Now and Then: Zaal’s Immortal Host


lonelymonkavThis one is my favorite Skorne theme. The Lord Assassin is fun, but Zaal is the best.

A theme that requires Hakaar the Destroyer, 3 Extollers and two units of Immortals. You get souls on Extroller, Advanced Deploy Ancestral Guardians and the only way to start the Game with a Kovaas on the table.

My Mk2 list:

Supreme Aptimus Zaal – WB: +5
–    Kovaas
–    Aptimus Marketh
–    Aradus Sentinel – PC: 8
–    Cyclops Raider – PC: 5
–    Basilisk Krea – PC: 4

Hakaar the Destroyer – PC: 4
Extoller Soulward – PC: 2
Extoller Soulward – PC: 2
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 3
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 3
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 3

Praetorian Karax – Leader & 5 Grunts: 4
Praetorian Karax – Leader & 5 Grunts: 4
Immortals – Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Immortals – Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
_______________________________________________
Zaal must have been close to perfect in Mk2. The only change on the front of his card was WB Points going from +5 to +26. I was so surprised that I check it three times. Directed Spirit, Ghost Sight and Soul Converter got Mk3 wording without any notable change. Union [Damage transfer to Ancestral Guardians] is gone. Annihilating Gaze added undead to the list of eligible targets.  To bad for the followers of Turok.

Zaal & KovaasHis Spell list has one real change. Inviolable Resolve (+2 ARM & Fearless) is gone. Death Pact has the same stat line and gives you +2 ARM & Undead on a model/unit. A nice ARM buff vs losing the souls from something. Interesting, it reminds me of Hollow (gain Tough & Undead)…..

Rage of the Ancients is his Feat and it did NOT change. Your army dies, he collects Rage tokens. Pop that feat and boost melee attack & damage on models in his control area. Talk about a big feat turn! That is the idea….

Kovaas is still his angry buddy. I’m in shock he lost his CMD!!! Why did he need it anyway. Desiccator (*Action) now works on Undead too. Destruction Spawned is identical. Wasting Touch is (you guessed it) the same! To be honest, I expected something to change, not sure what. Nope, I was wrong. Kovaas is perfect!!! Kovass now has to be spawned by the destruction of an Ancestral Guardian. Zaal can’t transfer damage to them anymore. That used to be a trick to Spawn Kovaas when a clever player tried to keep him off the table.

MarkethAptimus Marketh (Extoller who forgot how to shoot) – His cost is exactly what you would expect for Mk3, -6 Pt. Attached, Ghost Shield and Soul Tap are still there. Spell Slave got a Mk3 change, Cast a 3 focus spell, no upkeep, none with RNG Self or Ctrl. So he can cast Hex Blast or Sunder Spirit. In the theme he started with souls. Now he has to collect them which hurts his ARM bonus and it is harder for him to pay souls for upkeeps. Shrug, things will die and he will gather souls.

Cyclops Raider – His CMD went down and his Animus Changed a little. Far Strike is a SELF spell and costs 1. Pretty much common knowledge by now. He was big part of this list in Mk2. Zaal would hand that Animus out to whoever needed it. Krea, Acid Bug, Extoller or himself. He is also very helpful at blasting a stealth model every now and then.

Acid Bug 002Aradus Sentinel (Acid Bug) – His CMD when down and is Venom Blaster gain +1″ of Range. Gone is Swarm (conealment and attack roll debuff), now he has Acidic Touch for his Animus. I can’t see Zaal using continuous corrosion on his weapon very much. An old Skorne in melee leads to new Construct Warlock. Didn’t that happen?

The Krea took a big hit, but she is still useful. Her ranged attack only works on living, and her Animus – Force Aura – is Self within 3″ of the model, granting Force Barrier – +2 DEF vs Range and immunity to blast damage. Zaal is not big on surviving assassination runs. The Krea’s Animus is sometime the difference you need.

HakaarHakaar the Destroyer – Another near perfect model. His has a soul now (Soul Vessel). The loss of Life Drinker isn’t a huge loss. He still has Ghost Shield, Righteous Vengeance, Gate Keeper and Combo Strike. Top that off with a small decrease in his cost at -7 Pt. I have seen player rearrange their army because of him.

Ancestral Guardians (Hakaar Wannabees) – He has a soul. That’s it. Honestly. Hakaar and AGs seem to be exactly what Skorne is supposed to be about. A 10 foot tall Statue with high ARM, 10 HP and huge weapon that it is an expert at using. On top of that, it got cheaper too. How many can I have?

ExtollerExtoller Soulward (Zaal Wannabees) – Another model that need a big red sign that says I want Souls. She collects up to 3 souls (used to be 5 souls) and for a * Action can transfer soul tokens to and AG/Hakaar. Ghost Shield still attempts to keep her alive. Her spirit eye works just like Zaal’s.  Her Mk3 price is a little lower. It was a nice thing to have multiple Spirit eyes with Snipe, boosted attack and damage. If the target is a STR of 10, they are Boosted POW 16!

Immortals (More AG Wannabees) – They lost a point to DEF, gained a soul. Vengeance is a big one on this unit. The big one is the loss of Resonance [Ancestral Guardian]. Resonance gave them +2″ of movement if they started in CMD range of an AG. They are big, they hit hard and they are SLOW.Fear not gentle readers, Mk3 taketh away and Mk3 giveth back! Another price decrease, just a little.

Praetoian Karax (nickname Souls) – These or Praetorian Swordsmen are what was in the first line. First to die. Feed the Souls to the AG and Extollers to make the whole thing work. They lost Ranked Attack, so what. SPD and ARM +1  more than make up for that. They still have CMA, Girded, Set Defense and Shield Wall. Did all the Skorne unit get better and have the price go down?_______________________________________________

Mk3 version

Supreme Aptimus Zaal – WB: +26
– Kovaas
– Aptimus Marketh – PC: 6
– Titan Cannoneer – PC: 0
– Cyclops Raider – PC: 0

Hakaar the Destroyer – PC: 7
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 5
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 5
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 5
Extoller Soulward – PC: 3
Extoller Soulward – PC: 3

Immortals – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Extoller Advocate – PC: 4
Immortals – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Extoller Advocate – PC: 4
Praetorian Karax – Leader & 5 Grunts: 7
Praetorian Swordsmen – Leader & 5 Grunts: 8

_______________________________________________

Zaal theme 002Two changes, a smaller Battle Group and two Unit Attachments for the Immortals.

The Extoller Advocate is a big deal for Immortals. I never tried him in Mk2. I don’t have him/them painted yet. He is a cheap Unit Attachment for Immortals. He has a magic Staff and a Spirit Eye like Zaal. He gets the souls from his unit (unless Zaal passes them around). He will be staying with his unit, Sacrificial Pawn keeps him alive. He can have up to 5 souls. Spending them is different. He can’t boost attack and damage. He can give his unit +2 DEF and Concealment, give them +2″ movement or make them incorporeal. I need to buy a 2nd one and paint them soon.

CannonI took the Cannoneer and Raider for ranged attacks and Animus.

There is another option. Don’t take any Praetorians and go with two full units of Immortals. Let Zaal hand out the Souls as needed. I will play both of them as soon as I have the models painted.

Overall, this will be harder to play. The Extollers don’t start with 3 souls, AGs don’t Advance Deploy and No Kovaas. Zaal can still spend one focus to give all the AGs in his Control Range a soul token. So turn 1 all of them can Run with a +2″. Who you push forward to get destroyed and where the souls go is a big part of playing this list. I never said it would be easy.

It is nice to see that this list concept is still in Mk3 and it looks like it will still roll along.

Until next time.

Just do it…

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