Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What I'm Excited About in Skorne MkIII: The Siege Animantrax

I haven't heard a lot about our favorite turtle-based battle engine lately, but I have to say, I'm pretty excited.

The Animantrax costs as much as a Bronzeback now, but it can do a lot.

First, it's a very mobile gun platform.  With 3 Rage tokens, it's Spd 7, and can Trample and Shoot in the same activation (huge bases still can't find a landing zone when trampling over enemies, but the extra 3" threat on the gun is very nice).  After that, it gets a 3" Reposition.  A 7" advance, or 10" trample, followed by some pretty heavy shooting, followed by a 3" retreat, is pretty good.  The Animantrax can no longer boost its own gun, which is a shame, but on the plus side, that means it won't need to be whipped at all after turn 1 or 2.  You may want to keep Paingivers nearby though, because it can be Medicated, and at 24 hit boxes now, it's pretty likely to survive anything less than a heavy to the face.

As decent as its shooting is, I'm more excited about the Animantrax in melee, where it has a lot of attacks.  How many attacks?  Well, the Animantrax is a Cavalry model, so it gets Pow 15 impact attacks if it charges (and a Pow 15 mount attack if it didn't charge).  It can make impact attacks at people in its way or at everyone around its charge target.  Either way, there's a lot of potential there, since the Animantrax has a huge base.  After that, it gets a charge attack, which is boosted because Cavalry gets boosted charge attack rolls, followed by 3 (if fully loaded) Pow 18 tail attacks, 2 wimpy Pow 11 Spear attacks (but maybe it's attacking infantry), and d3+1 Pow 13-15 depending on the target Double Riever attacks.  That's at least 9 attacks, although some of them are admittedly much better than others.

Also, unlike warbeasts, who need a lot of attention from Paingivers to do everything we want them to, the Animantrax just needs that turn 1 investment of 3 damage from whips (or whatever, but Anatomical Precision is the best way to do damage) to operate at full force pretty much all game.  The only way it spends Rage Tokens is by committing to melee, and once it does, the opponent will either kill it, or fill it up again trying to.  If for whatever reason, they don't attack it, you can fill it up again, or just have it continue to harass them as a mainly shooting model until they do.  Even without Rage tokens, the Animantrax is too much of a threat to ignore completely.

I'm still wrapping my head around who I want to use this turtle with, and how, but so far, I've decided that I like it with eHexeris.  It's probably also good with Rasheth, eXerxis, and Xekaar, since they can buff both its ranged and melee attacks (and Rasheth and Xekaar can give it a big boost to durability too).

Monday, June 27, 2016

What I'm Excited About in Skorne MkIII: eMakeda

MkIII is here for real, so I'll spend the next couple of weeks talking about what I'm excited for, and how I'm thinking of playing Skorne now that so much has changed.

I'll start with one of our 'casters who received a complete overhaul from her MkII incarnation: Supreme Archdomina Makeda, a.k.a Makeda 2 or eMakeda.  In MkII, I wasn't thrilled about eMakeda.  She was certainly powerful, and people did quite well with her, but she seemed pretty one dimensional, and never really sparked my imagination.

Now, she has a whole different playstyle, with a lot more defensive tools than she had before.  First up, Stay Death became a lot more interesting, since it can now be used any number of times per turn, as long as Makeda can pay for it.  Since her other spells are fairly situational, you can easily plan to have Makeda spend between 3 and 4 Fury keeping key models alive, and you can further improve on that with other defensive abilities.  This ability, as far as I can tell, is the core of Makeda's new playstyle, and using it well is what will make or break games with her.

She lost all of her old spells, but gained Deflection, Dash, Storm Rager, and a new spell called Prostration.  Deflection stacks with the new Krea, and is a good way to keep your infantry safe on the approach, and Dash gives her troops a little more speed and, more importantly, the ability to ignore free strikes.  Storm Rager can make one warrior model super dangerous, and Prostration is a decent nuke spell - it will be cast, but not every game.

Her Feat is pretty much the same, and is both a good way to get a turn of extra accuracy, and a good way to keep Makeda on her feet if she needs to get close to the enemy.  It no longer prevents free strikes - you'll need to cast Dash for that.

What I'm most excited about is Makeda's ability to play attrition.  Stay Death combined with other defensive tools is going to let her keep infantry alive in critical places, or force the enemy to expend huge resources killing a couple of models, and she can do this every turn.  Storm Rager is a good piece of tech for improving the damage and accuracy of a couple of infantry models, which is where a lot of our infantry needs help.  I'm really excited to try it on Hakaar, Ancestral Guardians, and the Legends of Halaak.

I've played a couple of MkIII games so far, and I'll have reports up pretty soon.  I'll also post things I'm excited about until I run out of things.  So that's what's coming up in the next couple weeks.