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Bloodlusting or a Bloodletting?

Posted October 13th, 2008 at 01:08 PM by Rˇchean
Feast or Famine: it never seems more true than with the Tagawa Samurai. Their hefty price point and solid stats puts a bull's-eye on them as big as Taelord. The Tagawa will not be overlooked by the opponent. They will be targeted early and often. No one wants the rampaging Samurai fully armed and filthy except the guy playing them. And when they are fully armed, they can be down right nasty. We have all seen it: 2 or even all 3 of them with the experience markers stacked up just tearing through stuff. Unfortunately, for every time we see them shine they probably come up short three to four times or more. They are one of the trickier units to play as their full potential is only realized once they have killed 3 units. It is the closest special to leveling currently in the game. Krug sort of levels up as he gets wounded, but watching the big boy take killing punishment doesn't have the same feel as seeing those purple markers get stacked up from successful kills. It is truly awesome, but it is also truly rare.

There is such a fine line between them working and them sucking, that their price point makes them really risky. Their 6 move and 5 defense make them able to charge in and reap havoc, but at 40 pts each they take way more care than that to be successful. They are at their strongest at end game when range has been thinned and armies are divided, but in order to be at their full potential by end game, they have to pick up a few kills along the way. There in lies the finesse of playing these guys. There has to be a balance between being ready to rumble and still being able to rumble. Losing 1 hurts badly, losing 2 pretty much shuts them down. A player really has to pick their spots with these guys and sort of plan for the best while preparing for the worst. Here are a few tips and tactics I have used to get them going:
  • Complimentary components: Preferably solid range, support, and/or some nice fodder. As previously stated, they are going to get attention. They need to be worked into armies that are accounting for that. Running them with other units that also garnish attention can be a good way to go. Raelin is a good example of a unit that compliments the Samurai both with extra defense dice and by absorbing potential attacks. Every shot at Raelin is not a shot at the valuable samurai. Heroes and other expensive squads also take some of the attention away. K.Awa comes to mind. The Nakita can be a good a compliment too with their smoke powder and range. Conversely, the Krav almost deflect attacks to the Sams as their stealth dodge is a strong incentive to pick another target, even one with high defense. It isn't that the Tagawa and Krav are a bad combo, they just aren't as symbiotic as other unit combos can be. Units that can soften heroes up and thin the ranks are good for the Tagawa, and the Krav are certainly good at that. Any army with large numbers of range units can be favorable such as Mass Stingers or 10th regimen. The Izumi are also a nice compliment because they are cheap enough to be a meat shield but they donít clog up the board; this allows the Tagawa to get in where they fit in.

  • Picking their spots: And by picking their spots, I mean literally picking some hexes on the board. Identify favorable places for them to be at the start of the game. One or two markers will be required in the early to mid game to get them out of the start zone. Start zones are usually not an area of fortitude. Leaving these boys hanging back until they are needed will ensure they the won't be ready when they are needed. If getting there is half the battle then half the battle of getting there. Have an idea of where they need to go, whether it is high ground, or a hiding corner, or some nice jungle brush; target an area for each of them and get them out there, preferably fanned out. They can always meet up on a target later. Their 6 move gives them a good chance at establishing favorable positioning so use it. I am not saying to march them into harm's way but get them on a favorable hex from which to strike out. Exercise care with them as with any high priced unit. There is no need to lose one to a high ground pock shot when not necessary. Have a plan before putting them down in the start zone. They are far too venerable and valuable to put just anywhere. Count it out, measure it up, and visualize their progression through the game.

  • Target the low hanging fruit: Duh! However, it is easier said than done. This should be a mid game objective. Size up the opponent's army and the most probable strategy then factor in where the Tagawa will have the most chance for success. Be thinking about the when and the where to get these guys involved from the get go. Get them some place decent then revisit them next round or later in the game depending on how their potential targets are shaping up and how they are holding up. Get them swooping in and stealing the glory from other units. They should be scarfing down the scraps and pumping up the markers. If they get in position to have 3 attacks, then make sure the order of those attacks maximizes the potential for lust markers. It seems elementary, but it is very important. The cumulative potential of picking up markers as they progress through their attacks can make all the difference in getting a good turn, as well as getting a good game, from the Tagawa. Low level squad units are an excellent way to pick up a couple of markers in one activation. Going after a dieing hero is usually a good idea; weakened range units are nice targets too. Be thinking about it with every move and every marker, not just when it is the Tagawa's turn. Again, they are far to expensive to not have a plan.

  • Use what the card gives: Don't forget that experience markers can be received when not attacking too. Use counterstrike to help them whenever possible. If it is a favorable match up for them, then go ahead and engage the enemy. The opponent may attack or attempt disengage, both of which could garnish one of the coveted experience markers. Use their defense to pump up their offense. Range units or units with just normal attacks are good targets. Establish engagement in key areas that still favor the samurai. Whenever possible, let the opponent pump them up. The opponent may even forego attacks out of fear; another favorable outcome.

  • Press the advantage: When they do pick up a marker or two, the Samurai have to be used. They are now ready to roll and a player would be remiss to not use them. It is similar to when the AE drop, they have to be used. Once the Tagawa are rolling, let them roll until it is no longer feasible to do so. Once the first experience marker is realized, all the cat and mouse games are over; the opponent will be gunning for the bloodlusters. Be prepared to put order markers on them and to keep using them even committing some chancy turns to them every now and then. Once they are fully pumped, a small episode of reckless abandon may well be justified. If it is end game, all the better, mop up with 'em.
I do find the Tagawa to be one of the most rewarding units to play; when the work, they rock. But they can also be extremely frustrating. I said earlier that they are tricky to play; sometimes they need to be played tricky. Be ready to shift the plan if things start going south; if two are gone without garnishing an experience marker, they are pretty much done. At the same time, nothing says doh! Like 120 points wasted. The Tagawa need a bit of luck and a lot of care to really produce. Be patient but persistent. Be coy but direct. Be deliberate but defensive. It is all about striking a balance when using the Tagawa Samurai. They aren't a throw in like the Marro and they are not a catch all like the Krav. Their margin for error is low and their potential is high. Build the army and the strategy around them; it gives them the best chance for success. Happy Bloodlusting!
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Next up is the Krav Maga in which I will try to cover how Stealth Dodge can help other units.
Total Comments 7

Comments

Old
CheddarLimbo's Avatar
Another fine blag, Rˇchean! This is the kind of really tricky unit that really needs this sort of attention and strategy.
Posted October 13th, 2008 at 02:03 PM by CheddarLimbo CheddarLimbo is offline
Old
Pickledpie's Avatar
I agree. Nice blag.
Posted October 13th, 2008 at 07:29 PM by Pickledpie Pickledpie is offline
Old
rym's Avatar
Uh, could you possibly cover the knights by Saturday, or Nilfheim, or Sir Gilbert? I'm just asking, that's all. No coincidence whatsoever to NHSD, none at all.
Posted October 13th, 2008 at 08:52 PM by rym rym is offline
Old
Great blog once again Rˇchean. Nice and informative but not to much to take in and digest.
Posted October 14th, 2008 at 01:36 AM by Rifier_Ace Rifier_Ace is offline
Old
NamibianScaper's Avatar
What about pumping them up with Thorgrim and/or Finn? Those units are good early suicides that can weaken squads and heroes, getting them ready for the samurai.
Posted October 14th, 2008 at 10:12 AM by NamibianScaper NamibianScaper is offline
Old
Rˇchean's Avatar
I am not too keen on a Viking pumping strategy or a Hatamoto strategy with these guys. There is no way I can cover everything nor do I intend to. These blog entries are all about the units I like to play and how I play them.

But sure Namibian, give it a go. If you do go that way I do suggest having some knights with those Vikings as map control and attacks per activation are important.
Posted October 14th, 2008 at 11:47 AM by Rˇchean Rˇchean is offline
Old
Bones's Avatar
Good read. I've been really hesitant to use this unit after getting whooped my first time out. I will definitely try them again after that though. Thanks!
Posted October 17th, 2008 at 03:32 PM by Bones Bones is offline
 
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