Theme - Disciples of Agony

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Skorne Theme Force

Connected by a desire to wring power from pain, the students of the ancient skorne master Morkaash show the enemies of the empire the subtlety of their unique arts. Potent mortitheurges, indomitable Nihilator cultists, and talented paingivers work in concert to bring low all living flesh that opposes them. Captured enemies who prove useful are kept as subjugated warriors, while all others taken alive are introduced to new depths of suffering at the barbs and blades of their captors.

- Jan 2018 Theme Forces PDF

Theme Rules[edit]

Theme Force Restrictions[edit]

A Disciples of Agony army can only include Skorne models from the following list:

Allowed models Which includes
Current as of: 20 Feb 2018
Non-character Skorne warbeasts
Note: Character warbeasts can be taken, but only if bonded with their favourite warlock (Cankerworm with Asphyxious, etc)
Non-character Minion warbeasts
Note: Count as Skorne warbeasts

Paingiver models/units
Nihilator models/units
Mortitheurge models/units
Up to one minion solo and any number of minion units.

Theme Force Bonuses[edit]

  • This army can include one Minion solo and any number of Minion units that will work for Skorne.
    • These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Skorne] rule.
    • Minion units can have attachments.
  • Skorne warlocks can control non-character Minion warbeasts. If they do so, that beast is considered a Skorne warbeast instead of a Minion one.
  • For every 20 points of units you get a free small-based Skorne solo or Skorne CA.
    • Free models don't count towards the points limit.
  • Paingivers gain Sacrificial Pawn [Minion warrior model]. (Sacrificial Pawn [Minion Warrior Model] - When this model is directly hit by an enemy ranged attack, you can have one friendly, non-incorporeal Minion Warrior Model model within 3" of it hit instead. That model is automatically hit and suffers all damage and effects. )
  • One unit of Bloodrunners gains Ambush. (Ambush - This unit may choose not to deploy normally, and instead be deployed completely within 3" of an edge of the board (excluding the back of your opponent's deployment zone) on any turn after the first. )



Disciples of Agony is a theme that allows you to do things that Skorne already do well, but in a new way. There's a lot of interesting stuff here but the standouts are the Blind Walker to give Skorne an arc node and the Battle Boar and Blackhide Wrastler to give Skorne an animus damage buff.

There are two basic ways of approaching this theme:

  • A beast theme that allows you to combine Paingiver Beast Handlers with either Rage or Primal (from the Blackhide Wrastler or Battle Boar respectively) to turn your light warbeasts brutal. Probably combined with Master Tormentor Morghoul or Master Aescetic Naaresh
  • A mostly infantry theme that gets free points - Naaresh and Morghoul3 are most likely to use this (both getting on well with Nihilators) although anyone working with a small battlegroup and infantry can make good use out of it.
  • Just for fun, try a Dracodile.

Insider Article.

Theme weaknesses & Mitigating them[edit]

  • No Aptimus Marketh is something the Morghouls and Xekaar really dislike.
  • Still only one minions solo...choose wisely.

List Building Tips[edit]

If you're not taking one of the three warbeasts mentioned above the theme force gains are only marginal; Skorne beasts are generally competitive with minion beasts. But in particular it makes Xekaar playable (and hopefully competitive) and the additional damage buff gives Master Tormentor Morghoul his niche in Skorne - the highest damage boosting warlock.

Warlocks with an existing warbeast damage buff (Morghoul1 and Naaresh) are going to do best by sharing it around with light-ish warbeasts (frequently the Archidon) and buffing them to hit like buffed heavies. Primal is generally good for this approach; you send your bullet down the board and don't expect the enemy to let you have it back, but you trade at an advantage.

Most people who have tried playing this list for heavy warbeasts have often found themselves disappointed; with Paingiver Beast Handlers Skorne Warbeasts never have problems putting the hurt on the enemy when they arrive; getting there is the first place and Rage and Primal compete with Rush and mean you have two support beasts and problems getting your beasts to the enemy. On the other hand if you start with the Archidon, the Cyclops Savage, the Cyclops Brute, or even the Road Hog, Rhinodon, or Swamp Horror stacking damage buffs like Primal, Enrage, and whatever your caster brings lets them hit like decent heavies. An approach of "No beast heavier than a Blind Walker" tends to work better.

For units it's important to remember that both the Paingiver Beast Handlers and Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew count towards free points (and the latter are a nice sacrificial pawn target). Also it appears that Bloodrunners have a terrible ambush threat range because they can't apparition when they come into play. Your cheapest sacrificial pawn targets are either Farrow Bone Grinders or the Gatorman Bokor & Bog Trog Swamp Shamblers

It's worth noting that the Cyclops Shaman is very good in this list, too, letting you spam animi on demand. Also, you can have a second arc node, with a blind walker.

For maximising free points:

Casters of Note[edit]

Popular casters[edit]

  • Beast Master Xekaar - as Skorne players have been saying since the start of the edition Xekaar could be a good caster with a way of channelling. The Blind Walker provides that way - although you do lose Marketh. Also Xekaar loves the combination of DEF 12 heavies and his feat.
  • Master Tormentor Morghoul really loves being able to bring a Battle Boar or Blackhide Wrastler to stack another couple of STR on top of his Torment. This theme gives him a niche.
  • Master Aescetic Naaresh also likes pushing the damage on his beasts higher. But he doesn't also have a speed buff.

Unpopular casters[edit]



Originally spoiled during the Trollblood Northkin CID (2017.07), when Skorne launched their invasion of the northern kriels.

Models in this Theme Force[edit]

Refer to Category:Disciples_of_Agony

Rules Clarifications[edit]

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification:  : Sacrificial Pawn and/or Sucker! and/or Grim Salvation     (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

  • Sacrificial Pawn & Grim Salvation are optional, but Sucker! is not
  • Grim Salvation only works vs basic attacks, not special attacks, power attacks, chain attacks.
    • Spells are not basic attacks, because they are not "made with a weapon". (Infernal Ruling)
    • CRA and CMA are basic attacks. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If a Special Attack generates an additional attack (such as Multi-Fire), the second attack will be basic and as such can have Grim Salvation used vs it. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Sacrificial Pawn & Sucker! don't work against melee attacks.
  • None of them work vs magic attacks (spells). All of them work against Magical Ranged attacks, though.
  • The model the attack is transferred to is always hit, even if they have an ability that makes them automatically get missed (such as Stealth).
    Automatically missing is determined earlier in the timing sequence than when the attack is moved. (Infernal Ruling)

From here down, the terms Sacrificial Pawn, Grim Salvation, and Sucker! are interchangeable

  • Using Sac Pawn moves all damage and effects onto the other model.
  • The new model hit may use any abilities that trigger on being hit/damaged by an enemy attack (such as Vengeance and Shock Field).
  • Sprays and AOEs
    • A model hit by a spray attack can use Sacrificial Pawn to pass it to another model. The placement of the template does not change.
      • Note that this may cause the Pawn to be hit twice by the same spray. So you then resolve two damage rolls against it.
    • A model directly hit by a AOE may use Sacificial Pawn to pass it to another model. The AOE template is moved (because Sac Pawn is resolved at Step 6 of the Attack Sequence in Apdx A, but AOE placement occurs at Step 7).
      • Depending on how far apart the original target and Pawn are, the first guy might get clipped by the AOE anyway.
      • A model indirectly hit by an AOE cannot use Sac Pawn.
  • Sacrificial Pawn multiple times
    • If a model with the Sacrificial Pawn ability passes it to another model that also has Sacrificial Pawn ability, that second model may pass it along to a third model.
    • Models can only use Sac Pawn once each, you cannot set up an infinite loop!
  • Quick Draw vs Sacrificial Pawn
    • If enemy "Model A" shoots you, and then you use Quick Draw against "Model A", but they use Sac Pawn to move your Quick Draw attack to "Model B" then ... Quick Draw has no effect (or rather, it affects "Model B" who isn't currently shooting you so is irrelevant). Point is, "Model A" can continue shooting you.
    • This won't happen with Shield Guard though (outside of a very low-probability scenario) because Shield Guard can only be triggered during an enemy turn.
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Rules Clarification : Ambush      (Edit)

  • Whether a model/unit is going to use Ambush or not needs to be declared before either player begins deploying models.
  • Ambush occurs last in Step 5 of the Control Phase. You cannot use Apparition on a model that Ambushes. (Infernal Ruling)

Rules Clarification: Theme Forces     (Edit)
Warning: This is a long one.

Mercenaries and Partisans
  • When you take a Partisan Mercenary, it counts as your Faction. However this doesn't increase the number of total mercenaries allowed. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Exception: If the Partisan Mercenary is explicitedly listed as one of the models you can take in the theme (such as Cephalyx in Cryx's Black Industries theme), then you can take the full FA plus your "up to one Merc" allotment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Sometimes a specific Mercenary/Minion model/unit will gain a theme benefit of "If this model is included, it counts as a Faction model" (such as Greygore in Kriel Company). In this case, the model/unit might or might not count against your "up to one merc" limit:
    • If that Merc is in the list of models explicitly allowed (such as Savio in Storm Division), they won't count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
    • If that Merc isn't in the list, (such as the Devil's Shadows in Slaughter Fleet Raiders), they will count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
  • Partisans will count towards any relevant free points. For instance, Nyss will count twoards the "20 points of Retribution units" in the Defenders of Ios theme. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Partisans can be eligible to be taken as free choices. For instance, Erysis1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenaries and Ranking Officers

  • If you can include a Merc unit, and its attachments, then you can attach a Ranking Officer. This is true regardless whether or not that Ranking Officer is on the list of "Allowed models" . (Infernal Ruling)
  • Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
  • The Merc unit will count towards your "X points of [Faction] models/units" benefit (if your theme is worded that way). (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenary Warjacks, Warbeasts, & Companions

  • As per the errata to the core rules, 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)

Bonus - One [X] gains [Y]

  • If you need to choose which models get your theme bonus, then you do this choice after deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • An example is how Winter Guard Kommand gives Advance Move to one-warjack-of-your-choice-per-WG-unit.
    • In comparison, Destruction Initiative gives all Servitors the Shield Guard ability so you don't need to "make" a choice.
  • You should still write on your army list how many of these bonuses you get to hand out, though, so your opponent can clearly see. (Infernal Ruling)
    • ie at the bottom of your list, you'd write "3 warjacks gain Advance Move" but you don't need to state which three are going to get the bonus.

Theme Forces, free models, and Specialists/ADR in Steamroller

  • You can swap out as many models from your main list into your specialists and vice versa as you like, but you must completely recalculate the new army list when you do, including bonuses. As long as the new army list is valid, including all free models, it doesn't matter what the left over points in your specialists are. (Staff Ruling)
  • 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 & free points

Theme - The Bones of Orboros

  • 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)

Theme - Call of the Wild

  • When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
  • Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - The Faithful Masses

  • A Mercenary unit with an Attendant Priest does count as Protectorate unit for the purpose of calculating points for free cards. There is a bug in Warroom that prevents it counting properly. (Staff Ruling)

Theme - The Ghost Fleet

  • The "free solo" can be any kind of solo, it doesn't have to be a Revenant solo.

Theme - Kriel Company

  • Greygore/Dannon count against your "up to one Minion unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Llaelese Resistance

  • 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)

Theme - Scourge of the Broken Coast

Theme - Slaughter Fleet Raiders

  • The Devil's Shadows Mutineers count against your "up to one Mercenary unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Clockwork Legions

  • If you attach a small-based model to a medium-based unit, it is no longer a medium-based unit and won't benefit from Vengeance.
  • However, it will regain Vengeance when the small base dies. Furthermore, the small base dying will trigger Vengeance.
  • (Infernal Ruling)

Other themes[edit]

Theme Forces (Edit)
Cygnar Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division (Edit)
Protectorate of Menoth The Creator's Might - Exemplar Interdiction - The Faithful Masses - Guardians of the Temple (Edit)
Khador Armored Korps - Jaws of the Wolf - Legion of Steel - Winter Guard Kommand - Wolves of Winter (Edit)
Cryx Black Industries - Dark Host - The Ghost Fleet - Infernal Machines - Scourge of the Broken Coast - Slaughter Fleet Raiders (Edit)
Retribution of Scyrah Defenders of Ios - Forges of War - Legions of Dawn - Shadows of the Retribution (Edit)
Mercenaries Hammer Strike - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - Operating Theater - The Talion Charter - Llaelese Resistance (Edit)
Convergence of Cyriss Destruction Initiative - Clockwork Legions (Edit)
Crucible Guard Magnum Opus - Prima Materia (Edit)
Trollbloods Band of Heroes - Kriel Company - Power of Dhunia - Storm of the North (Edit)
Circle Orboros Call of the Wild - Secret Masters - The Bones of Orboros - The Devourer's Host - The Wild Hunt (Edit)
Skorne Winds of Death - Disciples of Agony - Imperial Warhost - Masters of War - The Exalted (Edit)
Legion of Everblight Children of the Dragon - Oracles of Annihilation - Primal Terrors - Ravens of War (Edit)
Minions The Blindwater Congregation - The Thornfall Alliance - Will Work for Food (Edit)
Grymkin Dark Menagerie - Bump in the Night (Edit)