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Warmachine: Journeyman League- Upwards & Onwards

4 Minute Read
Nov 17 2011

As my small Skorne force continues to grow, I took the opportunity to give them a run through four rounds of tournament play.  The stress of competitive play will teach you more about your army than any amount of theory.

The Journeyman League provides a great opportunity to build up a new army to 35 points in less than two months. That opportunity also brings the challenge of knowing how to grow. As with most miniature wargames, your WarmaHorde army will perform better if the units complement each other on the battlefield. Skorne takes that concept even further due to the factions’ reliance on internal synergies and buffs to turn average units into unstoppable forces of destruction. I’ve read through the Skorne Forces book, looked at numerous tactical forum posts, swapped ideas with other players, and built dozens of lists in my head (and on iBodger).  Despite all of the intellectual effort, you’ll never really know how an army plays until you get it on the tabletop. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to take my new faction out for a spin at a recent 35 point tournament.

I looked at the tournament as an opportunity to test out some of the ideas whirling around in my head.  I hadn’t played more than 25 points in casual games, and that only once. I am also limited by the models I currently own, so while I may like the idea of Venator Reivers, they’re simply not an option for now.  The tournament format was this: 35 points, 1 list, 30 minute deathclock, killbox as the only scenario.

My List:
pMorghoul (+7 Beast points)
Cyclops Savage 5
Cyclops Savage 5
Titan Gladiator 8
Titan Sentry 9
Aptimus Marketh 3
Tyrant Rhadeim 5
6 Nihilators 5
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers 2

The Tournament
For those unfamiliar with the term, deathclock means that each player has only 30 minutes for the entire game. You use a chessclock to track your time, if you run over 30 minutes, you automatically lose. This means you’ve got to know your model stats and be quick on your tactics. Since I’d never fielded many of the models I was taking to the event, I knew I was already playing at a severe disadvantage.  I also knew going in that the list was all melee, at would be at a severe disadvantage against any force which could cripple my movement (pHaley), or which could cripple me at range. Still, I’ve always believed you never learn your army better than when you play it against its worst matchup and learn to minimize your disadvantages, so on I went.

The event was four rounds. I faced Trollbloods twice (Grissel, and Grim Angus), and Cryx twice (eSkarre, and then Terminous). I lost the first game by running out of time, an acceptable outcome considering I’d never used 1/2 of my units before the event. After that, I went 3-0, though I admit I would have lost to e-Skarre but for the time limits. Here’s what I learned about the army and how it’s affecting my build-out.

Lessons Learned
1) Morghoul’s small control range encourages me to put him up front so that I can really throw the Warbeasts out there to do the killing. The problem is that although Morghoul’s DEF 17 is great, it’s not good enough to really keep him safe against a determined opponent. Blasts, slams, knockdown effects, even boosted attack rolls can all hit him. Once Morghoul starts taking hits, his very low ARM means he’ll drop pretty fast. Once standard counter would be to camp Fury to allow for damage transfers. Sounds nice, but that means you’ll only be casting Abuse once per turn, and it’s too good of a spell not to use. The tension between being able to launch a Warbeast 15″, and still keep it in Morghoul’s control area to boost feels like the major challenge of running Morghoul, and it’s still not something I feel totally comfortable with.

2) Rhadeim is awesome.  Rhadeim fills a gap this list desperately needed, the ability to act as a wide ranging solo hunter, and threat who doesn’t require Fury. The key on him is to point him at the correct target. When I didn’t, he died fairly quickly and without doing much of anything. When I did, he took out part of the Withershadow Combine, and landed a nice blow on Terminous during my assassination run.

3) The support solo’s and units are key to the force. The extra Fury management allowed by Marketh is almost necessary on a low Fury caster like Morghoul. The Paingiver’s do the same for the Warbeasts. My toughest game was against Caldera, where he purposefully went after my support models early. If you find yourself facing a Skorne force, I would advise doing the same.

Going forward, I’m actually pretty happy with the list. The Sentry performed very well, but I could still see changing it out for a second Gladitator and upping the Paingivers to a full unit. Alternatively, I’m thinking of swapping it for a Titan Cannoneer for a little ranged support at the same point cost.

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