Today I’m going to open up the Yurei starter for Bushido to show what’s inside and discuss how it all works.
This article is meant to end up on BoLS eventually. I love the opportunity to share small games I like with the vast 40k community that makes up the majority of their readers. I hadn’t really planned on publishing tactics articles here but this one is written so why not post it here first.
These models have been available for a few years now, but they may still be new to you.
These are all the pieces you’ll find inside.
Kato here is the most expensive piece in the set. He can make zombies or take control of other models with his little marionette down in the corner there.
Here’s a shot of him from the other side.
Ikiryo is a gruesome sight with her stitched face. But at least she knows how to accessorize.
Here’s the reverse.
This is our first zombie. A Kairai farmer.
Another zombie but a different type. This is a Kairai militia with slightly different rules. There are a few other types that are available in different packs.
This one is a more elite Kairai. The armored Kairai’ stats are noticeably superior to our last two undead.
And of course the reverse.
The set also comes with these three extra pieces to add some extra character to your bases. The crow on the left can perch on some dead guys shoulder and peck at their brains.
Last up let’s look at the cards. Note how You can mark them with dry erase. No extra sleeves required.
Here is Kato all assembled. When he’s not raising hordes of the dead, he takes home competitive vaping trophies. Most vapers can’t puff out a fully formed woman’s upper torso and Kato’s signature move consistently wows the judges.
In game Kato does three different really annoying things. The first is to summon a mannequin. These aggravating constructs can take control of enemy models, completely throwing your opponent’s plans into chaos. Bring along some other models with the “Conspiracy of the Cult” special rule and use them to get some extra Ki so Kato can summon up the strongest mannequin possible on turn 1. Then send it off after a nice mid-cost enemy model. You want it to preferably chase someone without Iron Mind or Strong Mind and with a ki stat of 1. Hopefully you’ll take them over and turn them against their former allies.
To take full advantage of Kato’s abilities you will need to take him dangerously close to the front lines. If Kato is holding on to three or more Ki, and a living, non-insignificant model dies within three inches of him, he can spend that Ki to replace the dead model with a Kairai you control. Or maybe you don’t feel like waiting around, and want a zombie right now. Have Kato make an Ivory Prison Attack and turn an unsuspecting enemy model into a zombie regardless of their current health. To make this attack, Kato must sacrifice both of his combat dice, so you’ll want at least six Ki stashed so he can buy some more dice to use. It also wouldn’t hurt to use his Fear 5 Unique Effect that turn in the hopes that it will give him a further advantage in combat.
Even then the odds will be stacked against you – unless you have a lot of friendly models around to deprive Kato’s target of their combat dice. I’ve actually gotten Ivory Prison to succeed a few times but only when I set everything up in Kato’s favor by having tons of Ki to burn and drastically outnumbering his target. It’s as difficult to pull off as it is demoralizing to your opponent.
With all the Kairai you’ll have around, you’ll be happy to know that Kato also has ways to keep them alive. If a Kairai you control needs to make a Rise check, and Kato is within eight inches, he can spend Ki to add +1 to the Rise roll for each Ki spent.
So he can raise the dead, make them harder to kill, and mind control his foes… surely this guy has a downside? Well he’s definitely easy to kill. He has the standard six health of most humans, but no armor or toughness. An upside is he can give himself ranged defense 2, so that makes him a slightly less tempting target for enemy shooters. I guess that’s what his vaping lady is all about.
Ikiryo is the other cornerstone piece of the set. She is the big damage dealer searing souls with her creepy Look into the void ability. Like Kato’s marionette, you want to find targets for Ikiryo that don’t have too high of a ki stat or any abilities that help with opposed ki tests.
It’s easy to get greedy and go for their most expensive piece. Sometimes it can even pay off. But in my experience it’s best to go for the sure thing and have her pick off less expensive guys. Then all your zombies can gang up on the really strong models late game. Ikiryo is extremely easy to kill – even more so than Kato. She can spend ki to cancel wounds she takes, but she needs all the ki she can get to use Look into the Void so don’t expect to have any around to save her.
Here’s our first Kairai. Like most Kairai he’s best at being hard to kill. Toughness can make him a little harder to bring down, and with Rise he has a 50/50 shot of being knocked down and healing all wounds when he would die. Don’t forget we already discussed how Kato can make it easier for him to pass those rolls. After that, his Fear 4 ability is probably most useful and can be crippling to your opponent’s plans. Only cheaper models will usually have problems with Fear 4 though, and even then only half the time. His Chill ability is good, but he can only cast it if he Leeches the Ki from someone else first. Everyone in your force will be so starved for Ki you’ll probably never want to Leech any.
Everywhere else this guy is worse than miserable. Ok, his Melee Skill of 2 isn’t the worst, but with Slow, he’ll almost always be hit first. He has First Strike but Slow takes precedence so it’s almost more insulting than not having it at all. Slow also means that he’ll be trudging slowly up the board with his walk 3. That’s six inches per turn – half of what most guys can do. This is why Kairai are best summoned on to the table. If you deploy them normally, they will always arrive to the fight after your opponent has claimed some objectives.
This Kairai hits a little harder than the previous one, so he should be the first one you summon to the table. That’s the only difference.
I’ve yet to actually use this model. He is too expensive to summon with any of Kato’s abilities and he is just as slow as the previous Kairai so he hasn’t been worth taking in any of my lists. He’s harder to kill, and a better fighter than the previous Kairai, so at six points I think he’s worth it. I’ll talk about the best way to use him in a second.
So how does the whole set play? If you aren’t using scenarios it can be really nasty. Ikiryo and Kato can hide behind the undead and they’ll shuffle across the board eventually. By then they’ll all be so loaded down with Ki they should be able to handle most other starters. But that’s not how this game should be played. Scenarios are key. If you take the five models in this set you’re very unlikely to get to any objectives fast enough. The alternative is trying to do objectives with Kato and Ikiryo and watching them die.
But wait, there is a trick to making this set a little bit more useful. The Desecrated Grave terrain element from the Yurei Card Pack 2 can have your Kairai deploying anywhere on your half of the table. It costs 2 points though, so you’ll have to drop a Kairai (who you’ll probably summon in later), and take some upgrades. Choose your favorites from card pack 2. This setup will work alright but there’s another one I prefer that involves buying more models.
Strangely those models are these guys. In the Yurei Card Pack 2, is a card that allows you to use these Silvermoon Syndicate models as Yurei Cultists. Stat-wise they’re a little overpriced for 5 points, but they have that super important Conspiracy of the Cult rule, so Kato and Ikiryo can hurt them for some Ki. Also, they’re alive so when they die they can become zombies.
If you take these guys instead of the Kairai and the Grave you’ll still have 4 points to spend. I like to go with enhancements. You’re going to need Yurei Card Pack 1 for these. Actually any card pack 1 will do since they’re generic. The most important buy will probably be Healing Balm to help out with all the Conspiracy wounds. I actually prefer to put it on Kato since the ability I use most often with him is reactive (Capture Soul). This may seem an odd choice to some, as the Kimiko’s whistle card seems made for Kato. But having a healer is super important and Kato will probably have more activations to use the Balm than the rest of the team. He can even heal himself if he’s targeted by Conspiracy. Although that’s all he’ll be able to do that activation – other than walk.
I’ve been giving Ikiryo two upgrades: Arashi’s fan for ranged defense and Hotai’s Coin to help make sure Look into the Void works. The last point goes to the Drain Spirit event. Like I said, Kato always wants Ki and you want him close to the front lines so this works pretty well for him.
Using these models allows you to use the Nightmares of Jigoku theme list. It has a couple of good benefits, but it’s the Yurei’s Gift tokens that really help. These will greatly increase the chances of success with a Marionette or Look into the Void.
This is a relatively low model count force for a 35 point game, but it’s deceptive. If you use Conspiracy of the Cult to gorge Kato and Ikiryo on Ki, you should hopefully be able to take control of an enemy model with a Mannequin and paste another one completely with Ikiryo. Then you’ll be the one with the numbers advantage. If you can keep Kato close, any Models that die will join your side. The trickiest part will be making sure you can still cover objectives. None of these models are great fighters so in the inevitable combats you find yourself in, numbers will be key. That means sending someone away from the fighting to run missions can put you at a huge disadvantage.
These three are your additions for a 50 point game. They each have abilities that can be useful, but mostly you just want them for Conspiracy and zombie reinforcements. Speaking of zombies, once you make it to 50 point games you’ll probably want to buy another pack of them just to make sure you have enough.
So I guess it’s a little annoying to have that side buy to make your starter work. But Yurei is possibly the most fun faction to grow anyway. With the Kairai you’ll have, plus Gengo (in the middle there) you can buy Gok and a couple more Kairai and try out the Death and Decay theme. From there it’s up to you which you buy, but the Pennangalan and Wraith are both pretty amazing. You could even go with swarms of rats. Everyone loves swarms of rats…
~Hope you enjoyed the article. That one took forever to write. I had to get quite a few games in before I could tweak my Yurei list into something I thought would work every time. Any Yurei players out there?