Thinking outside the kill Box! Part 1
Looking for love in all the wrong places
So this year, as mentioned previously I’ve gone back to Skorne. I thought RET had it bad when I was playing them, and that Skorne were sitting on easy street, that it would be a blast to get in there and just wreck things with elephants!
Boy was I wrong!!
So far this year I’ve played Skorne at one major con here down under (Cancon), where I performed quite abysmally. I’d taken the Supreme Aptimus and the Lord Arbiter hoping to do well with them and rather than stomping around like bulls on parade I realised that Skorne suffers from a whole host of problems that are uniquely different to the ones facing RET. The sense of humility and appreciation that this ‘slap of the wave’ provided was most refreshing. I remember playing RET and thinking that they had it so tough and everyone else was playing easy mode – insight of this renewed perspective is very enlightening, and I’d recommend anyone trying it.
Perhaps it’s the post colossal meta-shift, or perhaps it’s my lack of contemporary experience with them but the Skorne weren’t cutting the mustard for me. Neither beast heavy Hexeris, or tiered Zaal were achieving what I’d thought was easily in their grasp. Of the nine games I played with them, I found that two of them were lost to grievous wounds, two were lost to misjudging threat ranges, and the last one I was playing too aggressively and not holding enough fury on my warlock.
I also found that in general my lists weren’t doing what I needed too; Titans all too often were being marginalised and killed without being able to effectively participate in the game. My infantry was being munched or bogged down by superior options and in general the lack of range was really hurting me. Suffice to say my skill at Skorne had deteriorated over the last three years playing RET, and a big portion of this was list design.
Having thought about this quite a bit in the last month I’ve come to the conclusion that a near drastic shift in design principles is required, a Jerry McGuire moment if you will. In my search I’ve come to the following conclusions.
- Firstly that some kind of ranged solution is near mandatory to apply even nominal pressure before melee lines crash or afterwards to help erode the opposing support base.
- Secondly, due to the general meta shift and trend I’m seeing of being swarmed by chaff with defensive traits (tough, high def/arm etc.) and recursive mechanics some kind of advanced removal tools are essential (Grievous, Take Down, RFP mechanics)
- Since armour cracking is near ubiquitous, having a strategy that relies on the delivery of multiple slow armour pieces appears to be flawed.
- Feats that have no impact on the enemy and are simple numeric buffs to one stat or another are boring and kind of passé; there are only 3 Skorne feats that don’t fall into this archetype (PMorghul, PMakeda, PHexeris)
So all that being said what are the solutions to this problem that I’ve come up with? In consultation with (Delrogue) David Potts, I’ve come up with a list that I feel addresses the majority of the above problems. Epic Morghul is a list that I’ve been tailoring primarily to solve the tough dilemma, as well as a lot of associated issues. The list has been refined since its initial conception and I’m very comfortable how it currently stands.
Whilst it doesn’t have any ranged pieces it does have some very fast and aggressive flanking elements that can quickly and efficiently dispatch enemy support. It has the tools to effectively counter tough troops and recursion meaning that the odds of being stymied by double running tough troops is considerably lower. Its composition is a lot lighter and more agile giving it some diversity away from bricking. Morghul’s feat is extremely mediocre (a minor stat buff and a marginal passive ability), and his other traits hopefully make up for it. So far the list has performed quite well and after several tweaks it’s now at a point that I’m very comfortable with it performing it’s given role; the problem is I have no idea what to partner it with!
So far I’ve tried EMakeda, Xerxis, Rasheth and Naaresh and so far they’ve all disappointed me somewhat. With Rasheth I don’t have all the tools to utilise him full I think, Xerxis is proving too slow and the enemy has jammed the field and scored before his block has had time to break through and get to the objectives. Makeda has the speed and agility to get to the centre but once there has no depth to back it up with. Naaresh on the other hand seemed to offer something very interesting in Lamentation – especially given 5/12 scenarios are kill box this season yet in practise was unable to capitalise because personally he is unable to do any heavy lifting.
Ideally, as Morghul is predominately there to threaten and assassinate rather than hold ground and win out on Scenario my other list wants to be scenario focused and have the resilience to maintain positions whilst having the diversity to overcome focused fire armour cracking.
In order to achieve this ‘DefWard’ casters (Xerxis, PMakeda, and by proxy EHexeris and Naaresh) come to mind. Ideally a solid defensive buff to help the mainstay of your army survive and force the enemy to over commit, or fail their attacks.
Secondly some kind of mass infantry clearing tools are required in order to prevent the enemy from gumming you outside the scoring features. Traditional tools here include the Nihlators and high impact pieces like Molik or A2A in order to provide infantry removal. Since Morghul can deal with excesses of tough this list is going to focus alternatively on volume of attacks and removal. Straight up both PMakeda and EHexeris help to overcome the accuracy problem allowing a greater number of successful attacks. EHexeris does this in a more user friendly fashion, however requires landing a spell on the target whereas Makeda is faction locked and restricted to melee but tags all enemies within CA.
A ranged element to the list (outside of EHexeris) will likely have to come from other elements than the caster, so that is something that will need to be covered. At this point I’m leaning to a raiders and an extoller. Between the two of them they can effectively scalpel out a lot of important targets from quite far away. Having the ability to ignore stealth is also quite strong for this role, possibly a drake as well for the mass coverage that the spray 8 provides.
As the Morghul list doesn’t provide a great deal of general armour cracking that is something that is going to have to be covered in this list. Ultimately Xerxis or Zaal are the front runners here, however, since they don’t meet the other design criteria that is something that will have to be covered by the other pieces. At this point any of the available heavies with enrage can have a fair go at most armour outside of massive buffs and hopefully the ranged pieces mentioned earlier will be able to help in this regard.
At the moment I’ve settled on either PMakeda or EHexeris. They are both able to cover the fundamentals of what I want and do it in surprisingly different ways.
I’m going to tackle them next in part 2, and come to a decision on whom to partner Morghul with.
This coming weekend is the Brisbane super series qualifier and I’m hoping to do well, although that might depend on coming up with a decent second list.
Cheers and thanks for reading