Zaal, the Ancestral Advocate

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Feora2 (theme thoughts) Imperatus (Dawnguard and non-vyros combos)

Skorne Logo.jpg Zaal, the Ancestral Advocate

Skorne Exalted Warlock

Supreme Aptimus Zaal exemplified the power of the extoller caste, whether communing with the honored dead or leading a host of ancestral guardians and immortals in battle. Mortally wounded in one such battle against Ios, Zaal refused to surrender to the Void, preserving himself with his last breath. His devoted followers recovered his sacral stone and fused him into a new form worthy of his stature. Zaal retains leadership of his caste as the Ancestral Advocate, and both his will and his connection to the spirit realm are stronger than ever.

Basic Info

Missing Info
Zaa;, the Ancestral Advocate.jpg
COST {{{cacost}}}
UNIT SIZE {{{casize}}}
FA {{{cafa}}}
Warcaster 0
BASE Medium
M.A. N/A
DEF 10
ARM 18
ESSENCE {{{essence}}}
HP 18
F. Field N/A
WJP {{{wjp}}}
WBP +29
IHP {{{ihp}}}
Warcaster 1
the Statblock


  • Warlock - All warlocks come with a stack of standard special rules - most notably being awesome.
  • Construct - This model is a construct and is not a living model.
  • Direct Spirits - (1) When a friendly living Faction warrior model is destroyed in this model's {{{1}}} range and generates a soul token, you can choose which model with Soul Taker gets the soul, regardless of the proximity of other models. (2) Enemy models never gain soul tokens from models destroyed in this model's {{{1}}} range.
  • Righteous Vengeance - If a friendly Faction model dies within 5" of this model, next turn this model gets a free 3" move and melee attack during the maintenance phase.
  • Soul Taker: Reclaim - This model collects soul tokens from friendly living Faction models destroyed by an enemy attack, collateral damage from an enemy attack, or contrinuous effects while in this model's control range. These souls turn into extra focus/fury during your next turn.
  • Soul Vessel - This model has a soul as if it were a living model.
  • Steady - This model cannot be knocked down.


Obsidian Staff - 2" reach, P+S 14 melee weapon

  • Damage Type: Magical - This weapon deals Magical damage.
  • Silencer - Models hit by this weapon/attack cannot cast spells for one round.




4 10 3 10 - Yes
Models hit suffer a POW 10 damage roll. Models destroyed are RFP'd and don't generate corpse tokens. When a living enemy model is destroyed by Annihilation, the caster gains its soul token regardless of the proximity of other models.
Aura of Power

2 SELF Control - Upkeep -
While in the caster's control range, friendly Faction non-warlock warrior models can spend 1 fury point on the caster to boost a melee attack or damage roll during their own activations.
Mage Sight

2 Control 5 - Upkeep -
Place a 5" AOE completely within the caster's control range. While a model is within the AOE, models in the caster's battlegroup ignore forests and cloud effects when drawing LOS to it and ignore Stealth when attacking it.
Sunder Spirit

2 10 - 12 (★) Yes
An enemy warbeast damaged by Sunder Spirit loses its animus for one round.

2 6 - - Upkeep -
When target friendly Faction model is directly hit by an attack, you can choose to have it suffer no damage roll, then Vision expires.

Feat : Strength Eternal

This feat has one instant effect, and one effect that lasts a round.

  1. Remove d6+3 damage points from each friendly Skorne construct model currently in Zaal's control range.
  2. While in Zaal's control range, friendly Skorne construct models gain +5 ARM.

Theme Forces

Analysis of Zaal2

Zaal2 in a nutshell

Zaal2 is an attrition warlock with three different games. The first is a Reclaim-into-Aura of Power engine. You kill one of Zaal's infantry, and the next hits you harder (and if you're running Immortals you have a turn when most of your infantry is ARM 22). The second is an assassination play if he has a huge stack of Fury. The third is that Mage Sight allows him to ignore quite a lot of defensive tech so he can run a pretty good shooting battlegroup. But it's generally infantry swarm or shooting battlegroup as both are expensive.

His fundamental concept involves using souls to break the normal amounts of Fury you can put out in a turn.

Feat thoughts

Zaal's feat is purely defensive, putting your Immortals up to ARM 22 - or your Supreme Guardians up to ARM 24 and allowing you to no-sell most of a round of enemy attacks.

Spell thoughts

  • Aura of Power is a backbone spell, allowing his infantry to hit almost any target and swings the attrition game in your favour as you pick up boosts every time one of your models dies.
  • Sunder Spirit is his assassination spell; this isn't something you plan to do - but if the enemy has had a very good turn it's often possible to tear the caster apart with all the souls you've collected. Zaal breaks the soul economy here. (If they were in 13" of you the Obsidian Staff can work here).
  • Mage Sight helps the assassination game. And lets your beasts join in; Zaal really likes the Cyclops Shaman to help finish the job.
  • Anihilation is just RFP tech that stores souls for next turn. No other caster would use this, but Zaal breaks the fury economy.

Drawbacks & Downsides

  • His defensive stats are deceiving. He has Khador jack Def but less Arm than one, and only an above average amount of boxes for a warlock.
  • No natural armor cracking
  • He is begging for a construct warbeast (although a construct battle engine option isn't a bad second choice).

Tricks & Tips

  • The Ferox Assassination and the Immortal Assassination are both mentioned under their entries.
  • The Zaal2 assassination. When Zaal2 has a large stack of fury he can spam Sunder Spirits until the enemy is dead. (If anyone's silly enough to end up within 2", you can splatter them with the Staff - but few are).
  • Annihilator lets you bank souls if you're overflowing with them and don't know what to spend them on.
  • He can be repaired, for instance from a Gobber Tinker
  • Watch out for "cannot have damage removed" stuff (like Entropic Aura) which will negate your feat somewhat

List Building Advice


Zaal is an excellent attrition warlock, able to fuel his Aura of Power thanks to Reclaim, and with a turn of high ARM. He also has two back pocket assassinations (a melee one thanks to a 13" threat range and his Sunder Spirit) - and when played in The Exalted has both a scenario threat thanks to the deceptive speed and mobility of the statues, and an Incorporeal Assassination. A huge multi-threat.

His infantry choices are variable but generally rely on numbers.

Theme thoughts

The Exalted is the obvious theme force for Zaal2, and almost builds itself.

The Exalted
Start with three units of Immortals and Soulwards - and one Ancestral Guardian then giving you two more AGs and Hakaar for free. The only question is what to do with your remaining points.

  • Immortals - Immortals as a second wave are awesome with Zaal. Under his feat, enemy infantry need to charge to kill them, and enemy jacks/beasts don't kill enough. Under Vengeance, they do a lot of work. And with his aura and Vengeance, they become pretty effective assassins by making boosted attack rolls.
  • Supreme Guardian - an ARM 19 construct with 33 hit boxes is an awesome thing to go with Zaal's feat.
  • Hakaar the Destroyer is almost unkillable under his feat - and you bank souls early thanks to Direct Spirits. Also his Veteran Leader works for Zaal's spells!
  • Ancestral Guardian isn't as good as Hakaar but still useful and still very tough on feat turn.

Masters of War
There's enough infantry to feed his soul engine but it is normally a secondary choice for Zaal; at least until the Supreme Guardian comes out (and is allowed in Masters of War) because there's nothing else in the theme that will benefit from his feat. Double Supreme Guardian on Feat turn gives you two huge ARM 24 bases, allowing you to no-sell even more of the enemy attacks than ARM 22 infantry would.

Winds of Death
Similar to Masters of War, this can be a secondary choice.

  • The Supreme Guardian, mentioned above, can also be taken in this theme.
  • Venator Slingers - the cheapest available skirmish screen. They die early - but this just means feeding his soul engine.

Imperial Warhost
He doesn't want to use this theme. He is not a battlegroup Warlock.



Other than his "free" warbeast points, he doesn't want to take beasts. What he does take is normally some of these:

  • Titan Cannoneer - a great shooter.
  • Mammoth - going all in in the shooting.
  • Cyclops Raider - almost as good as the Cannoneer at shooting big things.
  • Basilisk Krea - to spread its aura to protect your infantry from incoming fire
  • Basilisk Drake - an all round good warbeast that flanks with the Krea and also lets Zaal Pathfinder.
  • Cyclops Shaman What's not to love about the Shaman with Zaal? It's a shooty warbeast. It can add an extra Krea bubble. It can give Zaal a bigger threat range for Sunder Spirit assassinations. And it even brings anti-magic tech.
  • Cyclops Brute - Shield Guard
  • Scarab Pack - Cheapest possible souls in warbeast points.



Zaal, The Ancestral Eye. Lock n Load 2019 exclusive
  • Released in Hordes: Devastation (2015)
  • This model has a limited edition sculpt, released in Lock n Load 2019.

Video Battle Reports

Other Skorne models

Skorne Logo.jpg       Skorne Index       (Edit)            
Battlegroup & Similar
Warlocks Hexeris1 - Hexeris2 - Jalaam1 - Rasheth1 - Makeda1 - Makeda2 - Makeda3 - Mordikaar1 - Morghoul1 - Morghoul2 - Morghoul3 - Naaresh1 - Xekaar1 - Xerxis1 - Xerxis2 - Zaal1 - Zaal2 - Zaadesh2
Lessers & Attachments Aptimus Marketh (Warlock attachment) - Zaadesh1 (Lesser Warlock)
Lesser & Packs Lesser Warbeasts: Agonizer - Reptile Hounds - Warbeast Packs: Scarab Pack
Light Basilisk Drake - Basilisk Krea - Cyclops Brute - Cyclops Raider - Cyclops Savage - Cyclops Shaman - Razor Worm
Heavy Aradus Sentinel - Aradus Soldier - Archidon - Bronzeback Titan - Rhinodon - Titan Cannoneer - Titan Gladiator - Titan Sentry
Chiron - Despoiler - Molik Karn - Tiberion
Gargantuans Desert Hydra - Mammoth
Units, Solos, & Battle Engines
Units Cataphract Arcuarii - Cataphract Cetrati - Cataphract Incindiarii - Immortals - 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
Legends of Halaak
Solos Ancestral Guardian - Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor - Extoller Novititate - Extoller Soulward - Immortal Vessel - Mortitheurge Willbreaker - Paingiver Task Master - Venator Dakar - Void Spirit
Abidan the Keeper - Aptimus Marketh (Attached) - Hakaar the Destroyer - Tyrant Rhadeim - Zaadesh1 (Lesser)
Battle Engines Siege Animantarax - Supreme Guardian
Theme Forces
Disciples of Agony - Imperial Warhost - Masters of War - The Exalted - Winds of Death
Refer to Who Works for Whom and/or Category: Skorne Minion
This index was last updated: 2018.12

Rules Clarifications

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Rules Clarification:  : Magical Damage      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

* The "Damage Type: Magical" is not inherited by "secondary" damage from a weapon. That is, stuff like arcs (Electro Leap) or hazards (Scather). (Infernal Ruling)
  • All spells have "Damage Type: Magical" (refer errata).
    • This is inherited by "immediate" secondary damage (such as Eruption of Spines). (Infernal Ruling)
    • and might be inherited by "lingering" secondary damage (see below).
  • If a spell leaves a template in play that does damage to models that walk around in it, then:
    • if it is not described as a hazard it will do magical damage to models that walk around in it. (Example: Razor Wall)
    • if it is a hazard then it will not do magical damage to models that walk around in it. Instead, it does whatever damage type is specified by the spell description. (Example: Breath of Corruption).
    • (Infernal Ruling)
  • If a weapon/spell includes Magic Damage and another kind of elemental damage it will still damage Incorporeal models. Incorporeal models are not affected by the rule "if an attack does multiple types of damage and a model is immune to at least one it is immune to the entire attack."
    The phrase "immune to non-magical damage" should be interpreted as "immune to damage that doesn't include Damage Type: Magical" (not interpreted as "has immunity to Corrosion and Electricity and Cold and etc.")

Rules Clarification : Silencer - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification:  : Warlock      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

  • General
    • Damage from a feat is neither an attack nor Damage Type: Magical (unless the feat says it is).
    • FURY (uppercase) is the stat printed on the warlock's card. Fury (lowercase) refers to fury points a model currently has.
    • Your CTRL area is double your FURY stat, not double your fury points. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Casting spells or using feats is an anytime ability with the added restriction that you can't use them on the same turn you run even before you run.
      • See also the clarifications on Any Time abilities (below).
    • Some warlocks are also Battle Engines and thus follow all the Battle Engine special rules.
      There is no particular interaction between the Battle Engine rules and the Warlock rules.
  • Reaving & Leeching
    • If you choose to Reave, it's all or nothing. You must Reave all the Fury (up to your limit) and you can't choose to "let some disappear". (Locked thread)
    • If your warbeast is Removed From Play, you can still reave fury off it. (Locked thread)
    • If your warbeast is destroyed or RFP'd while under your opponent's control then:
      1. You cannot reave fury off it. Because it is still enemy at the time it was destroyed/RFP'd, and you can't reave from enemy warbeasts.
      2. After it is taken off the table, it returns to your control and is eligible for Spirit Bond and (possibly) Return to Play stuff (like Thagrosh1's feat).
  • Transferring Damage
    • If both the warlock and the warbeast are damaged by the same attack (such as an AOE), then you need to apply the 'normal' damage to the warbeast before the transferred damage. This distinction can be important when you're working out who/what actually destroyed the beast. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If there is too much damage for the warbeast and it "overlaps" back to the warlock, then that damage is considered ... unsure at this time. (Infernal Checking)
  • Restrictions on "Any Time" abilities     (Edit)         [Show/Hide]
    • "Any Time" abilities can be used at any time during a model/unit's activation, except:
    1. The model with the Any Time ability has had their activation end "prematurely". By this I mean you resolve anything which includes "its activation ends". Examples include:
      • Running, failing a charge, or failing a slam.
      • Abilities that include "then its activation ends" (such as Reposition and Teleport).
    2. In between declaring your charge target and making your charge movement. (Infernal Ruling)
    3. In between completing your charge movement and determining whether it was a successful charge. (Infernal Ruling)
    4. You're in the middle of moving. (Note: Impact Attacks count as being in the middle of movement).
    5. You're in the middle of an attack. Which also includes effects that occur "after the attack is resolved".
      (Although the attack is "resolved" at Step 11, in terms of using an Any-Time ability the attack is not "finished" until after Step 14. Refer to the first paragraph of Apdx A.)
    6. Your opponent interrupted your activation to trigger one of their own abilities, such as Countercharge.

    • In general you can use "Any Time" abilities while you're knocked down or stationary (except Spells and Feats which specify you can't).
    • If you have a gun with a random ROF, you can use an "Any Time" ability inbetween rolling the number of shots and actually making the first attack. (Infernal Ruling)

    • Units with "Any Time" abilities
    • Even if the ability says "any time during the unit's activation", a model in a unit can't use an Any Time ability if they run, fail a charge, or use an ability like Reposition.
    • Because that model's activation has ended (even if the unit's activation is still ongoing) and you can't use abilities on models that are not active.
    • So, for example:
      • You cannot use a minifeat after the Officer runs. (Infernal Ruling)
      • You cannot use a minifeat after anyone in the unit has begun a Reposition move. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Warcaster/Warlock Cavalry ( Edit )
    • Warcasters/Warlocks can't cast spells or use their feat while resolving Impact Attacks. Because Impact Attacks occur during movement - you can use spells or feat before moving, or after moving, but not during movement.
      • Exception: If your Impact target(s) include your charge target, then your movement has ended (refer rulebook, last paragraph of 'Impact Attacks') and thus you're fine to use "any time" abilities before starting the Impact attacks.

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Rules Clarification : Warcaster Unit or Warlock Unit     (Edit)
This summary is specific to Warcaster/Warlock units. You may also want to check the Warcaster and Warlock pages respectively, for the "regular" rules clarifications.

  • If you're giving an order, it must be done first, before casting any spells or using your feat.
  • All models in the unit count as part of the battlegroup. So, for instance, Butcher3's argus can be moved via his Energizer spell.
  • Warcaster units can have attachments. They can even attach units (such as the WSC). (Infernal Ruling)
  • The non-caster models are trooper models but are (normally) not Grunt models. Therefore they're not eligible for stuff like Revive.
  • Steamroller 2018
    • The non-caster models can contest scenario zones & flags.
    • The caster model cannot contest.
    • The caster model can control zones and flags by itself, but:
      • to control a zone, the entire unit remaining in play needs to be in formation.
      • to control a flag, the entire unit remaining in play must be within 4" of the flag.
  • Units Buying Attacks (Edit)
    • If you make attacks with model [A], then start making attacks with model [B], you cannot 'go back' and buy more attacks with [A]. Because:
    • A model can only buy additional attacks during its Combat Action.
    • A model in a unit must complete its Combat Action before the next model starts theirs (with some exceptions, like CMA).
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Rules Clarification : Unit of Warcasters or Warlocks     (Edit)

  • Even though they're warcasters, if they're out of formation they suffer the normal penalties (can't make attacks, actions, spells, etc).
  • They can't upkeep each other's spells.
  • They can only dominate one SteamRoller scenario element at a time.
  • Each warlock/warcaster can have different upkeeps on them if those upkeeps are "target SELF" or "target model". If you cast an upkeep that is "target model/unit", that is the only upkeep any of them can have.
  • Units Buying Attacks (Edit)
    • If you make attacks with model [A], then start making attacks with model [B], you cannot 'go back' and buy more attacks with [A]. Because:
    • A model can only buy additional attacks during its Combat Action.
    • A model in a unit must complete its Combat Action before the next model starts theirs (with some exceptions, like CMA).
  • The Legion Twins
    • Rhyas cannot dominate a zone while out of formation.
    • Rhyas can use the feat while out of formation.
  • Haley3
    • Only Haley Prime is an 'actual' warcaster model, and as such she is the only one that can dominate a scenario element.
    • The echoes can Control/Contest scenarios like a normal unit.
    • Haley Prime can dominate an element even if the echoes are out of formation.

Rules Clarification : Construct - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification : Direct Spirits      (Edit)

  • There is no range limit on who you allocate the soul to. Any friendly model anywhere on the board can receive it. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You cannot give souls to enemy models. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Enemy models can't gain souls even if there is no way for you to get it. Instead no one gets it.
  • Direct Spirits modifies both the proximity limit and the "source type" limit. (Infernal Ruling)
    For example:
    • Source type: You can give friendly souls to models that normally only gather them from enemies.
    • Proximity: You can give a soul to a model from 20" away, when they normally only collect from stuff within 10"
  • A model that is full of souls is not eligible to collect more souls, and can't benefit from Direct Spirits.
  • For the purposes of taking/giving souls, Soul Vessels are counted as living models. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Vengeance and/or Righteous Vengeance and/or Retaliation and/or Swift Vengeance and/or Tantrum     (Edit)

  • Vengeance moves do not have to be towards an enemy model.
  • You can choose to not move, but still get the attack. One is not conditional on the other.
  • When resolving Vengeance, move all models in the unit before making any attacks. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If you have more than one unit with Vengeance, move all of unit A then complete all of unit A's attacks, before starting to move unit B.
  • Vengeance is not an activation. It does not prevent the unit from activating and acting normally later in the turn.
  • Stationary and knocked down models may not perform Vengeance moves nor attacks.
  • Only enemy attacks trigger Vengeance. There are plenty of ways enemies can damage you without attacking you (such as Electro Leap) and these will not trigger Vengeance.
  • Due to the way it is worded Vengeance can be "inherited" by unit attachments that do not actually have the Vengeance ability themselves. For instance, a Soulless Escort attached to the Spears of Scyrah.
    • If anyone is damaged, including the attachment, everyone in the unit gets to trigger Vengeance.
    • But if everyone is killed except the attachment, then he doesn't get to trigger Vengeance because the rule is "no longer on the table".

Rules Clarification : Reclaim - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification : Soul Vessel      (Edit)

  • A Soul Vessel is not a living model in any way, so it will not trigger anything like Bloodthirst or Poison.
  • The only thing Soul Vessel means is that it produces a soul when it is destroyed, as if it were a living model.
    • This does lead to the odd situation where an ability that would normally RFP a living model and prevent a soul token being generated (such as Snacking) will not work vs a Soul Vessel. So the Vessel can't get snacked and will produce a soul.
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Rules Clarification : Steady      (Edit)

  • Steady models are still susceptible to other effects of knock-down attacks (if there are any).
    • For example, a steady model hit with a Head butt won't be knocked down but will take damage.
  • A knocked down model that gains Steady will remain knocked down, because the "cannot be knocked down" is not retroactively applied.

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Rules Clarification : Annihilation      (Edit)

  • Not blast damage (Edit)
    • Due to the way it is worded, this spell/weapon does full POW to all models in the AOE. It is not blast damage and it is not halved.
    • For the same reason, it doesn't do "two damage rolls to the model directly hit". (Infernal Ruling)
  • "Regardless of proximity" soul takers (Edit)
    • The model which ignores distance doesn't always get the soul. Abilities which say you "can't" collect souls (such as Soul Ward) trump it, due to the general rule that "can't trumps can".
    • If there are multiple models that all have the "regardless of proximity" clause, then you randomise who the soul goes to. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Arcane Might and/or Aura of Power     (Edit)

  • Arcane Might can't be used on charge damage rolls, simply because they're already boosted.
  • It can be used on CMA.
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Rules Clarification : Mage Sight      (Edit)

  • Mage Sight's AOE allows LOS to models in the AOE, not to points on the ground. So it doesn't help with stuff like Siege trying to place his Ground Pounder attack. (Infernal Ruling)
  • If an intervening model also has Stealth, then you treat it as normal for LOS purposes. Because you determine LOS before declaring a target, thus Mage Sight's "ignore LOS" doesn't apply to intervening models, regardless of whether it is also in the AOE or not.
  • If your target is in Mage Sight, you ignore all forests when drawing LOS - even if that forest blocks LOS to the Mage Sight template. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Sunder Spirit      (Edit)

  • Because the warbeast has lost its animus, other models can't cast it either. Neither its controlling warlock, nor models like the Cyclops Shaman.
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Rules Clarification : Vision      (Edit)

  • You ignore damage, but not any effects that trigger on "hit". For instance a Quake will still cause knockdown and a Star Strike will still set you on fire.
  • You can't ignore attacks which do a fixed amount of damage instead of a damage roll, such as Sniper or Needle.