warlock who can sit 10″-14″ back from the front lines, be entirely safe from Arcnoded spells, and fairly secure from shooting attacks, all while zapping the enemy from afar and letting his infantry do most of the heavy front-line work. I foresee Cyclops Brutes and Titan Cannoneers doing well with him simply because they can stay back and either protect him in one case, and provide ranged support to the army in the other.
- Titan Sentry– This is the new heavy Warbeast. The model has actually been available for some time now, and so the rules aren’t exactly a surprise. Still, it’s a good bet not everyone reading this has faced one on the tabletop. It’s a heavy warbeast for the same cheap cost as a Khador Destroyer, or one point less than the Bronzeback Titan. It’s a typical heavy with a shield and melee attack, however one P+S 15, one P+S 16 with reach, and one P+S 13 attack give this baddie a higher damage output compared to most other heavies with similar loadouts. The defense is typical for a Skorne Titan, but Set Defense and ARM21 make this guy very resistant to damage. Put subdual on a nearby Titan Cannoneer or some of the buffs from an Agonizer, and you’ve got a Warbeast that will be very, very tough to take out in just one turn. The Animus is similar to that of Menoths Avatar, potentially forcing your opponent to move into the teeth of your force. This is a great beast that I bet will see a lot of use amongst some players.
- Nihilators– A new melee unit with a point cost the same as that of most typical “standard” infantry in the game. The defense and armor stats aren’t great, but Tough, Berzerk, and a reach weapon with P+S 12 means these guys are great at taking down enemy infantry and light Warjacks/Warbeasts. Good speed for a Skorne army lets them get where they want to go, and provides a nice threat range. When you stack their abilities with some of the readily-available buffs such as Makeda’s Carnage, or Xerxis’ Feat, you have a unit that can be a real threat to anything in the game. An FA of 2 means you could have 20 insane guys with Tough running towards your opponents’ lines, and that’s not something to be sniffed at, even without the buffs. This is one of those units that supports a more open, mobile type of playstyle than many Skorne players are used to. Don’t expect to see these in every list, since some people won’t be able to get past their “low” stats, or who run Warlocks that don’t support infantry all that well, but I suspect that this unit will develop a group of followers who will absolutely love them.
- Tyrant Vorkesh– He’s the first Cataphract Cetrati unit attachment for the Skorne. He’s got standard Cetrati stats, with a little higher MAT and STR and 8 damage boxes. He’s got cleave, blessed (ignores all spell effects that add to DEF & ARM on target) and weapon master on his nice reach weapon, and makes the unit he joins be 100% immune to targeting by ALL spells. This is both good and bad. It means you’ll have an ARM 20 multi-wound wall moving across the field that’s immune to spell effects, but it also means you can’t put your own buffing spells onto the unit. Feats and aura effects still work on the unit, so Makeda users can relax. He also grants precision strike to the unit, letting them choose the column they damage against Warjacks and Warbeasts. This is another one who won’t see use in every list, but can work very well with some army builds. Technically, this model does not have shield wall, and I wonder if that will be errata’d in.
- Venator Reiver Unit Attachment– I really like these guys. The Reiver’s have never been overly popular amongst Skorne players, but this UA may go some ways towards changing that. Personally, I’ve always thought a RNG12, POW10 ranged unit with CRA to be a great asset, especially in an army that tends to brick up and advance more slowly across the field. This UA is among the cheaper UA’s available, allows the Reiver unit to move a further 3″ after their activations, and allows them once per game to add +4 RNG to their guns. The standard bearer helps with those re-rolls. So you’ve now got a unit that can move 6″, shoot 12″, and then back up 3″ to safer territory. On one turn per game, they’ve got a 22″ threat range. How often would 5 RAT 7 POW12 CRA’s from 16″ away come in handy? I love these guys.
- Reiver Flayer Cannon Artillery– A 14″ gun with P+S 12 and d3 strafe shots with bonuses of +1 or +2 against medium and large bases respectively is nice, but list specific. An average of 2 P+S 14 shots against a large target normally won’t be enough to damage it. Heck, most heavy Warjacks and Warbeasts will be sitting on ARM 19 or 20, meaning you’ll only do 2-3 points of damage. This artillery piece is really designed to take out medium non-shield walled infantry. The question will become- do you need that capability or not. Personally, I don’t, since I have other units in my list which can do that same job. I could see infantry-heavy lists with lots of Pretorian units doing well with this model,
- Aptimus Marketh Extoller Solo– Beautiful. This is a Warlock attachment for the Skorne and the first true Warlock attachment in Hordes. The model can collect soul tokens in the same manner as other Extoller’s, but this one can also cast a 3 Fury spell of its attached Warlock as a star action. Now, I know what you’re thinking, how awesome that is and how Xerxis and Hexeris are going to love him, but it has a catch, since spells with a RNG of Self or CTRL aren’t eligible. That means this guy will do well with someone like Rasheth (can you say free Breath of Corruption), or Zaal, or Mordikaar, in short, casters with attack spells and/or debuffs. He can still upkeep his Warlocks’ spells by spending a soul token, but that requires him to be farther front and be more exposed to enemy attention. What he does lose out on compared to other is the granting of ghost sight to friendly units, so he won’t completely replace Extollers in every list.
- Paingiver Task Master– This is an interesting solo, and really, the first of its kind in Hordes or even Warmachine. We’re all used to models that support their own faction, but this is a faction model specifically for helping out Minions in the list. That doesn’t really exist elsewhere in the game. He has several cool abilites: he prevents minions in his CMD range from being knocked down, he can grant a Minion model/unit +2 STR, and he can grant a Minion model/unit Fearless and Tough. Imagine that +2 STR on a unit like Gatormen, which already get damage bonuses against living models, or +2 STR or Tough on a unit of Bog Trog Ambushers flanking in from behind your opponents’ lines. If you’re a regular Minion user, you’ll really enjoy having this guy in your lists.
- Hakaar the Destroyer, Ancestral Guardian Solo- Ok, this is the one many of you were probably waiting for. He’s a soul-posessed obsidian statue with two giant swords. Cool! He’s a little more expensive than other Ancestral Guardians, with the same overall statline excepting a crazy MAT of 9. He also adds +1 to his ARM for every soul token on him, has a form of Vengeance that lets him move and make an attack when friendly models nearby are killed, and cannot be knocked down. Those giant swords are P+S 13 with reach and magical attacks, and he can heal damage to himself after he kills a living enemy model. He can also do a single combo strike if the situation calls for it. What hurts is the lack of any movement bonus, as other Ancestral Guardians have. He also doesn’t grant bonuses to nearby Immortal units. I like him a lot, if only for his look and backstory, and I’ll definitely be fielding him often. With someone like Zaal, if you can meet the Tier 2 requirements, he’ll be Advanced Deploying, overcoming some of those speed issues. And don’t get me wrong, SPD 4 with reach still gives him a melee threat range just 1/2 inch less than any non-reach SPD 6 models in the game.
Those are the goods, my friends. I’m new enough to the faction that I can’t claim to have discovered all the possible synergies that exist. Still, I hope I’ve given you a little insight into all the new stuff and how you might use them yourselves, or have them used against you. Have at it folks!