Skorne in MK3 is only slightly related to Skorne in MK2, like a second cousin. They might be related, but the differences are big. For this reason, it is hard to define Skorne in MK3 because it is so different. Many of the faction defining options and powerful things I would use to define Skorne have been nerfed or changed in MK3 so this is me trying to define it in the wake of the changes.
Skorne is the faction of combat. Skorne hits hard, Skorne can take a beating and they are always getting in your opponent’s face. Skorne also has the best warbeast stable in the entire game. Even if there are better single options in other factions, Skorne has the best selection overall. Almost all the beasts have a place and are good. There are few strong control effects in Skorne and most movement enhancing abilities are straight forward. They enable you to get in and break people. The Agonizer is basically a melee Kriel Stone from Trolls. All titans are effectively ARM 21 in melee with 30+ hit boxes. Further, most titans have 2-3 initial attacks and get up to POW 18. So you are basically as tough as a Khador heavy, hit just as hard or harder than a Khador heavy, and because of Rush you are faster than a Khador heavy on average! And this is without any advantage being granted by the warlock! Not bad, huh?
Infantry wise, Skorne is still the way it was, apart from the nerf to medium base infantry. Keltarri are still good against guns, Nihilators still break infantry, Reivers still shoot stuff, but Immortals and Swordsman are different. Immortals lost a point of defense and no longer gain +2” from Ancestral Guardians, but they still hit hard at PS13 and ARM 17 shrugs off pow 10’s while providing souls to casters who already liked them (cough, Zaal). Swordsmen are the big winners however. Boosted melee attack rolls on a mini feat and Relentless Charge make them a fantastic all in one. They hurt beasts with Combo Strike or Penetrating Strike, ignore terrain on attack and with the mini feat, are unlikely to miss for a turn. Great melee unit.
After seeing the new Venator Dakar solo, I have to state that Skorne’s ranged game has gone from OK to fantastic. The extra range from the Dakar as well as his own weapon master gun is just crazy. He amplifies Slingers and Reivers. Skorne gunlines were already looking pretty good in MK3, now they are going to be a fantastic option.
I felt this was somewhat necessary to explain as when I go over the lists and casters, you need to see where my mind is starting out as we explore this faction in Mk3.
- Reivers + UA
- Pain Giver Beast Handlers
Rasheth is pretty much the same in MK3 but has 3 big changes:
1. Dark Rituals is friendly faction now, so no more casting through Minions.
2. Impervious Flesh is now all damage rolls, so he no longer auto dies when something gets into melee with him (though he probably still will).
3. His feat now affects all models and affects defense.
The changes to his feat are the most noteworthy. It was a pretty good feat before but now, it is a crazy feat. Combined with the Agonizer, you are basically +4 arm in melee. Offensively, you are now both more accurate AND hit harder, while affecting everyone in the game.
Lists for Raseth can be incredibly varied, depending on what you want to do. You can go ranged heavy and blast things off the board, you can go melee damage heavy, or you can build a wall of beef. All options are valid. I personally like the idea of Reivers being POW 16 with Blood Mark and feat against large bases.
- Cyclops Brute
- Nihilators x2
- Pain Giver Beast Handlers
- Ancestral Guardian
- Immortals + UA
Before MK3, I already thought Zaal 1 was the best generalist caster in Skorne. He had an answer for just about everything. With Last Stand, Hex Blast, Feat, and a Kovaas, he could play just about any game decently. But he was especially good at “trading up” through Last Stand. Who doesn’t like the idea of spending 5 points of models to kill 12+?
If battle groups are all the rage in MK 3, Zaal 1 will play that game exceptionally well. He is fantastic at armor cracking and some models like Immortals are simply better with him, and he maintained all his great spells. The only downside is that Last Stand is now friendly faction, so no more spending Shamblers to kill jacks.
Building Zaal is pretty straightforward He likes infantry to Last Stand and power his feat. His tricks do nothing for ranged units, so melee is the way to go. With buffed ranged warbeasts in the Cannoneer, I think a ranged battle group is the way to go with him…. And they still do work normally, especially with Last Stand.
- Makeda 3
- Molik Karn
- Pain Giver Beast Handlers
- Croak Raiders
To be honest, I don’t honestly believe Makeda 3 is among the top casters in Skorne from a competitive standpoint. She is simply too high risk to likely become a tournament staple, but she is my personal favorite and a blast to play. So I am throwing her in here.
Makeda 3 in MK2 had a few issues to really maximize her power. Tough messed with pac-man chains, Beat Back was a complete necessity to really abuse her feat, so you had to have a Bronzeback and it was warbeast only, and high MAT and Reach was necessary to really utilize the pac-man. As a result, her feat should have read “Molik Karn’s Dance of Death.” Mk3 changes that around by adding a new spell to replace Sunhammer: Hand of Death. With this new upkeep, Makeda basically fixes both of the above problems in one go and allows for all sorts of new uses by giving a model Grievous Wounds and Overtake. Makeda can now use the feat to pac-man herself and she can create mini pac-man chains every turn.
Makeda was already pretty close to being a decent warlock with her ability to clear a scenario zone, now I think her game has escalated to the point that she can be a very powerful force that answers both infantry and armor at once. If you combine that change with the general changes to the faction, sheplays right into them. Agonizer changes are lovely for her just as much as the titans around her.
Oh, and she kept Vortex, so she can still trivially remove heavy armor.