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SO ANGRY, SO VERY ANGRY...

Skarbrand's story is by far the most emo Daemon story ever told; akin to Icarus, but instead of a boy you have a blood crazed Deamon warlord tricked into hitting daddy.

Translated to the table-top you have one damaged Bloodthirster, hell-bent on ramming himself down the throat of all enemies.

 

Skarbrand is better in so many ways from the first incarnation, but to get a better understanding here is a side by side comparison from 5th to 6th edition.

(Click to Enlarge)

Skarbrand Rules 2013

Skarbrand Rules 2008

 

Compare &  Contrast

  • Decrease in points 300 to 225 points
  • Profile/Stat make over
  • Lost Fleet
  • Changes to Bellow of Endless Fury & Rage Embodied
  • Slaughter and Carnage

 

--More than losing your wings--

Skarbrand was one over priced unit in the previous edition, but now he is a cheaper alternative to the flying Bloodthrister. He is also the cheapest of the named Greater Daemons and has the strongest profile. The cost to benefit ratio is pretty good, as any ground based Greater Daemon can easily close in on 300 points.

--Never a truer Warlord--

Skarbrand profile is pretty darn godlike. The same goes for Bloodthirsters in general, but Skarbrand has more Initiative and Attacks. Compared to the old version you only lost some strength, but with Skarbrand melee weapons it won't matter. Even more amusing Skarbrand can man your Quad Gun with deadly efficiency.

--Raging is slow business--

The worst change to Skarbrand was the loss of Fleet. Fleet is one of the best USRs in 6th edition especially for any unit relying on assault to do much of its damage. Since, Skarbrand doesn't have wings, so not having a reliable movement ability can be quite problematic. 

--Full of Sound and Fury...--

The Bellow of Endless FuryTemplate Str 5 AP - Assault 1 has been changed from a template which could kill almost anything, to nothing special. As for Rage EmbodiedSkarbrand and all units friend or foe within 12 inches of Skarbrand have the Rage and Hatred special rules the changes are pretty slick, favoring the Assaulting units. The ragey bubble distance reduced from 24" to 12". These slight tactical difference makes Skarbrand placement and timing very important.

Skarbrand's story is by far the most emo Daemon story ever told; akin to Icarus, but instead of a boy you have a blood crazed Deamon warlord tricked into hitting daddy.

Putting it all Together...

Skarbrand is a very interesting character with a lot of untapped potential. Skarbrand's potential relies on him being one of the only units having no special conditions on buffing other units.

Rage EmbodiedSkarbrand and all units friend or foe within 12 inches of Skarbrand have the Rage and Hatred special rules is usable no matter the ally, and enhances any Daemon unit no matter the Chaos God.

Rage EmbodiedSkarbrand and all units friend or foe within 12 inches of Skarbrand have the Rage and Hatred special rules ability to play with even the most disparate allies shouldn't be underestimated. Conveniently, the One Eye Open rule range is only 6" so Skarbrand can always keep a healthy distance from your ally units and still fill them with righteous anger. Don't hesitate to think about the different possibilities Rage and Hatred  have on armies like Orks or Dark Eldar.

What makes Skarbrand unique, as well, is he no slouch in Assault, unlike Fateweaver, Ethereals, and other similar units. Skarbrand is tough with five wounds, six toughness, and 3+ armor. He can lead a charge easily and convincingly. Skarbrand also has Slaughter and CarnageSlaughter AP2 Melee, Fleshbane Carnage AP2 Melee, Armourbane, these weapons bring devastation to any unit and if he is your Warlord will cause Instant Death. What helps Skarbrand else out, is the design of the Daemon Codex. You can still take four Heralds along with Skarbrand if you like, and the best part is they can be any Herald from any god. 

Skarbrand can be an invaluable unit for any assault centric Daemon army. Skarbrand gets a chunk of his points back in an interesting ways; instead of using points on Khorne Loci you can just have Skarbrand. He is the Greater Locus of FuryThis model, and all models in its unit, have the Rage special rule. Models with Rage gain +2 attacks for charging. and Exalted Locus of WrathThis model, and all models in its, have Hatred special rule. A model with Hatred re-rolls all misses during the first round of each combat all rolled into one. He also provides more than the Exalted Locus of BeguilementThis model, and all models in its unit, re-roll failed To Hit rolls in close combat. In addition, challenges issued cannot be refused, and the challenge must be accepted by model of the Herald's choosing. for Slaanesh. Then there is just the hard statistical facts; for instance if you use him in a Nurgle army. All of sudden a basic unit like Plaguebearers becomes dangerous in Assault. That is three attacks re-rolling hits on the charge, not to mention the likelihood of still re-roll wounds as well. As a side note, Skarbrand is also another reason for taking Khorne Cannons to provide grenades. 

All this mighty big talk about how amazing Skarbrand is there is one problem: survival. Skarbrand is a pretty big target, especially one that can be hit so easily on the ground. No getting around how slow Skarbrand is; even with T6 he can be shot to death if focused on. So, what can a rage monkey do? Well, Skarbrand does have one ace up his sleeve: Deepstrike. Deepstriking is really the only way to go, because it accomplishes a few goals. First, the enemy will only have one turn to kill Skarbrand, instead of a few if he walks across the board. Second, more importantly, Skarbrand can keep up with the fast units of a Daemon army. He can drop behind Khorne dogs, Seekers, Plague Drones and buff them before an Assault. Even more likely your opponent will be so busy dealing with the mobs in his face instead of attempting to kill Skarbrand.

Deepstriking isn't without its dangers, that is why it is important to consider Icon love for assured Skarbrand delivery. It also means knowing when to drop Skarbrand, be it in your opponent's face or a little farther back. Remember, not all opponents are going to be Tau or Eldar shooting sissies, so being aware of what units he can use to assault you with is critical.

Skarbrand still costs a pretty penny even though he is a penny less than a lot of other choices. Skarbrand is not like Fateweaver where he makes any Deamon list is better. You must be very specific when using Skarbrand and he often requires larger point games to truly shine. He is a force multiply and having more units that he can boost is all the more important. He makes the swarms of the many units better, than just a deathstar.

Skarbrand can also be used against you, making sure to keep him your forward units and not the backfield ones. You don't want the other players assault units getting all the benefits.

--Skarbrand Sample Lists--

Skarbrand Sample List 1

Skarbrand Sample List 2

Skarbrand Sample List 3

Skarbrand Sample List 4

 A Word about Allies

As briefly mentioned, Skarbrand experimentation lie with taking Allies. Skarbrand can make even a unit of Cultists dangerous, not to mention Plague Zombies. Skarbrand can enhance anything from a Wych army to Nob Bikers that few others could. As long as your army is bent towards close-quarters the sky is the limit for what Skarbrand can do for you.

Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Skarbrand is fun unit and better than the credit most would give him. His major drawbacks is his lack of speed and wings, but if you use a horde type Deamon approach Skarbrand can work in any list. Not to forget  Apocalypse and Double Force Org games. Skarbrand straddles the boundary between fun, creative, and competitive, making imagination key to getting the most out of the Warhammer 40k version of the Incredible Hulk. 

Warning

It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.