Arguably the very best unit in the game in any format, the Monarch Coatl is a very challenging foe.
We’ve covered stopping the Deathstorm Lich and the Sunfire Angel, but this week’s monster is an entirely different level of threat. Widely regarded as THE best unit in the game, the Monarch Coatl has a plethora of reasons why it is so dangerous… Let’s evaluate what we are up against!
The Monarch Coatl costs 9 gold and is still a steal at that value… It’s 5 rank is tied for the best in the game, making it a very capable lead unit. On top of that it is a Captain, and in a faction that is light on Captains (Primus), that makes it essential to play. It can sit back, comfortably control the Rank cycle with that elite level of 5, and command Primus’ BIG monsters to devastate enemies without ever being on the front line..
But why would it just do (just) that?? The Coatl’s combat attributes are great. 3 attack might be it’s “worst” statistic (still is good) and it’s paired with a 3 speed (and aerial by the way). This means the Monarch Coatl can use that mobility to reach far away tiles and be able to attack aerial units, making that 3 attack skill much more useful than units that are not as mobile. At 6 health, the Coatl is not an easy unit to take down in 1 round outright, but pair that with Immunity to Spells and suddenly multiple factions will have an enormous problem with stacking attacks on it unless they get adjacent. And that is where the Coatl is the most dangerous.
Arcane Blast is an extremely flexible, extremely powerful, and high value (for its mana cost) spell. It allows the Coatl to divide 6 damage among any number of enemies that are within range. So it can focus all of that to do 6 damage to one high health unit, or divide it up to incinerate multiple nearby enemies. The MC’s Arcane Blast has the capability to clear out your entire army if they are too close together, some are wounded, or you are using units light on health. The Coatl is an absolute terror to spell casting factions in particular, because spells are useless. It’s tough on range attackers, because it can simply go aerial and force a 50% likelihood the attack misses, and it’s tough on melee based strategies because its Rank is so high and it can sit back and command, then zoom in to finish off wounded enemies with devastating efficiency.
The best thing to do when the Coatl hits the board, regardless of Faction, is to realize it will be a multi-round and multi-unit approach to taking it down, and to see the silver lining in each move the Coatl makes.
Huh? What I mean by that is you can have clarity in your strategy.. If Primus is using the Coatl as a commanding captain, then focus on eliminating the other Primus units first. Primus is an expensive faction, and you can rack up points- even win-without taking out the Coatl. This will push the Coatl into the action sooner or later and suddenly that 9 points becomes really juicy if knocking the MC out puts you at or near victory. If the Primus player is using the Coatl aggressively to score points, brace yourself for a big Arcane Blast or 2, and then focus all your resources and units on chasing it down while it is available to be chased..It’s a tough task, but here are some units that can be helpful!
The Monarch Coatl is dangerous against ANY Faction, but just like the Sunfire Angel (Parada) and the Deathstorm Lich (Doom Sand), there always seems to be one faction that matches up favorably against these extraordinary units. Kragg is that faction for the Monarch Coatl. (Sidenote: I would never bench the Monarch Coatl, not even against Kragg.)
There are only 2 flying units in the game currently that can withstand a full 6 damage Arcane Blast and survive, making them great “Coatl chasers”. One of them, Ihalaban’s Regal Minokawa costs a whopping 12 gold. While it is a great choice to neutralize the Monarch Coatl, it’s not exactly easy to just have 12 gold lying around at any given time to react to the MC. The other is Kragg’s Greater Roc. At 8 gold with Kragg’s gold generators, the Roc (while still really expensive) can realistically be mobilized within 2-3 rounds when the Coatl hits the basecamp.
With 8 health and Menace, the Roc is fearless, and as the General, you should be too. The Greater Roc is not bothered by low-prowess aerial units and can score points on the way to the Coatl if the situation arises. However, I like to just keep it Aerial and beeline for the MC.
The Greater Roc is one of the only flying units that can withstand the Monarch Coatl’s Arcane Blast.
The drawback to the Roc is that it’s 5 damage, while normally outstanding, is not going to kill the Coatl in one round… But if you are able to limit Primus’ mana supply, the Monarch Coatl is not going to be able to knock out the Roc in a single round either. In fact, the Roc is the superior unit to the MC in head to head melee combat.
Should the Coatl choose to land and mix it up with the ground units, Kragg has plenty of options. If this happens relatively close to the basecamp, Razortusk Charger is a really nice option to zoom out of the basecamp and drop a quick 3 damage, while Wild Kongamato can do the same if the Coatl is aerial.
Razortusk Charger and Wild Kongamato can use the reinforcement round to deliver affordable, solid damage.
Kragg’s strength, as a faction, is in it’s 6 and 7 cost slot ground units. They are tough, aggressive, they mix in high damage ranged attacks, they score extra points on abilities like Mauler, Bonecrush and Onslaught, and they cast exactly 0 spells. They are built for battle and if/when the Coatl lands it will likely get some points, but it won’t last too long if against any 2 or more of these units. Especially if some of Primus’ other big units are not around to help. This makes Kragg a tough matchup for the Coatl when it is used to score points, both Aerial or landed.
Veteran Orc, Troll Crusher, Ogre Berserker, Troll Ravager, Monstrous Ogre and Ogre Mauler form the strength of Kragg’s army and all can be effective against the Monarch Coatl.
Kragg’s low rank as a faction actually make the Coatl an effective Captain against Kragg, commanding other Primus units. If you can force the Coatl to remain out of the action with Kragg instead of wiping out unit after unit, then that is a small victory for you.
Parada has a tough matchup against the Monarch Coatl. It’s fast enough with a high enough rank to mitigate Parada’s shooters, and it’s Arcane Blast can obliterate Parada’s low hit point units.. (Parada has 10 units with 2 health or less- tied for the most of any faction with Moonshadow and Baazaria) so a well-placed and divide 6 damage is capable of wrecking fragile units for double digit point gains.
Parada’s flying units do not extend beyond the Yumboe Battlemage yet, and while YBM is a great unit for a wide variety of reasons, her role is not at all designed to slow down something as majestically powerful as the Monarch Coatl. So what are Parada’s options? A good option depends on the Primus player!
A phenomenon with both Ihalaban and Primus players is to use the Ihalaban Salamangkero (Ihalaban) and the Mystic Witch (Primus) in the vanguard, then INSTANTLY use Runestone to bring out the Grand Bakunawa (Ihalaban) or the Monarch Coatl (Primus). It is a brilliant strategy that gives the Runestoning player a huge, huge advantage as they add one of the very best, most powerful units to the game along with their vanguard. But there is a distinct drawback.. it torches their mana. Because Runestone uses mana equal to the unit’s gold cost to get it out, Primus is going to have 1 mana left and need more for Arcane Blast to be available to the Coatl.
As a Parada General, if that Runestone comes out early game, You will have 2 rounds to get across the battleground and get some damage done to the Coatl. It’s go time right away.. The Coatl is still a top level unit, but without Primus’ best weapon in Arcane Blast readily available, it is a lot less daunting.
Here is where the deep strategy kicks in… my first target would not be the Coatl, but rather the Mystic Witch. Following the Runestone, she is now a mana-generator that fuels the Coatl and can deliver a timely Shockwave if you get to close. The key is to keep Primus from getting mana, so using Centaurs (or other fast units) to grab the Mana Pools is critical. Centaur Scout can claim one and Centaur Skirmisher can hunt down the Mystic Witch, scoring 6 points and cutting off mana. The Skirmisher might even be able to start damaging the Coatl through Versatile. Skirmish is also a great tool early in the game as it serves as a deterrent entirely from an attack, OR can damage the Coatl should the Primus Captain choose to take out the Skirmisher early. (Damaging the Coatl is always a huge plus, even if it means losing a unit)
The Centaur Scout and Centaur Skirmisher can cut off the Monarch Coatl’s Mana supply.
Do not expect to keep the centaurs alive for too long, or at all really. If you can do even 1 of eliminating the Mystic Witch, control the Mana Pools, and start damaging the Monarch Coatl a bit, that should be considered a “Runestone round one defense success”
The other option (and it it wasn’t an early Runestone, but rather a direct recruit- nothing to do with Mystic Witch) is changing the tempo. When the MC is on the board against Parada, whether it is sitting back and commanding or leading the assault, Parada does not really have the offensive units with the toughness required to take it (or Primus’ other tough ground units) on head to head. What Parada does have, however, is one of the best tempo changers. The Monstrous Umuthi is a great unit to buy some time and change the pace of the battle because it is able to fully absorb not 1, but 2 FULL Arcane Blasts. It’s beefy 13 health and dangerous 5 attack makes it a force to be respected in combat. Putting out the Monstrous Umuthi as a response will ward off the Coatl from getting too close and buy you a couple of rounds- at least- to adjust your strategy. If the Coatl lands and takes a chunk out of the Umuthi, great. The Umuthi can take the damage and you can target the Coatl with your plethora of shooters while it is engaged with the Umuthi. Enemies will either flock to the Umuthi or let it go undeterred, and if it’s undeterred it can lumber to the center of the battleground, take over the resources, and put Primus under siege until they deal with that 13 health.
There are some drawbacks to this strategy. 1 movement is probably the most trying stat out of the 4 core attributes (1 rank is pretty annoying too!) and the dropoff from 2 movement to 1 movement is extremely noticeable. The Monstrous Umuthi‘s slow speed means it’s not going to chase anything down and it is going to take some time… several rounds potentially, for it to get to a space where you need it to be.
The other drawback is it’s high cost. When it is eliminated, it can be a huge point swing for Primus, so I’d use this strategy early to mid-game in response to the Coatl as opposed to a late game answer.
The Monarch Coatl is a catastrophe of a matchup for Zermano. It is for sure the worst unit the Faction matches up with. One of Zermano’s strengths is cheap but potent spells that can have great range. Well, the Coatl has Immunity to Spells, so there goes that. One of Zermano’s biggest weaknesses is a lack of depth with flying units (similar but not as bad as Parada). The Coatl can exploit Zermano’s biggest weakness while not at all being impacted by it’s greatest strength. Yikes.
When matching up with certain units, it is really important to have almost an automatic response that you plan ahead. In the case of Zermano, the best way to impact the Coatl is through the Blizzard Elemental. Yes, the MC is going to eliminate the Blizzard Elemental far more often than not, and is a superior unit, but it’s all about timing! When facing Primus, the “planning ahead” would be: When the MC gets within 3 spaces of my basecamp, I am going to recruit the Blizzard Elemental. Then, the automatic response is “I will then attack it with the Blizzard Elemental immediately.” Do not pass go, do not try to cast Blizzard on some other units to score points first, do not claim a resource center, just go get the 4 melee damage on the Coatl while you can before that window slams shut.
After that 4 damage is dealt, it becomes easier to handle piecing together 2 more damage to eliminate the Coatl. A strong choice is following the Blizzard Elemental with the Quicksilver Golem.
The Quicksilver Golem is immune to Arcane Blast, and it has 4 health, so it can withstand a Monarch Coatl melee attack. It also has Malleable, meaning it returns to that 4 health at the beginning of every round (after resources are counted). The MC cannot eliminate the QSG by itself. That is a HUGE help for Zermano especially since the rest of the Faction is not well-equipped to handle the MC.
There is one other option for dealing with the Monarch Coatl, and it does not really have to do with the Coatl specifically. Zermano’s Kraken Overlord is the “best” unit in the game strictly from a statistical standpoint (I don’t think it is that good overall, because it has poor mobility as an aquatic unit and is outrageously expensive, but that’s not the point right now!)
The Kraken Overlord is the ultimate “spotlight stealer” because as soon as it enters the battleground, it attracts ALL of your opponent’s attention. Including the Coatl’s. It’s a simple strategy when it is on the battleground though, just flail away with that Multi-Attack and kill as many enemy units as you can.
The Kraken Overlord has the best Prowess (Attack + Health) and highest Health in the game.
I don’t particularly like this strategy when Zermano already is strapped for gold generation and is so good with spells against almost any other faction. Gathering 14 gold with Zermano takes some foresight, and often in an effort to accumulate that amount, it becomes really obvious to an experienced opponent what is about to happen which takes away the “surprise!” element of Aquatic units.. It also means that the Kraken Overlord will often have little to no help, since it often takes up most/all of your spending power to recruit. However, against the Coatl and Primus, it makes some sense. Because of the immunity to spells, there is not a lot of need to spend gold on spellcasters, and at 24 (!!) Prowess, the Coatl more often than not will be forced to help Primus deal with it.
A lot of the best strategies Baazaria has to counter Monarch Coatl are a little counter-intuitive, since Baazaria doesn’t have any units that can directly contend with the Coatl in one-on-one combat or even two-on-one combat.
The first one is to use Obayifo Aeromancer‘s Windblast ability on an aerial Coatl (it can do this from anywhere on the battlefield, and it can’t be evaded!) and then follow up with either Asanbosam Assassin‘s Slayer ability or Kichwavore Ravager‘s Execute ability. I tend to favor the Assassin a little bit more for this clean-up job, since Slayer counts as a ranged ability and therefore has a 50% chance to hit the Coatl when it’s Aerial, if you’re desperate. Kichwavore Ravager’s Execute ability is melee, so it can only use it when it’s adjacent to the Coatl, and when the Coatl has landed.
The next general strategy worth mentioning is outlasting Monarch Coatl by using units with Regenerate as well as Baazaria Necromancer. This is admittedly a fairly skill-testing strategy, as it requires a lot of game knowledge and intuition to be able to accurately assess which trades to take and when you should and shouldn’t resurrect your units. Ideally, the Primus player runs out of mana, and must wait one or more turns to be able to fire off Monarch Coatl’s Arcane Blast, allowing you to retaliate. You should only use this strategy when the Primus player is relying primarily on the Monarch Coatl as a zone controller and damage dealer, not when they’re using it to command other units.
An honorable mention is actually Bonesteel Colossus. I’ve actually only ever used this unit to slow down Monarch Coatls that are lingering near my base camp, and it’s worked surprisingly well every time. In most cases I’m discouraged from using this because of its low movement (the low rank doesn’t help either, but Baazaria has a whopping five Captains, so that doesn’t really matter all that much). However, its insanely high health makes it so difficult for Monarch Coatl to take it out effectively without using the entirety of its Arcane Blast as well as a turn of melee combat. It’s almost more worth it for the Coatl to ignore the Colossus, but that would mean it would have to back away from your base camp, which is exactly what you want.
Moonshadow, despite having a lot of units with low health, is actually fairly well-equipped to deal with Monarch Coatl.
The best units to counter the Coatl are these evasive units that are either immune to or have a chance to dodge Arcane Blast. Ancient Winjaru is premium here, as it’s completely immune and has enough attack to take out the Coatl in one go. Jabari Warlord‘s Swiftstriker ability allows it to do the same, as long as it’s attacking diagonally. In my experience, a lot of people forget about Swiftstriker and thus underestimate the Warlord once its single ranged attack is used up. The Assassin Squad can also make swift work of a Coatl that has taken two or more damage, by using its Slayer ability, just like Baazaria’s Asanbosam Assassin.
Some more budget-oriented options to deal with the Coatl are Winjaru Villagestalker, who can also take out the Coatl with Swiftstriker but is less mobile and doesn’t have evasion, and the Savage Manticore, whose Piercing Sting ability brings Monarch Coatl’s attack down to 1, making it essentially useless when the Primus player is out of mana!
Monarch Coatl forces Zyan players to play very differently, because of its capacity to easily punish aggressive players who overextend.
The best way to keep your opponent from using the Coatl to its full efficiency is by getting a cluster of Phalanx units out, ideally covering two resource centers. The Coatl won’t be able to deal with them effectively as a group, and would have to focus an entire Arcane Blast onto a 3 or 5-point unit to even take them out, allowing you to keep generating resources and deal incremental damage.
The only issue with the Phalanx units is that they have very low attack power, but luckily they all generate gold, meaning you can build up to a large threat and counterattack. The best unit for this is probably Unicorn Warhulk because it can rush out to wherever the Coatl has landed and deal 4 damage to it, usually on the same turn you recruit it. If you’ve dealt any incremental damage to the Coatl while stalling it out with your Phalanx units, this might even be enough to take it out!
If you’re looking for something spicier and have the gold to spare, Royal Titan isn’t a bad choice either. It has enough attack power to kill the Coatl in one shot, while also being able to survive a full-power Arcane Blast. If it’s left at one health by the Arcane Blast and doesn’t make it over to the Coatl in time to kill it, Parry 4 means the Titan has a 66% chance to dodge melee attacks, making it an incredibly annoying unit to finish off. However, Royal Titan’s best quality is actually what it can do after you take out the Coatl, since its Overpower ability lets it get through both Parry and Spikeskin, keywords which show up six times in Primus, spread across five different units! Primus is also a fairly melee-heavy faction once the Coatl is out of the picture, so the Royal Titan’s own Parry ability just gets even better!
The Monarch Coatl is, without a doubt, one of the very best units in the game. Next, we take on the only unit that has a real argument for the “best unit in the game” title. Ihalaban’s Grand Bakunawa!