Bolton Blackguards - are they worth 6pts for pure neutral armies?
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Thread: Bolton Blackguards - are they worth 6pts for pure neutral armies?

  1. #1

    Default Bolton Blackguards - are they worth 6pts for pure neutral armies?

    With the latest release of their card, i am pondering at what they mean for neutral forces atm. We certainly understand how great they'll be with Lannister elements (Cercei, Lannister supremacy, The Hound), but are they just as good for the pure Neutral forces?

    What do they bring more to the faction, and what purpose does that entails?

    1. They have 3+ defense. That is an important factor, because so far neutral infantry was really fragile. This means we finally have a unit that can hold objectives and take a charge.

    2. Horrific visage means that units attacking them will have to take more panic tests. Boltons (neutrals so far) like that for sure, as it fits with most of the Bolton specifics so far.

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    I am starting to wonder if that's enough to warrant a 6pt buy for the Boltons. For the same cost you can get a Cutthroat unit with a Dreadfort Captain. That Captain has better odds of triggering his ability due to the vicious ability of the cutthroats.

    The horrific visage can be good but who will send a weak morale unit against them? The ability might be wasted if they engage anything with great morale (5+ or better). Neutrals don't have ways to smash morale outside vicious, however they can distribute panic tokens like candy. Will the Boltons capacity to generate panic tokens be enough to make the opponents suffer seriously from horrific visage? I can get that Ramsay's attachment can help with this, but we're talking 9pts here, and they have utterly pathetic offense. There's also quite a few units who can have alot of fun vs them.

    Umber Berserkers, The Mountain that Rides, Night's Watch Sworn Brothers, Warrior's Son (okay that's an 8pts unit, but they'll be fueled up by the horrific visage), Lannister Guardsman with Captain, Lannister Knights, Giants, Cave Dwellers, Any Stark unit with a +2 morale attachment, and i could go on.

    Perhaps i am just over-analytic of them, but i am not entirely convinced that they weren't priced for their great synergy with Lannister faction. Perhaps i just need to play with them to "see the light".

    I assume we could overwhelm the foe with panic tokens and tests, something like:

    3x Bolton blackguards each with Dreadfort Captains (21pts)
    1x Bolton flayed men (10pts)
    1x Bolton Cutthroats (5pts)

    Roose Bolton (NCU commander)
    Littlefinger

    Or perhaps they can be the vanguard if the army:

    Bolton Blackguards - Ramsay Snow
    Bolton Cutthroats - Dreadfort Captain
    Bolton Cutthroats
    Bolton Flayed Men
    Bolton Flayed Men

    Roose Bolton (NCU commander)
    Last edited by Oakwolf; 03-24-2019 at 06:02 PM.

  2. #2

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    I think the main role of the black guard is to hold objectives and be a place for attachments. Neutrals have a lot of really good attachments (and Attachment Commanders), but not really a unit you can place them in, because they are either to soft (Cuttroaths, Bastard Girls) or Cavalry.

  3. #3

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    We surely agree on their purpose. As you say, they seem to be dependent on attachments to get more out of Horrific Visage. The engaged unit will be taking twice the tests, but won't fail by as much as with vicious. So without an attachment, i am not sure they have what they need to prevail on their own. It's a bit like the Lannister Guardsmen, but with +1 cost.
    Last edited by Oakwolf; 03-28-2019 at 02:31 PM. Reason: severe formatting issues

  4. #4

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    To further the thought-box, here's my view of the attachments available:

    Dreadfort Captain: Probably the best bet to keep costs slightly more reasonable and help with the generation of panic tokens. This setup won't help with the pathetic offense they have so they’ll probably still loose quite a few match ups the opponent sends, but will mean Horrific Visage has a significant impact(more panic tokens are always good). This also means that a duo of Dreadfort Captains can support each other to try and overcome the morale of their respective foes. At 7pts, they’ll never compete with dedicated melee units with good morale though, so they’ll need support to advance if they get blocked before reaching their objective.

    Ramsay Snow: Ramsay has his ways…and it’s very brutal. He adds more wounds to any enemy failing a test, so obviously, the more test taken by the foes, the better the odds of it triggering. His damage potential is better found on a unit with vicious though, and for 3pts, it’s a staggering 9pts combo here. The question is…what is this unit going to fight against? Odds are they’ll face the very elite of the enemy, and usually these won’t bother too much about the panic tests. Problem is that while the Blackguards are tough, they don’t have much punch to so you’ll have to fuel those panic tests like crazy. But there's still hope if you support this unit with a vicious one...more on that later.

    Roose Bolton: Now I rarely have the option for Roose as an attachment, as he’s my favorite commander, but in the context of a pure Neutral faction army, the Blackguards are pretty much the only place you should see him. Healing wounds on cutthroat units is useful but not always worth 3pts, or at least it's still a big gamble. However, on a unit whose purpose is to stand its ground, 6 morale and 3+ defense, it’s a much better investment. Like Ramsay,it has better chances of being triggered with the Blackguards...especially if supported by a vicious unit.

    In all cases, you’ll want to literally spam panic tokens against the opponents engaged with Blackguards to increase failure odds and rate.

    After thinking more through, something interesting for all these 3 attachments is that they confer their effect to –any- test made against any number of engaged units and it’s not an order, so it can happen more than once per round (or even turn). This also means that if a friendly unit sucessfully attacks a foe engaged by the Blackguards, the subsequent panic test would benefit from the 3 attachment effects you may have in your Blackguards. Flayed Men would combine Spread Fear with Ramsay and Roose as well since it's not a voluntary effect (as far asi know). In the same manner, a timely Crown zone claim could trigger some nasty side effect.

    As a side note, Flayed Men wouldn't combine their Spread Fear with the Dreadfort Captain's own, because it's the same name.

    So the Blackguard can serve as a costly anvil upon which to hammer your foe with terror tactics...it remains to be seen how potent the multiplying effect can be, but i am more hopeful now.

    Lastly, Bronn and Brienne could be added if you require morale boost and an improvement of the attack profile on the unit. I wouldn’t rank Brienne as very useful compared to Bronn, because Blackguards are too slow and the target must be called before deployment so the opponent gets to avoid them,and because Neutrals hog the wealth zone anyway. That being said, Bronn might be better in a unit of Bastard Girls, if you can afford that.
    Last edited by Oakwolf; 03-28-2019 at 04:43 PM.

  5. #5

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    As it stands now, I'm not convinced they are worth 6 pts in a Neutrals only army. I really hope the unit attachment that comes in the box with the Black Guards adds some offensive punch to the unit. And is 1 pt. Prob just wishful thinking. The miniatures look great, though.

  6. #6

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    In a pure neutral army i consider them to be a must, as all other neutral infantry is simply not able to survive very long. The cutthroats are a glass cannon and the girls' armour is simply pathetic (they have to be played really careful). Both are really dangerous if you manage to blow their damage out, but always quite vulnerable.

    So in comparison to those two finfantry units the Blackguards are very good imho - even for 6 pts. Here my reasons:

    - really good 3+ armour
    - better than average morale
    - horrific visage forces enemy to reroute own elite capable of dealing with them (careful positioning provided)
    - only unit capable of holding it's ground on victory- or mission-markers
    - don't blame them for missing offensive power and slow movement: you charge with cutthroats and/or flayed men. The attack is not their primary purpose.

    I consider them to be well rounded and while of course there are other 6-pts-units in the game that are better the one or other way, they do well what they have to do. A purely neutral faction atm is a hard to play but i'm confident that with later additions of other neutral houses the neutral will be able to stand their ground.

  7. #7

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    My reservations with them are their difficulty in getting to an objective in the first place (movement 4) or dislodging an enemy from an objective (weak offense) is suspect. With such few choices in a Neutral only army, of course they'll be taken, but I cant see myself ever bringing more than 1 just to put a commander in (Ramsay) for increased survivability. That's why I hope their unit attachment is cheap and addresses their offense in some form or fashion. The models look great. I just wish CMON would get on with releasing them for purchase.

  8. #8

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    Perhaps we didn't get the full spoiler of the unit, though.

  9. #9

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    Yupp.... hoping for a good attachment, too.
    By the way: adding Bronn to the Bastard's girls is a common thing among neutral players - but from time to time i add him to the Blackguards, which makes them quite nasty: 5 Movement, 9 Attacks when full + 4+ moral which reroutes Cercei to some more dispensable units.
    "I am not a learned man, but is there a difference between kill and sacrifice?"- Ser Davos Seaworth
    "If you're a famous smuggler you're not doing it right" - Ser Davos as well
    "I've never been much of a fighter. Apologies for what you're about to see" ​ - guess who

  10. #10

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    Good suggestion on Bronn if u take 2 Blackguards units or you dont put your commander in them. Seems to shore up their weaknesses as long as u claim right tactics zone. Brienne gives Stalwart +2 moral, but her offensive boost is pretty limited and easier for your opponent to negate.

  11. #11

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    If it had remained vicious at 7pts, i'd have been much happier, really.

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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalcolmBlackwall View Post
    Yupp.... hoping for a good attachment, too.
    By the way: adding Bronn to the Bastard's girls is a common thing among neutral players - but from time to time i add him to the Blackguards, which makes them quite nasty: 5 Movement, 9 Attacks when full + 4+ moral which reroutes Cercei to some more dispensable units.
    I wonder if they'll include a new attachment. The Dreadfort Captain certainly looks the part already, but if they get something new, i hope it grants vicious.

    It'd be very interesting for the Girls as well.

  14. #14

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    Aren't the Blackguards supposed to get the Bolton Flayer, which gives 'Cut Them Down' for 1 pt?

  15. #15

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    I've not seen anything like it but...then again i don't follow facebook much. When did you hear about it? If it is as you say, I could see the Flayer into the cutthroats even more...as cut them down on a vicious unit is downright evil
    Last edited by Oakwolf; 06-20-2019 at 05:09 PM.

  16. #16

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    This would be welcome news, indeed, if confirmed. Where did you see/hear about it, Mutter? Great w Cutthroats, good w Black Guards Horrific Visage, too.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony4095 View Post
    Where did you see/hear about it, Mutter?
    I've seen this mentioned a couple of times in the FB discussion groups, but couldn't provide a direct quote. Just felt like people thought this was a given ...

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutter View Post
    I've seen this mentioned a couple of times in the FB discussion groups, but couldn't provide a direct quote. Just felt like people thought this was a given ...
    Not every unit comes with an attachment, but i do hope you are correct.

  19. #19

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    I was listening to an old Song Chat podcast today and Michael Shinall mentions something that may shed some light on all of this. The podcast episode is the Feb 10, 2019, one titled "Roose Defensive Bunker 40pts." At the 18:42 mark, he states that a person could modify the list by replacing the 1 pt Dreadfort Capt that was originally attached to a Black Guard unit with a Bolton Flayer (also assumed to be 1 pt for obvious reasons). He then mentions that the Bolton Flayer has the Prey on Fear ability (same ability as the Roose Bolton unit attachment) where when an enemy engaged with your unit fails a panic check, this unit can restore up to 2 wounds to that unit. He does not mention Cut Them Down. Just some additional food for thought. I'm not sure which ability I'd prefer on my Blackguard. I prob would like mine more killy (Cut Them Down) over more tanky (restore wounds), but both would be very good for a 1 pt attachment.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony4095 View Post
    I was listening to an old Song Chat podcast today and Michael Shinall mentions something that may shed some light on all of this. The podcast episode is the Feb 10, 2019, one titled "Roose Defensive Bunker 40pts." At the 18:42 mark, he states that a person could modify the list by replacing the 1 pt Dreadfort Capt that was originally attached to a Black Guard unit with a Bolton Flayer (also assumed to be 1 pt for obvious reasons). He then mentions that the Bolton Flayer has the Prey on Fear ability (same ability as the Roose Bolton unit attachment) where when an enemy engaged with your unit fails a panic check, this unit can restore up to 2 wounds to that unit. He does not mention Cut Them Down. Just some additional food for thought. I'm not sure which ability I'd prefer on my Blackguard. I prob would like mine more killy (Cut Them Down) over more tanky (restore wounds), but both would be very good for a 1 pt attachment.
    I think the "cut them down" ability has to cost 2pts (The Hound). Ramsay has it as well (plus theon) for 3pts. That said, Prey on Fear would definitely be something new.

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