Time for more list crafting, this time around, Skorne Beast Bullets! Something about launching a beast 12-14” down the table straight into my opponent with no concern for its survival seems like fun to me, dunno why. This concept is based around Morghoul1 (The Fan Dancer Guy) and his spell Abuse. Stacked with Enrage and Rush, any given beast can get +4” of movement, +4 STR and Pathfinder right before I sling it downfield into whatever needs to die. The core of the list is self building:
-Titan Gladiator (Rush)
Pain Giver Beasthandlers (Enrage)
From here there are a few more decisions to make/roles to fill. I need beasts to shoot at my opponent. I want a chaff/jamming unit. I want some ranged presence. I want a method of mitigating Morghoul’s comically small control range, 10” is short when I’m planning on tossing beasts 6” + 7” + base SPD away and then needing them to be forced. Lastly, I want a couple of hard questions to ask my opponent, ideally ones that need to be answered in some fashion.
I have a few constraints which limit my choice of beasts. First, they need to be inherently quick. Second, the need to be cheap. Third, melee focused. I tossing these beasts into melee to piece trade, I’m not expecting them to survive and I don’t want to pay for any extra nonsense (abilities, guns, etc). So narrowing the list of beasts to everything that is 12 or less points (#Juggernaut_Standard), I’ve got the follow list to consider:
Agonizer → An amusing concept, making these poor sods more miserable by shooting them at the enemy, they’re cheap but ineffectual for bullet duty.
Archidon → At the top of the points range, these guys have flight, threaten 15” with P+S18 on the charge and can gain sprint for potentially some survivability, definitely in the final cut already.
Basilisk Drake → Provides a terrifying spray which could be an interesting option to have to throw 10” around. No assault does limit it though.
Basilisk Krea → Just a UA for the Drake, move along.
Cyclops Brute → Cheap, reach, some potential for survivability with ARM18 and Intuition (not that he’ll have any fury space left after being shot). I’d call it a “tough” bullet.
Cyclops Raider → No need for ranged.
Cyclops Savage → Potentially a huge amount of output with a P+S17 attack and Future Sight for fury efficiency. I’m not convinced the extra strength is worth what the Brute brings to the table.
Cyclops Shaman → Utility piece, maybe if I need 2x Rush in a turn.
Razor Worm → Another finalist. This guy solves the “cheap” and “control range” problems simultaneously while also offering something that might be “survivable”.
Reptile Hound → SUPER CHEAP (3.5 a pop? Dirt struggles to compete). Charges 14” with P+S12.
Rhinodon → Huge amount of output potential on this guy with 3 attacks base (P+S17 x2, P+S18). Another finalist.
Scarab Pack → Cheaper on a per model basis than the Reptile Hounds while providing the same P+S12 attack. Lots of cheap ammo, sling the leader at an enemy, have the rest hang back. The first one in gets to force 3 more times, which is not insignificant.
So, this quick summary gives me six candidates for bullets which I’ve sorted into two “calibers” based on effective bullet STR.
High: Archidon, Cyclops Brute, Razor Worm, Rhinodon
Low: Reptile Hound, Scarab Pack
Each caliber would have different targets, the low calibers would be shot (perhaps without rush) essential as sniper shots, tagging supports, UAs, solos, etc. The DPS calculations for those are mostly meaningless (a DEF12 ARM18 dies to a boosted POW12) but for the higher caliber, I really need it to piece trade with things akin to a Khador Juggernaut. Big, tough, hard hitting. A Juggernaut sits at ARM20, DEF10 with 34 boxes. First consideration is the MAT of the bullet, everyone but the Brute is at MAT6 (4+ on 2d6, or ~91%, the brute is ~82%). Next is the output of each bullet (time for a table I think, assuming average dice).
|P+S vs ARM20||Avg. Charge Dam.||Avg. Dam.||# of Attacks to Kill|
What this table tells me is that I’m not able to one round a Juggernaut (Razor Worm is P+S16, Archidon is P+S18 but is fury capped, Rhinodon does 16 damage with it’s initials but still falls short by about 7 damage), which feels kinda bad. Anything that isn’t a Juggernaut is going to be swiftly turned into scrap (such as the Mad Dog or Berserker).
Based on the other holes the core of the list has, 2 to 3 Razor Worms feels right (and lets not forget about the Gladiator that’s spending most it’s time riling and passing out rush can be shot 12” with 2 POW 20’s and a POW 19). If there are leftover points, I’d like to squeeze in something else to ensure that I’m maxing Morghoul on focus every turn (maybe a Raider to soften up bullet targets).
3 Razor Worms + Gladiator: 35pts – Morghoul WB pts = 5 pts
I want something to just gum up my opponent, to stop them from having free access to the board while I line up bullets onto their important things. The two considerations I have are cheap and self-sufficient. Morghoul does nothing to support his army in this list (or at all), he’s too busy cycling the bolt action on the beast cannon. Without any buffs from Morghoul to be concerned about, minions become much more attractive (the whole “mercs/minions need to be self-sufficient without faction buffs” thing) so I started there and really only found one option.
Gatorman Bokor and Bog Trog Shamblers → Bodies! All the bodies! Bump the cost up to 15 and they all get Tough and from the Wtich Doctor. Self-Replenishing from the things likely to be run into them and with 12” of “Run to Engage” not the worst option.
Swapping back to Skorne, I found a few more to consider.
Praetorian Karax → Cheap! ARM19! SPD6. Not likely to actually get much beyond what Shamblers would do but are slightly crunchier and resistant to POW10’s and POW12’s.
Praetorian Swordsmen → If there was room in the list for a Krea, I would pay two more points and grab the Keltarii instead to have a DEF17 vs shooting screen. As it is, I expect these guys to be less effective than the Shamblers.
Paingiver Bloodrunners → Stealthy Murder Hobos. These guys can pretty much wreck any other single wound infantry unit in the game and have a ton of tools to do it. I mention them because they’re likely to be the solution to clearing out charge lanes for the bullets to shoot down (charge, anatomical precision to stab the things in the way, Reposition 3” to clear the charge lane).
I think the proper answer here is the Witch Doctor + Bokor and a unit of Bloodrunners. Totaling at 24pts, it occupies 1/3rd of the free points in the list -BUT- provides a resilient tarpit with a method outside of shooting for clearing charge lanes.
Accounting for the 5 points dropped on the min unit of Beast Handlers, that’s a 34pt list which I don’t feel too bad about.
Beast Cannon Morghoul
-3 Razor Worm 21
-Titan Gladiator 14
Gatorman Bokor 11
Gatorman Witch Doctor 4
Paingiver Bloodrunners 9
Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) 5
To expand to 75 points, I’d probably look seriously at adding in a Cyclops Shaman to Morghoul to offer the potential of shooting 2 beasts fully buffed in a turn. Swap a Rhinodon for a Razor Worm for a heavier hitter. Finally I’d look into running a unit of Arcuarii to help clear lanes and some combination of Venators (the solo + double catapults + slingers does wonders at softening targets) to aid in spot removal and the attrition game.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get a game or two in the next few days and see if my theorycrafting holds water, there’s also some more Kraye in the pipeline. Cheers all!