Perusing the Skorne lineup of Warlocks really shows up the breadth of the faction. Yup! We do it all. We got the ARM, we got the power, the souls, the revives, the speed, the ghostly… you name it and somebody in the Skorne lineup can make a go of it.
I’ve been slowly working my way through them. So after playing against a wide variety of factions, what better place to put my thoughts in order than on a blog!Master Tormentor Morghoul
Master Tormentor Morghoul (from the Skorne Warpack fame) does not bring a long spell list with him. Furthermore one of his three spells rarely gets cast! Sporting only 5 Fury and dishing out speed boosts to beasts, he teaches a very hard lesson in control area.
As I moved up to adding units and fielding 25 points then 35 and in more recent months 50 points, I found my ability to successfully field the old Warpack caster diminished. To this day he remains the caster with whom I struggle the most at higher point levels.
Whether it be Bane spam from Cryx, armor piercing, or tar pits in my face, I really struggle to play beast-heavy lists. With Admonition being an upkeep and most likely one or two Abuse’d beasts, most of a list with the Master Tormentor are on their own.
Ultimately I feel he pays a heavy price for being an assassin, and I struggle to deliver him in one piece across the field so he himself can contribute to the battle.Xerxis
Since I was trying to keep costs down but also expand into higher point games, I decided a good solid option would be to purchase a full unit of Cataphract Cetrati. Xerxis was the logical next step for this unit.
I’ll give it to you straight: Xerxis has been a solid Warlock for me since the get-go. From 25 point through 50, I enjoy playing him.
Throw in the Basilisk Krea, and he’s an incredibly tough nut to crack.
Despite my unexpected successes in playing him, he also suffers from a very low Fury stat. Luckily Morghoul is a very good teacher for keeping those beasts within control range!
A large downside is that a solid brick really has no effective answers for the flanks. Whether it be pesky solo’s (hello Pistol Wraiths!) or a scenario with spread out objectives, his forces can be out-maneuvered fairly easily.
I’ve taken to adding Void Spirits or a Feralgeist to my Xerxis lists either to cause some interruption on the flanks (in the case of the former) or contest zones (for the latter).
I do recommend Xerxis to any new Skorne player expanding his forces. His playstyle is different in many ways, and similar in others to what one begins with.Supreme Archdomina Makeda
In the early days I did a lot of reading. New player guides and slow-grow suggestions were very informative. There are many times where a new player does not immediately see the strength in a model, and may very well pass it up.
This almost happened. With many games being against Khador, I was drawn to the raw P+S for every model I considered. That and its survivability. So it was no surprise when a heavy with lower P+S weapons and side-step went unnoticed.
Yup. I discounted Molik Karn.
However it was really a very uncommon (for me) impulse buy which brought him to my army. Knowing that Makeda was a good choice for him, I grabbed her epic form shortly after.
It requires a very different way of thinking about attack vectors, and actually a different approach to playing if one looks at the Karn/Makeda combo compared to the aforementioned Xerxis/Morghoul/Titan combo’s.
The really nice thing about Makeda is that you get to feel really fast. Her entire list gets up the field unexpectedly quickly. Add in some really nice movement shenanigans and ignoring free strikes on feat turn…
I suspect that many, like myself, will become attached to ‘locks other than Makeda. However I have had more caster kills with her and Molik Karn than the other ‘locks I use. She is worth picking up as is Molik Karn.
If you are playing Skorne, just do it. If you’re like me and find yourself losing the attrition game often, and being out-manoeuvred, she can give you that last ditch assassination and a few wins to bolster your confidence.Void Seer Mordikaar
Now here is a Warlock I love. I am not a person who is usually into fluff. I am all about the game, the rules, the probabilities and rarely into the backstory. However, I make an exception for this gentleman.
While most of the Skorne fluff was speed-read, I savored every bit about the Void Seer’s story. If I ever won the option to choose the next caster for Privateer Press to make epic, Mordikaar would be it!
His spell list is awesome. No, he doesn’t make things hit better, stronger, or more often. He does, however, have quite a number of spells. What’s more is they all come into play! It’s a veritable toolbox of options, and soul tokens! Oh yes! Sitting on a bunch of fury surveying Revive and Essence Blast possibilities gives me the feeling of being tricksy.
In short, I find him to be incredibly fun to play.
While many people do not include Aptimus Marketh with him, I see him really losing a lot of flexibility without Marketh. It seems any assassination attempt with Mordikaar just gets so much better when Marketh can provide the Ghostly and Mordy follows through with an Essence Blast should the target still have a health box or two left.
My general rule of thumb is “where is there is free-strike immunity, there should be an Archidon”. Almost every assassination opportunity I have had with this Warlock has involved sending a ghostly Archidon across enemy lines. This is not to say you’re looking to assassinate, but rather that the presence of an Archidon in his list always provides this considerable threat while Mordikaar out-attritions his opponent.
I get the feeling that his ideal list really begins to deviate from what a player has likely purchased thus far if they have traveled the same route I have (navigating all the guides online). So if you’re willing to check out Vassal (there is some irony that it rhymes with hassle) then give Mordikaar a go through pushing pixels around first. Pushing real models around can hurt if you feel they’re not working out for you, and you’d rather have purchased something else.
This guy has been a fairly recent addition to my forces. I have played the fewest number of games with him.
The golden ticket he holds which gets him into games is most notably Black Spot. Now I love this spell, like I’m sure most Skorne players do. However its the tricky rules interactions which grate my cheese.
Not many people know that the bonus attack granted must be of the same type as the attack which led to the target being destroyed. Furthermore it’s interaction with a unit doing CRA’s requires quite the bookkeeping.
In short; it’s a great spell but really has many odd interactions which have been mostly errata’d and explained on the Privateer Press rules forums only.
The other spell he is known for is Ashes to Ashes. I really have a love/hate relationship with this spell. After first reading his feat, it does seem designed to let you pump out this spell once or twice (depending on how much else you had to do on the turn).
Now I am already rolling to hit and I’m going to be rolling fairly low-pow damage rolls. So when I’m needing to roll for number of targets hit, it really sets the scene for games where a lot of fury gets spent and very little changes on the table
Still I can see why he is commonly mentioned as a tournament worthy Warlock for Skorne. He brings defensive tech (Ashen Veil), punishes magic attacks (Arcane Reckoning), brings the anti-infantry and can remain at distance while doing so.The Others
I’ve had some proxy games with the other ‘locks excluding Supreme Aptimus Zaal. While I will inevitably pick them all up, they all gave me pause when considering them early on in my Hordes collecting.
In some cases this has been due to the distance between what I own model-wise and the lists I would ideally run with them. In other cases because my early assessment was that the ‘locks I now own have fewer poor match-ups.
For newer players enjoying the journey with this faction I think it’s important not to go too crazy on warlock ADD. Every Warlock comes with a set of special rules over and above their spell list. It only makes sense that a player should play sufficient games with a Warlock to remember and apply the full set of abilities before making a call on whether the Warlock is working out for them or not.
Additionally as a player gains more experience and familiarity with the game, that acquired knowledge shifts the balance of power. Models which previously did not perform can become vital tools in a list. For this reason I think it’s also good to not put any Warlock away for too long – bust them out for some casual games periodically. I suspect the biggest issue for most people is that they are in the same boat I am – unable to play as often as they would like!