Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Purchases, Thoughts on Evolution

Evolution arrives for the rest of us on the 31st of this month, but the spoilers from GenCon are already flying across the intarwebs. We've seen some of what we were getting: the Bronzeback, Brute, two warlocks, and the Ferox cavalry. We knew we were getting an unit attachment, probably a weapons crew as well, and another warbeast. Pictures had been flying around of the "Ancestral Guardian Cricket Team", but I think that our biggest gain came out of the blue.

I'm speaking of the Praetorian Karax. The "ignore all blast damage", Shield Wall, Rank Attack, Reach ability Praetorian Karax. I'm not going to lie, while we made out like bandits in Evolution (at least model wise - storyline wise we seemed to have gotten our asses handed to us, but that's the matter for another post), some things shine brighter then others. I think the Karax are going to be a real diamond in the rough, as it were. The entire ignore all blast damage is pretty ridiculous, and rumor has it any model in b2b is granted the same ability. The fact they can be fired through makes is almost as good as an UA for Venators, as it gives them an entirely new lease on play, as opposed to only being run in Xerxes units or 1000+ point games.

I'm really fond of the catapault as well - power increases as the enemy gets bigger, and its about as accurate as a Khadoran Mortar. I really look forward to seeing this sucker in action, and I think its going to be nice to fix one of our deficits in the lack of pathfinder.

Speaking of Pathfinder, our Praetorian Ferox give us some flexibility in that arena. Spring and Leap give us 5 inches to clear whatever is in our way, be it woods or enemies or whatever else is there. Often ignored on paper are what Makeda's buffs do to them. Defender's Ward makes them ridiculously hard to kill (at wounds 8/10, even!) and Savagery pushes their range into 18 inches of threat, though you'd do best trying to get them within range for a Bite or Charge attack, but the option is there for them to be hauling ass all over the field.

I'm going to reserve judgement on the Immortals, the AG unit, until I get more feedback. Depending on who's talking they're either a unit that you won't see below a 750 point game, but are still great for what they do, or they're the beginning of Skorne dominance across the game tables. Skorne players hold the former opinion, while the other factions seem to hold the latter.

I've had the luxury of playing with both of the warbeasts that have been released. The Bronzeback not only adds onto the layers of Skorne synergy but somehow improves how our Paingivers and Titans work in concert. Herd Patriarch is nigh ridiculous when your Titans are lumbering across the field and charging 11 inches with Paingivers doing their thang'. The beast itself is ridiculously powerful with three attacks - throw something like Prescience on him and anything that gets in his way is meat. Though I must admit, he's somewhat of a situational warbeast - I've had too many times where he lumbers around the backfield, looking for a way to get a shot in, and by the time he's lined up his charge/slam, something else has already taken care of it. In those cases I would have liked more troops, or perhaps a Cyclops Savage.

Speaking of Cyclops, the Brute fills a special niche in the Skorne Empire. A light warbeast with two attacks and the armor of a Gladiator, a tweak here and there could have shoved it up into the "must have" reaches of our warbeasts. Specifically, I would have liked to have seen something where it could have joined in a Cetrati or Kerax Shield Wall. Probably not getting the full buff, but still it would have been nice to have slapped one of those Brutes on point of a Cetrati line and said "come get me". Wishes aside, let's talk about Foresight and Safeguard. Foresight is the ability of the Brute which amounts to slap a fury on him and reroll the attack roll. While at first this sounds pretty omgwtf, its a somewhat situational ability. Mainly I've used it in three cases:

  1. When an attack has a Critical Effect (Take that Impaler!)
  2. When an attack will hit by a hair (Alten Ashley firing into melee with a Krea buff going on)
  3. When the warbeast is about to die (Nuttin to lose)

Other than that, its best to just let him take it on the chin of his 19 ARM stat. He can hold a flank for a turn, though there might not be much left of him next turn. But that's what you've got your Praetorians for.

Oh yes, our Praetorian Officer and Standard Bearer. Almost forgot the little guy who turns our already above average Praetorian Swordsmen into the cause of many a future temper tantrum. First, you've got the Forefend ability, which lets them whack anyone who moves into their melee range. Combine this with something like Carnage and you've got a lot of death during their turn. They've also got a feat that lets them do an auto point of damage to infantry when they attack. This is a big deal when you think about it. Kriel Warriors, Druids, Wolves of Ouroborous, Tharns, etc..Not like our Combo Attack on the charge wasn't nasty enough.

All in all I'm pretty pleased. I've also got some Ferox that need to be scrubbed and based tonight, as I've got a game tomorrow (my first in three weeks) that I'd like to playtest them on. If all goes well, I'll have details for that too.

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