Samstag, 9. Februar 2013

Khador 2013 - Part 05 "Outrider Spoilers"

GLO Concept Art
So, the Greylord Outriders have been spoiled. With... mixed responses on the web. Which can be easy to understand - but I think it's highly likely that we as Khador players got a skewed look on the game, what we need, and Privateer Press's plan.

Not to put the blame on someone - in all possible objectivity: the GLO are odd. I consider it a given that we will receive other releases which will click nicely with them.

In this article of Khador 2013, let's look at what we got - and what we can get out of them. I'll look at the stats, feasible modes operandi, which 'Casters stand out supporting them, and what lists they fit in well (with a focus on tier lists).
So these are the relevant spoiled stats:
SPD 9 / MAT 5 / DEF 13 / ARM 15 / CMD 9
They're FA:1, are costed six/nine points for three/five guys. They are Light Cavalry, so they sport large bases and 5 hit points. In addition, they have unit-wide Immunity: Cold (which is a novum), Pathfinder, Magic Ability (6), with two spells: Frostbite and Winter's Wind, as well as "snow-wreathed". They're all armed with the standard issue Greylord Rune Axe.
   Right off the bat, I loved getting "snow-wreathed" on Greylords, for the sheer style thing. But straight out the other door, man, what a hefty price tag! At the cost of Man-o-War units (or a Berserker/Destroyer respectively) for such a fragile unit, it's obvious that they are (currently) luxury troops which you can take once the mainstay unit is already present, and enough points are left over. They're in no way able to compete with our "core" units (Kayazy, IFP, Winter Guard) - and I guess they're not meant to. Just on paper, and at the current point in time, it looks as if these guys are overcosted for about a point.
   Breaking it down, SPD 9 is... ...speed-gasmly high for a faction used to SPD 4 warjacks. It'll be hard not to over-extend those guys if you run them turn one or even two. MAT 5 is poor, but it is worth remembering that charging cavalry gets +2 to their charge attack, and that Light Cavalry can choose to make inital attacks with the mount. DEF 13 is average, and snow-wreathed puts them at relative safety from direct shooting, unless it is boostable or straight-out ignored (which is the bigger issue). ARM 15 helps against blasts, and should keep them around after a hit with a POW 10 bullet.
   As for the special abilities, Magic Ability (6) is about what was to be expected when PP said they were "Neophytes" (or, as would be more adequate, "Undergraduates" ;-)). The big thing for me is Pathfinder, which means that they - like Zerkova - can get to safety anywhere, and they will not be hindered by the terrain they hide in (though snow-wreathed actually skornegies that). What's also pretty awesome is the fact that we got three or five Frostbites. I personally had settled for Ice Bolt, but getting Frostbite clearly beats that option. Winter's Wind on the other hand...
Winter’s Wind (*Action): Target friendly Faction model with Immunity: Cold. When an enemy model without Immunity: Cold ends its activation within 2” of the target model, the enemy model becomes stationary for one round. Winter’s Wind lasts for one round.
...Sweet Christ on a Conquest! Currently, it's nothing but a spoiler that someday, something with Immunity: Cold will come, and that will then have synergy with the GLO. I do like the Frost-theme of Khador, yet such kind of "support" at this point in time really irks me.

Now that we have gnawed through the raw stats, let's try and delineate some modes operandi from that:
1) With SPD 9 (and a plausible terrain set-up), they are great flankers. Also, their Pathfinder and Light Cavalry Movement will help them get at the enemy even if he just moves ahead. In turn three at the latest, they should be making attacks against backline models - hopefully the enemy's support train. When doing so, however, you have to make sure that the models destroyed (and disruption caused) equals or exceeds the amount of points you're throwing out there.
2) Due the to the high speed, light cavalry rules and 8" spray, they can move far in a non-linear path, spray at models up to 8" away, and back away for 5". This makes them a suitable harassment unit, but using them this way to great effect probably requires more brain power and time than is healthy for you as a player - if you maximise the models sprayed, chances are good that the light cavalry movement will not get you far enough away. If you kite around at the edge of the range, your sprays will clip two models tops, more likely just one.
3) They could utilise their speed to hit advance deployed enemy unit, and then back off/shuffle away with the cavalry move to prepare launching attacks against back field models afterwards. The only important thing is that those AD troops better not be too nimble...
4) Due to being immune to cold type damage, they can target others in their unit to get enemies under the spray that they couldn't target directly (Errants Exemplar, Doom Reavers). With MA (6), you will still want a buff or a suitable target, though.
5) They could move to a position where they can't be charged and only reached by running, and then Winter's Winding themselves so that anybody running up would be freezed. I say would because - who really would do that, then? It gives you a certain amount of board control, but it requires very good eye-balling skills.

Okay, we do have a general plan - what 'Casters support them better then others, and why?
1) I do not believe in the Iron Flesh solution on them, but the Old Witch has serious game with Weald Secrets, which will get them to DEF 17 against shooting at all times (unless it is ignored, as stated above). This, while standing out, is not maximising the upkeep, though, the very handy Pathfinder part is already there.
2) All incarnations of Vladimir Tzepesci have a buff that can actually enhance their Magic Ability - S&P/Hand of Fate (HoF from hereon). HoF clearly wins here, since it can be put on at the beginning and be upkept on them for later, while S&P requires Vlad to be far up in order to catch them in it, and he won't be protected by Blood of Kings at that time. HoF is probably the best upkeep buff you can have on them. Also, El Vlad has Dash... that's means you're running 20" turn one.
3) This may sounds strange at first, but Harkevich has something, too. Fortune is a little more daredevil than HoF, but I've used it on a regular Greylord Ternion (GLT) and think it'll be very good for the GLO as well.
4) And lastly, Zerkova has Icy Grip. This will, in all given likelihood, mostly come into play when you decide it's time to take a frontline unit off the board, but then it'll be really worth it I guess.

And with the 'Casters handled, onto the lists:
   Generally speaking...
At 6/9, as already stated, they are luxury troops - things you get when you've got all you really need. They're add-ons, gimmicks, and IMO, the most "tricksy" models we currently can get in-faction. This does mean that they will generally see the table at 50 points and above, maybe at 42, but not in anything below that. At those levels, you need those points elsewhere.
   They can currently also be used in the following theme forces: War Host, Charge of the Horse Lords, Iron Curtain, The Invisible Army, Wolves of Winter and Hunting Wolves. I have only ever played/seriously thought about two of them, which I'll comment on below. Regarding the others - the biggest benefactor will probably be "The invisible army", simply because its selection is... *gah*. After that, Wolves of Winter - because Doom Reavers are not exactly good mainstay units.

   Charge of the Horse Lords
I remember that we really hoped for Frostbite on Horses, and Lo' and behold, here they are. Between Dash, their regular rules, and Vlad's feat, they will likely be a prime harassing unit, and they're a good way to get more magical attacks into this tier list. The only question will be whether they'll earn their place instead of, say, a Gun Carriage.

   Hunting Wolves
This Tier raises their FA to 2, which means that you could easily run a whole army where everything barring Zerkova and her Warjacks has Frostbite. You should also get a medal for your courage (or silliness, depending on the PoV). When ignoring such foolish temptations, it is quite easy to see their possible use, or how Zerkova would benefit from such a unit. The only real problem for me is finding out what to drop, and I guess it'd hit the Widowmakers & Marksman, since they have roles vaguely similar to the GLO.

And that is, currently, all I have to say on the topic of the GLO. It's thankfully not all there is to say on that topic, though I've cut out a lot of the negativity surrounding them right now.

I actually have no idea what to do for Part 06... if anybody has a stroke genius, please share below!