From an Emissary: The Durani Jade Guardians

Greetings, fellow knights and travelers of Eretsu! Some of you may already know me as Mardin of Chatzuk, the golem knight to whom I had the distinction of lending my face, but today I come to you merely as Martin, an Emissary in New York City. (If you’re in the area, check the calendar for my events. I’m usually at The Uncommons, in Manhattan, every other Thursday evening.) Golem Arcana drew me in for many reasons: the prospect of an accessible miniatures game, the promise of digitally enhanced play, the richness of the game world. Yet as the game has picked up steam in the six months since its launch, the best part of being on the bandwagon from early on has been joining in the growth of our excellent community, both online and around the tables in my local game stores.

As an Emissary, I’ve enjoyed observing the golem arms race between players at my events as new releases succeed one another. Some of my regulars, who started with just the base game, have quickly mustered ranks of new golems in every arcanum, and show up ready to throw down with a handful of different army lists for whatever their opponents might bring to the table. However, as a Durani partisan myself, it’s been a longer wait to see some reinforcements for the embattled empire than for the other factions.

However, following hot on the heels of the Scions of Honor expansion, the new Durani elites, the Jade Guardians, are poised to rock the field and provide the fresh punch my Durani compatriots need to fend off those pesky Gudanna hordes. Last week’s blog post gave us a good overview, and a fine introduction to the Jade Guardians’ elite knights, but I’d like to take a closer look at the Jade golems themselves, and suggest ways they might fit into your Durani armies with the knights you may already have.

First off, I can’t overstate how kickass the Guardians’ shared passive ability is. Free damage to any golem foolish or desperate enough to engage the Jade Guardians in melee, and all I have to do is keep them in cover? Yes, please. Remember how annoying the Plague Bringer’s Plague Cloud can be? Imagine dishing double or triple that damage, just by keeping to the trees. Magnificent.

Harpy_JadeGuardian_2As for the golems themselves, let’s begin with the smallest: the Jade Harpy presents a unique potential for mischief with its Jade Gust, an upgraded version of the regular Harpy’s signature Buffeting Wings. Pushing an enemy golem 2 regions away is sure to screw up your opponent’s plans, but all the more so if you can use the Gust more frequently. Consider pairing the Jade Harpy with Vasayasti, whose High Perch ability will reduce her golem’s cooldowns an extra tick on elevated terrain. Alternatively, the flying knight Laghu Chandrisetra will grant a boost of 20 Accuracy whenever the Jade Harpy flies—and since it only flies, that’ll make it a short-range sniper with its Screech attack.
Thornbeast_JadeGuardians_2The Jade Thornbeast alost demands to be thrown into the thickest group of enemies it can reach. Sure, its Jade Thorn is a solid ranged attack, but clearly living the dream for this guy is diving into a region with three other golems and swinging with Emboldened Punch for a one-hit KO. To make that dream a reality, enter the blood knight Danava Svadhur. His passive ability grants a 5-damage bonus to melee attacks for each enemy in the region. If we pair this with Emboldened Punch, let’s do the math: the Punch’s base damage of 18, plus 10 damage per enemy, plus an additional 5 damage per enemy comes out to a bone-shattering 63 damage—not bad for a 1-AP attack! For extra gravy, Danava’s second ability will heal 10 HP per enemy in the region, so the Jade Thornbeast can take a licking and come back to throw another punch.

Dervish_JadeGuardians_2_HMSpeaking of dishing out punishment, we come to my favorite of the bunch, the Jade Dervish. While the Durani may specialize in ranged attacks, I’m partial to fielding strong close combat options, and a low-cost, high-impact melee attack like Lunge is too sweet to pass up. However, Blades of Pain really makes the Jade Dervish not just a melee star, but tactically useful for your golems attacking from a distance as well. Reducing enemies’ armor is always great, but the Jade Dervish shines when your opponent has a really tough nut to crack. Just send the Dervish in with Zayla’s Cauldron, pop the relic for an automatic critical on your next hit, and swing with Blades of Pain. The critical will reduce the target’s armor to zero for the whole rest of the game. With their armor stripped, even the toughest baddies go down quick.

GrowlingPhalanx_JadeGuardians_2Finally, we can’t talk toughness without talking about the Jade Phalanx. Slightly less defensive than its Growling sibling, the Jade Phalanx is suited to lumbering in to
disrupt enemy lines and leave havoc in its wake. While the regular Phalanx can toss enemy golems one at a time, the Jade Phalanx’s Scatter Bash will displace every golem it hits. Most of the time that’ll only be up to two golems, since the titan takes up half a region on its own, but imagine charging with Scatter Bash and pushing a whole region full of golems, leaving your opponent’s formation in total disarray. Any golem that dodges Scatter Bash will face certain doom in the Phalanx’s Relentless Grasp, or else flee and risk being picked off by its Jade Beam.

These golems may be called the Jade Guardians, but clearly they don’t lack offensive capability. They’re nicely balanced and offer intriguing new strategic options. Since Emissaries and Kickstarter backers have early access to this elite unit, I’ve already seen these green gatecrashers tear up the board, so take it from me: Durani players will not be disappointed, and enemies of the Empire should watch their step when they see the glint of a Jade golem on the battlefield.

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