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Examining the Guard Class in Heroscape Part 2: Blastatrons

Posted July 15th, 2010 at 05:44 PM by Filthy the Clown
Updated July 15th, 2010 at 11:44 PM by Filthy the Clown (Added Spider Poison's GenCon 08 championship build.)
As we continue our analysis of members of the Guard class, let's take a look at the only 4-member ranged squad in the Guard class: Blastatrons.


The Blastatrons have a lot going for them: they are soulborgs (thus immune to a host of vulnerabilities); 7 range, 4-unit squad (15 points each; cheaper than 10th Regiment, Minutemen, and Mohicans, whom they have a loose comparison too); and movement bonding with Gladiatrons. However, with weak defensive stats, as well as a paltry base attack of 1 (according to Sisyphus's tables, an attack of 1 will only cause a wound on a defense of 3 about 15% of the time), they must utilize a 'ranged firebase' approach, with as many attack enhancements as they can get, to fulfill their guard obligation: namely, protecting their assets with ranged fire, as well as melee engagement when the need arises.

The Blastatrons are usually employed with the Gladiatrons for an explosive combo. The Gladiatrons move forward into engagement, and the Blastatrons "guard" them with ranged firepower, taking advantage of Gladiatron Movement Bonding and Homing Device. Successful armies with variations of this build abound. Proven builds generally consist of 3 Gladiatrons/2 Blastatrons, with a combination of filler.

Spider Poison won the GenCon 08 championship with the following build:
4x Gladiatrons 320
2x Blastatrons 440
Raelin (RotV) 520, sitting 1 Glad

For example, Jexik went 4 - 1 at the 2009 Rochester Gamer's Reunion tournament with the following build:
3x Gladiatrons, 2x Blastatrons, Raelin

InfinityMax also went 4 - 1 in a Dallas Fort Worth tournament with the following Guard-heavy build:
Glads, Blasts, Zettians, Warden

Taeblewalker's 510 'Guard' variation:
Blastatrons x3 180
Gladiatrons x3 420
Warden 816 510
25 spaces, sitting a blast or glad

There are numerous successes that validate the Glad/Blast combo. That being said, most players (especially newer ones) will agree that it is hard to find the Gladiatron sculpts. Often enough, with nothing to guard, most Blasts are simply left in the figure tub. However, one should note that there are other successful builds awaiting that can work without the Gladiatrons. The remainder of this post will focus on these builds.

Blastatrons can perform adequately without their Gladiatron allies, providing a fire support base to large Vydar soulborgs (Majors Q9, Q10, and X17), as well as other Blastatrons. With a range of 7 (bumped to a 9 with Laglor's Range Enhancement Aura or Deathwalker 9000's Guard Range Enhancement), you can throw 4 attacks of 3 (+1 for height and +1 for Homing Device bonus) at any enemy foolish enough to engage your majors.
There are two base strategies that we will use when employing our Blastatrons:

1) Strict Guard role - Keep your Blasts behind a key asset, such as a Major, and use them as a ranged fly swatter. Take the following 300 point core:
Major Q9 180
Blasts x2 300

In the Strict Guard role, you want to keep your blasts 5 - 7 spaces behind the Major, and ideally on height. Keep the X marker on your blasts, occasionally taking a turn with them to position as needed. Anticipate engagement with your Major, and activate your blasts to engage your opponent with ranged fire: namely, 4 attacks of 3 (+1 base attack, +1 height, +1 for Homing Device). This strategy works great when you have a screen for your Major, such as rats, or even Goblin Cutters. Additionally, you can move one blast forward to engage the opponent [that is engaged with your Major] to raise your attack strength to 3 attacks of 4.

2) Proactive Guard role - Use the Blastatrons to engage the enemy and proactively activate Homing Device. Once you have subdued large threats to your army, or your key assets have been destroyed, you will need to resort to this role to actively attack your opponents remaining forces. This strategy involves rushing forward with 2 Blastatrons to engage the enemy, then using the remaining squad members to fall back to maximum range, utilizing Homing Device against your engaged opponent (dubbed the '2e2f' strategy; 2 blasts engage the enemy, while 2 blasts fall back with ranged attacks). With height and proper placement, you can launch 2 attacks of 4 against your target (in addition to the 2 attacks of 1 or 2 via your engaged Blastatrons). This can be a potential strategy to overrun your opponent with Mohican-style tactics. You will inevitably lose blasts to attrition, but having the advantage of cheap 4-figure squads means that you can slowly whittle down your opponent's remaining forces while still having numbers left at the end to claim victory.

With the Proacive Guard role, you want to stock up on as many Blastatrons as points will allow: at least 3 squads. Each squad effectively becomes a guerilla unit, utilizing the 2e2f strategy to ensure 2 solid attacks against your foe. Take the following example:
x = Blasts
# = opponent.
With 2e2f, you want something similar to:
x1 x2


x3#x4#

~The first ranged Blastatron will get a strength 4 attack on the first target (a 66% chance of causing a wound against a defense of 3). If the target survives, the second ranged Blast will get the same attack; otherwise, the second Blast gets an attack of 3 on target 2. Your two engaged Blasts will get attacks of 1 on any surviving targets, with a 15% chance to kill a squaddie with a defense of 3. The next round, you will need to move up reinforcement, either to engage or attack from range.

For example:
Q10 150
Raelin 230
Rats x2 310
Blasts x3 490, 23 spaces

In this instance, you can opt for a Strict Guard role until Q10, your key asset, falls. Then, you will need to engage in a Proactive Guard role, taking the fight to the enemy as needed.


* It is important to note that Role #1 can easily morph into Role #2. That being said, if you anticipate the demise of your key assets (plan on the best, but prepare for the worse), plan on spending the extra points initially to ensure that you have enough Blasts to meet the inevitable amount of attrition that will ensue on account of their low defensive stats. Also, to throw a large attack at a tough opponent, consider utilizing 3e1f, where 3 blasts enage the enemy, allowing the fourth, unengaged blast the opportunity for a strength 5 attack. (+1 back attack, +1 height, +3 Homing Device).


Other sample builds:

Blast x4 240
Raelin v2 360
Deathwalker 9K(500) or Laglor (470), 18 spaces

~The DeathWalker's Range Enhancement gives your adjacent blasts a range of 9. Keep a squad adjacent to the DW, and then use DW's explosion attack to saturate the advancing enemy, with the occasional OM on the adjacent guards to plink away with four attacks of 2 (make sure to set up your ranged pod on height). When your opponent closes within 6 spaces, unleash your Blast horde to engage with 2e2f. Optionally, you can replace DW9K with Laglor, who brings another potent special attack to the mix, as well as a +2 range enhancement for all blasts within 4 clear sight spaces. Raelin V2 will make it easier to keep your Blasts under a protective aura, as well as clearing off swarming figures with her Whirlwind attack.


Due to the Blastatron's comparatively low price, Taelord is not outside the realm of possibility:
Taelord 180
Blast x 4 420
Raelin 500, 18 spaces

~There is no shame in guarding the kyries with a horde of sharpshooting soulborgs. With height, 4 attacks of 3 is nothing to scoff at. Alternatively, 2 attacks of 2 and 2 attacks of 4-5 can blast through anything.


Closing points:
  • Obtain height!
  • Since Blasts are defensively weak, Raelin is a near-necessity in blast-heavy builds.
  • At 15 points per figure (and with 7 range), the Blasts are a cheap squad. That being said, do not be afraid to sacrifice some of your blasts in order to take down tough enemies with Homing Device. Every guard knows that there is nothing dishonorable in dying for a noble cause: in your case, this is victory through ranged attacks and planned attrition...Essentially bleeding better than your enemy.
  • Bring a Major to the party. Not only are they tough, but you can also use your Blasts (and Homing Device) to swat off those foolish enough to engage your Major in melee.
  • If your Blasts have to get up close and personal with the enemy, remember this forumla: 2e2f. Two blasts charge and engage, while two blasts move back to max range (and height, ideally) and then take advantage of Homing Beacon to attack the units that your two blasts are engaged with (and we are not talking matrimony). Do not forget to include your engaged Blastatron attacks of 1 (or 2, from height). They might just be enough to punch through a weakened opponent.
  • Disciplined units know when to charge and when to pull back as needed. Treat your Blasts as such, and don't give in to panic or rash decisions. Expect to lose Blastatrons due to attrition, but keep your overall strategy in mind.
  • Blasts are a great Krav Maga counter draft; Four attacks of 1 - 2 have a good chance of blasting through Stealth Dodge.
  • If you have the points to spare, the Warden's +1 move bonus will greatly assist the Blasts in obtaining height.
Examining the Guard Class Part 1
Total Comments 6

Comments

Old
Pickledpie's Avatar
Very nice!

This proves the theory that they need to re-release Wave 4. BADLY.
Posted July 15th, 2010 at 09:20 PM by Pickledpie Pickledpie is offline
Old
EternalThanos86's Avatar
Don't forget Spider won the GenCon championship in 2008 with Glad/Blast army.
Posted July 15th, 2010 at 11:25 PM by EternalThanos86 EternalThanos86 is offline
Old
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Thanks! The Blasts have received a lot of play in my house. And thanks for mentioning Spider's 2008 GenCon army, Eternal Thanos. I will add it to the post.
Posted July 15th, 2010 at 11:32 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Old
SSAGENT022's Avatar
I need to get some gladiatrons,
any help Filthy the cow?
Posted July 17th, 2010 at 09:00 PM by SSAGENT022 SSAGENT022 is offline
Old
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Cattle can indeed be dangerous, but they might be too large for cyberclaw.
Posted July 18th, 2010 at 08:15 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Old
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
An oldie but a goodie: another Blastatron-based build that has worked in playtesting:

Blastatrons x2 120
Gladiatrons x2 280
Raelin 360
Sudema 500, 18 spaces
~This one is based on a gem posted by killercactus in the Book of Sudema, with the exception of subbing in Raelin for one squad of glads. Raelin, being her bad self, helps everyone...But especially the blastatrons if you have to move them into engagement. With a 65% success rate, Sudema's Stare of Stone works great at picking off advancing squaddies (a good counter to rats and repulsors, although limited to one attack a turn; her 20% success rate at destroying heroes is more of a crap shoot). Plus, Sudema's perceived threat can be used to channel enemy heroes either to or from her position, depending on how much she looks like "bait." Keep her close to Raelin, and surrounded by a wall of metal, and she can easily earn her points. I find her distraction to be good for at least a turn or two of unimpeded movement with the soulborgs.
Posted September 3rd, 2010 at 11:07 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
 
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