Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Guest Article: WZR Deck Building Pt 2: Deck and army (Symbiotic Evaluators)

Welcome back to WZR Deck Building. This is part 2 in my series of articles on deck building in Warzone Resurrection. I want to apologize for taking so long with posting this part. The article has been nearly done for a long time, but first RL intervened, and then I wanted to have a look at the updated rules for making your own heroes before posting. It's done now though. The next part won't take as long! You can find the very basics of deck building in part 1 of my series. Look at the bottom of this post for links to the other parts.


Today, we are going to be building an entire army and deck around the synergy provided by a single strategy card that is set to work well with a certain factions troop type. The card we are going to build an army and deck around is the following;

First of all, I'm going to post the army, then the deck, and after that I'll go into detail explaining what each part of the army and deck brings.

The army.

WARLORD: HOTSS Psychic Warlord - 155
+1 Wound, Banishment of the Steel, Bringer of Dark Tools, Transmorphication

TROOPS: 10 Dark Legionnaires - 152
NM Leader Upgrade, 4 Vulcheck

TROOPS: 10 Dark Legionnaires - 152
NM Leader Upgrade, 4 Vulcheck

TROOPS: 10 Dark Legionnaires - 152
NM Leader Upgrade, 4 Vulcheck

TROOPS: 5 Dark Legionnaires - 86
NM Leader Upgrade, 2 Vulcheck

SUPPORT: 2 Razides - 150

SUPPORT: 1 Razide - 75
Plaguedealer HMG

SUPPORT: 1 Razide - 75
Plaguedealer HMG

TOTAL: 997

Activations: 8

Resource Cards: 12

The deck.

This is the -core- of the deck. I've intentionally left a few slots open so you can tailor these cards due to local metagame (more on meta in an upcoming article) and personal preference.

Strategy Cards:

3x Symbiotic Evaluators
3x Unnatural Advance
3x Symbiotic Bioscopes

Gear Cards:

3x Blessing of Algeroth

Tactical Cards:

5x Moment of Clarity
5x Blood-Lust
5x Corrosion
3x Ripped from Reality

Total amount of cards: 30 (5 slots still open)

In depth army and card examination:

The army explained

As you can see, the army is based around Undead Legionnaires and the phenomenal exponential value of the Symbiotic Evaluators card. As such I have included almost as many of these zombiefied fellows as I could, only cutting a few in the fourth squad to include some supporting units adept at handling more situations. The aim with each unit was to maximise Vulcheck numbers, and I believe I have. There is 14 Vulcheck HMG across the army. In itself, this gun is not very lethal (St:13, RoF: 3, AV: 1), but when combined with other parts of this army, it becomes an incredibly lethal instrument.

The Warlord is a simple Rulebook Heroes of the Solar System Psychich Warlord (thats a long name...). I briefly considered using a DIY Heretic from the new rules, but a quick glance show me he's not nearly worth it for the points. You would lose IA and a whopping 5(!) WP, and that's only 30 points. So, a generic Warlord it is. I would still paint and model him as a Heretic, as he will be playing extremely cowardly, hiding behind his men in a manner unbefitting of a more brutal creature. His one and only job is to provide support and buffs to his men. He should at all times be in some sort of cover and have his two Plaguedealer Razide bodyguards around to soak wounds and kill meddlesome humans. His Psychic powers have been chosen very carefully; 
Banishment of the Steel is crucial for your anti-armor capabilities. The army does not have any especially high AVV values, but what it does have is 14 Vulchecks with AVV 1. Why is this important? Because AVV 1 means no reroll of failed AV rolls. Banishment of the Steel's effect is permanent, it "rails" and, best of all, it stacks. Get it on whatever vehicle you want to destroy asap, and then leverage enough Vulcheck and Nazgaroth fire to destroy it.
Bringer of Dark Tools is excellent. It is especially good when used on either a large unit of Undead Legionnaires, or the two man Nazgaroth Razide "sniper team". Whats that? You have two Razides with 30" range, ignoring any intervening cover, hit on 15 or below (on first shot, with aim) dealing 19 damage and having Critical Force (3)? That's silly! Get em in a dominating position and be prepared to hunt characters who stray. That is, if they are not being used to deal the coup de grâce to vehicles already weakened by the above hailfire. Jokes aside, this power is best used on units with many models in them, as it gives a boost to all, no matter how many they are.
Transmorphication is the least useful power, but can be used to "tarpit" with your Undead Legionnaires in a pinch. I added this as a points filler, feel free to change it to whatever you feel is better.

Undead Legionnaires are the bread and butter of your force. Cheap, unrelenting and slow! Not as slow as some people would think though, read more about it under the card heading below. They are very straightforward. There to put bodies on the board, and use their Vulchecks and Kratach to greatest effect. They are meant to attack at range, but if you feel there is an advantage to engaging with them, by all means, go ahead. Your cards, their Necromutant Leaders (raising extras!) and Transmorphication means they are at least not hopeless in CC. Also, their Corroded Blades have AVV2. It's great. Use it to stab machinery that is annoying and close. Brainless is a problem, but not as big as you might think. The NM Leaders help of course, as do the cards Moment of Clarity and Unnatural Advance. Remember that "aim" is not an advanced action, so aiming and firing with your krataches is a good choice. It is the run move that is the biggest problem, and you have 8 cards in your deck to counter that. You are also, thanks in large to these guys, probably going to outnumber your opponent by a lot. This means you can contest objectives and the like over a much larger area. I will talk about the Legionnaires more when I go over the cards below.

Razides are your support of choice. You have two kinds, with very different jobs. The two solitary Razides with Plaguedealers have the job of guarding your coward heretic warlord. One Razide should always be close enough to soak wounds through Shielded. Thats why (in addition to activation purposes) they are split into two separate squads. You can then do a staggered move with the Warlord, where you move one Razide first, activates the Warlord next and move him up to the Razide, then activate the last Razide to follow. This way, he will always have a bodyguard near. One of these two should try and be on Sentry at all times that an opponent has RD forces in reserve. Preferably both. This will allow them to attempt to gun down any threats, or move into CCWR, if they would choose to deploy near the Warlord. Remember, he is a feeble and puny human. Your Nazgaroth Razides have the job of long range support. Both to deal aimed killing blows to wounded vehicles (see above under Banishment of the Steel part) with Critical Damage 2, and to kill any enemy important targets that stray into their line of fire. Also see the part above about snipers with Bringer of Dark Tools.

The deck explained.

Here I'm going to explain how I made my choices as to what cards should be included, and how to use them.

3 Symbiotic Evaluators
The card that this entire army and deck is built around. You should always try to have one of these in your starting hand. Knowing when to use it is crucial. It raises the effectiveness of 31 of your models by a ton, and 14 of those even more. This is a very good card, consider throwing away most of your starting hands if they don't contain this card. Note that while the main use of this card is for ranged, it also works in CC.

3 Unnatural Advance
This is a great card for your opening hand, and for having towards the end of the game. It's a very simple yet effective card. It allows your Legionnaires to run, which they normally cant.

3 Symbiotic Bioscopes
This is a filler Strategy Card. It's not terrible, but it's not exactly gamebreaking either. It's there so you can prevent your opponent from casting a Strategy Card should you win initiative, and not want to use (or have) one of the others. If you would rather use a different Strategy Card that you like better, feel free! Perhaps your local area has a lot of vehicles? Then by all means replace this card with Flow of Symmetry for example.

3 Blessing of Algeroth
This card gets played on one of the three large Undead Legionnaire units. You have three of the card, there is three of the big units. This means your Legionnaires have to be killed to the last man to get at the heavy weapons. Just remember to keep extra UL close to the heavy weapon handlers.

5 Moment of Clarity
This should be pretty self-explanatory. Your UL are quite cheap as they are brainless. You can ignore brainless for the measly cost of two resources. This could be a game-winner if played at the right opportunity.

5 Blood-Lust
This is one of those "dual use cards" that I was talking about in my first article. This will primarily be used to shut down enemy squads and units which can kill your Legionnaires fast (example: units with 'Blast' type weapons that have templates of one or another kind). It can however, also be used to boost your legionnaires should they get stuck in CC. Remember those AVV2 Corroded blades? With this card, that's 18 AVV2 attacks in CC (and I do hope you used Banishment of the Steel...).

5 Corrosion
This card is nowhere near crucial, it's just a good card for draining your opponents resources. Play it on a unit you know he wants shooting, and he's down one extra resource. Becomes even better if he has already spent all the resources earlier in the turn, or his resource generating units have gone down. That being said, feel free to replace it for something else should you like another card better.

3 Ripped from Reality
Your card for making sure Symbiotic Evaluators lands when it should, even if your opponent has won the initiative. Remember that your Warlord is quite fragile, so don't remove any other cards than those absolutely necessary. That is also why I have chosen to include only three of them. This can be increased to up to five, if you would feel better about it, but I would worry that the cards are "dead" (there is no use for them) in your hand a lot of the time.

5 Free card slots
This can be spent on anything you would like. The deck is very light on gear cards, but I have not found any more that I feel are more or less necessary. Gaze of Algeroth is really good if your opponent plays a bunch of units with Camouflage, but I feel that is very situational, and better suited to combat metagaming, as it is utterly useless if the enemy has no units with Camouflage. Heigthened Senses could be played on Razides going into Sentry, but you would rather have Algeroths Blessing on Undead Legionnaires anyway, as Sentry is an advanced action and they are brainless (most of the time!). There are a number of anti-vehicle cards available to DL that would be good to check out, especially as this army has no vehicles at all for itself, but for the same reason as Gaze of Algeroth, I decided against including them. Your friend rolling you with a Sharkspam army though? Add 5 Dark Technology Warp and 3 Flow of Symmetry (cutting Symbiotic Bioscopes). This is much more of a personal choice.

Synergies to consider:

Undead Legionnaires + Bringer of Dark Tools + Symbiotic Evaluators
Razides w Nazgaroths + Bringer of Dark Tools + Aim actions (RS:15 R: 30", Str 19, Critical Force (3) and no negative cover modifiers on the first shoot.)
Vulcheks + Banishment of the Steel + Symbiotic Evaluators vs Vehicles
Undead Legionnaires + Symbiotic Evaluators + Blood Lust + Transmorphication in CC

Cards that were considered but ultimately cut:

This part will be brief, just so you can follow my thoughtprocess when constructing a deck. I won't include pictures of the cards here. If you want a picture of a card from here, you can check it out in the Visual Card Spoiler thread.

Insalubrious Detonation: This is a decent card, but you are a ranged army. Not a CC one. If you remember what I talked about in the first part, using cards to cover for an army's weakness is usually worse than using cards to expand what an army is already good at. Now, this cards requires your Legionnaires to both be in CC AND die, which is not something we want. Thus this card was not included.

Black Liquid Grenade: While on paper this looks quite good (extra Legionnaires created from range, to be used with Symbiotic Evaluators, is good right?) you have to look at what it is you are actually getting. This is a one use item, that hits one model (no template) for quite low damage, and IF you manage to kill the enemy, you get a Legionnaire. This costs you 3 resources. Those 3 resources could be used to give your Legionnaires 3 extra RoF during Symbiotic Evaluators, extra actions for aim/engage etc etc. On top of this, the NM Leader can't use his RoF 2 rifle. I can't think of nearly any situation where I would want to include it.

Dark Puppetry: This card is of course good, but it has a major problem. It's bonded to Alakhai. Taking Alakhai means you can't take as many troops, can't take psychic powers (this is a big one) and you have to actually assault with only one unit in a predominantely shooty army. The card is good, there is no doubt about it, but it requires an army built around Alakhai and to extent this card. Probably using flamers instead of HMG's, some necrobeasts and cards such as Thermo Instability to make the flamers better. And then you have a completely different army.

Closing words.

This army was constructed with a few other things in mind. 

* I choose the Dark Legion as it is, to all intents and purposes, the "enemy" faction. Most gamers will have at least one friend who plays this army, or, as in my case, a second army made up of DL to introduce friends and others who don't have any armies of their own.

* The theme of a horde of shambling semi-intelligent zombies, aided by otherwordly demons and commanded by a corrupted, necromancer style, heretic is a cool one! If they can unleash a hailstorm of bullets, all the better.

* It's straightforward to use and contains few different units, thus making it an excellent starting point for new players. New players don't have to consider to many units types, and don't have to worry to much about Advanced Actions on the normal troops (oh this guy, he can just move and shooot!).

* It's designed around the new Dark Legion Starter. Buying 3 Dark Legion starter, an extra Undead Legionnaire unit and an extra Razide, and you have all the cards and all the models you need to make this army, if you convert one of the spare NM leaders to the warlord shown above.

I hope you enjoyed the read, you can find the other articles in the series in the links below:
WZR Deck building Pt1: Introduction

Written by: Anders Hedvall aka Kollar

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