Theme - Masters of War

From LOS Warmachine University
Jump to: navigation, search
Please help review these models from 12+ months ago: (and/or the rest) (Edit)  

Skorne Logo.jpg Theme - Masters of War

Skorne Theme Force
Disciples of Agony - Masters of War - The Exalted - Winds of Death

Conflict is to be savored, for battle is the only true chance to prove one’s devotion to the hoksune code. Though the martial orders of Cataphracts and Praetorians disagree on which best exemplifies the martial code of the skorne, they equally embrace the opportunity to demonstrate their adherence to it. Acting on the orders of their tyrants, these disciplined warriors grab the enemy army by its throat and do not relent until the foe is vanquished or they have been claimed by the Void.

Theme Rules

For the core rules on how Theme Forces work, see this article.

Theme Restrictions

An army made use the Masters of War theme force can include only the following Skorne models:

  • This army can also include up to one Minion solo and one Minion unit that will work for Skorne.
    • These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Skorne] rule.
    • Minion units can have non-Ranking Officer attachments.

Full Model List

The models allowed in Masters of War are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2021.11   (Edit)


  • All Skorne warlocks


  • All non-character Skorne warbeasts,
  • Molik Karn
  • Tiberion
  • Other character warbeasts can be taken, but only if they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.



Battle Engines


  • Up to one solo
  • Up to one unit

Requisition Points

You can spend each Requisition Point on either:

Theme Bonuses

  • Skorne warrior models gain "optional Take Down".
    "Optional Take Down" (aka the Theme Force version) - Models disabled by a melee attack made by a Faction warrior model in this army cannot make a Tough roll. When a model is boxed by a melee attack made by a warrior model in this army, you can choose to have the boxed model be removed from play.

Recent Changes

2021.10 Mega Update

  • The free solo has to cost 5 points or less. But just about every option you'd take in this theme has been improved.

Thoughts on Masters of War

Masters of War in a Nutshell

This is an incredibly flexible list, and can be played as anything from a cataphract-and-minion gunline to the (more common) melee infantry mob. You can even spend 32 points on Battle Engines and connect a line of Cetrati between them for a low model count brick-like army.

With all the Remove From Play effects it's an excellent counter to the notorious Cryx Ghost Fleet or various other recursion effects.

A quick note on sportsmanship. Though your warriors' attacks can RFP a model, it is not the same as having RFP on them all the time. In the spirit of fair play, always inform your opponent whether or not you'll use the RFP feature. If you miss that, they can assume that the model was destroyed and not removed from play, causing a whole lot of confusion (soul collecting, eligibility for revival, etc). You might not always want to RFP a model, since this prevents certain effects from happening. One example is creating a Void Spirit when an enemy model dies within 5" of Despoiler under Void Seer Mordikaar.

Theme Weaknesses

Frankly this list is spoiled for choice. It's entirely possible to go in with no single wound models other than Paingiver Beast Handlers (or on rare occasions not even then) and a wall of Cataphract Cetrati between two Supreme Guardians as your backbone - or to flood the battlefield with Praetorian Swordsmen. About the only thing it can't do is single wound shooting models, although Cataphract Arcuarii and Cataphract Incindiarii can shoot.

List Building Tips

This is far too flexible a theme force to have anything like a standard build (unlike e.g. The Exalted). Supreme Archdomina Makeda alone has effective lists ranging from two maximum units of Praetorian Ferox, Tyrant Rhadeim, a maximum unit of Cataphract Cetrati and two TyComs and Vorkesh for free to five maximum units of Praetorian Swordsmen all with Command Attachments, Vengeance, and protected by her Deflection. And the nostalgic will be bringing out the Fist of Halaak and playing Tyrant Xerxis with a huge mess of Cataphracts.

Just to put things into perspective for how absurdly flexible this theme is there are seven combat units plus two support available; each of the first three mini-factions (Convergence, Grymkin, and Crucible Guard only has eight possible units.

The basic choices of Masters of War

With seven(!) different non-support units in Masters of War, all of which look viable, it's worth running through what they all are.

  • Praetorian Swordsmen - Cheap single wound infantry with no defensive tech, two Pow 9 attacks and side-step. The CA gives them relentless charge for Pathfinder and has a one-turn weapon master minifeat
  • Praetorian Karax - Cheap single wound shield wall troops. The CA gives them +3 ARM for one turn.
  • Praetorian Keltarii - Fast single infantry with reach weapons, Blade Shield, two attacks, Reposition, and Parry for shenanigans.
  • Cataphract Arcuarii - Multi-wound weapon master infantry with ranged weapons with weapon master Drag that can affect medium bases.
  • Cataphract Incindiarii - Multi-wound infantry with AoEs that automatically set fires.
  • Cataphract Cetrati - Multi-wound shield wall infantry, Arm 20 in shield wall and a commander for Steady and Sacred Ward.
  • Praetorian Ferox - Cavalry that are exceptional at leaping in the enemy's back line.

That's seven different units with different roles, not counting Paingiver Beast Handlers, the Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer, and the Legends of Halaak; by comparison the Convergence, Crucible Guard and Grymkin each only have eight units available. There's an obvious lack in Masters of War of any advance deploying or ambushing unit (which you might get through minions)

Other very common stuff is mostly support

  • Supreme Guardian is one of the best battle engines in the game, especially if you take Novitiates with your requisition options.
  • Paingiver Beast Handlers are what gives Skorne's warbeasts such a feared reputation. It might be worth taking for your battlegroup - but the Skorne beast theme is Disciples of Agony
  • Mortitheurge Willbreaker is only two points to hand out Tough to an entire unit of Praetorians. Or to Puppet Strings for that critical roll.
  • Immortal Vessel is there as one of the best things to channel through.
  • Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer - One of the battle plans is your best source of Pathfinder and a second gives you 2" extra walk in shield wall or threat range with your ranged units. The standard bearer's only effect is to enable the TyCom to be further from the standard as long as they are within 3" of each other(!)
  • Makeda of House Balaash gives another 2" extra to the infantry threat and is an effective fighter in her own right.

Requisition Options

There aren't that many five point options but you only need three. If you're not sure you'll seldom go wrong in this theme with two Soulwards and two TyComs for 16 points.

  • Two Extoller Soulwards cost six points rather than the normal five. They're also a great tech piece, handing out Eyeless Sight and magical weapons, and able to blow an entire aspect off a heavy warbeast in one shot. They'll normally not do that much but there are times when they're worth their weight in gold.
  • Three Extoller Novitiates are also six points rather than five - but the only things they help are the Supreme Guardian battle engine and Ancestral Guardians; a reasonable alterative for heavy hitters that aren't warbeasts (for who you get Paingiver Beast Handlers -don't waste your points on both)
  • Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer - five points so a legit requisition option and mentioned above as very common stuff.
  • Tyrant Vorkesh - the five point command attachment for Cataphract Cetrati
  • Ancestral Guardian - a five point melee solo that hits like a light warbeast.
  • Aptimus Marketh - only four points, but a very good warlock attachment.
  • Makeda of House Balaash - another four point model that's very good infantry support as well as running a battle group.

Starting a 25 point Brawl list

In 2020.09 Phillip Melvin, one of the LOS authors, put together this list for the Brawlmachine format. He even wrote about it's playstyle and expanding it beyond 25 points, which you can read here. This has been updated for the post October 2021 points cost

Makeda2: [+27 WBP]
Ancestral Guardian: [Free] (5 pts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Max unit): [12 pts]
  • Command Attachment: [3 pts]
Legends of Halaak: [7 pts]
Swamp Gobber Chef: [1 pt]

Total RRP: USD $185 (based on PP's online store prices 2021.05)

For more Brawlmachine list ideas, see Category: Brawl List

Caster Thoughts

Almost any infantry caster loves this list (even Zaal 2 is occasionally seen here with a pair of Supreme Guardians and more souls than he'd ever get with The Exalted).

  • Supreme Archdomina Makeda loves this list to pieces. There are lots of great options for her; a couple are:
    • "Makeda 2 Kit-Kat"/Meowkeda (Makeda 2 with two full units of Ferox) was a very popular tournament list even before the theme. This way for each unit of Ferox you get a free TyCom
    • Spamming Praetorian Swordsmen to take advantage of Vengeance then using Deflection to prevent them being shot off the board.
  • Supreme Aptimus Zaal & Kovaas avoided this list until he could take Ancestral Guardians - but it gives you plenty to fuel his feat - or to sacrifice to Last Stand. And he doesn't mind getting a swarm of infantry boxed.
  • Tyrant Xerxis is absolutely great with hordes of infantry, letting them move through each other and hit hard - all of which works superbly with Masters of War. The nostalgic can even put together a classic Fist of Halaak, getting free models rather than cut price Cataphracts.
  • Dominar Morghoul & Escorts have been waiting for this list for a long time. It has everything he wants including Aptimus Marketh - although he probably wants Bone Grinders as his minion unit.
  • Void Seer Mordikaar gets an entire mountain of souls and models to Essence Blast.
  • Archdomina Makeda is a great and flexible warlock and this gives her a collection of extra boosts with things that work well with her.
  • Zaal the Ancestral Advocate can play this theme but prefers The Exalted to leverage his feat. That said two Supreme Guardians at ARM 24 can be pretty effective.



Released 2017.09

Other Skorne models

Category:Masters of War

Skorne Logo.jpg       Skorne Index       (Edit)
Battlegroup & Similar
Warlocks Hexeris1 - Hexeris2 - Jalaam1 - Makeda1 - Makeda2 - Makeda3 - Mordikaar1 - Morghoul1 - Morghoul2 - Morghoul3 - Naaresh1 - Rasheth1 - Xekaar1 - Xerxis1 - Xerxis2 - Zaal1 - Zaal2 - Zaadesh2
Lessers & Attachments Aptimus Marketh (Warlock attachment) - Zaadesh1 (Lesser Warlock) - Makeda0 (Lesser Warlock)

Agonizer - Aradus Scarab - Reptile Hounds - The Terrorizer

Light Basilisk Drake - Basilisk Krea - Cyclops Brute - Cyclops Raider - Cyclops Savage - Cyclops Shaman - Razor Worm

Aradus Sentinel - Aradus Soldier - Archidon - Chiron - Bronzeback Titan - Despoiler - Molik Karn - Rhinodon - Tiberion - Titan Cannoneer - Titan Gladiator - Titan Sentry

Gargantuans Desert Hydra - Mammoth
Units, Solos, & Battle Engines

Cataphract Arcuarii - Cataphract Cetrati - Cataphract Incindiarii - Immortals - Legends of Halaak - Nihilators - Paingiver Beast Handlers - Paingiver Bloodrunners - Praetorian Ferox - Praetorian Karax - Praetorian Keltarii - Praetorian Swordsmen - Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer - Venator Catapult Crew - Venator Flayer Cannon Crew - Venator Reivers - Venator Slingers


Abidan the Keeper - Ancestral Guardian - Aptimus Marketh - Extoller Novitiate - Extoller Soulward - Hakaar the Destroyer - Immortal Vessel - Makeda0 - Mortitheurge Willbreaker - Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor - Paingiver Task Master - Tyrant Rhadeim - Venator Dakar - Void Spirit - Zaadesh1

Battle Engines Siege Animantarax - Supreme Guardian
Theme Forces
Disciples of Agony - Masters of War - The Exalted - Winds of Death
Refer to Who Works for Whom and/or Category: Skorne Minion
This index was last updated: 2021.11

Rules Clarifications

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Take Down      (Edit)

  • If you have Take Down innately, then the RFP is not optional.
  • If you have Take Down granted by a theme force benefit, then the RFP is optional.
    • If you choose to RFP at boxed, you don't get to trigger anything that happens at destroyed (such as Cleave).
    • If you choose not to RFP them, they're destroyed normally. They produce corpses, can be returned to play, etc, and most importantly you can trigger stuff at "destroyed" (such as Cleave).
  • Technically the theme benefit doesn't actually grant models Take Down, it just gives them a rule with almost the exact same wording as Take Down.
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification: Theme Forces     (Edit)

Themes that change a model's Faction   [Show/Hide]
  • Many themes swap which Faction a model counts as. They're slightly inconsistent with how exactly this is worded. Despite this inconsistency - whenever a model is considered a different faction to normal, it will not be its original faction. (Infernal Ruling)
For instance Lukas stops being a Crucible Guard model when taken in an Infernal army, and as a consequence he cannot take Toros or Vanguards in Infernals. (Infernal Ruling)
Rerolling the starting roll   [Show/Hide]
  • You cannot use the theme benefit to reroll if it is a draw. Instead both players reroll until there is a loser, and then the loser can use their reroll benefit (if they have it). (Infernal Ruling)
  • If both players have a reroll, first the original loser uses their reroll.
    • If the original loser still loses, fine.
    • If the original loser now wins, the other player can use their reroll.
    • If it is now a draw, both players reroll until there is a loser. Then the player that hasn't used their theme benefit reroll can still use it, if they want.
Warjacks/Warbeasts with bonds   [Show/Hide]
  • A warjack/warbeast with a bond can always be included in a theme force, whether or not they're in the list of allowed models, but only if they're controlled by that bonded model.
  • This applies even if that bonded model isn't a full warcaster/warlock (changed as of 2018.06).
Including Mercenaries   [Show/Hide]

Number of Mercenaries

  • If your "up to one Merc" ...
    • ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
    • ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
  • There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to not only take one Merc solo/unit, but the entire FA of that Merc solo/unit. It's a bug.

Mercenaries and Ranking Officers

  • Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.


  • See also the section on Partisans
Including Partisan Mercenaries   [Show/Hide]

Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)

  • Partisans are Mercenary/Minion models, so there are two ways you can add them to a theme force:
    1. Freely: If the Partisan is on the list of allowed models, then you can take as many as you want plus another Mercenary unit/solo. (Infernal Ruling)
      They can be explicitly allowed (for example Jaws of the Wolf allows "Kayazy models/units" so Partisan Kayayz can be used freely).
      They can be implicitly allowed (for example Scourge of the Broken Coast allows "living Cryx models/units" and Partisan Cephalyx fit that criteria, so they can be used freely). (Infernal Ruling)
    2. Limited: If the Partisan isn't on the list of allowed models, it does use up your "Up to one Mercenary/Minion" slot, so you can only have the one.
  • Whether you used option 1 or 2 above, once they're in your theme force they count as a Faction model and so:
    • They can be taken as a Requistion Option (if they fit the Requistion description).
    For example Lanyssa can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)
    • They will get any theme benefit that they fit the description for.
    For example Storm Division gives all Cygnar models Immunity Electricity, so Partisan Mercs in that theme get immunity too.
    For example Nemo4's Mechaniks get Reposition [3] in Heavy Metal. (Infernal Ruling)
Requisition Points   [Show/Hide]
  • You can choose the same Requisition option as many times as you like, as long as it doesn't put you over a FA limit.
  • You can't mix and match models from different options. Say one option allows 3 Machine Wraiths and another allows 3 Necrotechs. You can't use your Requisition Point to get 2 Wraiths and 1 Necrotech.
  • If you have an option that allows one other solo, you can't use it to get something already on the list. For instance, Ghost Fleet allows 3 Misery Cages (which are FA 4) for one Requistion Point, and it allows 1 other solo. That "other solo" can't be a 4th Cage.
  • If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
  • Models with the Man-Sized rule count as small-based models for the purposes of being a Requistion Option. (Locked Thread)
Free models and Specialists (ADR)    [Show/Hide]
  • If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.
Unit Attachments   [Show/Hide]
  • If a unit is allowed in a theme, any-and-all of its attachments are allowed too. Exception: Ranking Officers are not allowed unless explicitily mentioned.
  • If the theme force gives a benefit to a specific unit, any-and-all attachments to that unit will benefit too. Even if it is a "generic" attachment like the Void Leech. (Infernal Ruling)
    For example, a Trollkin Sorcerer will gain Serenity if its attached to a Dhunian Knot unit in a Power of Dhunia theme force.
  • If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
  • A non-character unit with a character attachment (i.e. Captain Karli) still counts as a non-character unit. (Infernal Ruling)
When to apply theme benefits   [Show/Hide]
  • With reference to special abilities that themes give to models, Ranking Officers, adding new models, and/or taking control of models:
    1. Theme force benefits are applied when you construct your list or put a new model into play. A model already in play will not lose or gain any theme benefits mid-game based on any changes of faction status or otherwise. (Infernal Ruling)
    2. However, if the theme gives a benefit to models "at the beginning of the game" (such as Devourer's Host letting models begin the game with 1 corpse token) then this benefit does not apply to new models that are put into play mid-game. (Locked Thread)
    • Example 1: Sons of the Tempest says "ATGM units in this army gain Pistoleer". If your opponent takes control of one of them, it keeps Pistoleer while under their control even though it's currently not "in the army".
    • Example 2: Storm Division gives Immunity:Electricity to "Cygnar models in the army." If you include a Mercenary unit with a Ranking Officer, they will get the theme benefit and also keep it even after the Ranking Officer dies.
    • Example 3: Stange Bedfellows gives solos Swift Vengeance. If Nemo4 creates a new solo mid-game, that solo will have Swift Vengeance.

See also these Theme-Specific Rulings   [Show/Hide]
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Black Industries      (Edit)

  • The entry which allows "Cephalyx models/units" only applies to Partisan Cephalyx. That's because the theme's rules start off with "this army can only include the following Cryx models"​. Partisan Cephalyx are the only ones that fill that condition.
  • The Cephalyx Agitator also works for Cryx and can go in Black Industries but, because it is not a Partisan, it will use up your Mercenary solo slot.
  • (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Creator's Might      (Edit)

  • ​Elias Gade is allowed in Creator's Might. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You can spend the "Two Vassal solos" requistion option on one Vassal Mechanik and one Vassal of Menoth. Warroom has a bug and tells you that you can't. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Flame in the Darkness      (Edit)

  • You can take any number of Mercenary jacks. You can also select two additional jacks from Khador and Cygnar in any combination you like. Character warjacks with a bond don't count against this limit of 2. (Infernal Ruling)
  • There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to take two Cygnar and two Khador jacks.
  • Morrowan Battle Priest:
    • If your warcaster is a Cygnar model that makes every unit you take a Cygnar unit, and Battle Priests can be attached to any unit.
      Warroom has a known bug where it doesn't allow this interaction.
    • If your warcaster is a Mercenary or Khador model, though, the only units the Battle Priest can attach to are the Morrow ones.
    • If you attach the Battle Priest to The Devil's Shadows Mutineers then it can be returned via Blood Bound. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Llaelese Resistance      (Edit)

  • It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
    You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You can have a non-character unit with a character attachment (i.e. Captain Karli). (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Talion Charter      (Edit)

  • The 3rd benefit is "Sac Pawn [Sea Dog trooper]", not just any Sea Dog. (Infernal ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Bones of Orboros      (Edit)

  • Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Devourer's Host      (Edit)

  • Bradigus1 is not legal in this theme. The theme only allows living warbeasts, his rules only allow construct warbeasts, and you can't just 'skip' his battlegroup - you have to spend your warbeast points.
  • If you create a new model mid-game (ie with the Well of Orboros and that model can have corpse tokens, that model does not enter play with a corpse. Because it's not the beginning of the game. (Locked thread)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Wild Hunt      (Edit)

  • The animus benefit doesn't apply to enemy warbeasts. (Infernal Ruling)
  • The animus benefit doesn't stack with the Druid Wilder's Herding ability. (Infernal Ruling)
  • When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Oracles of Annihilation      (Edit)

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Exalted      (Edit)

  • If a Construct model loses the Construct advantage mid-game, it keeps the theme benefit anyway. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Band of Heroes      (Edit)

  • Boomhowler2 uses up your Minion slot. His Fell Calls ability is not enough to make him a "Fell Caller model/unit". (Infernal Ruling)
  • Boomhowler3 does not use up your minion slot on account of having the Champion keyword.
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : The Blindwater Congregation      (Edit)

  • Void Leeches attached to a Gatorman Posse will gain Snacking, but they won't gain extra hitpoints. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Magnum Opus      (Edit)

  • If Mosby is attached to a Mercenary weapon crew unit, they would gain 3" reposition and would not lose it if Mosby is no longer in the unit. (Infernal Ruling)
RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Hearts of Darkness      (Edit)