Wow. Looking through the Skorne section, I'm pretty impressed at what we got, but then again everyone made out like a bandit, it seems. Also, it might just be me but it seems like all the warlocks saturated with special abilities, and that's even before the spells start. Kegslayer, for instance seems like a neat concept, but it dosen't seem like he needed all those rules attached to him. That's even before getting around to Kromac, who's abilities make him even more ridiculous.
I'm going to throw my two cents in on the entire argument with the Gnarlhorn Satyr's animus, and say I think its kind of gimped of PP to do something like that. Argue all you want that the factions are designed to be balanced against each other (thus why Skorne, with the higher amount of slamming beasts is more likely to benefit from Rampage), let's get some Skorne units with Pathfinder or someway to negate terrain features and then bring that up.
To be honest, I really think the status quo has simply been maintained, beyond the "but everything is broken!" mantra I hear from PP apologists (oh Lord, did I just use apologist in conjunction with a game company? Shoot me now) we're on the bottom of the barrel again. However, I'll admit to no small degree of theorycrafting, and will wait to see our models get released before screaming about the sky falling. That being said, I hate the idea of the WoldWyrd, think that Saeryn and Rhyas are disgustingly broken (Saeryn gets 7 fury why?), and that the Trollbloods are suffering from what I like to call "poor development".
Though, I'm glad to see that not every faction got an Officer + Standard Bearer.
Bitching aside, I did pick up Zaal. I'm going to have to play with him a bit, but I think he might be the most powerful warlock our faction has, and possibly in the top three in the game. He seems like he has a hearty bag of tricks, a nice level of troop buffs, and he's death to anything that gets in range of that eyeball of his. A warbeast with Str 12 is getting hit with a Strength 20 attack. Unfortunately, I think the ROF is one, otherwise it'd be a great ability to spam. However, we'll have to rely on Soulfire, it seems.
I'm about to settle down and paint my Ferox for this Thursday, as well as basing and coating Zaal and Xerxes. I haven't been in contact with my press ganger, but I'll give him a call tomorrow to see if he's interested in a 1K game, even if it means I'm going to get fed my lunch by the twins.
Oh, and the fluff. Excellent, as usual though I'm a huge fan of what was done with Morghoul. I'm also impressed by the charecterisation of all the warlocks. Hexeris comes off as two faced and scheming (though they don't hit you over the head with it), Xerxes as straight forward, honorable, but perceptive (his thoughts on Hexeris were a treat. I loved the exchange between the two). Makeda seemed to be the weary "never say die" type of commander that John Wayne used to play in WWII serials, determined to see everything through or die trying.
Let me go back to the exchange between Morghoul and Magnus though... Hell, let me dedicate a paragraph to Morghoul. I'm hoping the epic version of him (Renegade Tormentor has replaced my ideal of Dominar Tormentor) does an eKreoss type of upgrade, where he's actually more useful then his current limitations allow him. I thought he was charecterized wonderfully. Alten's descriptions of him as being full of confidence and grace are exactly how I thought he would be, supremely confident in all things. Morghoul's own thoughts shed light on Skorne society, the Paingiver caste, and himself. I really think he's going to end up being one of the more important figures in the Horde fluff.
I had been waiting since Evolution dropped to know the details of him and Magnus out in the desert, and the second hand stories I received did it no justice. His last block of speech to Magnus was chilling, especially as it portended great and terrible things for the Skorne. I look forward to seeing if this is further expanded on in other PP publications, especially seeing as how Morghoul seems to believe that they are linked. If Epic Magnus can be featured in a Skorne army, can Morghoul in a Legendary Magnus army be far off?
My bitching about seeing all the other toys the other factions got aside, bravo on that writers. You did an excellent job setting the stage for the next series of battles. I eagerly await what you have in store.