TaKtiX: Laurence J Sinclair

Laurence J Sinclair has been playing the Warlord CCG since the release of the game - mainly thanks to that killer Rathe art. He even stuck with it through that dark time involving Campaign Rathe art. Now he is a playtester and a member of the Warlord Story Team - guiding the armies of the Accordlands into an uncertain future.


Winning With Class: Rogues

Rogues are the one flavour of warlord that don't go in for the 'support role'. Whether from the front rank or hiding behind peons, they prefer to deal the killing blow themselves. They win through one elegant strike or shot putting paid to the enemy warlord as delicately as possible.

The sniper warlords that shoot the enemy are epitomised by Cathel Rowan, Laird Jon Hawthorne, De'zicrah and any Scout you could care to name. Hiding behind a wall of meat - much of it able to shoot itself - they rack up bows and enhancements for their bows (specialist arrows, Farglasses and so on) and then pray for their opponent to spend (or get spent forward by the actions of their army) and open themselves up to a Sniper Shot. Of course, with this most deadly of ranged attack cards going away come Epic, the wannabe-Oswald is going to have to compromise on effectiveness, but with Collapsing Bow, Farglass and Roc Fletching in the format there are still plenty of tools to play around with. And with Tracking returning to the scene, all those Scout warlords are going to find it even easier to ensure that they are in range of their target when the time comes.

The frontline stabby rogue used to be Rathe, but now he's outshone by newer contenders like Cairbre Netheryn and Trevaine Cartwright. Like their sniper brethren, they aim to have one clean stab to kill their opposite number, but they have to risk it on the front line to do so. Rather than bows, they tend to pack protection for themseles, ensuring that they live long enough to do the deed. Martyr's Hide, Too Fast To See, Armor of Blending, Gloves of Mischief, they all have their place. They're all vamoosing with Epic though, so the frontline rogue has a lot more changes to make to assure victory than the second rank shooter. But while there are replacements for the protective gear, that most fabled of weapons - the Black Steel Dagger - is gone, meaning that for a short while rogues will have to rely upon Backstab to deal big death until a more favourable weapon shows itself. Well, that or Misear Diplomacy the enemy to death. Oh, and always remember to pack the Cunning Shot for those warlords who are rude enough to not run to the front to be killed.

Epic will throw into the limelight another, long-neglected style of rogue combat. With the stealth rules getting an upgrade, sneaking into opposing ranks to off the warlord from up close is something that is sure to be attempted a lot with Trespass, although the Sewer Worm allows any rogue that feels up to it to try the same. Whether it will prove an effectie tactic remains to be seen...


Tangent #2 - Warlords of the Accordlands!

Just a quick note here. The Warlord RPG, holiest of holies, is now available, and I have been accepted as a member of Mike Leader's LAIR team, for the furthering of its greatness. Hence, there may be a lot more RPG-related stuff slipping into this blog in the future...

Winning with Class: Fighters

Well, with Epic on its way a lot of what I have to say here will fastly be going out of date. But I'll keep it Campaign for the time being, with the obvious disclaimer here that things will have to be adapted in a few months' time.

How do fighters win games of Warlord? The most obvious way is by charging to the front rank and lamping seven shades of SS-saurth out of the enemy personally. It was a tactic pioneered by Krun, but now almost predominantly the province of Ar'tek.

Ar'tek exceeds at this style of play since he has innate movement. Other warlords of this ilk (Krun, Fasolt, Duty) have to dilute the effectiveness of their slaughter by packing steeds and other such movement cards. Ar'tek can get straight down to the killing, taking no prisoners. All in all, why play any other warlord in this style when Ar'tek is available? Praise be that he's gone come Epic, though all the other fighter murder cards are passing through, allowing the archetype to survive even as its chosen son fades away.

Some warlords prefer to support other fighters from the rear lines rather than risk themselves. After all, why risk getting killed when any level 4 schmuck can play No Prisoners! and Gahid's Stand? This cavalry charge (so called due to the preponderance of steeds included) is often much more effective than a similar tactic played through a cleric warlord, as even if you draw no characters in your opening hand, the warlord can still utilise all the items and actions himself, at a pinch.

The star performers at this style of victory are Jin Valford, Kara Wadreth, Sir Aleron d'Ilchant and Uthanak, mainly because they offer a form of extra movement to their underlings. They're also capable of utilising Krun's Strategies and By Your Word, for those of you who miss the readying power of clerics.

Again, Epic will change the decktype slightly, with the new falling forward penalties making movement een more important for the high level characters.

Finally, fighters can try their hand at shooting their enemies. Faiza Nyota and the other rangers are the best for this style, as Hawk Hatchet is really the only ranged strike that fighters can use better than any rogue. However, since that card is not making it through to Epic, and neither is Gloves of Archery, the future looks bleak for the fighter sniper decks. They're going to have to leave it to the rogues in future, and get down to the simple business of frontline pummeling.


Winning with Class: Clerics

So, how do clerics win games of Warlord? They're not up to much when it comes to bashing other characters in melee, and they aren't exactly renowned for their wide variety of ranged strikes. More than any other class, the cleric can be considered a 'support' warlord; one who helps his army to kill the enemy rather than getting directly involed himself.

This doesn't mean that all clerical decks must be the same, however. There are a number of means by which they can deliver victory, as evidenced by their action and item pool, and the innate abilities of the warlords themselves.

Clerics can deliver large, high-level fighters and rogues to combat, healing any wounds that they suffer and buffing their stats while remaining safe from danger themselves. This is an approach favoured by warlords such as Rustiq Umbala and Priam Ironsoul; the former because he has inbuilt movement and ATK boosting capabilities, and the latter because his healing powers can actually ready his troops, turning it into another form of movement. The basic premise of this decktype is to pack it full of the biggest, baddest characters available, and fill the rest with healing to keep them alive and steeds to get them to the front. For variety, readying and unstunning spells can speed up the rate at which your characters attack the enemy.

Sometimes this deckstyle is mistakenly called a stall deck. Usually, only by someone that hasn't seen a true stall deck before. When stalling, the idea is still to throw out big characters, but more because of their high AC and hitpoints than their offensive power. They need only hold off the enemy long enough for the purpose of the deck - usually a huge Dragon or two - to get into position for a slow grind to victory. Healing is even more important in these sorts of decks, and movement usually falls by the wayside in favour of actions and items that create even more meat for the warlord to hide behind - such as the infamous figurines.

At the opposite end of the spectrum to the stall deck is the frontline cleric deck, where the warlord - loaded down with goodies like the Teufeltiger's Lies, Glyph of Faith, Blasphemous Sign and Bascarite Mark - Ups the stats of those around him, hoping to kill the enemy quickly, before they have time to concentrate fire against him. In this deck, the healing is mainly self-centred, directed toward keeping the warlord alive. The warlords that do best at this sort of deck are those that have some form of protection (and usually two melee strikes). Atu Amani has his own way to prevent wounds from himself, for example, while Ghed Jaroslav is astral and has Deverenian redirection to keep the heat off.

Finally, there are also decks that take advantage (no pun intended)of the new focus for the cleric class: stunning the enemy, and making sure that they can't ready. Volda's Mantle takes pride of place in the repertoire of these warlords, but Kor's Patience, Shared Fate and Withering Gaze help maintain the lockdown. It's just another kind of stalling in reality, but to prevent an opponent from becoming annoyed with you you should probably pack in some form of kill mechanism to punish the stunned enemy, by utilising characters and items that get bonuses against them. As a devotee of your gods, it is your duty to make sure that the suffering of your enemies is as brief as possible.


Winning Without Class

I may not be sticking to any sort of regular schedule with the adding of posts to this column, but with dissertations, exams and the sudden knowledge that I'm being dragged to ELITE, I'e been a little rushed off my feet.

Anyway, I shall be getting back on track with that whole grand plan that I laid out some time previous very shortly. Now, when I mentioned last week doing this class by class series of posts, I had thought to do the four main classes in alphabetical order, followed by the various combinations of multi-classes, with the subclasses slotting in somewhere along the way.

Then I realised that I was missing out on the classless warlords, who rightfully fit right in there at the start if we're talking alphabetical ordering.

Of course, most of them aren't Campaign legal, and those that are are unique to say the least, so I think that I can cover them all briefly here.

Adarymy may be classless, but can use fighter and rogue items, so can be thought of as a multiclasser in many ways. She can happily build up a suitably powerful mix of equipment while hiding behind her stupidly impressive army of leel 1 characters. Every expansion it gets better and better, with Brother Dominy and Spencer Latham being just two of the most obvious recent entries...

Andelwick and Kedric can be lumped together as the two Monk warlords. Since monks have such a small card pool of actions and items available to them, both have to rely on cutting away the chaff and using what little good stuff is available. Kedric is helped out a little more by having a little bit of fighter mojo working for him, and the benefits of all those tasty FreeK characters, but Andelwick has an ability that is pretty useful, and became een more abuseable with the stunning tech made available in Dragon's Fury and Eye of the Storm. Kedric could be backed up by a traditional FreeK line-up, possibly favouring fighters a little more, while Andelwick may try out a little clerical support...

And finally Raziel. Blind the Gods was supposedly the death-knell for the poor sap. But even leaving aside that fact, there is very little that he himself suggests to a deck. He's not a pro-active warlord. Rather than advance an agenda himself, he messes with the opponent's head and hand. Far better for a dec built around him to run itself, throwing out low level characters that work in isolation, as any card-reliant combo isn't going to hold up to a need to discard. He blitzes fast, before the enemy realises that he has no real kill mechanism.

Right, so that's those reprobates dealt with succinctly. The real, potentially more in-depth, work will commence with the next post, addressing the a possible use of cleric warlords.