Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Militia- Crew Review

Another longer post, this is a discussion on everything Militia. I've already covered Deathstroke, but the rest of the Militia crew have a ton of fun toys to play around with and do a semi-elite bunch of mercenaries in a very different way to Bane on the table, choosing to focus around guns and control with far less melee focus.

The main Leader of the Militia, their founder the Arkham Knight, is a very strong model that is primarily based around his shooting expertise. He is a highly mobile sniper piece who will likely operate independent of his crew.
As makes sense from his old name as Arkham Knight (Sniper), he is a shooting model mainly. His Combined Sniper Guns MKII are probably the best ranged attack on any Leader rank in the game, what with being Medium Range and Scope at triple blood, but they only have 2 ammo and Aim hinders his movement without another quite large investment in counters for Vanish. Rapid Fire is very good for him to use and should pretty much always be used, bumping him up to a better Assault Rifle in his 16" range, but at the same time he is relying on basic hit rolls with this gun and has nothing to boost it, so is still most reliable at nuking henchmen and other models with lower defence stats (or things near the Drone), because if he misses shots he's suffering a lot.
His EM Smoke Grenade is a great control option like most Smoke Grenades, but with the added benefit of having Light, single stun damage wounding on 3s (as opposed to none) and Electric for potential crit:Stuns. It also gives him the massively useful Vanish as a trait, which while costing him 2 counters it acts as an effective Mixed Combat Style, letting him shoot his EM Smoke with making an automatic hit, and if he is inside the template he can immediately be placed within 4". AK ignores the effects of the Smoke, and his place does not count as movement (thus not affecting Aim and letting him shoot afterwards) but does cost an ammo on the Smoke. Everything considered, it's a very useful trait to have that lets him cover himself with Smoke in awkward positions, but also to relocate and get into good shooting positions himself.
He does benefit from getting Reinforced Gloves care of Cybernetic Arms, but with no bonuses to his melee it is really just an option to have rather than a different playstyle.
Arkham Knight is deceptively survivable, as Defence 4 Martial Artist isn't amazing but he stacks a lot of other things onto it to help out. Endurance 7 with Kevlar Vest means he's taking a lot of hits before he does go down, and ignoring damage on those hits, while being an Acrobat at movement 4 means he can pretty reliably dodge enemy shots. His EM Smoke is also useful in this regard as it still behaves like a normal smoke grenade, and can help block off lines of sight or Blind an enemy beater. Agile is a little bonus that helps if he ever takes fall damage (and for someone who likes rooftops so much, it's possible) making him take an agility test and if passed, all fall damage is cancelled. There is a 66% chance of success on this, making him pretty happy to sit on rooftops where he can shoot below.
Most of Arkham Knight's kit is based around his combat prowess, with little left to note otherwise. He does have Undercover, which on him is mainly used to get into a good spot to ideally get a shot off turn 1, or to quickly reposition into somewhere he can be shooting from turn 2.
Another trait he has that's worth mentioning is Elite Boss:Militia Brute, which is ok but ultimately doesn't mean much as I will cover below with the Brutes themselves.

The second Leader option, but also now a Sidekick, Scarecrow is a strong control piece with most of his kit coming from shutting down opponents.
Scarecrow's offensive potential isn't in the form of pure damage. He is a control based leader, and this is what he does best by far. Inspire Fear gives him an action to choose a single model to make a willpower roll compared to the Inspire Fear chart as seen below, while he can use Discourage to penalise an opponent even more for this roll at the cost of all his SC (4 total). At a range of 4" it's something he needs to be careful with, although his equipment Secret Laboratory shores this up a little bit as I will discuss later. He also has a 1SC trait The Fear Master which lets him affect all non-vehicle models in 4" when he uses Inspire Fear, friend or foe (including himself) as well as giving it the Gas trait. This means any of the Militia henchmen who come stock with Gas Mask completely ignore this (as does Scarecrow, or anyone who buys a Gas Mask) but simply being able to hit everyone in a 4" bubble is huge, and can cripple a crew.
Important Note- The Inspire Fear chart in the rulebook is out of date, this is the current one
He also has his Syringe Fear Claw as a melee weapon, although this is pretty much a last resort for him. Having single blood damage is ok, and at strength 4+ is a 50% chance to wound, but it is Handy and Scared that make it good. Putting Scared on models is obviously something very easy for Scarecrow as seen above, but it is a good way of spreading it on models that might pass willpower rolls more likely (things like big Free Agents- higher willpower and lower defence)
Outside of his defensive stats Scarecrow isn't all that impressive on the survivability front. Defence 4 and endurance 7 is pretty good for his points, but he has nothing that particularly boosts him up other than Psycho, which stops him losing willpower by any means.
Like all other Militia Boss options, Scarecrow has Undercover to both deploy further forward and reactively, being able to adjust to the opponent's crew (mostly). He also has Scientific, which adds 1 to his Special stat and makes him give away an extra VP on death (something quite nice on him though, and the old Secret Lab gave it anyway). Gas Mask keeps him safe from his own gases, but also many Ivy and Joker tricks, and Psychologist gives him a nice easy bonus on Riddles (auto 2VP, no roll) and a sub-trait to remove Mental Disorder traits temporarily. There aren't many models he has access to that have detrimental Mental Disorders though (Enchantress and Red Death are the only ones in Standard, although he can use it on enemies to remove beneficial ones).
Scheming:1 is ok, but really it won't mean all that much often because it is only a single model and you can just plan for it anyway.

The main melee model of the crew, the Militia Brute is a hard hitting and tanky model, albeit a slow one. He is a pretty cheap model for what he does, although there are some major drawbacks to balance him out.
Having attack 4 is pretty great, especially when his weapons are added in. With Handy to reroll hits he is fairly consistent, and Reach giving him extra range on his attacks (somewhat making up for his slow movement) he also wounds on 3+ with double stun, making him a pretty great KO piece. With +1 to hit from the Drone he is a veritable monster.
His strength 4+ only really matters if he is doing Push or Charge special attacks, but he isn't bad at doing these. Charge especially is a nice way of getting extra damage when moving to attack, and an extra chance of knock down before attacking. It does cost 2 counters though, so cuts into what he can do in any given turn.
At defence 2 with Large, the Brute is very easy to hit. He does make up for this with endurance 7, Light Armour for a little wound penalty, and Sturdy to stop him losing huge amounts of counters. Cybernetic is a good way to keep him going as well, but the block bonus isn't huge with his defence 2
Like a few others in Militia, he comes stock with a Gas Mask to protect him from Gas attacks and traits. He has the Elite:Militia Brute trait to go with Arkham Knight's Elite Boss, but the other option is Eternal and not that good so currently it doesn't mean too much. His speed is something worth noting as well, as he is very slow for a Large model (maximum 8" movement) and as such tends to need equipment to get him going properly (Camo Vest or Neurotoxic Drugs).

The basic henchman options of the crew, the Militia Soldiers are solid henchmen for fairly cheap, if their stats are a little mediocre. They've got some awesome options in the crew though, and every one of these is worth it. 
Militia Soldier 1 has an always-good Carbine, but also packs Shooter on it. This means 8" of him is a KO zone for anything with armour, and he is in general a valuable piece. It also means when combined with Gustaf the crew can take 2 Carbines, which is a great thing. 
Militia Soldier 2 carries an Extendable Baton, which is a nice weapon with double stun and Reach that makes him wound on a 4+. He's basically a Militia version of Arkham Guard 1, who is also pretty great, so I would recommend him as a cheaper model that can put out some hurt
Militia Soldier 3 is the second gun piece, and while he has a single shot weapon it puts out a ton of hurt. The Rocket Launcher is something I generally think is situationally good, but on this model it is without a doubt a weapon to be feared. Aim is completely negated by having Good Aim on the Soldier, so not only can it be shot on the move it gains +1 to hit, and as an Anti-Tank Firearm with Explosive it will tear through a lot of the tankier models in the game (LexCorp Troopers, Tumblers, Goro, even The Merciless will be afraid). If opponents have groups of henchmen bunched together (Bodyguards or to benefit from Leader buffs) this will be a rude wake-up call, as they will potentially all be taking 3 blood from this single shot. It is best used on Large or Huge models, who will have less chance of making Ping! rolls, or in situations where the opponent won't be getting a Ping! through clear lanes of fire. 
Militia Medic isn't that great in a fight, but he can do a little bit of damage if necessary with his scalpel. Single blood and attack 2 strength 5+ is bad, that should be known, but he does have Handy and Sharp for rerolls to both hit and wound, which means in a pinch he can potentially hurt something. It's not somewhere he should be though really
The Lieutenant is a mid-field offensive model, having both close ranged shooting and combat weapons. His Grenade isn't any different to regular grenade profiles other than it having crit blood which is nice potential extra damage, and his Electric Baton is a similar profile to the Brute and Nightwing, which at his attack 4 lets him put out some good damage in close combat. 
There's not much to say really. Outside of the Lieutenant, they are all pretty soft at defence 3 and endurance 4 so they're not hard to take out. On the Lieutenant though is endurance 6, which is a nice little bump in survivability that is very welcome given his higher cost. 
Militia Soldier 2 does have a Shield though, which will provide him with free Ping! rolls whenever he gets shot and +1 to his block rolls. This is a great bonus to have, and will keep him a lot safer than he really has any right to be with his profile and his cost. 
They all have Veteran and all that entails, being able to move around 2 counters when they activate. This is huge for them though as it is half their counters, giving them a lot of flexibility in what they do on any given turn and can be very useful. 
Militia Soldier 2 and the Medic both have Gas Masks, which will protect them from anything with the Gas trait. This is quite a significant amount of weapons in Standard though, as it prevents Ivy from doing any damage to them, a significant portion of Joker's crew (and the Joker Gas objectives) and opposition Scarecrows from having much of an effect. It also helps them if they're near models Scarecrow is Fear Bombing, as it means they don't get affected by it while the enemy does. 
The Militia Medic has what should be obvious in the Medic trait, which lets him fix up models in B2B for the cost of 2SC. This is a nice way of keeping the better damaging models alive, and through his counters can protect those who want to stay alive. 

Eternal options
The original version of the Arkham Knight, this one is a slightly cheaper Sidekick with the same statline, but worse in some important ways. Now that AK Scarecrow is a Sidekick, allowing Arkham Knight/Scarecrow combos that way, this model is almost completely redundant and the newer Sniper version is better in most regards, with this version having little to offer. 
Somewhat similar to the newer Arkham Knight, but he has a few notable differences that affect how he works. Losing his EM Smoke and replacing it with an Automatic Pistol is a definite downgrade in terms of utility (as is the loss of Vanish that comes with it), and although his Combined Sniper Guns still benefit from Rapid Fire, they are only inherently RoF1 on this version so nowhere near as oppressive as the 3 shots AK Sniper can potentially reach. 
He still benefits from the various equipment options he has, especially Cybernetic Arms to get Reinforced Gloves, but overall isn't as great as AK Sniper for only a slight drop in points (and a $500 funding cost)
The same statline and traits as the Sniper, he is still as survivable. 
A few nice traits that are different to AK Sniper, but then stacked on with Arrogant to stunt crew building. Strategist and Order are both very good to have, but when the crew are already mostly Veteran Order isn't a huge bonus anyway, and he still has Elite Boss. Arrogant, however, restricts his list to models 95 rep or less, so any of the Dark Knights or evil Speedsters are simply not an option, nor is even Deathstroke. A lot of desirable options for this crew are not allowed, and this fact hurts them for options more than AK adds himself. 

The 2 Militia Troopers that didn't get updated in the Batbox, these 2 are still not bad. The Commander especially is a model that is quite excellent and a great support piece, and would be a great return to the crew should he be added back into Standard
Militia 2 has a Knife at attack 3 strength 5+, which means he is only putting out little bits of damage at a time and will rarely (if ever) kill something by himself in a game. Rerolls to wound is great to have, but it's a low damage weapon and won't do fantastic work. He is a cheap model though at 15 rep, so you can't expect any better.
Militia Commander 1 has 2 different weapons that serve different roles in the crew, while also being attack 4. His attack stat is largely useless though, as with no melee weapon he is only doing single stun, so he should just use his ammunition and ranged attacks when he can. He has a smoke grenade, which anyone who's read my League overviews will know I love, that can help both shut down enemy pieces and protect from ranged attacks against his crew, and for damage an Automatic Pistol. This gun is pretty good for its cheap cost, and at RoF3 blood/stun it's a little Firearm that can punch above its weight well, especially with Expert Marksman to reduce Ping! rolls against it.
At defence 3 and endurance 4/5, they're fairly easy to take out.
Like all Militia Troopers, they both have Veteran to push counters around, which helps a lot with willpower 4 and 5. Militia 2 has a Gas Mask which is great to have when Scarecrow is around, while the Commander has Kill Them! which is a great way to boost up other henchmen, particularly the melee ones (anything with a Baton weapon)

The second Brute for the crew, the Gatling Brute is the opposite of his counterpart in that he is a ranged model. His gun is very expensive though, and he seriously cuts into the effectiveness of his crew while being not that reliable as a gun piece. 
In melee (which is not where this Brute wants to be) you would think his size would make him decent, and attack 4 is good, but at strength 5+ with nothing else to mention he really isn't. At that strength he's not even a good Charge piece either with how unreliable it is. 
His namesake Gatling is a weapon that is halfway to amazing, but it is stacked with a couple penalties that make it a choice that isn't seen often. $850 is expensive, but for possible 12 blood with Anti-Tank can be justified, although Imprecise severely restricts it to shooting low defence targets. When the gun hits it is very good, but -1 to hit has to be played around or else it won't have the impact it is intended to. It has decent play with the Militia Drone to cancel this, and it definitely is a good answer to targets with Armour, but at it's cost I can't help but go with a combination of 2 models (Carbine+Rocket Launcher are both standard and only 5 rep more expensive for the pair)
Exactly the same as the melee Brute, except for having a worse endurance. Not huge on a gun piece, but for his huge cost he is pretty soft. 
Again here he is the exact same as the melee Brute in his traits, but with Invaluable tacked on. This is a huge downside as he is easier to kill than the other Brute, and gives up extra VP when he dies. 
In general he is not worth 53 rep in this day and age, and although the funding may be ok he needs either a buff or a points drop to be worth taking. 

Equipment Options
Militia, like any crew, have a lot of equipment options to consider. Many are worth taking for various reasons, and they have a lot of equipment unlocked by their comic character options too
0-2 Magazine is very useful. Extra shots for almost any gun in the crew is worthwhile, but the Carbine and Rocket Launcher especially benefit. 
0-2 Antidote isn't very useful, and for $150 it won't see play often. Even though models like Ratcatcher and Cheshire are out now that play with Poison, it isn't worthwhile to spend funding on when compared to the other great options. 
0-1 Neurotoxic Drugs is a great option on the close combat Brute, as it makes him very quick as standard. Dodge isn't really worth considering in a crew of mostly movement 2, but the speed boost is good, especially with Secret Lab in a Scarecrow crew. 
0-2 Camo Vest is a nice way to protect the more valuable henchmen from shooting. $300 for it is expensive though like a lot of Militia options. 
0-3 Gas Mask is what you take in a Scarecrow crew to protect your own men. High Security with this is almost autotake in said crew, and for $150 it's worth chucking one in for what you use Secret Lab on to keep them safe from it. 
0-1 Grapple Gun is just like any other Grapple Gun equipment. Good for quick movement and rooftop security, but $300 is expensive so you need to have a plan with it. 
AK Scarecrow Options
0-1 Fear Gas Dispenser is a $250 upgrade that gives a henchman Inspire Fear. Playing into Scarecrow's toolkit, it's an extra source of Inspire Fear that can help shut down opponent models. 
0-1 Secret Laboratory is a $100, 2 rep upgrade for Scarecrow that is pretty much amazing. It gives him a big buff to his Inspire Fear in that he can choose 2 friendly models to do it from (thus keeping him safer) and any willpower test from Inspire Fear is at a -1 penalty. The penalty doesn't stack with Discourage, but that doesn't matter when it's just saving him counters anyway. If opponents are to lose counters from Terror, Scarecrow's controller also chooses which counters are lost, which is a great control ability. 
Arkham Knight Options
0-2 Radio $50 to give henchmen a reroll to Let's Go is good and very cheap. But if you're already taking a Sidekick in the crew (be that Scarecrow or Deathstroke) it's less valuable, only working to let the crew spread out more. 
0-1 Hidden Magazines is effectively the same as the Magazine upgrade, but is exclusive to Arkham Knight. Great for buying any of his ranged weapons extra ammo, it's a pretty common take for him. 
0-1 Cybernetic Arms for $50 is almost always going to be taken. Giving him Reinforced Gloves, there really is no reason not to take it for how cheap it is. 
0-1 Arkham Knight Secret Armoury is more of a support equipment option, allowing a model in the crew to give its weapons Acid for $100, which is cheap enough that it can be worthwhile. Putting it on the Carbine or Grenade is a great way to boost the value of the crew in spreading defence debuffs so everyone else can benefit. It has good synergy with the Drone objective too, putting anything at a +2 to hit the crew can easily punch out opponents. 
0-1 Hook Pistol is an additional weapon for Arkham Knight himself, while also giving him the Batclaw trait which is a great addition. The weapon is only a short ranged single shot at double stun, but with ammo 2, Mechanical, Electric and Devastating it's a great sidearm to use when someone else in the crew is in a bad situation. The extra potential to not only damage them but 2 chances to put the Stun effect on is very worthwhile, especially if there's a Brute or Lieutenant in attack range (or even Deathstroke)
Deathstroke Options
0-1 Martial Training gives Martial Artist and Master Fighter for $150, but there's nothing that really benefits from both in Militia that justify taking it. 
0-1 Contract affects Deathstroke himself, and changes his rank to Sidekick. It can't be affected by Broken Equipment, and is worth using if the Sidekick slot is free just for what buffs it can give henchmen. It's free after all. 

Objective- Militia Drone
The Militia objective is a bit funky in how it works, but is without a doubt an excellent take. Going anywhere on the table 12" away from an enemy, the Drone picks out enemies within 4" of it to be Target Painted, which gives friendly models +1 to hit when attacking them. This alone is a great bonus, but when these models are hit by successful rolls the owner gains 1VP (once per model per shot, so thankfully doesn't work with Explosive or Expansive) and the Drone can be moved during the game. A model must be elected as the Controller for the Drone at the start of the game, and in the Recount phase they can spend extra counters left over to move it an additional 1" on top of the 4" it moves as standard. This is a great way to not only get easy VP just by attacking things, it also is a great bonus to hit for many models in the crew, making higher defence enemies much easier to manage. It shores up a big weakness for many models in a Militia crew, that being no way to "hit fix" and does it in a way that not only removes that weakness but also gains good amounts of VP in the process. 

Strategy- City in Fear
At 2 points, this is a bit more of an expensive Strategy. Basically all it does is allow you to choose a single non-Boss, non-Vehicle model at the start of every Take the Lead phase and force it to take a willpower test, giving it Scared if it fails. This is a nice way to shut down Acrobats and stop them dodging the huge amount of guns in the crew, but most of said Acrobats will have a somewhat higher willpower so it isn't as reliable as on henchmen for example. A very interesting take into Central City Villains, because it will help kill apes a lot quicker, and should be considered in a lot of Dodge-heavy crews. The impact of Scared isn't great outside of shooting, but in such a shooting-heavy crew it should be a decent take when it's useful

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