2017 State of the Union: Shadow Wind Clan

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farseerixirvost
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2017 State of the Union: Shadow Wind Clan

OK.  So we've had a year-and-a-half or so of kicking these tires.  And we've had 4 new ninjas join the fray - if you include the show special Bikou and the forthcoming Matoko.  We now have access to 7 and 8 rice ninjas.

SO... What are KKZ players fielding these days?  What kinds of tactics are you relying on?  Any particular synergies between ninjas and/or special cards offering excellent return on the rice investment(s)? 

TLDR - Where & How do the Ninjas stand these days?

Ret-MattT
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As Ninjas we´re in a weird shoot'em all dead mode and thus played contrary to the sneaky hidden assault mode their skills suggested players are probably re-adjusting. With time new discussion will rise.

The Eagle shares the nest. The Dragon burns it. Join the Black Eagle and crush the usurpers!

Axiam
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I would disagree with it being weird, I found ninjas were most effective prior to the 7 rice ninjas when they could strike effectively from the shadows or turn the opponents attempts to be aggressive against them and then slip back into the shadows by using camouflage.
The HoS spam the 7 rice ninjas offered meant the tactical play had been diluted and it apparently became a shuriken fest that I would find less than optimal as shooting into an opponents face was, more often than not, not achieving the desired result and some models could make it virtually worthless.

I found the ninjas were most effective when played like ninjas, i.e. strike when the kill is likely and avoid all other conflicts. That is sadly now often unlikely to be possible and the scenario play for ninjas has taken a big hit as a result.
I'm thankful that soulless models can still be disguised, as this is vital to the avoidance of less than optimal combat situations, but the changes now mean it is very difficult to avoid being out activated by opponents and it is very easy for opponents to control ninjas out of the scenario game since the changes.
I need to play test my old list some more to see if I'm being biased based on some average dice rolling games but honestly I'm enjoying playing my other warbands more right now, which is a shame as I enjoyed the challenge of being good with minimal models; judging every move carefully and weighing up the potential likelihood of success of every action and reaction.
The ninjas are a great faction to master and they force you to learn everything about the opponents capabilities, as any mistake feels 10 x worse when you are heavily out numbered and punished for your mistake.
I've had some success with two tireless and indomitable models, plus two soulless disguised models, as this helps make pass tokens effective every round, but a lot of scenario objectives are still very difficult to achieve even with these fantastic abilities.

Anyway, that's my two pence on the state of the union for KKZ! Hopefully it gives a sense of what has changed. Avoiding combat that won't lead to a kill for the majority of the KKZ (Rin & Katsumi excluded) is still the best way to achieve objectives and soulless Shizuka still kicks arse, especially when miraging + shuriken to the back and running away in the same turn to try and get on an objective. Generally my MVP when soulless.
So there are upsides, but I feel a couple of models have taken a big hit to their likely inclusion in lists and the weakening of the potential cure to fear 5/6 and large model count lists have made a tough to play warband thst much tougher.

My mantra for playing ninjas:
Focus on scenario objectives, stay out of reach, engage when the situation is favourable or necessary and always go for surprise attacks when you can. Smoke bombs are your friend and opponents can't hurt you during ranged attacks, but you will now need to use them more wisely. Kill to gain scenario objective advantag and not just because the opportunity exists.
You have very few activations, so every move must be perfect.

Axiam

Damon Carlton
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Yes Adam, Bikou has moved from a must have to a not include for me as she is a glass cannon, she did kill a model a two before being slaughtered. Although having a Kusari that would now be used more as the third ranged attack of HoS and any ranged attack in her second activation. I haven't played her since the new rules so I'm going by gut feeling. I will have to play a 50 rice list at some point so we'll see. I think I'll play my original 42 rice list and add in Makato or an apprentice to make 50 rice.

Kouhui still ok not as good obviously as his 3rd and 4th ranged attacks will be pointless but he does come with sixth sense which is a very valuable trait to have and he does ok in melee.

Time will tell as I have no idea what I'll be taking to the Masters next year, KKZ, Cult or Wave...........

Rule'z of the Nerdherd
A proud owner of a gold Bushido coin and a wooden spoon.

Axiam
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I don't think Bikou is as bad as your gut feeling. My comments were more about her no longer having a strong potential for correcting the out activated, or 10hp + toughness, or everything has rise disadvantage prior to the late rounds (5-6) as her kill capability is now largely down to how good her first and maybe second rolls for the shuriken shots are. 

I would argue she is no longer under costed at 9 rice because she can go down easily if scenario play forces her into Melee but likewise her 1" free move that can get her out of combat and behind a superior Melee opponent for a shoot and run, possibly with hail of Steel, may still get the single kill. I'd also say there is room for her thanks to Kusari and distraction alone.

I think distraction spam will probably be the new shuriken spam for the KKZ as it hugely increases the kill capability of the 4MS characters or any single shuriken shot and she is a point cheaper than Yuto, who isn't much more survivable against strong Melee skill models, although hesitation can shut down a lot of combos or give you a chance to move Yuto too far for an opponent's model to be able to catch up with or be able to block a scenario action. It is a very situational feat however and I rarely use it over distraction.

 

Axiam

Damon Carlton
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Yuto is underused. Comes with tactician and sixth sense also imagine this scenario. Successfully uses distraction on a tired opponent then successfully immobilise attack him/her. Now another model attacks. The model is on -4ms, immobilised, exhausted, surprised, outnumbered. Sweet

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Ret-darkframboisier
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Hum, that's called overkill and a waste of ressource. What's what I like with newly modified ninjas: they still kick ass, but you really have to mesure your effort. Wasted firepower at one place will come back and bite you in the arse later.

And bikou is still a must include c'mon: free move that can place her in the back, easy prone, still a dangerous potential with HoS (you just have to get your high rolls on your first shots rather than the last), distraction, and assault fire can be something very interesting with the right set up.

And Yuto's fog of hesitation can ruin an opponent's turn, especially since you can make your ki test an automatic success with the north star school (take that Itsunagi, even with all your boost you'll play last!)

I think ninjas are still in really good shape, knowing they're also following the trend of having cheaper models.

yenohoney