Thursday, September 22, 2011

Samael Hopkins Overview and Tactics

Samael Hopkins is the right hand man of Sonnia Criid and her witch hunters, tracking down rogue magic users and bringing them to justice. Where ever the enemies of the Guild hide they cannot hide for long as Samael Hopkins is on their trail. Seen as some what of a glass hammer Samael is a powerful piece to the Guild arsenal but fragile under the prolonged attentions from the enemy.

Looking over Samael's profile there is nothing in his base stats that would suggest or signify his soul stone cost. All of his stats are average when compared 4-5 soul stone model, the only real thing of note are his weapons weighing both in at cb 6 and his 9 wounds. Just comparing numbers this is where the "glass" part of the hammer is defined.

For such a high soul stone cost model his Defense of 4 means just about every model in the game has good odds at hitting Samael. Coupled with lack of Armor or any other defensive buff means that Samael when not IF Samael gets hit he is going to be hurting. Another lack luster stat for a model of his cost is his paltry Willpower 5, means you may not want to face any Neverborn players or someone slinging the Obey spell.

Arcane Hunter:
This ability gives Samael +2 CB and +1 Dg to any model he attacks with CA 6 or more. Most 6-8 soul stone minions and even a few masters have at least a CA of 6 so are very scared to be in Samael's iron sights. When targeting said models he becomes CB 8, now just about every spell caster in the game is not known for their high Defense. So when you attack with a CB of 8 unless they have some sort of trick protecting them you are almost guaranteed to hit.

Do no underestimate the the +1 dg either seeing as the minimum damage with this ability and his base Colt .45 damage is going to be 4. Again if you are hitting a spell caster they do not tend to have a lot of wounds when compared to other like models. So when you hit, it is going to shave off a third to half of their life in one go.

When hunting down your prey what better ability to have than "Hunter", this gives you the ability to ignore cover penalties when targeting an enemy in obscuring terrain. On top of this you can also see an additional 3" (total of 6") into obscuring terrain. Perfect for when an enemy is attempting to hide in terrain from Samael.

Though I wouldn't recommend it seeing as Samaels shooting potential is higher than his melee potential but he can also see into obscuring terrain and charge his target. Like I said I would not recommend this BUT it should be noted that you can do this so it's always an option should the need be dire.

With this ability Samael is able to ignore severe terrain penalties when moving through terrain. Coupled with the above ability it gives you plenty of options when hunting down models or keeping out of line of sight of an enemy till you are ready to strike. This ability is pretty straight forward there are no "tricks' behind it, but it is a very useful ability when playing in most environments.

Weapon, Huntin' Tools:
When an enemy is wounded by this weapon they will recieve a -2 Walk until the start closing phase. Honestly this ability just doesn't seem to have much use, if you are in combat which isn't a great idea in most instances. The chances of an enemy walking away aren't very high, even if the enemy isn't proficient in melee they don't need to be. They can just wail on Samael and force a few wounds of opportunity on him.

The only good thing about this ability is that it is NOT a trigger so it's a "free" weapon ability that doesn't interfere with any other choices. If the enemy for some reason wants to walk out of combat they will be doing it with -2 Wk. But seeing as they may be held in combat by Samael's Cb of 6 I rather just attack him against his Df of 4...

Rapid Fire [Colt .45]:
For the cost of a discarded card you are able to make three separate Ranged Strikes against the same target. Some people may see this as overkill but it virtually guarantees anything that is fired upon will probably not get back up.. or at the very least will be very hurt and will have to limp away or get finished off by another Guild minion.

With Samael's CB of 6 he shouldn't have a problem hitting most targets with some average flips on his duels. At the very least because he shoots 3 separate times the odds should play in your favor either forcing your opponent to burn high cards to cheat and avoid getting hit, or eventually your deck giving you a high card.

Critical Strike: Huntin' Tools
On the rare occasion that Samael finds himself in a tight spot fending for his life, he always has his trusty Huntin' Tools. Since it is already a Ghosted Suit Samael gets +1 Dmg to all his melee strikes with Huntin' Tools. If he manages to hit with a Ram suited card his minimum damage hops up to a respectable 4 Dmg.

The only "bad" thing about Critical Strike is that usually you see this ability on models that tend to focus more in melee than in shooting. On Samael it is sort of an oddity because you do not want Samael in combat where he is at his weakest. When all is said and done this ability will be used mostly on the defensive unless you are desperate and it all comes down to Samael. On the plus side Arcane Hunter will also work in melee so if anything good can be salvaged of the situation it does give incentive to actually fight when trapped in melee rather than try and run away.

Drain Magic:
After you hit an enemy with a Huntin' Tools strike with a Crows suited card, the controller of the model must discard 1 card. There are times when an ability does not have to do damage in order to be effective, yes it would depend on the situation but it is a nifty option to have up your sleeve.

Again I repeat though melee is not Samael's forte he isn't totally defenseless in a fight, he just better eliminate his opponent before they take a swing at him. This ability reduces an opponents options and anything that limits your opponent be it area denial through card control is a good thing for you.

After you damage a defender with your Colt .45 and it was with a Mask suited card, another defender within 3" takes a 1/2/4 flip. Always a good thing to remember since it is Samael's only trigger for his Colt .45, with the advent of a few lists with tend to group exclusively this trigger isn't half bad even if it's purpose is only to spread damage out among models.

On a side note looking at the V2 card I am not sure if all flips are considered damage flips or not, I have to check the other cards that are currently in print that have "like" abilities. But it does not say it is a "damage flip" so I take it that the enemy does not get "hard to wound". Again I am unsure if this was cleared up, but it is worth asking.

Flaming Bullets:
This is Samael's one and only 0 action/spell and one of his most necessary if he decides (why wouldn't he?) to use his Colt .45 for ranged strikes. On a 9+ of any suit it gives Samael +2 Dg when using ranged strikes until his next activation. When this spell is successfully cast it means that Samael's Colt .45 strikes do a minimum of 5 Dg.

You keep a 9+ in your hand solely for this spell and an additional card to discard for Rapid Fire, no model can withstand three Ranged Strikes with the minimum damage output of 15 if all three hit. If you target a model with Ca of 6 or better your Cb becomes 8 and your damage output with this spell becomes 6/7/8.

Flaming Bullets is the spell that defines the "hammer" part we were talking about earlier, with this spell the damage hits ridiculous levels in worst case scenarios. Now if you actually have the right cards and you can modify your damage flips the damage can one shot most enemy minions without Armor.

You need at least a 5+ Crows suited card in order to pull this spell off, it goes against Willpower and will force your opponent to discard 1 card when taking a Walk or Charge action till the end of the game. Alternatively your opponent can discard 2 cards in order to make this effect go away and cancel Arrest. This is one of those specific situation spells that I am not too convinced if it is worth using a high Crows suited card in order to pull off.

Yes you can make your opponent discard a card to make a move, but usually they only need to move once to be within striking distance when using Ranged Strikes. A melee oriented model would charge straight at Samael and only have to discard 1 card. Your opponent may play off to your gamble and discard 2 cards to end Arrest but it is unlikely it will be two "good" cards unless this is cast late in the round.

Is a short ranged spell that needs a minimum of a 9+ Crows suit to cast and it goes against Defense. If the model fails to resist you place a 50mm marker touching the defending models base, until the model wins a Cb>15 Duel at the start of it's activation it may not move or be moved out of base contact with the marker.

Like Arrest this spell doesn't seem that useful at a glance but as always one should not disregard things at first sight. Being able to ground a low Defense model with a Cb of just 4-5 means the opponent is going to have to waste a high card just to get them out being Snared. Again it is one of those spells that is going to depend heavily on play style and if you are willing to risk very specific cards in order to get this off and ground your opponent.

Looking over the ability from a different perspective there may be an occasion where you would want to Snare your own models. Now hear me out there are a couple of minions you may want from being Lured away from their positions. Namely models who are good with Ranged Strikes yes this seems some what a desperate tactic but at the same time pending on the list you are facing it may seem like a viable option. Do not want to be Lured while Staking a Claim or holding an important position on the board? Get Snared to the spot and just prepare for what may come your way.

With that I know fully completed the Witch Hunters Guild box, as always I am sure that I probably missed something or need something clarified feel free to comment and correct me. The whole reason that I do these articles is to help out the community who seem to think Guild as a "simple" faction. The articles I present is to help enrich the older Guild players with a fresh look on tactics, or give a rundown for the newer players who are unaware of certain rules interactions.

Not sure which Overview and Tactics I will do next as always I am open to suggestions, if you have any questions feel free to ask them I am always available through one form of media or another. Till then folks have a great weekend!


Lord Shaper said...

Great Write Up...

As for Ricochet the person getting hit with the extra Damage Flip does not get hard to wound as it's a strait damage flip.

Also one combo that I've used was Flaming Bullets against Lilitu which gave a damage of 6/7/8 which is really nasty... also it took his CB to 8 so it's hard to defend against!

The Dark Templar said...

Thanks for this.
I've been struggling with Sam and wondering if he is worth the 8ss over a cheaper model like Santiago (or the incoming Witchling Handler) who always seems to fair much better.

Are there any models that compliment the Sonnia Criid box set that you could cover?

Cerealkiller.. said...

@Lord Shaper- For Ricochet I figured as much which makes it an even better trigger especially since it's his only one.

Ah yes the dreaded Lilitu must always be taken out in one turn or she will continue to be the bane of your existence. I like to call any Cb of 8-9 the "no dodge zone" because regardless what you flip most times your enemy has to cheat.

@The Dark Templar- Samael is a great model especially if you think he will be going against models he can Arcane Hunter. Even if you are not his Flaming Bullets make his damage high enough to deal with just about anyone.

Is there anything in particular you think I should go over? Sonnia has been my main since I started in 2009 so I have plenty of practice with her. Lucius is usually my "beat stick" if I want to have sure results I go with Lucius.

I just bought the Dead Justice and Perdita box sets so I can't wait to try them out more.