Breaking down 3 more of the Zyan units! (Royal Swordfighter/Swiftwing Valkyrie/Zyan Archer)
One of Zyan’s strengths as a faction is their abundance of units that can serve as Captains. The Royal Swordfighter provides good value for that reason, and with a good rank and affordable cost, the Royal Swordfighter makes for a really nice functional Captain. Units like Royal Titan and Sunfire Angel are Captains as well, but they are better utilized fighting and scoring points. Royal Swordfighter can take on some of the tiebreaking and command aspects of being a Captain, freeing up higher cost attackers. When it comes to combat, the Swordfighter is no slouch! 4 Health is solid, and the skirmish ability helps the RS ward off smaller enemies and wound bigger ones. Royal Swordfighter fits in well with the Zyan strategy of advancing methodically across the board- following up the fast aerial units and getting to spots where skirmish can be maximized.
While the Swordfighter is a solid unit, in order for them to be really effective they’d need to be paired with better offensive units. Playing the RS with Zyan’s other defensive focused units (like those with Phalanx) does not give Zyan a lot of capacity to score. Using the Royal Swordfighter as a complimentary Captain to some of Zyan’s more aggressive units and as a safety valve in case those aggressive units get turned away quickly is a sound strategy.
WHEN TO WARBAND: Against fast-paced dynamic factions units with skirmish and captains are really useful. Skirmish can stabilize the battleground and take away fast enemy VP opportunities and Captains help accelerate other unit activations. Activating earlier in the round can throw a wrench into enemy tactics. That makes the Royal Swordfighter a good choice against factions like Doom Sand (which tries to seize opportunities to eliminate multiple units early in a round) or Kragg (which relies on bigger but lower rank units).
WHEN TO BENCH: Range-focused attackers are a tougher task for the Royal Swordfighter, and Zyan’s aerial units offer better alternatives, including Captains, that can chase down the ranged attackers. Parada and Moonshadow would be less than ideal matchups for the Royal Swordfighter.
Swiftwing Valkyrie (ZYAN) (5 Gold/VP)
Another of Zyan’s 5 cost slot units, the Swiftwing Valkyrie is one of the most useful and helpful units in the game. Her movement of 4 is only matched by 2 other units in the game, and she is the only one that is Aerial, and also the only unit with a 4 rank of the three 4 movement units, making her probably the most mobile unit in all of Factions: Battlegrounds. There are 2 attributes that give a tremendous advantage to players- 5 rank and 4 movement. When used correctly these elite attributes can provide so many options. the Swifty has the 4 movement and the 4 rank is (almost) as good as it gets. Additionally, she is a Captain!
She is a below average fighter, but what makes her a remarkable unit is that she impacts the battle in almost every other way. Her ability, Tactician, is a nice ability as well to score some extra points here and there. 4 Aerial movement almost always means she can grab any resource center you want. She also can zip in and finish off a wounded high-VP enemy, or hunt down a dangerous spellcaster or ranged unit when those opportunities present themselves. She is playable early game thanks to her elite rank and movement, giving Zyan vanguards a consistent way to grab resource centers. She is playable mid game because she can find those wounded enemies and is capable of taking control of the rank cycle. She is playable late game as well to speed across the battleground to score the final victory points or secure the resource centers to starve out enemies. Overall, one of the most useful units in the game.
WHEN TO WARBAND: Swiftwing Valkyrie is one of the units that I tend to include no matter the matchup. The aerial movement combined with the high rank makes the SWV a great value for a variety of reasons.
WHEN TO BENCH: It is not so much a matter of when to bench, but rather making smart choices when the Swiftwing Valkyrie is on the board. A unit that can do a variety of different things is a unit that you don’t want to lose right away, and the Swiftwing Valkyrie’s low health can leave her very vulnerable if you overextend or leave her too close to an enemy. It is important to be opportunistic, but not reckless!
Ranged units are a bit of an afterthought for Zyan as their strategies gravitate towards either Aerial units or defensive melee units. Zyan Archer is the cheaper option for Zyan, and can serve as a nice compliment to either central strategy. The 2 damage, on the surface, does not seem impactful, but Zyan does not have a lot of offensive focused units, and certainly not a lot that are readily affordable. Because Zyan has a lot of captains, the Zyan Archer can be commanded to get an attack in prior to the melee units charging across the battleground. The rest of the Archer’s stats are underwhelming, especially their 1 defense. The Zyan Archer very rarely is going to survive very long, but that is ok provided they can activate and wound an enemy or 2.
WHEN TO WARBAND: The Zyan Archer is a good choice against Factions that have high Prowess units. While they might not score a lot of Victory points, Zyan needs the extra damage because a lot of their mid-game melee units cannot do a significant amount of damage. Kragg, Primus and Ihalaban would fit the bill.
WHEN TO BENCH: The Zyan Archer’s low health and average movement and rank mean that in order for them to be at their best, they’d likely need to be commanded. Those commands can interfere with Zyan’s rank advantages, and against factions that have multiple high ranking units like Baazaria or Doom Sand, falling behind in the rank cycle is not ideal.