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Thread: Know your units: Episode 5, Backbiter

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    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    Know your units: Episode 5, Backbiter

    Moving back towards Raiders. This time we're discussing the Rogues of the Faction family, the Backbiters. Backbiters are the most mobile unit in the game thanks to the power, Run Through. Run Through is a two stage attack, first it moves the Backbiter forward 2 or three spaces (at level 1) through units of either side and even postlike obstacles as long as the last square past through is a unit. Any unit passed through in this manner suffers a 2 break attack regardless of the Biter's break stat. Once he's reached the end of his move (right behind the unit you targeted with the ability) he'll make his basic STR attack. Since the Str attack is calculated after the break, his power effectively does +2 to break and Str over a regular str attack for 1 will, so like Warmasters using exertion to boost regular attacks is usually a waste. Unlike Warmasters and Bowmasters, Backbiters are not guarenteed accuracy on STR hit if their STR is lower than the enemy's post break armor. As it levels, this adds another step to the run, allowing you to run through longer chains of units like a human and a Varl or a line of humans with a space in the middle. The extra movement can sometimes replace the need to burn willpower in extra walk spaces.

    One major downside of Runthrough is that being on the opposite side of the enemy unit is a great way to let them counterattack you with units out of reach of everyone else. A wise way to prevent this is to runthrough sideways or even "back" towards your own units when possible. Sometimes however, the fact he's in the back lines or rapidly killed can have it's own value.

    Keep also in mind Run through can let you pass through ally units "on the way to an enemy", breaking their armor but possibly being worth it, however an ally is not a legal end target to the power. You can also pass through the Posts found in the Beach and Proving Ground Map, or even the columns in the starting areas of the great hall as long as you last space in the move is a valid unit target.

    As mentioned in the previous thread, Raidmasters with their power up are immune to the 2 break if you feel the need to move over them. One fun trait of Runthrough is if your target is standing on any coals (stopped on or was pushed on after placed) Run through will not damage you (you use your enemy like an asbestos carpet). This also works for Skystriker traps somehow covered by the Skystriker's ally. Skystriker traps will stop the power from completing if the trap is on an empty space of the run path, and stop the STR attack if it's on the endpoint. Backbiters love their target suffering some break to enhance their power damage, but don't overdue it as you can't bring targets to negative armor.

    What shouldn't be ignored is the potential for the Backbiter to block essential enemy paths when no other unit (but Skystrikers) would be able to reach via Run thru. The tighter the board and the more Varls muddling around, the greater this utility becomes.

    Stats and Roles

    Minimum 5/8/4/0/1 Maximum 12/10/13/3/3. Once upon a time backbiters could have 12 str and murdered almost anything. With a 10 STR limit, some argue they burn 1 will to be as good as a 12 STR thrasher, ignoring the benefits the lower armor grants the rest of the team and the power of extra movement. Their power is STR driven like the Bowmaster so you should be maxing it at 10. Their ability to have 3 break ensures they are useful when they do get knocked down and gives you something good to do when you want to break but don't want the repositioning Run through gave- A backbiter with 1 break is a liability on your team if he's left maimed without will left, so I'd be very careful if I shirked Break. They can have 0 exertion, which might not be a bad idea from their power but sometimes the option of that extra space is the difference between a smooth runthrough and one that gets you killed. Also Exertion lets the BB make bigger standing breaks. If you primarily use his rank 1 power, he doesn't need a lot of will but exertion breakers should invest more. Armor helps keep him going but without Raiders shieldwalling with him he won't be much of a tank- his first line of defense is being out of range until he's ready to run. Their power is the natural antithesis of archers, being one of the few units that can attack one starting from outside puncture range, getting past defenders, and ending up adjacent to avoid a puncture counterattack.

    Weaknesses:
    As alluded before, if a backbiter runs into the range of his enemy's High STR warrior who was hiding, he's going to get squished fast. Siege archers and thrashers can ruin his str score even when his armor is good. If units form into a line longer than his max run-through (or back against the wall), he won't be able to attempt it in that direction (human next to Varl stops rank 1 usage). Since both the run through and the final stab count as hits, Shieldbangers and especially masters doublepunish if they are the final target. Enemy raidmasters can resist runthrough just like your friendly ones.


    Leveling:
    While rank 1 is generally the power to use, being rank 2 allows you to break some of the annoying 3 long formations. Rank 3 gives you more Will/Exertion to play with, and running 5 spaces is hilarious- practicality TBD.
    Last edited by Kletian999; 05-19-2013 at 10:01 PM. Reason: Placed notes on terrain effects

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