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Examining the Guard Class in Heroscape Part 5: Rock Warriors

Posted August 4th, 2010 at 11:21 PM by Filthy the Clown
Updated August 5th, 2010 at 09:18 AM by Filthy the Clown (Grammar editing)
The following Guard units are the closest that the Guards have to a solid army core...Units that can almost work as a standalone army; they are the rockers of Heroscape: the Granite Guardians, and to a lesser extent: the Obsidian Guards. With impressive stats almost as impressive as their cost in points, these stone-faced squads slowly shuffle towards the enemy, using ranged attacks from height or special terrain.

Let's begin with the Granite Guardians:

The rocks come alive! With a stout defense of 5, and the potential for an attack of 5 from height, the GG's stand tall against your approaching opponent, absorbing damage and acting as a buffer between the enemy and other members of your army. With the Gain High Ground ability, all GGs that you control can take an additional move of 1, including up to 4 levels up or down. Additionally, your granite warriors can add 2 to their range if they have a height advantage. Sounds like a pretty good package, but there is a catch: 33.3 points per figure will not buy you a huge swarm of guardians. With that in mind, you will need to do everything that you can to protect your investment, who in turn will protect the assets in your army. Let's look at some potential strategies that you can use to get the maximum value out of your Granite Guardians.

Despite having a defense of 5, Raelin is generally a good idea. At 33 points each, you cannot afford to lose your guardians carelessly, either to bad defensive rolls or attrition. The guardians can form a nice rock wall to keep her safe; in turn, she can boost their defense to almost impregnable levels that rival Major Q9...Enough to shrug off a substantial amount of damage.

Even with Raelin's protection, the Granite Guardians form a bit of a conundrum; do you just draft a couple of squads, or do you base an army on them? With their high cost, you can generally afford only 3 squads before you need to add key assets. After all, they are guards, and they need something to guard. Add in Raelin, and a strong hero or unique squad, and you have a lethal combination. More than any other guard unit, the Warden adds a much-needed movement bonus: an additional 33%! However, you will need to choose enough guardians to justify the use of the Warden. With 3 squads, Raelin, and the Warden, you have invested 470 points. Do you leave out Raelin, or the Warden? At 510, you can have 4 squads, the Warden, and Marcu. However, a better alternative would be GG x3 and Raelin, leaving 120 points to spend on a key asset: Kaemon Awa, Nakita Agents, Krav Maga/Marcu. Either build shines when surrounded by rock-skinned guards.

Some recommended support units:
  • Raelin ~Seven defense can make the earth shake.
  • Warden 816 ~Move bonus and cleanup on aisle 816, please!
  • KMA ~A perfect, ranged asset to wrap in stone.
  • Nakita Agents ~Smoke powder and engagement strike will give your advancing guardians an edge.
  • Warforged or Drow chainfighters(for forcing opponents off of height) ~Height is key to unleash your offensive earthquake.
  • Q9/Q10 (ranged support and anti-rat firepower) ~Stone is tough...But so is steel.
Successful Builds

DrLivingston went 4 - 1 in the May, 2010 Richardson Open with the following build:
RotV Raelin, Syvarris, Granite Guardians x 3 (480 pts)

Playtest/fun army fielded by Grungebob:
GG x3 - 300
Warden - 390
Zettians - 460
Raelin - 540, 13 spaces

Speculative Builds

GGx3 300
Nakitas 420
Raelin 500, 13 spaces
~Nakitas and GGs make great pets.

Q10 150
Raelin 230
GG x3 530, 12 spaces
~Q10 is the backbone of this army. Use the guardians to protect both the soulborg and the cheerleader.

Warden 90
Brunak 200
GG x 3 500
Marcu 520
~Unleash the old guard! Send Marcu to a key glyph, then send in your guardians to keep him on the glyph. Brunak scythes through rat screens, and the Warden provides movement cheerleading from the start zone until his cleanup duties are needed.

GG x3 300
PK x2 440
Zetacron 500
~Use the Guardians to form a protective wall around Zetacron, who in turn reaches out to crush someone. The PKs can help to counter any ranged threats.

Closing Points
  • Despite having a defense of 5, Raelin is generally a good idea. At 33 points each, you cannot afford to lose your guardians carelessly.
  • The Granite Guardians are dauntless and should be played as such; treat them as the fearless guards that they are: when your assets are threatened, move your guardians forward to slowly press the attack, or to force your opponent off of a key position.
  • Use one guardian to engage the enemy, and then place your other two on height, and attack with range. They have it, so use it!
  • The Warden assists their movement greatly, adding 33% more move to the guardians. If you have the points, and you have not filled the cleanup role, give the gold-domed soulborg a draft!
  • GGs are one of the few members of the guard class that can be the entire army core. However, to get the best mileage out of this expensive squad, add some defensive protection (Raelin) and range.
  • Watch out for Warforged soldiers, who can easily pull your guardians from height. Braxis also should be feared by expensive squads.
Let's take a look at the other side of the wall...The Obsidian Guards:

As the original rock warriors of Heroscape, the Obsidian Guards are generally shunned on anything but lava-heavy maps. However, as one of the few squads with 4 attack/4 defense, they can endure punishment, as well as dish it out; their movement of 4 can be boosted to a perfectly adequate movement of 5 with the help of the good (being bad feels so good, after all) Warden...But keep them off of water, as they suffer defensive penalties.

Lava-heavy maps aside, the only reason to draft Obsidian Guards over Granite Guardians is for the extra move and non-height limitations. This will generally be dictated by terrain; if you are playing on a largely flat map, you might want to consider the Obsidians as a viable guard choice...Especially if there is lava present.

That being said, please read Taeblewalker's excellent strategy guide for a more in-depth look at the Obsidians.

Successful Builds:

Ollie went 3 - 2 (12th out of 30) in the April 2009 Battle at the Border II (550pt army from 700pt pool):
Obsidian Guards x2, Major Q9, Warden 816, Raelin (RotV), Rats x2, Isamu, Izumi Samurai

Speculative Builds:

Brunak 110
Raelin 190
Obsidian Guards x2 390
Kaemon Awa 510, 10 spaces
~Obsidians keep Kamon well-protected, while Brunak takes on approaching screens and threats that are offset by a large stature.

Closing Points:
  • With height, and Raelin, you can have a 5 attack, 6 defense squad. 2 squads make for a protective barrier around your asset.
  • Terrain is key when drafting Obsidians. If there is a lot of water on the map, don't even think about them.

Please share your successes with the rock guards.

Examining the Guard Class Part 1
Examining the Guard Class Part 2
Examining the Guard Class Part 3
Examining the Guard Class Part 4
Total Comments 10


These articles keep getting better and better.

Thank you.
Posted August 5th, 2010 at 09:49 AM by AMIS AMIS is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Thank YOU for taking the time to peruse them. As my point of view is only a small subset of the collective HeroScape mindset, I would love to hear other thoughts on mentioned members of the Guard class: specifically, builds that have worked for you, strategies that did (or did not) work, and so forth.
Posted August 5th, 2010 at 10:13 AM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
ollie's Avatar
Good stuff again Filthy, thanks for this series.

I think the Obsidians are the guardiest of guards. I think it's the combination of the high attack and defence and low move.

In that army of mine you mentioned, each game had Q9 and the Obsidians on the field and the basic plan was to use Q9's range/strength to draw people in and then whack them harder still with the Obsidians. I'm pretty sure I stole this idea from Killercactus; it certainly wasn't my own. I, like many others, was too focused on their lava-based abilities but three attacks of 4 is, I now think, their real strength. The trick is getting to use those attacks.

Embarrassingly, at that tournament I lost the one game I got to play on a lava map.
Posted August 5th, 2010 at 10:47 AM by ollie ollie is offline
CapnRedChops's Avatar
Nice strategy guide, thanks for this - I'd like to see a build that incorporates just one squad of GG's as that's all I (and many of your readers, perhaps) have... I have the Warden though. I can't afford to get multiples of every squad in heroscape!!!

Posted August 10th, 2010 at 12:13 PM by CapnRedChops CapnRedChops is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
My pleasure, CRC. With only one squad of GG's, you are going to need to protect your 100 point investment, as losing just one GG really dampens your offensive output. I recommend Raelin, as well as a good ranged unit, such as the Krav. Use the GGs to protect Raelin, as well as keeping melee units away from the Krav (who also benefit greatly from Raelin). I can't heartily recommend the Warden with just one guard unit present...But he could work as an end-game unit, if you were dead-set on using him. So, we have:
Krav Agents 100
GG x1 200
Raelin 280
Warden 370, 8 spaces
~This is a decent core, leaving you some points to add in some other units as needed.
Posted August 10th, 2010 at 04:20 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Killz's Avatar
This is a really good post, thanks for sharing, filthy!
I love the GGs, but unfortunately was only able to buy 2. But in my opinion, warden is almost a must have, especially because I usaully draft the Zets with em.
Posted August 10th, 2010 at 05:46 PM by Killz Killz is offline
Tornado's Avatar
Great articles. I love the GG but lack of numbers and terrible rolls always spell my doom. Awesome moving all 15 figs at once though. Peace
Posted August 13th, 2010 at 01:55 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
I know what you mean about terrible rolls, especially on the defensive end. I have learned my lesson and almost always play Raelin with the GGs. At 33 points per figure, the extra 2 defense makes all of the difference in protecting the investment.
Posted August 13th, 2010 at 02:12 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
dok's Avatar
The GGs are one of the few figures (Taelord, Ornak, MacDirks, SBN, a few others) whose value scales up as point values rise. GHG is a nice bonus when you've got three squads, and it just keeps getting better from there. I imagine it could feel almost broken in a very high point game where you had 6 or 7 squads.
Posted August 16th, 2010 at 11:15 AM by dok dok is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Especially with the Warden in the mix, as his value also increases as your number of guards increase (realistically, he is justified only in a Guard-heavy build...but that is a tale for another day). Even with the Warden, though, I would be reluctant to run only the Guardian/Warden combo. Raelin seems more important in lower-GG builds, where you don't have the benefit of numbers, but the Nakitas or Krav...Or even Kaemon, seem like natural fits in higher builds. Anything with range and/or a ranged special seems to fit the bill. I like the sound of Dr Livingston's GGx3/Syvarris combo as well.
Posted August 16th, 2010 at 10:31 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
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