Breaking down 3 of the Moonshadow units! (Vukazi Scout, Savage Manticore, Jabari Stormchief)
Vukazi Scout (MOONSHADOW) 1 Gold/VP
Before we dive into the unit, how about that awesome art? The scout is in a Zyan archive, ready to steal some intelligence. In the lore, the Mishnari of Moonshadow have an extensive network of spies and scouts, operating all over Graviterrus, which keeps them aware of all of the key events happening across the world. The acquisition of this knowledge is intentionally done in secret, as to keep other factions guessing what the Mishnari know or don’t know… and most of the time, they know.
In terms of gameplay, the Vukazi Scout is a really nice unit. They are almost always going to earn you more gold than they cost, because they only cost 1 gold and they generate it right back. The scout can be more than just a gold generator though. Unlike (almost) all other 1 cost units, the scout has an above average core attribute- 3 movement. Add that to the fact that the scout has an above 0 attack, and you have a no-risk unit that has some good mobility. Opponents seem to almost always forget about the Vukazi Scout once it hits the board. A great use of the scout is to send it for the corner gold mine, especially if it is part of your vanguard. Your opponent usually will go after your more expensive units, and more often than not the scout will successfully claim that resource center. From there, just wait until 1 damage becomes opportune, either on previously wounded unit or a miscalculation from low health backliner, and take advantage!
WHEN TO WARBAND: There is almost no reason not to have the Vukazi Scout in every Moonshadow warband, because it can accelerate gold production and at 1 point is not going to swing the tide of battle should your opponent eliminate it.
WHEN TO BENCH: This is almost more of a “when to play” sort of unit. If the VS is not in your vanguard or played relatively early in the game, it’s chance to make a positive impact is decreased. This is because as the battle begins to flow, the resource centers become more and more contested. The games shifts to scoring points, and the scout is not designed for that role. If there was one faction to take it out against completely, it would be Baazaria, as their Asanbosam can engage and overpower it in the race to the resource centers and Deathwave can knock it out at will.
Savage Manticore (MOONSHADOW) 6 Gold/VP
As the best aerial unit that Moonshadow has to offer, the Savage Manticore can be a valued piece of your attack. Like a lot of Moonshadow units, it’s above average movement and rank enable it to be in good positions more often than not. Piercing Sting should be the automatic go to when attacking any unit with 3 or more health, as it takes away 2 of the attack attribute as well. This makes the Manticore a nice unit to lead an attack on a big point enemy, as it can get some damage going and also weaken it’s retaliation. Since Piercing Sting is an ability and therefore does not use mana, it’s great to partner the Manticore with one of the Hantu of Moonshadow. Both Malicious Hantu and Moonshadow Hantu can cast Poison Orb a couple times, severely mitigating enemy melee and range strikes. This is great for Moonshadow, because Moonshadow has a lot of really nice options for finishing off wounded units, but not as many units that can take a hit.
Despite being a solid unit, the Savage Manticore can fall into a bit of a tough spot… There is a lot of pressure on it to help stabilize the skies as Moonshadow’s best flyer, but even with Piercing Sting, the Manticore does not have the raw attack and health to singlehandedly turn away bigger flyers. It’s best role, being a unit that can be really useful with Piercing Sting against high attack and high health enemies on the ground, often gets overlooked because Moonshadow players need it to help with the aerial foes. Thus, the Savage Manticore often has to handle all aerial enemies.. including those it is not as well equipped to handle.
WHEN TO WARBAND: High health factions like Kragg or Primus are good matchups as the Manticore can usually strike first on a big unit, rendering it more ineffective through the use of Piercing Sting.
WHEN TO BENCH: It might seem counter-intuitive, but flying-heavy factions like Zyan and Ihalaban can pose big problems for the Manticore, and it is not likely to be able to fend off multiple flying units. As a 6 point flyer, it becomes a nice prize for enemy aerial forces.
Jabari Stormchief (MOONSHADOW) 8 Gold/VP
As an absolute finisher, the Jabari Stormchief has a great argument as one of the most impactful spellcasters in the game. Lightning Storm, deservedly, gets a lot of the attention, as it can often produce double digit scoring outcomes, but the Stormchief can also rip off the efficient and potent Lightning Bolt as well. The Jabari Stormchief’s excellent rank and Captain really help, but you aren’t going to be commanding anything with this unit. That Captain ability serves best as a tie-breaker, allowing the JSC to activate before other 4 ranks and handle business on it’s own. It’s 2 health seems innocuous, but that’s better than a lot of other spellcasters. Lightning Storm is a high, high impact spell, and it is really at it’s best use when it will win Moonshadow the game. Moonshadow has enough mana generators to keep 8 mana accessible, and 13 mana is not out of the question at any given time either. This might mean back to back rounds with a Lightning Storm and a Lightning Bolt. That can turn a battle on it’s head really, really quickly.
You get what you pay for! The JSC is EXPENSIVE. I’m not just talking about gold cost either. It’s Lightning Storm is 8 mana, meaning you need to have 8 gold AND 8 mana set aside for it. While Lightning Bolt is always a good spell, without 8 mana the Stormchief can simply become a glorified and expensive Storm Conjuror, only vastly more expensive. Also there can be some problems depending on the tempo of the battle. Spellcasters are at their best when they are insulated by affordable but sturdy units that can engage and slow enemy melee attackers by taking a hit. This buys spellcasters time to optimize their target. Moonshadow does not have a lot of affordable units with good health so recruiting the Stormchief at the wrong time and leaving it vulnerable can be disastrous.
When to Warband: The Jabari Stormchief’s battle closeout potential is too big of a positive for me to not include it most of the time. It really shines against factions like Doom Sand, Baazaria or Zyan though because they typically play a lot of units and rely on rank, captains, and commanding. The more units on the board, the more targets and points for Lightning Storm.
When to Bench: Despite it’s 2 health being better than a lot of other spellcasters, it’s still 2 health. Factions with a lot of long-range options can be very dangerous, especially Zermano with the Ice Missle or Parada and their 3 speed ranged and 3 range units. One movement mistake can lead to 8 points for your opponent, and possibly 0 for you.