The boys at Dice and Decks ran a little battle box tournament last night; myself and Neal as old hands at this Hordesmachine stuff, and the new locals Robbie, Pete, Paul, Martin and Alex who’ve all picked up starter boxes, been learning the rules and wanted to try out some timed games. Rather than be boring and enter with the Cryx box (for a start, Pete was running Cryx too, and for a finish, I have about four years’ experience with that box and most of the others have about four weeks’), I decided to pack up my new Skorne and see if I could still work a Hordes army worth a damn.
I won all three games quite handily, the first two being quite close, and it turned out Robbie had commissioned a little trophy which I promise I’ll take a picture of when I can lay my paws on a decent camera.
Since the Skorne have been doing such a good job of subjugating the foolish, decadent westerners, they’ve also had their paint jobs kicked back to the top of the queue (a sunny afternoon with no crushing work priorities = the perfect opportunity to recolour all the ropes and straps on the army and get a Cyclops basecoated up and ready to go), so there’ll be photos of them in the pipeline too.
Last time the Skorne were mentioned, I was having trouble with Morghoul; apart from handing out Abuse and Rush to my warbeasts and keeping himself out of trouble with Admonition, he wasn’t really doing much for me. I am now rather more enamoured of Morghoul than I was, thanks in particular to the first game of the night against Robbie’s lush-looking Cygnar box, in which Morghoul’s melee potential actually bagged me a win. It turns out that using Admonition to hop him into the back arc of a wounded Stryker, knocking Stryker down with a Cyclops headbutt and then using Morghoul’s highly efficient additional attacks (one fury buys you two, and he’ll always inflict one point of damage if he hits) to bypass Stryker’s respectable, feated-up ARM stat is actually a rather enjoyable experience.
The second game, against young Alex and his Khador box, led me to a new understanding of Pain and Suffering, as well as the conclusion that I shouldn’t even contemplate the new Dark Eldar on account of how there’s enough torture in my faction choices already, thanks. Playing Morghoul more aggressively essentially means that I can send my warbeasts into melee, beat up an opponent’s ‘jacks, and then use Pain and Suffering to prevent any real retaliation from those ‘jacks, stalling the opponent for a turn and giving me time to finish the job (that is, assuming my Gladiator can actually hit DEF 10 and roll five on two dice, which took rather longer than it should have done).
I’m also learning a lot about fury management and placement. Two of the games could have been shorter and more efficient if I hadn’t had frenzied warbeasts charging into models I’d been intending to target with something else, thus blocking charge and slam lanes for their more restrained compatriots. I have been running the battlebox rather hot – seldom is there a turn after the second when I don’t have most of my beasts tanked up on full Fury – and while this has worked to my advantage when an irritable Cyclops is already in melee with something I just want it to hit very hard, it’s put the kybosh on some more complex approaches. I think a few more battlebox games in which I concentrate on heat management (it’s okay for the Titan to run hot if it’s going to slam anyway; it’s okay for the Cyclopes to run hot if they’re already in position) are in order: I want to get these mechanics down pat before I start introducing management crutches like Beast Handlers.
ADDITIONAL: Morghoul’s Tier list would appear to have absolutely everything I want to add to my Skorne army in it. What fortunate circumstance be this! Clearly I need to chase up my second-hand Skorne book and secure more such knowledge…