Breaking down 3 more of the Ihalaban Units! (Zepodom Usurper/Ihalaban Reaver/Naga Archon)
The Zepodom Usurper is, in my opinion, the most unique unit in the game… It is an Aerial unit AND an Aquatic unit (the only unit that is both- making it’s movement options a lot of fun). Diabolic is the only ability in the game that targets an enemy player (not unit)- forcing them to either give you points or gold. The Zep also has whopping 5 rank- tied for the best in the game, and is a Captain. A defense skill of 5 provides some nice toughness.
Zepodoms in Graviterrus are extraordinarily intelligent, ruthlessly malicious, and obsessively power-hungry. All of those traits translate onto the battleground with the Usurper. The Zep can annoy your opponent to your advantage with Diabolic. It can pop up and take over a resource center, and hold onto it by handling some damage. It’s great at waylaying seemingly safe 1 health units through Aquatic and is just as good at tracking down low health Aerial enemies. The mobility abilities allow you to get really creative with positioning the Zepodom. All of those quirks can make the ZU a worthwhile unit, but they all pale in comparison to that 5 Rank Captain. The Usurper is an ideal leader for Ihalaban, because Ihalaban has some of the heaviest hitters and area spells that can cause catastrophe for opposition. With the Zepodom emerging on a corner water space in a hard to reach tile, then simply hovering above that space, it becomes very challenging to track down. Then, once it is finally reached, enemies still have to allocate a 5 damage attack or attacks to finish it off. Opponents have no choice but to eliminate it because Ihalaban will hold the rank each round. The Zep can easily give the commands to an easy victory with some of Ihalaban’s raw power. As if that wasn’t useful enough, the Zepodom also generates some gold, can reach those corner resources centers easily by flying to them, and can use Diabolic to possibly bring in more resources.
The Zepodom Usurper might not be able to eliminate enemies itself, but its aptitude with movement, rank, and obtaining resources combined with a strong health makes the Zepodom capable of total domination without ever even doing 1 damage.
WHEN TO WARBAND: The Zepodom is a great Captain, and Ihalaban can really thrive with commands to powerful units, so I tend to put ZU in the lineup against most enemy factions.
WHEN TO BENCH: A real advantage the Usurper has is its combination of Aerial and Aquatic. This gives it a lot of flexibility and makes nearly every space on the board reachable in some way. However, there have to be a good amount of water spaces in order for it to maximize its adept movement. Doom Sand and Kragg can set the board to limit water spaces, so be cautious using the Zepodom Usurper against those factions.
The Ihalaban Reaver is a fast unit that packs a punch. Ihalaban tends to need a few rounds to really set up their most lethal units, so having a soldier that can rush into the fold to cut down an aggressive approaching foe is important. Additionally, 3 movement can usually reach a resource center. This makes the Ihalaban Reaver a good early-game option for Ihalaban, because they will need resources to really excel.
At 4 gold, the Ihalaban Reaver is a bit over-costed. 1 health with no defensive abilities is always a liability, and despite some really good core attributes like the 3 attack and 3 movement, they also are 4 relatively easy Victory Points for your opponent. Despite the low health the role that they play in Ihalaban warbands is valued.
WHEN TO WARBAND: Against factions like Parada and Baazaria, the Ihalaban Reaver is a solid choice because the 3 damage that they can deliver can eliminate some of those factions best offensive units and scouting units. At the very least, they’d have to use an activation of a ranged unit or spellcaster to take it out before it gets close, which preserves the health of some of Ihalaban’s powerful units.
WHEN TO BENCH: Some factions like Primus deploy a lot of tough high health units. Those factions will be able to withstand 3 melee damage without much of a problem. Consider looking to a spellcaster to take the Reaver’s spot in those cases.
If you are going to spend 8 gold (and give your opponent the potential to score 8 Victory Points) you will want that unit to have game-changing skills. The Naga Archon has those skills. For 8 mana, you’d want that spell to have game-changing impact. Wave of Blades can have that impact. Ripping 3 damage through a whole row of enemies is one of my favorite ways to score a chunk of points. The Naga Archon’s 6 health is really strong too. This allows the Naga to handle a hit. If mana is low, the Naga Archon is an above average Captain and is solid in melee combat. For 8 gold/VP however, this is not ideal and should only be done when there are not other units that can be commanded to fight. The Naga Archon takes over the game most often when they hang close to your basecamp, lurking around that back row and lining up Wave of Blades all over the board. With 6 health, as with the Zepodom Usurper, enemies have to cross the board and then still have enough firepower to accumulate 6 damage. The Naga Archon checks the box of having game-changing potential.
8 gold and 8 mana (16 if you want to use Wave of Blades more than once) is a major resource investment. Naga Archon can be a really good unit to build your tactics around and lead your warband, but Ihalaban has a lot of expensive units and expensive spells. The Naga Archon can be really tough to use with other high cost units. Ihalaban is not the best faction at stockpiling gold and mana, so you might not want to put forth the investment to play the Naga Archon.
WHEN TO WARBAND: The Naga Archon can devastate factions that have multiple melee units from afar with Wave of Blades. Baazaria and Kragg are examples of this. The NA can also cause major problems for factions that have a lot of low-health shooters and spellcasters, as Wave of Blades can reach them as well- Parada is a good matchup for the Naga.
WHEN TO BENCH: Doom Sand, Zyan and Moonshadow have the ability to get to resource centers, making it really hard to consistently have the resources to use the Naga Archon. All 3 of those factions also have either a lot of Aerial units or Evade, making Wave of Blades a much riskier move.