Sunday, June 24, 2012
Skorne - Revisiting "Bad" models
Regardless of your faction, I'm sure you've noticed how much "forum wisdom" determines what people end up putting in their lists. While I'm sure there are models in this game that are truly bad, most of them are not. Players are very quick to write off models after a few games, or to sing the praises of a few good models without really evaluating others. In Skorne, we have a set of "good" models (Gladiator, Paingivers, Bronzeback, Shaman, Brute, Gatormen, Agonizer), and a list of models that aren't talked about very much.
Today I am going to take another look at some of these models that don't see much playtime. Not all players will tell you that they are bad, but they often don't show up in lists. These are all models I have started using regularly, but have not really seen used in other lists.
Skorne's heavy ranged beast tends to not see a whole lot of table time. Being a titan, he unfortunately gets compared to our other titan heavies. Comparing him to a Gladiator, Bronzeback or Sentry makes him look a little weak. he has less armor, attacks, STR and MAT than the others, and his animus isn't as amazing as gaining Beat Back, Rush or Locker.
What he does bring to the party is a gun. you're not bringing this guy to be a second beat-stick Titan, you're bringing him for his cannon. The Cannoneer brings Skorne's best ranged gun to the fight. it's a RNG 12, pow 15 AOE 3 gun that can be boosted to your heart's content. And he's really not shabby in combat once the enemy gets a little closer. just because he isn't as crazy as a Gladiator or Bronzeback doesn't mean he can't handle another heavy, especially with Skorne's array of melee buffs.
I use the Cannoneer as a problem remover. with a Soulward supporting him, he can be our best answer to certain annoying solos like Tartarus, the withershadow combine, Eiryss, Annyssa, etc. with rush and abuse the Cannoneer has a 20" threat range, which can threaten some of these problem solos on the first turn or two. the shot is also strong enough that a boosted shot can take a nice chunk out of a beast before coming to grips. This was one of my first heavies, and still finds his way into about half of my lists.
The Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor (what a name!) is one of my favorite models to fill our 2 point solo slots. The problem is, there are so many good options in that slot that the Master tormentor tends to take the back seat to the Agonizer, Soulward, Orin, etc. Additionally, some people see her as being too situational for most lists because of anatomical precision
I actually tend to take her as one of my first solos when filling out a list, especially in lists that are light on infantry like pMorghoul. the Soulward is really the only solo I take more than her. she hits a really interesting sweet spot with her list of special abilities. Stealth, Reach, Thresher, Anatomical Precision and Sprint together on one 2 point model is awesome. almost every opponent will have some unit that she can hunt. obviously she is best used when your opponent happens to bring some super high arm models with shield wall, but she does well against any single wound infantry unit
The Savage is one of the starter box beasts for Skorne, so most players have used them at some point. unfortunately, they tend to get dropped pretty quickly in favor of more interesting beasts. a big problem they have is trying to compete against the other Cyclopes. All 4 of the 5 point beasts are good, but people tend to choose the utility of the shaman or survivability of the Brute over the hitting power on a Savage.
On a second look, you really get a lot out of the Savage. He gives a good cheap beat-stick that you don't really get anywhere else. high speed for our beasts with a decent pow weapon will kill most solos and some lights. But the main thing you want is the animus. the Savage is a huge force multiplier.
Letting any of your models boost after they roll for only one point is amazing. it works great on casters that want to make attacks (of any kind), and makes your Titans much better. This same ability is one of the things that makes Skarre really scary, but on the Savage it doesn't get much attention. It really is a powerful ability, and is well worth the 5 points in many lists.
The Rhinodon fills an interesting spot in a Skorne army. There really isn't another model that does something similar, which tends to make him look bad in comparisons. He costs 7 points, making him pretty cheap for a heavy beast. because of his low price tag he also has less Arm, health, STR and MAT than a normal heavy. his tail is only pow 14, 1 higher than the savage. this leads to a lot of players calling him pillow-fisted.
But you can't look at the Rhinodon for his stats alone. He also comes with a 360 degree reach thresher. Add in an animus that boosts ALL of those attack rolls for 1 fury, and suddenly he looks a lot better for his points. He might not be going toe-to-toe with a heavy, but he can easily clear infantry. on the other hand, he is a great cheap target for some buffs like Abuse. with abuse and enrage on him, he has taken down legion heavies all by himself. or you could use those two buffs to get a pow 18 thresher, enough to put a serious dent in even heavy infantry like Trollkin Champions. after the thresher you will still have 3 or 4 fury left to buy some more pow 18s! all for 7 points. He is certainly better in armies like pMorghoul or Naaresh that give easy damage buffs, but he is useful in any list.
The "Skornapult" is one of our two artillery pieces. it boasts the longest range of any Skorne ranged attack, but also has the lowest RAT. with a grunt in B2B, it has an effective RAT of 3. this means it will almost never hit anything.
On the other hand, it has the largest AOE in the army, and pow 8 on the blast damage, which can hurt most infantry in the game. It also has arcing fire. since you don't care about hitting anyways, it's great for shooting stealthed units. if you do want to hit something, knocking a model down or hitting it with a Krea will make a hit much easier, doing a massive pow 15 hit for only 3 points.
With eHexeris, it gets even better. Black Spot makes anything good, but getting a second high pow AOE is amazing. you only have to clip one affected model and kill it for that free shot on any other model you want to shoot. Zaal is another good choice, letting you boost all of the damage rolls on feat turn. This is the model I have the least experience with, but the first several outings have been very nice.
Obviously there is some irony involved any time someone posts on a blog telling people to rethink "forum wisdom". The point of the article isn't to tell you that these models are the best buy for your points and that you need to put them in all your lists right now. I wrote it as an exercise in rethinking what we have taken for granted in this game. No matter who it is online telling you to play this model or ignore that model, in the end the best test is just putting the models on the table and seeing what happens.
How much do you listen to "forum wisdom"? Are there any models in your factions that you tried out and were surprised at their effectiveness? How do you decide what models will "make the cut" in your lists?