Today I have a guest post from our local competitively minded player. Following all the Warlock spoilers from Exigence yesterday, local Danny who has a Skorne army commissioned by Jolly Roger Studios, shares his thoughts on eXerxis.
Take it away!
The more I let the casters sink in and settle, the more I think that Jaga Jaga is by far the best out of all of them. Spellpiercer is absolutely bonkers for only 2 fury and I’m honestly not sure how they let that get past playtesting. I can understand if it only affected her battlegroup, but models/units in CTRL is super outrageous when you factor in that will probably include 2-3 units of Posse. I also think that the one truly bad match up for Rask is Cryx or other cheap weaponmaster spam. Jaga Jaga’s feat destroys Cryx armys and on top of that adds a removed from play element that is strong vs. eGaspy and Morv2. I really wish she had been the Skorne caster and they just changed the warlock name to eMordikaar.
Speaking of Skorne though, the more I think about eXerxis, the more I really like him. I’m certain some of this is just relief because I’ve been preparing myself for him to be another eReznik or Lylyth3. With that said, Mobility is such a good spell in Skorne. It’s basically battlegroup-wide Rush for the cost of only 2 Fury. For the longest time Skorne has often needed to take an 8 point Gladiator just to support the rest of the titan herd and for the first time, Xerxis completely mitigates that.
The fact that Rush can be stacked on top of Mobility is pretty powerful as well. One of the best things to do in this game is find a spell that augments a certain trait (hitting accuracy, armor, speed, etc.) and then add as much to it as you can to further abuse it. Examples of this include stacking Dark Shroud, Parasite, and the Withering in Cryx or stacking Spiny Growth and Batten Down the Hatches on Galleon in Mercs. The fact that Skorne can do this with Mobility and Rush really allows eXerxis to choose when and how he trades his beasts.
Now that Mobility is out of the way, let’s look at his feat. While it’s uninspired to say the least, it’s damn effective and the fact that it effects every friendly faction model on the board means that he is going to be able to attrition most people down to the point that they can’t fight back. This feat also marks the very first ranged damage buff that the faction has ever received. I think a full unit of Reivers in his list is not to be overlooked and seriously rival the MHSF or Invictors that are appearing in Issyria lists right now. There’s not much to say about Ignite other than that it’s another way to increase hitting power and it’s a solid use of a spell slot on almost any WM/H caster. I think Stranglehold is bad with Xerxis, but he’s only Fury 5 anyway so I’m just going to pretend that it doesn’t exist.
The last piece that really completes the Xerxis puzzle is the free animus he can cast every turn. The obvious choices are Paralytic Aura and Sprint. I don’t think you can go wrong with either of them, but feel like Paralytic Aura will end up winning at the end of the day. Sprint is pretty cute on him, but Paralytic Aura on a huge base covers an insane amount of board real estate and effective MAT 10 mount attacks means you rarely have to worry about missing them.
The real test will be whether or not all of this outshines the fact that he is on a huge base and will be incredibly hard to maneuver around the board. I think he will. Not many casters can buff SPD, accuracy, and hitting power for their entire army. And those that do, certainly don’t anchor the game like Xerxis and his Rhino do.
Xerxis, Fury of Halaak (*5pts)
* Basilisk Krea (4pts)
* Archidon (7pts)
* Tiberion (11pts)
* Titan Gladiator (8pts)
Nihilators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Venators Reivers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Venators Reiver Officer & Standard (2pts)
Venators Slingers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)