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Examining the Guard Class in Heroscape

Posted July 11th, 2010 at 11:17 PM by Filthy the Clown
Updated August 12th, 2010 at 11:28 PM by Filthy the Clown (Dastardly typo.)
"The eyes of your emperor are upon you." So spoke Napoleon to his Old Guard infantry, the solid, indefatigable force that formed the backbone of the 19th century French army. The Old Guard formed the emperor's bodyguard, a potent tactical reserve that was to be unleashed if the battle turned south. Napoleon knew the value of a solid force, ready to protect vital assets and become the ultimate reserve...And you should too. However mundane the task, guards fulfill an important mission: keeping something, or someone, safe. In, Heroscape, the role of the guard is indeed an important one, and one that should be taken advantage of. This post will focus on the role of the Guard class, provide examples of guard strategies, and assist you in successfully implementing Guards within your own armies.

In essence, the role of a guard is to protect a key asset, whether it be a cheerleader, glyph, or even terrain. Enter the Guard class: units that have the stats to protect these assets, with smoking gun, bloody chain, or jackboot heel. When drafting or crafting armies, attention is usually paid to offensive units that can kill the enemy, and defensive cheerleaders that can hold the fort and provide stats-boosting or other critical facets of strategy. Guards tend to fall in the defensive category: draft them to protect your army core and valuable assets. This can include protecting cheerleaders, such as Raelin; critical glyphs; or even terrain, such as a small hill that provides elevation for your ranged units. Although members of the guard class are rarely viewed as competitive*, each member has abilities that can be used to help you win games. In order to give you a strategic synopsis of these abilities, I will be discussing each member of the Guard class in detail.

The Guard class is comprised of:
  • Marrden Nagrubs
  • Blastatrons
  • Zettian Guards
  • Dumutef Guard
  • Gurei-Oni
  • Obsidian Guards
  • Granite Guardians
  • Drow Chainfighter
  • Warden 816: One Guard to rule them all
Let's kick if off with the Marrden Nagrubs.

With a high movement, and cheap cost, grubs are the perfect guard, ready to be sacrificed in an instant for their hivelord. As the only guard class with bonafide bonding (their bonding offers 3 attacks of 2/3, in collaboration with the hivelord's attack.), they perform a selfless duty: surrounding the hivelord, locking up potential threats, and sacrificing themselves to keep the hivelord alive. For a mere 10 points per grub, you can ensure that your hivelord will be around long enough to remove all threats from the game. In fact, you should be willing to take proactive risks, since every attack on your grubs is one less attack on your important hivelord. Ideally, if/when your hivelord is destroyed, you should have no grubs left. However, in the event that you have not lost all of them, they can make a passable end-game squad, moreso if your hivelord did his duty and destroyed all of the tough heroes. With their high movement, they can easily gain height and attack/defend with 3 dice, which can just be enough to clinch a late victory. Adding the Warden grants your grubs a movement of 7, which should be more than adequate to gain height and the coveted extra attack die.

Nagrub builds:

Tor-Kul-Na 220
Nagrubs x3 310
Marro Warriors 360
Marcu 380, 16 spaces

~Dok used this build with success in a 2010 Colorado tourney.

Tor-Kul-Na 220
Nagrubs x3 310
Phantom Knights x3 520, 20 spaces

~Another TKN build, with the grubs sticking close to the hivelord for sacrifice and as a mobile meat shield. Use the Knights to take on ranged threats and to bypass rat screens.

Su-Bak-Na 160
Nagrubs x2 220
Marro Dividers x 5 470, 23 spaces

Su-Bak-Na 160
Grubs x3 250
Stingers x4 490, 23 spaces

~Use your grubs to keep a protective shield of flesh around the defensively weak hivelord.

In closing, remember these points:
  • To avoid losing order markers due to your grubs getting wiped out, keep one grub tucked away in a reserve location.
  • Grubs are loyal, and should be played as such. They are not afraid to "take one for the team," so don't be afraid to put your grubs in harm's way. Remember, each attack on a grub is one less potential wound on your hivelord.
Please share your thoughts and experiences with the Nagrubs.

Examining the Guard Class Part 1
Examining the Guard Class Part 2
Examining the Guard Class Part 3
Examining the Guard Class Part 4
Examining the Guard Class Part 5
Examining the Guard Class Part 6

*DISCLAIMER: my personal experience involves the casual game, but the competitive expert's opinions and knowledge are respected and encouraged on these blog posts. Namely, please set me straight when you disagree with any of my competitive assumptions.
Total Comments 11


MegaSilver's Avatar
:clap: I can see you writing a Strategy Article in the near future. I haven't the time to read this in full at the moment, only skimmed, but it sound nice already!

Posted July 11th, 2010 at 11:51 PM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is offline
Chilling Touch's Avatar
Sweet! Cant wait for the others to come out.
Posted July 12th, 2010 at 12:08 AM by Chilling Touch Chilling Touch is offline
Nice article.
I've always liked the grubs but never been a fan of the Blasts. Can't wait to see if you can change my mind on them.
Posted July 12th, 2010 at 09:21 AM by AMIS AMIS is offline
killercactus's Avatar
I'm glad to see someone do this. Guards are the one class in Heroscape that seems like it should be strong, but no one has really mastered them yet (maybe with the Nagrub exception - they see some play).
Posted July 12th, 2010 at 10:18 AM by killercactus killercactus is offline
A_Train's Avatar
I love the idea Filthy, and I love that you started with the Nagrubs, they're really a great squad, thematically in all.
I find I rarely play them as well as I should. I often wind up with too many left over when my Hivelords are all gone (I think my problem often lies in taking more squads of Nagrubs than I need).
Posted July 12th, 2010 at 09:13 PM by A_Train A_Train is offline
NecroBlade's Avatar
TKN + 3x Grubs is very strong and very fun to play. I took that combo (plus Nilfhiem) to a top 4 spot at a NHSD. For the other Hivelords (SBN, WSG) more than 2 squads of Grubs is overkill, IMO.
Posted July 12th, 2010 at 09:22 PM by NecroBlade NecroBlade is offline
dok's Avatar
I've gone 9-1 with TKN+grubsx3 in tournament play... and the one loss was against an army that also had TKN+grubsx3.

I'll revise these numbers after Gencon...

Post-Gencon: Make that 13-2, with a shiny Utgar Champion plaque to go with it. I got 4th Mass'd in my loss.
Posted July 13th, 2010 at 04:37 PM by dok dok is online now
Updated August 16th, 2010 at 12:21 PM by dok
Pickledpie's Avatar
Are there any good 4x Grub armies at 500?

Off the top of my head there's:
TKN 220
4x Grubs 340
Posted July 13th, 2010 at 08:32 PM by Pickledpie Pickledpie is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Thanks for the feedback, as well as the excellent advice.
Pickledpie: You might want to also consider Wo-Sa-Ga in a 500 point build with 4x Grubs. She has stronger anti-hero capabilities, 1 more defense (although a bit shorter on life, I am afraid), and your grubs will have an easier time keeping up with her (as opposed to TKN's flying). The trade-off is that you won't get the D20 bonus for Trample Stomp. But, you will have 25 points for filler: Marcu, Drow Chainfighter (to pull those pesky heroes down for WSG), Dumutef...
Posted July 14th, 2010 at 12:10 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
dok's Avatar
I would definitely take SBN in stead of WSG. I would save SBN for cleanup - he can catch up with the grubs that are already on the field quickly enough.

Honestly, though, if you asked me to make a 500 point army with 4x grubs, my first instinct would be TKN, Airborne Elite, Marro Warriors. I'm just not a fan of WSG, and I only really like SBN with dividers or in very very high point games.
Posted July 14th, 2010 at 07:58 PM by dok dok is online now
I flanked with the nagrubs and killed my bos realin v1
Posted July 15th, 2010 at 06:11 PM by dfonse dfonse is offline
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