IN SHORT: The Horde Gargantuans rulebook is here, and once again Privateer Press shows their top shelf support for an excellent gaming system.
As with previous releases, every Hordes army gets a host of new additions that mix up the game in exciting ways. In the past, Privateer Press has shown their skill in maintaining game balance while still adding tons of exciting new options. Fortunately, this rulebook does not disappoint. Every main faction gets a new warlock, one of the new gargantuans, and a mix of beasts, units, and solos. The rulebook itself is full color, and the artwork is absolutely gorgeous!
Today, let’s take a look at the new additions to the Skorne arsenal!
MAKEDA & THE EXALTED COURT: Makeda is back for a third go, and this time she brought friends. Makeda and her two Exalted Guardians form one of the rulebook’s new warlock units. The main point here is the Exalted Guardians are part of Makeda’s battlegroup, activate with her, and benefit from her feat, Dance of Death.
At first glance, Makeda looks tailored to run more beasts than the average Skorne warlock. She doesn’t have any spells that support infantry, but her Feat benefits from plenty of warbeasts. Under her feat, every enemy model destroyed by her battlegroup means 1 extra fury for Makeda or 1 less fury for a warbeast. That’s a scary proposition when you consider what Molik Karn or a Bronzeback can do!
I can see her advancing into the thick of it with Vortex of Destruction up. Thanks to this spell, every damage roll against a model she engages is going to be auto-boosted. She really doesn’t have much need to spend a lot of Fury each turn, not even to buy extra attacks. She just has to engage what she wants to die. And if she’s running a lot of beasts, that means plenty of transfers. Combine that with the unit’s Battle-Driven rule (which makes them tougher if any of them are damaged, among other benefits), and the Exalted Guardian’s Shield Guard rules, you’ve got one lady who is not going down easily.
Time and playtesting will be the final judges, but overall this new version of Makeda looks very solid and a lot of fun.
REPTILE HOUNDS: Skorne now has access to a 2 point lesser warbeast. Reptile Hounds are clearly meant to be run in packs, since they benefit from Flank [other Reptile Hounds]. Alone, they’re not too impressive with only a P+S 8 attack. Put them in a group, support them with some beast handlers, and suddenly you have a swarm of 2 point ankle-biters hitting with MAT 7 P+S 10 attacks that get extra damage dice.
Not too bad, and it’s always nice to have something cheap to transfer damage to. Why cripple a Bronzeback when you can throw away a Reptile Hound?
DESPOILER: Now here’s an interesting fellow, a character Rhinodon. The Despoiler is an expensive warbeast at 10 points. He’s squishier than and doesn’t hit as hard as most Skorne heavies, but he comes with some unique abilities for the faction. His animus, Arcane Suppression, can help shut down enemy magic. He allows the warlock one free upkeep, always nice. And he makes Void Spirits when he kills living infantry, once a turn. So, cool. Free solos.
In most Skorne armies, he’s competing with several great options around the same price, so he’s hard to judge without first playing him. However, put him with Mordikaar, and he gains a whole new level of ridiculousness. He gets Dark Shroud! Not only does that make him hit like a Gladiator (a faster version with Reach), but he debuffs enemy ARM just by walking up to them! Not to mention those Void Spirits he creates now get boosted attack rolls.
This guy is going to be very popular with Mordikaar.
CATAPHRACT INCINDIARII: Skorne continues to expand its repertoire of nasty shooting. Each Incindiarii launches a 3” AOE ranged attack that sets things on fire. Not Critical Fire, mind you. Continuous Fire! Oh, yeah! On top of that, they have good RAT, can make Combined Ranged Attacks, and have typical Cataphract robustness. All in all, a nice unit. Skorne doesn’t have much that can support them, other than Epic Hexeris’ Black Spot spell, which is ridiculously good with any shooting.
MORTITHEURGE WILLBREAKER: The new options this 2 point solo brings to Skorne are almost too numerous to count. Ancillary Attack is simple and straight forward. Want the Cannoneer to shoot twice a turn? Ancillary Attack. Need another hit from the Gladiator to finish off the enemy heavy? Ancillary Attack.
The other ability is Puppet Master. The power of this ability cannot be understated. Try casting it on a warbeast, then go for the caster kill. Did you roll poorly when you couldn’t afford to? Do over! That’s just one of the many options this power brings to Skorne.
On top of these two abilities, the Willbreaker is a Beast Master, allowing it to force your warbeasts. And Skorne can take 2 of them in an army? Wow, just wow.
MAMMOTH: The Skorne gargantuan is an impressive beast. With solid stats and high durability, it takes a strong commitment to bring this bad boy down. The Mammoth can pound enemies at range with up to 3 blast templates, and when the distance closes, its large number of high P+S attacks will turn most enemies into pulp. On the way there, it can shove enemies out of the way with Bulldoze, plus it has a powerful animus with Counterblast, which can be used defensively to great effect.
Oh, yes. The Mammoth is one solid beasty. Did I mention the model looks absolutely wicked?
SUMMARY: Privateer Press continues to release exciting new models for every faction at roughly the same time. They have shown a strong commitment to game balance and to supporting owners of all factions. The Skorne releases in this rulebook are a fine example of their dedication to the game and to the fans.
All in all, Gargantuans is another top-notch release for a top-notch game.