Don't you think it's time to hone your Bushido skills...
There are so many skills that, I think, it will be more useful to explain skills as I come across them. I find it easier to learn that way. However, be prepared that even with only 5 models to look at this is going to be a long one!!
So, the time has come for my journey through the Jwar Isles to take a more personal turn as I explore the starter set for the faction that I have decided to game with; The Jung Pirates! With my rulebook in hand, and a copy of the stat cards, it’s time to dive in and offer my thoughts on the skills that the Pirates have as well as my thoughts on how they will play. My next blog will be a batrep so you can see how badly wrong my assumptions about the way they play are.
Mari is the most expensive member of the starter set clocking in at 10 Rice which is just under a third of the total cost but she’s a samurai! However, don’t expect Mari to be a melee monster because she only has a melee stat of three that can be boosted to four by three Ki tokens. As mentioned in the last blog (check it out, I’ll wait), that means she throws three dice during a melee exchange that need to be split into defence or attack. That’s not to say she’s a push over in melee since her Katana gives her +1 to her damage roll and the ‘Martial Prowess (1)’ skill allows her to re-roll one melee dice in either attack or defence. In my opinion, Mari is more of a defensive piece in melee with her ‘Armour (1)’ and ‘Push Defence (0)’ stat which allows her to push the attacker 1” away from her if she makes a successful defence without having to sacrifice any melee dice. Nice for forcing a would-be attacker back out of combat.
So, where is Mari’s strength? For me, Mari should operate just behind the front line. She has a very good pistol with a range band of 3/6/9 which coupled with her Ranged skill of 3 and weapon strength of +2 means she should nicely be able to pick off someone with evil intentions towards her while the front line troops make sure they stay at arm’s length by blocking charge/movement lanes. However, her re-load stat of 2 means you are going to spend a turn of doing nothing but reloads before you can shoot again meaning she won’t be a gun toting nightmare for your opponents. However, the odd well-timed shot might be just the deterrence needed to make your opponent think twice about getting too close to Mari.
I’m also planning on using Mari’s speed movement of 4” and ‘Jump Up’ skill (she may remove a prone token at the start of the turn for free) to get her into position, just behind the front line and dictate the board knowing that her pistol, katana and the fact that Mari has ‘Bravery’ (which allows her to reroll failed fear tests) will allow her a sense of security. This will allow me to exploit what, I feel, are her main strengths. Mari has the skill ‘Command (2/Kaizoku)’ which allows Mari to activate two Kaizoku who can perform a simple action. All of the starter set are Kaizoku, by the way, which will really allow me to dictate the flow of the turn with some movement or combat to catch my opponent off guard. Thanks to Mari’s Unique Effect, all Kaizoku within 3” gain “Self-Sacrifice (3)” which means that any model that is neither exhausted or in base to base contact with an opponent can be removed from play rather than let Mari take damage. Also, Mari has ‘Leadership (8)’ meaning that models within 8" may use this models Ki stat of 8 for Fear tests. Very handy for keeping your guys safe from a rampaging Oni. All of this means that I think Mari needs to be surrounded by her crew like any good captain would be.
Mari’s first Ki Feat is “Dishonour” which is a simple Ki Feat (Indicated by the S) that costs 2 Ki and cannot be performed in melee (the little sword symbol indicates this). The target model must be within 8” and forces the target to perform an opposed Ki test which if successful means the target cannot declare the use of Ki Feats until the end of the turn which is a nice way of disrupting your opponents plans.
For 2 Ki, Mari can use her “Do-Kote” which is a personal feat (indicated by the P) which only affects Mari and can only be used during Mari’s active turn (indicated by the A). Instant and Active feats are not deemed to be actions. Using this feat gives Mari “Feint (1)” skill until the end of the turn which means Mari can pick one of her opponents attack dice to be rerolled. Finally, Mari can use the Active Ki feat “Rally” for 3 Ki which removes the frightened state from friendly models. The frightened state means that the model has to put more dice into defence than attack (“Defensive” trait) and suffers a -1 to its melee state which is handy to remove but is costly at 3 Ki.
For eight rice, Ran is the best fighter in the starter set based on her melee stat of four which she can boost by spending three Ki. However, her melee weapons have a strength modifier of -1 meaning she can’t be relied upon to put the hurt on people. Ran seems to be all about her movement too because she has ‘Side step defence (0)’ meaning with a successful defence she can move 1” away from her attacker which is handy for ensuring she doesn’t get bogged down in melee. Couple that with ‘Parry’ which allows her to add 1 to her highest defence roll and you can see that Ran is all about winning a defensive exchange and maybe cutting her attacker on her way out of melee. Her movement is also 4” and she has ‘Light Footed’ so she can ignore difficult terrain and ‘Jump Up’ to allow her to move around the board relatively easily.
For 2 Ki, Ran can boost her attacking potential by using the active Feat “Precision Strike” to gain armour piercing (ignore armour when making damage rolls) or 3 Ki for the Instant Feat (indicated by the I) Rain of Blows which gives her the “Combo Attack (0)” skill. Instant Feats can be used at any time except when in melee or during a ranged attack. The skill means that after a successful attack Ran makes a damage roll at the success level and then makes another damage roll but at success level of two lower than rolled during the melee exchange. This process is repeated until the modified success level becomes less than zero turning Ran into a reliable damage dealer.
Sho is the cheapest member of the starter set at 5 rice but he still seems to be a useful piece for board control. His melee is an uninspiring three (although he can boost it with three Ki) but it’s his weapon skill of ‘Drag Defence (0)’ which makes him most useful. When Sho is in combat with a miniature that is posing you a problem and performs a successful defence roll you can move Sho 1" away from the attacker then move the attacker back into B2B with defender effectively moving both men away from the troublesome spot. That’s without having to sacrifice a single melee dice. Perfect for opening up a charge lane at a well-hidden target or shifting a model off of an objective. He also has ‘Dodge (1)’ skill which allows the Jung player to pick 1 dice of opposition's attack roll to re-roll giving Sho a little bit of extra defence. He also shares ‘Light Footed’ and ‘Jump Up’ with Ran meaning Sho is likely to get where he’s going with his movement of 4”. Sho’s Ki feat is a personal and active feat for a cost of one Ki which grants him “Sweep Attack (1)”. By sacrificing one melee dice Sho’s successful attack places his opponent into the “Prone state” and suffers half wounds from the damage roll.
Taru is another control piece for 6 rice. His ranged attack of two (that can be boosted for 3 Ki) with a range band of 0/3/0 allows Taru to throw his net over his target which causes no damage but immobilises them. When a model is immobilised it cannot declare any action other than disengage, Ki Feats that are usable in melee or Stand Up. The target model’s Melee Skill is also reduced by 1. The perfect time for Mari to move in and swing that Katana! The short range of Taru’s ranged attack means he needs to get into position to make his throw. Fortunately, the ‘light-weight’ skill meaning he can move with no penalty to his ranged attack roll helps with this as does “Jump Up” to go along with his movement of 4”. Taru only has ammo of 1 but this is only removed when he makes a successful net attack.
Taru also has good defence with a melee stat of 3 and ‘Sidestep Defence (0)’. He also has ‘Ranged Defence (1)’ which means ranged attacks against this model suffers a +1 modifier to target number which is helpful. Should you go on the offensive in melee Taru has ‘Immobilise attack (1)’ (which can be reduced to 0 using his active feat “Grapple” for 2 Ki) on his weapon which means that by sacrificing one melee dice he can immobilise the target which if successful will mean that he will not be the target of a melee attack back when the target is immobilised as above. ‘Bravery’ will also mean that Taru gets to reroll his failed Ki tests. I can almost imagine the look on a Savage Wave player when Taru is netting himself an Oni! Taru’s other Ki Feat is an instant feat that cannot be cast in melee called “Tornado”. This is a pulse feat of 2 inches to send a ranged attack back at the firer provided they have missed which is could be very useful and since it’s an Instant feat it’s not too situational.
Finally, for the cost of 6 rice we have everyone’s favourite pygmy, Temo. Temo’s strength is his ranged attack of three which can be boosted for three Ki. He has a choice of using his blowpipe which has a ranged band of 4/8/12 or his bow which is 5/10/15. (The blowpipe is really Temo’s weapon of choice but it’s nice to have the option of using the longer range on the bow should you need it.) The blowpipe has ammo of three meaning Temo starts with 3 ammo tokens which are removed after each ranged attack whether that is a success or a failure. Furthermore, Temo has ‘Light Weight’ and only ‘Reload (1)’ so he should be successfully putting out a shot a turn whether he moved or not.