Hello! I have recently signed on as a contributor here on Hand Cannon Online. I am pretty excited about the year ahead, and I can tell you that Geist has some cool stuff planned.
It’s a funny story how I came to be here. I won’t retell it here because I think Omnus tells it fairly well in Removed From Play #20. Go take a listen – it’s a great podcast.
By way of introduction, I thought it would be great to write about my main faction from the perspective of a player ‘one year in’. When I was starting, I was really keen to see what experiences, frustrations and successes other players around my experience level were having. As it turns out, not a lot of people were blogging about Skorne. So I figured I’d fill the gapOne Year In: Skorne
It was November 2011 and a good friend of mine invited me over to play a tabletop war game he had been casually into. Now having been an avid gamer, and loving epic board games, I knew – deep down inside – that if ever I were to try one of those games it would spell the end of me.
True enough. We played a few 15 point games using his Khador/Mercs/Cygnar, and I tell you – the week following it was the only thing on my mind. So sure enough we got together again and played a few more.
My wife sees little to no value in miniatures and her first comments were “you are never going to waste money on that!”. However with my unabated passion for it, she relented and I purchased a Skorne Warpack second hand.
So it began.
With two new players and one very casual player who preferred the hobby side to game side, we met fairly regularly to make a pot plant an obstruction, coasters into forests and CD cases into hills.
The things players will do when they are desperate for a game.
Battles between Skorne, Cryx (the other new player), and Khador raged. We spent a little more to actually get up to 15 points fairly soon. With our games taking over an hour each, 35 or even 50 point matches looked to be for the insane!Present Day
During the intervening months, I have spent more on this hobby than I ever thought I would. I can comfortably field 35 point lists which I feel are fairly strong, and even stretch to 50 (although some unusual odds and ends make it in as filler at this point level).
Thankfully turn times have come down somewhat, and now 35 points play in the time it used to take me to finish a 15 point game
Unfortunately the friends I began the hobby with very rarely play, but I have become involved at a local store with a fantastic and varied meta.
I count myself as one of the masses. I would like to say I am a quick learner in this hobby, but its just not true. Partly I don’t get to play anywhere near as often as I would like, but the other part is not being as great a tactician on the battlefield as I would like.
So this article is going to be a few musings on Skorne, its play style and casters as I see the faction now with one year under my belt.Skorne
I’ll be honest here – the faction is an enigma in many ways. It’s synergies and tricks are not immediately apparent, and there is deceptively more to them than meets the eye for a new player.
This guy meets the eye of every player
I think the War Pack can skew a players impressions considerably. The natural ‘next best thing’ purchase path does not really move into the infantry combo’s which represent the non-beast-heavy side of Skorne. This also significantly reduces the effectiveness of the Warlocks we have which thrive off cheap infantry. Not to mention the soul collecting game available to Skorne which really lets us dole out a bit more punishment for the losses we’ve suffered.
With the more recent direction of the faction turning to an increased ranged game, it’s also no longer a given that seeing Skorne means melee. Certainly the ranged is not on a par with a more ranged oriented faction, but being able to splash AoE’s across the field en-mass while following up with eyeless-sighted snipe and CRA’s will catch a number of people off-guard.
In general I am really enjoying the faction. It has been a struggle though. Molik Karn and Makeda aside, in a game where neither player is familiar at all with the others list, it often feels that knowing about my opponents trick is more important than him knowing about my trick. This is just my personal impression, and likely many would disagree. Be that as it may, one thing that can be said is: Knowing your opponents models and tricks is always an important part of improving your game.
Skorne are very hard to describe because their game is so varied. A Morghoul list looks, plays and is so far from a Prime Makeda maximizing her feat with infantry that you’d almost be tempted to think you’re in a different faction. If it still felt ‘very melee-ish’, how about Hexy2 with full ranged compliment to make the most out of Black Spot?
As a player on a tighter budget, I found this to be slightly frustrating. I’ll admit being a bit envious of a friend who managed to have three solid lists all sharing the same dollars spent on a full unit of Bane Thralls with Tartarus, Withershadow Combine and Nightwretch! In the early days I tried varying my Warlock while using the same models I owned, and came up short fairly often (I’m talking performance on the table top here). However it is one of the draw-cards for the faction. Varied lists means everything has its place. Skorne is fairly low on chaff in its lineup, and I’m not sure this could be said for all factions.
Even today if I am stretching to 50 points, I often find I’m needing a bit of filler material which is not ideal for the list. My Cetrati make it into more lists than they should. They don’t seem to ever be a bad option as they always manage to be a presence on the table, but in lists where they are helping fill out the points they don’t help achieve the primary goal of the list.Critiques
With comparatively little experience under the belt, and not really running all the combo’s to put the faction through its paces, I am perhaps not in a good position to critique the faction. However, this is exactly as the title – my ‘one year in’ experiences. So I shall at least give my frustrations at this time!
Skorne don’t tend to bring toolboxes to the battlefield. Each piece really brings a solid role to the table, and this means we do get some great abilities. However this can come at a cost. This cost is two-fold. If a model’s key function is countered by the opposing line-up, not only is that particular synergy lost but the model doesn’t usually bring anything else able to make up for it’s point cost.
Once again I do find myself somewhat jealous of the Cryxian line-up. To try put it succinctly: I think the majority of their models still manage something worth some of their points even in their worst-case scenarios.
Additionally, I find anything asking me to bring Magical weaponry has a high likelihood of tripping me up. Outside of specific Warlocks, my access to them is really on the low end.
I’ll admit that there are a lot of times when feel the ‘my poor faction’ syndrome coming on. You know the one Its the one where:You feel your faction pays the cost of having Spell X, or Animus Y available to it. You feel your faction requires more specific positioning and finesse to make lists really hum. You feel your combo’s rely too heavily on too few dice rolls. The grass is always greener and your opponent’s feat just seems really brutal! The Year Ahead
So where does all this leave me? Well, still figuring out what Skorne are and what they can do!
In the next year I shall look to do a small expansion on the models I own, and hopefully flesh out some of my 50 point lists to be more ideal. I love Void Seer Mordikaar for his concept and spell list, but I really struggle to make him work. Partly this is because I think his ideal list really runs with multiples of models which would not see play in any other lists I run. Whether I want to make these my purchases is yet to be seen.
Painting is the black hole from which time cannot escape.
Secondly I am aiming to Play It Painted in 2013! I am an incredibly slow painter, and because of the lack of progress for hours spent I have really found it difficult to put the effort in. However slow and steady wins the race, or at least gets there eventually. You’ll never get there without all the steps in between. So every week I intend to paint something.
Thirdly I hope to contribute to Hand Cannon Online with Battle Reports and the like. I think the biggest components of any such endeavor are entertainment value and giving people something to take away and mull over. Perhaps I may have little of the latter, but at least I’ll give you the former!