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Old August 5th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Unit Strategy Review: How to use Su-Bak-Na

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Unit Strategy Review
Unit: Su-Bak-Na
Authors: Fezzikthedoor & Agatagary

If you’ve been playing Heroscape since the beginning, you probably remember the first the first time you saw the box for Orm’s Return. Pure eye candy, it would be hard to pick the most striking mold from a box that included Brunak, Charos, Death Walker 8000, and Su-Bak-Na. And although Charos got the most attention for being the first dragon not included in the Master Set, Su-Bak-Na is the one figure that no Marro army should be without, although he can be an effective hit-and-run melee figure in his own right. With Swarm of the Marro on the horizon, those that have relegated SBN to the bottom of the toy box should take another look.

Let’s begin with his curse and blessing: his stats.

Vital Statistics
Cost – 160 – Rook Class
Size – Huge – Safe / Ill-Concealable
Life – 5 - Robust
Move – 6 – Fast*
Range – 1 – Close Range
Attack – 7 – Devastating
Defense – 3 – Vulnerable
Hive Supremacy – 5% Bonus to all Marro/Wulsani d20 rolls - Medium Tactical Advantage
[*Unaffected by terrain]

In-Depth Analysis

We shall now look carefully at Su-Bak-Na’s statistics, and draw strategies from our conclusions. Let us start with cost. Below is an explanation of Agatagary's cost classification:

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:
Let us begin with an analysis of Su-Bak-Na’s size and cost. Su-Bak-Na is a Rook Class unit. His point cost of 160 is a sizable investment in an army of 400 or even 500 points. For those points, a player receives one of the best brawlers in the game, and his loss is to be avoided if at all possible. He is still a melee unit, however, and you must be willing to have him enter the fray when necessary. He is a highly mobile unit that cannot be affected by most automatic destruction special abilities due to his size (Sudema’s stare being the notable exception). When placed within an army of marro and wulsinu, his Hive Supremacy can make you want to treat Su-Bak-Na like a Queen. One should be exceedingly careful to avoid this mistake, as it greatly reduces the effeciency of Su-Bak-Na, as we shall see later.

To examine Su-Bak-Na’s core stats, we will break them up into two categories—offensive ability and survivability.

Offense:
Su-Bak-Na has an attack of seven and a range of one, making him a close range powerhouse; only Jotun has a higher base attack. His movement of six, aided by flying, allows him access to enemy figures that is limited only by his double base and gives him a total threat range of 7. Su-Bak-Na’s unique skill set often pushes players to one of two extremes, as we shall later see. He can broach the defenses of almost any unit on the board and has the potential to inflict heavy damage from the moment the first order marker falls. It is important to note, however, that, like most heroes, he may only attack once per turn. He is therefore best used as an anti-hero unit. Using him as a first wave Kamikaze is a waste of points, however.

Survivability:
With a life of 5 Su-Bak-Na appears to be a fairly resilient unit. Unfortunately, this is not the case due to his below-average defense rating and his Huge size. Put simply, Su-Bak-Na is almost impossible to hide from ranged units. Like the dragons, his wings are a valid target zone, and he stands as high or higher than a great deal of the terrain—only glaciers can hide him efficiently, and then only from an extremely limited angle. Any squad of ranged units, even the single-attack-die arrow gruts, will eventually get lucky against Su-Bak-Na’s 3 defense die and land a wound or two. Against the likes of the 4th Massachusetts Line, or a unit with height advantage, he will be annihilated before he is able to take advantage of his enormous attack rating.

General Strategy:
Earlier, it was mentioned that Su-Bak-Na has a tendency to push players into one of two extremes. The first is to fly Su-Bak-Na directly into the jaws of the enemy with the mindset that if he is a giant target you need to take as much down as possible before he falls. The second, especially in marro-heavy armies, is to hold him back until the end game, using his Hive Supremacy ability to enhance the long-shot mind shackle of Kee-Mo-Shi and Ne-Gok-Sa or to make the other marro abilities more reliable throughout the game.

Adding 1 every time you roll a d20 with a marro army can make a player feel as though it is the most important ability in the game. This feeling is deceptive. Since all the marro and wulsinu have d20 related abilities, a player gets to use it almost every single order marker, inflating its importance. The natural response is to treat Su-Bak-Na as a Queen, but don’t forget that the 5% bonus suffers from some weaknesses.

First, it is a small bonus that only marginally impacts the effectiveness of the marro/wulsunu powers. Secondly, there are no ill effects to be felt if Su-Bak-Na is destroyed and you lose the bonus. Unlike using Khosumet with the Anubian Wolves, the marro/wulsinu affected by the power are under no threat of self-destruction. Finally, treating Su-Bak-Na as a Queen unit this way means that by the time he enters the battle—which is to say when most of your other forces have been decimated and his power is no longer affecting as many other units—the battle has already been won…or lost.

Instead, he is one of the few figures that has use in the early, mid, and endgame. In the early part of the game, Su-Bak-Na can take advantage of the opponent’s perception of him. One strategy is to use him as a flanker/decoy. Unlike most of the other major enhancement units (specifically Taelord, Raelin, Ornak, Sir Gilbert, and Laglor), Su-Bak-Na does not have to have line of sight for Hive Supremacy to be in effect. Because of this, he can venture out from behind your front line to circle around the edge of the battlefield. Doing this will force the enemy to both react and send an intercepting force, or they have to ignore you. If they take the latter course, it may allow you to slip into a position that allows you to crush one of the opponents support units (or a unit being saved for mid or late-game) then fly away. While he may receive some damage from this type of hit and run assault, Su-Bak-Na has enough life to take a beating. If they see him as a vulnerable and valuable piece left defenseless, the enemy will split their army by sending a squad or two to intercept the hivelord. Once this happens, pull him back, farther away from the main forces, dragging the intercepting units along with him. This divide and conquer method will pay heavy dividends in the mid-game when some of the less expensive ranged units have been compromised by your fast moving forces, in turn making it less dangerous for Su-Bak-Na to enter the main fight.

As a mid-game unit, Su-Bak-Na becomes more hands on. The Marro Drones are now an idea complement to him. Remember—unlike the Zombies of Morindan that they are often compared to in terms of movement, the Marro Drones can move and attack. In fact, with Su-Bak-Na on the board, they have a 20% chance to attack up to nine times. With their fast movement rating of 6 and average attack rating of 3, they can attack multiple weak targets with success, allowing the hivelord to devastate high-defense or high-life heroes that might otherwise pose a threat to the drones. The Marro Drones help to compensate for the weakness that almost every hero unit has—the ability to only attack one unit at a time.

In the late game, Su-Bak-Na, if he remains, is likely to be one of the strongest units on the field. Despite this, his effectiveness may be limited since so many players tend to entrench their ranged units and allow the enemy to come to them. If this has been the case, don’t change your strategy with him now. Allow other units to continue to take the brunt of the long-range fire and use him to mop up units that have separated from the main force or are already hurt. Since this is a point in the game where Su-Bak-Na may also have several wound markers, be sure that you don’t engage him with units that you cannot destroy in the first attack. He still isn’t a Queen, though, so if the enemy has a late-game unit that can still inflict heavy casualties, such as Major Q9 or Kaemen Awa, take the chance to get close and weaken or destroy them. In other words, be sure to give the rest of your army a chance to win!

The addition of the Nargrubs with the release of SoTM does very little to change the Su-Bak-Na's strategy. It may lead a player to relent and send him out towards the enemy in the early game but this is still a mistake. Treat the Nargrubs as nothing more than walking life markers: as such, take no action with the Hivelord that you would not take otherwise. These guards will give him a chance to last in a fight longer should his low defense cause him to take a beating or regenerate some of the damage he is sure to incur if he ventures too close to ranged units. Don't forget, though, that while they can help Su-Bak-Na they lack his flying, which can inadvertently cause a player to limit or modify his movement with the more important hero. Always keep the focus on Su-Bak-Na, not his willing food.

Units to Avoid:
Ranged Units with Height: It may be common sense, but it bears repeating: DO NOT allow Su-Bak-Na to make an approach against a ranged unit with height. Even a weak three-unit squad can damage him when aided with height, and there is no way to miss the target zone on this Huge unit.

Minions of Utgar: If using him as a flanker/decoy, retreat with haste if the enemy sends the Minions of Utgar to intercept. While he may be faster then the Minions, they have the advantage of being single spaced flyers that can move onto terrain that Su-bak-Na cannot. If they are able to engage him, their deadly strike will quickly eviscerate him.

Crixus: In a head to head fight with Crixus, Su-Bak-Na will loose almost every time. The gladiator’s One Shield Defense ability can negate the hivelord’s greatest asset, his devastating attack rating. With 5 attack and 5 life, Crixus will be the one to survive this endurance test.

Jotun and Krug: These two bruisers are just too similar to Su-Bak-Na. With high attack and low defense, each figure can dish out punishment just as quickly as he will take it. The difference is that both heroes have a higher life than the marro. In a melee fight, both units will likely come away damaged but victorious.


For additional information see the Book of Su-Bak-Na

You are the brute squad!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grishnakh finally
And go Flock yourself.

Last edited by Malechi; June 5th, 2008 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Changed contact info
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  #2  
Old August 5th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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markwars markwars is offline
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Very nice and surprisingly un-funny.

Su Bak Na is my second favorite Q9 negator.

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Old August 5th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Good review/tips!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Another excellent review! :applause:


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Old August 5th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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My friend uses him as a kamikaze unit and I always cut him down.

I use him as a counter attack unit, and my friend get []wned



Five skulls out of 5!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 12:53 PM
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Great review, Fezzik!

Guess who's back, back again? Chilli's back. Tell Skahen.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Well done, and I look forward to seeing more of these articles in the future!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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Fezzikthedoor Fezzikthedoor is offline
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Fezzikthedoor knows what's in an order marker Fezzikthedoor knows what's in an order marker
Thanks all, but I'm just working in the mold that Agatagary created and with his help. Personally, I think we should all thank him by giving these little gems a sticky or a place on "The 5"

Clarissimus wrote:
Quote:
Well done, and I look forward to seeing more of these articles in the future!
KAZAM! Your wish is my command. How to play Sudema is now posted.

You are the brute squad!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grishnakh finally
And go Flock yourself.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fezzikthedoor
Thanks all, but I'm just working in the mold that Agatagary created and with his help. Personally, I think we should all thank him by giving these little gems a sticky or a place on "The 5"
I second that! Index them in a sticky and slap a 5ive nom on it!


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Old August 5th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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Thanks, guys, again. And I would encourage these gems to be referenced and linked in the Books, of course.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fezzikthedoor
Thanks all, but I'm just working in the mold that Agatagary created and with his help. Personally, I think we should all thank him by giving these little gems a sticky or a place on "The 5"

Clarissimus wrote:
Quote:
Well done, and I look forward to seeing more of these articles in the future!
KAZAM! Your wish is my command. How to play Sudema is now posted.
We have three such articles now....when we have a few more (enough for a full meal) I'll definitely be giving it a nod on the 5ive.

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Old August 6th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markwars
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fezzikthedoor
Thanks all, but I'm just working in the mold that Agatagary created and with his help. Personally, I think we should all thank him by giving these little gems a sticky or a place on "The 5"

Clarissimus wrote:
Quote:
Well done, and I look forward to seeing more of these articles in the future!
KAZAM! Your wish is my command. How to play Sudema is now posted.
We have three such articles now....when we have a few more (enough for a full meal) I'll definitely be giving it a nod on the 5ive.
Actually, there are 4 articles so far. I just made an index for them here.


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