Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Breaking Down the Order Posses

Are you a fan of the order in WWX, but you're not quite sure which posse fits your needs? There's the  resilient, heavily armored and armed "Divine Intervention" posse as well as the quickness and portal shenanigans of the "Portal Vanguard" calling your name from the other side. Of course you've got poor uncle Horst's "Host of the High Sircan" with waves of unnamed mooks and lastly there's the generic Order posse so you can put together all of your favorite Order models in one posse (of course, with only one Boss). 


Today's subject: The Order, second from the left


What's the strength and weakness of each, you ask? Well, don't you worry, that's the point of today's article! We're going to dissect the differences between the four posses as well as discuss who can join each posse and what they bring. Most importantly though, we're going to give poor old uncle Horst some much needed attention. Unfortunately we're not going to dive too deep into tactics for how to play each posse for the sake of brevity. Those will come later, but for now, let's figure out what posse or posses work best for you


Divine Intervention


This is the posse for people who love elite forces. If you try to max this posse out to get the posse bonus, you're not going to have much room left in your list for another posse, especially a full one. It's boss, Makara, is an absolute brute force on her own clocking in at 215, but then you add in several Cor Caroli faces and units, your opponent will be very frustrated with how resilient your posse is. Most importantly though, with this posse, if you fill all six slots, Makara gains Teamwork. While that seems like a kind of lame posse bonus, especially since Portal Vanguard gives Teamwork to all units in the posse with the Astraea keyword, it's EXTREMELY effective in helping you eliminate whole units, Faces, and Bosses in a single turn.


Strengths

This posse is by far the most elite and resilient posse that Order can put together. Makara is an absolute monster and it can be hard to keep her down. Plus, every unit you take in this posse will have the Cor Carolus special rule meaning they do not suffer the consequences of Stunned and Disordered, they shrug off Hazard, and they ignore the first two points of Piercing from all attacks (or the first point if the weapon has Attuned or is Blast). As an added bonus, all Cor Caroli units also have Dying Breath, so even if your opponent finally puts these tough buggers down, they get one last attack before being removed. Another bonus to this posse is you don't have any Hands units so your opponent doesn't get to cash in any of their Adventure cards that have Glory halves reliant on beating up Hands. Lastly, and definitely most important, your Boss and all of your possible Faces have Mettle which helps add that finally layer of resilience to your posse (do note, since they're all Cor Carolus, they don't suffer the penalties of Disordered, but they are still assigned it). That's the real cherry on top for this posse.

Of course, if you're playing this posse, you're more than likely trying to go for the posse bonus. As I mentioned above, giving one unit Teamwork seems a little less exciting than Portal Vanguard giving it to multiple units, but here it's far deadlier. Makara is an absolute threat to almost anything that can be placed on the table, but the real issue is her low ROA. Makara will struggle with one-shotting a Boss or Face, especially if they use The Quick and the Dead, Tough, or Mettle, which is where Teamwork comes in. You activate another unit targeting whatever you want Makara to eliminate, end that unit's activation within 8" of Makara and then Makara can go finish them off. She easily becomes an executioner for your already very potent posse. You might be outnumbered, but your potency helps even out the playing field very quickly.


Weaknesses

Because of the elite nature of this posse and it not having access to hands, your opponent will almost always have more activations than you. Your opponent will have an easier time than you trying to get to their objectives and doing the missions while you might be struggling at first. Also, just like everything in this game, you crumple under the pressure of a lot of attacks, so having fewer models makes it easier for your opponent to focus fire and take out your expensive units quickly. Sure, you ignore up to two points of Piercing, all of your models have a Grit of 6+, and Mettle (except the Cohort squads), but that doesn't mean much if they're taking over ten attacks a turn. There's no real counter to your opponent opting to focus fire and take your units out beyond trying to keep your units from being seen by a majority of your opponent's units.


Get used to seeing these two in your lists a lot to provide some ranged attacks

A rather glaring weakness with this posse is because of the lower model count and lack of Hands, this posse has a somewhat low number of attacks. Sure, the attacks it does have can be absolutely bonkers strong, but those are quite few. Makara's Torrent weapon and the Cohort squads are where the bulk of your horde-clearing will come from. Noth, Khaatan, Haan, Zain, Oron, and Mithun are also good choices for their ROA of 3 on their ranged attacks.

Another point to consider is that every eligible unit for this posse, besides Makara, has a Quick of 5 and very few movement shenanigans. Not only will you be outnumbered, you'll be outmaneuvered too. The only real movement trick this posse can be bring is Drag with Noth and Khaatan, but beyond that get rid to hoof it and hoof it slowly. The bright side to this is that all of your units do have the Disciple of the Allshard ability, so you can turn any Guts bonus from an Adventure Card into +1 Action Points, so you can use that to help with focusing your Move actions.


Portal Vanguard


If you like movement shenanigans and kiting, then this is the posse for you. While the name is a little misleading, the main point of this posse is to provide Teamwork to all units in the posse with the Astraea keyword (that's a total of 5 Faces and then the boss, either regular or Legendary Elita). However, thanks to Elita and Janna, you do get to have some fun with portals. With the use of portals and six different units with Teamwork, you can have excellent control of the board and easy access to all of the objectives. Plus, this posse is a little less restrictive than the Divine Intervention, so you get a bit more liberty in building this posse out.


The best part of Portal Vanguard is the Portal spam and shenanigans!


Strengths

This posse honestly has it all: movement shenanigans, the advantages of being able to take a lot of the Cor Caroli units, access to Hands units (or unit as Order only has one), access to Order vehicles, and full access to all Order Faces. Besides the generic posse, this posse has the most diversity in builds and access to units (arguably more since this posse also has Elita while the generic one doesn't). Of course though, the main point of taking this posse is for that sweet sweet Teamwork on all of your Astraea units. If you do everything correctly, you could very easily get 6+ activations in a row with this posse. Plus, as you now have access to the cheaper offerings that Order has, you can really pad out the number of units you have, unlike with Divine Intervention. Plus, while it might not be as resilient as Divine Intervention or as deadly, you get access to Portals which can really help several units shine that were kind of meh on their own.

Remember when I said Vulana and Siraj were kind of meh in Makara's posse, well. When one of these melee blenders walk out of a portal and ready to start slicing, it can really change how they play. This can also be said for any melee focused unit within the Order arsenal. Need to get to the objective on the other side of the table? Have your Nyx Cohort walk through the portal network and take it. Your enemy's boss really causing you some problems? Have Elita throw down some portals and have Vulana walk through and charge. The typical Order problem of being slow doesn't matter to you anymore, but it does now require a little bit of planning and using actions from Elita and possibly Jana to set it up.

EDIT (9/18/2020): Thank you to Scott over in the Dark Council Facebook group for bringing this to my attention, but another strength of this posse is that you aren't using normal portals. The portals you generate as an Order play and specifically this posse, are "Allshard Portals". This provides a couple of unique benefits over the regular portal First is the ability for ANY Spica, Blessed, or Cor Caroli unit within 5" to simply remove a Negative Condition of your choice by passing a Mind check. This is an EXTREMELY powerful perk as it essentially lets your Spica, Blessed, and Cor Caroli units reset Mettle right before they get attacked again. The second perk is that any unit with the Cor Caroli, Astraea or Spirit traits may spend a Fortune to automatically pass their Reserve checks, allowing them to immediately come onto the field without having to gamble. It makes surgical strikes from portals incredibly more reliable removing all of the risk of Reserves entirely. Upon writing this section, I forgot that Order had their onw unique portals, so thank you again to Scott for bringing this up as it's pretty important to note!

Honestly, this posse is the most "Order" feeling posse you can get. It has all of the strengths with the added bonus of Teamwork on a couple more Faces and an additional source of portal generation. It's not too restrictive in list-building and it allows you a LOT of diversity unlike with Makara's and Horst's posses. It can be a little tricky to master if you want to use it to its full advantage, which is a bit of the problem. It's not nearly as straight-forward and easy as the other posses.


Weaknesses

As I've already said, this posse might be one of the better ones out there for Order, it's not the easiest to play. Taking full advantage of the Teamwork bonus you get from the Posse bonus and trying to optimize your portal plays will see you mess-up a couple of times. Plus, it's a dead giveaway where the strength of your posse lies. Janaa and Elita will be priority targets because they are squishy. Sure, Makara is a huge target too, but Makara has the ability to shrug off most hits and isn't a huge linchpin for her posse.

It's also worth noting that the whole "Astraea units gain Teamwork" Posse bonus is kind of a trap. Elita already has Teamwork as well as Aeron. So if you really want to take advantage of the bonus, you need to make sure you take other units (Noth, Khaatan, Janna, and Venatici). So really the Posse bonus only applies to those four units, but it's still a strong one! 

Lastly, since a good chunk of your units will have Teamwork if you get that Posse bonus unlocked, it can create another trap where you're essentially GIVING your opponent Teamwork too. It's really easy to do a chain activation with all of your Astraea units and then have very little else to activate, giving your opponent uninterrupted back-to-back activations. You need to be careful about either activating all of your units with the best plan or don't go crazy activating them all. There's nothing more disheartening than using all of your activations in an attempt to do what your plan is and then watch as your opponent gets to enact their own plan uninterrupted and scoring several points.



Host of the High Sircan


Probably the best supporting posse Order has, this posse automatically gains its bonus without needing to fill all of its slots. It does only allow Hands, Support units, and two Faces, but it helps them become far more reliable and consistent thanks to Horst's Inspirational special rule and his larger Fortune Pool. If you're already taking Portal Vanguard or Divine Intervention and want somewhere to help get the most out of the rest of your units, then this is an excellent posse for this. Also, don't let it fool you, but this posse makes for a fun and interesting primary posse in a list too, which we'll get into.


Strengths

The main draw of this posse is that Horst's Inspirational special rule is now 18" rather than 6" for units in his Posse even without filling a single slot in the Posse. This means any unit in his Posse can re-roll one die during their activation if they're within 18" of Uncle Horst. Horst's Inspirational rule still works for other units in your list too, but they have to be at 6". Plus, Horst also comes backing a whopping 5 Fortune, so whoever is in his Posse can really benefit from some reliability thanks to the range boost to Inspirational and then the large pool of Fortune to play around with. Imagine Mithun being supported with a re-roll per activation  and five fortune; her effectiveness would skyrocket and it'd be a lot easier to pay the Action Points to use Brace and shoot multiple times. Or, a unit of five Spica being able to ensure all of their shots land with easy access to Focus their shots and a re-roll if they do miss.

Another huge selling point for adding in Horst's Posse to your list is that the Posse has a lot of slots for Hands and Support units that you might not have access to in other Posses. If you wanted to gain access to some Hands while playing Divine Intervention, then this might be the Posse for you. It's a great posse to build out your list with some cheaper activations and more bodies while also giving those cheaper units some reliability boosts.


Weaknesses

The glaring issue with this posse is the fact that its bonus is a little weaker than the other posses. Boosting a special rule by 12" to give a larger aura just to re-roll a single die per activation pales when compared to gaining Teamwork for a unit or units. Of course, any increase in reliability of your models is a help, but it's not as explosive, exciting, or as effective as being able to chain several activations together. Reliability especially isn't a huge help when you're already rolling a large pool of dice (which you will be doing in this posse with the limited number of slots for vehicle Support and Faces)

Another huge weakness is that this posse has very few Face slots. Faces are a primary damage force in WWX, so being restricted to just a couple of them can be a bit of a problem. It's not that big of an issue if you're already planning on taking other posses, but it is worth noting if you wanted to solo this posse. Also, it's not like you need Faces to win games, but they do typically bring powerful tools to help you leverage odds in your favor and provide some more reliability than a blob of fragile wounds and unlikely-to-hit-anything shots.

The last glaring weakness of this posse is you're missing out on some of the best Bosses that Order has if you only take this posse. Elita and Makara are definitely incredible pieces with one being a great support piece and the other being a terrific "stompy-monster", while Horst is pretty eh. He's a pretty mediocre support piece and he's pretty mediocre to awful at combat too. That's why he has an ability to slap an opponent with a Hazardous and Stun within 10" and smoke grenades because he shouldn't be anywhere close to the fight.

The face of a man who doesn't want to get punched


Order Generic Posse


This goes without saying, but this is the "take whatever you want" kind of posse with very few restrictions. It is worth noting that this posse is the one you'll be using if you take one of the few "Underboss" faces as a boss. It's also worth noting that this posse has the fewest Support slots out of all the Order posses (not counting Divine Intervention since two of the better Support options are Cor Caroli, but it doesn't have any space for a vehicle Support) at only two, but it does have decent space for Hands and Faces. This also probably goes without saying, but it does lack a posse bonus, so you lose out on any bonus to have more variety in your posse options.


Strengths

Single greatest advantage of this posse is the fact that you aren't obligated to take anything to fill the posse out and you have a surprisingly good amount of options for bosses for how small the faction is. You can take whatever you want and not feel obligated to fill out every slot as there's no benefit to do so. Plus, because of this, it's easy cheap to add in some additional units that your posse normally wouldn't have access to (if you take the cheaper Underboss options, Vulana and Siraj, as the Boss of this posse, you'll save 20 points when compared to the cheapest actual Boss, Elita). Need some Hands to compliment your Divine Order posse, but want to do it cheaply? You can save 30 points and take this posse instead of Horst's or save 20 points when compared to Elita's.


Want some vehicle Supports? No problem!


Another, probably minor strength, is that this posse has 5 slots for Hands and 5 slots for Faces, so you can really take a mix of whatever you want, unlike some of the other posses in the faction. Freedom and versatility is really the name of the game with this posse!

Honestly, beyond versatility or cheapness, there's no real reason to take the generic posse. Order isn't quite large enough as a faction to gain a huge benefit from having less restrictive posses like Hex, Outlaws, Union, and Enlightened would, especially when you can take posses like Horst's or Elita's that are already pretty open.


Weaknesses

The glaring weakness of this boss is the lack of a posse bonus. You gain a small increase in versatility and miss out on the powerful bonuses that the other posses can offer. Another issue is that it only has two Support slots including for vehicle and non-vehicle, so you're not really going to be able to slot of Supports into the list if that was your plan. Another important weakness to note is that if you take this posse with an Underboss, you're be a little ham-stringed on Fortune. All of the Underbosses will have 2 Fortune compared to the 3, 4, and 5 of the Bosses. This can be another huge weakness for a faction that can be dependent on Fortune to help boost their slow moves or ensure their few ranged attacks hit.

While it seems like there aren't many weaknesses compared to the named posses above, I want to emphasize a key point here. The other posses have nuanced weaknesses that need to be worked around and that's why I go into more details with them. This posse is fundamentally flawed and there's really no way to work around it which is why I keep it briefer here. Not to say that it's entirely worse than taking a named posse, but it does mean that you're somewhat hurting yourself your list without bringing much to the table to compensate for this.


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