Monday, May 27, 2013

Focus On: Pagan Russ

I was fortunate to get a copy of the latest SAGA supplement: Variazi & Basileus. I'd like to have a closer look at the Pagan Rus from a stricly gaming perspective. I won't go to deep into the history because, frankly (no pun on powerful French kingdoms intended) I don't know much about these people or their story. So I'll leave you in the capable hands of fellow Sagamites, the internet, and books to help fill you in there.

In the meantime, fellow blogger Dux Homunculorum has done a great job reviewing the Pagan Rus and some of the other new factions in the game. If you don't follow his site already, you should!

Let's look at their abilities. I've paraphrased them to avoid tedious copying, but let me know if I've misinterpreted anything!

The First Column
Nothing interesting or strange along this column. All of the standard activation and orders abilities are in order.

Second Column
For the Khagan! - (Discard any type of die, Melee) This ability gives you 3 attack dice (AD) if your unit's armor rating is higher than their opponents' (5AD if you discard a 6).

The Great Winter - (Discard 1/2/3 facing AND 1/2/3 facing, Orders) This one inflicts a cold winter on the battlefield for a single turn. All movement and shooting range is reduced to S.

Standing Like Bears - (Discard 1/2/3 facing OR 4/5 facing, Melee) Discard 3AD to increase your armor by 1, OR discard 8AD to increase armor by 2.

Biting Like Wolves - (Discard 6 facing, Melee) During step 4 of a Melee battle, if all enemy units have a fatigue, you can add 3 extra hits to your total. In addition (?), if you don't take any hits, add X hits where X=your armor value.

Frozen - (Discard 1/2/3 facing, Activation/Reaction) This is the anti-banner ability. Cancel the activation of a unit that has already activated this turn. In addition, it cannot be activated for the duration of the turn.

Third Column
Cold Winds - (Discard 4/5 OR 6 facing, Shooting/Reaction) For each AD that rolls a natural 6 against your unit, the shooting unit takes a fatigue. If you discard a 6, the shooting unit takes a fatigue on a 5 as well.

Fear of the Dark - (Discard 4/5 AND 4/5 facings, Activation) Target a unit that is more than M away from any other unit (friendly and enemy?). That unit takes as many fatigues as needed to become exhausted.

Endless Wastes - (1/2/3 AND 1/2/3 facings, Activation) Each non-Warlord unit must immediately lose a model for each fatigue it is currently suffering.

Eastern Anger - (Discard 4/5 AND 4/5, Activation) Immediately resolve a Shooting action against each unit (both friendly or enemy) within M of your Warlord, using 6 AD for each resolution.

Barren Lands - (Discard 4/5 facing, Orders or Orders/Reaction) Until the end of the turn all mounted models are Armor -1 in melee and shooting.

Dux Homunculorum's Pagan Rus
So I can see that the Pagan Rus are all about the bitter cold. There are some great abilities in there that will help wither your opponent's army away. Combining things like the Fear of the Dark and Endless Wastes will punish opponents who spread out. Your troops are braced against shooting and mounted troops with a few defensive abilities as well.

Actually, my initial feeling for the Rus is that they are completely built on belts and braces, with only a few abilities that give them an offensive boost in Melee. I think this will come down to For the Khagan! more than anything, but if the Rus player uses his winter rules right, the enemy will be rather wasted and wounded by the time they hit the Rus lines.

Anyway, that's my quick review of the Pagan Rus. Please let us know how your Pagan Rus play in our Saga forum, and thanks for stopping by!

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