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Unit Types and Roles

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Here is the first installment of my unit analysis for diskwars.  As before I will begin with some general observations, which I will follow up with my first three categories.

 

Baseline statistics:

 

For non-hero disks, I have also created a Baseline pattern much as I did for the heroes.  Because your basic units in the armies tend to be the most common numerically, I used them to create a rough baseline for the “average” soldier.  I also considered the hero baseline, which reflects the following properties: enough attack to wound almost every hero disk, enough counter to wound only the weaker hero disks, and enough stamina to survive the baseline counter values of other heroes. 

 

Based on this, I would say a unit disk should have similar characteristics relative to other units: can wound other units on the attack, but not on the counter.  This gives us a baseline of at least four attack, three counter, and four stamina.  Anything less than this is a sort of disappointment and anything higher than this is a bonus, as it gets you into hero territory.  Essentially, a Marienburg Swordsman fits the baseline: lower stats than a swordsman is pretty bad, anything above a swordsman is immediately getting quite a bit better.  The baseline referenced in the sections that follow will refer to the unit baseline and not to the hero baseline unless otherwise specified.

 

Movement baselines are the same for units as they were for the heroes: three flips on a large disk, four on a medium, and five on a small.  Ranged damage baseline is two per dice and rolling two dice, or two damage for a magic attack.  A two-damage impact hit is also considered baseline for my purposes, because two is my favorite number and I like the consistency I just created for all of these baselines.  :)  

 

Overlapping categories:

 

Disks which overlap categories are fairly common, with stats that could reflect multiple roles.  When filling out an army, I try to have as many roles as possible filled to give me flexibility and additional options in combat.  So how do you choose disks to best fit your needs?  I consider the role first, and then the cost, and try to balance the two while simultaneously giving my army the maximum amount of flexibility. (This is a general rule of thumb—occasionally, I go for all ranged, or all disruption, etc. just for fun, but some level of flexibility/diversity is necessary to be competitive). 

 

Generally speaking, a disk becomes more effective the more roles it can fill, though there comes a point of near-absurdity since each disk can only activate once no matter how great its stats and how high its cost (thinking of Mannfred here—he can’t fight, magic blast, and reanimate all in the same turn).  Some units are specialists and cost less, so they are less effective overall in role fulfillment, but are actually more cost-effective.  Some units are generalists or statistical monsters.  This makes them much more effective in filling multiple roles, but they are actually a bit less cost-effective overall.  Occasionally, you get the rare unit that is a statistical monster that fills more than one role while remaining fairly cheap—these are the most effective units of all, as they are tabletop effective and cost-effective!

 

To use examples: the orc shaman is a one-dimensional, highly cost-effective disk.  Its use on the tabletop is restricted, as it can only fill one role (ranged damage), but for cost, it is very good.  You only need it to deal some ranged damage to make back a handful of points, so it is a solid investment

 

Silver Helms, on the other hand, are a statistical monster.  They have high movement almost like a disruption unit, swift attack and a decent counter like a duelist, and impact/a desire to avoid being pinned like an impact unit.  Heck, they are even fairly tanky due to their five toughness.  They can effectively carry out multiple roles, and they are a pretty scary unit.  The downside is that you pay through the nose for them, so they are much more difficult to make cost-effective in spite of their role diversity, as they must destroy several units or seriously disrupt your enemy’s plans to justify their high cost. 

 

Sometimes, though, you get the best of both worlds.  Knights Panther fill several roles, as they are tanky, impact-oriented, high attack-value disks with decent movement (great with Myrmidia’s Blessing) all for the low price of 10 points.  This makes them extremely potent disks, as their stats and low cost allows you to pack two of them into one regiment more reasonably, where they can carry out a variety of needed roles as the battle evolves. 

 

Below are the distinct categories of units that I have found in my musings.  You will notice that there is some overlap in role with the heroes, and that there are also new roles that are currently available only through units, and not through heroes!  I have starred the new categories, and will start my musings with two of them. 

 

To make a competitive army, I think you need at least two categories to be strongly represented.  This prevents the enemy from countering you too easily, and allows you more flexibility in responding to the scenario and the developing battle.  Later, I will discuss the different categories relative to one another, and give my thoughts on what I see as counters/weaknesses for each class.  I will save this for the end, though, once all my categories and the units they contain have been posted. 

 

Here are the categories:

 

1. *Duelists

2. *Brawlers

3. Tanks

4. Support

5. *Disruption (Split into two sub-groups: Maneuver and Statistical)

6. Hunter-Killers

7. Impact Units

8. *Minions

9. Ranged Damage

 

We will begin with two new classes: the Duelists and the Brawlers.  These disks are really very similar in some ways.  They are both tough troops that you expect to deal decent damage in combat, and you may be willing to trade them, but you would not sacrifice them needlessly.  They are usually excellent targets for an empowerment token, though they will deal their fair share of damage without one as well.

 

These disks as a whole punch above their pay-grade, but are not quite hunter-killers.  They boast hero-baseline stats, or darn close, and are perfectly capable of destroying minions or wounding even heroes and hunter-killers when given the chance, but they lack either high enough stats or the stamina necessary to really be true hunter-killers.  These heavy troops come in two distinct flavors: the duelist and the brawler, both of which are similar in role, but different in execution.

 

The Duelist: 

 

The duelist category thus far is a select club.  It holds a pair of units who have some hunter-killer flavor, but who lack persistence in a scrum or who struggle to defend themselves when pinned.  This category is perhaps the love-child of hunter-killers and impact units; a duelist packs significant punch one-on-one, like a hunter-killer, but often can’t really afford to get involved in complicated scrums, and can suffer from an early pin like an impact unit.

 

I felt that this deserved its own category, even among the heavy infantry. You pin and win with these guys, but usually in a one-on-one scenario, not in a massive engagement (that would be an impact-style unit) or in a scrum (that would be a hunter-killer).  They are individual close-combat specialists, and they should be used like a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.  They boast swift attack values, but low toughness, so they want to dance around you and poke holes in you one by one.  If allowed to pin individual enemies, there is a chance that they will do just that, and eliminate unit after unit in individual duels.

 

Sword Masters of Hoeth: 

 

The Sword Masters are an excellent poster child for the new duelist category.  They excel at pinning individual units and destroying them one-on-one, and you do not want them coming after you late in the activation phase.  They are one of my favorite units from the fluff, and I love chopping enemies apart without being touched by their return attacks, so they are big success in that regard.

 

They also suffer from the flip side of being a duelist, because as soon as a scrum develops or multiple enemies get involved in any way, they lose their effectiveness rapidly.  Their counter is still above the unit baseline, so they do ok in killing enemies that pin them, but trading them for a Marienburg Swordsmen just hurts. 

 

Wardancers:

 

Wardancers are the ultimate duelist, even better than the Sword Masters in many ways.  Their unparalleled ability to win one-on-one extends to situations when they are pinned, and their extra flip also makes them excellent duelists, as it enables them to cover more ground and catch a juicy target.  Their devaluation in a scrum occurs very rapidly, as well, which fits the theme.  There really isn’t much more to say about them, but I think they are probably the best small-disk in the game to date; I love these guys! 

 

Surprised not to see Daemonettes in here?  I sort of surprised myself by leaving them out.  They get an honorable mention, but don’t make the cut, as I view them as being duelist-flavored minions.  You will find out why in great detail in the minion section…

 

The Brawler:

 

The brawler is a unit that is not as flashy, not as fast, not as deadly in a duel as a duelist—but it is tougher, it holds the line, and it will try to hang on and inflict a wound even if pinned, or survive the attack if it is not hero-grade.  The biggest difference between them and duelists is obviously the loss of the swift keyword, but they gain a crucial point in toughness, which means they can still trump most minions with ease. Their high attack values mean they can pin a hero and inflict a wound, or pin a minion and survive the counter just fine.  Overall, they help anchor the battle line, support your heroes, and can deal out the damage when needed.  These units probably don’t sting quite as much when you lose them compared to a duelist, so long as they drop a good punch on your opponent's nose as they go to casualty pile.   

 

Talabheim Greatswords:

 

Greatswords are very close to being hunter-killers in a basic sense, as they are able to pin an enemy and do have a chance to hang on for dear life as they go for the kill due to their ability.  However, they are missing a few things.  First of all, they lack the all-important fifth counter and stamina.  This means that they are often unable to effectively clear the enemy on top of them, and that they can do down while inflicting no wounds.  Secondly, their ability is conditional, so even the swift aspect of their counter is not always available.  They are a solid unit, and an effective brawler, but come up just short of being hunter-killers in terms of classification.  These guys are what you would expect from a good brawler: they can take a punch, and they can give one right back. 

 

Black Orcs:

 

These guys are brawlers for sure, with a killer attack rating, and the capability of becoming rather tanky if they pull off a pin.  I almost put them in the impact side of things since they are so weak comparatively when pinned, but I don’t think that really fits their feel.  These guys just need to jump into a massive scrap and hang on until they have dealt their wound.  At that point, they can die happily, with their fists covered in enemy blood.  These guys are pretty studly if they manage to pull off a pin on an enemy hero, but the missing stamina and counter value mean they can’t truly join the hunter-killers.  All in all, they hit hard, and can take a punch in a scrum and still deliver a hefty blow on the way out, which is classic brawler.  

 

Hammerers:

 

Hammerers are closer to being hunter-killers than anything else in this list, but again, their lack of stamina locks them out of this role. Their stats are great for a brawler; these are the guys you want as the bouncers for your gunline.  Five attack means they deal wounds while pinning, counter four with guard means they deal wounds when they get pinned, and five toughness means they won’t die to the first tickle fight that develops.  If these guys pin you, they are virtually guaranteed to take at least one unit down, and even pinning them usually results in a trade-off at best.  They brawl with the best of them, and do it even better if Helga happens to be nearby, at which point they morph into duelist-brawler-toughness machines.

 

Grave Guard:

 

Grave guard have obvious limitations compared to the other brawlers, but they don’t really fit any other category, and their ability (when active) makes them excellent at holding the line and smashing some face before they die.  They also boast a special kind of utility as the only brawlers capable of rising from the dead to jump in a good scrum again.  They are definitely not the strongest unit in this list, but offer solid, no-frills brawling.

 

Stay tuned for my next post, which features tanks and disruption (one of my personal favorite categories)!

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I'm back, and this time I will feature tanks (a small group) and disruption (a big, under-utilized, fun group).  If you read nothing else from these bloated musings, please read the description of disruption units in detail, as it is as much a plea for recognition for these units as it is a description.  Plus, they are my favorite, so I want to put in a plug for them. ;)

 

Tanks:

 

Tanks are much the same style of units as they were for the heroes, but they are a bit more rare, as the lower toughness values featured on units makes them harder to find.  They must have at least five toughness, stamina, or resistance to make the grade (not necessarily standard, but as an option).  The tanks also feature weird stats elsewhere, often coming in at or below-baseline in terms of movement (which is not to say they are necessarily slouches, they just don’t always keep up with the faster elements of your army).  Basically, when you think of them, you think of the toughness/resistance first, and other stats second. 

 

Athel Loren Dryads:

 

I didn’t really know where else to put the dryads, as they are pretty close to being brawlers in reality.   What I see as the big difference, though, is that dryads can’t really guarantee a wound without an empowerment token, whereas their above-baseline toughness is always guaranteed.  Obviously, you will try to empower them whenever you can, thus making them effective brawlers as well, but when I think of dryads, I think toughness first so this is where they land.

 

I see dryads as being the unit version of Drycha, who is definitely tanky feeling in my opinion.  Skin to Bark makes both disks even more resilient (obviously it would work on any wood elf unit, but it makes these tree-people really tough).  As I said in the hero section, I really—really, really, really—want to see more forest units.  Treekin and a Treeman would make me so happy. 

 

But then, I am just a fanboy of elves in any form (except dark elves, who don’t count as elves, the disgusting sadists), so I would welcome Wild Riders, Glade Guard, Phoenix Guard, White Lions, Dragon Princes of Caledor, Shadow Warriors… PLEASE!  Please game! I exhort you! Live long enough to give me all of this and more!

 

Steam Tank:

 

The steam tank has a collection of bizarre stats to a degree that probably surpasses any other disk, which is one reason I love it.  It’s as though the steam tank went shopping for statistics, and it couldn’t resist buying something from every table in the stat-fair.  “Why yes, I will take a strong counter.  Hmm, impact.  Three of those.  Some Toughness, why not?  Ooohhh…ranged attacks!  One of each, please!  A few keywords…” you get the idea.  Problem is, it ran out of money when it got to the attack table, and then (thanks to its earlier splurging) it even had to take out a loan in the form of a really crappy ability. 

 

Anyway, it is just a fun disk, in my opinion, partially because of its strange feel and lack of a true counterpart elsewhere.  It has impact three, which is great, but no attack and one measly flip, which is not great.  It has a mobile ranged attack, which is great, but can wound itself, which is not great.  It has four counter, which is good, but not outstanding.  So what defines it?  In my opinion, it is the physical damage resistance and the stamina combo that makes it so tough.  This disk will not be shot off the top of anything it pins (if it can catch it), nor will it be easy pickings if you counter-pin it.  It’s not a beast in combat, but it is simply tough to kill. Plus, the word tank is right in its name, so there is that…

 

Warrior Priests:

 

Warrior priests are very tough to kill once they get an empowerment token on them, and if you are running these guys, they better have an empowerment token!  If you aren’t willing to reserve a few command card slots for buffing these guys, you might want to spend your points elsewhere. 

 

Once empowered, they are pretty difficult to destroy, and they can dish out wounds if they pin or are pinning.  Superficially, they even resemble the brawler units a bit, and their impact is also a nice addition.  They don’t have quite the movement range or the devastating charge effect of most of the impact units, though, and they are pretty solid when pinned if they are empowered, so I don’t think they fit there very well. 

 

I considered making them brawlers, and I think they would fit nicely there, but when I think of them, I think of damage resistance plain and simple.  The fact that they can fill so many roles makes them a fairly versatile disk, in my experience, and I have been surprised at their high level of effectiveness the times I have used them.  Their biggest limitation is definitely the need for empowerment, and you don’t ever want to see a plaguebearer on the table when you run priests!

 

Disruption (Maneuver and Statistical):

 

This is another new class I created for units (there are no heroes that really fit this model yet), and I will spend a fair bit of time describing it below, as I believe it is a very important (and often overlooked) aspect of this complex and rich game.  This category was one I did not use much when I first purchased the game, but the more I thought about the different roles of units, the more I came to appreciate how unique and valuable some of these units can be.  I’m not saying that is always the case—some of these units are stink-bombs—but there are some gems as well.

 

The Disruption category holds those units whose impact on the game cannot be measured in terms of obvious statistics and abilities.  They are units who get in the way, who come running in to save sour situations, and whose presence demands a response from your opponent.  While they don’t seem important on the surface, disruption units will mess up your opponent’s game-plan if they are ignored.  A disruption unit can come in two flavors: maneuver disruption, and statistical disruption. 

 

Maneuver disruption is caused by units that restrict the movement of other disks through pinning them at key times, or by showing up in places where no unit has a right to be.  They tend to jump into scrums where a little extra punch is needed most, and they excel at responding to your enemy’s plans.  Often, a maneuver disruption unit will focus on blocking enemy activations—a reaction that often comes at the cost of its own life, as they are generally required to pin an enemy in order to block it in this fashion.   Because these units usually are below-baseline or at baseline at best, they effectively trade their lives in order to develop the rest of your battle plans.

 

I term these disks “maneuver” disruption because of their high movement values and their ability to show up in critical places and key fights—they allow you to outmaneuver opponents.  They are usually enhanced by alternate methods of delivering low-level damage, which means they can often bring down something bigger with them if they can survive to melee.  This class of unit also presents the flank keyword or scout as an additional way of generating a larger battlefield presence, and they help any commander as an ace in the hole for irritating objectives like overlapping the opponent’s deployment zone.  In short, they often cast a much larger shadow than their base stats would indicate.  This is one of my favorite classes of units; I have rarely taken a maneuver disruption unit and regretted it later—they always do something good for me!

 

A note on the cost of disruption units:

 

I think that disruption units tend to appear as though they are a bit overcosted, and some of them probably are, but in reality most are about where they should be.  Their cost is just difficult to appreciate until you see them in action.  With most disks, you see their stats and you get a strong mental picture: you think of the units it will kill, the blows it will survive, and the combat resolution it provides.  Contrast this to the appearance of a disruptor when you look at its stats.

 

Most disruptors lack toughness—they will not survive many blows.  Most lack good combat resolution—they will not kill many units. Consequently, when you look at these disks, they seem underwhelming.  Their key contributions are in areas such as movement, and in keywords like flank and scout.  These values are more difficult to picture mentally, and rather than representing a quantity they represent an opportunity: the possibility to outflank, out-flip, and outmaneuver your opponent.  You pay for this opportunity with these disks, and if you do not realize it, the points are wasted.  I think most of the maneuver disruptors in particular are well worth their points when given a chance.  When you think of them as you build a squad, think of the possibility offered by their distinct role on the battlefield and not just the base stats, and you may see a place for them.  

 

Illyrian Reavers:

 

Reavers are the ultimate last word in disruption via maneuver.  Scout and flank allow you to pretty much be wherever you want by turn two, and their movement value is simply ridiculous.  I LOVE using reavers for that alone, since the flip after flip after flip after flip is just too much fun to pass up.  They are also a great ace in the whole when you need to plunk a unit or two down in an enemy deployment zone.

 

Their stats may not seem like much at first glance, as they come in on-baseline in toughness and counter, and below in attack, but they actually do alright anyway on the charge.  Their impact is the key to making them work, as it enables them to throw down five total damage on key targets.  When all is said and done, they have a penchant for being where you need them, and for piling in on the top of scrums in order to swing key battles.  I don’t think I have ever taken a reaver and thought it was a poor use of points after the game.  If their description sounds like a giant reiteration of the disruption group as a whole, it should; they are pretty much the top-tier in disruption and harassment, which is a nice fluffy home run for those who like the reavers’ back-story and care about that sort of thing. 

 

Miners:

 

Like the rest of the disruptors, the miners have weird stats that don’t really make for a very combat-worthy disk.  Five toughness and three each of counter and attack…what the heck is that?  They look like brawlers that are too lazy to hit hard.  Instead, they shine in a disruption role. 

 

Unlike the rest of the disruptors, they don’t move so well.  In fact, they are pretty much the slowest disk in the game, though they can beat most siege weapons in a foot race if it comes to that.  Their stubby-little legs can only carry them so far on the charge, so instead, they just burrow all over the place.  Apparently it is faster to insta-dig a tunnel anywhere in the world rather than simply walking.  At any rate, they pop up in places where you don’t want them to be, and their five toughness means that they can pin things you don’t want them to pin, and then sit there round after round if necessary in an eternal tickle-fight.  Not bad disruption really.  I often take one just for their unpredictability, and because my opponent will probably forget about them at some point.   

 

Hellstriders:

 

Hellstriders are disruptors in the Reaver vein, with crazy movement and the flank ability to let them show up anywhere. They drop scout and a couple of flips compared to the reavers, but pick up an attack and shave a point off of their cost to boot. Overall, not a bad trade, as seven flips is still formidable for a medium disk. 

 

Not much else to say here other than to echo the reavers, except maybe to note that the attack six impact two combo means more damage for really tough targets, and can also help prevent empowerment efforts from saving an intended victim.  I find that they fill a valuable role for chaos as siege-weapon counters.  They can also set up the rest of your forces, especially when paired with some dangerous units like a bloodthirster or bloodcrushers: the striders can run in, pin the enemy army in place, and set up the master-pin of death for your heavies the next round. Good, disruptive stuff all around.

 

Pistoliers:

 

I love these guys!  They are a total blast to use, with all that movement, mobile, scout, ranged attack, etc.  They are a definitely a disruptive unit, and the loud, smoke-inducing booming of their pistols can almost be heard as their shots scatter all over the board as they reign up right in the teeth of your enemy.  They just feel great to play!

 

Unfortunately, they have a propensity for blowing their own heads off, and their stats can be pretty ineffective at tumes.  Their below-baseline attack means that they seldom actually kill the thing they are pinning unless they already shot it, and shooting something they are pinning can be risky due to their suicidal tendencies. Plus, they will die in melee anyway, so the expense had better be justified.  Their above-baseline counter is nice, as it does enable them to kill something pinning them, but it isn’t enough to deal with enemy heavies, and you don’t really want to trade them from a five point disk. 

 

One more toughness or one more attack (or one point knocked off of their cost) would make them much better in my opinion, but they are still fun to use, and are definitely disruptive!  Their biggest downside is actually that they compete for the medium slot with the Knights Panther, who are a lot more hurt in a disk that costs only one point more.

 

Wolf Riders: 

 

Pretty much the same as everything above as far as role, though they are more akin to pistoliers than to reavers or striders.  They pack the same base stats as the pistoliers, but trade in a flip for a point reduction and a longer-ranged, slightly weaker attack.  I like to use them to help set up my army for the master pin with Azhag, kind of like I suggested above with the hellstriders.  It isn’t the most competitive strategy, but when it works, it is ridiculous.

 

Basically, it works like this: Scout out with the riders as far as you can, then try to get into the deployment zone and pin their whole army on your first command card.  Don’t worry if they reinforce on top of you or you miss a unit or two—it isn’t a big deal.  The point is to prevent them from fanning out their army.  If you get any favorable deployment zones (long range, overlapping, scout, whatever), or if you have eager troops, Azhag should be able to move across the bulk of the table that first turn.  Next round, you try to win the command struggle again, and Azhag can swoop in and pin their entire army before they can even move.  It is very conditional and difficult to pull off, but if you do it you will kill their whole army, and there is basically nothing they can do about it.  Like I said: not competitive, but fun to try, and it feels like something orcs would try to do. 

 

Huntsmen:

 

Huntsmen could theoretically go in the ranged category, but I don’t think I ever take them with the idea that they will deal great amounts of ranged damage and mow down the enemy.  I take them because they are annoying to fight against.  Whether they flank into your enemy’s deployment zone for the win (I have done this), flank onto your enemy’s siege weapons (or any important unit with less than five counter) and sit on them the entire game (I have done this), or simply flank anywhere on the board where five-toughness, strider, ranged, general jack-of-all trades support disks are needed, they are always disrupting something.  They present a tactical flexibility that is completely missing from most archers, so they are elevated into a different category as a result. 

 

As a side-note, has anyone else ever experienced games where their five toughness does something wonderful way out of proportion with your expectations?  It makes them the ultimate siege-weapon pinners, and when they flank, siege weapons have a very tough time shooting them down before they get there.  They can’t be impacted to death, or magiced to death, or shot to death without some luck from your opponent, so they are seldom targeted.  I don’t know, it just seems to me like they always survive…by one hitpoint, maybe two, doesn’t matter…They just don’t die very easily, and for an archer, that is pretty cool!

 

Gutter Runners:

 

I have no clue what gutter runners are all about.  Frankly, I think they are awful.  I really want to like them, so if someone can convince me otherwise, please do.  I think they are supposed to be disruption units, as they have stealth, scout, high movement value and a nice little ranged attack.  Oh wait, it isn’t nice at all, because they don’t have mobile.  Medium range is really, really hard to set up effectively, and is only worth it if there is some serious damage potential at the end of it.  You definitely can’t afford to waste your time or risk your units setting up a medium-ranged, two-diced, two-damage shot. 

 

To make matters worse, they have three toughness, which makes them suck in combat, and stealth can’t save them from magic or from the odd ballista bolt.  I think they are overcosted by one point for sure, which may not sound like much, but in a game like diskwars that can be a big deal.  That said, I still think they are meant to be disruptive, and if they were just mobile, they might be worth the points.  As it stands, they are still ok for jumping on enemies with a key pin (that sixth flip!) or scouting out into the battlefield to put early pressure on your opponent/restrict his movement with their ranged attack threat. 

 

Even then, though, assuming you sent two out to cast a little ranged shadow or hover near your opponent’s disks, it is still only a medium ranged-threat (with a potential six-flip, four attack charge), and it involves fourteen points hanging out in isolation with only three toughness per disk.  That is like paying a Sun Dragon cost for a paltry effect on disks that will probably die horribly and do little to nothing in return.  Pretty sure it is not worth the points, but you have to do something with them…

 

Another side-note:  Stealth is currently very underwhelming as far as I can tell, and doesn’t seem to justify the cost of the units that pack it.  A command card or some sort of buff to stealth could be coming, though, so this could change at any moment.  Also, Skaven are not fully-formed as of yet, and when they are there may be reasons to take these guys.  Until then, I stand by my assessment: gutter runners are so named because they belong there with the rest of the sewage. 

 

Sky Cutter:

 

The Sky Cutter is weird, but I think I found its home here.

 

When I run the cutter I almost always use it as a maneuver disruptor.  It can fly, has high movement values, and is excellent for chasing down hot-spots and helping where your line is buckling.  Even better, the stamina makes it a disruptor extraordinaire, as it can sit around and pin key disks for an extra round if needed.  When I first saw the cutter, I thought it looked terrible, but I honestly enjoy using them.

 

As far as stats go, it looks good on the attack, and poor on defense.  It has baseline toughness, and it has that three-value “true” damage potshot.  I like the armor-piercing bolts as an extra, but wouldn’t rely on it much.  I think it could do with a point knocked off of its cost, but it’s hard to say.  All in all, the skycutter doesn’t stand out in any area, but it isn’t that bad at messing with your opponent by pinning things in a truly annoying fashion, and the stamina is so incredibly valuable when you are trying to disrupt your enemy since it basically doubles the amount of disruption they can enact in a game. 

 

I like to run a list that features two sky cutters and two reavers for top-level disruption and harassment.  I also use Alarielle to make the cutters even more annoying.  I salt to taste with other units (a sword master is nice if you can find the points), but the point is, I can get anywhere on the table quickly and can occasionally pin almost the entire enemy force in a few activations due to my high amount of medium-sized, high-movement disks.  It is surprisingly fun and has been moderately successful—try it out sometime!

 

Gyrocopter:

 

The gyrocopter is very much like a sky cutter that had a few stats shuffled around.  It picks up an extra ranged damage (physical instead of “true”), gains a counter damage, loses a flip and an attack point, and gains stalwart (a very good addition).  Much like the cutter, the ranged attack is an excellent bonus, but is not to be relied upon for consistent damage.  Their matching toughness, one stamina, elite status, and flying is what makes them so similar.

 

The gyrocopter’s best use as far as I can see is in flying in and trying to pin key enemy units to deny their use to your opponent, and just like the cutter, its stamina helps you hang around a bit.  Alternatively, you can activate later and go for opportunistic pins in fights that you know you can win, flying over scrums and enemies if needed to get there.  The stalwart mini-cannon shot is very nice to have in the middle of an enemy formation, and the above-baseline counter is also valuable.  It is clearly better than the cutter in those two facets at least. 

 

Not all of the trades are good, though.  The gyrocopter will not reliably wound tougher disks it is pinning due to its lower attack strength, and unfortunately, if it scatters onto itself it will be wounded.  You can always shoot at something else, but it limits the combo damage potential somewhat.  Additionally, losing the extra flip is huge in my experience, as one more medium-sized flip carries you quite a bit further toward the hot spots you need to reach. I think this makes the sky cutter a bit better in a reactionary role, whereas the gyrocopter (with stalwart, higher counter, and lower movement) can hang closer to the front lines and go for pins earlier in the activation phase, as it might not mind being pinned quite as much.  I haven’t used gyrocopters much, but that is my evaluation based on what I have seen.

 

Vargheists

 

So…Vargheists.  WTH?  These guys are the weirdest disk in a category that sports some really weird disks.  I find them to be tough to use, expensive, and inconvenient to lose as you don’t want to reanimate them over, say, a black knight.  I have no idea what category to put them in, so I stuck them here.  Here is my reasoning:

 

Five medium flips is above-baseline, but not wildly so, so they feature some minor maneuver disruption, especially since they can fly.  Additionally, their medium size and frenzy allows them to pin many enemies and deal a whopping…three…damage?  Really?  I am going to frenzy little three-damage paper-cuts all over you!  It is enough to kill some archers, so that is good, I guess…

 

Anyhow, they are able to pin multiple enemies, preventing them from moving and setting them up for death if you can get a few minions in there to help you out, especially if those minions are disruption flavored and can keep up with you, like the direwolves.  The Vargheist also helps itself out a bit by preventing small units from flipping onto them in a counter-pin, which feels pretty disruptive, even though heroes are immune.

 

One last comment on the weirdness of this disk:

 

As we have established, Vargheists prevent small units from pinning them.  That means they could pin all the big stuff and be immune to counter pins, right?  The problem is, they can’t kill the big stuff, but the big stuff can definitely kill them.  Oh, well, so let’s pin all of the little stuff.  Then we can at least kill that (or maybe come close).  Problem. That means the heroes and big units will just come and kill you.  Basically, it seems that no matter what these guys do, they are dead, so I think you just go for maximum disruption and try to set up your other units as you die.  As a champion of the disruption disk, I am ashamed to say that I have barely tried Vargheists, but writing this has renewed my commitment to chew on the problem some more and try to come up with a workable scheme involving them.

 

Statistical Disruption:

 

This brings us to the next sub-group of disruption units.  Statistical disruption units are similar to their maneuver brethren in that they seek to mess with your opponent’s game plan, but rather than controlling the game through movement, flaking, and maneuver, they literally de-buff your opponent’s units.  Thus, the disruption occurs at the level of base statistics, devaluing their troops (and consequently, their overall strategy).  I find this category of disruption to be valuable, but it is often more difficult to pull it off effectively, and this collection of units has one other thing in common: they all have weird stats for their cost.  More on this below…

 

Black Coach:

 

The Black coach is like a sky cutter or gyrocopter that decided it wanted to mess with enemy statistics more than it wanted to mess with their movement.  I see it as essentially fulfilling the goals of both types of disruption in one unit, though the downside is that it pays for this opportunity with high cost relative to its stats.

 

Essentially, this is a three-attack, three-counter, four-toughness disk.  That is really bad for an elite unit.  It has stamina, though, and gets four flips and impact two, so it should deal a wound on the charge.  Its crowning glory, though, is fear.  This keyword plus impact allows it to disrupt enemy formations by dealing out some damage (effectively debuffing their toughness) and preventing their counter (another debuff).

 

Its ability is where it gets even more strange.  It helps it immensely in its role as a disruptor if it gains another flip, flying, and some toughness/attack value for static combat res.  That sounds really nice, but the issue is that VC can’t afford to stock empowerment cards in hand to support it.  The black coach can be a bit of everything, but it doesn’t really excel at anything, so it is hard to find a place for it.

 

I have used it as follows: get two regiments featuring a couple of black knights, a zombie dragon, a black coach and then fill them out with skeletons.  Use fear (even put in the fear card for your heroes) to keep all your enemies from dealing any counter damage.  It is tough to pull off, and a bit all or nothing, but the amount of medium and large bases, impact, and fear means your enemies will be hurting if you can gain a critical command card win or two in key rounds.  Use the coach as the back-up piece, hanging out ready to go in and support your other units in combat after they have all gone in on big charges.  You can’t reanimate it, so make it the last disk you move to respond to key areas.  Its stamina and fear make it hard to remove in those situations, and it can also hang back near your heroes to protect them as they reanimate everything.   

 

Karond Kar Harpies:

 

The harpies are a perfect example of a disruption to enemy statistics.  They essentially mess up the attack speed of any disk that touches them, which is extremely powerful.  Making a unit slow (or causing it to lose swift) is nothing to be sneezed at. 

 

Don’t get too excited, though.  The harpies are actually below baseline in attack and toughness, and their baseline counter is no gem, so they will rarely capitalize on the induced sloth that they generate.  As a disclaimer, I have barely play-tested them, but whenever I do, they seem to die before they accomplish much.  I almost placed them in support, because they could potentially help set up the rest of your units, but their effect is purely anti-enemy (though that is another type of pro-friendly, I suppose).  I just think that disruption fits them better.  If you know how to use them effectively, please let me know, because so far they seem to provide little benefit for their cost. 

 

Screamers:

 

Screamers are an obvious disruption unit.  Their medium size and the flying keyword stack to give them a chance to disrupt multiple enemies.  They aren’t the fastest unit around, with below baseline movement speed, and other than their toughness, their statistics are solidly below-baseline.  They don’t exactly “scream” power unit.  (Scream, haha, get it? YES! I crack myself up sometimes!).

 

So why take them?  Fear is an annoying keyword.  In fact, it is really annoying, so far as I am concerned, so it is a welcome addition to any army that doesn’t like swift or powerful counters ala militia spearmen, hammerers, Helga, etc.  The screamers also seem to pair well with marauders and plaguebearers, allowing their lower-toughness and slower brethren to survive melee more effectively.  

 

As a side note, I always thought that the idea of screamers debilitating enemy troops was a bit silly…but then I had children.  My daughter wasn’t so bad, but it got annoying at times.  My son, though, is a different story.  He is almost one, and he can pretty much make me cower in the corner sobbing as I feebly cradle my aching head and lament the unfortunate status of my bleeding eardrums.  PIERCING.  There is no other word…unless…maybe, daemonic?  Hey, that’s a keyword the screamers also feature!  How appropriate!

 

Plaguebearers

 

These guys are like an empowerment forbidding stink-coud of horror that gives Luthor really bad nightmares and makes Volkmar ashamed of the fact that his one useful attribute is stripped away, reducing him to the status of a really-angry looking Marienburg swordsmen.  In fact, they pretty much shut down any sort of Empire priest shenanigans, which is one of my favorite types of shenanigans, by the way. 

 

Anyhow, plaguebearers are slower than sin, but they are tough, have good combat stats, and would function like brawlers if not for their “fire only when fired upon” attitude.  They are not the best combatants (in spite of how awesome that last paragraph made them sound), but they disrupt enemy plans, and hopefully live to do it for multiple rounds.  They combo especially well with bloodcrushers, as the big machine-animal-impact-tanks are very tough to kill without help from empowerment tokens.  Double-crusher plaguebearer stinkbomb is one of my favorite combos, especially if Kairos is there to throw them around. 

 

Skinks

 

Skinks could have gone in the ranged category, of course, but after much thought I decided that I actually see them as being a bit different in role.  I have play-tested them a few times, with the following results: their ranged damage is not really enough to bring many units down, and their true value lies in the poison keyword that they offer, and the way that they mobile all over the board while hitting you with darts.  Even if you pin them, they bite you, and apparently it festers.  They never kill anything…but they poison everything.  They are like little one-round sleeper-Nurgle’s-Rot-tokens all over the place.  In that sense, they debuff your units, and act as disruptors.  Perhaps they possess the weakest justification for being in this group, but after using them, I think they belong here.

 

That is it for one of my favorite categories: disruption units.  Don’t knock them until you try them!

Edited by Jedhead

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Here is the next installment featuring support, hunter-killers, and impact units.

 

Support:

 

Support units look much the same as support heroes; they are there for their abilities and the rest is just extra.  Support can also be enhanced by keywords as well—a Runesmith or a High Mage, for example, may be taken just as much for their keyword as for their beneficial abilities, as they are a platform that opens up a range of card options.  Regardless of the exact ability, a support disk should somehow enhance the units around it, or offer something unique that will benefit your army as a whole.

 

High Mage:

 

The high mage is a typical support unit, with a strong ability that aims at improving your army.  Magical resistance in a bubble can really help against some of the staple cards such as arcane attack, and it obviously helps shut down opposing casters as well.  I also like the high mage for its baseline magic damage, which enhances its role as a support piece.  I actually like its three attack value as well.  I have used it attack and magic value combined with Speed of Asuryan to deal out some surprise wounds to tough units that thought they were safe, though this sacrifices the mage as well.

 

In addition to the ability, the high mage also offers the caster keyword as a useful enhancement.  The keyword makes it a strong addition to any army, as Teclis and Alarielle often use a range of caster cards that the high mage can also get into play.  This is important for two reasons: first of all, it provides you with a back-up unit in case your leader goes down, allowing you to continue to access these valuable cards.  Secondly, it also give you a second platform, which allows you to spread the effects around the table more effectively.  All in all, a very solid seven point investment. 

 

Venerable Runemith:

 

These guys are like the Volkmar of units: shameful stats in every category.  They are as slow as the other dwarf units, but lack the toughness or the damage-dealing ability to compensate.  As frontline troops, they are abysmal for their cost, even when they empower themselves, as this essentially makes them expensive Marienburg swordsmen. 

 

As support units, however, they are just fine.  They can turn pretty much any other dwarf into a tank, and their ability to deliver a key empowerment exactly where you need it is truly disruption-esque support value.  They also unlock the runesmith command cards, which is another useful bonus for pumping up your units statistically with rune of cleaving, or making them more resistant to enemy effects with spell-eater rune.  I find them to be worth their points so long as you don’t choose to throw them into the fray as your key front-line soldiers.  Their low, minion-level cost also makes them pretty disposable, so all in all I find them to be a decent purchase.  Their biggest setback is perhaps the fact that the next disk in line overlaps their role, albeit without the mobile aspect.

 

Ancestor Statue:

 

The statue is very useful to toss in a regiment in my experience since it can deliver multiple empowerment tokens per round.  You definitely need to plan for it, though; consider your army type, your objective, and your game-plan before you place it, as you will only get one shot and the battles will have to come to it.  You want it influencing the maximum amount of engagements possible over the course of a game, so put it wherever you are headed.  It isn’t amazing, but it is quite solid, especially in a gun-line where you know you will be turtled up with Helga, a cannon, and a bunch of hammerers or something similar.

 

Their five toughness is excellent, as your enemy must make a concerted effort to destroy them, which is even more difficult if the statue is screened by your warriors.  I really like the fact that they are medium sized.  The size increase boosts their range a bit, and also doesn’t affect their value that much in building a regiment, since medium and large disk size isn’t exactly a crowded slot right now for the dwarf forces.  Overall, a solid support choice that has usually delivered for me when I have taken it.

 

I once ran two of them with multiple empowerment command cards and a couple of runesmiths to boot, and my only regret was that I had too much empowerment and I couldn’t stack it.  It was definitely overkill, but definitely fun.  Their support value is also enhanced by the emplace keyword, which frees up deployment for your other troops—more units on the board early is usually good. 

 

Master Engineer:

 

These guys are so good with the Runic Cannon it is ridiculous, though the combo is tempered by the extreme cost and low number of dice available.  Park one or more in short range of the runic cannon to turn it into a Runic Machine Gun. 

 

A few words of caution, however:  Their stats are laughable, so if the enemy catches an engineer it is all over.  Screen them well and make the enemy eat hot lead on the charge.  They are an investment, and an added expense to an already expensive unit, so protect them well and pray to the dice gods every night for best results. 

 

Necromancer:

 

I think the necromancer is a very high-value support disk.  VC need reanimation badly in order to function properly, and these relatively cheap disks allow you to reanimate more minions every round, and also give you the potential to free up your heroes for other uses.  Also, you get bonus points if you opponent forgets they are casters, and that you can use your command cards on them, too!

 

As far as stats, these guys are below-baseline in every category but movement, but they can support you with magic as needed, and they really shouldn’t be in combat anyway.  Focus on using them to reanimate your undead hordes and you should do fine. 

 

Big Boss

 

The big boss is a decent combatant, but eight points four a 4, 4, 4, disk with five flips would be very much overpriced on its own.  The ability is what you will be paying for with this disk.

 

The big boss allows you to pull two activation tokens off of boyz disks within medium range, which can be extremely potent.  It allows you to impact multiple times with boar boyz, or to move your orc boyz much further than they normally could go. I have also seen it used to allow arrer boyz to get in a few extra dice in an attempt to finish off a damaged opponent.  I like to use it in “relay” format: move the boyz in first to pin a key enemy disk to prevent activation.  Next card, you can move in the bog boss to secure the pin and free the boyz to move on to fresh targets. 

 

A couple more notes on the big boss:

He is often a one-shot cannon, as he must engage an enemy in order to activate his ability, and the resulting engagement can do him in.  If you can pin archers, a weak caster, or similar units, it offers you a chance to rinse and repeat.  Also, it is important to note that he does not have to do the pinning to activate his ability—if an enemy pins him, he engages and triggers anyway.  This allows you to be pretty aggressive; if you run in and pin, you pull tokens off of your other units.  If you enemy is foolish enough to counter-pin him, he pulls the tokens again and allows for more movement.  He can generate some serious maneuver disruption, turning even ordinary boyz into disks with extremely long reach.  

 

Hunter-Killers:

 

Hunter-Killers are quite rare among the ranks of the units, as the category demands above-average attack and counter values, and the motto of “taking you down with me” also means that the units in question must be able to dish out wounds even when on the bottom of a pile, or be able to wound both ways in a scrum.  As a result, I would say a true hunter-killer unit must be able to inflict five damage regardless of circumstances in order to push through and deliver a (fairly) reliable wound to whatever it is pinning or by which it is being pinned.  This is a bit down down from the above-five attack demanded of heroes, but is still a stringent requirement for units.  I feel that it is an important restriction, however, as it allows us to maintain the integrity of the category...that I made up yesterday and which has no bearing on reality. 

 

I just really like the category, ok, and I don’t want to sully it! 

 

I also think that units suffer as hunter killers when compared to heroes in large part because stamina is a key piece in helping a disk to carry out the role, as it gives them persistence in a skirmish.  The ability to take a wound and hang on to also wound the intended target is invaluable; it ensures that they can’t easily be shot off or gimmicked to death prematurely by an unfortunate combo of range, magic, or impact.  Thus, for units, I think stamina is a key piece that is almost demanded in order to enter the ranks of the Hunter-Killer—as I have designed it, it is really more of a select club than most of the designations. 

 

Sun Dragon:

 

The Sun Dragon is a Hunter-Killer unit in my book, as its excellent stats all-around and its powerful ability mean that it will swoop in and wound something if it really wants to do so.  Its flying keyword and four flips on a huge disk make it excellent for pursuing back-row lurkers when appropriate, so the hunter-killer role is further enhanced.  Finally, it packs stamina, which as I mentioned above is key for hunter-killer success.  All in all, a good disk for throwing into the thick of things in order to bring down key enemy units while defending yourself successfully.

 

River Troll:

 

The troll can roll through all kinds of nasty terrain due to its strider keyword, which is not as sweet as flying, but is still useful for getting at Teclis as he cowers behind a swamp or gully.  Although the troll’s speed is a bit below baseline, its strong stats and chance to bring the pain with its vomit attack make it a definite hunter-killer, and its stamina means it will hang around the fight to deliver a wound even if counter-pinned. 

 

*Note:  I think it is important to recognize the rare, but extremely impactful variant of the River Troll: the Sniper Troll.  The Sniper Troll in essence functions as a ranged unit as well as a Hunter-Killer, delivering high-powered streams of vomit with deadly accuracy wherever it goes.  Nobody is quite sure how the Sniper Troll is acquired, simply that it shows up in games from time to time, much to the dismay of its enemies.  This rare variant is also known to publish excellent blogs, and seems to be unusually erudite for a hulking monster.  Those who have seen the sniper troll and lived to tell the tale are counted among the lucky…and the truly blessed.

 

Zombie Dragon:

 

While the zombie dragon lacks the toughness five which its living cousin carries by default, and its ability is less likely to deal terminal damage, it makes up for this in other ways.  The combat values and the stamina are what we would expect from a hunter-killer unit, and the missing point of toughness is more than compensated-for by the fact that you can reanimate the thing and send it back out after you opponent’s key units time and again.  The poison spitball thing is gravy, as it also enhances its ability to deal wounds to a target (or maybe two), even from the grave.  The sin tax for reanimate is there in the cost, so plan on bringing it back to make the most out of the points you've invested!

 

Impact:

 

Impact units mirror their hero counterparts more or less exactly. They depend on the charge to an unusual degree, often have the impact keyword, and often prefer to pin more than one enemy.  But most of all, they do not want to be pinned.  An early pin on these guys = wasted points, and often in a big way. Furthermore, unlike their hero brethren, they generally lack stamina, so they must be used even more carefully, and are susceptible to being pinned and destroyed to an even higher degree.  The category is more or less a “who’s-who” of heavy cavalry, as they naturally want to catch you on the charge, and dread being bogged down in a scrum.   

 

Bloodthirster: 

 

I almost made the Bloodthirster a category all its own, as it is that insane of a unit in my opinion.  I would call it “Destroyers of Souls and Devourer of Dreams.”  That said, its ridiculous combat values and well-above baseline statistics make the thirster a Hunter-Killer extraordinaire, and its ability also makes it even more effective as a Hunter-Killer, as it can basically rip apart a target even if it has stamina.  Maybe I should move it back up into hunter-killers? 

 

No, it definitely belongs here, because you DO NOT want him pinning you.  Don’t even get me started on Blood for the Blood God… The bloodthirster has the scary effects and army-slaughtering abilities of the worst of all impact units, and as a bonus, you can’t even really pin it safely.  His high toughness and magic resistance make him very dangerous as well. 

 

Perhaps this unit will serve as a bridge, as I would say it really is a dual-role beastie.  You can dispatch it to kill specific targets (like a Sun Dragon) or general targets (like their entire army).  Heck, maybe it transcends roles and just deserves the status of “KILLS STUFF.”  Overall, though, it should probably stay here in the impact zone, as you try to pin it rather than have it pin you.  Plus, the next guys on our list can really make him look pretty silly, so it’s not like he is invincible…

 

Knights Panther:

 

Knights Panther get my vote for one of the most cost-effective units in the game, especially since it is pretty simple to squeeze two of them into a single regiment.  They are beastly on the charge, with three impact, above baseline attack, and above-baseline movement.  What really makes them shine, though, is their low cost (for their weight class) and their physical resistance. 

 

That said, they are still a classic impact unit, as their baseline counter means they have trouble fighting out from under anything.  They really want to pin you, and really don’t want to be pinned.  They are also vulnerable to magic, and must be very careful if any shamans are hanging around, but overall, they are one of the more dangerous opponents you can face in the game (for their cost).  They also get bonus points for not caring if there is a giant, axe-wielding, winged daemon hanging around—these guys were built to kill bloodthirsters. 

 

Silver Helms

 

The Silver Helms are even more ridiculous than the Knights Panther on the charge.  Three impact is great, and follow that up with five swift attack and there isn’t much that will come out from the bottom of that engagement alive.  Their six flips also help them move like light cavalry even as they hit like the heavies, so they are really fun to throw around the table.

 

Their above-baseline toughness and counter value also make them decent even if pinned, but that doesn’t mean you want to let that happen.  If you let them get pinned, it drastically reduces their value and might make them trade with something like a unit of orc boyz that were half their cost.  Not good.  In other words, they are an impact unit with strong duelist flavor—keep them on top, and you will do fine.     

 

 

Black Knights:

 

Impact three and fear means anything under them will die, and your black knights will probably survive.  Toughness four and counter three means that anything on top of them will kill them, though.  So it’s simple: Don’t get pinned.  Do the pinning.  If only it were really so easy.  But if you do lose them, don’t despair, as they can always come back!

 

Black knights are a bit problematic points-wise, as I think they pay the VC sin tax since they can be reanimated.  Compare them to Knights Panther, for example:  One more cost to lose attack value, lose physical resistance, and gain fear.  Fair trade?  I don’t know, but I am inclined to say no, even though fear is pretty good.  If you take them, make sure you can bring them back to get the most out of your points investment.    

 

Boar Boyz:

 

The highest-value reliable impact damage in the game is nothing to be sneezed at, and these boyz also pack hero-level stats to compliment it.  Their movement value is baseline, but eager troops helps with that, and of course you can always give them WAAAGGHHH or some help from a Big Boss to make them even more devastating on the charge.

 

Other pluses are the artwork (which is excellent) and of course their medium size, which greatly increases the chances that they will catch multiple enemies in one pin. As with the rest of the impact units, they really want to pin and not be pinned, though like the Silver Helms they should usually take something down with them if they do get pinned, even if it is a poor trade. Their biggest weakness is that your enemy will paint a giant target on them, and in my experience they seldom get off more than one charge before they are swarmed, so you better make it a good one before they go down under a pile of enemies!

 

Bloodcrushers:

 

Bloodcrushers are a ton of fun to use in my opinion, especially because of their well-above baseline toughness, which makes them difficult to kill one-on-one.  Their d-6 impact hits is also fun, and can occasionally deliver in a huge way…or fall flat on its face.  Even rolling a one means they will deliver five damage over the course of the round, though, so they are pretty reliable damage dealers on the charge.

 

The bloodcrushers feel slightly less reliant on the charge than some of the other units in their class, as they do pack a counter of four combined with the high toughness rating mentioned above.  They will be tough for your enemy to pin early and destroy with a single unit, as even a duelist or a brawler won’t get through their thick hide.  They simply have a better chance to pull of additional charges after the first impact than some of the units above, which increases their value a bit as I see it. I find them to be generally cost-effective.

 

*Note:  After seeing all of the heavy cavalry above, the last to entries in this category may surprise you (well, not the divers, who are definitely impact, but maybe the others).  Hear me out though, as I think the role of these units is similar, though with a higher-risk involved.  We will call them “The gambler’s impact units.”  They either hit pretty big, or don’t hit at all.

 

Doom Divers/Catapult:

 

These disks are even more impact-flavored and risky than heavy cavalry, as the doom divers do crazy impact hits, or simply die with a whimper.  If you let an enemy pin your catapult, it really, really stinks and makes your divers into points-wasting paperweights.  That really shouldn’t happen, though, or you are using the catapult over-aggressively.  Additionally, divers are the worst combat disk in the game (including things that are statues—hey at least the statue can survive!) so they really need to get in a charge or they are totally worthless.

 

What else is there to say about them?  Not sure they are worth the points, but I am currently tinkering with several builds that feature them, and they are fun to use…my gut says they are not competitive, though. 

 

Also, thematically, these guys are up in the air, right?  So how do your Illyrian reavers ride up into the sky to pin these guys and deal their impact hits?  The divers are just weird thematically…but I like their good old orc flavor!

 

Salamanders:

 

Salamanders pack baseline stats aside from their extra toughness.  I thought about putting them in with the tanks as a result, but after reflection, I think that their ability makes them an impact unit.  Essentially, if a salamander is pinned, it is virtually no threat.  If it pins you, it will most likely inflict a wound, and may potentially breathe fire all over something else and that, too.  The nature of the dice means that this is uncertain, but with mobile and four flips they will most likely get in range of something!  They are a bit like a weaker bloodcrusher who needs to roll higher in order to be as valuable, so I think they fit here, though the theme is definitely weaker than the units listed above.

 

Banshees:

 

Banshees are definitively a gambler’s unit, and their impact on game can swing wildly based on the dice and whether or not they are pinned.  They have the potential to come soaring in and deal substantial damage to everything around them…or the potential to do absolutely nothing.  If  pinned, they will do nothing for the rest of the game (or until they die and are reanimated!), as they are not fighting their way clear with their horrid statline.  Another weakness is their low movement, which can limit them severely on what they can reach.  The physical resistance is ok, but not great considering their lack of combat res, and I almost prefer that they die on the charge if they didn’t hit with the scream so I can reanimate them in a more useful position.  That sounded like a lot of negatives…and it is a lot of negatives!

 

But don’t lose hope!  I actually like these little disks.  Banshees are cheap—not quite minion cheap, but cheap—so you don’t need to feel too bad about risking them in crazy charges.  One of those points was also spent on the VC reanimation sin tax, so they can always come back.  My theory on banshees is that thy need to be run in packs.  One screaming at you will probably not kill anything, but it might hurt you.  Two screaming at you will definitely hurt something and maybe kill a few things.  Three screaming at you will probably kill something, and maybe kill everything in sight!  Now imagine six…I have never used six, but I have used them in groups of three like this, and the goal is to jam them in your enemy’s face as early and as often as possible, then reanimate all three every round and do it again.  It is risky (I said they were a gamble) but pretty effective if you can catch the enemy in a tight group even once.  With six they would probably just spread out, but wouldn’t it be hilarious if they didn’t?

 

That's it for this installment.  Look for the final post with minions and ranged damage--the two most common categories in the game, and the units that often fill out the bulk of your regiments. 

Edited by Jedhead

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Here is the final installment at last (Christmas interposed itself somewhere in there) containing minions and ranged units.

 

Minions:

 

I think of this class of unit as holding those disks whose main role is to hit the field in numbers.  They provide the counterpart to the expensive disks, and are often taken to fill size obligations in a regiment rather than for their amazing statistics.  That said, they should not be denigrated.  In pairs (or sometimes singly or in groups, depending on the unit) they can threaten much larger disks, and their low cost means they are semi-disposable.  While they lack the movement of disruption disks, they occasionally overlap them in role—sometimes, you send a minion to its death in order to prevent a greater evil. 

 

Defining characteristics:  A minion should not cost more than six points, or it really moves from being disposable to being an investment (albeit a small one).  My rule of thumb: if it is a minion, I am simply not that sad if I lose it, so it better not cost me many points!  Stats are generally low, though they may occasionally rise above baseline in one area or another.  This brings me to my next point:

 

Minions seem to come in “flavors.”  Some are vanilla, like the Marienburg Swordmen, who boast the most basic of statlines and point costs possible.  Daemonettes, on the other hand are duelist flavored, while the militia spearmen are tank flavored.  Their roles are thus slightly different in application, but their defining characteristics are the same: they are low cost, disposable, and fulfill the small disk obligation.  This makes them actually more valuable if they are also effective in their given flavor; it is like getting a discount tank or duelist that also fills out your army in terms of numbers. 

 

*Note:  I am curious if there will ever be a medium disk that would invalidate this category.  Can a six point or less medium disk ever be justified?  I doubt it, but it could happen.  If so, I may have to revisit this category, as meeting the small size requirement of regiments while staying low cost is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to take minion disks.  Would you take a six point medium disk that would restrict your options to grab larger disks?  Currently, only the dwarves out of the full races can really afford to do this, as the other races are all too crowded with valuable medium and large disks and would not waste the slot on a low-point medium disk unless they were going full swarm.  Anyway, on to minions…

 

Marienburg Swordsmen:

 

The swordsmen are sort of the minion benchmark, as they are solidly on-baseline in every category and weigh in at a mere five points.  Pretty much every minion below should be considered with the swordsmen in mind.  Anything which costs less is cheap, anything which costs more is a bit expensive (obviously this does not take into count unit effectiveness, merely relative minion costs).   Anything with lower combat values is unusually weak, anything with higher values is tough in that area. 

 

As far as the swordsmen themselves go, they demonstrate classic minion features.  They are dangerous in numbers, as they can pretty reliably wound anything in pairs.  They are often taken as filler to balance out the knights panther or other larger Empire disks.  They are used as disposable shock troops, platforms for fueling Karl Franz’s ability, and any other similar tasks that more expensive troops try to avoid.  They are the workhorse of the army, and their low cost and small size allows for builds that feature heavy units alongside them. 

 

Lothern Seaguard:

 

Seaguard are the another unit that fits the very definition of minion.  They have low cost, they have low stats, and if they die, you probably don’t care; in fact, when I lose them, I usually expected them to die and was simply trading their lives to enhance my battle plan.  They are disposable, and are perfect for sending off to their deaths on the off chance that they pin a key enemy for a round or manage to wound something bigger with their weird little ranged attack.  I seldom take them as I prefer militia spearmen, but they are cheaper and allow other regiment combos that a militia spearmen unit would prevent, so they do have some utility in that sense as well. 

 

Milita Spearmen:

 

Militia Spearmen are definitely minions, as their low cost means they are semi-disposable.  However, they also possess the fairly unusual characteristics of five toughness and swift, above-baseline counter, which makes them very tank-flavored.  They are as tough as it gets for six points, and tank-minions are very effective additions to the toughness-scarce environment that formed by the High Elf small disks.  Overall, though, their prime utility is the low cost and freedom it gives the rest of the regiment.

 

One thing I like about militia spearmen is that in pairs they can essentially morph into mini-hunter-killers.  Two of them will wound almost anything while pinning, and they are difficult to push off of a disk once they are there thanks to their swift counter and their toughness value.  Of course, you have to outnumber your target two-to-one, but it happens at times, and is a nice little bonus if you pull it off.  They also work for sitting on a big enemy unit that has low counter values (i.e. Kairos or another such hero).  Otherwise, stick these guys in a chokepoint and hold the line on the cheap!

 

Karak Azul Warriors:

 

The warriors pick up a fifth toughness, which gives them a nice tanky flavor like the spearmen, drop one flip, and otherwise rock the same stats as a unit of swordsmen for one point more.  They make a solid grunt unit in the front line, as they can tangle with other basic minion units pretty safely due to the extra toughness. They also come in at only six cost, so as minions, they fill out your army and don’t hurt you too much if you lose them.  As with other dwarf units, they are particularly dangerous with empowerment compared to other races, as their toughness becomes crazy and they can still dish out damage in melee.  Reliably absorbing strength five hits and returning enough damage to destroy enemies is a good recipe for countering duelists and brawlers—all for the price of a minion!

 

Night Goblins:

 

Few units make me feel as much like an evil overlord as the goblins, so maybe they are the ultimate minion.  They are so cheap that they can be taken in droves (as far as regiment restrictions allow, of course), and they actually are not bad at all statistically if they are near any of their buddies, which they pretty much always are!

 

Their below-baseline toughness is certainly a concern, but as with all minions, they are relatively expendable, so you don’t need to cry too much when they die to an errant Arrer Boyz scatter.  In fact, da rest of da boyz gets a good laff at da sight of dem gettin’ duffed in da head, so evvrybody winz, see?

 

Orc Boyz:

 

The boyz are a solid choice in the minion slot, as they fulfill your small disk requirement and punch well above their weight class.  Their baseline toughness and counter for units means they won’t fare well if pinned, but they can tear a hole in virtually any enemy if given the chance to get on top of the scrum.  Their cost is a bit above the lower class of minion, but that seems justified given their higher threat on the attack.  The ability to wound enemy heroes and heavies is extremely valuable, as this allows them to punch with the brawlers and duelists at a discount price.    

 

Marauders:

 

They die to a stiff breeze due to their three toughness, and the sight of a bolt thrower, archers, etc. gives me chills if I am fielding marauders.  That said, they trade well in certain situations due to their above baseline counter, and their attack value is also solid, so they will usually take something down with them as long as they are tangling with smaller stuff. 

 

But, hey, the best part is that they let you stack up bigger units because they are super cheap!  Though they are not the best of the minions bunch and I would take Daemonette 90% of the time, they still have their place because of this fact.  They are cheap, they kind of suck since their toughness is so low, but they make it easier for you to squeeze a bloodthirster or two into your armies, and that about sums it up.

 

Daemonettes:

 

These ladies almost made the ranks of pure duelists, as they present many of the same characteristics: swift attack, excel one-on-one, and are terrible in a scrum.  Their lower attack ratings across the board, however, prevents them from making the cut: duelists must be able to wound virtually any disk one-on-one, and you simply need five attack to do that.  Daemonettes are definitely duelist-flavored minions.  I suspect some of you will disagree with me on this one, but I see their role as being different from the Sword Masters or Wardancers.

 

Their cost and relative disposability is the key to understanding my point, as you would be much more willing to trade one of them than you would a unit of Sword Masters or Wardancers. When I take a daemonette, I think “cheap, small disk,” and not “elite, epic duelist that will kill and live to kill again.”  I hope they will become the second, I know they will be the first. 

 

That is no slander, though, as daemonettes are very effective minions if they can get a pin, and have the chance to turn into stone-cold killers.  They are like less-risky versions of Sword Masters (which is a good thing!), as losing them isn’t a huge point investment (one of the key aspects of being a minion).  Their sixth flip is also a wonderful attribute, as it allows them to hang back and then dash in to secure key pins.  Overall: cheap, disposable, and might be great in a given match.

 

Here is a little poem I wrote about them:

 

They are duelists-lite,

Yet as cheap as a minion.

A very good buy,

In my humble opinion!

 

Skeletons:

 

The ultimate minions thematically, if not statistically.  They are cheap, and truly terrible stats-wise.  Oh, and they have slow counter, so they tend to get punched in the face a lot without doing anything... but they can pack in to regiments in droves, come back from the dead, and generally annoy your opponent and support your real units.  They are to units as Volkmar is to heroes, which is to say they are pretty horrible, but they give you quantity!  (Sorry, I can’t help myself—Volkmar is so terrible statistically!) 

 

Seriously, though, skeletons are the only thing that enables you to take fear-heavy Vampire lists that pack some impact and decent combat units.  Lists featuring Dragons, black knights, and a coach would be impossible without the dirt-cheap skeletons.

 

Dire Wolves

 

They suffer a bit from the usual VC cost-inflation, but they have sweet movement range, throw down a bit of impact, and are completely expendable.  I actually like them quite a bit.  They are definitely maneuver disruption flavored, as they can often jump in after a key command card victory and horribly screw with your enemy and his carefully laid plans… “Oh, were you planning on using that Knights Panther this round?  What’s that?  You were going to use it TWICE with Karl?  THREE times with rally?  Oh, well, he’s pinned now…and so is Karl.”  Of course, the low toughness means they may be sniped off the top of their victim, and they won’t live to tell the tale if it goes to melee, but you can’t have everything for six-reanimatable (new word bonus!) points. 

 

Halberdiers

 

They are like the little brother of the militia spearmen.  Losing the point of toughness and the attack value point is a bigger deal than you might think, as it makes them much easier to kill and prevents them from double-teaming and wounding tough enemies. That said, they still only cost five points, and they make an annoying little brick of a unit in chokepoints.  I’m not really a big fan of them, but they have their uses, and they fulfill the “little-guy” requirement in a regiment.  I lean toward the marienburg swordsmen if pressed to fill the small disk slot in my armies, though. 

 

Black Ark Corsairs

 

The corsairs are weird, as they pack stealth and a weak mobile attack (which is good, I guess), as well as a below-baseline counter (which is bad).  Their toughness, attack, and movement values are on par with the norm, and should not be criticized.  I find them to be inconsistent, but by no means unusable; if their ranged attack hits and allows them to wound some big unit, they are worth the points for sure, and if it routinely misses, they are less worth it.  They gain a disruption role by default at the moment thanks to Lokhir, so that is definitely good. 

 

Overall, not a really good unit, but definitely not a terrible one, even if I like Marienburg Swordsmen better at a point less, or the Boyz at an equivalent cost.  They could get better if stealth has more benefits coming in future expansions, but for now, they are just minions. 

 

Ranged:

 

Ranged:

 

This category is much more crowded at the unit level than at the hero, and boasts both cheap units and expensive units.  Costs and stats don’t matter for this classification, only the intent of the disk.  If its main purpose in life is to rain down ranged damage, then it has a home in this group regardless of size, stats, or expense.  You will notice that some units included here also fit minion price and size requirements, effectively expanding their role, but these units are archers first in my opinion due to their intense focus on ranged combat and uselessness in melee.  If your job is to shoot stuff, you go here rather than in the minion slot, as the shooting role is the more unique characteristic. 

 

The ranged unit tends to feature below-baseline movement stats, as well as below-baseline attack values, so they are not good at pining enemies.  Their counter and toughness is a mixed bag, with some at baseline or even above it, and some falling below it, but the general thing is to not get pinned and to keep on shooting! 

 

One last consideration in this category is the fact that all ranges were not created equal.  Obviously, it is much better to have long range than medium range, and infinitely better to have long range over short range.  Short range is pretty awful, and medium range is really a difficult place to be as well.  Unless you feature mobile, medium range means you must often spend a turn to set up a shot, and that enemies can simply lurk out of range one turn and then rush in to pin you the next.  Medium range disks have other advantages (automatic magic damage, higher attack values) to help compensate for this, but it something you need to consider when taking a medium-ranged unit. 

 

Militia Archers: 

 

You know them, you love (or hate) them, and if you play High Elf armies, you use them at least some of the time.  The militia archers are a solid ranged unit, throwing three dice at strength two physical damage.  They are by far the most reliable ranged damage dealers out of the generic, minion-priced ranged units.  They combo well with magic users and other archers to help take down bigger units in gangs, and low price means you can afford to do this if desired.  They will need some protection in melee like most archers, but they are a solid buy at six points. 

 

Maiden Guard:

 

The Maiden Guard are a fun ranged unit with a baseline number of dice, above baseline damage, and two nice little wrinkles that help justify their increased points.  The ability to change the chaos symbol to a hit effectively increases their damage potential as though they were rolling an additional die, so it’s a bit like rolling three all the time.  Of course, the maximum damage is capped, but on average you will deal out damage as though you are rolling three dice.  Make sure you steer clear of shooting things in cover though, as that will cripple the Maiden Guard much more than it would a unit rolling three dice.

 

The second wrinkle is that they deal arcane damage rather than physical.  This change means they are much more effective against the Empire due to the physical resistance on Knights Panther and Steam Tanks, but it also means they are less likely to wound a bloodthirster or the Dwarven heroes.  The highmage also reduces their effectiveness pretty sharply, and the arrows would simply bounce off of Teclis, rendering them less effective in mirror matches.  The arcane damage may become more or less useful moving forward depending on what units are developed and what type of resistance they have, but for now, the Maiden Guard are a decent source of arcane damage if that is what you are looking to add to your army. 

 

Bolt Thrower:

 

The bolt thrower is a decent damage dealer at range, with a solid three dice, three damage attack for reliable results that don’t require a dice roll.  Additionally, it avoids the “penalty” suffered by many of the heavy artillery, as it cannot wound itself or do anything unexpected to mess up your plans—like eating part of your army (looking at you Hellcannon!).

 

The bolt thrower is fairly cheap as well, but it suffers from two main issues as I see it.  First of all, it takes up an elite slot, which means it must compete with the Sun Dragon.  The Sun Dragon isn’t an auto-include unit, but it is pretty great, so I think High Elf players have to weigh the decision to include a bolt thrower against the loss of opportunity to field a dragon.  Secondly, the bolt thrower has only three toughness and two counter, which means that enemy siege weapons or flankers can easily deal with it in a duel.  These limitations come with an upside, though.  The bolt thrower is dirt cheap for an elite at ten points, deals reliable siege-ranged damage, and compliments s shooty HE army rather nicely. 

 

Sorcerer of Tzeentch:

 

The sorcerer is one of the weaker caster units in the game for its cost as far as I can tell.  It has five flips and flying, which I assume was meant to be its main selling point when compared to other casters, but five flips isn’t amazing, and you don’t really want to fly them in to secure key pins in combat due to their below-baseline stats.  It lacks the potential for more damage (like the bright wizard and the shaman) or a useful support ability (like the high mage and the necromancer) while coming in at the same cost. 

 

They do pack a standard magical punch and the caster keyword, both of which are nice to have around, though, so they aren’t horrible.  Spreading caster around the board a bit can help get off a few key command cards where they are needed, so I actually see that as their main role in some ways.  I usually skip the sorcerer though.  It’s only clear utility is in ranged damage, and it is decidedly mediocre in that department for seven points due to medium range and only baseline damage. 

 

Bright Wizard:

 

The Bright Wizard has a nice above-baseline magic attack of three that features the unfortunate side-effect of damaging the wizard when he casts.  Is the trade-off worth it?  You need to decide, but it is hard to say.  Three damage from a rank-and-file caster is very nice, and can often be the difference between killing a disk or coming up just short.  It combos very nicely with Knights Panther impact to take down even empowered or really tough units, which is a bonus.  The flip side is that after they cast magic they can die to a militia archer arrow, return magic from weaker casters, impact from low-impact units, a pin from archers, etc.  Their low toughness and propensity for self harm means that they will die to pretty much anything, so weigh that against the potential advantage of an extra point of magic damage.  Of course, most casters suffer from medium range/poor stats which allow for easy pins and destruction, so what the heck, use bright wizards and throw that magic damage regardless of the consequences!

 

One advantage to the bright wizard may be the fact that they open up caster cards for your use.  This isn’t something particularly useful now, but as more caster cards come out in general or for the Empire specifically they could be more relevant.  (Brief aside:  If the game lives long enough, I predict that caster cards will eventually be released that are magic-level dependent.  What I mean by that is the cards will be activated by magic 2, or magic 3, requiring a caster of the appropriate level or higher to trigger.  A few cards might even feature X results for magic X. This could be especially cool with Teclis or a Slann priest having access to higher magic…I just got a nerd-chill.  Back to reality, sort of.)  If this happened, bright wizards having a magic 3 value could be critical in gaining access to higher-level magic.

 

Arrer Boyz:

 

The arrer boyz are a decent little ranged unit, and currently offer the forces of destruction their only true long-ranged archer.  I wouldn’t say they truly shine in the role (militia archers at the same cost are the obvious comparison) but their baseline archer abilities are not bad by any means.  Additionally, they feature higher combat stats appropriate to their orc heritage, so they are less likely to die to return fire, impact hits, magic blasts, and other annoying pre-combat damage.  Their three counter and three attack also means they can pin or be pinned and possibly deal out a wound, especially in pairs, but you should take them for their ranged ability and not for their (relative) strength in combat. 

 

Crossbowmen:

 

Crossbowmen are below baseline in all of their basic stats (two attack and counter, four flips, three toughness), but above baseline in ranged damage.  Three dice dealing three damage apiece is nothing to be sniffed at.  At seven points, they come in a bit more expensive than the basic counterparts of other races like the arrer boyz and the militia archers.  While this cost isn’t backbreaking, it does give me pause for a few reasons.

 

First, they are too expensive to allow for some builds to be filled out.  If I am taking multiple knights panther in a regiment, I am probably sticking in some swordsmen to counterbalance them, as they are cheaper and will allow me to squeeze in another unit of higher value.  The extra points of expense put crossbowmen out of the expendable minion category as far as my thinking goes, which isn’t good.

 

Second, the ranged damage increase at the addition of the point isn’t a bad deal, but the drop from long to medium range is.  Crossbowmen are really difficult to use efficiently.  They need to set up extraordinarily well to get any impactful shots off, as your enemy will simply try to lurk out of range and then rush in and pin them.  Their low toughness and pathetic stats in combat means they will inevitably lose in such situations (if they aren’t killed outright by impact) and even two of them together lack the ability to wound many disks. 

 

Finally, the third point of damage dealt by each hit is great, but is still insufficient to kill most units.  Thus, crossbowmen not only need to set up well, they also need to roll two out of three dice as hits to really wound anything substantial.  I sort of prefer thunderers in the medium ranged category for this reason—if they hit, they will blow away baseline-toughness units in one shot. 

 

I actually like crossbowmen and I do run them sometimes (double Karl Franz shots with them are a lot of fun when they work), but I think their limitations prevent them from being super-competitive.

 

Flamers:

 

Flamers are a lot like arrer boyz as far as their actual combat stats, packing baseline toughness of four and both attack and counter of three.  This means they won’t be completely helpless in melee (just mostly helpless), which is good since their medium range means they will inevitably end up in melee at some point. 

 

They toss three dice at three damage apiece, so their obvious cousin in terms of ranged statistics is the crossbowmen, with the major difference being arcane instead of physical damage.  The extra point spent on flamers is justified by their increased combat stats, I suppose, though I’m not sure I like the trade.  The increased survivability against pre-combat damage forms like magic, impact, and return archer fire is very nice.  That said, I seldom if ever run flamers, as I find the medium range limitation to be too great for their cost, and chaos has expensive heavy hitters I need to cram into my regiments ahead of these guys.

 

Thunderers:

 

Thunderers are all about ranged damage, but eight points for a non-elite ranged unit is not cheap, though it is not unheard of (flamers and Maiden Guard come to mind).  Thunderers are horrid in combat with only two attack and two counter, and four flips seems to meet the archer standard, so nothing great there.  So why do thunderers come in with such a hefty price tag? 

 

Reason one: Presumably because they can deal up to eight damage in one shot, and even one hit will kill many units (though it won’t wound most heroes).  Reason two: the crazy dwarfs put five toughness on everything, even their ranged units!  That five toughness means they won’t die to just any chump charge or an easy magic snipe, and even if they get pinned they may survive (and may even shoot if you packed some stalwart into your command card hand). 

 

Their limitations are obvious, however.  Medium range and only two dice is not a winning combination.  They have a tough time setting up a shot, and cover will reduce their value drastically.  If I take thunderers, I almost always plan on giving them stalwart with a command card to help mitigate the medium ranged weakness and make them more worth their points. 

 

Flame Cannon: 

 

The flame cannon is a very high damage ranged unit capable of blowing away virtually any unit in one hit.  I have to admit I have not playtested the flame cannon much, but it does intrigue me.  I like the five toughness, and dislike its lousy counter of two and its lack of attack.  Two flips is fine, but nothing to get excited about.  If it had mobile, I would like it much more, but stalwart does give it some potential.  Obviously, I love that it deals six damage, and its scatter isn’t bad, but I see it as having low impact on the game most of the time, as the enemy will probably just spread out a bit.

 

What I dislike about it is the fact that it is a one-shot cannon (no pun intended).  If it hits, it blows something away pretty much guaranteed.  If it misses, however (and with one die it will miss a lot), it is in big trouble, so I don’t like that so much.

 

I also think its scatter ability doesn’t work out the best with dwarf armies, and here’s why:  Dwarf armies feature five toughness pretty much standard, so one of their biggest selling points is that the enemy will have trouble carving through all of that health, particularly if you liberally apply empowerment tokens.  It is not uncommon for dwarf warriors to come out of a fight with one or two toughness to spare, just allowing them to vanquish enemies and survive the counterpunch.  So back to the flame cannon: Let us imagine the flame cannon shoots into the middle of a big scrum full of dwarves and whatever flavor of enemy you choose.  Assume it hits the target and annihilates it, spreading a pool of flame over everything.  That should be good, right?  Our dwarves are tougher and can stand the damage a bit better.  Well, not really.  The two damage shoveled on everything probably killed no additional enemy units, and now it means your infantry (who were about to survive by one or two health) will all die in the melee combat along with the enemy.  Of course, you can always point the cannon away from melees like that, but I see that as a limitation for a close support unit.  It’s like a really bad version of scatter.

 

All told, dwarf armies wanting more reliable ranged support should probably take the runic cannon, but nothing says you can’t take both!

 

Runic Cannon:

 

The runic cannon is another heavy-hitting ranged unit (the dwarves like those, in case you haven’t noticed).  Four damage with each hit is devastating against most armies, and the ability to scatter like nobody’s business means that the cannon will get a second target as well on many shots.  It also sports the five health that dwarf units love, which is a nice little bonus that helps it survive artillery duels a bit better.  Finally, it stacks really well with an engineer or two, so it has some serious dice throwing potential.

 

It does have some limitations, though.  Two dice shooting into cover stinks, and its lack of stamina (almost unheard of in elite units!) means that if even one wound squeaks through in an artillery duel or a flanker snipe it is out of commission for good.  Its counter is too low to protect it as well, so it won’t even take anything down with it as it goes out. 

 

Additionally, a cave, some cover, or line of sight limitations can turn your 20-28 point  (depending on how crazy you are) engineer-and-cannon-fest into a giant paperweight that can’t hit anything (and can’t cross the board to get in the enemy deployment zones if needed).  Also, you really don’t want to shoot a cannon into a scrum involving your own units, though they will probably survive a cannon ball to the face when most enemy units won’t. 

 

Overall, the runic cannon is a good unit with high potential and some drawbacks as well.  I have never regretted taking one with a single engineer and rally, and I even had fun the time I took one with Karl Franz, rally, and two engineers, and a hellblaster even if it isn’t the most competitive option. 

 

Ratling Gunners:

 

Baseline toughness and below-baseline damage means that the gunner won’t be trying to pin units anytime soon, as they will inevitably lose.  But they are big into ranged combat, so they found their home in this category.  Three dice is good, two damage is fine, and the auto-hit from scatter is nice as well.  Medium range isn’t ideal, but throw in three flips on a medium disk that sports the mobile keyword, and the threat-shadow of this unit is actually pretty big.  These guys can deliver firepower where you need it the most in a given round, which is a pretty rare thing in most destruction armies.  As a bonus, their ranged damage and scatter pairs nicely with Ikit Claw, as they can often soften up multiple targets for him to choose from with his magic blast. 

 

Of course they will struggle in melee like most ranged units, but the biggest disadvantage in terms of army building may be their compatriots.  Let’s assume you want a strong ranged contingent for your army.  Taking Ikit and a couple of ratling guns is a nice start.  That leaves you with fifteen points, which allows for two gutter runners with a point to spare.  The gutter runners don’t add much in the way of ranged firepower, though, due to their range limitations and lack of mobile.  They also don’t add much in terms of close combat specialists, and their cost means they aren’t minions you can bring in droves (squeezing three in would be very nice).  The lack of utility from the gutter runners means your regiment as a whole has two roles (medium ranged support with a couple of weak disruption units) but it isn’t a powerhouse in either role.  This isn’t crippling, but it isn’t ideal, and you would have to make sure you compensate with the other regiment to generate legitimate melee threats.  I will like ratling gunners much more when they can be dropped in a full skaven army with additional skaven units to fill in other roles. 

 

Shaman:

 

The shaman is definitely a solid magic-damage dealer.  In fact, it may be the best you can hope to get at seven points.  It will always deal one damage (thanks to being in range of itself at all times), but who really plans to use it that way?  You know it will be easy to get it in range of two other units, especially since you can have three shaman hold hands and hang together as besties for the entire game if needed.  Their four toughness is also very useful for avoiding snipes, though they actually pack less attack and counter damage than most other casters (which is a major orc fail—what self-respecting greenskin gets outpunched in melee by a pointy-eared elf mage?).  That said, they give you some much-needed ranged damage if you care about that sort of thing and want to play as orcs (though if you care about ranged damage, why are you playing orcs?) and they come with a very reasonable price tag. 

 

Interesting notes 1:  Heroes do not increase the magic value of the shaman.  Only units do this, and heroes are not considered units. 

 

Interesting notes 2:  For giggles, put three shaman in each regiment.  Now put three night goblins in each regiment.  That is only 33 points, so you can even upgrade one or two of the goblins if that suits your fancy.  Salt to taste with heroes, pack everyone in a tiny radius, and try to magic blast everything to oblivion.  Bonus points for using arcane attack, brain bursta, and fists of mork.  It can be pretty hilarious, until a bloodthirster eats the entire army in one turn or impact hits cut your army in half…or you blow yourself into smithereens with unstable WAARRGGHHH magics intended for your enemy.  Either way, it will be a good scrap, and it will be funny to watch, and that’s what orcs are all about, right?

 

Rock Lobber:

 

Personal disclaimer: I hate rock lobbers.  Not because they stink, but because I play with my brother a lot, and I swear, he is the luckiest human being alive whether he is playing diskwars or yahtzee or entering a raffle.  He knows he is lucky, and that knowledge is wielded like a weapon when he builds armies.  He runs rock lobbers (or whatever else needs a sweet roll to make it work), and he rolls sixes, critical hits, scatters into critical hits…you get the idea.  My army melts.  I HATE ROCK LOBBERS.  Personal rant complete.

 

Rock Lobbers are a decent buy at 10 points, and they open up the option of a scary sort of stomach-clenching moment for your opponent every time you shoot at something they really like.  The orcs also have trolls for this purpose as well, so I think they are one of the most fun will-this-attack-do-nothing-or-will-it-destroy-me-utterly armies to date.   High elves and others throw more dice, but the orcs have the widest disparity between number of dice and potential impact on the game.  Throw in fists of mork, brain bursta, and arcane attack with Azhag and you can be rolling tiny amounts dice repeatedly while your opponent prays and sweats.

 

Anyway, rock lobbers roll two dice, which isn’t great for a siege weapon, but it matches the runic cannon.  Also, it comes with a d6 damage modifier, so if you pray to the dice gods regularly you can achieve disproportionate results.  Lousy combat stats don’t really matter much, as it has a stamina to prevent siege-weapon duel snipes, and it is all about throwing rocks at your enemy anyway!  Not much else to say about them, really, but at nine points they are as cheap as it gets for an elite, so they are not a bad buy at all.

 

Hellcannon:

 

May I just start by saying that I have always found the Hellcannon to be an interesting unit as far as fluff goes.  It is basically a daemon that turned into a really big gun, and that is kind of weird/cool.  I also like the way it is difficult to control and will pretty much eat anything next to it, which is nicely represented in game by its weird (and usually negative) ability and impact value of five.  Impact five can also be pretty hilarious if the enemy flankers go for a desperate pin and come up just short, though most flankers have enough movement value to make this a non-issue. 

 

In terms of game-play, the hellcannon is pure ranged support coming in at 12 points and the elite slot.  Its main disadvantage is that it competes for this slot with the bloodthirster, but it is a bit cheaper and can open up your army-building options more.  Three dice dealing d6 damage is extremely potent, and the cannon won’t blow itself up like some other artillery pieces I can name…though it might crush any units you are foolish enough to leave within range, or it might charge enemy lines unexpectedly. 

 

Toughness five and no stamina means it is difficult to snipe, but that it can happen, so keep that in mind.  Arcane damage may also cause you to prioritize targets differently than you would with most ranged weapons, so that does make it good at hunting knights panther, with is almost a role in and of itself.  Otherwise, just point it at the enemy and open fire so you can pour in that ranged damage!

 

Hellblaster Volley Gun:

 

The hellblaster rolls three dice dealing d6 damage for very solid ranged output.  It has horrible combat stats and only three toughness, so you don’t want it in combat, but that is to be expected from a ranged unit.  It has stamina to help it survive sniping attempts, and it is very reasonably priced at 10 points.  The downside?  It blows itself up. 

 

I have mixed feelings about this disk.  I will give the negatives first:  One of the main uses of order artillery in my experience is in dropping multiple shots in opening rounds using rally or similar removal effects.  You disrupt the enemy’s ability to set up their forces in subsequent rounds, and you might also kill some stuff you don’t want to tangle with in melee.  In these situations, more shots=more win.  The hellblaster sort of ruins this, as more shots=more fail a higher percentage of the time, and you might just blow it up without hitting anything, especially at siege range. 

 

That said, there are some positives.  At ten points, you really don’t want it to blow up, but it isn’t crippling if that happens. Also, if Alarielle is hanging out next door, the hellblaster has no real downside anymore and can fire pretty freely.  Finally, it is most likely to get a few shots in before it blows, so if it can provide even two rounds of sustained fire with rally or similar tricks it might pay for itself.  All told, the hellblaster offers significant ranged damage at the cost of fragility and self-harm, and is a colorful addition to any order gunline.

 

 

 

That wraps up my summary of the different categories!  Hopefully I didn’t forget any disks…

 

I hope you enjoyed reading, and please drop me some comments and discussion below if you would like to do so.

Edited by Jedhead

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Well done, like your former topic about heroes´ roles. Looking forward your next topic! Maybe terrain or cards?

 

You also reminded me to the fact that I my boyz got a little bit lazy during winter season. Time to get the WAAAGH!!! rumbling once more.

Edited by Katsuyori

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Well done, like your former topic about heroes´ roles. Looking forward your next topic! Maybe terrain or cards?

 

You also reminded me to the fact that I my boyz got a little bit lazy during winter season. Time to get the WAAAGH!!! rumbling once more.

 

I'm glad I inspired some WAAGGH!!!!

 

Though I am firmly in the camp of the High Elves I have been known to roll the boyz out on occasion myself, and the green tide definitely has a warm place in my heart compared to most destruction armies.  I'm not a fan of the super-grimdark, so the "friendly" animosity suits me a bit better, and the orcs have that in spades!

 

As for the next topic, I am probably going to do some follow-up stuff on army building with roles in mind, and also talk a bit about each army and its biggest strengths/weaknesses.  Terrain and card selection will play into that, so we'll see how ambitious I get and whether or not they turn into their own category. 

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I remember a time when massively insightful break-downs of this quality were the preserve of hobby magazines. Many thanks for the huge effort you've clearly gone to!

 

I enjoyed doing it, but it was a lot of work.  Thanks for reading/commenting, and welcome to the community!  :)

Edited by Jedhead

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Yeah, you really inspired me. I told my gaming group, and we´ll probably have a match next week. Man, I am so fired up right now! Dis will be sum gark bashin´! I feel like going to my very first battle.

And, welcome to Demeisen, by the way. Have some nice time here.

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I want to add that one of the parts I liked best in your article is your comment about Disruptive Roles and pointing their high tactical situation-depending usefulness without neglecting them because of their relatively low combat stats. Disruptors can easily influence the tides of a battle at its most critical times.

Edited by Katsuyori

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I want to add that one of the parts I liked best in your article is your comment about Disruptive Roles and pointing their high tactical situation-depending usefulness without neglecting them because of their relatively low combat stats. Disruptors can easily influence the tides of a battle at its most critical times.

 

That's exactly it.  They may trade poorly in some circumstances, but the key is to always have them arrive under the correct circumstances--those critical times that change the game in your favor.  The fact that most of them boast keywords like flying, flank, mobile, scout, and high movement values means that having them arrive at the right time isn't as hard as it might seem!

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GREAT!!!!

 

Thanks a billion for your insight!

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it--I hope it proved useful.

 

Also, welcome to the community!  Things are a bit slow here, but I am still hoping for an expansion announcement to revive things a bit.

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GREAT!!!!

 

Thanks a billion for your insight!

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it--I hope it proved useful.

 

Also, welcome to the community!  Things are a bit slow here, but I am still hoping for an expansion announcement to revive things a bit.

 

 

I´m losing faith. This year something new should see the light. If not so I will bereally disapointed.

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GREAT!!!!

 

Thanks a billion for your insight!

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it--I hope it proved useful.

 

Also, welcome to the community!  Things are a bit slow here, but I am still hoping for an expansion announcement to revive things a bit.

 

 

I´m losing faith. This year something new should see the light. If not so I will bereally disapointed.

 

 

Yeah, the general mood around here these days is definitely one of lost faith, as is evident from the lack of posting. :unsure:  As we have said in other threads, though, FFG usually sends off a game with one last expansion, so I am waiting for that at the least.

 

Deep inside, I also hold out hope for more than that as well.  The hope has certainly diminished, but it has not vanished yet.

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This week i just discovered Diskwars and how good it is. My casual player friends like it and now i read there maybe wont be any new expansions :(

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This week i just discovered Diskwars and how good it is. My casual player friends like it and now i read there maybe wont be any new expansions :(

 

Welcome to the game, it is a good one!  Welcome to the forums as well.

 

An expansion doesn't look probable, but I won't give up until it is announced dead.  I am really curious about how Age of Sigmar and the total gutting of the Old World has affected all of this, but with Total War making a Warhammer game it doesn't seem to be a cease and desist order from GW...

 

Who knows?  I just hope we get some new disks at some point, even if it is just a "goodbye" set.  Either way, you won't regret purchasing the old stuff--I have got many good hours out of it, including the posts above :)

Edited by Jedhead

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