Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Skiing When You're Skint: Keep On Watching (Month 2: lessons from the battlefield)

Oh my God. I have one thing to say to everyone who says that Zerkova is the worst caster in Khador. You're so wrong.

It's been a long time since my last post where I told you I was looking forward to playing the one-eyed ice queen of the North, and this is due to many irritating factors, but boy was the wait worth while.

First of all 'Watcher'. If this spell is not an auto cast and upkeep then you're playing Zerkova wrong. Her focus orb means it can be cast for a measly 2 focus (being 7 focus in Khador is nothing to sniff at), and only costs 1 to upkeep thereafter.

The easiest way to get the most out of this spell, and so far the central strategy to my Zerkova battles has been to keep the Juggernaut close to her. Watcher activates whenever an enemy ends its movement within 6" of Zerkova and gives ANY warjack in her battlegroup a full advance and a FULLY BOOSTED attack. This gives your Juggernaut companion a heafty chance to critical freeze the charging enemy meaning that charge is now just a big old sack of damage boxes ready to be split open on your turn.

On its own this is filthy but you might be thinking "if the enemy is in a position to charge my caster I'm probably not in an optimal position". This is another issue that Zerkova's abilities can placate.

1. Offensive spells targeting Zerkova lose 3 RNG
yes, offensive spells targeting your caster lose 3 RNG, this pisses spell assassins (I'm looking at you Asphyxious) off to no end, whilst not a direct threat to casters themselves per se, their arc nodes are in trouble. An offensive spell would have to be RNG 10 for it to still be in range without triggering Watcher.

2. Offensive spells that hit Zerkova result in a d6 damage roll to the caster
Another spell assassin counter, if a warcaster, or even a magic unit, manage to hit Zerkova with an offensive spell they take a d6 damage roll that doesn't take any kind of defense into account. Low box units that rely on magic spells will have a very hard time surviving if they want to try to damage Zerkova (there spells are affected by the above ability).

3. Can make one spell per turn have +3 RNG
This is a mitigating factor for the lack of an arc node, not a bad little ability since it would give Razor Wind a threat range of 19"

4. Her feat
Her feat just stops things in their tracks. Not just slows them down, but just stops them dead. Not making them stationary like our old friend pSorscha does but removing their ability to run, charge, make special attacks, use special actions, or give orders. It also removes intial ranged attacks for that pesky gun line that just wont budge.

These abilities just pile all together to give Zerkova that ultimate fisherman's toolbox, just the right ways to lure powerful enemy pieces into the position that you want them before you trip watcher to reel in the victory.

My other pick-up this month the Greylord Ternion has had...issues. I had trouble figuring out the right way to deploy them so they would be effective and not get annihilated. After I did figure this out though I quickly found use for them by lowering foes defenses and laying down blizzards (For even more protection for Zerkova!). In general not my favourite unit ever but not an awful one by any means. (We'll find out what happens when you put more of them on the field later in the tour.)

In general I feel I was able to continue to the successes I had in month 1 this month, admittedly not as strongly due to the various crises that hopefully will not come back to plague us in month 3!

More to follow.

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