Breaking down 3 of the Primus units! (Sabertooth Hodag/Iguannax Archers/Wild Wyvern)
Sabertooth Hodag (PRIMUS) (5 Gold/VP)
The Sabertooth Hodag is one of the quirkier units in Factions: Battlegrounds. Stealth means it’s unable to be charged and then attacked, and even if it is, Spikeskin lessens that damage by 1. The Sabertooth Hodag’s own attack goes for a modest 2 damage, but also rips off a 2 of the enemy attack attribute via Severing Bite.
Quirky in this case does not mean bad- on the contrary it actually means really, really good. This unique ability combination makes the Sabertooth Hodag a nightmare for enemies trying to advance into your zone or use movement advantages. By whittling down enemy attack potential while damaging the enemy, as well as ignoring 1 melee damage each time, the Sabertooth Hodag can win 1 on 1 matchups with many, many units- including units that are occupy a higher cost slot. The Sabertooth Hodag is like a trap, a beast that acts like a silent ball of spikes and fangs, waiting for enemies to get to close before ripping off a limb. For Primus, while unconventional, the Hodag’s skillset aligns perfectly with the defensive minded mentality of many of their units. Primus units use good health and defensive abilities to grind opponents into submission, basically “out-toughing” enemies in the trenches. While the Sabertooth Hodag fits that mold, it also excels prowling along the edges of the battleground, as Stealth enables it to fearlessly stalk fast, offensive units and hunt them down 1 at a time. It acts as a solid tempo changer against hard pushing melee factions and also is more often than not capable of tracking down enemies deep in their zones. Overall, an excellent unit and one I include in almost every battle!
WHEN TO WARBAND: The Sabertooth Hodag’s Stealth and Severing Bite allow for it to neutralize high prowess units when needed and hunt down faster units over the course of a few rounds without being attacked. It’s a great unit against most factions.
WHEN TO BENCH: There are some circumstances that prohibit the Sabertooth Hodag from prowling the Primus Jungle tiles, like high powered Doom Sand area spells, that can flush out the Hodag and mitigate it’s effectiveness. Also, Moonshadow can be a tough matchup because Poison Orb, Slayer, and Piercing Sting all can render the Hodag’s Severing Bite ineffective and avoid Stealth and Spikeskin.
Iguannax Archers (PRIMUS) (5 Gold/VP)
Most of Primus, outside of their top level finishers, Monarch Coatl and Greater Wyvern, are defense-centered. Iguannax Archers are the exception to that. Iguannax Archers have the role of point scoring and helping control resource centers through the threat of Ambush. This is a great ability, and enables Primus players to have some stability over certain spaces and tiles. Not a lot of opponents want to take 2 damage just for moving into range, so the threat of an Ambush alone is helpful. Snipe is also nice, 4 damage from range is a luxury, and with Primus’ other units that have high health, the Iguannax Archers often have the defenders necessary to block opponents and use Snipe. As the best pure-range unit that Primus has, Iguannax Archers will always have the opportunity to see the battleground and score points.
That said, the Iguannax Archers do have some drawbacks and challenges. The 5 gold is steep for a unit that only has 1 health and does not back it up with a strong spell. The ranged attacks are nice, but with Primus using burly units that like to engage the enemy, they can become a chore to use. This is because while Primus can devote supporting units to defending the Iguannax Archers, they’d often rather to just get to the front line and fight. At a range of 2, and typically 2 damage (outside of the Snipe) The Iguannax Archers aren’t going to be able to out shoot or out manuever the longer ranges of Parada and the better move- and- shoot Moonshadow units. This relegates the Iguannax Archers to opportunistic specialists rather than a unit you can build a consistent strategy around, and for 5 gold Primus has other units that fit their central strategies better.
WHEN TO WARBAND: Iguannax Archers can be great at slowing down Factions that need to gain and keep control of resource centers like Baazaria or Zermano. They also have a high impact ranged attack available through Snipe, which can be great to counter big damage factions like Doom Sand and Kragg.
WHEN TO BENCH: Even with Iguannax Archers, Primus is not going to focus on ranged attacks as a central pathway to victory, so getting into shootouts against Parada or Moonshadow is not a good use of the Iguannax Archers.
Wild Wyvern (PRIMUS) (6 Gold/VP)
Primus’ most affordable Aerial unit often gets circumvented by either Runestone or Primus saving up to recruit outright Monarch Coatl or Greater Wyvern. The Wild Wyvern, however, can really be useful as a secondary Aerial point scorer or by leading the way through the air until one of those apex units arrives. 3 movement and Aerial is a welcome combination no matter the faction, and 3 attack with that sort of mobility usually means that the WW is able to take out an enemy, or at the very least get to a resource center.
Wild Wyvern has it’s purposes but overall is overcosted. The lack of abilities limits it’s versatility, and despite haveing great mobility, it’s Prowess is average. The average Prowess hurts it a bit because of that lack of abilites. Adding to that, it generates mana. This can be helpful in the right situation for Primus, but it means that you are going to need to recruit spellcasters, meaning if the WW is on the board by itself or with a couple of weaker units, it’s not going to aid you in getting additional useful units on the board. For 6 gold, it’s a below average unit, but if it does hit the board as an Aerial unit that can fly and attack, it can have an impact.
WHEN TO WARBAND: Wild Wyvern is a good unit to soften up enemy flyers so that the pinnacle units for Primus can have an easy time delivering big points. Factions like Zyan or Kragg are great to do this against.
WHEN TO BENCH: Gold becomes a premium for Primus against high tempo factions like Doom Sand and Moonshadow. The 6 gold cost for the Wild Wyvern might be a little too much to keep pace in the resource battle.