Returning player advice

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Bobsan
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Returning player advice

Hi, I played a bit a few years ago and now I've decide to find the time to play again. But there are a lot more models now.

Just looking through the models, there are a few I really like the look and fluff of. I want to know if anyone is using them and how, what role they take and what other characters really work with them.

Kenta Takashi - just looks a fairly solid samurai choice?

Atsushi and Shinobu - love the models, how are they best used?

Katsumoto Takashi - seems like mostly a support model, given only a 50 rice game, can you afford to take a 12 rice support model?

Mizuchi - one of the models that really got me interested in bushido, but a huge point cost. Which profile do people prefer?

Thanks.

Memento
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Of those you've listed, I can only comment on Katsumoto. He's definitely an expensive support model. But I've been having a lot of fun with him recently.

He's pretty great in my experience. He excels at long-ranged support via Command, allowing you to set up 1-2 punches to help bring down tough opponents or to block off a zone. In one game I had Katsumoto Command Matsu to stun an MS4 enemy and then had Hiro move in to immediately capitalize before my opponent could react.

Closer range he can "refresh" a couple of models which, while a net zero for action economy, can still be powerful when used in combination with pass tokens. In a different game, a Tired pponent thought he was safe moving within 4" of an Exhausted Hiro and Hagane. However, both were within 8" of a Rested Katsumoto who then Ordered. Dominate is also a great ability if Katsumoto is on the front line as it allows you to basically dictate your opponent's next activation.

I typically run Katsumoto (w/ Battle Plans, Elixir of Vigor), Hiro (w/ Hotei's Coin), Hagane, Matsu the Thunder, and Young Takashi. Powerful Samurai, a bit of overlapping synergies, and some activation tricks with Katsumoto. Dunno how competitive it is, but I think it's fun.

Bobsan
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Thanks for the response.
12 points seems a big percentage to spend on support in a 50 rice game, especially where the number of activations counts so much.
Command seems strong. Ordered is mostly going to be trading 2 activations of a 12 rice model for 2 activations of lesser rice models, not sure on the efficiency there. Dominate seems really niche, as it only stops them using a model for one activation, at the cost of forcing you in to using Katsumoto, meaning you often are just delaying the issue. If it meant they had to use the model last instead I could see the point of it much more.

GCT Master Enos
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The thing with Katsumoto is after he supports for a bit, he's still a samurai and is actually good in melee.  Its hard to get full use out of him as you need to choose to support or work every time but used right he's certainly worth the 12

Grand Master of Bushido (Smog Con '14)

Memento
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Just a small (but important) correction. You don't have to activate Katsumoto to use a Ki Feat like Dominate.

Dominate is an [A]ctive Ki Feat, which means that it can only be used by Katsumoto when you are the Active Player (i.e. when it's your turn to activate a model). However, the second part of that is that a model can use an Active Ki Feat even when it's not the active model. Active Ki Feats are also not considered actions in their own right.

Which means you can pull stunts like nominate Hiro to activate and then have Katsumoto Dominate someone. There's also a timing window between the start of your turn and choosing a model to active that allows you to use Active Ki Feats. Things get even better when you use multiple Active Ki Feats together. 

You're right that the game is heavily focused around number of Activations. But the "qualitiy" of those Activations (i.e. the usefulness of each model's activation) is also important. Katsumoto gives you *a lot* of control on how useful your activations are. He can also make enemy activations useless. And, as Master Enos says, he's also a Samurai. Martial Prowess and Armour (3) means that he's still a tier above most other MS3 models. And Critical Strike Attack means that most opponents need to worry about getting hit when fighting him just in case you get lucky and roll doubles.

Bobsan
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@Memento
Thanks for correcting my understanding on that. It makes dominate a far stronger feat.
Guess I'll just have to try and have a few games with him and see how it goes.
Anyone got any thoughts on the other miniatures?
How do the new 3 sisters fit in with prefecture?

Memento
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Well, now I'm running on conjecture based on my experiences playing with other Prefecture stuff. So please take the following with a grain of salt.

Kenta Takashi - I plan to pick him up one day, if only so I can paint him. But I'm not sure that he'd fit into my playstyle. Stat-wise, he's identical to Hiro for the same Rice cost, so that's who I'm going to compare him to. Firstly, he leans more to defense with his Traits Feats compared to Hiro's raw offence.

He's only got Armour (1) vs. Hiro's Armour (3). That's a pretty big deal. But he has Parry (1) for free which helps make up for it. Iron Mind vs. Strong Mind is *almost* the same thing. But I've found that unless my opponent has a lot of Force of Will, Strong Mind is better in most cases. Kenta's Fearless is, obviously, superior to Hiro's Bravery. But Leadership is arguably better than Rally because it's a) free, and b) proactive. 

Anyways, it's a toss up. Hiro is better at finishing off hurt or Exhausted opponents (popping Ten-Uchi & Powerful Attack vs. an Exausted/Stunned opponent is great!). Kenta is better at jamming zones and holding off enemies. If Prefecture had someway to get Tireless on a model, Kenta would be amazing. As it is he's situationally more useful than Hiro, but I'm going to with Hiro 9 times out of 10.

Atsushi and Shinobu - How are they best used? With other Ashigaru and with a Gunso to support them. Run them in the Claws of the Dragon Theme for maximum effect. Atsushi can use Shinobu to jam up opponents and then pop him out of combat using Here Boy to go troll someone else. The key to using them effectively is to leverage activation control and Outnumbering to keep your opponents off balance

Mizuchi - He's so expensive. But you get what you pay for. I'm actually going to try him out tonight, so I'll be able to give you some more feedback in a bit. It's difficult to say which profile is better. But my guess is that it'll heavily depend on what the rest of your warband looks like.

I'll be running him in Blood of the Dragon along with Hiro, Hagane, Matsu the Thunder, and Young Takashi. I'll probably opt for Mizuchi the Storm only because that gives me double the Stun Counters to toss around. Keep in mind that while he's tough and fast, he's only MS3. So he can be taken down pretty easily if he's Outnumbered/Exhausted/Debuffed. My thoughts are to use him and close range support until my Samurai take down the bigger threats and then use his speed to grab far flung objectives or to dive a backline support model.

Memento
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I also haven't tried out the Sisters yet but they seem powerful.

The Sisters, Katsumoto, and Ryoko-Sha are 46 Rice I think? So you run Inspiring Words, Battle Plans, and Hotei's Coin/Arashi's Fan.

And you can do absurd things like:

Katsumoto Activates -> Commands Sister 1 & Sister 2
Sister 1 Activates -> Commands Sister 2 & Sister 3
Sister 2 Activates -> Commands Sister 1 & Sister 3
Sister 1 Activates -> Does a thing
Sister 2 Activates -> Does a thing
Sister 3 Activates -> Does a thing
Sister 3 Activates -> Does a thing

Now all your Sisters are Exhausted and Katsumoto is Tired. Your opponent then activates a model.

Ryoko-Sha Activates and uses Time Reverse. You've had basically an entire Turn's worth of Activations and your opponent got to do one thing. Obviously not an all-the-time tactic. The Time Reverse reset only works once per game. But if you're set up for it, it can be super powerful.

Ret-A_Palmer
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That is a lot of activations for 4 actions.  You could use chain the Sworn Sisters activations together using their own built-in abilities.  They get 3 unanswered activations on their own if you chain together their Commands.  You can stretch it to 4 unanswered if they can use a couple of doses of the Sworn Sisters Ki feat.

Katsumoto's great strength is that Dominate is probably the most powerful Ki feat in the entire game.  Once you learn to use Dominate, most people ask you to never play that model again.  If you're not getting amazing results, bring an Ancestor and apply MORE Dominate.

Kenta is a bit of a weird profile.  He competes with Hiro (who got buff to Leadership), and prefers to be in the middle of the enemy warband, preferably fighting two models at once.  Hiro prefers to spam Critical Strike (0) and generally murder things.  Before the Leaderhip buff Kenta was quite attractive as you get a Fearless samurai for pretty cheap (a charging Hagane notwithstanding), after the Leadership buff it's pretty easy for Hiro to pass most Fear tests - he should be able to melee Ikiryo about 75%ish of the time.

Atsushi & Shinobu are usually used for very early scenario push warbands.  Shinobu can interact with midline objectives on turn 1 simply by having Atsushi teleport the dog into BtB with the objective.  It's not even exhausted after doing so.  After that they function as a pretty good duo, they can easily finish off single opponents between themselves with no outside buffs - Shinobu just Immobilises something while Atsushi hits them with MS 4.

Mizuchi.  I've heard some people say the dragon was super good.  I haven't experienced that myself, but then again I haven't experienced much Mizuchi at all.

Ashley408
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I've played with Katsumoto and I agree he can be good but I find that you end up having to keep him back meaning he an be an expensive support player.  A clever opponent will send someone to tie him up.  I've struggled to use Dominate properly and it does need some practice.  Order is nice but his Command needs plenty of Ki and as his special attacks/dfence cost a dice he is down to 2 MS if he uses them.  12 points is expensive as well.  You need a plan with him.

in terms of Mizuchi, I have run both versions and he has a fatal flaw which is with only 3 MS and no martial prowess he can be taken out much easier than you think if your opponent targets him and/or he rolls some bad defence dice especially if his Mirage or Fog of hesitation fails to work.

Flying around grabbing objectives or killing VIMs or support units can be good but he is very expensive at 14 rice for this.  I ended up dropping him from my list.

I suspect if both Mizuchi and Katsumoyto were released now they woiuld get slightly better melee skills or a few points dropped off their rice cost.

Atsuhi and Shinobu are my latest model purchases and look awesome.  Now they can both be taken in a Claws of the Dragon theme they have some really interesting dynamics.  The ability to move a figure for free is very special if used cleverly.  

Kenta - I agree with everyones view here.  I have been looking for a defensive figure that could hold up 1-2 enemy units.  Kenta could do this but also Lady Oka who is a slightly cheaper option and has Parry, Side Step Defense and Dodge.  If Kenta had tireless he could be awesome.  Indomnatable is pretty good but uses all his Ki.  I am mulling buying him but in my view any figure over 10 rice needs to be pretty special or have skills to improve your other figures.  Eiji with Push Defence (o) and Sweep Attack can be quite a handy defensive figure at 9 points allowing you 3 spare points for a Goshi or some fun event cards.

In my view a prefecture list either needs to be a ashigaru theme or a mixed non-theme force.  I've tried samuari themed lists and find their lack of activations hard to deal with.  You end up with a small force like the ninjas but without their special skills.  3 Armour and 4 MS are great but not if you are surrounded and exhausted with only 6 wounds each.  Posion and Precision Strike can be painful for Samurai.

I find Mikio (the gunso alternative version) very good, he brings some much needed throwing which can turn a game.  Isamu and Iiju with Inspire can be very effective at buffing figures around them and both have some handy extra skills Cleave and Command respectively.

I'm currenly trying out the Ancester (using intangible to get through to enemy support figures) and Lady Oka but am also trying the Kappa.

That's the joy of this game - so many variations to try.  I've been playing this game for ages and am still on Ryu!  Until the Bear clan appears of course!