Thursday, 10 January 2013
First few games with Kirai
It's time to reflect on my first few games with Kirai, my second Resser master, and a complete change in gameplay from my go-to master Seamus.
I've played two 35ss games with her now, so by no means am I an expert. In my games I'm playing with a crew that doesn't have any of the newer elements. My full crew is away for commission painting and I have a secondhand and smaller crew that I picked up as a filler-in. I'll be selling when I have my mine back, but for now, I'm using this to get some experience, and to get me through the two masters requirement for Cancon.
All this means that I haven't yet had the opportunity to play Jakume, Kirai's Avatar, Izamu, or any of the many spirit she can hire. I haven't even gotten round to summoning some of her bigger minions, like the Shikome or Ikiryo yet, preferring to learn what the Gaki and Onryo are capable of first. Expect another article, or two, when I come up to speed with them.
Overall Play Style
I thought I'd start by talking about my generic observations of how this crew handles, before I delve deeper into specific characters.
My first observation is about crew size, in a 35ss game I had a starting crew of Kirai, 5 Seisin, Lost Love, Datsu Ba, 2 Gaki and an Onryo, and still had a cache of 7ss. 11 models on the board is a bit of step up from the 5 or 6 I'd usually have in a Seamus crew.
I found I was doing a lot more in turn 1, the round I usually associate with just double walking and not a lot else. Instead I was trading up a Seishin, swapping locations or minions and then having to heal Kirai and make sure I got her back into cover.
The crew seems to rely on all the card suits to meet requirements. I needed something from every suit to be effective, so I'm going to have to learn the requirements off by heart, so I can just glance at my hand and know what I'm going to be capable of doing that turn.
The entire crew has spirit, which makes them fragile against magic attacks but pretty solid against conventional attacks. It is also great for ignoring the affects of terrain on movement, but you still need LOS, something I had a habit of forgetting, moving my minions and then finding LOS was blocking my ability to cast.
Lastly is the concept of taking wounds on your master to trade up your crew. I think this is going to encourage me to play a lot more offensively. I'm generally a defensive player, but I'm going to have to adjust that approach to be successful with her. I'm not sure how this will affect my play style, maybe it'll finally give me a bit more confidence with Seamus or it might make me prone to taking risks with him because I've gotten too comfortable with the protection her minions offer Kirai. Time will tell.
But what about the characters, how am I doing with them?
My first impressions of Kirai, well she strikes me as a support caster, someone that trades her health to build and support her crew, which of course totally follows the story for her.
When reading the stat card, my initial concerns were her cache and willpower. I guess I was hoping both would be higher after coming from Seamus, where his willpower is good until he goes avatar and his cache just sucks. Initially when I saw only a 3ss cache it almost put me off. I questioned how a support caster could be effective with a low cache, but when you play her, you realise the greater restriction is her wounds and how she uses them to summon.
I really like immediate revenge, pitiful and her relationship with the Seishin. I get that she is not good in close combat, and I was relieved to see that she has enough defensive capabilities to hold off an attacker and then push herself out of harms way.
I can see her burning stones in willpower duels and healing flips, if other options aren't available.
Lost Love Totem
The Lost Love is an automatic purchase for this crew and I can't see me swapping him out in favour of any other totem or effigy any time soon. He's your healer and bodyguard all in one. Keep him safe and Kirai can just pop back on to the board, sacrificing him, to come back from the grave. A total winner at 2ss.
I found his walk of 5 allowed him to be fairly fast and I think I'm going to rely on that and the 8" range of his healing flips to get him near Kirai, rather than spirit him or her around.
I know I need to see past the obvious uses for Seishin, they are more than sacrificial food for Kirai to trade up for something stronger. I've got to use these precious resources carefully and make sure they aren't squandered. They can give her fast and/or reactivate, or I can sacrifice one for immunity to blasts and throw up Kirai's Seishin beacon, with spirit anchor to mount an incredibly strong defence. The synergies with Kirai border on a symbiosis that I'm going to have to work on very carefully.
I think I'm probably building these guys up too much, I just see these working very well when you can swarm them up. I can see myself starting with two on the board and then summoning one or two to swarm up at the right moment. Alternatively just start with four and rush whilst the quarterback launches a couple of Onryo or Shikome for the win.
Gaki can get a free move of 5" in the closing phase, they charge 8" and they can rebound trigger off each other in close combat to do some awesome damage, before snacking or absorbing the corpse for a healing flip. What's not to love about the self healing, über fast piranhas?
Onryo I need to explore some more, but what's not to like about them. They have a solid combat output, which gets better with triggers and a trio of complimentary spells that either hit hard, blind your opponent or terrorise the usually immune.
She's awesome. Her triggered attacks and ability to hit everything in two inches offer two quite different offensive abilities. I can see her wading into a swarm or taking on a bigger foe. I had her go up against snowstorm in my first game and she went toe to toe with the big fella and thanks to a summoned Onryo (from Kirai), felled the giant.
I like her complimentary abilities to push herself into the combat or hold up her prey. Lastly, she can be a healer, making this little old lady one you don't want to cross.
Re-reading this article it sounds like I'm absolutely smitten with Kirai and maybe I'm just in that young love stage you find yourself at when trying a new crew. I'm looking forward to trying Night Terrors, Izamu and theDrowned with this crew to see how they go and seeing what spirits I can hire from other crews.
Exciting times ahead!