Aristeia 101: Soldiers of Fortune.

Soldiers of Fortune Team is our first recommended expansion for Aristeia. Hannibal, Valkyrie, Laxmee, and Senor Massacre are all great as individuals. How are they as a team? Pretty great, actually!

Hannibal as the Supervisor

  • Hannibal is pretty much the supervisor for your team. A good example of this is Pointman and Coordinated Assault. Offense is buffed if the enemy is within his Line of Sight due to Pointman. His Coordinated Assault goes from being a rather lackluster attack to being extremely dangerous for every ally that has Line of Sight on his target. This means, positionally speaking, Hannibal is best off being able to see two or all of his teammates.
    • This means he’s vulnerable to Smoke, Dazzle, and intervening models. Line of Sight within the battlefield is critical to get the most out of him.
  • Programmed Strategy allows a teammate to do a little extra provided the ability costs 2 or less AP. The fact there is no Line of Sight requirement or Range for Programmed Strategy is huge.
    • Valyrie’s Frostbite works, and works nicely provided she has at least one adjacent enemy. But, this does allow her to spend 4 AP to run in allowing Hannibal to trigger Frostbite. This then puts her in a good position since Benediction of Freyja gives her an additional  BLUE to her rolls per Immobilized enemy (up to 3). This makes Charge of the Valkyrie quite safe (or Contender!), and benefits her switch as it costs TWO BLOCK to add a success to her roll.
    • Laxmee’s abilities only cost 1 each, both are eligible to be used.
      • D/Buff3r is quite potent because it has no Line of Sight requirement (there is range to consider, however). The fact that her Switch could allow her to get an additional Stunned or Focused out is important as well. Worth boosting.
      • Purge 92 allowing her to remove a State is quite important as well since Dazzled is a good state to inflict upon the Soldiers of Fortune (Hannibal in particular).
    • Arguably Senor Massacre gets the most out of Programmed Strategy.
      • Being able to attack using Programmed Strategy is big, and he’s the only one of the team that can. It’s a good attack, has its own conditional buff if the target is taunted, and can potentially benefit from Pointman.
      • “Hey, Malpario!” is short ranged but messes with your opponent’s choices in terms of attack. Hannibal and Laxmee are arguably higher priority targets than Senor Massacre because of their control/support aspects. Taunting will help keep them alive longer. Note that you CAN Taunt an ally. Not especially recommended, but there are times (and characters) where this makes sense.
      • “Tangana” requires no roll, and allows you to effectively teleport next to a Taunted character range 1:4 line of sight required. This puts Senor Massacre where he needs to be to attack, to protect teammates, etc.
  • Tactics
    • Code Blitz is one of my favorite cards in the whole game. Usable in pretty much any rolling situation, it’s a selective do-over for bad and average rolls. The fact it doesn’t go in the discard pile is sort of ridiculous in my opinion, making it borderline “must have.” All characters benefit from this, but I’d argue that Laxmee and her difficult Switches do in particular.
    • Code Timeout is a very powerful card that allows you to be more aggressive with use of tactics as you can shuffle your discard pile back into your deck. The fact you can only do it once is helpful for balance purposes. This is also good for longer game scenarios like Assault.
    • Code Audible is a reactive card. Generally speaking, the easiest use for it is to swap a character who has already gone with one that is in the infirmary. This way you don’t give up a turn while the out of commission character languishes til the end of the round.
    • Code Dive is an upgraded version of Programmed Strategy that costs no points. Since there is no point cost associated with it, it would allow Valkyrie to use Charge of the Valkyrie, or any character to use Contender. However, using it AFTER Programmed Strategy would allow many common combinations to take place since you could enact two actions instead of just one.
      • Frostbite to Charge of the Valkyrie
      • Use one of Laxmee’s abilities twice or once each.
      • “Hey Malpario” to “Tangana” or “Te Voy A Cascar!”, or “Tangana” to “Te Voy”.

Valkyrie as Scorer and Controller

  • Hey, its my favorite character! Its easy to look at Valkyrie as a damage dealer or an off-tank, but she’s a little more than that. She can be quite versatile as a result.
    • Charge of the Valkyrie is the biggest attention grabber she has. Yes, It’s a Red plus up to 3 Orange dice from movement. But you need to look at the range and the fact you can displace after it… its 1:2. So, her movement of 4 can effectively be 5 if the target survives, and her overall threat range is actually 1:6.
    • Frostbite is really the ability that makes her so great in my opinion. A character-based AOE that immobilizes enemies is huge in this game. Especially if there’s a large cluster of characters. While this makes her a target for them in the meantime? It gives valuable time where characters can’t necessarily be optimally used during their turn. Additionally…
    • Benediction of Freyja gives a Blue for each immobilized enemy adjacent to her. That’s for Rolls, not specifying type. Disengage, Brawl, Defense, Attack… it can keep her alive, doing more damage, attacking safely, and more. Again, it synergizes well with her character Switch.
    • Benediction of Thor is why I think she needs to be considered for a Scorer role. Maybe not your primary one, but the fact is she cannot be moved, placed or displaced by enemies is a truly unique ability in the game. When she’s in the zone, the only thing to do is take her out.
  • Tactics:
    • Ice Wall is a great defensive card for her whole team, but while it naturally synergizes with her, can reach a point of diminishing returns due to Frostbite. Be sure not to waste by losing a die by hitting cap.
    • Odin’s Breath is probably one of the best cards for her if you’re playing offensively. 3 Movement for free plus her 1:2 attack means she can threaten someone up to 5 spaces away with Frostbite then Charge of the Valkyrie. Also, if you’re intending to score it allows her to move up to 11 spaces if you only move.
    • One of my favorite cards for her, Valkyrie’s Cry is uncontested damage for an already injured character. 2 points is nothing to sneeze at, it costs no energy, and can help you finish off a character. Do note that Line of Sight requirement however.
    • Frostburn is fairly direct, but do note that it specifies you impose Immobilize to a TARGET, not an Enemy like Frostbite. As such, you could Immobilize an ally for Benediction of Freyja’s bonus but be mindful of the obvious cons of this action.

Senor Massacre as a Damage Dealer and Control

  • Senor Massacre is basically a risk/reward tank. Soldiers of Fortune doubles up on its control melee with this guy, but it’s a rather necessary thing given Hannibal’s relative vulnerability relative to his role and Laxmee’s lack of offense.
    • Taunt, Taunt, Taunt. It’s the most important thing Massacre does. If he’s not taunting he loses a LOT in terms of mobility and damage, not to mention control. The fact he cannot use all his energy per activation without Taunting (Malpario) is no accident. Keeping Hannibal and Laxmee alive are really high priority for him, be it by taunting and running or slicing and dicing.
    • His attack is quite fearsome, particularly when attacking a Taunted opponent. Add in Hannibal’s Pointman? You’ll max out on Orange dice. Laxmee giving him Focus via DeBuffer will help him hit his Switch as well, increasing damage.
    • Tangana will be important for when his movement isn’t enough to get somewhere due to indirect travel routes, he’s been hit with minus movement, or is immobilized. Note that its distance is the same as his normal movement! That said, he can effectively be placed up to 5 spaces away since the range on it applies to the target (1:4). Line of Sight IS required, so using the Focus from Laxmee plus utilizing her Fairy Dust ability will be very helpful for clearing off Dazzle.
  • Tactics:
    • Es Hora De Amar El Bonche! Works well on this team when you consider both Valkyrie and Laxmee hand out State tokens to enemies. Remember that all the normal Tangana limitations apply though.
    • Kiss My Sexy Ass is a giant crowbar for the opposing team when they’re on the offense. There is NO range limitation or LOS concerns here, so it can be done anywhere in the Hexadome. So you can use this when Massacre is hidden away or when an otherwise inaccessible ally is under threat.
    • Epic Regeneration is going to be important because Soldiers has no healer in it. While Senor Massacre does heal 1 health every round, his frequent taunting is going to get him killed faster than not. This is an important card for him if you’re trying to actively tank with him. Great card to pair with Hannibal’s Code Timeout so you can potentially use it twice.
    • Say It To My Face is an important card for control. You can pull an attacker out of position, you can taunt and move an ally to safety, or you can pull a scorer out of the zone.

Laxmee for Support

  • Laxmee offers dedicated support in a team that already supports itself quite nicely. Rather than being redundant she compliments the overall team rather well.
    • DeBuffer has to be addressed in two steps: as a buff and as a debuff. Note the lack of a Line of Sight requirement.
      • As a buff you grant Focused to your teammates. However, the yellow die is not terribly useful to Hannibal (who has no switches) or Valkyrie (whose switches use blocks). Its not bad for laxmee herself or Senor Massacre. However, the biggest reason to use it on her team is how it combines with Fairy Dust allowing them to remove a state from themselves. There is no distance restriction on that ability, so they can be clear across the hexadome. Just remember to use it before it is removed (red side, blue side, removed). This is particularly important because this whole team benefits from Line of Sight due to Hannibal. Dazzled messes with that.
      • Stunned protects your teammates by reducing enemy successes. While its as good as a free block against attacks, the big part is stifling harder to succeed abilities like buffs and debuffs. Its an all around great state to be throwing around, and a horrible one to actually receive.
    • Purge ’92 is not as good as Parvati’s Reset as it only removes a single state. However, the lack of a line of sight requirement really helps. Stay behind cover, allies, etc.
  • Tactics:
    • 4-Kaleidoscope is a fantastic debuff with a tremendous range of 1:7. While it does no damage, its incredibly protective and also gives Massacre a chance to use Es Hora De Amar El Bonche plus Tengana very easily.
    • Team Upgrade is the buffing counterpart to 4-Kaleidoscope. While Focused isn’t the greatest by itself, again, Fairy Dust means you’ve just given your whole team an answer to at least one troublesome State for the next two turns.
    • Atom is a unique debuff that is almost a “No” for an action. Keep in mind character specific switches as sometimes those are more desirable than the successful roll.
    • Team Reset is an amazing buff card against state heavy teams. However, keep in mind that it removes beneficial states as well!