I got in another game this week with my tentative Skorne pairing of Zaadesh 2 Exalted (Stolen from a prominent Canadian WTC player) and Xerxis 2 Imperial Warhost (also stolen from a different prominent Canadian WTC player), this time against Phil running Vlad 2 Wolves of Winter and…some other caster in Armored Corps. (Spoilers: that caster was not played).
Into both of these lists, I felt like the Xerxis 2 list had legitimate game based off the strength of the Desert Hydra’s sprays and the many attacks a Siege Animantarax can make.
Phil opted for Vlad 2, promptly won the roll off and opted to go first, and was given the side with multiple buildings my list didn’t want to deal with as his compensation.
- Agonizer (free)
- Agonizer (free)
- Basilisk Krea (free)
- Desert Hydra
- Titan Gladiator
And…just because I cannot resist this after Chandler mentioned the idea to me, here’s a little cinematic shot of what this would look like…
Vladimir Tzepesci, Great Prince of Umbrey sighed in irritation. His assignment this day - to harvest arcane energies from an abandoned town centered on a Leyline - brought him no pleasure. Nor did the gibbering laughter and incessant twitching of the soldiers assigned him. Vladimir feared very little, but every time his glance fell on the Fellblades and their hosts he felt the cold touch of dread in his heart.
His irritation lay on the far side of the ruined hamlet as whipping winds advanced a wall of soil and debris towards his company. They were not unheard of in this region, so regularly parched by drought, but it had not been particularly dry so far this summer and to encounter one was unlikely.
His concentration broke as one of the Greylords laid a hand on his arm.
“Sir, that isn’t a natural sandstorm. Look closely, you can see the runes flickering in the sands.”
Vladimir’s eyes narrowed as he dug a spyeglass out of his belt pouch. As the Greylord had said, mystical runes crackled in and around the sediment.
“Fuel up the Victor!” he barked at the caravan driver, “Then get back behind the ridge.”
He barked more orders at his Greylord adjuncts, and the cackling madmen were let out of their chains and prepared for battle. Before long, the belching smoke of his Victor’s furnace towered up to the sky and he felt the red-hot presence of it’s cortex in his mind.
And then the sands were upon them, swirling and cutting and grinding. Vladimir felt his mouth dry out as he snapped off a last order and he had to spit out a mouthful of mud before unsheathing his great blade.
For long minutes, the only sound was the whispering sands and shrieking wind. And then, suddenly, Vladimir realized that there was another sound incorporating itself into the cacophony. A weird, scraping, chittering sound, like chalk drawn slowly over a board, growing louder and louder.
Thud. THUD. THUD.
Heavy footsteps sounded above all of the noise, and groaning roars filled the air all round. The sand made it impossible to discern which direction the phantoms came from, the wind whipped the noise all around them.
And then, in the sands, dark shapes slowly formed. Small at first, but as more and more came into view they towered up over the Doomreavers, three enormous shapes that matched the VIctor in bulk and height. Almost unnoticed beside the humongous forms were other lumbering shapes and a great winged visage hovering above it all.
With a last screaming gust, the sand blew past the huddled Khadoran forces and Vladimir blinked furiously to clear his eyes. Across the ruined city he saw a writhing mass of scales and teeth and two living siege towers. Trumpets sounded, raucous and harsh even compared to the twisting sandstorm before, and the towering monsters parted to reveal a huge man atop an even larger beast. Flapping in the breeze, the banners of Tyrant Xerxis rose above the assembled force.
Vladimir feared very little, but as the monstrous beasts turned their attention on his force and even the Doomreavers stilled in awe, he felt an icy tendril slide down his spine.
Khador turn 1:
Assail starts on the Viktor, Hand of Fate on the Outriders, and Arcane Might on Vlad thanks to the theme benefit.
He has to respect my threat ranges a bit here. Desert Hydra sprays threaten an incredibly 17 inches in this list without charge, and up to 20 inches if I can land a charge in my 14 inch charge threat range.
Turtles threat an eye popping 23 inches with their ranged weapons every turn and 13 with their melee.
As a result, his headlong charge is turned more into a calculated advance.
Clouds get stuck on some Doomreavers to make a little wall on the right, and everything just shimmies up.
Skorne turn 1:
I want to bait him into coming close enough to me for my feat to let me kill almost of or all of his Doomreavers. Once those are gone, I can play the dancing game with the Hydra and the Conquest all day since the Conquest threatens 11 inches with Assail and probably cannot one round a Hydra under Agonizer and my Hydra threatens 14 inches with a free charge, and absolutely one rounds a Conquest with Enrage and/or Ignite.
With that in mind, I move the Hydra up, put Sandstorm on it, and present Phil with 2-3 charges if he apparates the left most unit and 4-6 charges if he pops his Feat. I am very careful to leave the Hydra outside of the ARM debuff range of the Koldun Lords.
Xerxis moves up and casts Rapport on the Hydra so if I have to attack Doomreavers in melee I can hit them easily. I screen Xerxis with my Archidon.
On the right, both turtles move up and shoot at Doomreavers, and I kill one and reposition backwards.
Both Agonizers scream for -2 Strength, the Krea puts up Force Aura. The Beast Handlers pull off a ton of Fury, and I pass the turn.
Khador turn 2:
I had accounted for both Koldun Lord’s threat range, but I had forgotten about Feating one to make it Speed 9. Phil does some measuring and decides that he can get an entire unit of Doomreavers into the left Turtle and ARM debuff it if he Feats.
This happens, and the five Doomreavers make short work of the Battle Engine. Uh oh…
The Victor lobs a fire shot at the Archidon, doing minimal damage and lighting it and Xerxis on fire.
On the left, Doomreavers just run at me and try to make themselves irritating. Saxon moves up to the flag, and Phil passes the turn.
Skorne turn 2:
It’s definitely Feat turn. The fires on the Archidon and Xerxis go out, and the objective heals the Archidon. Xerxis activates first, pops his Feat and charges into the Doomreavers. He kills two with Impacts, kills the other two with his Initials, and then heals the Archidon for a few more. He sprints back to basically exactly where he was.
The Hydra moves up and sprays down an absolutely absurd number of Doomreavers, even with some poor dice leaving 3 alive after multiple sprays. The Gladiator Rushes himself so that he can trample over the wall and kills three more.
The Archidon walks over and kills three as well.
The Turtle tramples over the Doomreaver engaging him, and then kills the Koldun Lord with an Independent attack. He puts some shots into another Doomreaver, which toughs and then dies. I make a mistake here and do not reposition aggressively towards the flag. I was too worried about Vlad charging and killing the Turtle, which, while possible, would mean that Vlad would instantly die.
The Agonizer on the right charges and boosts to hit the Doomreaver, HITS, and then the Doomreaver toughs. The other Agonizer screams -2 Strength.
Paingivers whip all the Fury off of the Hydra and the Agonizer. The Krea walks up to contest the zone as well, and my Feralgeist comes up to the flag.
We both score a point.
Score: 1 - 1
Khador turn 3:
Vlad fails to kill the Archidon, since he doesn’t want to go out from behind the building out of fear of Xerxis. The Outriders spray ineffectively at the Krea, which gets charged by the remaining Doomreaver from the top.
On the left, the Viktor murders the Gladiator, and the Doomreaver that remains over there kills the Feralgeist. Koldun Lord and Greylord Escorts conspire to make getting to the Viktor impossible, and Phil scores twice.
Score: 1 - 3
Skorne turn 3:
I try every single thing I can think of to get the Hydra cleared off, but every measurement is off. The Hydra ends up spraying down all of the guys in the zone, and we initiate operation “do the same thing you did to me”.
The Archidon frenzied, so it does nothing, and Xerxis has to kill the Doomreaver to free up the Krea so I can contest the flag. The Turtle kills three Outriders and can’t reposition close enough to make it to the flag. I’m way up on attrition, but I could easily lose on scenario next turn.
Score: 1 - 3
Khador turn 4:
Phil needs to kill five Paingivers, the objective, and the Krea.
He is able to kill all but two Paingivers with Ternian. The Victor gets 1 shot on the left and 3 on the right. Two boosted shots take out the remaining Paingivers in the zone, and then it gets a boosted 15 and two unboosted 12s into the objective, leaving it on 6. Vlad kills the Krea and Archidon, and one spray from the Greylord that can make it to the objective fails to kill it.
Phil scores 2.
Score: 1 - 5
Skorne turn 4:
Fire goes out on my objective, the Turtle charges Vlad and knocks him down, and then Xerxis kills the Outrider, puts Ignite on the already Enraged and prodded Hydra, and Vlad dies to 9 Hydra attacks.
Victory for Skorne!
My early Reposition mistake with the Animantarax was almost fatal, and going second is obviously rough into Doomreavers. That being said, I was massively impressed with the Hydra as it mulched dudes every turn. I’ve always loved the model and I’m ecstatic that it can do what it is supposed to do now.
We were both a little surprised by how easily Xerxis killed the Feated on Doomreavers, and I think I may have been too cautious with him as well once the Doomreavers were largely gone. I should have picked a side for him to bully rather than leaving him behind the building where his output was relatively difficult to leverage.
This list is a blast, I definitely recommend giving it a try!