Breaking down 3 of the Zermano units! (Blizzard Elemental/Gnome Pyromancer/Lurking Inkanyamba)
Graviterrus is a hot, humid continent, and the Zermano Islands are downright tropical. So why does the faction include a Blizzard Elemental and spells like Ice Missle? It’s lore-based. The wizards in Zermano researched and manipulated the effects mana had on water, and when it was discovered it could freeze water, it was almost like discovering electricity or fire here on planet earth. The shocking discovery was weaponized and is one signature forms of mana manipulation for Zermano wizards. Anyways, back to Blizzy.
Zermano’s spellcasting strength focuses on single target, efficiently costed, rangy spells. Blizzard is the exception. It targets a tile, can wipe out multiple enemies, and costs a lot of mana. Blizzard Elemental’s speed and flying ability allow it to easily get to a nearby tile, and because it is a flying unit, it can cast it while Aerial or when landed, giving Zermano players more situations in which it can be used. The 3 damage it unleashes is great, but the fact it wastes an activation for surviving units is sometimes even better. The Blizzard Elemental is also a strong attacker, and the immunity to range gives it added protection. Zermano lacks units with raw VP scoring potential but the Blizzard Elemental certainly is an exception and therefore important.
Blizzard is certainly powerful, but Zermano’s real advantage with spells is efficiency and the ability to rifle off multiple spells from multiple units in a round. Blizzard, costing 7 mana, often makes that a challenge, and unless there are multiple enemies on a terrain tile, it is usually just not worth limiting the rest of Zermano’s spellcasters. Also, a drawback to Blizzard Elemental is its low health. Zermano has only 2 flying units currently and neither has over 2 health, making them extremely vulnerable to Aerial blitzes. If Blizzard Elemental lands, it’s an easy 6 VP for melee fighters as well. Keeping it alive is crucial, and that is not always easy.
WHEN TO WARBAND: When up against low melee threat factions that flood the Battleground with units like Baazaria or Moonshadow makes for a great matchup for Blizzard Elemental, and any unit that can target a whole terrain tile is a great option for multi-player games.
WHEN TO BENCH: Aggressive Aerial based warbands can cut down the Blizzard Elemental without too much difficulty, so Zyan is tough, as are factions with high health flyers like Primus or Ihalaban.
The Gnome Pyromancer is a decent unit that does not require a lot of resources in order to maximize it. I would call it “low-maintenance.” At 3 gold, there is not much downside to it getting eliminated, and it provides a nice supplemental spellcaster. Fire Orb is a cheap spell that packs a nice punch, as 2 damage is significantly more impactful than 1 damage, and 3 mana means that there is more often than not a chance for one of Zermano’s higher impact spells to also be cast in the same round. Gnome Pyromancer makes also can sit back and rack up mana, enabling the powerful spells from other units to do most of the work.
If there is not an abundance of mana, Gnome Pyromancer is not going to make much of an impact beyond generating a bit more. Fire Orb works well but is not going to slow down too many frontlines if it is the only spell that can be cast. Additionally, Gnome Pyromancer provides nothing else combat-wise.
WHEN TO WARBAND: Fire Orb is a nice complementary spell to either wound or finish off a severely wounded enemy, and 3 rank means the Pyromancer will have the opportunity to stack it in succession with Zermano’s much more powerful and spell adept 4 rankers, like Sorceror Overlord, Zermano Battlemage, or Storm Conjuror. Low rank warbands like Kragg make for a good matchup.
WHEN TO BENCH: When there is no mana, Gnome Pyromancer suddenly becomes an afterthought. Zyan and Doom Sand can quickly capture the Mana Pools if necessary, and Zermano has far, far better ways of trying to get them back than Gnome Pyromancer.
Outside of spellcasting, Zermano’s advantage over other factions is it’s utilization of water spaces and more specifically it’s utilization of Aquatic units. Zermano’s roster has 3 Aquatic units (no other faction currently has more than 1) and 3 terrain tiles with 2 water spaces (no other faction has more than 2) making water spaces something that Zermano dominates. Lurking Inkanyamba is one of those units, and is a load to handle. In addition to a really good Prowess, it has Natural Toughness. This makes it both a strong finisher, as it’s 5 attack coupled with the surprise element of Aquatic means it can take down a high VP unit to end the game, or it can serve as a “change of strategy” unit. Sometimes during the course of the battle the momentum is seized and the original strategy is not going to work (this can happen to Zermano if there is a lack of mana or they are overwhelmed by Aerial units) and a unit is needed to quickly stabilize the battleground, draw enemy focus, and provide the warband a round or 2 to pivot and regroup.
While Zermano has, without any question, the most powerful Aquatic units, they also have the most expensive. Other factions use Aquatic as a small part of a bigger battle plan, to take care of isolated units or claim hard to reach resource centers located on water spaces on the outside columns, but Zermano makes Aquatic a central strategy. While very tough, the Inkanyamba is the only Zermano Aquatic unit without Multi-Attack which limits it’s ceiling as a multi-kill unit. This makes it hard for Inky to consistently score points. If the terrain tiles do not have a few adjacent water spaces, the Inkanyamba is simply abandoned. Opposing generals can then just recruit a couple ranged units or save it for when it’s convenient to eliminate for easy points.
WHEN TO WARBAND: The Inkanyamba is a solid unit to keep around in 3 and 4 player games, as there is almost always an opportunity to surprise and overwhelm a key enemy unit. Also, against factions that typically have lower health attributes like Moonshadow or Zyan, the Inkanyamba can draw a lot of attention and eliminate low health but high impact enemies. It’s also great against other factions that utilize water spaces, like Primus or Ihalaban, as it will have plenty of scoring opportunities and has the Prowess to go toe to toe with most units.
WHEN TO BENCH: Terrain tile imbalace can significantly reduce the effectiveness of Aquatic units, and without Multi-Attack, that reduced effectiveness becomes even more pronounced. Factions like Kragg and Doom Sand have the least amount of water spaces, and have 0 need for them. They both also have plenty of tools for quickly disposing of a stranded Inkanyamba, so consider leaving it on the bench when up against the likes of Kragg or Doom Sand.
What do you think of these units? Leave a reply!