Toruk to Tyrant – January Results and thoughts on Zaal

by Brian Giese

 

My year of playing skorne has ended its first full month. I managed to play 26 games in January and attend tournaments over two different weekends. In my previous post, I discussed my lists and how I performed at the Mayhem Cup in Iowa the first weekend of January.

 

Near the end of January I attended a small 8 player SR2012 Tournament in Madison WI. This event went very well for me, and I played Dominar Rasheth and continued to play more Void Seer Mordikaar.

List 1 – T4 theme force
Dominar Rasheth +5 points
* Bronzeback Titan 9 points
* Titan Gladiator 7 points
* Titan Sentry 8 points

2x Agonizer 2 points each
Farrow Slaughterhousers 6 points
5 Gatorman Posse 9 points
6 Nihilators 5 points
6 Paingiver Beast Handlers 3 points
2x Paingiver Task Master 2 points each
List 2

Void Seer Mordikaar +5 points
* Basilisk Krea 4 points
* Bronzeback Titan 10 points
* Titan Gladiator 8 points

10 Nihilators 8 points
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers 2 points
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer 3 points
Tyrant Rhadeim 5 points
10 Venator Reivers 9 points
* Venator Officer & Standard Bearer 2 points
2 Void Spirit 4 points

 

The Rasheth list was a ton of fun to play. Gatorman posse go up one flank, while Nihilators go up the other, and beasts up the middle with agonizer and Slaugherhousers following them. I played this list in 2 of my 3 games, and I could see playing this list a lot more this year.

Summary of Event
Round 1 – Rasheth vs E Baulder (Restoration) – This game went well early, as druids and the Circle battle wagon were not able to kill a single gatorman. The constructs and rest of the circle army duked it out in the middle zone for most of the game with my skorne. I slowly ground out the army while the circle player did his best to try to keep throwing my models out of the zone in hopes of winning at dice down. I finally was able to get enough models on his warcaster to finish off Bualder

Round 2 – Rasheth vs Carver – Formation of army was the same going down the field. I knew the warhogs would get the charge off on my army, so I popped zaals feat, and had the agonizer abilities up to give the war pigs -4 on damage the turn Carver popped his feat.. All my beasts survived, and my counter attack was good enough to clear off all the heavies on the field, and get ahead to win the game

Round 3 – Mordikaar vs Vayl – I needed banishing ward to make sure there were no craziness with Rampager. I managed to get ahead early. venators 2 rounds of combined CRA and 1 tyrant commander killed a Angelious. I am able to stay ahead while keeping Mordikarr hiding behind a building all game.

I did manage to win the event and got some shinny coins.. It was just an 8 man event, but it was nice to see my lists work. I have aslo modified my Mordikaar list because I really feel I need an extoller in it, so it now has 1 void spirit/1 extoller, otherwise it is the same as posted above.

Breakdown of games in January

  • Master Tormentor Morghoul – 7 total games (5 in events)
  • Void Seer Mordikaar – 4 total Games (3 in events)
  • Lord Tyrant Hexeris – 1 game (in an event)
  • Supreme Archdomina Makeda – 5 games (2 in events)
  • Supreme Aptimus Zaal – 5 games
  • Tyrant xerxis –  1 game
  • Dominar Rasheth  – 2 games (both in an event)
  • Lord Assassin Morghoul – 1 game

 

Since the event I have spent most of the last two weeks focusing on 1 specific caster. This leads me to the 2nd part of my article for this week.

Fun with Zaal

 

In Mk1 Zaal was one of my favorite casters. I enjoy his rules in MKII and I have been playing mostly with him over the last 2 weeks. Zaal has a lot of abilities and spells that makes him a lot of fun to play.

Here are some of the reasons I love Zaal

  • Great spell list – Hex Blast to remove annoying upkeeps. Inviolable Resolve is a decent armor buff, awakened spirit can come in handy for warbeats, and Last Stand is a key spell that will allow for some great damage output, and increase odds of assassination runs. Sunder Spirit is the final spell that has its uses, but I rarely have time to cast it.
  • Good standard abilities – Direct Spirits to determine where souls go is wonderful, and can negate enemy soul gathering abilities, while making sure Extollers and Ancestral Guardians are fully powered up.  Ghost sight is just a naturally good ability(Who needs to worry about LOS for making attacks, and ignoring cover is wonderful).  Soul Converter is just another way to get some early souls on Ancestral Guardians.   The ability to transfer damage to Ancestral Guardians is a nice extra ability, but I rarely use it.
  • Annihilating Gaze against hordes/living models is very powerful ability. This only has a RNG 8, and really shines against hordes, so its not something used every game, however it can be a game  changer.
  • Rage of Ancients is a powerful feat.  This feat does require part of the skorne army to already be destoryed, and not be removed from play. Howerver, the ability for any model to auto boost an attack/damage roll anywhere in Zaals Control range allows for a powerful burst of damage.  The key is knowing when to use it, and having enough models left to output enough damage to either win the game, or get ahead.
  • The Kovass is a great companion piece for Zaal and when it enters the game, it can really be a force to reckon with. It forces the opponent to always plan for it, and thresher attack/soul collection makes it a effective threat.

 

My biggest challenge with Zaal is trying to narrow down a list I want to focus on. Currently I have 3 lists that I really like. 2 of the lists have 2 heavy warbeasts, and the 3rd is a pure infantry spam list. While I playtested the lists, I was suprised how well the infanty spam list continued to perform. I will probably not use it for tourament play, only because the list has a really good late game phase, and with events being timed games, Im not sure if I will have time called in games, right as my army is about ready to strike.

I will list the 3 different armies, and the end I will go into my reasons why I like each list.

List #1 – This list I have started with, and refined it over 3 playtesting games.

Supreme Aptimus Zaal +5 points
* Kovaas
* Basilisk Drake 4 points
* Bronzeback Titan 10 points
* Titan Gladiator 8 points
* Aptimus Marketh 3 points
Ancestral Guardian 3 points
Extoller Soulward 2 points
Hakaar the Destroyer 4 points
10 Nihilators 8 points
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers 2 points
10 Praetorian Swordsmen 6 points
* Praetorian Officer & Standard Bearer 2 points
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer 3 points

 

List #2 – This list is not that different From #1. -I  adds in Molik Karn for the Bronzeback. It also uses karax instead of swordsmen. I’ve played this list a couple times, and every game has gone very well.

Supreme Aptimus Zaal +5 points
* Kovaas
* Molik Karn 11 points
* Titan Gladiator 8 points
* Aptimus Marketh 3 points
2x Ancestral Guardian 3 points each
2x Extoller Soulward 2 points each
Hakaar the Destroyer 4 points
10 Nihilators 8 points
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers 2 points
10 Praetorian Karax 6 points
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer 3 points

 

List #3 – This is a pure infantry spam list.  I have now played this list in a couple games, and it has suprised me in how well it has performed. I was able to defeat both a P butcher and Lylyth list.
Supreme Aptimus Zaal +5 points
* Kovaas
* Basilisk Krea 4 points
* Cyclops Brute 5 points
* Aptimus Marketh 3 points
2x Ancestral Guardian 3 points each
Extoller Soulward 2 points
Hakaar the Destroyer 4 points
10 Nihilators 8 points
5 Praetorian Ferox 11 points
10 Praetorian Karax 6 points
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer 3 points
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer 3 points

 

  • List 2 and list 3 both have Karax, which I know are fairly hated by the skorne community.  In the 5 games I have now played with Karax, they have been of value to me every game.  6pts for models that can absorb some damage, and provided girded have been useful.  They also fuel Zaals feat cheaply.
  • Lst 1 uses Swordsmen instead, and also serve the purpose of  powering zaal feat, but they have not done as well as keeping other models in my army safe. I may even switch to Karax in List 1 as well.
  • All 3 lists  have a good number of Extollers & Ancenstral Guardians, which really do perform well on Zaal. I have managed to kill at least 2 casters with Ancestral guardians and extollers have performed well for me. (betwen granting eyeless sight, and their ranged attacks, they have done well)
  • List 1 and 2 both have a good mix of Heavy Warbeasts and Infantry. The main difference is a Bronzeback in List 1, and Mollik Karn in List 2.  I am completely willing to cast Last stand on a warbeast if it will either give me good odds on a caster kill, or remove 2 or 3 enemy heavies if they clump them together.
    • Bronzeback has more Total Damage output with Zaals feat and last stand, but the threat range is less then Mollik Karn.   Karn also seems to scare people more, even though a bronzeback can easily wreck anything they have.
  • As I stated early, my only real concern with List 3 is in timed touraments (especially big event with quicker rounds), that I will have dice down called on my right as I’m ready to get ahead, or simply not having the higher value models sitting in zones for tiebraeakers.
  • List 3 has Ferox which are very powerful with Zaal. I havent been able to fit them in a list, where I also focus on a couple heavy beasts. They are a unit I save for last, but they are able to really threaten the board and do some amazing damage when it is time for Zaals feat.

 

I am hoping for some feedback from readers on which Zaal list is the most pouplar
Note –

I really do enjoy Zaal theme force lists, but I have left them out for now, Lack of pathfinder on troops is limiting me from focusing on that format for general toruaments, (but I do enjoy zaal theme force, and it is something I do play for fun, and in theme events)  When I play this theme, I always go T4 because I love the Immortal models and I have 2 full units.

Author: Carnage4u

I have played Warmachine since 2004. Before that I have played warhammer fantasy for ten years, but I stopped playing Fantasy shortly after starting warmachine. I enjoy every aspect of the hobby. I love competive play, as well as just playing fun goofy lists on casual game night at our local game store. I also spent a good chunk of my free time working on making terrain for our events our local gamestores. I mainly play Skorne and Cryx, but I do own a small gatorman minion force that I have fun playing. Brian "carnage4u" Giese

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