Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Guiding your Way to Victory

Atheist empire, caster even they say is blasphemous?
Let's put it with a quote from the Bible.
You've heard "behind every great man is a great woman;" well, behind every great tyrant is a dude holding a rock. Yes, today I'm going to delve into the varied uses of one of the least audacious solos in my Skorne collection: the Extoller Soulward.  What happens when you take situational synergy, add in a "gotcha" gun, an understated ability and throw them on a fragile chassis?  Two of the best points you can spend, Tyrant.

Sadly, not my extoller yet
The main mechanic behind the Extoller is souls.  Every Skorne trooper has one and if the model is destroyed within the Extoller's command range with no one else trying to grab it, the Extoller gets it.  They can spend it to boost their attack and damage rolls with their Spirit Eye gun (more on that later), or give it away to an Ancestral Guardian who can boost, buy attacks or get extra movement out of it.  Even if the Extoller isn't doing anything with it, each soul gives him an armor boost.  There's no God Emperor, but even in death soldiers still serve the empire.  Getting a boost out of a dude who either ate a charge for a more important model or took a few of the enemy with him isn't bad, but it's even better when you're working with my current favorite caster eHexeris.  His feat lets him suck up souls, focus and fury from non-warcaster/warlock models in his control area and turn it into fury so he can get in another round of spell slinging or go for an assassination run as a virtual Fury 14 caster.

And now it's later.  The Spirit Eye is a pretty short range gun, clocking it at 8" where hand cannons (i.e. big ass pistols) clock in at 10". Add to that a puny power 6 to their power 12 and you're wondering why you're paying two points to get this gun when you're not running ancestral guardians to power up with the souls.  Well, if you're against a Hordes army, you've just got yourself one of the most powerful guns in your arsenal.  If you're shooting a living model, you get to add the target's strength to your power when you roll damage.  Going up against the mirror, why not roll dice-1 against that titan and then boost it.  Trade one soul for about a third of the titan's hit points on average dice.  There are undead (minions) and construct warbeasts (Circle Orboros), so you'll be sad there, but against the other factions, you just bought yourself a damn strong gun.  Did I mention that it ignores cover, concealment and LoS?  Totally does, so I hope you weren't expecting to hide your warbeast in the woods.

Name that Art
Speaking of the woods, there's some interesting terrain rules in WM/H.  Rough terrain counts double when you're moving through. You can't charge over walls without pathfinder. Standing in the woods or a cloud effect gives you Cover (+2 DEF).  It makes sense, but then you get to one of the more interesting ones.  You can't see through woods/clouds or more than 3" into the woods.  So if you've got an inch wide woods between you and your prey that neither of you are in, you can't see them.  Can't see them, can't charge them, can't shoot them.  Unless you're Legion, then you've got Pathfinder and Eyeless Sight on almost all your beasts, so you're just ignoring everything I just wrote about.  Faction full of Soulless gingers.

I'm kidding, they don't have hair.

Why do bring this up?  I like to complain, I'm a wargamer.  Also, the Extoller's special action Guidance can give any one friendly faction model (FF) in five inches Eyeless Sight and Magical Weapons. This means you can look through the woods and clouds as long as you want and ignore the Concealment bonus from being in the cloud or forest.  There are some casters like High Reclaimer and eGaspy who like to put down a wall of clouds beyond their army so you can't shoot or charge them.  The Extoller doesn't like that, and neither do I, which is why we get along so well.

Who you gonna call, baby?
Magical weapons aren't as important, but it brings you some 80s flavor.  No, not the hair or awesome music.  Ghostbusters.  There's a rule called Incorporeal and pretty much everything that's got Ghost in its name is related to it in some way.  Incorporeal models can be moved through ignored for LoS and cant' be effected except by magical weapons.  So unless you're Cygnar with their Gunmages, you probably have magical weapons on your caster and any mini casters you have and that's it.  If you're going up against a lot of dudes who can go incorporeal, you're usually getting alpha struck.  Incorporeal models go corporeal when they make an attack, so it's wait to get hit or have an answer.  The extoller makes anything it guides an answer.

There's one more thing that Eyeless Sight does for you: you get to ignore Stealth when you're resolving attacks.  Stealth in WM/H isn't just some minor defense buff like it is in 40k.  If you're shooting at something with Stealth in WM/H and you're more than five inches away from it, you miss.  If you're using an AoE, you roll to determine how you deviate.  If you roll low enough, you might be able to hit it with blast damage (half power), but you can't hit it directly.  If you're flinging a spell, same deal.  Bright side, if you're more than five inches away and trying to shoot something behind a stealth model, it doesn't count as an intervening model, so you can draw LoS through it. Get your gun bunnies Eyeless Sight and those solos who are trying to use Stealth to get in and earn their points are pretty sad.

And that's why I love the Extoller Soulward.  He can give rip a warbeast in two, turn your troops into psuedo-focus so you can get even more bang for your, and give out some amazing ways around sweet defensive rules.  He's got next to nothing to do against Warmachine factions except stand around and be a support bot, but anyone who's played League can tell you how shit it can be not to have a support.  So that's my 2 cents on my favorite two-point solo so far.


  1. A first impression thought: I think they underperform unless paired with an AG.

    It's very easy to gather more souls than they can spend in their activation, to maximize resource utility, I think they need to have something they can transfer souls into, and share the load.

    Five capacity on Extoller, three for the AG. That can most of a full unit getting wiped. The AG activates first, purges its load, and the Extoller shoots and boosts, then refills the AG. No loss of resource (though both are likely to die.)

    Aside from that, a good presentation of their abilities. If you have any insight on keeping them alive, do share. I tend to use them only for Guidance, since when up front they get shot first, before the unit they accompany.

  2. I've only been running them with eHexeris recently and have pretty much only been able to play against Cryx. Far from their ideal usage, I know, but limited opportunities to play and limited number of models, what ya gonna do?

    I've seen them be used well in and Immortal Host list that used Raiders to give them Snipe. Best way to keep gun bunnies alive tends to be range. If you can either put snipe on them or only commit them when there's a good chance you're going to kill the only threats close enough to retaliate, they'll last longer.

    I figure they would be good with AGs, but sadly I don't have them yet, so no dice on testing it. I've found they allow me to give eHexy a lot more freedom to activate and feat earlier in a turn, so he can clear a path with one or two ashes.