Gramut’s Road to Lock’n’Load 2016 – The Exalted Legions

gramutavatarIt has come to that time of year where I need to select what army I am going to be painting up and taking to Lock’n’Load. Last year, I took my Searforge Commission and out of 13 games, I won three. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time getting wrecked at Lock’n’Load and in 2016 I am looking for a repeat performance, albeit with a slightly better win / loss ratio…that being said, I have chosen Skorne as my faction for Lock’n’Load due to one model.

With the release of Zaal, the Ancestral Advocate, I have taken the plunge and dived into the deep end of the Skorne Faction swimming pool.

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Two reasons: I really, really, really like the Immortals and Ancestral Guardians (actually they are the only Solo/Troop models I like out of the entirety of the Skorne Faction) and I am a sucker for Theme forces that have a unified aesthetic theme…oh and looks like fun to play, so I guess three reasons. Win or lose, I am all about having a good time and I see the Exalted Legions under Zaal2 being fun to play. An army of granite warriors marching across the field just speaks to me on a geological (rock loving) level.

Of course the first thing that I did was break out the trusty War Room app, updated it with the latest patch and started to mess around with making lists. I immediately looked at the Zaal2’s
Tier Lists and what I could and couldn’t take.

Tier 1 is the usual fare – can only take the models listed above which included non-character warbeasts, Paingiver Beast Handlers, and Construct units /solos. This allows you to increase the FA of your non-character Construct units and solos by 1. I had already expected something like this, so no surprise there.

Tier 2 – Your army includes 2 or more warbeasts with SPD 6 or greater. So this limits your choices a bit but not much. You are still able to take all the beasties but now you have to make sure at least 2 are speed 6 or higher. So your Cyclopes, the Archidon, Basilisks, Razor Worm, Reptile Hounds are all great choices. You can still take your titans and other beasts but to meet your tier requirement, you just need to include two of those warbeasts mentioned above and for doing that you gain 2” on your deployment zone. Since the vast majority of the troops you are allowed to use are SPD 4, this is a huge bump and helps to get your stone soldiers across the board that much quicker.

 photo image_zpszplfbrgy.jpegTier 3 – You must have two or more Immortal Units and for this, you get to add a unit attachment (Free of cost and ignoring FA restrictions) to one of your Immortal Units. So both Units of Immortals get the (as of yet) unreleased Extoller Advocate. On paper, the Extoller Advocate adds a TON of utility to the Immortals unit…well as far as I can tell from a new-to-the-faction perspective.

Tier 4 – Your army must include three or more Construct Solos. As if you weren’t already planning on bring Hakaar and a bevy of Ancestral Guardian solos…and for doing what you were already planning on doing (well at least I was) ALL of your Construct Solos begin the game with three soul tokens. Talk about a HUGE bump to the otherwise must-have-living-troops-to-generate-soul-token limitations for your Ancestral Guardians and Hakaar. So good!

In this particular instance, going to Tier 4 is worth it in a very big way.

Now on to my list.

I have had the Skorne Battle Box for a while so currently the only Skorne Warbeasts I own is the Titan Gladiator and two Cyclops Savages. So I am just replacing Morghoul with Zaal and I am toying with the idea of swapping out a Savage for a Shaman/Brute or trying to find some way to fit in the Archidon (why you might ask? Honestly because I like that model) or a Bronzeback Titan. Of course I took Hakaar the Destroyer and four Ancestral Guardians, 2 full units of Immortals with accompanying Extoller Advocates and since I had some extra points a full unit of Paingiver Beast Handlers. Honestly I took the Beast Handlers as sacrificial soul token generators for Zaal, which seems fitting to the Skorne ideals.

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Now that I had my list picked out it is time to settle on the paint scheme. While I like the obsidian look, I decided to go more earthy representation in my army, similar to the Terra Cotta Soldiers of Asia and it was inspired by the area where I live where for about 3-5 months we have green grass and rain and then for the rest of the year this particular area of Northern California that I live in is locked in a sea of beiges and browns.

As a secondary color I have decided to go with a light(er) green. I am hoping this combo turns out well. The Immortals will be almost entirely brown with just a splash of secondary green color. As I move up the ladder to the Ancestral Guardians their paint job will get a bit more elaborate with more secondary color being involved, finally culminating in Zaal being the most decedent as is befitting his station. Not quite sure how I will apply the scheme to the living models in the army but I have time to figure out since the date for Lock’n’Load 2016 hasn’t even been announced yet.

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I have already picked out the bases I am using from Dragon Forge. The Ancient Ruins II series fits the bill just perfectly and continues with the stone-work aesthetic of the entire army I am going to be fielding. To compliment the brown paint scheme I am going to use a dark grey stone-look. These bases will also allow me to work more on oil washing which I am dabbling in as I work on my Stormcast Eternals (**GASP** yes I play other games made by other companies). I have started on finalizing the paint scheme for the list but I do have to place painting up the Exalted Legions on hold for a bit while I work on another project that I committed to for a gaming group that I am a part of, see the above referenced Stormcast Eternals.

So over the course of the weekend (10/25/25) the FLGS did a delayed book release event for Hordes: Devastation so I went down and played the Exalted Legions and had a fantastic time. I know that this list will have issues dealing with high armor but from a thematic feel, this list was a blast to play. Those 4 SPD Immortals are deceptively quick, between Vengeance moves and being given Incorporeal after a few of their buddies have died, you can move them up the field and through the terrain fairly quickly. I did ask for permission before the games started to proxy the Extoller Advocate and I was fully prepared to run the list without the proxied Extoller Advocates. Starting with three soul tokens on all of the Ancestral Guardians and Hakaar, the Destroyer is simply amazing. I can tell that I will have a steep learning curve with the list as Zaal’s feat has both an offensive and defensive component built into it. One of the shining moments of the game was when one my units of Immortals at half strength under Zaal’s feat, tore apart a CoC colossal and got it down to over half dead. I do know that the dice rolls played into it but in my mind’s eye, they shined. Oh and Hakaar with three soul tokens and the +5 armor bump from Zaal’s feat makes him ARM 26… photo image_zpsubv3vbtg.pngyup he lived through a nasty charge and then reaped a grim harvest indeed. A few of us at the FLGS got into a great think tank discussion about what needed to be included in the list and we settled on taking the Paingivers down to a minimum unit, taking out a Savage (to be replaced with a Brute, go shield guard) and replacing the Titan Gladiator with a Bronzeback Titan. When I start working on the Exalted Legions again, I will make the pre-requisite purchases and getting them assembled, primed, and painted.

Now if on the off chance I have extra time left over I will be adding another unit of Forge Guard, possibly a Colossal, a new Warcaster, and Herne and Jonne to my Searforge Commission list. The Searforge will be coming back to Lock’n’Load 2016 with me, not sure if they will be at 50 points though or if they will stay at 35pts…that is where only time will tell. Once my commitment to painting up the Stormcast Eternals is finished, I will get up some WIP pictures of the Exalted Legions as they being their long march to being my painted Hordes army at Lock’n’Load 2016.

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P.S. This is just a little picture of the game where my Searforge Commission took on Will Shick’s Skorne at Lock’n’Load 2015. It was a great game and Will was an amazing opponent! I hope I have a chance to face off against him again at Lock’n’Load 2016