IN SHORT: Hordes Exigence is here, so let’s take a look. As with previous releases, every Hordes army receives a host of new toys, this time throwing out powerful character warbeasts, lesser warlocks, and two of the new warbeast packs. Like all Privateer Press releases, the book is printed in full color with page after page of impressive new artwork.
So, let’s take a look at the new Skorne models.
XERXIS, FURY OF HALAAK: Here comes Xerxis, back for more and riding a … rhinoceros … sort of thing. Whatever it is, it looks impressive.
Xerxis himself is fast and hard hitting. With SPD 7, MAT 8, and a P+S 15 weapon, Xerxis is hitting like a ton of bricks even before his special rules kick in. Add in cavalry charge rules, Brutal Charge, Ignite, then Mobility, and suddenly you have a 14”threat range with the first attack slamming home with effective MAT 10, P+S 19. That, I think, will leave a mark.
As a cavalry battle engine warlock, he comes with a long list of built in rules, some good, some not. His huge base is his main liability. Solid defensive stats help there, and he has access to the Basilisk Krea’s animus if more protection from shooting is required. In fact, the Krea’s animus goes very well with Xerxis regardless. Not only does it give him an extra +2 to DEF and ARM against shooting, but it also drops enemy DEF by -2 if they’re within 2” of him. Remember that huge base? Yeah, that’s a lot of tabletop he’s covering with that aura.
Oh, and Xerxis gets to cast an animus spell for free once per turn thanks to his Warbeast Bond with a warbeast in his battlegroup. Plenty of applications for this beyond the Krea too.
Xerxis is also a very warbeast-friendly warlock, despite his low Fury of 5. Mobility gives +2 SPD and Pathfinder to his entire battlegroup and his feat turns the entire tabletop into his control area, allowing warbeasts to be forced far afield if necessary while giving them an additional die for attack and damage rolls (dropping a die of the player’s choice).
Xerxis is a fairly straightforward caster, but he definitely looks fun to play. Who doesn’t like a speeding horde of Skorne titans led by someone riding a rhinoceros?
SCARAB PACK: Now here’s one of the two new warbeast packs, and an interesting one at that.
Scarabs have low base stats, but they also have a lot of rules and features that help them perform beyond their raw numbers. For example, they come with poor DEF and ARM stats, but also have a lot of hit boxes to soak up damage as well as the ability to Dig In for cover and eat enemy models for health. Same with their MAT and P+S. Not very impressive, but they have built-in ways to enhance them.
Also, with the number of attacks the pack can put out (along with buying additional attacks or boosting attack rolls), that Critical Paralysis becomes a lot more likely to land. All in all, a very interesting addition to Skorne, and definitely one I think is worth trying out.
ARADUS SOLDIER: With SPD 3, the Aradus Soldier is slow. However, a combination of Advanced Deploy and Reach give it surprising threat potential early in the game, and P+S 18 on its Mandibles is no joke. That’s even higher than a Bronzeback, and can easily be pushed up to P+S 20 with beast handlers. After all, this is Skorne we’re talking about.
The Mandibles don’t have Reach, but the attacks that do come with Pull to suck enemies in for those Mandibles. Also, good luck killing this guy with shooting. Its Carapace rule takes its base ARM of 19 and turns it into 23 against ranged attacks and free strikes.
A fairly interesting setup here. It has more of a defensive feel to it than other Skorne heavies. Once it gets somewhere, it’s going to be a pain to shift. Though, you still have to get it there.
ARADUS SENTINEL: Similar to the Aradus Soldier, the Aradus Sentinel has the same low speed, Carapace rule, and Advanced Deployment. What the Sentinel brings on top of this is a powerful AOE attack with Poison! And given its Carapace rule, it’s difficult to tie up. It can back away from being engaged, take its lumps with ARM 23, and keep firing. The Poison rule on its ranged attack makes it particularly effective against other Hordes armies.
By the way, this guy goes great with a Mortitheurge Willbreaker. Two Poison AOEs per turn? Yes please!
PRAETORIAN KELTARII: Here’s another flavor of Praetorians for Skorne, this one with some solid defensive rules. Blade Shield gives them +2 DEF against ranged attacks, bumping them up to a very respectable DEF 15 ARM 14 when shot at. Parry makes them immune to free strikes, and Reform gives them a free 3” advance at the end of the unit’s actions.
Throw in Combined Melee Attack for some harder hitting when needed, and you have a solid block of infantry that can easily rush in and jam up the enemy’s ranks or help screen friendly force. Overall, a nice new unit.
TYRANT ZAADESH: So here’s Skorne’s lesser warlock and immediately something is different. Unlike the other factions, Zaadesh has no restriction on what he can include in his battlegroup. He comes with a decent defensive ability in Protective Battlegroup (letting a warbeast he controls take a ranged or magic shot for him), and he enhances his battlegroup with Tag Team.
When active, Tag Team gives his battlegroup +2 melee attack and damage as long as the target is engaged by another member of the battlegroup. Zaadesh’s abilities mesh well because Protective Battlegroup and Tag Team both keep his warbeasts close. And it doesn’t take much to turn him into a nasty killing machine. With his warbeast(s) nearby, Zaadesh can hit at MAT 8, P+S 14 repeatedly until his Fury runs dry.
He can also be used as an animus battery, dishing out multiple copies of Sprint from an Archidon, just as an example. Or Rush from a Gladiator. Or … well, I think you get the point.
But yeah, I like this little tyrant.
SUMMARY: Privateer Press introduces another set of new models that bring fresh possibilities to each faction. Less warlocks and warbeast packs may not be as exciting as gargantuans, but there are still plenty of fun releases in this book.