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Welcome to this edition of Mage Knight: Underdogs. Since I just got done wailing on my fellow staffers here at www.yellowimp.com’s company whirlwind booster draft I feel comfortable giving you guys the lowdown on my sleeper pick that dominated the tournament. By the way, don’t tell the other staffers I said this. They will give you some bullshit line about me getting beat by one of our code-bitches in the second round. Anyway this issue’s figure is the War Hatchetkrugg. I know what you all going to be saying. Krugg as a whole suck some serious ass. However these guys really are the exception to the rule. I have always had a soft spot for mounted figures, and these machines stole my heart from the moment I saw them.
First of all I will start by taking a quick look at the War Hatchetkrugg’s stats and decide what he can and can’t do without his special abilities. The 16 defense with battle armor puts the War Hatchetkrugg into the same category the Knights Immortal Calvary is in. Although it is enough to help against most shooting, heavy shots from uniques and heavy artillery (like Troll Artillerists) will blow through the armor and render your investment worthless. Likewise anybody with an attack of 10 or better will tear these guys a new asshole in hand to hand should they connect with a hit before you are ready.
Enough of why they aren’t good, what about these guys kicks ass? The key is a triple threat of three stats: attack, damage, and move. The biggest draw is the damage, especially in the tough version. As a 40-point figure that does 4 clicks of damage on his first slot, you just know he is going to be a machine. It is hard enough to find a non-unique that does four damage on their first slot without the randomness of a dice roll (i.e. magic blast and weapon mastery). The attack value means that this high damage is not wasted. A ten attack is good enough to hit almost every figure in the game. This is especially true when you realize that most defense abilities counter ranged attacks and leave the figure lacking in dealing with defense up close. Couple this factor with the knowledge that he keeps his damage at three clicks or better for five slots. This means he can get in, take a hit, and keep on swinging and doing damage. Unless you give your opponent a chance at doing 5 clicks in one shot, it is a pretty safe bet the War Hatchetkrugg will get into the fight with some kick left in him.
So he does a ton of damage and has a decent attack. What sets him above a similar heavy hitter like the Heavy Lancer? The key lays in one of the best new abilities of Whirlwind: Ram. No attack rolls, no separate actions, no having to stay out of formations. Just clicks of damage, pure and simple. Moreover, at 36 points, the weak War Hatchetkrugg is the cheapest mounted Ram figure in the game. Now combine this with a move of 10 and you have a cheap figure that can do an automatic click of damage do anything that comes within 10 inches. The best use of this comes when your opponent tries to “tie you down” with his un-mounted figures. Go ahead and let him get into base to base, then simply break away and reenter base to base, this time doing another click of damage from ram. Once a figure has been hurt enough that you no longer have to be concerned about their counterattack, stay in base to base and do your damage.
So the basic use of the War Hatchetkrugg comes down to this. Charge into the middle of your opponent’s battle line and do your Ram damage to as many targets as possible. If you are engaged from the sides, go ahead and break even if it means a push. Immediately reengage on the same action and do another round of Ram damage. If your opponent doesn’t take steps to remove the War Hatchetkrugg from the mix, stay in combat and finish off the weakened chump.
Go ahead and avenge all those shitty Krugg. Trust me, once your opponent gets his ass handed to him by a “crappy” Krugg figure, he will never want to play against them again.
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