-By: Jerry H. (PG_possiblyarowbot)
What we are about to talk about is not beginner level. Skorne isn’t great with ranged gameplay. It’s not their stats aren’t comparable to other factions so much as they lack the spells, feats and abilities that others enjoy. Skorne doesn’t have Deadeye, Snipe or Fire for Effect. We have Puppet Master, Guidance, Combat Coordinator and a handful of debuffs in the form of Blind, Mortality and Plague Wind. Puppet Master and Combat Coordinator are just rerolls, so really it’s like saying “Here, have another lackluster attack”.
If you’re going to play a ranged Skorne list, understand that you are going to lose. If you’re new, you’re going to lose anyways, but not for the same reasons as everyone else. You’re not going to learn the same lessons about when to use abilities or boosting. You’re mostly going to be learning where are the limitations are.
As long as you understand that, we can build a list not for the Journeyman, but acquire the models you need post Journeyman.
We begin with a handicap.
We only have 10 points to work with. We can only add to our battlegroup and we can’t play more than 5 points down. My choice is the Basilisk Drake. Sprays are one of the best types of attacks in the game as they ignore concealment, cover, stealth, the firing into melee penalty and can hit multiple targets. His animus also grants Pathfinder which is super handy for a faction that rarely has access to it.
With our nice big jump, we can add in the Aradus Sentinel but you have to use Rush to get him up the board in a timely manner. If you switch to Xerxis2 in week 4, that’s less of a problem but for now I’m going with a Titan Cannoneer. The ability to shoot a POW 15 gun 16” away is too good to ignore.
Here’s where we switch to our target warlock: Hexeris 2. Rasheth is also a popular choice, but not good for learning and I’ll bring him up in a different entry. I’m actually going to add in the aforementioned Sentinel and a minimum unit of Beast Handlers to help manage fury. We cannot afford a frenzy with ranged beasts.
This is where the direction gets a little hazy. We have most of the elements we want, but there’s nothing stopping the enemy from running up and engaging our beasts. Karax are a good option due to Girded. We can fire away, merrily, with our Cannoneer(s) and not damage them indirectly.
Keltarii are also a good option due to their high defense. This time, we’ll take a Max unit of Karax and an Extoller Soulward to give our gunners eyeless sight
Now it’s time add in models that address any issues that have been popping up in games. Willbreakers help to hit rolls with Puppet Master and can make your Karax Tough. Reivers due a bit of damage to Medium based models so the Flayer Cannon Crew or a min unit of Reivers is an option. Even the Venator Catapult Crew can shoot 18” at POW 16”.
You may be having trouble controlling scenarios, so you could include heavy wearbeasts or even Incindiarii/Arcuarii. Since Khador is popular in my area, I assume I would have trouble with high ARM at this point. I’m going to add a minimum unit of Slingers as both a tie-up unit, construct damage unit, flare unit or even an incidentally-removing-single-wound-infantry unit. With my last 3 points I could grab another Soulward, but I’ll pick a Bellow’s crew to give me defensive bonuses on the approach.
Here’s the final list:
- Lord Arbiter Hexeris + 27
- Basilisk Drake 8
- Cyclops Raider 9
- Cyclops Savage 7
- Titan Cannoneer 17
- Titan Gladiator 15
- Aradus Sentinel 16
- Extoller Soulward 3
- Paingiver Beast Handlers 5
- Praetorian Karax 11
- Venator Slingers 8
- Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew 2
This is by no means an ideal list. Veteran ranged Skorne players would scoff. It’s almost entirely reliant on Concealment to get up the board. If you’re up against Sloan, Gunmages, ranged Legion or Houseguard with a Thane, a good chunk of your army might shot off the board before you make a single roll.
I struggled pretty heavily with the week 6 decision. Since Hexeris has Channeler, he can get pretty spell heavy. Marketh could be helpful as he can cast Ashes to Ashes or Hellfire. Croak Raiders work very well with Incindiarii. Farrow Brigands with their Unit Attachment can probably do far more damage than the Slingers and don’t need support due to Dig In, Reposition and Tough. They don’t benefit from Blackspot, though, so Slingers may be able to get more work done.
Taking in the facts that we lack the tools other factions have and we started with a handicap in the form of the battlebox, how to we play this list? The only options to increase hits are Blackspot and boosting. We have no ARM debuffs, so boosting is the only way to increase output.
This is where we might be able to put our handicaps to good use. We may suck at shooting, but we excel at power attacks. While you’re learning all about the faction’s limitations, use this time to start thinking outside the box. Use the Gladiator to slam as many things as possible. If you can, slam or throw low DEF large base models into other models to knock them all down. Headbutt/Slam with the Savage. Anything you can do to put the odds in your favor, give it a shot.
This drops all their DEF to base 5. Even if a model is knocked down with cover, they’re only DEF 9. Against knocked down targets, even a Catapult Crew could hit with its RAT 1.
Worst case scenario is you run your Titan into melee with a Blackspotted model/unit. Target the Titan’s back with your 3” and 4” AOEs and kill some low ARM infantry for additional shots.
Your biggest problems are going to be mass Stealth and high ARM. Guidance helps with Stealth but there’s little you can do to increase damage output. Instead, tie up and ignore the heavies you can’t deal with and utilize Arcing Fire or power attacks to give yourself clear shots to key targets. With enough attacks, you might just take out their Warcaster/lock.
If you find yourself losing a lot, don’t get frustrated. Maximize what you can learn while you’re restricted, and when the league is over, swap out the models that aren’t helping for better alternatives.
Next time we’ll look at spell-slinging options and make a recursion list.