Monday, September 14, 2015

Model Spotlight - Pirate Queen Skarre (pSkarre) - Cryx

Today we have a guest blogger, Ryan who plays Cryx and Trolls in our game group. Today he's got a great write up on pSkarre.

Ryan - So we're back in business after the summer lull and Mark baby-proofing his house. I figured I'd start things off a quick run-down of one of my favorite casters before we get some battle reports in later this week (HOPEFULLY). Rather than the typical Gaspy or Denny run-down that most cryx players love to drool over and flaunt, my first real caster I started playing when I joined the undead legion was PSkarre. This, with the models I had at the time, was not a fun experience. Eventually I learned that Skarre really requires some key pieces in order for her to do what she does well, but man oh man does she can get it done like a real Cryx caster when those pieces fall into place.
Let's look at the card rundown before getting into the heavy thinking.

Basic Stats:

FOCUS:   So we're one less than we are used to working with when it comes to Cryx casters but being a cryx caster, there's some other powers at work here but you can basically consider her to be the same as Gaspy and Denny in this department (see Ritual Sacrifice).  Skarre really likes her focus so having some of our friendly self-sustaining jacks (Seether/DJ) can always help take some of the pressure off Skarre to share.

SPD:  She's got the moves, she can move, she should move. She's not supposed to be knee-deep in the action but she can (and should) be positioned around the board as need be. Get her close for the variety of reasons you'll see further in but make sure you keep her safe. She is not made to take hits like Butcher or Kromac but given the chance she can swing just like them.

STR:  Again, not bad. She can dish it out when she needs to but given that she has only melee weapons, this is to be considered the minimum. She can (and should) put the hurt on any infantry that happen to cross her path...but going toe to toe with colossals or heavy jacks should be something under controlled circumstances.

MAT:   Solid for being a melee caster. This is a nice middle-ground MAT that can go the distance but will need some help if you want to swing at those pesky Trenchers or Kayazy jerk-faces. Boosting can be necessary but not always the right call with the tricks Skarre has up her sleeves.

No ranged weapons, no need for no stinkin RAT. Movin' on

Solid, this is what you are counting on to keep Skarre on the table. Infantry are going to have a hard time cracking this so you'll generally be safe until you run into something that can boost (Jacks, Beasts, and Casters). I've gotten lucky and a bad roll on your opponents 3 dice can be great, but luck will only save your butt so many times. 

You are just as tough as your Banes but you don't have the chance to get back up when you get killed. If you see someone running their infantry right through your bane thralls and laughing all the way, Skarre doesn't want any piece of trading blows with that. Be the sneaky cryx player you should be and try to avoid using this stat as much as you can (unless you are stacking a ton of focus, but where's the fun in that??)

Weapons: So no ranged weapon but that's not a huge loss considering the lovely combo Skarre brings to the table with her "weapons". No reach means if you are swinging it's going to be up close and personal, no toeing the line with this caster. I've gone ahead and listed them in the ideal order you'll be using them on targets that need more than one hit to go down. You don't have any combo strike so remember that you should change your order and priorities depending on what (or whom) you are swinging at.

Great Rack:  This is the money maker, most people will ever see it coming but they sure don't forget it once they have. Knockdown on hit means you don't even have to do damage with it to reap the rewards. If you are playing footsie with a jack or caster, boost to hit and you'll have them flat on their backs waiting for you to bring the pain.

Takkaryx:  The biggest POW Skarre can throw from her melee weapons, it doesn't seem like much but the Life Trader on it lets her cut for one damage and throw an extra dice on damage. This is not boosting. So for 1 damage and 1 focus, Skarre is swinging with a POW 13 + 4D6 without charging. Did you hear that? I think Khador just started crying in the corner. It may not be the best idea to throw Skarre at heavies and casters, but oh man is it sweet when the opportunity presents itself.

Bloodwyrm: Say the dice are being quite wrathful to you on a given day (see what I did there?) and you just can't seem to cut someone down and are hurting a bit after all that cutting you did, Bloodwyrm has got your back. Life Drinker is the neglected sibling to Life Trader but still can pull your butt out of the fire. Kill a living model with the POW 9 and heal D3 damage boxes. Skarre is big on the pain with her feat and Life Trader so this can be a nice way to get back some of those wounds. Being that this one weapon needs to kill something living for it to work, consider this the cherry on the Skarre sundae: it's nice but you're not ordering a whole sundae just for the cherry.

Special Abilities:  Aside from the plethora of abilities on her "weapons", Skarre has one very fun ability that is so Cryxian you'll want to use a Bond villain laugh when you use it. I know I have.

Sacrifical Strike: This ability is just plain weird but I'll be damned if it won't win you games. This is a star action (Mark can put the symbol in here or something) so you're giving up all your initial attack to use this. If you are actually using it, it's worth it.

So here's the breakdown of how you do this:
  • Step 1: You pick a target within 9'' of Skarre (unless her CMD has been affected somehow, not sure if it's possible but we're going to assume it hasn't happened in this instance) and that she has Line Of Sight to
  • Step 2:  After your opponent stops crying after realizing what you are doing, you argue and prove that the target is both within range and has Line Of Sight.
  • Step 3: Choose a friendly faction model within 1'' of Skarre to be the sacrificial cannonball. This model does not have to be completely within so as long as part of the base is there, you are good to go.
  • Step 4: If you played the previous steps correctly, whatever the BASE armor of your sacrifice was just became the POW of your damage roll against your target. This hits automatically and is an ability so feel free to target anything with Spell Ward or other annoying abilities. Also, it's boostable damage so it's going to hurt even if you use something with a lower armor.
  • Step 5: Profit
  • This is your ace in the hole. If your opponent doesn't really know about it, just ignore it for the first two turns and bide your time patiently like a land shark or one of those other animals that would be good at poker. One you get that sliver of base you unleash your wrath and throw a boostable POW pain while laughing manically and explain what's happening like the true Bond villain you are. The lowest you'll be throwing will probably be a POW 12 but if you're feeling frisky and leave a bane thrall near Skarre or bring her up near them, that's a POW 15 right in someones face....good times.
Spells: Skarre's got spells, she doesn't have the focus to really sling spells...normally. I've gone and put this in the order of how often I use them from most to least. But that doesn't mean a well placed hellfire hasn't basically won me a game before, a list like this is versatile and there will always be a spell you could be casting to make your situation on the board better in some way. I have spells I like but I've learned that knowing how to apply my toolkit makes it much more useful (especially against players like Mark).

Ritual Sacrifice: This is the big solution when it comes to Skarre, she is not afraid to consider her units as expendable between Sacrificial Strike and this. This spell is also the main reason you bring a Skarlock (yeah, this was a game changer when someone filled me in on that). You pick a sacrifice within 6'' of the caster, as long as it's a friendly warrior model it's all good (undead are totally fine targets, which is really nice). We've had discussions and the internet seemed to tell us after you cast and make the sacrifice, you roll a D6 and Skarre gets that much extra focus next turn. This effectively makes Skarre have at least 7 FOCUS to play with on a given turn. Also, no one can touch that focus the turn you cast the sacrifice, so suck it Eiryss.

Backlash: This one is situational but I'll be damned if it ain't a boat load of fun when the opportunity comes to use it. Costs as much as all her other offensive spells, Skarre targets a jack within 8'' and (pending this hits) whenever that jack takes ANY damage, it's controller takes 1 as well. This is unavoidable for the caster, there is no getting out of it unless they get rid of backlash. I have caused some great trouble for opponents with this and corrosion along with other fun tricks.
Few things to note on Backlash: Make sure you know which jack is tied to whom, I've wasted this on hurting JWC's because I didn't get clarification on who was tied to which jack. Don't count on Corrosion to do all the work for you on a high armor jack, if you aren't throwing other sources of damage to make use of this the focus could have been better spent elsewhere. This does stack with the Satyxis Raider's Feedback (which literally does the same thing on their whip attacks). I love using this on Colossals when I know I'm going to be putting some hurt on with a big hitter, good for at least 3-5 damage on my opponents caster.

Dark Guidance: This spell is my dump when I really have no use for my focus and I'm not really under any threats of being hurt. It shouldn't always be a priority but it's never going to hurt you having it up and running. Highest cost Skarre has for spells at 4, all friendly faction models (sorry Mercs) get an extra die to hit with melee attacks this TURN. No bonus on your opponents turn from this one. If you like your banes and ghost raiders, this spell will keep you in a good mood. Mechanithralls become a serious threat under this. Tarpits become wheat for the harvest as your units just stroll right through whatever gets in their way.

Bloodrain: Standard Cryx infantry killer spell. AoE 3 with a POW 12 means anything you can manage to hit with that FOC 6 that is one wound, will be a pool of melted something when you are done.  Anything not one wound gets Corrosion if they are hit by it. This can be nice for messing with tarpits and such if you aren't super high DEF but it doesn't leave any cloud like Gaspy so it's not quite as good as it looks on paper.

Hellfire: This is a spell you've probably seen before, both pGaspy and Venethrax throw this around as well. POW 14 at the same cost as Bloodrain with a couple extra inches on the range. Hit a model in a unit that isn't fearless and they have to make a command check. This can be really nice once you've gotten the hang of the game and know how you want the board to look at the end of your turn. Fleeing models don't engage and can't make free strikes, you can walk whatever you want (units, a jack, a ticker tape parade) and they can't do squat until they rally on your opponent's turn (sometimes they still don't and it's wonderful). Play around with this if you don't already and get a hang for those times when your enemy pokes their units out a little too far and they need to be taught a lesson.


Blood Magic (super-spooky-make-your-opponents-cry-time):
So Skarre, in typical Skarre fashion, takes UP TO 5 damage. For each point of damage she takes in this manner, Friendly Faction models (no mercs, no minions) get +1 STR and ARM for a round. So on both your turn and your opponents everything within 12" that is Cryx gets a bonus to STR and ARM.

I love this feat, it is one of those wonderful feats that just fucks up someones day no matter when you cast it. More often I tend to cast this feat defensively but getting that opportunity to use it on the alpha strike is just so superb. Cryx hits fairly hard so don't be afraid to take this feat to keep your stuff alive while your opponent flails like a sissy against ARM 20 banes or hopes for splash damage of POW 6 or 8 to kill your ARM 18 Bile Thralls. I've never not used this feat at a full 5. Something like this should always go at full blow, especially if you have a ton of extra focus coming your way (a solid 6 roll on Ritual Sacrifice means you can heal all that damage back and still have 7 focus coming next turn).

Final Thoughts

As I said, Skarre is a party animal but she needs units to keep her going. First thing she NEEDS (and I stress this need massively) is a Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls. The necrosurgeon gets a D6 heal on Skarre without a skill check if they are B2B (Base to Base). I don't really run mechanithralls so I usually sacrifice the stitch thralls for focus or the occasional POW 12 to some poor souls face. Skarre can put some real hurt on herself if you let her and she really wants to throw that focus around the board instead of healing herself so this unit can go a long way to making sure your opponent needs more than a stiff breeze to take her down after a couple turns of fun. The second unit that I always include is a Skarlock Thrall. Once I discovered he can cast Ritual Sacrifice for Skarre, that's all he usually does. he sits back with the stitch thralls and eats them for the first three turns so I get my focus and Skarre gets to do what she wants with it. Though the only thing the Skarlock can't cast is Dark Guidance, which means you shouldn't be afraid to sneak in a Hellfire or Backlash  if the opportunity arises.
*I had someone recently fill me in from a game played that the Satyxis Raider Captain's "No Sleeping on the Job" actually extends to ESkarre, so throwing her in and keeping her within command range of Skarre means immunity to knockdown, fun fact

The biggest drawback you're going to have with Skarre is working all your fun inside her 12'' control area. You only need your stuff within it since your feat is a buff, but it does mean anything you want to make sure is buffed is not going to be spread across the board and she's not going to be hiding by your own table edge. I find an arc node or two can help spread the love around when you've got the focus to throw and no prime targets are stepping up to her directly but jacks that can make their own means of pain (Seether/DJ) really seem to shine in her lists. DJ has had some real fun throwing Hellfire and then trampling right through some poor unit to whatever he thinks is really in need of a hug. Overall I run melee heavy with Skarre so Dark Guidance is making sure my hits are hitting and just have fun scaring my opponent with her many threats and feat. She's a hybrid melee/support caster that never lacks for making the opportunities you need if you know how to exploit them. Also, charging Satyxis Raiders with UA/Captain Solo + Backlash on a colossal, your opponent will shit bricks. (Learn to combine those CMA's with horns and 1 whip so you still get Feedback as well)

Support Dice Wrath

and purchase through our Amazon link!

No comments:

Post a Comment