With the League of the Hundred Skulls now in full swing, 500-point battles are on a lot of people’s minds. While relics, Ancient Ones, and Knights are indubitably important to any army’s roster, it is the Golems you choose that form the backbone of your strategy. With this in mind, our design team here at Harebrained Schemes has picked their favorite Golems to field in their 500-point armies.
I’m a Mercenary King player by nature—I think it gives me the best of all possibilities. But if you drop a map on the table and say “500 points, let’s go,” then I’m selling my soul to Gudanna so I can grab the best Ogre-class Golem in the game: the Dune Viper.
Why? Because 22. That’s the Dune Viper’s Dodge while standing in Open Terrain (love that evasion-boosting passive ability). That’s right, it’s taking 22 off your Accuracy by standing out in the open. HA! Think about it: that’s reducing nearly every Golem’s chance to hit by one third to one half.
“But Mike,” you say, “it’s conditional, you have to be in Open Terrain, and blah and more blah…”
Oh, I stopped listening because with 1 AP I can move 3 Regions in any direction. If there’s open space, I’m finding it. Heck, for a measly 3 AP I’m moving 6. You can’t make a map that stops me from getting to an open space if I have to.
Toss in Spiked Volley, a basic Ranged attack for 2 AP, and I’m harassing you in your starting area on turn one. Boom.
“Yeah Mike, so my strategy is to come into your Region, then hit you with a Melee onslaught while tying you down with Breakaway penalties.”
Oh, I’m sorry, were you still talking…? While you attempt to hit me (22 DODGE remember that!) I have in my back pocket truly one of the best 1 AP melee attacks in the game: Slippery Strike. When I hit you (and you sure don’t have a 22 Dodge) I get to displace myself one Region away. No Breakaway, just freedom. And let’s be honest: once I’m out I can be 3 Regions away, safe and sound, for only 1 more AP.
Add the Knight Prakrti Sprayu, who gets an automatic self-displacement any time the Golem is hit (now I get that free move on your turn too! BWAH HA HA!) or the Knight Makriya Vil who adds an additional 1 Movement when in Ground Cover or Open Terrain (more move, more distance) and you have the ultimate harassing machine. You become the Road Runner to the opponent’s Wile E. Coyote.
Jeweled and Jade Harpies
When I’m fighting for the great Durani Empire and our Raja Sudhamra, I always try to find room in my army for the humble Jeweled Harpy, or its not-so-humble cousin the Jade Harpy.
I know we’re supposed to pick one, but they both serve the same tactical purposes: displacement, displacement, displacement! I absolutely LOVE being able to push my enemies around the map and put them exactly where I want them, or remove them from where they want to be.
When building armies, it always comes down to APV: at only 60 points for the Jeweled Harpy and a vanilla knight, she’s a bargain for all that she can do. Spring another 15 points and you can pilot her with Laghu Chandrisetra for an accuracy bonus to Buffeting Wings or the ever-popular Suvitra “Hard Child” for a big boost to Movement. BUT if I’ve got 90 points to spare, I’ll use the Jade Harpy and her exclusive Knight Abhra Roha, with auto-damage from cover and the Knight’s increased survivability, the Jade Harpy is amazing.
Bells and whistles aside, it’s still all about the displacement, with numerous tactics adaptable to any scenario:
- Push an enemy out of a VP-granting Region;
- Push an enemy into a Region with a second enemy, then hit it with an area-of-effect attack;
- Push an enemy out from behind cover so my ranged units can see it;
- Push an enemy into a region where my melee bruisers await;
- Push an enemy into a Pit or Swamp or Curse or some other nasty thing.
As new Knights and Ancient Ones and Golems are released, the Jeweled Harpy is still the ultimate complement to any Durani army’s strategy.
The Corpse Collector is one of my favorite Golems for armies of all sizes. The combination of View From the Top and Swooping Strike make for awesome map control. I’m a big fan of up-front, thick-of-it fighting, and the Corpse Collector allows me to bring my opponents to me, or reposition them for maximum smashing. My current choice of Knight is Kashurra Hursag. Death’s Roar is fantastic after dragging an enemy golem into a region with your allies to brutally pummel them with your other Golems. I like to equip Zayla’s Cauldron, which makes the next attack a critical hit, and activate the relic while I follow up with Tear to add some injury to insult.
Zach Weisman, Playtester Extraordinaire
Consider the humble Bramblehorn. On the first, third, and possibly even the eighteenth look, the Bramblehorn may appear useless. However, when teamed up with the right Ancient Ones, a grove of Bramblehorns can become quite an effective fighting force. Weighing in at just 55 APV, you could take seven of them, the Prince, and the Assassin in a 500-point army. Since you have a mob of units, it’s easy to run three of your Bramblehorns out to be sacrificed for mana while the other four mass in a single hill region. The Prince’s blessing Pride of the Empire gives everyone in the Region +5 Accuracy and +5 Damage for each ally in the region, including the attacking Golem itself, meaning the Bramblehorns on the hill get +20 Accuracy and +20 Damage on all their Ranged attacks. All of a sudden, Scouting Flare has 105 Accuracy, 38 Damage, and 3 Range. You can fire off three of your four Bramblehorns’ amped-up Scouting Flares in a single turn! On your next turn, you can use the Prince’s miracle Heart of Stone to reduce their Cooldowns and increase all their ranged Damage by yet another ten points! This allows you to follow up the last turn’s bombardment with a second and particularly deadly volley. For some added fun, if you’re fighting a colossus, curse its region with the Assassin’s Open Wounds, making it so every time you deal damage to it, it also loses 5 Health each round for the next two rounds.
As a Mercenary Kings fan, Golem selection may be more limited, but we’re certainly not worse off. In a 500-point game, the Carrion Raptor is my go-to heavy hitter. I focus on lock & shock tactics: hitting them with Paralyzing Spines, or my backup Golem’s Tendrils of Smera relic, as soon as they are in range. Patience can be key. Once the target is locked down, I use the Raptor’s omnidirectional, low-cost mobility to engage and spike some damage with a couple overclocked Skewers. To spice it up, I favor using the Knight Guna Tomis for an HP cost Accuracy boost (we can’t have the Skewer spam miss now, can we!) or, if I can afford it, I bring the Water Bearer Ancient One for some handy Revitalize blessing help, and the knight Upajosa Sri to assure early mana at a blood price. I barely use the Carrion Raptor’s Vampiric Cyclone, favored as it may be by others, because I tend to hunt bigger prey with this strategy… Even colossal prey.
Don’t see your favorite Golem here? Think Zach was too rough on the clearly awesome Bramblehorn? Join the conversation on the Forums.