Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skorne Thoughts: Master Tormentor Morghoul

Master Tormentor Morghoul is the Skorne starter box warlock. After running him, I think I have the hang of his basics, so I'm going to put some thoughts up and gradually go through the other Skorne choices as I try them out, to see if I can hit some of the combos. Hopefully I'll have some thoughts up that a new Skorne player could read and find some use in.

To start, his statline is pretty good. He's faster than almost anything in the Skorne army (with base speed, at least), which is nice because his spells have short range, and you'll need him to get to places to assassinate various things. MAT 8 means he's going to hit regularly, and DEF 17 means he's not going to be taking many hits in return. His CMD is only 8, however, which is pretty low. ARM 13 is also terrible- he's going to take a beating from blasts.

His only weapon is a pair of Rippers, a low P+S weapon which let you make two attacks for every fury you spend. That means base (with his 5 Fury) he can put out 12 attacks. Not too shabby. His weapon also has Inflict Pain, letting him add or remove fury from warbeasts that he hits. He'll be able to use that on his own beasts, if fury management is becoming difficult, but it's going to be handy from time to time to either overload the opponent's beasts with Fury, or starve the warlock by taking the frenzy off it. I'm not sure I'm going to get a whole lot of use out of that, but it's certainly worth keeping in mind.

His feat, Pain & Suffering, is certainly interesting. Against Warmachine, it will stop models from spending focus, which will actually make an opponent's caster HARDER to kill the turn after, since they'll be forced to camp the focus. Still, it does help shut a caster down, as well as makes opposing warjacks less effective. Against Hordes, it's even more effective. Enemy models can't be forced, which can cripple warlocks for a full turn as they struggle to find fury to leech. In addition, models can't have damage transferred to them, which could be a fatal ability to lose if the opposing warlock is in danger. With only 5 Fury, Morghoul doesn't exactly throw this ability over a large area, meaning he'll have to be up with his army to make full effect of this.

Abuse: I love this spell, and it fits him being a Paingiver nicely. For a small amount of damage, he makes a warbeast move faster and hit harder. Adding to the stats means that your beasts can run farther, and makes your beasts more effective for some of their power attacks as well. The spell has a short range, but that's not a big deal, since Morghoul will need to be up with his army near the front lines anyway.

Admonition: This spell will help keep models safe. If you are trying to protect a model from being charged or if a model is getting set up on, having this spell cast on the model can move it 3", which is far enough to get them out of melee range, as well as protects them from the free strike. It's not a great spell, but since it's an upkeep, it gains some utility. You could also have it on Morghoul himself to keep him out of danger.

Torment: It's a POW 12 offensive spell, but the additional effect is fantastic- a model damaged by this spell loses Tough, it can't be healed, and it can't transfer damage. That's a perfect spell to set up an assassination. Tough isn't terribly reliable, but negating it completely is a fairly noticeable loss. Ten inch range is far enough to keep Morghoul safe against most models, as well.

Special Rules:
Anatomical Precision: A great ability that hugely enhances Morghoul's lethality against living models. It's much better than some other similar abilities, like Penetrating Strike, because you get to see the result of the dice roll before it takes effect. With a P+S of 9, you're not likely to break higher ARM numbers, but the chance of rolling boxcars and being able to take that over having this go off just makes this warlock even nastier in close combat. Combined with Overtake, Morghoul can fairly reliably march through units.

Maltreatment: Deal a small amount of damage to a warbeast, and get another point of fury. This effectively gives Morghoul 6 Fury to work with during his turn, and can really help keep your Fury managed.

Overtake: Great for killing units. Combined with Anatomical Precision, you just need to hit. He's AMAZING at killing low DEF troops if they have one wound.

Perfect Balance: This ability helps his survivability a lot. Combined Ranged Attacks don't work against him, meaning most shooting is going to struggle to hit his DEF 17. He ignores free strikes, so he can move away from models that are actually scary to be in combat with. I don't think combined melee attacks are a huge concern, but it's nice to be able to ignore that as well. The free stand up is awesome as well, anything to save you a few fury points, since you don't have a whole lot to start with.

Sprint: Combined with Perfect Balance, this allows Morghoul to walk in, slaughter a unit of troops, and move and hide, away from danger. He's not very tough, so this could save his life.

Titan Gladiator: Abuse is a great spell to use on the Gladiator, as it makes his slams go farther, and hit harder. Even without the slams, that's two P+S 18s and a 17. That's going to hurt. Admonition can also help with the Gladiator's mobility. The Gladiator's animus helps beasts that Morghoul takes keep up with him, as well as giving them the Pathfinder they would need to keep moving with Morghoul. Not really a bad match, truth be told.

Cyclops Savage: Abuse is alright for giving the Savage a good 13" threat range and lets him hit harder, but there are probably going to be better targets for the spell. Prescience doesn't really provide too much help to Morghoul, since you're likely better off spending fury for the two extra attacks, instead of either boosting to hit or boosting damage. The Savage's usefulness with Morghoul really depends more on what else is in the army.

Paingiver Beast Handlers: No real synergies. They do make Abuse better though- +4 STR is downright nasty. They can also heal the damage Morghoul's abilities cause.

Tier Thoughts:
I will have to come back and flesh this out as well, after I have experience. His tier list focuses on Paingivers and Cataphract Arcuarii, plus fairly basic warbeasts. He allows your army to start closer to your opponent, and with the name 'Big Game Hunters' seem to be about pulling models close, and using your cheap warbeasts to pound them.

With 7 warbeast points, and a solid spell to work with warbeasts, he certainly feels like he could be a beast caster... unfortunately, with 5 Fury, this just isn't going to work.

With short ranges on his spells, and a bunch of abilities for wearing away at models he's in combat with, Morghoul is clearly meant to be up close to the front line, where he can act as an infantry/solo assassin. His feat can really hurt the opponent's caster/warlock, but he'll probably need his army to deal the killing blow. If your opponent has taken some damage, however, he's certainly capable of finishing the job. He's very mobile, and can certainly get to the pieces of the enemy army that he needs to, but he's not too tough, so will need to be careful.

Overall, a pretty basic warlock, with few tricks and fairly simple style.


  1. I wasn't terribly impressed with him. His feat really scares me but beyond that, I never felt like he contributed a whole to the games you played with him.

  2. Yeah, he really didn't work well against what you took... but wait until you run more infantry, and he destroys entire units :) Or at least does some scary damage to a few things like Champions.