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Old August 7th, 2007, 02:54 AM
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Unit Strategy Review: How to use Taelord the Kyrie Warrior

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Unit Strategy Review
Unit: Taelord the Kyrie Warrior
Author: Agatagary

Taelord the Kyrie Warrior (Taelord)

“When Utgar held a gladiatorial contest to determine who his chief warrior would be, Taelord was the hands-down victor. The battle pitted 83 worthy warriors against each other, and lasted a full two days. In the end, only one warrior was left standing: the mighty Taelord.” Thus speaks the official bio of Taelord, lord of Utgar’s Kyrie. Supposedly, this mighty warrior is nearly invincible, a god in Kyrie flesh. His point cost certainly seems to think so- 180 points worth of power. But this is the main argument between Taelord and the Heroscape community: While Taelord seems convinced that he is worth his points, the general community has repeatedly asked the immortalized question: Why does Taelord cost so much? To this question, nobody seems to know the answer. Even the designers can offer no more advice than “Put him in a tower or something.” In this article, we shall try to answer this question in a satisfactory manner.

First, of course, a breakdown of Taelord’s stats.

Cost - 180 - Rook Class Unit
Size - Medium - Vulnerable
Life - 5 - Robust
Move - 5 - Average*
Range - 1 - Close Range
Attack - 3 - Average
Defense - Below Average
*Ignoring elevations and engagements

In-Depth Analysis

For those of you who do not yet know, these strategy articles utilize a special classification system for various classes of units. Here is a breakdown:

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)


You may be surprised to find Taelord to be classed as a Rook unit, rather than a Queen. The reason for this classification is simple, and is reflected in the suggested strategy for Taelord. Unlike Queen units like Braxas and Jotun, Taelord is likely to be put under unreasonable risk, and subjected to powers far beyond his ability to survive...if used poorly. Taelord is not a Queen precisely because treating him as one is likely to lead to his demise more thoroughly than anything else can. While Taelord’s price may suggest Queenhood, under no circumstances are you to play him as one. This may seem confusing now. I will explain more clearly later.

Taelord’s size is unfortunate: he is small enough to be the target of all sorts of dangerous special abilities, yet large enough to be difficult to conceal. His wings help slightly, by blocking his hit zone, but they also make maneuvering difficult. Fortunately, he is not large enough to have his size greatly affect his maneuverability, and so can still be placed in most places. It is important, however, to remember his vulnerability to abilities such as Maul or Chomp.

Next, we shall examine the rest of Taelord’s stats in two categories: Offensive power, and survivability.

Taelord is not a very offensive unit. His mediocre attack value of three will not inflict very much damage on heros, and his movement of five, while average, is not really enough to get him around the board quickly enough to be of any offensive value. Fortunately, Taelord has a Flying ability that functions like Stealth Flying, allowing him to maneuver through the actual combat zones with ease, flying to wherever he wants within a radius of five hexes. This in-combat maneuverability adds greatly to Taelord’s offensive ability, as it enables him to strike at weaker units. As we shall see, however, Taelord has a much more important use in combat.

In terms of survivability, Taelord is not a frail being, nor is he an armored giant. Rather, he is very average in terms of defense and life. His defense, at three, is slightly below the average of the current environment, and his five life is about average for a hero. Taelord can survive a few hits, but will fall eventually to overwhelming numbers or power. It is vital that Taelord is not permitted to get into a situation like this. Taelord should never be left unattended, and should always have a guard nearby to fend off attackers. His stealth-like Flying is a great asset in terms of survivability, allowing him to run away from dangerous situations and escape over even the roughest terrain.

So far, Taelord seems nothing like a satisfactory unit. It is not that he is weak, it is that his stats are so mediocre that very little can be said about them, positive or negative. So here we are, still with a question unanswered: Why does Taelord cost so much? We have looked to his offensive power for an answer, and to his survivability: neither provided much explanation. We are forced, then to turn to the last possible thing that Taelord could possibly have in his favor: his aura.

Because Taelord’s Attack Aura is so important to his successful use, I will break it down and analyze it in depth. First, let us look at exactly what it does. Any ability in the game can be broken down into two categories of subcomponents, which I will here term as conditional and operational clauses. Conditional clauses outline the conditions under which an ability may be used, operational clauses outline the effects of the ability. Below is a dissection of Attack Aura:

Conditional Clauses:
1. Affected units must be controlled by the player who controls Taelord.
2. Affected units must be within 4 spaces of Taelord.
3. Taelord must be able to see affected units.
4. Taelord may not be an affected unit.

Operational Clauses:
1. Affected units receive 1 additional attack die.

So, what can we learn from this? The most important conditional clause, which will have the greatest impact on Taelord’s use, is the second; that affected units must be within four spaces of Taelord. This means that Taelord’s Attack Aura has a very short tether indeed. If Taelord or the units that he aids stray too far from each other, then they will be weaker in terms of attack. Therefore, it is vital that Taelord remain as close to the affected units as possible. It is for this reason that Taelord is used right now almost exclusively as a way to boost the Omnicron Snipers. The Omnicron Snipers benefit more from Taelord than any other unit except one, which will be important later. Because of their Deadly Shot ability, each attack die that Taelord adds to their total is essentially two attack dice, which makes a lot of difference. This is why the designers advise that Taelord should be “stuck in a tower.” On a tower, neither Taelord nor the attack-boosted Omnicron Snipers have any need to move. This is certainly one way to use Taelord-but is it the best way? To answer this, we must look at the fundamental difference between attack and defense.

The fundamental difference between attack and defense is simple: With attack, you may choose how you use it, while with defense your opponent may choose. The attacker always chooses his or her targets, while the defender may do nothing more than respond. This is the greatest advantage that the attacker has; the advantage of choice. Because choice is so intricately linked to the order markers, we will term this advantage as “the order initiative.”

So what does the order initiative do for a strategy regarding Taelord? The first thing that it does is to greatly limit the effectiveness of Taelord when he is stuck in a tower with the Omnicron Snipers. In a tower, Taelord and Omnicron Snipers still receive the order initiative, but it is greatly reduced because the power of choice is limited to target selection. Movement in a tower is generally very limited, especially for ranged attackers. What this means is that by confining Taelord and the Omnicron Snipers to the tower, you are actually giving your enemy more of the order initiative than he or she would otherwise receive! Since your enemy generally has the same number of turns in a round as you do, they can take advantage of your reduced order initiative regarding movement by choosing the location of the battle. If your enemy is intelligent, he or she will take advantage of Taelord and the Omnicron Snipers’ limited movement and will probably manage to breach the defense of their range, and if they reach them, no amount of additional attack will compensate for the weak defense of the Omnicron Snipers. The Omnicron Snipers may be gaining attack, but they are losing their ability to move about. Furthermore, 180 points is still a bit of a waste for an extra attack die for the Omnicrons, even if they double it. It is certainly true that Taelord can greatly help the Omnicrons, but this should not be his primary use. There is another unit that Taelord can work with, with much greater effectiveness: The Minions of Utgar.

The Minions of Utgar, like the Omnicron Snipers, score two hits for every one that they roll on the attack dice. There are, however, a few fundamental differences between them. First, the Minions of Utgar are not ranged. Second, they have a much higher defense (six). Third, their initial attack is two, twice as much as the Omnicron Snipers. And fourth, they have the ability to use an order marker on them to move Taelord instead. Because of these, the minions have a much higher order initiative than the Omnicron Snipers, in more ways than one. Because of their high defense, it is easier for players to send them into combat, freeing them from engagement worries. Because of their Utgar’s Orders ability, they offer greater order initiative regarding choice of unit, allowing you to move either them or Taelord depending on the current situation. Furthermore, their higher initial attack makes them devastating in melee combat- especially with Taelord’s Attack Aura. IF you can keep them within the four spaces, then they can wreak destruction on your opponent’s hapless forces. The problem that most players have is keeping them within those spaces. In other words, you can increase their combat effectiveness in terms of destruction potential, but at the same time you will decrease their order initiative in terms of movement choice. This is a difficult trade, and unless you maximize on combat effectiveness while not minimizing order initiative, it is often a poor one. This brings me to the whole point of this article, the part that I have been working up to: how to achieve this.

The best way to maximize on both combat effectiveness and order initiative is to keep Taelord as close to the Minions of Utgar as possible. While this is obvious, it is a key point that many players seem to miss. The further the Minions are away from Taelord, even if they are still within four spaces, the weaker they will be due to loss of order initiative. They will not be able to move further out and attack enemies because it would mean losing the combat effectiveness that proximity to Taelord grants. This means that, rather than having Taelord watch the battle “safely” from a few spaces away, the Kyrie warrior must be in the battle; in fact, Taelord must actually be in the middle of the battle zone to maximize the effectiveness of the Minions of Utgar.

This, I think, is why Taelord has for so long failed to live up to his price. His price itself is what is hurting him. Players who draft him tend to treat him like a queen-class unit (The supporting kind, not the kind like Jotun or Charos), so delicate that he must be kept well away from the battle. Unfortunately, there is no way to do this without compromising his order initiative. This is by far the most important thing to remember when using Taelord: For Taelord to be effective the order initiative of him and his boosted units, whoever they may be, must be maximized. The best way by far to do this is to send Taelord into the battle himself.

Here is an example of a strategy using Taelord and the Minions of Utgar that would maximize his order initiative, and therefore his effectiveness. Say that you have sixteen Roman Legionnaires and Marcus Decimus Gallus marching towards Taelord and three minions of Utgar. Pointwise, both sides are about even. The best thing to do in this situation would be to wait until the roman army approaches, and then to charge in with Taelord. As an incidental note, with so many romans it is unlikely that the enemy will have a cohesive total army formation, since they may only activate five of their units each turn. Taelord would fly directly into combat, and attack a roman. The farther into combat Taelord can get, the better, contrary to popular belief. On the next turn, the Minions may fly in, and begin slaughtering romans with Deadly Strike. Even assuming that the Roman Legionnaires can get into formation quickly enough, the potential of six attack should be enough to shatter even the toughest formations, and can therefore reduce the effectiveness of the roman army. From there, all order markers should be put on the minions until they destroy the army. Whenever the fight begins to move away from Taelord, it is essential that you move Taelord into the middle of the battle once again, to get the bonus. Is is very probable that Taelord will take much damage with this strategy, but it is just as probable that the enemy will be devastated in the meantime. Since attacks will probably concentrate on Taelord, the Minions of Utgar will be able to continue the slaughter unimpeded. Most of the enemy’s forces should be devastated in this matter. The essential thing to remember with this strategy is to not try to shield Taelord with the Minions of Utgar, since this will reduce their order initiative. Taelord and the Minions of Utgar are a decidedly aggressive combination. When playing them, contrary to all instincts, you must send them into battle without regard for defense. In the case of Taelord, offense is absolutely the best defense. The main point of this is to kill the enemy as quickly as possible, before much retaliation can occur.

Of course, sending Taelord and the Minions of Utgar up against a force of equal cost is not really the wisest idea (Although Taelord would still stand a fairly good chance of success). With any aggressive force, the key is to kill all enemies, as quickly as possible. Therefore, this strategy is best suited to be used against a weaker force-divide and conquer-style tactics. Find a smaller force, use Taelord’s group as a sledgehammer, and either destroy them utterly before they can retaliate, or, in the case of squads, cripple them so badly that they no longer pose a serious threat. With Taelord, the strategy is all about taking ridiculous risks and attacking aggressively. This is the best way to maximize the order initiative of Taelord.

One very important thing to remember when using Taelord with the Minions of Utgar is that this combination is extremely slow. Do not get your hopes up about sweeping across the battlefield in a deadly blaze of red - a tortoise could probably sweep across the field more quickly than these kyrie (this is an exaggeration, of course, but I am sure that you get the point). Instead get into a position in which the opponent has few choices but to come within striking range...which is when you attack. The additional order initiative given by Utgar’s Orders should help you to get Taelord’s forces into position. Another thing to make sure to avoid is range, which can tear Taelord and his attacking group to pieces, mainly because they cannot get close enough to strike. Avoid range and choose your targets wisely, and Taelord will do very well.

What this all means is that Taelord should not be stuck in a tower, if you want him to earn his points. Put him with a powerful squad (The Minions of Utgar are by far the best choice) and attack as much and as often as possible. Do not make much effort to try to protect Taelord with defense; attack is the best option. This should summarize the best use of Taelord.

Never treat Taelord as Raelin is treated- he is not meant to be a fragile artifact, requiring constant protection in order to gain powers from him. Taelord is a general in Utgar’s army, leading his forces from in front, rather than behind. He is meant to be played extremely aggressively. If we can overcome our ingrained notions of the need to defend units with auras, we can use Taelord effectively.

Here is what I need each and every one of you to do, as I have said many times before. Go and play a few games of heroscape, using the strategy that I have outlined in this article. Report back to me. It is essential that I know that the strategies that I outline are effective.

If there are any questions about this article (and I have the feeling that there will be), please do not hesitate to ask.


For additional information see the Book of Taelord the Kyrie Warrior

Last edited by Malechi; June 5th, 2008 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Changed contact info
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Old August 7th, 2007, 03:04 AM
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Hey, that's a good way to think about it. Craig always said that Taelord was priced to make a 400-point army with 2 squads of minions.

I think the trouble will depend on the opponents he is facing. Romans and Marcus could actually wipe Taelord out in a couple of turns . . . meanwhile your minions will have killed 6 Romans. Not a good trade, IMHO. Aren't Minions supposed to be for quickly taking down big guys like Braxas and Q9?
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Old August 7th, 2007, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarissimus
Hey, that's a good way to think about it. Craig always said that Taelord was priced to make a 400-point army with 2 squads of minions.

I think the trouble will depend on the opponents he is facing. Romans and Marcus could actually wipe Taelord out in a couple of turns . . . meanwhile your minions will have killed 6 Romans. Not a good trade, IMHO. Aren't Minions supposed to be for quickly taking down big guys like Braxas and Q9?
They can be used for that, yes. Regarding the issue of Taelord's demise, if you strike first and strike hard, losses can be avoided. This is the main point: Offense, for Taelord, is the best defense. Of course, as I mentioned, taking on a horde many times your size is not necessarily a good idea, since it will take many turns to whittle it down. Better to attack groups that you can destroy fairly quickly- the best kind of group for this is one without many figures, since minions can dispatch most squad units in a single hit.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agatagary
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarissimus
Hey, that's a good way to think about it. Craig always said that Taelord was priced to make a 400-point army with 2 squads of minions.

I think the trouble will depend on the opponents he is facing. Romans and Marcus could actually wipe Taelord out in a couple of turns . . . meanwhile your minions will have killed 6 Romans. Not a good trade, IMHO. Aren't Minions supposed to be for quickly taking down big guys like Braxas and Q9?
They can be used for that, yes. Regarding the issue of Taelord's demise, if you strike first and strike hard, losses can be avoided. This is the main point: Offense, for Taelord, is the best defense. Of course, as I mentioned, taking on a horde many times your size is not necessarily a good idea, since it will take many turns to whittle it down. Better to attack groups that you can destroy fairly quickly- the best kind of group for this is one without many figures, since minions can dispatch most squad units in a single hit.
This, I think, is the only problem with your strategy - Taelord and his Minions need to strike first. With a move of 4 (albeit flying) and no range, that is very difficult to do. Even if you choose a melee group to go after, a ranged squad can catch you before you make it there, and with 4 move, the Minions can't even get next to them on the next turn, giving them time to retreat if necessary. That's why Taelord's other best friends are the Krav Maga Agents. At 500 points, they fit in perfectly with Tae and his Minion horde and they can force the opponent to come to you. You can keep Taelord in the middle of his Minions, but also 3 or 4 spaces behind the KMA, giving them 3 attacks of 4 at 7 range. Your opponent may try to come and engage the Krav, and the Minions can pounce on them. If they dont, they'll spend a lot of extra order markers trying to kill the Krav at range (unless they have Deadeye or Braxas), and you'll get a lot of 4-dice shots at their army.

That being said, I don't mean to dump on this article - in fact I like it very much. Taelord is not Raelin and should not be treated as such. He, unlike Rae, does need to be in the thick of things to get the most out of his powers. Thats why I like the Krav as a unit to draw the opponent in so the Tae-boosted units can pounce. Laglor with the Krav would be optimal, but thats a lot of points (though at 500 you could get Microcorp x2, Isamu or Nakitas and Gorillas). Another army I've found quite effective, using the RaeTae combo:

Taelord - 180
Raelin - 80
Krav Maga Agents - 100
4th Mass x2 - 140

Total - 500

Strategy is much like above - draw the opponent in with the now RaeTae boosted 4 attack 5 defense Krav (when in both auras). If they come to engage, the 4th Mass can blow them to oblivion with a Tae-boosted Wait then Fire. If they start to attack Taelord, hopefully he has 5 defense with help from Raelin, his real main squeeze (move over, Runa) and both Raelin and Taelord should be far enough behind that the 4th Mass can reach anything engaging them.

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Old August 7th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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Very nice. This is the best article yet.

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Old August 7th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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The bizarre thing about Taelord's bio is that his 180 points (at least 80 of which seem to come from his attack aura) are useless in an every-kyrie-for-himself scenario. His disengage alone would have helped him there. Given that figures like Concan are attack 4 defense 4, it seems that some of the other 82 kyrie in that battle may have been as well.

That said, in the roman scenario, beware the attacks of those soldiers with Marcus! He would be the one to take out first, and with his low defense, that should take only a few turns.


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Old August 7th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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You now, the minions and taelord do good in the castle. We usually play two or three defenders inside a castle against an overwhelming force (1200 vs 4,000), the player with the horde has three separate forces.
Occasionally, the castle is built into a mountainside, and the mountain will have a waterfall almost always.


If one of the defenders has five hundred points, this is the army I would use:

two minions
taelord
Either the micro corp or omnicrons, depending on the map.


With a double hieght, twenty 5 high castle, the omnicrons could have potentially 5 defense and 4 attack with taelord (8 power). If the map has the watter top mountain, then the micro corp agents are the way to go, with 4 attack, plus one for targeting, plus one for taelord ( thats 6 power ) And, If the map has elevated watter, thats 3 defense, plus two for hieght, plus two for water ( thats 7 power). One may argue that * attack against 6 attack is a big differnce, but the 7 defense over five defense, with a 25% chance of not dying after recieving wounds, I believe the micro corp are the way to go. Without the water, witch is a rare occasion, they still have a defense of five in the tower.


One might ask what those minions would be doing whilst the micro corp were pounding away. Sitting one or even two squads down inside the gate is a good tactic. Whenever a big enemy gets to close to the gate, fly them over the wall. Attack hard and fast with three attacks of 3 (power of six) If its a hero, lets say Krug, who does rather well with bringing down the door, you have pretty good odds of killing him in one go, pottentially 18 attack, against potentially six defense. Fly them back over as soon as you get a chance, to midagate them dying.

Remember, This would be a good tactic to use if you had more than one team within the gate, as just one squad on the wall isn't that good of a defense. I believe people will find out soon that Win Chiu Woo in a 500 point army could get nasty.

140 WCW
360 4x Monks.

That offensive force is limited with one range, but given they have six move, they can reach the will only be within range of the wall for one turn before hopping on, or over the wall, attacking up to 18 attacks of three. It is obvious that keeping WCW back until the final wave is important, so you can keep the stealth leap of 25. Using your Minions to attempt to take out the threat fast is a good Idea. You could eleminate one squad effectively, with a 25% chance of killing them in one attack, given you roll two skulls.

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Old August 7th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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Hmmm, oddly enough I have never used Minions and Taelord together. It occurs to me though, that with their high defense you could move them in to tie up opponents and then sub one of their order markers to bring in Taelord for their boost, counting on surviving an extra turn of attacks from opponents to power up against anyone with a defense of, say, four or more. Great Q9 killers, but need to do even more to justify adding Taelord to the mix.

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Old August 7th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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An army of Taelord, 2x Minions and a unit of Omnicrons looks lovely on paper and I may have to give it a go, but I think logistically it could be challenging.

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Old August 7th, 2007, 05:11 PM
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Should we be discussing the inclusion of Runa, give Utgar's Orders? Runa + Taeord =300 points, and adding one squad of minions makes 410 (two makes 520).

Note that you may use her helm of mitunsol aura, not you must. This lets you use her (attack +1) while keeping her near your minions without harming them.

In the castle defense scenario, she could be placed in a position where an approach is frightening. With Utgar's Orders, you can activate her any time to scare your opponents. Just fly her down in their midst, keep her 4 away from Taelord (to avoid taking him out with Helm of Mitunsol Aura) and keep his attack of +1. If you are on a mountainside with stepwise elevations leading up to the castle (or simply on a mountainside, period), Runa may be able to do all of the above and still get height advantage!

In any case, now that we have another Utgar Kyrie Hero, I think it is worth exploring the possibility of gaining the most use out of Utgar's Orders in connection with a Taelord army.

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Old August 7th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by markwars
An army of Taelord, 2x Minions and a unit of Omnicrons looks lovely on paper and I may have to give it a go, but I think logistically it could be challenging.
I just can't justify taking one squad of Omni's over the Krav. With Taelord, you're talking about 3 attacks of 4 vs 3 attacks of 2 super dice. Per attack....

4 dice:

No Skulls - 6.2%
At Least One Skull - 93.8%
At Least Two Skulls - 62.5%
At Least Three Skulls - 31.2%
4 Skulls - 6.2%

2 Super Dice

No Skulls - 25%
At Least One Skull - 75%
At Least Two Skulls - 75%
At Least Three Skulls - 25%
4 Skulls - 25%

Even though these get better with height advantage and every extra die favors the Omni's slightly, I don't think the increase in hit percentage outweighs Stealth Dodge. Plus, there's the 18.8% higher probability of blanking, which I'm not a fan of. The Omni's, with their higher percentage of big attacks would be better for taking out heroes than the Krav, but you already have Minions to do that.

Now, if you get up to 600 points and start talking about multiple squads of Omni's, then you might convince me.

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  #12  
Old August 7th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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markwars markwars is offline
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Agreed. At 600 points their viability changes completely.

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