Insider 11-22-2013

DC: On the continent of Immoren, no culture is more devoted to war than the Skorne. Conflict, battle, the Hoksune code—these principles are not taught at military academies but ingrained in the Skorne from birth. In HORDES High Command, the Skorne army cards reflect this military mindset. Skorne cards must be brought to bear against the proper targets, and they are more powerful when used within the right combined arms formations.

The Cataphract Cetrati, Paingiver Beasthandler Team, and Venator Needleburst Reivers are just a few examples of this military conditioning in action. In game terms, this means that the efficiency of Skorne cards varies based on the other cards at their locations. If you’re able to get your cards to the right locations against the right enemy cards, you’ll be able to claim an advantage over other factions’ armies.

Will: When it comes to detachment choice, no other faction boasts the even spread of hard-hitting, resilient warriors and warbeasts. While Skorne’s yellow, green and orange detachments may not have the rushing speed of many of their rivals, they make up for it with an increase in pure power. Rhinodons are a particular favorite of mine within the Skorne arsenal. At a cost of 4 WAR, these heavy warbeasts are cheap to deploy and are worth a VP. Though their POW of 0 might make some players shy away from these versatile beasts, it’s important to remember that the key to playing Skorne is proper deployment in order to maximize their powerful, if situational, abilities. The Thresher ability makes the Rhinodon a perfect tool for location denial. With Health 5, only a concerted effort from your opponent is going to destroy this ornery warbeast, but for every card your opponent commits to the fight, the Rhinodon simply hits back harder.

And when it comes time to clear out a location swarming with enemies, there’s little better than a Rhinodon backed up by a Paingiver Beasthandler Team. Enrage turns the Rhinodon into a wrecking ball of destruction, punishing any opponent who is relying on weight of numbers to win the day. Of course, the Paingiver’s usefulness doesn’t stop with Rhinodons. In a pinch, their Enrage ability can turn even light warbeasts like the Basilisk Drake or the Cyclops Savage into POW 4 hitters. Throw in the Drake’s Lurker ability, which allows you to bring it back to your hand, and under the right circumstances you can hit your opponent hard and then redeploy however you see fit on your next turn.

DC: Though not quite as divergent from the rest of their faction as the Circle Orboros red detachment I brought up last week, the Skorne purple detachment contains some unique elements that put a twist on their more straightforward plan of dominance through favorable card combinations at locations. The Void Spirit Haunting warrior card and Void Lantern resource card add an element of denial that goes beyond simply placing a Titan or Rhinodon in your opponent’s path.

Void Spirit Hauntings have the Incorporeal ability, making them immune to combat and immune to destroy effects for a full round. Combine that with the effects of a Void Lantern to recur immortal spirits round after round. This can be an invaluable tool for holding an opponent at bay in one location while bringing Skorne’s full military might to bear on another location. Just remember that Health-reducing abilities like the Protectorate of Menoth’s Fire can discard cards at the start of combat rather than destroy them.

Will: For my detachment choices, I’m going with a combination I don’t typically use in other factions: yellow, green, orange backed up by Archdomina Makeda, Lord Tyrant Hexeris, and Void Seer Mordikaar. This combination provides me with solid speed for mid-game rushing with a large majority of my cards having a rush cost of 6 or less and a good spread of non-basic resources to make the most of those low costs. But more important, despite not using the red or blue detachments, my deck still contains plenty of hitting power as well as staying power thanks to the spread of Titan Gladiators, Rhinodons and Veteran Swordsmen who boost the health of my Praetorian Swordsmen. Add Archdomina Makeda’s Walking Death ability and Mordikaar’s Void Wind ability, and this deck can weather even the hardest hitting of foes extremely well.

Mordikaar’s Void Wind ability in particular is a nasty surprise for opponents to deal with, but it certainly isn’t the only one this deck has in its armory. For all their power, Titan Gladiators are also excellent at location denial. While Bullheaded may sound like a negative, keeping the Gladiator from attacking when alone at a location, this allows it to deploy to a location where an opponent might have destroyed it otherwise, stopping the opponent from capturing without requiring you to commit an excessive force.

In the same vein, Cataphract Arcuarii also make a great mess of opponents’ plans. Forced Redeployment is huge, allowing you to pick off enemy cards at will or simply to stop your opponent from having sufficient strength to capture a location on his next turn, all for a cost of 4 CMD.

DC: For my deck choices, I’m going to start out with Void Seer Mordikaar and his purple detachment of voidy goodness. The Void Spirit Hauntings and Void Lanterns will allow me to contest locations all day long, and Mordikaar himself is an exceptionally powerful tool for capturing locations by returning the most threatening enemy card on the field to its owner’s hand.

I’ll back that up with the serious hitting power of the blue and red detachments led by Archdomina Makeda and Tyrant Xerxis. Their detachment cards and their own abilities provide the heavy-hitting power and staying power I’ll need while my purple detachment runs interference at other locations. This is a slower deck than Will’s deck overall, but it has a lot of staying power and a very strong late game.

Will: The Skorne are implacable foes whose military traditions have bred an army skilled at coordinated combined arms. While they may not have the speed or raw power of other factions, few other factions are as adaptable to any given situation. Proper use of the Skorne’s myriad abilities is critical to victory. Dictate the flow of battle, and none shall be able to stand before your empire.

’Til Next Time!