Lock and Load is coming up in a little over a month, and I've been so busy playing around with the new toys from Gargantuans that I haven't really devoted much time to prepping for 'Con season. It's probably a good thing I didn't end up doing Adepticon this year, since I would have gone without really knowing what I was going to do. To make things worse, I went and played the Mammoth with every Skorne caster and reminded myself how fun some of the less common ones are.
I've finally started cutting down the lists and picking out what casters and lists I want to use at Lock and Load. It's hard to pick in a faction like Skorne with a ton of caster styles without really having a top 3 that are just flat out better than others (Haley, Haley, Caine? Again?). I have a lot of casters I like, and most of them are competitive, if not top tier. After talking myself in circles over the course of 2 or 3 weeks, building lists, playing random casters and hammering out tons of theories, I finally decided I just needed to stop, pick 3 casters and run with it. So for the next 6 weeks, I will approaching casual games like steamroller games. I have my three lists, and depending on opponent faction I will pick the one I think will work best. that way, if I do find holes in my lists I can possibly change my mind, but otherwise I'm locking in.
The problem with that plan is that I'm not technically in the Masters event yet at L&L. I'm hopeful that I'll get a spot, since I'm pretty sure my wait-list number was in the single digits but there's no telling how easy it will be to slip in. Hopefully some people decide it will be more fun to go to some seminars or something. Luckily, Masters starts a full hour before Iron Gauntlet, so I should have a chance to sit there and wait for someone to no-show. if that doesn't work out, I'll probably end up with some very different lists for Iron Guantlet, but honestly that tournament won't mean a whole ton to me since I don't see winning that with a single faction.
Enough about that, on to some lists. I finally settled on three lists that will hopefully compliment each other fairly well, though all three are casters I would consider to be fairly decent as all-comers casters. My anchor list is Zaal. he's fun to play, has a powerful set of abilities, his feat is a kicker if you haven't seen it before, and he has some nice tricks that usually involve a Kovass. he can handle defense and armor, but isn't amazing at either one. so to back him up, I'm bringing an anti-armor and an anti-defense list.
Anti-Armor was a tough choice. We're a little bit spoiled for choices in Skorne on the best way to deal with Armor. I ended up narrowing it down to pMorghoul, Xerxis + Mammoth, Makeda2 or Makeda3. Makeda2 doesn't really skew against armor, but she is a very good warlock that ended up falling into contention for this slot. in the end I dropped her out of the running on the assumption that the good players at L&L won't be surprised by an Archidon/Molik Missile. I played some games with Xerxis and Morghoul but wasn't feeling it. they demolish armor like no one's business, but they were having trouble with scenario play with their small control. Willbreakers helped, but often got sniped out if they were up far enough to use their beast master ability. I also decided that since skorne is good in general vs armor and I do have zaal, the likelihood of needing a raw overkill caster was low. people will generally avoid bringing a collosal vs skorne, and if they do I can handle them in most situations.
All that led to me picking Makeda3 as my second caster. I've been playing her a ton and she's a blast. so far only one loss, and that was to Terminus (vortex of destruction only goes so far). She's way better than i gave her credit for. I'll be talking more in-depth on her in the near future, look for an article on Bell of Lost souls very soon. She has done a lot against some high armor lists, and can really push a bronzeback into that range where he kills almost anything. and the real advantage is that she is more mobile and has a better control range than my other two options. I am also heavily considering her as a hardcore caster for Wargamescon and could use the practice.
List 3 had fewer choices. Skorne has trouble with high Defense and infantry swarms. that's still true, even though we have some new tools to help. this third list needed to be good enough to go up against Cryx and still handle other matchups. it came down to Mordikaar, pHexeris or eHexeris. no matter which one I went with, the list was going to have Incindiarii and a drake/krea combo to help clear infantry. Mordikaar got dropped first, as I don't have enough practice with him in a timed environment, and he struggles against upkeep removal which is going to come up. He's still a blast, and will likely be in tournament rotation later this year.
So it really came down to which Hexeris do I want? I'm still not sure. this choice is the most up in the air. the main reason pHexeris is in the running is as a hard counter to eMorvhanna and eLich. mass remove from play will seriously hurt either of them, especially since pHex isn't super common and they might not fully expect how badly that will hurt them. he's also a rock star against Retribution, some circle lists, and cryx players with Banes, and a few other odd matches like eButcher tier. he's fun, fairly strong, and a bit of a Dark Horse (though all the anti-Lich talk is making that less true).
Despite that, I chose eHexeris. the list is almost identical between the two, just swapping caster version. The biggest problem with pHexeris is that he doesn't really do what I said I wanted this list to do, which is deal with defense. Death March is nice, but Khador has such high Def it won't matter. the feat's not going to do much there either. eHex on the other hand will have a field day with them. Black spot with Incindiarii is really good against low arm high defense stuff. Double Ashes to Ashes will hopefully take down a chunk of models. Ashen Veil is fun. the feat is super good and pretty versatile. He won't break the back of a Lich or Morvhanna army (which will probably be pretty commonplace), but he does well against a skew that I have few answers for in other lists. I don't know, I might go back. It all comes down to how many times I think I'll face those two casters. the problem is of course, they have 2 more lists and won't drop their revival caster against a mass RFP caster. I'll probably end up with pHexeris vs Terminus or eKaya, and then what do I do?
So I have my three casters to practice with, now for some lists! these are fairly tentative, as I'm still trying to work out some kinks in a few of them, and my lists tend to be a bit fluid right up until using them in an event. the basic lists will likely stay the same though, so it gives me a starting point.
Zaal and Kovass + 5 (btw, 5 Warbeast points AND one of the best free models in the game is pretty good)
- Basilisk Drake
- Basilisk Krea
- Titan Gladiator
3 X Ancestral Guardian
Hakaar the Destroyer
max Swordsmen + UA
I'm running light on beasts, but Zaal brings enough punch that that doesn't concern me too much. Totem Hunter is a bit of an experiment right now, need to get some more games with him. on paper, last stand + prey + puppet master should make totem hunter a good assassin against softer casters from 14" away. need more table time to see if it's worth it. I have a very pretty Totem Hunter, and I want him on the table in one of my lists.
Makeda and the Exalted Court +2
- Basilisk Krea
- Bronzeback Titan
- Molik Karn
- Titan Gladiator
this list is the most fluid of the three. I'm still trying to pin down how I want to play Makeda. one list I've been trying drops the nihilators to a min unit and drops Marketh for min Incindiarii which have been good for holding a flank or just being a flaming distraction. another option is dropping Marketh and a solo (probably Orin) for a Shaman for debuff protection and more animi. pDenny could be a big problem if she sticks crippling grasp on the unit. on the other hand, dropping Marketh and orin is a big price tag for that protection. an agonizer + orin could give me some protection against crippling grasp, but it's not perfectly reliable. We'll see what happens there.
Lord Arbiter Hexeris +6
- Basilisk Drake
- Basilisk Krea
- Bronzeback titan
- Cyclops Shaman
- Titan Gladiator
max swordsmen + UA
this list is an infantry killing machine. swordsmen handle heavy armor infantry nicely, incindiarii handle low armor, the drake has a good spray and black spot makes all of those better. gladiator + bronzeback gives a good counter-punch against whatever heavies are in the other list. I really like how this list has performed so far, and I've run it without any changes for 3 or 4 weeks now, swapping between prime and epic Hexeris. the list itself is really strong, the choice is just which Hexeris leads it.
Surprisingly enough, there is no Mammoth in the lists above. I don't really know why, but these three casters all feel better without the Mammoth. The only one I would consider him with would be Hexeris, but I am really liking the current list. If I end up in iron gauntlet I will probably be doing the Hexeris list paired with a Xerxis Mammoth list, so that will get him in there. I'm also planning on using the Mammoth the rest of the weekend. I have a Who's the Boss list using him at 35 points, and will have either pMorghoul or Xerxis with the Mammoth in the 3 Commanders event (also at 35 points).
Sorry for the long post, it helps me think through lists my typing everything out. I would love input from people on these three lists and how they work together. am I missing a big matchup? is there something specific that I am not covering with this setup? From fellow Skorne players, what are you planning on doing for Lock and Load? from people who play against Skorne, what do you hate facing when you see Skorne on the table? especially if I don't have it included...