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Holy moly, five articles! Welcome to the sixth installment my column, Underdogs. You’re probably saying that with the release of Whirlwind I should focus on the new figures. You have a lot of nerve coming in here and telling me how to write my damn article! Anyway I am sick of people beating on Lancers. Even www.mageknight.com beats on Lancers and I am disgusted by it. Lancers has one of the most broken non-unique figures in the game and I never hear anyone giving him any playtime. This figure should be all over the tournament scene like stink on shit. The figure I am talking about is the Heavy Lancer.
For once, the hands down best version of this model is the weakest version. The point cost for the abilities is absolutely out of this world crazy. For all his benefits, this wonder only sets you back 35 points. The tough version of the Heavy Lancer is also a decent buy, however his point cost of 51 points makes taking him rather impractical for most armies. Essentially for his point cost you could field a unique model.
The package of the Heavy Lancer needs to be looked at as a whole package, instead of individual units. The first ability is the Lancer’s charge. A 6-inch charge means that this monster can move one of three ways: in a 6-inch moving formation, 12 inches alone, or 6 inches and attack by himself. In the early stages of a game you can take it easy and send formations of Heavy Lancers out together. Later when speed is of the essence, turn on the speed and move 2 inches. Finally against melee foot troops, 6-inch charge will give you that all-important first hit.
Keeping this beast healthy till he gets in combat is the fact that all three versions of him have a 16 defense and battle armor. A 16 defense gives decent protection from ranged attacks, while an 18 makes the wearer near invulnerable to non-heavy firepower. Keep the Heavy Lancer out of sight of Steam Golems till you are ready to charge and you won’t have a problem.
The bargain becomes apparent when you combine the above abilities with an attack of 10 and 3 damage. This means that a Heavy Lancer will almost always get the first hit on a foot trooper. If they don’t engage you, use your charge to take the fight to them. If they do engage you, use your super high attack to hit them for 3 clicks.
The best part about this whole set up is the incredibly low point cost for what you get. I had the honor on getting a royal ass whipping by a friend who fielded a 200-point army that had 3 Heavy Lancers. Traveling together they managed to decimate my army despite my best efforts. Until you see them in action, it is hard to believe how destructive these guys are.
This is not to say that these guys are throwaway troops. These troops are too expensive for that. Plus they lose what makes them so great very quickly. As soon as they take some damage, pull them off the line and get them to a medic ASAP. Nothing is more humbling then seeing your Heavy Lancer get drug down by zombies. Try not to field Heavy Lancers without adequate healing support. You’ll be grateful you took it.
Once the Heavy Lancer gets into combat you should practice what I call the serpent tactic: coil, hiss, slither. Coil: chose your combat carefully, fight on your terms, not your opponents. Try your hardest not to engage in combat unless it is what you want to happen. Hiss: throw everything you have at a single target or at a few targets. The key in this step is to completely remove an opponents figure from play or to make it worthless. Taking a few figures out of play can disrupt your opponents battle plan, making him try to come up with something on the fly, a very difficult thing to do since most tournament armies are one-trick ponies. Finally Slither: at the first opportunity retreat away. Heavy Lancers are not made for stand up fights. They are made for a hammer blow that the opponent has trouble recovering from. Get them to safety, heal them up nice and good, and send them right back in.
Give the Heavy Lancer a try. Riding around and trampling poor saps under hoof has never felt so good.
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