Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Thinking Cap: The Underdogs Part 2
So what are some good examples of underdog units to look at and reconsider? Well we should look for a unit that might have some special abilities which are under-appreciated that might encourage perhaps a different style of play than that particular faction may be used to. I also tend to think that attrition is more viable than most, so you'll probably sense a theme of that here too. Lastly, I will not be looking at Mercs or Minions, since there are lots of contracts to look at and I think the entire factions are underdogs. No offense to either group of players!
Cygnar Precursor Knights: These guys are often overlooked for a number of reasons. First, Cygnar is the most "shooty" faction and many of their melee elements are overlooked. Secondly, these guys are a little more expensive (although still cheaper than trenchers) and have special abilities that are often underappreciated. First, having blessed on melee weapons is surprisingly awesome, especially since many factions rely on defensive buffs to keep their infantry alive longer (Khador, Menoth, Skorne, etc.) and they also rock a MAT 7 and are one of the very few magical attacks that Cygnar has at their disposal. Lastly, they have ranked attacks which means that they are great for shielding your various shooting units and also rock spell ward so that they can't be targeted by spells (although that includes friendly spells too). While Constance Blaze has made these guys more popular, they're still often overlooked for Sword Knights or are taken more for Highborn Covenant Mercenary contracts, despite their great abilities. Oh and their leader can heal - situational but helpful if you're on fire or a solo is near death.
Retribution Houseguard Halberdiers: I must admit that I don't believe that Retribution has a very different meta wherever one goes, and I believe that their infantry are fairly well balanced against each other. I rarely see Halberdiers on the table, however, even though they are probably one of the best defensive infantry units out there. They're a little more expensive than some, but with their UA they can move up to 9" in one turn in shield wall formation and, while their initial P+S is fairly low, they have combined melee attack and naturally have reach so they can still threaten higher ARM targets if they need to. Throw in ranked attacks and they become invaluable for a typically very shooty army, able to take the hits and engage the enemy while your ranged attacks continue to pummel your foes.
Trollbloods Scattergunners: Trolls don't pack a lot of firepower and prefer to "brick-up" with some powerful melee threats, take the charge, and then push back stronger. Needless to say, most Trolls don't think they need any ranged units, especially since they won't have much support to offer them. Scattergunners are a little odd for this list since they actually have no special rules to consider, but can be extremely effective with their new UA, allowing them to clear out some of the chaff so that your most effective units can be delivered to where they need to be.
Legion Legionnaires: Legion usually doesn't run with a lot of infantry but when they do, they're usually trying to pack more of a bunch or be more mobile, and these guys are often ignored for the more powerful Swordsmen. What these guys offer, however, is defensive ability (especially with their new UA) and can take the punches and then strike back with vengeance and reach. They will force you to play more defensively, but are worth considering if you can't land an effective alpha strike. These guys will complement some warlocks more than others, but every Legion warlock could benefit from having a cheap and meaty unit as a front line to keep their beasts from getting hit too much!
Skorne Karax: I know that my buddy Jesse with rage when he sees this, but I see these guys as still having a place in the Skorne army over Swordsmen. While the Swordsmen are clearly better at offense, these guys offer a lot of great defensive benefits for some more fragile models. Shield Wall adds to their ARM so that they can withstand most enemy shooting and thanks to being girded, they are immune from blast damage (normally a problem if originating in their back arc) which is also great for packing models in next to them in B2B. On top of that, reach with combined melee attack can still be fairly effective. They're still worth considering, you just have to adjust your playstyle to suit them. These guys will be great when paired up with the newly-released slingers, as you can have a great formation with these guys in front while the slingers throw their bombs over their heads.
Like I said before, your particular meta might see these units more often than I, and that's great if you do! I think that one of the greatest strengths of the game is the options available to each faction for dealing with particular threats.