Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bamboo Fury! Bringing the Pandawas to the Party

My name is Jeric and I’m addicted to pandas.
When it comes to those cute black and white members of the bear family, I can’t help myself. I love eating Panda Express while playing my Pandaren Shaman, Hunter, Mage, Monk, and Priest! Well, not really at the same time because I wouldn’t want any of it to fall on my keyboard and I can only log one in at a time, but you get the idea. I love Pandas and when the Pandawa started popping up in Krosmaster, I was ready for the adventure.

After a few failed attempts at an all Pandawa team, it wasn’t until the addition of Mil Kluva that the team felt more well-rounded and complete.

Mil Kluva: She brings the inherent Pandawa tank stat line to the table and gives you a choice of increased damage output or going for a war of attrition through the sustain of Steal Life.  While she does share elemental types with PooChan, that shouldn’t be a huge issue as Poochan plays more of a utility/ secondary bruiser role. She has lock, which is nice and if you can throw an Armor/ Health Item on her, she can sit in the breach and exchange blows with the best of them.

Malee Buhrum: She’s probably one of the most interesting figures ever created from a varying purpose standpoint. I’ve seen her used exclusively for her special power “Stain” to deny an enemy their powers, remove pesky buffs and debuffs from a target, and be a capable fighter on her own. She offers a lot of mobility being able to move 6 squares a turn on her own with some help from Boozer, which is great to get into a fight or escaping one, while recovering along the way. Her interaction with Poochan is interesting as you can hurl Malee into a fight, have her throw a punch, and then toss an enemy back so the rest of the Pandawas can get into the brawl. She also loves Tank items or ones that give her at least 2-3 AP for ultimate Pandawa punishment.

Pandalida: She brings two of the missing damage types in Fire and Earth and gives some area of effect damage at a price or allows you to position a character to a better place of tactical value. Lock is again a fantastic feature as the Pandawas are melee attack orientated and they don’t want their targets getting away. Intelligence and Strength are great bonuses as well, making up for the loss of health with each Flaming burp. Personally, when I play her she ends up spending the early game as the second wave behind Malee and Mil, collecting Kamas and waiting for her time to shine, when my opponents have to start swarming to take down a Pandawa.

Poochan: She is one of the more commonly used figures from season 2 because she’s cheap and has a great ability. While not as durable as her other Pandawa sisters, she still offers a lot to the fight by launching more capable allies into the fray and dishing out some multi-target hurt if need be. She commands the battlefield by deploying her sisters to exactly where they are needed and occasionally sacrificing herself to get them out of harm’s way.

Here is an example of her power:

Dark Vlad has a wall of ghouls stopping me from being able to engage on him while Choppy Sue is able to send blasts from her sword down the line. At this point my opponent is offering me Sue as a trade while she gets her ghouls in position to tie me up while she picks at me for 3+ a turn from Dark Vlad.

In the following turn I am able to have Poochan launch Malee over to put 5 points on Dark Vlad and then move back into a spot to deny money and make it where only only one melee threat can approach me without having to make a lock check. This forces my opponent to deal with two threats and with half of Vlad's health gone in one volley she has to decide whats more important, keeping the wall of ghouls away to hold up my other Pandawas or tie up the threat at the door. This is all happening while my other Pandawas group up on Choppy and eventually kill her the next turn.

The important thing to note is that in the first picture my opponent was dictating the line of engagement and where I would have to go. The power of Poochan is shown in the second as I am  now making the rules of the fight, because either way my opponent chooses I have a positive outcome to gain from it. If she goes after Malee that's a lot of spaces clogged up with slow moving ghouls that my Pandawa's can get around and if she decides to stay the course, then Malee can do what she does best and grind out the fight.

The Pros of running the Pandawas: 

  •          They are Freaking Pandas!
  •          They have a lot of staying power and play a very grind orientated game
  •          They cover many of the elemental types
  •          They are very mobile, able to reposition to varying threats within a turn window
  •          With Malee they can handle Crowd Control effects better than most 

The Cons of running the Pandawas:

  •         They lack a ranged element and make them vulnerable to being shot heavily while they close the gap.
  •          They often like to gang up on a target which lends them to be heavily punished by AOE effects
  •          If they win the initial trade they can snowball to a point the enemy can’t comeback, but if they lose that first battle, they have a hard time recovering.
  •         If they see poor Demonic Reward flips they also stall out until they can find the proper boosts, buffs, or tank items to keep them going

Are the Pandawa's the new Earth shattering meta? The short answer is No, but I feel like they offer a fun play style and if played right can go toe to toe with a good portion of lists due to it's flexibility and versatility and surprise factor. No one expects the cute little Pandawas to bring the pain and that might just win you a game or two. Try them out and let me know what you think or if you have some cool combos of your own to share! 

Jeric is an established miniatures player who provides tactical insight, event reports and a few odds and ends along the way.

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