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Old August 6th, 2012, 12:54 AM
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Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

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Unit Strategy Review
Unit: Arrow Gruts
Author: Jexik (With thanks to my fellow reviewers, as well as UPC, Browncoat, and spider_poison)

Although they were a significant part of the winning army of the main event at GenCon 2006, the Arrow Gruts still seem to be one of the less well respected and understood units around. Many new players see their base attack and defense scores and scoff. Others see the price tag on acquiring a workable Arrow Grut army and cry. I won't pay you to play the Arrow Gruts, but I'll try to convince you to at least think about them once again.

Analyzed Statistics
Cost - 40 - Pawn Class unit
Size - Medium 4 - Vulnerable/Concealable
Figures/squad - 3 - Average
Move - 6 - Fast *
Range - 6 - Medium Range
Attack - 1 - Pathetic
Defense - 1 Frail
Disengage- Arrow Gruts never receive passing swipes- tactical advantage high
Beast Bonding- can take a turn with any Beast you control: Krug, Mimring or Swog Rider - tactical advantage high

In-Depth Analysis

To simplify analysis, Agatagary has created several categories of cost, based off of chess, for comparison and nomenclature. For reference,

Pawn class (expendable, units that can be useful, but are not worth enormous trouble to protect)
Bishop class (more useful than a pawn, but still somewhat expendable)
Knight class (units that are interestingly powerful and can have a significant impact on the game in of themselves. It is advisable that they be kept alive, but if absolutely necessary they may be sacrificed)
Rook class (units that almost inevitably have a significant impact on the game, and whose death should be avoided as much as possible)
Queen class (devastatingly powerful or important units that should be protected at all costs)

Class:
Arrow Gruts are a Pawn Class unit. This is almost entirely due to their low cost. For 40 points, you get three figures; this makes them the cheapest common ranged squad in Heroscape.

To examine Arrow Gruts' core stats, we will break them up into two categories offensive ability and survivability.

Offense:
Alone, and with their terrible Attack of 1, they are weak. However, they are the most flexible squad yet created. With Disengage, 6 Movement and Range, they can move about the battlefield as they please. They can often attain height advantage against slower or shorter ranged opponents and retreat at any time. Additionally, their Beast Bonding ability allows them to take a turn with a nice variety of heroes which also boost their offensive potential greatly.

They are the only ranged squad to have full bonding with a hero or Disengage.

Survivability:
The survivability of Arrow Gruts is among the worst in the game. Only the Venoc Vipers have worse, with a Defense of 0. Luckily, each adjacent Swog Rider can boost their Defense by one, as can moving to higher ground. Their low cost makes this into less of an issue.

Tournament Readiness:
With a little luck and enough play experience, the Arrow Gruts can still hold their own in a competitive environment. Not too long ago I won a decent sized tournament with them in Minnesota.

Strategy:
Although there are very few bad situations for the Arrow Gruts, an army based solely around their use will work best at lower point levels (250-400) and with larger starting zones. They can also work surprisingly well against some tournament mainstays- the Arrow Gruts can hold their own against many squads, their Swog Rider allies help take down Krav Maga and Nakita Agents, and Krug can take down Q9 reliably. Once you do decide to play the Arrow Gruts, remember the following mantra: use their numbers to overwhelm, and their flexibility to outmaneuver your opponent. Then get ready to draft an appropriate army.

The first step to using the Arrow Gruts effectively is to draft enough of them. Like any common squad, you need at least two to get much out of them. In the case of Arrow Gruts however, most players who use them regularly will assure you that 3 is the minimum- the third squad brings out the charm of these wily little Orcs. A fourth or fifth squad isn't necessarily a problem, but you will run out of starting spaces on a typical map and won't have enough room for their support units.

When I say support units, I mean Swog Riders. Without them, the Arrow Gruts can hardly hurt anything, but with these bold leaders, they can become much more deadly. So how many is enough? A good rule of thumb is the 1:1 ratio, either by the number of army cards or points. Three squads of Arrow Gruts take up 3 army cards as well as 120 points. Using the above ratio, you should then get 3-5 Swog Riders with that many Arrow Gruts. 3 Swog Riders uses the same number of cards, and 5 Swog riders uses a comparable number of points (125). This rule is not set in stone, but it is a good starting point when making an army.

The next question that any prospective Arrow Grut player will ask is, "Krug or Mimring?" To put it simply, the answer is, "Yes." If you require more firepower, draft Mimring. If you need to smash heroes into tiny bits, go with Krug. These two beasts can make an effective one-two punch to complement the Arrow Gruts.

So, what happens when Arrow Gruts make their way out onto the field of battle? Remember: use their numbers to overwhelm and their flexibility to outmaneuver your opponent. In the immortal words of UranusPChicago, "Don't Forget to Move!" In short, at the start of every turn, don't be content to leave your Arrow Gruts where they are, even if they're cuddling with some cute little kittens (swog riders). Analyze all the possibilities quickly before making those attack rolls. Keep your distance from melee opponents, and be ready to use the power of engagement to slow down enemy figures where pertinent. Taking cue again from UPC, always consider disengaging. If you don't, you're losing a lot of their utility. Flee from Knights of Weston. Show them the true reward for cowardice! Sometimes it can be worth it to run away, even if it means leaving a Swog Rider behind.

When playing against enemy squad-based armies, it is imperative to get Krug or Mimring into the fray early and often. While it can be tempting to keep sending fresh Swog Riders in, if you have a powerful Hero up there as a distraction, not only will you be getting 4-5 attacks per Order Marker, but it will take the heat off your Arrow Gruts as well. The Arrow Gruts' mobility affords them the ability to often gain height advantage and that crucial second attack die, even if it means straying from cuddly kittens.

One weakness of the Arrow Gruts is that they often feel like a crumbling house of Army Cards. Once the balance of Gruts, Swogs, and Heroes is thrown off, it can be hard to recover. This is where the Ice Troll Berserker fits in! When you get closer to high point totals such ast 500 or more, it can be beneficial to have a clean up hero for those final rounds when your opponent's forces are dwindling. A lone berserker with an archer or two as backup can swing a game in your favor thanks to their regenerative abilities.

Optional Strategies:
Grut Officer Corps: Keep one Arrow Grut very far from the action, hiding behind a Ruin or large figure. As long as he survives, the flexibility of beast bonding will still be available.

Bad Raelin: The worst part about the Orc army is its survivability. Drafting either incarnation of the popular Kyrie hero can help solve that Achilles heel. I'm listing this as "optional" but in the world of tournaments, I'd say that Raelin is all but required to do well with the Arrow Gruts. Move her once in round 1, probably on OM 1 or 2.

Units to Avoid:
Gladiatrons: Once they get adjacent to the Arrow Gruts, they lose an awful lot of their flexibility and potency. Disengage doesn't work when you can't move.

Area of effect attacks: While huddled around Swog Riders, Arrow Gruts are ripe for an explosive special attack from the likes of Airborne Elite, Mimring, Deathwalker 9000, Johnny "Shotgun" Sullivan, James Murphy, Zelrig, or Jorhdawn. Luckily, Krug is usually quite effective against a number of these units.

Marro Stingers: Their base stats really show the weakness of the Arrow Gruts in this matchup. If the Arrow Gruts stay huddled around a Swog Rider (with height advantage), only then do they equal the strength of the fearsome marro.

Valiant 4th Massachusetts Line: Similar to the Stingers, this is a fight that doesn't favor the Arrow Gruts, pound for pound.

For additional information see The Book of Arrow Gruts

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old August 6th, 2012, 11:03 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Yet another great guide. If there are not enough points for Raelin, Nerak can also help to address their survivability.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Great guide, I have never seen much purpose for the little guys in large scale battles, but in a small tournament situation they could really haul their weight
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Old August 6th, 2012, 03:10 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Great guide, I have always thought Arrow Gruts were hard to play. I'll have to try them again some time.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 08:37 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Good stuff!
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Old August 6th, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Very nice!

I just used an Arrow Grut army at my last tourny. 4-1 taking 4th place over all. They are quite effective, and it's funny when one skull takes out a high defense squadie.

72 tournaments. 173 - 142 - 1 overall record. 6 tournament wins.

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Old August 6th, 2012, 09:26 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Thanks for getting this up Jexik.

I saw that while updating the Books, this was was still drafted in the USR Forums, from 4 years ago. Needless to say, I thought this should get out in the open.

Now I can link it in the Book.

Great job here Jexik.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 10:40 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Good reading! If your rolling out Krug, it might be worth bringing in Kelda or Rhogar to heal the big guy up after he takes a few hits.

Maybe?
Arrows x4 (160)
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495 pts// 25 hexes (drop a Grut)

Krug and a whole bunch os Swogs/AG's hammer the enemies and once Krug is about to fall retreat him so Rhogar can heal him up a bit. Rhogar has enough endurance to hopefully pull cleanup duty (and he has a special attack).

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Old August 8th, 2012, 04:37 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Quote:
Originally Posted by flameslayer93 View Post
Good reading! If your rolling out Krug, it might be worth bringing in Kelda or Rhogar to heal the big guy up after he takes a few hits.
You can give it a shot. I've never really tried anything like that because one of the nice things about an AG army is keeping all of your OMs in one spot and maintaining flexibility. Plus, when Krug is moderately wounded, that's when I most want to take another turn with him. Pausing for one attack of 2 or 4 and a chance to heal is not something I'd want to do.

A Kelda glyph however, I can totally get behind. Back when I used AG's for the first time in a team game on Forsaken Waters, I healed Krug up after my opponents had just gotten him down to 1 life left. They conceded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old August 8th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

And now with the Ice Troll Berserker having been released, it becomes a viable replacement for Mimring in lesser point totals (or lets you still maintain a second major bonded hero in Mimring's absence for less points and hence more swogs).

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Old August 9th, 2012, 03:49 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

The Arrow Gruts are especially effective against an army of elementals. Spread them out over minor elevation changes to enjoy height advantage and those arrows will devastate most of the elementals (it did take a non-Grut figure to deal with the Earth and Ice elementals). They enjoy their ranged attack on the specialized elementals rather well, and even if a Grut falls in the fight, the loss of one archer won't be so damaging to you as the loss of one elemental will be to your opponent, even if they have Kurrok. I've found him to be less useful towards the mid- to late-game, as summoning fallen elementals wastes a turn you could spend attacking, andmore often than not his attempts are unsuccessful. The Arrow Gruts are a cheap and easy way to deal with expensive specialized units in general, come to think of it...

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Old August 10th, 2012, 02:57 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Arrow Gruts

Quote:
Originally Posted by clancampbell View Post
Very nice!

I just used an Arrow Grut army at my last tourny. 4-1 taking 4th place over all. They are quite effective, and it's funny when one skull takes out a high defense squadie.
You don't say?

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