Never before has a Warmachine or Hordes model so aptly earned the name of a Pokemon. Of course, Zapdos is no pocket monster, but instead Zapdos is the nickname for the new hotness of the Circle Orboros, the Storm Raptor. It’s a giant, feathered storm incarnate. The Circle’s new Gargantuan brings more to the table than just a party trick where your grandfather’s gimpy knee starts playing up and he begins muttering about incoming bad weather.
A host of abilities accompany the Storm Raptor. Gunfighter, Immunity to Electricity, Flight, Plasma Nimbus, Superconduction (its super effective!), and my personal favorite rule Virtuoso, plus lightning based attacks like, well, Lightning, and even more cool toys such as Disruption and Electro Leap. Oh, and it does have a neat animus in Sky Fire. Let’s ponder.
Lots of rules and then there is the stat line of this beast. Not to be confused with the Mark of the Beast. That’s a different thing.
Spd 7, STR 13, Mat 5, Rat 6, Def 12 and ARM 18.
You’ll note that this is not a front line gargantuan with a stat line like that. Bird bones, no matter how enormous, are still hollow, and will crack under applied pressure. Still…
Plasma nimbus will do a POW 10 electrical damage after being hit by a melee attack. This won’t dent many Heavies and will only inconvenience Light Warnouns, but most single wound troops will find swinging at Zapdos a suicide mission.
Superconduction is where it is at, letting the Storm Raptor support other friendly electicity afficionados, granting +2 to attack rolls originating within 5 inches of Zapdos if the attack is electrical and ranged. This can stack nicely with the Sky Fire animus, which grants +2 damage from electrical attacks against within his command range of 9″. Note that this bumps its Lightning attack up to POW16 with POW12 Elecro Leaps.
Now, who and or what can use these awesome abilities to their fullest?
Lets get the obvious out of the way. Krueger, especially Kruegar2. The Storm Lord has a ROF 3 electrical ranged weapon that has sustained attack. Suddenly Rat 8, POW 14 will do even more work and can potentially surprise your opponent if he hasn’t done the math.
Add in the Tharn Ravager Shaman, which gets a POW 15 assault out of the deal. Note that the Tharn do work nicely with Krueger’s theme force…
Then there is another new release from Devastation, the Mist Riders. They have a magical lightning attack, which doesn’t get the +2 to attack (magic instead of ranged), but they are magic ability 7 which is respectable, and the Sky Fire anumus will make them effectively POW 14.
It may not be his forte, but Zapdos is no slouch in melee. He has Gunfighter and Virtuoso, meaning he has 4 basic attacks before he has to start spending Fury to buy additional attacks. The hardest hitting is POW 18 on his beak, so you need to be a little bit surgical where you apply his beak and talons to be the most effective, but note that this is before you start applying the buffs and synergy that Circle armies are known for.
Weird final thought, running Zapdos under Una the Falconer and fielding Zapdos for 1pt cheaper… My experience with Una is a little low and I am not so sure placing a gargantuan on a solo is the best use of the giant electrical bird, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.