Friday, 18 June 2010

Tactica: Sanguine (night; Level 2)

NAME: Sanguine (night) Level 2
SUBFACTION: Necroplane/unaligned
FUNCTION: Battlefield control.

BRIEF: Classic comic book vampire, Sanguine (night) is represents the big bad vampire, using many of the famous vampiric abilities including mental domination.

POWERS: Sanguine (night) offers a nice breadth of abilities. As with his day incarnation, he does not possess devastating direct attack Actions, needing to work some combinations of actions and synergies to deal high Damage. Instead he primarily offers some very effective control actions. While Crimson Mist and Fangs are a natural combo, it can become costly using likely up to 5 + target’s Action AP cost in AP’s – pretty much most of his AP Allowance.

Fangs is a useful battlefield control action and when used at the right time may be able to turn the tide of momentum. Since each Action can only be used once per round, using an enemy's Exclusive Actions against their allies also stops them from using that same Action against your models. Ideally use the Action that will both disrupt the enemy and leave the targeted model exposed/vulnerable; even a simple Move* from Base to Base to trigger Free Strikes may be worth a thought. Note also that you can still use Fangs after going Spectral using Crimson Mist (below). This allows Sanguine some leeway when facing Close Combat heavy melee hitters. Even if you lose initiative you can recover up to 3 of the damage sustained (using Crimson Mist), use Fangs in a following Activation (perhaps with a Move*), and then have an AP or two left over.

Crimson Mist is a particularly useful defensive ability. This Action will let Sanguine (night) move through models/terrain and escape melee without free strikes if that threat is in place. Use to evade front-line or mid-field models if you'd rather hunt one of their rear support models. Add to that the benefit of self-healing up to 3 Damage per Round without penalty (any more is too restrictive on balance) other than AP cost, and Sanguine (night) can be more durable than his Traits, Skills or Damage may at first indicate. Obviously beware the risks of ENERGY-using enemies when in Spectral form – it does not offer complete invulnerability, especially as AGILITY is reduced by X; don’t forget his Trump and other available buffs at such times. And of course being Spectral may allow Sanguine (night) to occupy an objective with a degree of safety.

Horror is potentially very powerful, applying -2 to all opposed rolls. In the right circumstances this is a really big penalty (and so a bonus for Sanguine’s Team). Don’t forget that SBl 4 can cover a large amount of the board (basically just over 9” in diameter circle). Try not to use Horror on enemy models you wish to use Fangs on, otherwise their efficacy will be compromised.

Bloodlust* allows Sanguine (night) and Draku to boost their STRENGTH as enemies are damaged within the Aura. The downside is that STRENGTH is not a Trump Trait and it is naturally incompatible with Crimson Mist. Because of this, I see Bloodlust as a back-up power that will be very situation-specific (groups of Minions and Citizens come to mind); the area affected may stack nicely with Horror (use Horror first), but the AP outlay is quite a lot (4 AP) so would really restrict use of Sanguine (night)’s other Actions. One option is to possibly use Bloodlust* with Fangs to generate a Free Strike against a model in Base to Base, but this will rarely be especially useful. With sequential Activations, Bloodlust could combine and stack with Horror to be followed up by a Charge and Strike for a healthy Damage output, but that is going to take at least 2 Activations (allowing a target to move away maybe) and around 6 AP to manage, plus maybe another 2 AP for Draku joining him.

Team Power – Deceiver: allows Sanguine (night) to stay in the game. If you want to make use of it keep a disposable friendly Supreme near to Sanguine (night) to allow Sanguine to stay in the game when Incapacitated/Eliminated. Models that are near to being taken out themselves are obvious candidates; Mourn is probably the ideal companion in this. You will likely need to follow up with Crimson Mist.

Skills – Freelancer is more a Team-building skill, deciding for you what kind of Team you want to build, and really influencing use in EL 12 games.

Draku – don’t leave home without him! He is cute, a vampire dog, Regenerates, heals through Bite, and best of all you opponent suffers if he or she takes him out. What isn’t there to like in all of that? Don’t forget that Draku can Strike as well as use his Bite.

Mobility – with his AP 7, a Run* action is not too costly for Sanguine (night), so he can be pretty mobile despite his lack of movement skills or actions.

WEAKNESSES: Sanguine (night) has a few key weaknesses. Firstly is that he doesn’t bring a single major damaging attack to bear, he needs to be used with models that can benefit from his Actions. Also, bear in mind that Bloodlust* is Sanguine (night)’s only * Action, meaning some planning is required to use his actions successfully. And remember that Crimson Mist can leave him very vulnerable to ENERGY attacks (use his Trump and other possible buffs if necessary).

SYNERGIES: Keep a ‘disposable’ friendly Supreme near to Sanguine (night) to allow Sanguine to stay in the game when Incapacitated/Eliminated – Mourn is the current best choice. Any friendly models can benefit from attacking models affected by Horror, meaning Sanguine (night) works well with anyone.

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