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Kastore Awakened - tips and tricks?


Paddywhack

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Is anyone having luck with Kastore 1? I'm having a hard time finding why to take him over 2. He's a lot fiddlier, especially as his main ranged attack is a janky version of Obey (with the trigger). Without the trigger, handing out Stunned and Staggered, while good, doesn't seem quite 'master' level good. I'm also not sure why is enemy only? You can't even psuedo-Obey one of your own models when you need to. 

He can hit harder than he looks with that built in ++, but it's OpA. His Ping damage isn't bad either, but also OpA.

Final Preparations looks good on paper, but is harder to pull off and costly at 2 wounds. It can get points sometimes, but I feel like there are other models that do something similar (drop scheme markers, interact, etc.) with fewer stipulations. Maybe if it was 12" or didn't require LOS. 

Just trying to see what tips I'm missing. It seems like Fervent is an easy and more impactful master to play. 

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Hi, I have been pondering the same questions myself.

*Disclaimer* I have not yet actually fielded K Awakened, but I have some games coming up in the next fortnight where I will hopefully get him out.

My preliminary thoughts are:

K Awakened is an ‘all-rounder’ piece, capable of damage, control and scheme support (read: AP quantity) functions. The cost of this flexibility is that he does not excel at any of these aspects. However, given the manifest strengths of K Fervent, you are clearly supposed to take K Awakened for his more direct objective scoring powers.

K Awakened is a mid-range, midline (as opposed to frontline or backline) piece. He is quite fragile relative to his importance to the crew. In my mind, he wants to be hidden behind a frontline of one or two substantial models, and lure enemies into a private audience to be devoured piece by piece (very thematic).

K Awakened’s action restrictions feels like the fault of double master rules and Zoraida in NB (maybe others too) rather than their own overwhelming merits. I feel Insatiable being once per activation is balanced, as basically every model in the keyword can potentially proc it in their activation and many could do it multiple times (that amount of unresisted dmg could get pretty silly).

K Awakened’s ideal activation would be:

  • Bonus action: Push Marathine into range of multiple models and drop a scheme marker (hopefully relevant to you scoring points).
  • Dominate with crow trigger: This is what you save your high card for, be prepared to stone for the suit. This staggers (-2 move, can’t be repositioned by its mates) and stuns (can’t declare triggers, budget slow), and pushes a (non-master) model - hopefully into K Awakened’s melee. This heals Kastore, and if overhealing or in LOS of Gwyll procs Insatiable (if not used already) for ping dmg around K Awakened or Marathine. Any other Returned (e.g. the frontline) also heal and potentially resolve their Faith in Flesh as well (if you have Athorak this could also be shields on everyone). K Awakened and his frontline must be positioned to enable this action at gameplan priority level.
  • Devour: You attack the victim against its move which is now debuffed -2 with built in [+] [+] to damage fishing for the severe. This is very likely to hit and heal Kastore (potentially procs Insatiable if you didn’t before).
  • Final AP is flexible, either walk to position Kastore for his attack run, Dominate another model (hopefully with the mask trigger to go charge its friend somewhere inconvenient) or try Dominating the victim again if you failed the first attempt, Devour the victim again or interact with it if relevant. Unless I am much mistaken, only use Bountiful Feast if there is literally nothing else to do.

The victim is now in the middle of the Returned crew, its friends can’t reposition it, and even if it manages to disengage its not going far. Its threat to K Awakened is mitigated by the fact it can’t declare triggers and has less flexible AP.

This activation can specifically set up for Strats and Schemes that require killing a model in a particular place (Plant Explosives, In Your Face, Death Beds), or interacting with a model (Cloak And Dagger), or area control (Raid The Vaults, Take Prisoner, Hold Up Their Forces). K Awakened can solo Ensnare in one activation.  

Additionally, K Awakened has ways to do most other objectives, usually by generating extra AP for the Returned or sometimes wasting the enemy’s (which in AP hungry GG4 is not to be sniffed at):

  • Dominate with mask trigger can force votes in Stuff The Ballots and move enemies into/out of scoring positions for various objectives.
  • Marathine can act as an invincible scheme runner/denier (Power Ritual, Outflank, Death Beds, Espionage, Information Overload, Protected Territory, Ensnare). However, backfield/far flank scheme running does potentially sacrifice a fair amount of damage (from not having Marathine in the thick of the action and using Insatiable every activation).
  • K Awakened’s built in Ritualistic Sacrifice can help score any scheme marker objective at infinite range. That is powerful, but the cost is super high and, on paper, the keyword lacks a reliable/worthy target for it. My sense is that its best use is as that flexible 3rd AP on Blood Vessels that have been brought to their last wound in the course of bodyguarding Kastore, or on the new expendable giant leech summons. It is not reliable and forces you to hire models I do not see as core auto-includes, thus only a rare opportunity play.
  • Final Preparations gives the crew an extra AP to perform midboard interacts (Cloak And Dagger, Stuff The Ballots, Plant Explosives, Death Beds, Espionage, Information Overload, Ensnare). I can see this being awkward and needing skill to set up, but I think this is quite a big part of playing K Awakened and if you aren’t actively setting up for this you are losing a lot of value.

My intuition about K Awakened’s role in the crew (ultimately a support Master) means that he needs to hire competitive schemers and beaters, with strong demand for Returned keyword. This is unlike K Fervent who, as a premier beater, can happily invest resources into scheme runners and support pieces and have a well-rounded crew. The Returned keyword lacks great low cost scheme runners and dedicated beaters, but has top class support pieces. Thus K Fervent gets all the cake, and K Awakened feels awkward in his own keyword.

Currently I am a bit stuck on K Awakened’s crew composition and really need to get games in to figure it out. I have only recently got back into the game so don’t have a deep understanding of the green and purple faction pools yet (which would clearly help), so my thoughts here are only in reference to Returned keyword options:

  • You need an Urn Bearer (high efficiency support).
  • You need scheme runners – who are these? Cavern Nephilim are superb, but how do you then afford a frontline? White Eyes is solid and flexible, but he isn’t enough alone and his synergies push you heavily toward more support models that you are trying not to take any more of. Blood Vessels suffer 5SS curse of being very meh?
  • You need a frontline – who is this? I doubt Cavern Nephilim can go toe-to-toe with the beaters of most other crews. Maybe a wall of Blood Vessels is better in practice than they look on paper? Basically, it’s Barbaros, but that means you need a big SS cache – cutting into your hiring budget.
  • You want to fit in more of the awesome supports – Gwyll and Athorak are SO hard to leave behind. At most you can fit one and Gwyll probably needs to be stapled to the crew like the Urn Bearer, but losing Athorak hurts bad. Unseelie Engine and Leech King seem like matchup/gameplan tech that need the crew to be specially built around them.

To me, at first glance, it seems like Returned (and especially K Awakened) have minor bonuses to most of the major aspects of the game (mobility, durability, damage, schemeing). Compared to other crews that only specialise in a few of these they look a bit sub-par. However, my bet is the overlapping of all the models' little support abilities combines to make the crew stronger than they seem, although certainly not the easiest to pilot. For example, its easy to look at K Awakened's dmg output and durability and be unimpressed, but miss how the constant little pings of healing are also turning into shields from Athorak and pulses of dmg from Marathine. 

That's my take anyway! Maybe I'm partially or even totally wrong, excited to get the games in and see!   

 

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