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How to kill rats for 90 points or less

Posted September 9th, 2010 at 10:43 PM by Filthy the Clown
Updated September 10th, 2010 at 11:52 AM by Filthy the Clown (Updated the Searing Intensity/Filler wording.)
Everyone needs a pied piper.

Although deathreaver screen appear to be on a slight decline (despite the fact that Dok's 2010 GenCon championship army included 3 squads of them, only 18% of the Gencon Championship Day 1 armies utilized rats), there is still a demand for an anti-rat strategy in competitive builds; with that in mind, one should plan on including a special attack or ability that will eradicate rats while preventing Scatter. Of course, there are entire builds that have anti-rat capability by default (for example, Grut builds that rely on disengagement bonuses)...But what do you do when you have 90 points left, and you need that bolt-on, special attack to combat the deathreavers? Your options include:
  • Wyrmlings 30/35 points
    Red/Black wyrmlings are ideal for anti-squad capability. You need two to get your points worth via Wyrmling Bonding.
  • Fire Elemental 35 points
    Searing Intensity grants on FE a 35% chance to auto-kill one adjacent figure (and potentially up to six at once), but it can also damage your own units.
  • Omnicron Repulsors 40
    Potential to kill up to 18 rats with Circuitry Overload (increases in proportion to number of Repulsor squads); EMP Response can rob rats of movement and Order Markers.
  • Arkmer 50
    Passive rat-tapping ability; 40% chance of killing one rat (that is foolish enough to move adjacent to Arkmer) via Engagement Strike. The Passive attack means that the rat can choose to move around Arkmer.
  • Roman Archers 55
    Arrow Volley offers one range 6, strength 6 attack; can kill only one rat per activation, and their weak defense means that rats can actually kill archers.
  • Deadeye Dan 60
    Ullar Enhanced Rifle can kill one rat from 10 spaces away, preventing Scatter. However only one figure can be attacked per activation.
  • Izumi Samurai 60
    Passive; Counter Strike can kill rats after a failed attack on the rat's behalf.
  • Zombies 60
    Zombie Onslaught special attack can kill a rat if engaged with 3 zombies; Zombies Rise Again can replenish Zombie ranks. However, zombies are better suited to be a foundation of your build, as zombies work best with numbers...So you will need more than one squad.
  • Johnny Shotgun Sullivan 65
    Shotgun Blast Special Attack: good against multiple adjacent targets, but can wound friendlies. Good life stats offset his low defense.
  • James Murphy 75
    Same as Sullivan, but with Whip (45% chance of the rat rolling no defense die).
  • Erevan Sunshadow 80
    Fire Blast Special Attack: opportunity for multiple attacks if all skulls are rolled (on 2,3, or 4 attack dice, respectively); Fey Step is also handy, but Erevan is lacking in the Survivability department.
  • Gladiatrons 80
    They can Cyber Claw rats, preventing rats from scattering [adjacent to a gladiatron]. The problem lies in preventing others rats from scattering (besides the ones that you are engaged with).
  • Kumiko 80
    Ninjitsu Barrage Special Attack can attack up to three rats; Phantom Walk is an added bonus in allowing Kumiko to disregard rat screens entirely.
  • Wolves of Badru 80
    Pounce special Attack. A strength 5 special attack can kill rats dead, but a failed pounce automatically kills your 27 point wolf.
  • Heirloom 90
    Force Orb Special Attack: can target a rat and all opponents adjacent to the targeted rat. Tough provides worthy durability.
  • Sir Hawthorne 90
    Blind Rage Special Attack: if at least 2 skulls are rolled, Hawthorne can attack another target. Stab in the Back is a drag, though.
  • Chardris 90
    Fire Strike Special Attack: potential for one strength-5 attack at range of 6; base special attack is 2. Good for elf builds, rather than as a stand-alone hero, though.
As it stands (and situation dictating), the best investments appear to be:
  1. Wyrmlings: Reds gives you an excellent way to kill 2 rats per activation. Plus, they work great against other squads. Buy two for 60 points (or three, if you can afford it).
  2. Kumiko: excellent attack that can target multiple rats, as well as other units. Plus, she has the survivability to extract her points worth.
  3. Repulsors: at 13 points per squad figure, they are the cheapest option. There is potential to damage your own soulborgs, but 80 points will get you six repulsors, which should be easy enough to position in your start zone accordingly.
What units and anti-rat strategies work for you?
Total Comments 7


dok's Avatar
18% of armies having rats is actually quite a lot, in my opinion. I think the more heartening number is that only 12.5% of the day 2 armies had rats; in other words, when it came to day 2 qualification, rat armies did worse, on average, than non-rat armies. (It would be interesting to look at rat army winning percentage and see whether it was over or under 50%.)

Originally Posted by Filthy the Clown
Fire Elemental 35 points
Searing Intensity grants you a 35% 72.5% chance to kill rats
Fixed. OK, so, that's not true if you're using them as filler - that's only true with Kurrok. But the ability of the firestorm to sideline a rat screen is pretty awesome. It's faster ratkilling than even Braxas can manage.

The common squads you cite, aside from repulsors, don't really work at 90 or less because you can't get two squads. Also, I don't think the Izumi are in any sense a rat-counter. No sane player is going to attack the Izumi with rats unless the only figures left in the game are the Izumi and the rats.

If you limit me to 90 points, and all I care about is rat-neutralizing, I'd pick repulsors first and red wyrmlings second, although Hawthorne gets the nod if I have knights. More to the point, if I'm really afraid of seeing rats, I might want to consider a build that has answers for rats on most OMs, like an orc build or a build that features multiple ranged special attackers (particularly non-Charos Greenscale builds).
Posted September 9th, 2010 at 11:58 PM by dok dok is offline
tcglkn's Avatar
I actually find Heirloom to be a good choice for the job at 90 points.
Posted September 10th, 2010 at 07:17 AM by tcglkn tcglkn is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
In the name of fairness, I listed everything (less than 90 points) that could potentially kill a rat while not invoking Scatter. I agree about the Izumi, but they do meet this criteria. Cyber Claw is clutching at straws, too (although they can at least prevent the engaged rat from scattering).

Increasing the limit to 110 really increases one's options as well, but this takes it beyond the realm of filler, at least in a 500 point game.

I agree about Heirloom, and he has uses outside of rat killing (Mage Hand if very handy in dungeon crawls).

My top three picks are determined mainly by:
-cost in points
-inherent risk to friendlies

With those criteria in mind, the (red) wyrmlings come out on top, IMHO. Two attacks of 3/4 (you have a good chance of obtaining height with them) has a pretty good shot at killing two rats who also roll two less defense. Kumiko edges out the repulsors (slightly) due to her survivability while having no chance of potentially damaging friendlies. Of course, two squads of repulsors are an extremely sound investment at 80 points--realistically, situation dictates the inherent worth of your anti-rat picks.

I need to search for the builds used in prior GenCons and see if the number of rat builds has decreased or increased (my guess would be that they have decreased, as more units are now available to increase one's options).
Posted September 10th, 2010 at 08:02 AM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Updated September 10th, 2010 at 09:04 AM by Filthy the Clown (Izumi Disclaimer and other information.)
chas's Avatar
Its always good to see these kind of lists updated for new sets. Thanks.
Posted September 10th, 2010 at 08:12 AM by chas chas is offline
dok's Avatar
I'm pretty sure this year is the first year for which we have complete armies played data for the GenCon championship. I know 2009 Hexes in Texas has complete data as well... let's see... here it is. 12 rat armies (out of 54) finishing a combined 10 games over .500 (and that's including the 0-5 hodgepodge with ratsx1). Big difference from GenCon where rats were something like 11 games under .500 (I know ZBeeblebrox was 0-3 and Brownsfan82 and Phantazm21zero were 1-4; I don't know if the other low finishers played all five games or not).

The nice thing about redsx3 as compared to repulsorsx2 is that the reds are pretty nice against 'trons or knights or other commons that like to close in. (No height advantage for fledgling fires, though...)

Minor correction - pounce is only an attack of 5.
Posted September 10th, 2010 at 11:37 AM by dok dok is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Badru = fixed, thanks (come onnnn, Filthy!).

Thanks for sharing the Texas stats; 12 out of 54? That is roughly the same percentage as GenCon 2010, relatively speaking. A fair percentage of 3 and 4x reavers, too.
Interesting to note that of the top 10, 50% had bonafide anti-rat solutions:
-DrLivingston(1): Zelrig
-BroInLaw(4): Gruts
-R˙chean(5): Gruts
-Velenne(8 ): Zombies in numbers
-Jonathan(10): James Murphy

The lack of a climbing bonus for the small Repulsors is a drag as well, although only a small one.

And thanks, chas. Glad that you enjoyed the post, typos/errors aside.
Posted September 10th, 2010 at 11:55 AM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Updated September 10th, 2010 at 12:13 PM by Filthy the Clown (Added top 10 observation)
Taeblewalker's Avatar
Great writeup.
Posted January 26th, 2021 at 02:51 PM by Taeblewalker Taeblewalker is offline
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