Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santiago Ortega Overview and Tactics

The eldest of the Ortega clan Santiago is a hot headed gunslinger who would rather shoot first then shoot some more rather than ask questions. Though the other members of his family may specialize in all forms of combat be it dueling, sniping or demolition. Santiago prefers to end all arguments with a bullet or two from his trusty peacebringers. Despite his hot headed nature no Guild agent will argue with Santiago's method of getting results.

When first looking at Santiago's stat line you notice his abilities almost make him identical to the Convict Gunslinger. Though initially he may seem "worse" due to his lower starting Cb of 5 and his average stats for a 7ss character his abilities make him a frightening proposition for your enemies to face.

Bulletproof 1:
This ability means that whenever Santiago takes damage from a ranged strike (gun icon) he gains armor 1, which reduces the damage by one to a minimum of one damage. Though this particular ability may not pop up as often unless you are facing another Guild player, any ability which mitigates damage is worth looking into.

Companion (Family):
The Companion ability allows models with the same key word (in this case Family) to activate simultaneously if they are within 6" of each other. Mind you that you can "chain" the Companion ability off other models so not everyone has to be within that initial 6". So if you space out your Family members you can cover a wide area to cover all your bases, it should also be noted that you DO NOT need line of sight to activate this ability.

If there are any groupings of models that can alpha strike it is the Ortega family, all of their members (minus the Latigos) can chain companion and activate all at once or in small strike force. This ability is extremely useful because it will allow you to activate two or more models on your activation before your enemy can react. This can lead to a lot of dead models quickly, the trick is not to overextend yourself and use this ability wisely. Otherwise you will be out activated and eliminated without a proper response.

Hard to Kill:
As long as Santiago has 2 or more wounds he cannot be killed by damage, instead it would reduce him to 1 wound and must be damaged again to die. It is important to note if Santiago takes wounds either by a spell or ability Hard to Kill will NOT activate and save his life. Also if he is "killed" via an effect Hard to Kill will also not help.

With that said this ability is great if your opponent does not have the resources to land an extra strike against Santiago. That one extra turn to live or that one extra activation it will cause your opponent to lose is always a life saver either to the rest of your models or for Santiago himself.

"Is That All You Got?!":
While Santiago is at 4 or less his wounds his Peacebringer strikes gain +2cb and an additional damage flip. This is the sole reason why some Guild players will purposely damage their own Santiago in order to get this massive bonus.

This is one of the abilities that makes Santiago different from the Convict Gunslinger, making him not only more accurate but also jumping up his damage potential. Along with "Wade In" this ability encourages a player to use Santiago aggressively and into the thickest of fights.

Whenever Santiago is targeted by a duel and he is the defender he automatically gets +2 Wp, which is interesting because it does not state ONLY in duels that use his Wp. Now this may seem like something trivial but you never know when you may need this.

If an opponent manages to get past Santiago's boosted 8 Wp it usually means they had to burn a high card to even compete. Since most Wp duels tend to be spells that means they will have to "play their hand" before you decide if you will cheat high or not.

Weapon, Peacebringer: Paired.
Not much to say here Santiago's weapons of choice are paired and come with a decent damage spread without applying any triggers.

Wade In:
While Santiago has 4 or less wounds remaining he gets an extra walk action in his activation. This is another effect that encourages Santiago to stay wounded during a battle, giving him an extra walk makes him extremely mobile as he gets into position.

I have even used this ability to attempt to "walk" out of combat after all if you fail it is a free effect. If you happen to succeed you can re-position Santiago to get a better fire lane, use Rapid Fire or Leadstorm.

Rapid Fire [Peacebringer]:
Discard a card and make three ranged strikes actions against a single target with your Peacebringers. Mind you this ability takes (2) actions to activate so you must either be in place before hand or have the target wander into range of your guns.

If you happen to have "Wade In" active you can simply make the free walk into range and proceed to send the target to the grave. With paired weapons there is not much that can escape Santiago's ranged strikes for long. On average you will get two very reliable hits on an enemy you may not even get to fire all three ranged strikes, but as long as you get rid of your target that is all that matters.

Critical Strike:
Whenever Santiago hits his target with his Peacebringers he gets an extra +1 Dg per Ram suited card in the total. Mind you that Santiago comes with a built in Rams suit on his Peacebringers so if he decides to use this trigger his minimum damage output is 3/4/6 on his weapon. If you actually manage to HIT with a Rams suited card the damage gets +2 making it a 4/5/7 damage flip.

Trigger Happy:
If you hit your enemy with a Masks suited card, after damaging your opponent automatically make a Peacebringer strike against the same model. This does not count as one of your ranged strikes so in essence it is a "free" attack. Also note that this ability can keep triggering as long as you hit with a Masks suited card.

One of my favorite triggers in the game the ability to continually whittle down your opponent even if it is minimum damage is nothing to scoff at. I will even purposely cheat "down" in order to make use of the Masks suited card for Trigger Happy to go off.

Shrug Off:
End one effect or remove a counter that is not a wound or something carried by this model per Rams suit in the total. This is only 0 action available to Santiago in addition unless you are attempting to mill your deck of low cards that may be coming you need at least a 6+ of Rams in order for this spell to go off.

This ability doesn't get much use but it is one of the few spells that is exclusive to Guild/Family members. If Santiago becomes target of a negative spell effect this is a great way to scrub it off.

Just A Flesh Wound:
Needing at least an 8+ Rams suited card Santiago can make a healing flip, this spell is great when Santiago is facing imminent death. Or when he is down to 1 wound he can make a healing flip in order to have Hard to Kill be active again.

If i decide to use this ability it is usually when Santiago is heavily wounded, I make sure to take my free walk via Wade In. Make a strike (if I fear i may lose the benefits of Is that All You Got?!) then cast this spell to heal Santiago.

This spell takes 2 actions and at least an 10+ of any suit to go off, it is considered a Ranged Strike spell so you cannot cast this if Santiago is engaged in combat. When it is cast all models within a pulse of 6" must test against their defense against the total or take 4 damage.

Another good option to use your Wade In by getting into the middle of enemy lines (but not engaged in melee) unleash this spell and watch your enemy either burn his entire hand or watch his guys take damage. Note since this is indiscriminate if any of YOUR models are in range they will also get hurt by this attack.

But the best thing about this spell is that because it is considered a Pulse it can go through walls and it can also go infinitely upward. So if you have an enemy who thinks he is safe behind a building or in terrain he is wrong. Also because it does not specifically "target" a model they will not gain the benefit of cover nor will you be at a negative when casting this spell. Though you may still have to randomize when that Pulse hits combat with multiple models (haven't cleared this up yet).

With that my review of Santiago and his abilities are done, I always refer to him as a Convict Gunslinger Plus. His damage output is higher due to Critical Strike but he also has a few tricks that make him distinctive and worthwhile addition to the force. When I play with Santiago sometimes I even bring out the Convict Gunslinger for back up. Though they are fishing for the same suited cards when going for Trigger Happy. I noticed that I tend to cycle through my deck so quickly that they manage to pop up again in the same turn.

The only place that the Convict Gunslinger has Santiago beat is when engaged in melee, if Santiago has a weakness it is if an enemy locks him up in melee. With a measly 3cb on his Peacebringer Blade you do not want him getting stuck in combat with anything remotely good at melee.

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