A Study in Purple

Greetings, and welcome to this the first installment of A Study in Purple; an article I will use to ramble on about whatever happens to cross my mind.

 

Speaking of, my name is Keith Christianson. I am a relatively new devotee to wargaming in general and to Warmachine in particular. I picked up the Witch Coven and Deneghra1 just as Mark I was coming to a close. Even in that rather volatile environment, with all the rampant power creep of Legends and Metamorphosis , I still fell in love with the game almost instantly. Having Skarre and Bane Knights helped me through the rough patches. My primary faction, for as long as I’ve played, has been Cryx. But along the way Trolls, Mercenaries, and even some Swans have found their way into my collection. I am first and foremost a competitive player and have a solid track record to show for my efforts. I eagerly await every new release for any of my factions. I can’t wait for my next weekend off to coincide with a tournament. I love this game.

 

Today I’m going to take a look at a Cryx caster who has become a particular favorite of mine. She is generally considered to be in the middle of the pack when the stable of Cryxian Warcasters is taken as a whole. Which makes her only slightly better than any caster any other faction could hope for (sarcasm containing a grain of truth). But as I see it she deserves a spot right up near the top of the list. She solves defense, she solves armor, and she can get the job done herself.

 

Pirate Queen Skarre

 

Skarre is a top notch infantry support caster. She plays more aggressively than other non-Terminus Cryx Warcasters. Sometimes she gets killed as a result. But she has all the tools to survive and win the game if you play her correctly.

 

Skarre Herself: Stats, Weapons, Abilities

Skarre has a solid defensive stat line, totaling the standard 31 for a Cryxian Warcaster. Her higher defense gives her some security from non-boosted range attacks. But too much accurate shooting across the table can still be a problem. Skarre is a melee powerhouse. She has focus to spend, a knockdown attack, and a high power weapon with the option to roll 4 dice of damage. If her feat is still live she can solo most any model in the game. Even without reach, or threat range boosts outside of her high speed, she has some credible assassination tries.

 

Leading an Army: Spells and Feat

Her focus value 6, is low for Cryx but that, of course, is a deceptive value. 6+1d6 is the amount of focus she will have to spend thanks to Ritual Sacrifice. What her focus value does mean is that to effectively make use of her best spell and her feat she needs to be further forward. More on that later. Dark Guidance is the breadwinner of her spells. Three dice on melee attack rolls solves a lot of problems. It provides a huge amount of reliability in planning and executing your turn. It makes some models, that are average or below, turn into unstoppable killers. Mechanithralls can swat down Nyss Hunters. Blood Witches can reasonably hit Kayazy with Iron Flesh. It makes warjacks extremely focus efficient as well; the only reason not to include more in her lists is she often needs to camp the focus. The spell lends serious credibility to any assassination attempt.

 

The rest of her spell list is situational. If you play Satyixs Raiders, Backlash can win a game here and there. Hellfire is good spot removal or very rarely, an assassination tool. Blood Rain is a decent AoE. Causing corrosion is a nice perk for removing things like Zealots under Greater Destiny.

 

More important than knowing when to cast her spells, is knowing when not to. Being able to recognize when an extra 4 armor will save Skarre from assassination is the key to winning games with her. It is 100% OK to miss an attack or 3 if the alternative is losing the game.

 

Supporting Cast: Models of Note

The Skarlock is the model above all others Skarre wants on her team. It performs one, and only one, crucial task. The Skarlock casts Ritual Sacrifice every turn giving the Pirate Queen her additional d6 focus. Skarlock is the no-brainer.

 

Necrosurgeon(s) perform double duty in a standard Skarre list. They do their normal schtick keeping the undead horde fully stocked with Mechanithralls (perfect targets for Ritual Sacrifice); and they heal Skarre. She’s guaranteed to take at least 5 damage every game. So the surgeons will have plenty to do. I almost always will run 2.

 

Keeping Skarre alive is the name of the game. Her primary tool for survival is camping her focus. So there are 2 models that she truly fears. They are both named Eiryss. Unfortunately Cryx does not have any in-faction options for shield guards. Luckily the Ogrun Bokur fills that role fairly admirably. I strongly recommend bringing one and I’m not against bringing two.

 

General Gerlak Slaughterborn is like a little kid playing in the sprinkler when Skarre taps him in to play. Three dice to his attack rolls combined with a potential P+S of 18 make him extremely dangerous to any unit of infantry. He isn’t required to play, but he won’t be bringing your list down.

 

Bring along some cheap chaff for Ritual Sacrifice. I usually sport Mechanithralls, but Scrap Thralls work well also. Alternatively if you are not running Mechanithralls but still want to bring a surgeon to keep Skarre healthy you have a use for those Stitch Thralls.

 

Beyond that Skarre can make anything work. Build your list to taste. My theory has always been that she makes any model good. Given that any model she brings is good, why would I want to pay for expensive models? Mechanithralls and Blood Witches feature prominently.

 

Sample Lists
Pirate Queen Skarre (*6pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Satyxis Blood Hag (2pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
General Gerlak Slaughterborn (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Ogrun Bokur (3pts)
Ogrun Bokur (3pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

 

This is what I would call a standard Skarre list. It is highly attrition focused, fast and flexible. The high volume of living models and the Necrosurgeons lend it some staying power.

 

Pirate Queen Skarre (*6pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Satyxis Blood Hag (2pts)
Soulhunters (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Darragh Wrathe (4pts)
General Gerlak Slaughterborn (3pts)
Ogrun Bokur (3pts)

 

This is my more “experimental” Skarre list. It has a heavy focus on assassination. The Soulhunters are extremely dangerous to casters. Darragh Wraith grants them incorporeal and Death Ride gives them an effective threat range of 14″. Dark Guidance gives them odds to hit defense scores approaching 20. And the feat gives them the power to take down a hard target. The Helldiver applies a lot of pressure; he can’t be stopped from moving up the field and he is going to take a chunk out of something valuable on the feat turn. Blood Witches and Blackbane’s plant a huge incorporeal footprint on the table that some lists will not be able to manage. The list is very fast and I’ve had good success with it thus far, both controlling scenario points and killing casters.

 

That’s my take on Skarre1 the Pirate Queen. She brings a lot to the table; raw power and versatility in play style and list construction. She supports her army masterfully and still has the stones to finish the job herself. On top of all that she’s got to be one of the most fun Cryx casters to play.

 

Until next time,

 

KC

Author: sepher32

Keith wears a purple shirt. He's one of the regular hosts on the Muse on Minis podcast. He plays Cryx. Keith is from Madison, WI.

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