Dark Age Sees Red!

February 10, 2012 by crew

Greetings, dear readers, Mr. Black here once more to go over some of the new releases here at Dark Age, and do we have some fun to discuss: The Blood Cult is launched this month and they're bringing with them some of the hardest hitting units available to any army in Dark Age!

You know the drill so let's dig right in with Red, Assassin of the Blood:

Red boasts the stats he needs to get his job done, forging some areas, namely the ones that don't involve "killing them harder". We see he has lots of Action Points and a low Defense, showing the agility and skill befitting a legendary assassin. Complimentary to this we have a high Psyche because, hey, you don't become an assassin without being able to handle yourself. Sure, he doesn't have Never Fear, Never Panic, but don't let that fool you into believing he knows either emotion- It's a simple matter that via the use of the Blood Cult special rule he can quickly gain the benefits of both abilities, simply by doing what he does best: murdering anything that gets in his way.

So we have a figure that strikes fear into the hearts of even the savage Buzzblades, figures whom I will remind, voluntarily go under the Grafter's knife then whatever "augmentation" a Sister of Charity sees fit. If the concept of a figure that scares that doesn't worry you then... Well you'll probably be dead soon anyway. So, how is this incorporated onto the tabletop? Well first and foremost we have the Assassination special rule, which is what gives Red most of his flavor as well as battlefield usefulness.

Assassination: After the first turn, during any Lingering Effects stage, you may place a Unit with the Assassination ability anywhere on the battlefield....Deploying a unit in Base-to-Base with an enemy Unit does not result in a charge.

There is a lot to be said about the psychological effects one can deploy on the tabletop, such as the fact that having a unit that can appear anywhere, any turn, will create a lingering sense of paranoia in your opponent, or at the very least cause them to second guess any "risky" movements they may make. Of course, there is more to it than simply relying on your opponent to make a mistake: that is a tactic that only the most novice of leaders will do. No, this is a game of taking the initiative and bringing the fight where you want it. So, how do we best utilize Assassination?

Firestorms, I will admit, are my favorite target for Assassinate, but I understand that you won't always be playing against Forsaken, much less one who has such a squishy target. But really, it does illustrate a point: the Blood Cult have precious few ways of dealing with a ranged threat, so sending Red to remove said threat is a good use of him, not only due to the fact most dedicated ranged units have bad Close Assault scores, but also in the fact they are usually sent off on their own, meaning often you will be free of any counterattack. Should they choose to go after you another ranged unit (for fear of having Red once more claim more victims) then we can make use of his Elusive special rule, meaning that he will be that much harder to hit for any ranged unit targeting him.

Now, on the subject of melee, one thing to note is, like all units with the Blood Cult special rule, the more kills around Red the more powerful he will be. With even the paltry offering of one kill Red will be charging in at Assault  9 and Power 8 with two attacks, rivalling even the hitting power of units many times his size. Not only this but we have the added benefit of Blood Pathogens, an ability usually only obtainable via use of the Blood Cult Psychogenics.

Blood Pathogens: If an enemy Unit is hit, regardless if it is wounded or not, receives a Blood Pathogens counter. During the Lingering Effects Phase any unit with a counter must take a Power 4x2 hit. On a failed Armor Save no wound is suffered but the Unit is automatically Knocked Prone and loses 1 AP during their next activation. If the Armor Save is made the power of the attack is reduced by 1 for the following Lingering Effects Phase."

One thing about Red is that no one can really be sure exactly what he is. We know that amongst the Skarrd many, many different mutations can occur, but so far it would seem that Red is unique... If he is even a Skarrd mutation at all, who knows, perhaps those horns sprouting from his head betray some other, more nefarious origin altogether... Whatever the truth, his very blood is anathema to his victims, and to show such each of his attacks has the capacity to pass some of that poison on. That being said, Red will be useful even if he somehow doesn't manage to kill his target - even hitting them will cause them to lose efficiency - potentially never removing it or, at the very best, taking four turns to be completely free of the pathogens. I can't think of any other effect that has that much staying power, much less one with such devastating results.

So in closing we have here an individual that is capable of taking out any kind of threat that presents itself to your army, whether it be a lightly armored unit that Red can simply appear next to and cut to pieces, all the while feeding your forces more Blood Counters, or a larger, more heavily armored target who will now suffer the effects of Blood Pathogens, potentially losing two AP a turn (one for the actual ability and the other spent standing up)- keeping in mind most of those big nasties only have 3 Action Points on average. You get all this for 60 points, and for the menagerie of uses Red provides throughout the course of the game you can ask for little more for the price. Just remember though, while he is an assassin and more than capable of handling most threats and surviving, he is still a member of the Blood Cult, and should one individual need to be sacrificed for the greater plan, well... so be it!

If you would like to get more cool tips and tactics for using the Blood Cult, you can check out more of Mr. Black's musings HERE on the Dark Age Website.

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