-By: Scott (PG_Sc077y)
So you decided to join the ranks of the Hoskune huh? We get in line, and prepare for the pain, cause I’m going to take you through how I will be progressing in my Journeyman League from week zero to week 6, and the models I will be adding along the way!
First though, let’s take a look at Xekaar so we can get an idea of how we want to plan this out going forward.
On his card, Xekaar has the ability to enrage a warbeast as an action (giving it +2 strength), and Maltreatment, allowing him to deal D3 damage to a friendly faction warbeast to gain one fury point. On his weapons he has Witchmark, allowing him to automatically hit with a spell so long as he hit the model with a melee attack.
His spell list is Deadwieght, Mortality, Psycho Surgery, and Pursuit. Mortality is obviously the shining spell on his spell list, giving -2 Defense and Armor and loses tough and cannot have damage removed from it. This allows his beasts to increase their accuracy and damage output vs a target, and will make hitting higher defense models much easier, allowing the fury on the beasts to go much further.
Psycho surgery here also provides some interesting assistance, giving him a battlegroup wide healing spell, something that can be handy in the later stages of the game.
His feat is also very powerful, giving all enemy models in his control area -3 Str, Mat, Rat, and Thr. This allows his battlegroup to survive an alpha from multiple heavies, and will keep your infantry alive. This is also a great defensive feat to keep Xekaar alive a turn longer and will even allow me to play a little more aggressively with him in lower point value games where the Warlock or Warcaster have to assume a bigger role on the battlefield.
Week 1: Battlebox
This week is easy, it’s only the battlebox. Consisting of Xekaar, A Gladiator Titan, Cyclops Savage and Cyclops Raider, we should be in a good starting position going forward. It is kind of unfortunate we will be paired with the Raider for the next six weeks, because Xekaar doesn’t really do anything to support a ranged beast, but he still provides utility and a good solo sniping gun for the later weeks.
Week 2: 10 points
This week is by far and away the most difficult decision to make in the entire Journeyman League. Typically, Factions will add a budget heavy or an exceptionally good light warjack or warbeast, but with Skorne, I really don’t want to spend 10 points adding another light warbeast that will ultimately not be able to stand up to all of the heavy warbeasts we will see in the later weeks of the game. For me, I think our best option is to add the Agonizer. At 7 points, we are netting 3 for next week, and in the meantime, we get a GREAT animus and an awesome set of abilities that can increase the survivability of all of our models going into the latter half of the league with models within 8” getting -2 strength (which pairs up really well with Xekaar’s feat) as well as some other interesting, if not corner case, utility options.
Week 3: 25 points
At 25 points I’m not actually interested in adding another heavy hitter to the stable right
now, because we really need and want our most famous support pieces, the Pain Giver Beast Handlers. At 7 points for a max unit of 6 models, they will allow us to heal our beasts, fury manage, and increase their strength, something that Gladiator is going to desperately need if he intends to go toe to toe vs a juggernaut and come out on the other side victorious. That done, we still have exactly 11 points left over (remember, we netted 3 from last week) and that gives us Praetorian Karax at a max unit. If you are new to the faction, it’s worth discussing them here.
Karax are there to die. At 11 points, its ok if they die. They are immune to blast damage, making a lot of the earlier guns in the game far less effective against them, and they have set defense, making them a little more difficult to deal with on the charge, slowing down your opponent. Lastly, if you are looking across the table at a unit of trenchers, or other low pow shooting, they are ARM 15 def 12, and have shield wall. This allows them to shield wall up, and take those shots, and survive to be in the way so your heavies don’t have to be open to charge.
Week 4: 50 points
In this week I have added a Bronzeback Titan. He allows some additional fury management over the Beast Handlers, and gives the list the ability to punch about twice as
hard as it could prior to this point. He also adds countercharge to the list, a niche utility ability that can prevent people from landing their heavies a little too close to yours without committing to engaging the Bronzeback first. At this point, I’m going to play 7 points down, because I have a big surprise next week!
Week 5: 65 Points
Tiberion! At 22 points he is tough to get fit into a JML, especially at the smaller points progressions, but when you can get him in, this guy is a complete and total beast. (Yeah there is a pun there, and yes, it intended, and even more so, I don’t feel bad for it being as terrible as it is). PS 18 on the tetsubo, 15 on the tusks and 14 on the shield, he loves enrage. At Arm 19 base, and + 2 from his shield, and then -2 to enemy strength from the agonizer, if he is in melee, he is normally ARM 23, and under Xekaar’s feat is an effective ARM 26! He is tough to kill, cannot be moved, placed or knocked down thanks to immovable object, has shield guard, and his animus, irresistible force, gives him bulldoze to wade through enemy infantry on the charge to end up on your opponent’s soft targets and take them out! Tibbers, as he is normally nicknamed, is a staple of the faction and probably one of the best character beasts in the game.
Week 6: 75 points
Whew, we made it! In the last stage of the league, we’ll be adding a couple of Void Spirits. Void Spirits give this army the ability to have an incorporeal model that is difficult to remove, and gains an additional die on melee attack and damage rolls vs living models. If he manages to kill a model on his activation, he can teleport 8” away to safety. If he chooses not to attack, he remains incorporeal, leaving your opponent only able to damage him through magical attacks, and that is a powerful scenario asset that is often not easily removed, especially on the feat turn.
With 2 points left, there isn’t a lot more we can do with the points totals, so instead of playing down, I’m going to add a unit of swamp gobbers and bellows crew. This handy little unit can drop a 5” cloud effect, and are def 15 without their cloud, making them a very problematic piece to remove without blast damage, and their cloud can help protect Xekaar vs ranged attacks, and block line of sight to things your opponent may want to charge.
There is an old piece of advice my mentor gave me when I started this game. He used to say that if you can’t increase your armor, the next best thing to do is make sure you can’t be charged. Swamp Gobbers do that just fine.
and so our final list look like this:
- Pain Giver Beast Handlers
- Void Spirit
- Void Spirit
- Praetorian Karax
- Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew
It has a heavy amount of punch, great utility, solid infantry screen and some solo hunting and harassing models. It plays reasonably well to scenario, and to attrition, and the Void spirits do give the list an unexpected assassination vector if needed.
Those are my thoughts. I know a lot of people have a lot of different views on how to use and build for Xekaar, so this isn’t definitive or even the most optimized, but I promise, it’ll be fun!