Thursday, 22 September 2016

Asami Tanaka: First thoughts & tactics

Why yes I would like a new Master please.

The release of some new masters has got the Abnormalifaux Crew very excited.

I’m currently running Pandora so I’m excited to see Titania coming to the Neverborn. I’m also really excited about Asami Tanaka. It is always great to have new models and new masters. Hats off to Wyrd for giving us some great new stuff.

I didn’t manage to get Titania in my Gen Con order but I did manage to get Asami, the Shadow Emissary and a pack of Wandering River Monks. Good stuff.

This article is supposed to be about Asami though. It is purely my first thoughts on reading the cards and opening the box. I haven’t played her yet.

First up is her card

And the back

So let’s look at what she can do.

She is Hard to Kill which is always handy. She has Rush of Magic. That’s a really nice addition to a summoning master. Wounds aren’t great but aren’t bad either. She hasn’t got much specialist defensive stuff. Still DF7 isn’t anything to sneeze at. Her WP is low, but you could get Servant of the 5 Dragons upgrade to boost it to 6 if you are really worried. If truly desperate I suppose you could even take an Oiran to get you to WIP 7. I prefer that on Shenlong to get to WIP 8…..

One of the biggies on the front of the card is that she can take 1dmg so a oni within 4” can charge as a (1). That is pretty big. She can summon an Oni and it will still be able to charge by giving her 1 wound. TT have plenty of healing and she can discard scheme markers within 2 to heal 2dmg per marker.

So the front of her card is decent.

The back of her card is interesting too.
Her base attack isn’t anything special but it does have a nice 2/4/6 track at MI6. She should be focused from someone (Emissary) but still this isn’t really where her strengths are. The attack has a built in 3” trigger so you can bounce off models if you want.

Reaching tendrils is the standout attack. CA6(mask built in). Rng 8 target model. The target model is pushed into base contact. Note that it is not restricted to enemy models, it can target friendlies too so you can pull friendlies into a better position or out of a bad spot. It has a Ram trigger (not built in) to let Asami push 6" afterwards. That is a great push.

So the (0) An insatiable hunger seems pretty good. Maybe hire a Wastrel and have it hang out nearby to drop markers. Then she can heal up. It is  nice zero, nothing great and it doesn't say friendly scheme markers so you could use it to get rid of an enemy marker.

Oni's strengh is nice. Being able to hand out Focus +2 as a (1)AP action is a nice way to increase efficiency across the crew. It can target Oni's or Minions so will give your Sniper a nice double focus if you want T1. I can't see why you couldn't do it twice if you like. It has a cast TN of 12 so you only need a 6 and a range of 8. You could target yourself with it. I can't think it would be worth it often as it is costing you a card when you could just take a normal Focus (1), but if you are on a double neg it might be worth burning a card if you have one. 

It ties in nicely with the TT design switch towards Focus, Heals, Conditions and Pushes we've seen recently.

From the Maw They Come. This is where things get interesting. It is a (1)AP summon that doesn't need markers. Read it very carefully. You get to summon a model within 6" That's a good start. The first mask is built in, and you need a 2nd and you need to hit 10 plus the soulstone cost of the model from a base of CA6. That is a reasonable cast but not stellar. You get to summon an Oni. The only Oni models I've seen cards for are the Tengu, Obsidian Oni, the Jogorumu and her boxed set.

All her summoning so far will need a 
8 (Masks)     Tengu, Akaname
9 (Masks)     Yokai
10 (Masks)    Obsidian Oni
13 (Masks)     Jogorumo

That's not a bad summoning list so far and I suspect it will have more as time passes. I haven't got Ripples of Fate yet so I don't know.

At first it might seem Tengu are a pointless summons, but it is nice to have the option and they have some scheme marker tricks too.

I get the feeling her signature is supposed to be dragging an enemy in using Reaching Tendrils then pushing out to engagement range. Summon a nasty within four inches of herself, but engaging the enemy. The Summon Comes in with full wounds and charges as a 1 Action. If you have a Low River Monk you could remove the Slow condition so they would potentially have two attacks and a spare AP (but remember they can't interact on the turn they are summoned).

Even if you aren't doing the summon bomb, being able to move enemies out of position is always great. I'm not sure yet if the Flicker condition means I should be looking for ways to increase Flicker to  keep models on the table, or treat them as Fire and Forget missiles. If they are F&F, then burning a card for a model with chance to make a quick charge is pretty nice. Not so sure about the value using a stone for a F&F model though. I think if I need to stone, I will be looking to increase the Flicker condition.

Her final action is her biggie I think, but I can totally see turns where you just hand out focus and push shenanigans. 

So far it feels like an interesting, but slightly limited card. She seems deceptively fast, and her summoning isn't bad but isn't great either. 

Time to look at her upgrades then

Grasping Tendrils (1ss):
Enemy models that finish the end of the movement portion of a charge action within 4 of this model reduce the number of attacks generated by the charge action by one. 
Reaching Tendrils gives a trigger to let you take a (1) MI attack against the target. Always nice to get a free attack. If you could pull a model in, make a free attack with moderate damage of 4, then it is pretty useful.
Seems a solid choice.

A Heavenly Design (2ss)
Wonderful (0) action: a 6" place on a 6+. I love place actions. So powerful and so useful. Pretty easy to get off too.
Extra ability An Oni's Spirit means when a friendly model is sacrificed within 10, you place a scheme marker in base. I can see it as a useful "finish the job" thing, but I suppose if you were in a weird situation you could use condition remove to take Flicker off something to get a marker down. 
Again, I can't see why you wouldn't take this.

Feigned Weakness (1ss)
Summon a non-totemwithin 6 and LOS with Flicker +2 if the opponent more VP and scores 1 or more VP that turn. The model must be less ss than the VP differential. This is a 2ss upgrade and if you get a 4 ss model out of it more than once you've pretty much lost the game already. I can't really see any circumstances I'd take this.

Nefarious Pact (2ss)
At the end of this models activation, draw a card.
An ability to prevent friendly models within 10 having a condition removed if you want. Choosing not to have Flicker removed off something by an enemy could be crucial.
Not to shabby. A bit pricey at 2ss but still a card draw is always good. 

The Fate of Mortals (2)
Once per turn give a Friendly Oni within 6" Flicker +1 if the opponent scores 1 VP or more.
Friendly Oni within 10" gain an ability for you to draw a card if you kill or sacrifice an enemy model. Again, any card draw with a summoner is nice.

So for me the standard build will always be Grasping Tendrils to provide protection and give a bonus attack trigger, A Heavenly Design just for the place ability and then either Fate of Mortals or Nefarious Pact or nothing at all.

My plan for her on the table is still a bit up in the air. I think that I will want a nice support crew say the Emissary and perhaps Tannen and a Sniper. Yokai and Jogorumo are def the summons I'll be aiming for. A Low River Monk with the new upgrade on someone for healing could be useful.

This seems to be a card heavy crew though, which makes me nervous. She is a interesting and seemingly decent master, but looks lower mid tier power level wise. 

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