|Tannhauser | Published 25 February 2009|
Welcome back to the front lines soldier. The war has seen some new options open up and it is high time we reviewed them. We have gone through the horrors of the Reich. We have gone through the advanced weaponry of the Union. Now we delve into the strategies of the Matriarchy.
First - Firepower
While not known for their devastating volleys of fire, the Matriarchy is incredibly efficient at dealing damage. Using the power of Tesla's imagination, the Magnifier is capable of downing a poorly placed squad in one turn! Much like the smoke grenade, be particular to place Zor'ka on a circle with multiple colors. Since her weapon affects every model on the same path as her, teams will need to be very conscious of where she can move to on her turn. Don't forget that she may spend a victory point to move one space further, as this extra space can spell disaster for your opponent. Don't overlook the power of positioning, as opponents will be loathe to group figures together on the same path. Use this to your advantage and force them to split up, making them easy pickings for Irishka's Kaali. The Kaali can also be used to force your opponent into a suboptimal position. Once you have attached a meteop, that figure is now guaranteed to take damage from the next shot they take. This can make them even weaker against Zor'ka's magnifier attack, as the magnifier makes the meteops explode.
Second - Characters
The Union and the Reich have a very difficult task. They must balance the five characters they have for maximum effect. If even one figure goes down before fulfilling their role, the game is that much tougher for their team. Fortunately the Matriarchy is above such paltry concerns. Zor'ka is priority number one. She must be protected at all costs. This task is easier than for the other forces, as Zor'ka's stats are phenomenal at all levels. In addition, with the Legendary status, she is immune to the worst effects in the game. Always remember to leave a clear path from Zor'ka to a Voïvode within eight circles, as she may transfer wounds to them. Above and beyond this, remember that Zor'ka can call all of the Voïvodes back into service. Very few things are more disheartening than watching as over half of your opponents force stands back up.
Third - Role Selection (auto wounds, tanking...)
Lastly, the forces of the Matriarchy have a very unique ability, in that they can be specialized. Yes every force has multiple packs, and can be configured differently. However, the Matriarchy can do this to another degree. Knowing that the match will feature a take and hold objective, the Matriarchy can set up the army to match this. If Zor'ka takes her combat pack, she has access to the Awakening (which gives her a single stat of 9 for a turn, which is a great way to ensure her attackers have a difficult time damaging her) and to Rebirth (which restores all Voïvodes on the board). Both of these give the Matriarchy some serious staying power. But wait, you can also take Irina's Mental pack. Found within the Mental pack is the Liturgy of Faith, which allows Irina or an ally to heal one wound without spending a victory point. Yet another option to further this is to take Irishka and her Mental pack. The R.U.R. is capable of repairing any Voïvode or even of restoring wounds to Zor'ka herself. Also contained in this pack are the Summoning and Smiljan Modules. The Summoning module is placed on any legal circle, and allows any Voïvodes on the board to return to it instead of moving as normal. This lets the Voïvodes move out away from Zor'ka to focus the opponent into direct lines of fire, and on the following turn can be brought back to be redeployed in a more advantageous spot. In addition the Voïvodes can be moved back after Zor'ka uses Rebirth, meaning that all four Voïvodes can return and be sent out as a new wave of mechanical terror. Lastly to add to this are the Voïvodes themselves. Taking the Scretcha option allows the Voïvodes to repair Zor'ka, and with the Denitsa upgrade they gain a movement value of 9. With such a high movement value, they can funnel your opponents units more effectively.
The Union is characterized by their large weapons and use of the smoke grenade. The Matriarchy has a number of options to deal with both of these. Zor'ka is immune to the natural 10 effects of the Flash Guns relegating them to the status of regular guns. This combined with her high stat values means she can wade into the Union troops with little fear. All three of the Matriarchy's heroes can be equipped with Tesla Coils, which automatically cancel one hit giving each of them more staying power. Don't forget that Irina can be employed as a Martyr, and in the later game can be thrown at the enemy forces to gain a much needed boost in Victory points.
Smoke grenades are also a staple of the Union strategy. Conveniently Voïvodes are completely immune to effects of smoke grenades. Send these mechanical horrors into smoke filled corridors and channel Zor'ka's magnifier into those heroes who thought they were safe. Alternatively, you can equip the Voïvodes for self destruction. This option prevents them from being repaired or brought back, but it does do an automatic wound to any adjacent character, and with four walking bombs at your disposal...
Steeped in the occult, the forces of the Reich are formidable indeed. Boasting mental powers and guns that shoot around corners, they are a dangerous opponent. Once again the Matriarchy has a number of options to mitigate the Reich's impact. First, Zor'ka has a higher mental stat than the Marquis General, giving her a chance to overcome the effects of the Patmos amulet and the deadly Sha-Na-Ra. Once again the Voïvodes are incredibly effective when dealing with Hermann Von Heïzinger. Voïvodes lack any form of mental stat, which means they can not be targeted by mental attacks. Send these robots after the General and watch as he scrambles about the board to avoid them.
Voïvodes are also an excellent way to counter the other weapons of the Reich. They can be given the Denitsa upgrade, which gives them a movement value of 9. Use this to force Karl Zermann towards the heroes, or face repeated electrical attacks from the Smiljan Coil. Eva's whip is easily ignored by Zor'ka herself, as it loses its natural 10 ability. Both Irina and Irishka can work very well to funnel attackers into the waiting maw of Zor'ka, and Irishka can use Kaali to attach explosive devices to characters as she directs them towards Zor'ka. These devices do damage when hit by electrical attacks (see most of the Matriarchy's weapons) and can be used to force characters to hide.
Overall the Matriarchy is a solid force with a number of options. The biggest challenge is in the initial composition of the force. Each member can do a number of different things, but to truly excel, the force needs to be dedicated to a goal. Keep the missions you will be facing in mind, and tailor your force. A poorly chosen force can be taken out quickly, and a force that loses Zor'ka early will be hurt immensely. So put your faith in the Slavic God she embodies, and lead the forces from the frozen lands out to victory!
Now that the Matriarch players know what to do we're going to have to come up with some good U/R strategies soon. No wy I'm letting someone beat me b/c they read this.
Got my copy and it looks great, very nice board and the mini's are top quality. The scenarios will add some great new strategies to the game. Look forward to our first game.
I cannot wait to get Novgorod, I got Gorgei the other day and he's awesome. Great merc to bid on. He's not quite Wolf, which I have, but his machine gun pistols and his special power are great.