As Drew has won a couple of Iron Dragon’s with his Cult of Yurei I asked him if he wouldn’t mind doing a write up of his lists, the thinking behind it, and the tactics to the list. So, without further ado, here is that article.

The Bushido tournament, Iron Dragon has come and gone for another year. This is the second time I have actually played in the event, (the other 2 years I ran the tournament) and the second time I have won the event with my Cult of Yurei. Dave (AdvanceOp) suggested I do a write up on my list and tactics for the event. So here we go.

The Iron Dragon tournament consists of 4 games over the day, 2 at 35 rice and 2 at 50 rice. The list’s I took are as follows.

35 Rice, Nightmares of Jigoku theme
• Ikiryo 10r
• Nezumi 7r
• Gaki 6r
• Taka & Wrath 8r
• Breath of Yurei 2r
• Kimiko’s Whistle 1r
• Drain Spirit 1r

50 Rice, Nightmares of Jigoku theme
• Ikiryo 10r
• Nezumi 7r
• Gaki 6r
• Taka & Wrath 8r
• Wraith 12r
• Kami of the Choking Fog 4r
• Breath of Yurei 2r
• Kimiko’s Whistle 1r

Apart from the Wraith and Wrath, there really isn’t much melee punch. Nezumi has 6 wounds, the Gaki 5 and Ikiryo and Taka only have 4 with 1MS. If you get into a brawl, you are going to lose 90% of the time. However this list has speed, something not really thought of with the Cult of Yurei. It has multiple ways of achieving the objectives, and each of the models are there to support each other. It also has fear on most of the models, whilst fear 4 generally seems to get passed by most opponents, there is always that time they don’t. Fear 5 and 6 is definitely something your opponent needs to think about.

Breath of Yurei.
For 2 rice this card is an absolute must against all other factions. It puts a fog over the entire board, and all models that are not soulless or have sixth sense, only have a LoS of 2”. At first you might not think that’s a big deal, and will only affect ranged attacks, but you would be wrong. To run or charge you must have LoS to where you want to run too. This means most of your opponents will only be able to walk for the first turn, and possibly the second as well. Meanwhile, the Gaki, Wrath and Wraith can be zooming around the board to claim objectives etc. Nezumi at move 5, and the Kami at move 6 are not slow either.

The Rat Man. Nezumi is your annoyance factor. He is in the force to disrupt and delay. He also has scout which gives you +1 to the setup roll (always nice to let your opponent setup first) and means he starts 4” on the table. With two walk moves in his first turn, he can be in base to base with an idol and turn it in the second turn. Whilst your opponent, is slowly walking there due to the fog. When there, bring out some rat swarms to get in the way of your opponents. This is one of Nezumis biggest abilities, summoning the rats to tie up opponents and tire them out. Nezumi can also be used in this way. I very rarely use any dice in attack with this guy. With 3MS and Dodge (1) he can generally survive most attacks, and use Side Step Defense if needed to get away. Once he has exhausted his opponent, you can charge them with the Wrath or Wraith.

This guy will generally be your VIM(in scenarios where you get to choose), in VIM scenarios. His stat line is nothing special, but if you can’t see him, you can’t kill him. In no VIM scenarios like the Idols, he is used very similar to Nezumi. He can turn the idols and be used to tire your opponents. As your VIM though, this guy shines. With the fog up, opponents will find it hard to target him turn 1 and possibly turn 2. With sixth sense and light footed, he will still be able to run to most spots on the board. In scenarios where you gain a Victory Point, for having your VIM within 4” of your opponents deployment zone, he can generally claim that in turn 2 whilst your opponents VIM is still slowly walking across the board. Use terrain to keep his camouflage up, and if you have to be in the open, cast his Fog spell. Then just keep him running around the board behind the rest of your force to keep him alive.

Love this girl. Her “Look into the Void” is simply one of the best Ki feats in the game. Her purpose in this list is simple, suck the life out of the biggest melee threat the opponent has. As stated in the beginning, you can’t afford to get into a brawl, you will lose, so getting rid of the most dangerous model is a high priority. On the first turn Ikiryo should focus to bump up her ki. With the fog up and opponents out of range, she can’t do much anyway. If the fog has disappeared in turn 2 the trap is set in the starting phase. Use one of your tokens from the Nightmares of Jigoku card to put Spirit Block on your intended target. This stops them from gaining ki this turn and gives them Weak Mind (1). Then Ikiryo can use her look into the void on them. Using Suchiro as an example, as I used this on him twice during the tournament. He usually would rolling 2 dice and adding +1 due to Iron Mind. By spirit blocking him he will only be on 2 ki, unless other models channel ki to him, so he will be unable to cast his Rise feat. He has 7 wounds so if you spend 7 ki, an average roll will kill him. In this situation I spent all 8 ki Ikiryo has to make sure. In the opposed test he will now only be rolling 1 dice with a +1, against your 3. The odds are in your favour, and with the extra ki spent a wounding roll of 4+ on 2d6 will be enough to kill him, and no rise to come back. With your biggest melee threat gone, things don’t seem so bad for your forces any more. After this, she can move up with ki on her and fear 6, she can assist Nezumi and the Gaki in objective based scenarios, or help protecting the VIM.

Taka & Wrath
To start with, Kimiko’s Whistle is a must have card for Taka. First turn move up and summon the Wrath, thanks to the Whistle, he will start with 3 ki. Taka should then hang around near the back of your lines, charging up her ki for more Wrath if needed. She also has a great feat in “Instill Wrath”. If your opponents VIM is lurking behind his forces, use this to make them Berserk and move out. Then attack the VIM with your Wrath/Wraith to claim the Victory Points. If you are lucky and the VIM was already tired, they will now be exhausted -1MS, have a stunned marker -1MS, potential fear from charging Wrath/Wraith -1MS and with good positioning surprised -1MS. The Wrath/Wraith should make light work of them after that. The Instill Wrath feat can also be used to get your opponent to move off objectives if need be as well. Also Taka should also be your last model alive. Hopefully with your speed, you have claimed a VP in turn 2 on those scenarios. If you then start getting smashed in melee, happily let things die by throwing all your dice in attack. When Taka is the only model left Instill Wrath on the nearest enemy combat model to make them charge her, put everything into attack so she dies. You win 1-0.

Onto the Wrath. He is your assassin, along with the Wraith in the bigger list. Nezumi, the Rat Swarms and Gaki exhaust your opponent, the Wrath moves in to finish them off. Positioning is also key here. When Nezumi walks into melee to start with, try and come around a side so when your opponent turns to face in melee, they will have their back to the Wrath. When the Wrath then moves in you should be getting outnumbered -1MS, exhausted -1MS, possibly surprised -1MS and possibly fear -1MS. The average opponent will have 3MS to start with, so potentially with all the above you’ll be rolling 5 dice to their 1. In the 35 rice list whenever the Wrath is within 3” of an opponent, play the Drain Spirit card, to remove 2 ki from them and put it on the Wrath to boost his life. Being a Kami, the Wrath doesn’t gain ki each turn so this is a nice addition, and damn funny when you use that ki to buy extra dice and kill the model they came from.

If the Wrath is the bowling ball to knock down the opponents, the Wraith is the wrecking ball. The big brother of all big brothers. He will get to start 4” onto the board, thanks to the Nightmares of Jigoku card. He is now in charge range of any opponent in LoS, before the game even starts. His basic move is 5” but can be boosted for 1” for 1 ki, up to max of 5. This gives him move 10” and charge range of 20”!!!!! As awesome as this is, don’t do it, unless it’s your opponents VIM, and they are all alone. Once you have finished this charge, you will be exhausted and all alone in enemy territory. That’s not going to end well. However it is something to keep in mind at all times during the game. Your opponent may think their VIM is all nice and safe on the opposite flank, then bam, go take them out.

Kami of Choking Fog
There are 2 reasons I have this in the list. The first and most importantly, it is there to get in between the Wraith and any possible ranged attack. With the Wraith being a huge model, his big weakness is ranged attacks, which get -2 on their target number for shooting at him. The Kami of Choking Fog provides the Wraith cover, until the ranged attack can be dealt with. If there are no ranged attacks, then I use the Kami like Nezumi to tire out opponents, in preparation for the Wrath/Wraith sucker punch.

Scenario Tactics
We played the following scenarios at the Iron Dragon tournament.
The Idols and Envoy at 35 rice. Ryodo and Reikan at 50 rice.

The Idols
The plan here is to take 2 early. Nezumi and The Gaki will be in base to base with the one each by the end of turn one, and turn early in turn two. This should be enough to guarantee the VP at the end of turn 2. Using Nezumi and the Rat Swarms to protect the one you have turned, now go after the other. Ikiryo should have removed the biggest melee threat, and the Wrath should be on the loose. This is a hard mission, as you are trying to last, in set areas where the enemy will be. If at any time it starts to turn against you, try to get everyone killed. As long as you claimed the early VP you will still win the game. I got a 1-0 win in this scenario against a Temple force.

In this one you have to nominate your opponents VIM. You gain VP’s for causing the first wound, having the least amount of wounds at the end and being closer to your enemy’s deployment zone in the end phase. The plan here is to pick an enemy model that has more than 6 wounds if possible, but not a melee monster as you want Ikiryo to remove them via gaze, and the first wound VP has to be done in melee. As your opponent can only get 6 max by choosing Nezumi, even if they kill him, you can still claim the VP by doing more. When looking at the 4 options available to your opponent, they are unlikely to choose Ikiryo or Taka, as they both have high fear values, low wounds and will be lurking back from the battle. So that leaves them Nezumi or the Gaki. If they choose the Gaki, keep him hidden using camouflage and protect him with Nezumi and the Rat Swarms. If they choose Nezumi, use the Gaki and Rat Swarms to screen whilst using his speed to keep him away. If your opponent tries to screen their VIM, bring them out with Taka’s Instill Wrath, then charge with the Wrath to cause first wound and hopefully kill. If he succeeds then you have 2 VP’s right there and just need to keep your VIM alive. I won this 3-0 against a Savage Wave force.

In this scenario you have three areas of 4” in diameter diagonally placed across the board. 1 victory point is scored for having the most models AND most rice value fully within these circles, at the end of turns 2,4,6. The plan here is to only compete for two circles. I do not need the 3 point circle on the other side if I hold the one closest to me and the one in the middle, I win each turn. The Breath fog is awesome in this scenario as it slows down your opponent, allowing you to get to the objectives first. The Wraith should be in the middle of the middle zone turn one. With his 50mm base it does not leave room for any other model to be completely within the zone and scoring. As well as doing their other objectives, Taka and Ikiryo should hold the zone closest to you. Nezumi, Rat Swarms, Gaki and the Wrath just move around to pick off the threats to these zones and support the Wraith in the middle. The Kami of Choking Fog sits in front of the Wraith to give him cover. I won this 3-0 against a Temple force.

This is an open VIM scenario, with VP’s for being within 4” of the enemies deployment zone first, killing your opponents VIM in a turn yours is alive and having your VIM and not your opponents alive at the end of the game. The plan here is to make the Gaki the VIM. With 2 turns of running he will be able to score one VP in turn 2. Setup centrally and then pick which side the Gaki is going to go for. Make sure all the enemy’s models on that side are tied up with Nezumi and the Rat Swarms. Also throw in the big Wraith to help removing the opponents models and act as a target. Opponents are quite often drawn into getting rid of him. Meanwhile shadow the direction your opponents VIM goes with Taka and summon the Wrath. Ikiryo should be getting rid of the biggest melee threat as usual. Once the Gaki has scored the first VP, get him back behind Taka and Ikiryo and in cover if available. The Wrath and Wraith now go after your opponents VIM. Also keep Ikiryo charged up to gaze the VIM if in sight. From there it’s just a matter of screening the Gaki, and keep him moving from cover to cover, casting fog if he is in the open. I got a 3-0 win against an Ito force.

Overall things to I consider when designing a tournament force, is to have a well-rounded force, that can achieve all scenarios. There is more to Bushido than just bashing up the enemy. In fact that is generally the quickest way to lose. You need to have multiple ways of getting rid of the biggest threats, and keep your eye on the prize (the victory points). Hopefully this article has been of assistance to players of all factions.