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From an Emissary: The Might of the Durani

Hey everyone, this is Glasswalker, Emissary to the Great White Frozen North… that is, Canada.

In light of the new competitive landscape emerging with the launch of Organized Play in Golem Arcana, HBS has been approaching Emissaries and asking them to chime in here on the blog with our thoughts on competitive army composition. Since I’ve always been a vocal supporter of the Durani, I was asked for my thoughts on a competitive 500-point Durani army.

I’d have to say my favorite Durani army to play so far is fairly traditional, in that it leverages units from the earlier releases. Specifically, it’s made up entirely of elite units:

  • Winged Vanguard
    • Commanded by Laghu Chandrisetra (and no, I didn’t just pick him because he’s got a strikingly familiar face)
  • Gilded Preserver
    • Commanded by Mardin of Chatzuk
  • Gilded Ram
    • Commanded by Vitan Rahita
    • Carrying the Bulwark of Vajra

This army comes out to an even 500 APV (hopefully no future APV changes invalidate it). The combo is quite powerful, while staying fairly flexible.

I’m sure there are several ways to easily counter this army, but I’ve yet to see a generalist army that has a decided advantage (though I’ve certainly seen several that have given it a run for its money, and I’ve seen cases where I’ve made mistakes playing this army that resulted in sure losses).

The general strategy is slow and deliberate, with surgical strikes, leveraging strong defense and crowd control to battle on your own terms.

Gilded RamGilded Ram:

Using the combo of this pilot’s Steady Aim ability, the Bulwark Relic (if needed), and the unit’s defensive capabilities (high Armor and Melee ability), this unit can be parked somewhere strategic as a defensive turret, using Concussion Blast for crowd control. Pick the highest risk target, and blast it back to control the battlefield. Ideally if you want to optimally use this unit, find some  Open Cover to take advantage of the negation of Critical and Lucky hits (thanks to the Gilded Protection ability), but that’s not an absolute requirement. The highest priority is to find a clean line of sight to the main skirmish area of the map (or possibly a defensive point of interest if the scenario warrants it). To get the Ram into position, take it slow, plan your course, and use Cover and bonus Cover from the two Preservers to get him to his target. If at all possible, don’t use the Concussion Blast unless you’ve taken a rest for one turn. This will give you the +30 Accuracy bonus from Vitan, and as a result, you practically can’t miss.

 

Winged VanguardWinged Vanguard:

This unit can be absolutely devastating when used for blitz attacks with Laghu. His Swoop ability can make him very effective when Flying into a Region, and the dual Melee attacks coupled with the Air Onslaught ability of the Golem mean that in a single turn you can deal 95 damage in two Melee attacks with 95 Accuracy in a single Turn. Immobilizing Stab serves to further restrict your opponent’s movement for additional crowd control. Keep in mind you have to carefully set up these blitz attacks, keeping the Vanguard behind cover if possible, but within striking distance of targets. This maneuver will consume all your AP for the Turn’s, but is usually worth it, as it can in some cases eliminate a Golem entirely, or at the very least severely wound or crippl another Titan.

Gilded PreserverGilded Preserver:

This unit fills the role of the finisher, as well as the survivor. In the case where your Ram or Vanguard is neutralized, the Gilded Preserver with Mardin’s Persistent Zeal will become your backup unit, as he can survive very well. During normal play, he is useful to provide either Ranged backup using his two effective Ranged abilities, or, when the odds are in your favor, his Death Blow ability. If Death Blow is used following a previously successful blitz from the Vanguard, this can usually finish off nearly any unit (excepting Colossi). Again, if the odds cooperate, Death Blow can also be useful combined with a Charge Attack to finish off an enemy Titan that has been hit on the previous turn by the Vanguard’s blitz. However, as the Region will be full, unfortunately the low Accuracy of this ability can leave you at risk if it is not carefully used.

Overall this army provides a solid mix of Melee and Ranged capabilities. The entire army is heavily armored (as is fairly standard for a Durani Army), and with the pair of Preservers you have a good amount of mobility with their Flying abilities. In a push you can move quite quickly, for example late in the game as an escape tactic, or early on to reach a key objective. Do not underestimate the power of their crowd control either. By coupling the Concussion Blast with Immobilizing Stab, you can keep the majority of the enemy’s forces frozen and unable to move (and keep them away from the fighting).

Some obvious weaknesses to be wary of are that, once placed, the Ram will be vulnerable to Ranged attacks. Be watchful for anything that pierces Armor! Normal attacks require a massive amount of Damage to affect the Gilded Ram (with the Bulwark, you would have 24 Armor for Damage reduction), but if it pierces Armor the Ram can fall quickly. The enemy will want to close in and take out the Ram, and you can use this to your advantage to set up maneuvers with the Preservers. Also keep in mind that the Vanguard will be swooping into risky areas regularly, and will likely be the first unit to die. It is highly important to be careful to plan your blitzes well, as one wrong move can put you at a significant disadvantage early on, when the blitz will have consumed your entire AP pool and, if botched, will leave the Vanguard at your enemy’s mercy.

Another major drawback is the lack of ways to use Mana. As a result, gathering Mana is a low priority (meaning you can pass up mana for strategic benefit), but it also means you don’t benefit from the death bonus. If you lose units, you don’t have a way to recover.

Hopefully this review has given some valuable insight in ways to use the strengths of units together within a faction. And if all goes well I may be back again soon with more insights as we progress into the second block of Season 1 League Play!

Good luck in battle Knights!

Think the Durani have the might to take the prize in the League of the Hundred Skulls? Join the conversation on the Forum.