How to start? All-in-One or Tailor-your-Own?
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, and I am a longtime Skorne player. I got really excited with the new errata, as I wanted to try out a lot of the changes (now to just finish up this Ret project I’m working on). And I’ve noticed that there is some excitement for the faction among other players post-errata. So I thought, what better than an article or two on how to start Skorne effectively?
Right now, Warmachine and Hordes players that want to start Skorne have a couple of paths that lead into collecting the faction. They can choose the brand-new All-in-One Skorne army box, or they can assemble their own initial list(s) piecemeal. Both are fair ways to enter the faction, so I wanted to review the pros and cons of both in turn.
Fear not, dauntless Skorne-inclined Warmachine and Hordes players. One of these options will be the right one for you to get started.
Pros of the All-in-One
The starting benefit of the All-in-One is financial. It’s relatively good savings over procuring each of the elements in the box on their own. That said, it’s also a good army in its own right. Of the four All-in-Ones that have been released thus far, I believe Skorne’s is the best overall list. It has cannon fodder, troop removal, sturdy heavies, excellent layer buffs, and Makeda1 as the warlock. Makeda1 has undergone a very solid set of changes, which have rehabilitated the her place within the faction. Her ability to protect beasts on the approach with Shield Guards galore. The new version of The Lash lets her speed up nearby Beasts. A buff spell for defense and speed. And she has an effective MAT fixer for her force. With the Jackhammer spell to lay real waste to a target, Makeda1 can do it all. It’s a very tidy box, and with a couple of additions (Agonizer and Molik Karn) I think it can match up well against many lists.
Cons of the All-in-One
If the price point is low for you, that means that it will be perceived as low by a great number of players as well. My guess is that you’re going to see a whole lot of Makeda1 among Skorne players for a while. And while that makes me happy–as the more Skorne the better–I also worry about people getting sick of the repetition. Makeda1 is great post-errata, so starting with the All-in-One means that you’re getting what is perceived by many as a top Warlock for Skorne. For some, that can be a turn-off itself.
On the list side, I think Skorne does well with combined arms type forces: both shooting and melee. My worry about the All-in-One list is that it sells out to melee only, and adding in some ability to project force at range can only help. Orin Midwinter can do a little with chain lightning, but on the whole that means thinking about what to swap in in place of existing pieces if you want that element of gameplay.
Pros of a Tailor-your-Own
Why go with the list that lots of others will be starting from, when you can craft your own? The best part of choosing to start the faction in Tailor-your-Own fashion: going through every Warlock until you find the perfect one. There are some definite upsides to this decision, particularly in matching up your play style with the warlock you’ve chosen. It also enables you to buy selective models and double up if you want to. Perhaps you’re thinking of a Warlock who can use double-Venators effectively, or one to run ample Cataphracts. Tailor-your-Own helps you reach those points with minimal “wasted” effort.
Cons of a Tailor-your-Own
Again, I have to start with price. The savings on the All-in-One box will be pretty big chunk of change. Assembling your own force from scratch can be a recipe for larger payments. You can be subject to production delays as well, which means that you might not be able to take your force to a given event. The other disadvantage of Tailor-you-Own is that there is likely to be more experimentation with the force for a while. That can mean constantly revising your army lists and making all the more little adjustments. There’s a certain calm in knowing that you’re starting from a functional baseline thanks to the All-in-One.
So, Which Path?
I cannot tell you for certainty which choice is the best one. Honestly, if you’ve read thus far you should recognize that there are upsides and drawbacks to both modes of entry. If you’re tempted by Skorne, you’ve got to decide for yourself. At the end of the day, you’r the one playing the list so it should match your intentions and style as a player.
~ Are you thinking about starting Skorne since the errata? What path are you choosing? Have you already started collecting? Where are they at relative to the other factions in your mind? Share in the comments section below!
For some extended Skorne play, head to some prior months of Chalkboard’s Warmachine and Hordes blog at: