Sunday, January 5, 2014

Army a la Carter: Warzone Faction Special Skills- Mishima

     So, here's part II of our series on Warzone Resurrection Faction Special Skills. Today's article focuses on Mishima, the pan-Asian MegaCorp. What surprises lay in store?
     The thematic special skills for Mishima are Ki powers- loosely based on focus abilities of many Asian cultures, but specifically more Chinese and Japanese of origin. Pros: costs are static, not per model. This means you have advantages to taking larger units: not only will you have more ablative wounds for your "standing in the back" squad leader, but in the case of unit affecting buffs you get more advantage for the same points. Cons: although you can buy 2 per Lord or Leader, you can only cast one per turn, which means by default if you buy both you have inactive points.

Ki powers Are grouped into Temples. Which temple is available is determined by your Warlord Type.

Soshomara Temple of Enlightenment- Close Comat Warlords

POWER OF THE OX: 2 Resources, WP test. The Squad Commander's CC attacks gain RoF3, Critical Force(2), and AVV10. Pros: great against multi-wound targets and incredibly good verses vehicles. Cons: Honestly not much... um, maybe that Crimson Devils won't have acess to it? Verdict: for the price. This is a gem. Build a unit for tank-hunting (5ish Hatamoto or Tiger Dragons seems ideal), skulk them through the field to their target, and take it out pretty readily.

RESOURCEFULNESS OF THE MONKEY: 2AP. Un-turn one Resource Card. Pros: it's cheaper than buying another Troop unit to get a Resource Card. You can give it to a Ronin Leader & you're not loosing much from those Action Points. Cons: 2 AP means the unit is likely not moving much, nor are they engaging in any squad actions. Verditc: Not cheap enough for me. While you can probably spare the AP early in the game, you probably have extra Resources then as well. While somebody will come up with a build where this is critical, it seems like you're disengaging a lot for one point to me.

STRIKE OF THE SERPENT: 1 AP, 1 Resource, Wp test. +2 to CC. Pros: a whole unit gets this for the same point c osts as 3.3 Cybertronic models get a similar boost. Cons: not only do you need to spend a Resource AND pass Wp, it costs an Action- does that mean the Squad Leader cannot fight? Verdict: In large multi-RoA units, this brutal. In a ten-man unit math dictates that should cause 2 wounding effects per turn- so long as it doesn't stop the squad leader from fighting that's a good deal.

LEAP OF THE GRASSHOPPER: 1 Resource, Wp test. Entire squad receives Leap(5). Pros: a limited teleport on the cheap. Cons: only the same "table specific" cons as Leap & Blink always have. Verdict: Situational. If you play on a very verical table, or one with lots of hazards in terrain, this could be key. If you don't, you're better off without.

PROWL OF THE TIGER: 1 Resource, Wp test. Unit gains the "Ranger" skill. Pros: move through cover like a ninja, but still claim it. Cons: technically less effective than Grasshopper for the same price. How many actions per game are you moving through cover? Verdict: much like Grasshopper, this is situational based on your local meta's tables. pretty useful here at LXG, but your mileage may vary.

SPEED OF THE HORSE: 2 Resources, Wp check. The squad may "run" for 1 Action Point. Pros: quickly closes the battlefield. Cons: situationally less effective than Grasshopper or Tiger, and does not increase affectiveness once in combat. Verdict: For close quarters units, this can be a huge asset. It also grants you the edge of being able to hide in cover once finishing your run. The tradeoff is you're spending points on closing speed, and realistically that should only be neccessary for one or two turns max in a game. Still, based on the scenario it could be a situational asset.

PATH OF THE RAT: 2 Resources, Wp test. Any model targeting this squad is -4 to RS. Pros: that's not a "cover" value, so it may well stack with cover, and cannot be negated by "sniper." Cons: pretty much the same "not in combat" reply.. Verdict: for a dedicated shooting unit this could be gold. It will depend on your local terrain if it's worthwhile for combat troops or not. If your tables are decently decked out with terrain it shouldn't be needed- but would still give a nice boost.

HIDE OF THE RHINO: 2 Resources, Wp test. Leader has "Heal(6)" in close combat until the end of the turn. Pros: there's a lot to like about a Heal(6). Cons: if your enemy activates before you in the turn, it's neutralized. Verdict: if you like playing "full offense" this isn't for you. If you have a model you most definitely want to keep alive, this is a great way to do it: Guarded plus Heal(6) when engaged means a lot of redirected wound effects.

STRIKE OF THE PANDA: 2 Resources, Wp test. The entire squad gains "critical force(2)" in close combat. Pros: this works on everybody, not just the Leader, and that's a lot of wounds. Cons: Ox is probably better for Lords, and Panda has no effect on vehicles. Verdict: in a unit of true dyed in the wool killers like Tiger Dragons or Demon Hunters, this will be brutal. Make sure the unit is at max size when they charge in, and this will help keep them there. Great for hunting characters, useless on most squads (only one wound per model) or vehicles (no AVV boost) so aim appropriately.

FURY OF THE ROOSTER: 1 Resource, Wp test. Squad gains +2 modifier to Engage bonus. Pros: affects entire unit. Cons: only good on the charge. Verdict: if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing for twice the points and taking Serpent. It's a small price to pay to greatly improve the number of turns thepower comes into play.

STUBBORNNESS OF THE GOAT: 1 Resource, Wp test. The squad gains Impenetrable Armor (9) if Engaged. Pros: Impenetrable Armor is always good, and powerrs that apply to the whole unit are generally better. Cons: Tiger Dragons & Demon Hunters already have better, and Hatamotos have an (8). Verdict: I only really see this used as a thematic purchase. You probably shouldn't have Ronin in fights where they need Impenetrable, and it's not cost efficient to useless for anyone else.

Yorama Temple Ki - Ranged Warlord.

CONDENSEMENT OF THE RAINBOW: 1 Resource, Wp test. Fire a 24", St16, RoF 1, AVV 3 psychic shooting Rail attack. Add 1 more Resource to boost the signal to St17, AVV6. Pros: strong ranged attacks are hard to come by for Mishima, and Rails nearly impossible. Cons: really only that it's RoF 1. Verdict: there will be jokes and references galore when this one gets played, but the simple fact is that this is a sold ability- especially on a highly mobile unit (Dragonriders anyone?) that can line up the rail shot to force multiple targets to "taste the rainbow,"

BLAST OF THE HURRICANE: 1 Resource, Wp test. Fire a 18"/SE, St14, RoF1, AVV6 Psychic Blast Shooting attack. Pros: explosive templates work well versus huddled enemies. Cons: the jury's still out on just how effective small templates will be in a game where 6" away can be the norm. Verdict: I think this is another one that's going to depend on your local meta, although I have a feeling it'll be ineffective on the circuit level. For the slight difference in points Rainbow I feel is superior.

THE PETAL OF THE LOTUS: 2 Resources, Wp test. Fire a 10"/SE, RoF1 Psychic Shooting attack. If it touches models on small bases, their RS, CC, and Movement are halved. Add one more Resource to boost the signal to also apply to Medium bases. (NOTE: while the power does not specify "until the end of turn", my understanding is that it's not permanent. Because that would be silly.) Pros: a debuff on an enemy in Engagement range that requires no Actions and only one Wp test to have effect, essentially boosting your whole unit. Cons: Limited range makes it difficult to use to coordinate for another uunit- but not impossible. Verdict: this is the Close Combat booster in the shooting list. As such, finesse and timing could make this a killer power. I think this is a shining example of "shooting supporting engagement" which will be the hallmark of successful Mishima lists. Expect to see this one utilized.

THE DESTRUCTIVE PATH OF LAVA: 1 Resource, Wp test. Fire a 24", St14, RoF 5, AVV1 Psychic Plasma Shooting attack. PRos: RoF freakin' 5??? This and Lrainbow are why Mishima eschews firearms. Con: unlike Lotus and Rainbow, Lava cannot be boosted. Verdict: not very good versus vehicles, this power will absolutely shred light infantry. Placed on the Leader of a fire support unit and you've seriously increased their effectiveness.

THE BLAZING SUN:  Okay.... I'm going to admit it.  I got really, really confused reading this one.  So much so that I didn't feel critiquing it further would do it justice. If someone can explain how this one works to me, I'll be happy to review it- but for now, use at your own discretion.

THE BITE OF THE BLIZZARD: 2 Resources, Wp test. If the enemy squad is hit by a 16" range psychic shooting attack, the unit counts as under "Suppression Fire." Pros: this will keep charging close combat units away from your shooter. Cons: Mishima doesn't have true shooters, they all fare pretty well in CC. Verdict: situational at best, this could be put to advantage in certain field control situations. Certain mission objectives will be helped by your opponent having to go slow.

THE SAPPHIRE TSUNAMI: 2 Action Points, Wp test. If passed, your opponent must burn 1 resource, or their Warlord takes a St14 AV4 Autohit with no Heal rolls allowed. Pros: if taken en masse, this can be devastating. Cons: it's effectively 1-2 less models on the table, and both actions from the Squad Leader, to force your opponent to not use one resource. Verdict: I love this one, just because I see some jerk-hole taking it six times in his army. I really think it's a viable way to eliminate a Warlord, at the expense of those points not being usable for the rest of the match afterwards. aside from that, perhaps on one guy to take a "pot shot" in an early turn when your opponent is burned out, and from that point on he plays one Resource down- which tactically I think is worth this power's points.

THE WAY OF ENLIGHTTENMENT: 1 Resource, Wp test. Squad can ignore any negative modifiers to their Range. Pros: makes your "max reach" units maintain effectiveness. Cons: in Mishima guns are for losers and you should be closing into CC range anyway. Verdict: probably very useful for your one or two dedicated fire support units, and probably not so much for everyone else. While not a "listbuilder", this one's still really good.

PATH OF TRUE SIGHT: 1 Resource, Wp test. The entire squad receives a +2 to RS. Pros: 10 % improved effectiveness for shooter units. Cons: see "the Way of Enlightenment." Verdict: like Enlightenment, I think this will be good for a maxed-out fire support unit, and not taken otherwise. To put the cost in contrast, Cybertronic has the same enhancement- only for Small based models, and only 3.3 models can buy it for the cost that Mishima can buy this for a whole unit. Used correctly, this one's a bargain.

BLAST OF THE LIGHTNING DRAGON: Wp Test. All Ranged Weapons used by the Unit are considered Blast. Pros: wins the "rock paper scissors" of unit armor. Cons: won't matter on your biggest threats. Verdict: this special skill will be effective against every faction's light and medium infantry, those are likely to be your most numerous targets. If used against light infantry while aiming, this will be a roomsweeper. it'll need to be though, since you'll probably only get a few of those in before it has no more viable targets. All in all, I'd take it and deploy this unit late stage to capitalize turn one or two.

Shirii Temple Ki- Tech Warlord

THE GREATNESS OF THE GOOD: 2 Resources. Wp test. Any activated Model from the Squad may sacrifice themselves. Remove the model as a casualty. Any model within 1.5" of the removed model takes a St10 AVV3 autohit. Armor Value for models is halved for this Psychic Attack. Pros: allows a small unit to do massive damage. Cons: In the ultimate Stalinistic move, you're taking your own models off the field faster than the enemy. Verdict: As a fan of the Mishima Warheads of old, this gets the 2CE seal of approval. When used properly as a sneak attack, this can catch you opponent off-guard, and you can do a lot of damage. Besides, nobody's going to miss those Ronin anyway, right?

ENDURANCE OF THE ZEALOT: 2 Action Points, Wp test. The entire unit gets Impenetrable Armor (10) vs Ranged Attacks. Pros: more impenetrable than Goat. Cons: it takes both of your Squad Leader's AP to cast, and has the same issue as Goat: aside from your Troops, nobody else really benefits. Verdict: I think this one's a bit of a "Ronin Special," but in that it's viable. Drop a unit on/near an objective, make them harder, and blaze away.

INSIGHT OF THE TECHNICIAN: X Resources, Wp Test. X models with an AV Value with an unmodified LD of the Squad Leader may repair their most recently lost SP on a 520 of 1-8. Only one SP per Model per Game Turn. Pros: will keep your expensive and long firing Mecha on the table longer. Cons: at present, the Mecha is the only unit this applies to. Verdict: not a gamechanger, but a nice contingency plan. Sit a unit of fire support Ronin back with a pair of Mecha 20 -26" behind the fight. Have the Ronin Leader keep throwing wrenches at them. He can still fire, and will likely help them hold out on the line a bit longer.

PREPARATION OF THE SAMURAI: 1 Resource, Wp test. Entire squad receives AVV2 to all weapons. This cannot be increased by any means. Pros: helps a lot of AVV1 & 2 weaponry in Mishima. Cons: every unit but Ronin are AVV2 or better in either ranged or close combat. Verdict: perhaps another "Ronin Special", but also perhaps a great ace in the hole against a well read and studied opponent who's not going to expect AVV2 from a squad of Demon Hunters in melee, or from a Dragonfire HMG. Situationally useful at best, but this is the kind of "rabbit in the hat" ability that can swing games.

SUPPRESSION OF THE MASSES: 1 Resource, 1AP, Wp test. Target enemy squad within 15" must make a Pinning test with a -3 modifier. Pros: this Temple's version of Blizzard or Blazing Sun, and arguably the most effective of the three. Cons: while this skill may be a tool to win scenarios/combats, it's not going to do so on it's own. Verdict: situational, but if your playstyle supports it, this can be really potent. Used to effect this can tar pit a unit in no man's land and let the rest of your army decimate or ignore it as appropriate.

RESOURCEFULNESS OF THE THIEF: 2AP. Un-turn 1 Resource Card. Pros: Cheaper than another Troop Choice, and no Wp test means it always works. Cons: if your stragem requires "one more resource", then you're really in trouble when you loose this guy, because now you're down two... Verdict: I know there's gonna be someone who will disagree and think this is the bee's knees, but this to me is a very bad form of too many eggs in one basket.

PROWL OF THE NINJA: 1 Resource, Wp test. Entire squad receives the "Ranger" skill. Pros: best movement skill in this Temple. Cons: Everything that applied to Prowl of the Tiger. Verdict: situational depending on local terrain meta. Ninja Prowl is marginally better than Tiger Prowl in that there are no Grasshoppers in this list.

MISSTEP OF THE FOOL: 2 Resources, Wp test. Creates a 30mm wide "beam of Ki" within 15" of the Leader. Any model finishing their Activation within 3" of the token suffers a St10 AVV2 autohit. Token remains until it does 1 wound or SP. Attack receives +1 to St and AVV for each Beam in range. Pros: can be used to "horse collar" someone engaged in combat. Cons: should be difficult to stack. Verdict: this one's not for the inexperienced. It could be a very damaging ability when used with finesse, and totally useless when uses bullishly.

POWER OF THE ELDERS: 1 Resource, Wp test. Squad leader may take a 20" range Psychic Shooting action with a St of 5 plus the number of models beyond himself in the unit. Pros: inexpensive and powerful. Cons: will depreciate as game play progresses. Verdict: I really want to like this one, but really it's best case scenario is 2 pts higher than the Leader's gun. And generally at less range. (Aside from a unit of 12 Ronin, then it's 4 pts.) If you're going for a "no guns" theme, okay, but there's likely better methods.

THE HONORABLE ACT OF SEPPUKU: Wp Test. Remove the model from play, un-turn up to 3 Resources. Pros: free, does not cost actions either. Cons: you loose a model. Verdict: this should never be your first choice on a model, but unless you have 2 other Ki skills you want to take, why not? It's free, and in just the right goofy situation this one could turn a game, so there's no reason not to.

So, what do you feel I got wrong?  Was this list helpful in any way?  Please comment below! Hope to see you on the other side of the table. Also, please feel free to check out the other articles in this series:  Cybertronic

The Second Class Elitist. 

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