So I was writing a post on the Sabertooth Cerberus as Marcus’ core crew beatstick (which will probably be out next week), and then I played a few games against Tara (my first games against Ressers since the book was released), which made me think long and hard about how you define a “beatstick”. The obvious definition is a model with a high Ml and damage spread. Generally I make the cut off (somewhat arbitrarily) at Ml6 and the 3/4/6 damage (for a 1Ml action). This means that the RSR and Cojo are ‘just’ hard hitting models, whereas the Cerberus and Marcus (with Trail of the gods) both fall neatly in the beatstick realm.
The obvious problem with this classification is that it doesn’t account for extra effects and 2Ml actions (for instance I’d class Joss as a beatstick, even though he has relatively average damage on his 1Ml action, because of the other stuff he does). Another problem however, is that against models with hard to wound, it’s extremely difficult to get to those higher moderate/severe numbers. It seems like most of the resurrectionist faction has hard to wound, which generally limits damage to weak/moderate.
This of course meant that most of my models were doing 1 or 2 damage per successful hit, and so all of a sudden a “beatstick” was something with minimum damage 3. Therefore a charging Jackalope became my pseudo-beatstick! In honour of this fact, today’s blog post is about “The Beast Of Caerbannog” (Monty Python reference): the Jackalope.
The background: The Jackalope can’t die. It gets killed and then returns to life after a short while. Marcus is trying to figure out how to give himself and myranda the same ability, but for the time being, he hasn’t managed it. In game terms, if the jackalope had an avatar, it would be the avatar of irritation. I generally use it as the “projectile attack” of the Marcus crew.
It has 2 passive abilities on the front of its card. It is insignificant, so can’t drop scheme markers, do interact actions, or count for strategies (eg for turf war). It pretty much doesn’t count for anything (with 2 exceptions, detailed later), so for scoring VPs it’s totally useless. The other ability called “multiply” means if the rabbit has been killed, when another friendly beast dies, the jackalope returns to the field… which is handy. This basically means you’re free to hurl the Jackalope at anything, and either it will survive, and potentially prevent some interact actions, or it will get killed, wasting enemy AP, only for it to return shortly after. It’s a very cheap activation too, so it often has benefits even if it isn’t in the middle of things.
As a cheap model, the stats are pretty poor, with a good defense and charge being the only things which really stand out, but then you couldn’t expect more for such a cheap model. The high defence is particularly useful for making it as annoying as possible.
It has leap, which can be handy in moving around using the long charge range. I try to leap every turn, but generally if I fail to top deck the right card I won’t cheat in to get it unless its going to block some key interactions, or can get a charge on something with a really bad defence… it’s only a rabbit after all.
The major feature of the Jackalope (after the defence) is the “horns” attack, which is pretty poor, but gets +2 damage on the charge. There’s virtually no difference between the weak and severe damage, so you really don’t care about being on negative flips for damage. The extra damage from charging means if it hits (a model with no armour) it’ll inflict a lot of damage for such a cheap model. This potential damage output means opponents want to kill it, but at the same time they know it’ll return soon enough, and as it is insignificant, killing it won’t really make much difference in the long term. It’s just annoying.
What to watch out for?
If you’re playing reckoning, don’t take the jackalope. It’s very easy to kill and will count for the strategy (the fact that it’s insignificant is irrelevant). The same goes for if “make them suffer” is available in the scheme pool… though that’s less important (the opponent might not take the scheme, and the jackalope can be a slippery customer if you need it to be). Also always be on the look out for area effect attacks. Pandora will normally kill the rabbit just by standing near it, similarly weapons with a blast will get past its defence and kill it in no time.
What to use a Jackalope for
Throw it at squishy enemy models. In the first few turns it will either be ignored (and often able to charge in turn 2), or it’ll be killed, using up some of those valuable AP from opposing models.
Targets to charge should have: no armour, low defense, high cost, low wounds (in that order). Most of the time, your rabbit charge is aiming to get cards out of the opponent’s hand, not actually do damage. There are 2 optimum times to activate the jackalope: early in the turn (using up an activation which doesn’t really matter, and possibly getting cards out of their hand), and once the opponent has few/no cards in their hand, (causing damage is a real possibility).
In my games against Tara, the Jackalope caused a lot of damage to Tara, a punk zombie, and a rotten belle, as well as wasting AP from the nothing beast by standing on squatter’s rights markers. If it weren’t for black jokers on damage flips, it would have killed Tara in the first game, and the punk zombie in the second. In the past it has also killed off the likes of Kang. The moral of the story here is that if you throw it at enough stuff, sooner or later it will get through the defenses, and cause some significant damage. Combined with the fact that you just don’t care if it survives or not, the jackalope is actually a very threatening model, as nearby enemies risk damage with little threat of (meaningful) retribution.
So in summary: Always fear a horny rabbit.
Until next time