Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pepito, the Biggest Death Marshal in the Whole-Wide-World - Hannah Conversion & Tactics

I've done a lot of looking at and re-thinking Hannah and decided that I consider her one of Tara's thematic bunch: Tara was narratively Friekorps, and Hannah has Void-related abilities connected to Horror and Bury mechanics. Also, she can already work in either faction, and isn't seriously limited by not getting her Upgrade out of faction. So...

Model

This is my conversion for her- I decided to take advantage of the huge Death Marshal and went out of my way to pick one up. I felt the aesthetic of chains worked well with her Ghost Censer (well, my take on it, with a length more appropriate to the 3" melee reach, grabbed from a Warriors of Chaos flail).

Also, a scale shot, since that Death Marshal is pretty huge- other than some work on her gender (including a TTB pony tail though not head), the flail, and (obviously) the base swap, the model hasn't been modified or bulked out. So, Death Marshal Hannah is a giant, suit or no.


Tactics & Tricks
While this is mostly for Tara's crew, the combat tricks can be pulled off by any crew with a way of generating extra actions, while the Death Marshal tricks can be pulled off by any Guild crew (with one, of course).

I'll be including a version of this in my longer Tara article, where I'll be updating it in the future.

First, the basics. Hanna's got a reasonably durable stat line, with all the Friekorps perks, along with being a Hench(wo)man. She's also got a very strong and long-ranged melee attack. Particularly when benefitting from Tara's various Fast sources or I Pay Better (allowing her to focus twice, or move and focus once) or, better yet, both for a double-focus, or various other iterations, Hannah can blast apart clumps of little guys, with her extremely high blast damage of 4 (which Crooligans can upgrade to 5). This is a bit of a risky move, since that's a lot of resources in a single attack, but one of the few times I'll take it. And, by risk, I mean, the Jokers are impossible to plan against, but I'll invest a ton of resources to be sure that's the only risk. Or, if you really want it to work, target one of your own chumps who'll be dying this turn anyways, since killing a weak friendly is worth being able to ensure a massive blast to kill or cripple a few enemies, especially if you don't have the hand to guarantee it against an enemy. The only thing her attack really suffers from is a relatively low Weak damage.

Arcane Reservoir, despite the added vulnerability to Void creatures at the beginning of the turn, is just as desirable with Tara as with anyone else- you still start with more options and more chances for those juicy cards, which matters a bit extra with Karina's card-dependent summon.

Finally, the combination of Counterspell and Nether Flux will often deny your opponents offensive suits, particularly if they have a melee focus. This alone is enough to merit consideration, just as a reasonably solid melee model with some passive support, though for the same cost you can get a monster like Taelor or Bishop, who Tara's more than capable of ferrying into the mix.

However, Hannah's notable synergy is found in her two spells, and the flexibility they provide to a Void list.

Starting with the more obvious spell, in her Upgrade: While Void Record can only be cast on one model at a time and has the highest TN of any offensive burying in the game, it has some exceptional attributes: It also has the highest accuracy of a Bury in the game, and has no enemy-controllable end condition. Unlike Glimpse or Pine Box where if (respectively) a model dies or the caster dies/is forced to cast again/fails a duel, it doesn't do anything. That model is just out of commission (and effectively under your control) for the rest of the turn.

Another trick with this one is, in any scenario where you absolutely need one of your models to survive during that last turn, bury it with Hannah, and it'll reappear after any models can activate against it.

It's a strong and flexible option, but kind of expensive, and not absolutely necessary to playing her optimally in a Void list.

Next, Make a New Entry. This spell has a reasonably low TN and no extra triggers or suits, so it's easy to pull off. It's probably better to plan to copy friendly spells than enemy ones, since you'll be able to control your own spell list, and won't need to face a resist.

There are a bunch of generic options you have at your disposal, here:

-Ranged damage spells: Ressers have more of these, though Outcasts have a few (mostly other academic ladies), with The Hanged's Whispers from Beyond probably being the best.
-Support: Lure is an option, as well as many Henchman summons. The Hodgepodge can provide a ball of cover.
-Friekorps: If focusing on this side of things, the Strongarm suit has a good one, and Lazarus or the Librarian can allow her to heal, while the Trapper can give her more positioning, since his defensive (0) can also help her play hit & run or get some extra distance to her real target.

Note: Remember triggers don't activate, so stuff like Nurses' buffs are useless, and you should be sure that what you're trying to get is core to the spell and not an auto-trigger.

And then there's the more unique stuff you can do with Void-themed models.
Bête gets an honorary mention first, since she was on Tara's beta avatar.  Hannah can bury herself, to immediately zap back up to full health and no conditions. Unlike Bête, she can't unbury herself, but, fortunately, she's got a friend who can help her out. This requires a 6 and a 10 to pull off (not counting unburying), but completely healing a Henchman in one (0) is pretty strong, especially when she's as substantial as Hannah. Just be sure Tara won't die before she can bring Hannah back, or you'll be out some decent cards and a Henchman. Basically think of Hannah and Tara as a much tougher Leveticus-Waif combo that's harder to pull off.

Karina, who's now more usable, has a mean little spell for making your buried enemies Slow or Fast. Not the strongest option, but there, if you need a spell that doesn't have a conventional range.

The Nothing Beast has one of the more obvious options, with two very strong spells. This assumes, though, that the Nothing Beast is not buried and not dead, which isn't all that likely, plus the requirement that you have two 10-pt models in your force. However, potentially getting 4 strong melee attacks (2 base, fast, 0 action) can make Hannah a(n even more) serious melee threat.

Finally, my favorite: the Death Marshal's Pine Box. This is worth the setup on its own, and extremely powerful in my opinion, because, well, Hannah is infinitely better at the Death Marshals' spell than they are, and it's a good spell, to begin with.

First, you need to get the enemy in said box. It's Hannah's (0) action, so her threat range is greatly improved, and you can do this on friendlies while moving Hannah much further up-field on the first turn (instead of wasting a move like you would with a DM). She's no more accurate with the spell, so it's worth setting this up properly in a WP-debuff situation if you can. As with regular Death Marshals, I don't really consider it worth it, unless you're nearly guaranteed a success, so you'll want  something you can beat their lower/lowered WP with even if they have the Red Joker in their hand, and it's worth saving the card for this trick. This is because it's hugely harder to get something out of Hannah's phantom box than a Death Marshal's:

It's her (0) action, so using Obey or a similar spell won't allow your opponent to cancel the old box. Hannah is much tougher than a Death Marshal, being a Henchman with some good defenses, so your opponent won't be able to kill her nearly as easily as they would a durable minion (though Burying her will still dump her victim out first, which is a possibility in such a Bury-heavy crew). Also, unlike most duplicating abilities which use the original model's stats only, Hannah uses her huge WP of 8 to keep victims locked up. Assuming neither side draws a Joker or has a penalty, the only models who can out-WP her if you have a King (unless I missed something) are:
-Zoraida
-an Electric Creation
-the Pigapult
-another Hannah

...and there are a few special cases, like Ashes & Dust which can't be buried, or a few special models with their own means of unburying. Furthermore, WP 7 is still pretty rare, so you're often looking at only needing to keep an 11-12 around to keep the enemy indefinitely boxed up unless you're unlucky with those Jokers, and there are a few models with such exceptionally low DF that even moderate cards will easily beat them (even if poor Lenny plays the Red Joker, a 7 will still match and keep him locked up). Then, if the model does manage to break out, Hannah has a full activation to slap them around and even potentially shove them back in her box.

To people who say Tara has no Henchman, I give them Hannah.

Note: While you can't poke at her victim while it's stuck, or throw it back at your opponent in a confused activation, you can actually pull off most of her (arguably) meanest tricks by just hiring her in a Guild list with a Death Marshal and anyone who can hand out Fast or Focused can get her up to Focused 2 for her exploding censer.