Happy New Year Everybody!
With the new year comes all new deCiphered, including a new schedule. DeCiphered articles will be posted on Monday’s only this year, freeing up more time for relevant company news. We’re going to try to give you more frequent and regular model previews this year so you can see all the new things we have in store for your entertainment. This year will see Cipher Studios finally finish the transfer of the Hell Dorado property to our production facilities and the last of the American releases of Asmodee’s classic minis. This means that at some point in the next few months, you’ll start seeing all new Hell Dorado releases as we gear up for our first expansion.
Since it’s a new year, I thought now would be a great time to get started with a new faction in Anima Tactics. I already own almost all of the Empire line and most of the Sameal line. I’ve dabbled in Church a bit too, but after playing a few games with friends here I decided I wanted to buy into a faction with more tricks and subtlety than my usual power factions. So with out further ado, I present my foray into The Azur Alliance!
With the new organization box sets out and on the shelves, I decided that this buy would be my starting point for Azur. For a cheap price, you get six excellent characters which can be formed into two special teams! That’s the best of any of the organizations. Just add a leader and you’ve got yourself a powerful and versatile list for up to 450 points. Let’s take a look at the box then and see what it can do.
First up in the box is the Team Lords of the Abyss, and this pirate crew is lead by the highest level character in the box: Deadmoon. At 55 levels Deadmoon is average cost for an elite character, but thanks to the Azur Alliance Shadow Lords advantage you can shave 5 levels off her cost due to her classification as a Prowler. Her base stats aren’t anything special. Good defense at 9, but no armor. Average movement speed and AP. Her abilities are her strong point. Starting off with Crit Mastery, Dead Moon can make up a bit for her average attack stat with more frequent crits. Shadow of the Moon is an amazing upkeep denial power that prevents enemies more than 6” away from her from drawing LoS to her. This ensures that despite her lack of armor, she’s not going to be easily sniped out of your team. It also makes it difficult to get the charge off on her, since it’s rare that one begins their activation within 6” of a character without having used their movement that turn.
While you are busy trying to close with her she can seriously harass your forces using Lunatic Sickle, a nasty range 16 special attack that allows Deadmoon to make a free second attack on another model within 2” of her initial target if she hits. Crit mastery is really important in enabling you to pull this move off, but it can be a real problem for short range support characters like Lillian Virgil who tend to stick close to the front lines. Usually, the threat of this ability is more important than actually hitting stuff with it, as forcing your opponent to spread out in the early game can enable you to create bad match-ups and 2v1 situations for your opponent’s characters.
Once she actually gets engaged in hand to hand, Deadmoon can invoke the Lunatic Malice ability, a highly accurate attack that causes blind on an effect 15, this is probably one of the nastiest attack abilities in the game. Finally, her Lunatic Void reactive ability gives her some back-up sustainability, allowing her to recover 4 LP for the price of one AP if a model has used a magic ability in her control area (which isn’t that hard a condition to meet.) I find myself using this less than I probably could though, as I find that I find myself short on AP with Deadmoon in most turns, necessitating that I give up on some of her abilities in order to ensure I have AP left for dodging.
The Lords of the Abyss team is what really makes Deadmoon shine. The team bonus grants every member of the team Advanced Deployment and Infiltration, making them one of the most fearsome teams to meet in scenario play. In addition Deadmoon gains the Zone of Darkness ability, which grants her Shadow of the Moon ability effect to both Hel and Jerome if they are in 4” of her. The cool thing about how this works is that the wording of Shadow of the Moon is such that one has to be within 6” of Deadmoon to see either Hel or Jerome when Zone of Darkness is up. So even if Hel is sitting only 3” in front of your character, you still can’t charge her if Deadmoon is sitting back at the maximum 4” away from Hel.
Wow, so that took longer than expected. I’ll try to keep it shorter when I talk about Jerome and Hel next week as I continue working on my Azur Team. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some pics of my painted models up then too! See you next time!