Ronin, Outcasts p-16286.jpg


Overview

You've got to love these girls. Once viewed by many as the best 5pt model in Book 1, they were errata'ed to make them more balanced, but still a very strong contender. High mobility, resilience, strong in melee and a shooting attack for when melee isn't the best option, combine to make a model which has many strengths and few weaknesses. Nevertheless, although pretty much a must have in a crew led by the Viktorias, Ronin are rarely seen in crews led by other masters despite the fact that as mercenaries they can potentially be taken by all factions (albeit for the cost of an additional soulstone).
As a cheap basic crew which can be simple to pick up and play competitively then you can't go far wrong with the 2 Viktorias and a blister of 3 Ronin.


Mobility

Ronin have Mobile, ignoring severe terrain and climbing penalties when Walking or Charging.
V2 Cards included a change to the Run Through ability, increasing the cost from (1) AP to (2) AP. Nevertheless with Mobile, Run Through and a guaranteed Next Target trigger giving a 4" push off every successful strike, Ronin can generally move around the table quite quickly, and are often able to engage models in melee which your opponent might have thought were out of reach.
Using Run Through and Next Target, a Ronin can move 10" (striking a model anywhere within the first 6" of that move) and still engage another model (up to 2" further away) with their Melee Expert action.
Next Target triggers a push which is not hindered by other models and so can be very useful in just repositioning a Ronin within combat; e.g. to engage another model, escape the melee range of a model with a shorter melee range, clearing a space for another model to engage the same target, escaping out of the range of the Neverboorn's Black Blood etc.


Offense

Ronin are best used in melee. They have a Pistol with 10" range, but this is rarely worth using as opposed to getting them closer to where they truly shine.
Melee Expert means that they will usually get at least 2 attacks, and if starting in melee, 3 attacks. These attacks do not need to be against a single target as Next Target will allow them to use a 4" push to break through a defensive line to engage models that are hiding behind the lines. RunThrough enhances this ability, but at the expense of an attack. As an alternative to a charge however it is well worth it.
The Ronin Weapon, Daisho gives 2 bonuses. Ignoring armour is particularly useful against constructs, while a +flip on damage has general utility, and can greatly increase the chances of a straight (cheatable) flip on the damage. The 2" range on the weapon means that many models have to waste an action moving closer to the Ronin before they can hit them back.
This all means that Ronin can threaten Masters who like to hide behind other members of their crew.


Resilience

Starting with Harmless, Ronin have a little bit of protection against any attacks, until they have started on the offense. With Peasant Clothes, they can regain Harmless for 1 action, though once the blades start flashing there are usually better things for them to do. With Mobile allowing them to advance unhindered through cover you should usually be able to get the Ronin where you need them.
(1) Defensive means that Ronin can increase their Df by 3, as a final action (after dealing 2 melee attacks or potentially regaining Harmless). This can be useful if you are going to send them in to contend for objectives, rather than dealing damage to your opponent.

Hard to Kill means that as long as they are on at least 2 wounds, Ronin will not be killed by any single attack (barring instant kills like Headshot).
Should the worst come to the worst, and your Ronin are reduced to their last wound then for the (All) Seppuku they can be sacrificed for 2 soulstones. This usually raises the dilemma as to whether it is better taking another activation (potentially 3 melee attacks) rather than the soulstones, but it is certainly nice to have the option.

Always for Hire means that as long as you have at least 1 Ronin in play any model with Use Soulstone can spend an action and 5 soulstones to summon a Ronin. The ability does not specify that it needs to be a "friendly" Ronin, so if your opponent has a Ronin and you have the soulstones to spend you can bring in a Ronin.

(all)Seppuku allows you to sacrifice a Ronin to gain 2 soulstones. This means that when one your Ronin are close to death they can sacrifice themselves and get your master some extra soulstones.

Tips and Tricks

Next Target should probably be used after nearly every strike. Even if you want to remain engaged with the model you are attacking, there is usually something you can do to improve your position (see Mobility above).


Master-Specific Tips

Ronin nicely complement the playstyle of the Viktorias, and are usually seen in a Viks crew (and rarely elsewhere). Their high mobility can help them keep up with the Viktorias, even when the Viks are sling-shotting (Sisters in Spirit) each other forward into combat.
As a bonus, if one of the Viktorias is lost, then the other Viktoria is able to use the spell Another One to sacrifice a Ronin and 2 soulstones to bring back the other Vik. The spell requires a 13 of either Masks or Rams, so it is usually necessary to keep back 3 soulstones to be sure of a reasonable chance to successfully casting.

Collette is another master that works well with Ronin. The Ronin ability Always for Hire combined with Collette's high number of soul stones means that a Collette crew can be quickly bolstered with additional Ronin.


Minion-Specific Tips

(As with Master-Specific Tips, going into any specific Synergies with other Minions.)


Playing Against Ronin

Don't forget Ronin have Hard to Kill. Don't waste cards boosting damage, unless you are going to get the Ronin down to their last wound, but it is well worth boosting damage to make sure you do get down to that final wound as 2 wounds means that it will take at least 2 more attacks to kill them.

Also be aware of their mobility and Next Target make them good candidates for Deliver a Message or Steal Relic. If you opponent has a nice card tucked away, even their WP 5 can do the trick.

Ownership
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