Competitive Latari Play and Builds

By sarumanthewhite, in Runewars Tactics

Hey everyone,

We’re a relatively new group and would love to get some insights into how to play Latari competitively including a list or two. It seems like they don’t have the same punching power as the other races which would imply more of a “stick and move” approach. Not sure if our analysis is off here, so any comments are welcome, particularly from the Latari veterans here...

Latari are very squishy. So taking things like wind rune over fire rune are recommended. Maegan is a damage driver for Latari, so i'd experiment with embedding her in archers, darnati and ventalla.

Unfortunatly Latari are also the most gadgety so things like warden of horn and branch are really good when they work, but good luck making it happen more than once or twice a game.

You will want to take advantage of their mobility. In this game, there's only so much space to move around to begin with, so their movement tends to be by fine degrees at shades that delay a clash, hopefully to the point where you whittle down the enemy to nothing, rather than stop it completely.

I can offer you a few thoughts with a caveat. I have by no means exhausted the Latari. So the builds here aren't the only thing you can do. I also tend to think of the game from the competitive stand-point, which is that all of my builds are looking at ways that I can push 6s and 7s into 8s/9s/10s. Some of the problem will be that you need to adapt your builds to the meta in your area. I am the only other player with Uthuk, so I know I'm not going to see Uthuk across the table. I have two other Waiqar and Daqan players, and I won't face a mirror with Latari. And within those factions, there are a lot of different builds that you can take, all of which play differently and pose different challenges to the Latari.

Here is the last major Latari list that I built:

Ventala Skirmishers [30] 2x2
Tempered Steel [3]
Hedge Shroud [2]
Total Unit Cost: 35

Deepwood Archers [30] 2x2
Tempered Steel [3]
Greenwatch Herald [3]
Rallying Starling [4]
Hunters Guile [4]
Total Unit Cost: 44

Prince Faolan [36] 1x1
Malcornes Bequest [6]
Etharyon of the Ailatar [5]
Total Unit Cost: 47

Aymhelin Scions [42] 2x2
Pathwalkers Amulet [3]
Fertile Soil [5]
Total Unit Cost: 50

Leonx Riders [18] 2x1
Rank Discipline [4]
Total Unit Cost: 22

It is built with all factions in mind, and it is built to maximize the different units. You can look through the games thread and find some games that Church and Jukey played, where Jukey took it on. It also breaks the mold on a couple of key points. And how you play it matters greatly whether you experience a middling result as in the Jukey/Church game, or my Daqan opponents throwing their arms up in the air and claiming "I don't really know what I'd do against that.

First, three major units can attack down range with rerolls. If you don't come up at this list, then it is just going to pelt you to death, and depending upon positioning and movement, the opening fire still might cause enough disruption that the opposing list just folds.

Second key, this involves a comprehensive reroll to green and blue strategy. You have the option of making the second roll toward green or blue depending upon circumstances and the runes.

Blue benefits: Faolan die, Scion armor

Green benefits: Get a touch more flexibility out of Pathwalkers, trigger Fertile Soil much more reliably, give more range to overgrown terrain, give more armor to Hedge Shroud.

If you face a fellow Latari who is rerolling to red for Fire Rune, that's just the life of the game, but even then, you're really back to an even game on runes, some of which will depend upon how both players manage the runes. I've got a local Daqan player who has been working with fire rune and the Daqan manipulation, for which the Latari rune manipulation is slightly better in that you can roll the first rune, see the result, and then decide what to do from there. Waiqar has no rune manipulation (though you are giving reanimates more regen) and Uthuk only throws a single rune. The runes are the real wildcard in this game, but everyone plays with the same rules there and learning to live with them is part of the game.

Beyond that, you generally want to deploy: Leonx, Prince Faolan, and then think carefully based on what the opponent has left and what you can see. probably the Archers since they have flexibility on where the overgrown goes, and you want your final two units ideally placed to block for them. From there, if you can get them, you want Scions and Ventala on units with which they match up favorably.

The core of the list: Ventala/Scions is strong enough that the opponent cannot choose to ignore them. And if they aren't deploying a unit each against them, one of them has a good chance of achieving a flank. The Leonx are an easy throw-away deployment, but you cannot afford to lose them. They hit extremely hard. What you want are concessions: You either force the opponent to devote more than 21 points of units or more time trying to chase down the Leonx, or they give you a flank against whatever is now held up by the main line. Faolan hangs back and tries to improve positioning. He's more utility, and I usually just have him engage last and late.

You won't see a lot of advocates for Fertile Soil, but I don't think I've seen anyone other than me put together Fertile Soil and Pathwalkers. You can almost always burn Pathwalkers to save a Scion wound, even if you only see one Green. You want to time it on a turn where it saves a figure, and then you heal back a wound at the end of the turn with Fertile Soil. If you can get it to trigger twice, it is point effective. Some of that is a matter of having two or more Green runes on a critical turn, but with rerolls to Green, you're much more likely to have the runes when you need it.

One thing to note about this list: The basic health value (wounds x armor) is 82. That is before you've taken into account any benefit that Fertile Soil, Pathwalkers, or Hedge Shroud might do. I think one thing that people do not think sufficiently through is the overall health of their lists that they bring to the table. Certain kinds of really cagey Latari lists might come in at the 60s, but it doesn't matter how cagey they are, Uthuk are very likely to corner them, and then they fold really quickly.

Combos: I think many of the combos are really well known. Archers have always been good with Fire Rune. Maegan was good with archers and Fire Rune, and now people are doing Ventala much more. I think one of the keys is learning what units tend to go better with what other units. Here are a few thoughts:

Aliana/Leonx: I'd take two good units that can redeploy. Resist the temptation to insist on it being a 2x3 or even two 2x2s. Those get expensive fast, and suddenly the opponent's eyes are drawn to them, which will leave them with options against them. A couple of 2x1s with Rank Discipline can be just as effective. Or perhaps a 2x1, 2x2, and then whatever you want in the list. Avoid being all archers and all Leonx. Both are squishy. You need something to block for the archers. I might go with a 3x2 CQT, or I might go with just one or two 2x1 Archers. The rest of the list, you can think out on your own. I also always try to look for ways to make sure all the units can be effective. I don't want a unit that will just be free points because it was the point filler at the end. And even a 2x1 naked Darnati is a threat.

Maegan: Ranged take Fortuna's dice. You'll probably want 2x1 Scions to hide behind. She's extremely squishy in this build, so she's got have blockers. She also basically takes the place of another archer unit you might be fielding. Fortuna's then fixes for maximum damage, depending upon runes. For melee, I'd just go Reaping Blade/Martial Magic/Dispatch Runner. Suddenly, she can tank things she should not ordinarily be able to tank, and the extra dice help her immensely in being able to spread damage around to other units. I've had her push through a 2x2 Carrion Lancer group before, because I weakened it by a figure with ranged fire on approach, and then Maegan delivered 2-3 wounds per strike. Sadly, I've not found a build I like that really uses her army-building ability.

Faolan: Mr. Flexible. You can build him to be a tank with Spirit Blade. You can build him to be support with either of the other two upgrades. I think of him as a big Ravos counter, or a Vorunthull stun counter. He's important to the Latari meta.

Ventala, I think, are absolutely critical to Latari being effective. That was a really badly needed release. The biggest key to understanding them is that they are both a ranged and melee unit. They come with a hit mod on the modifier dial in melee, and I think that's something you have to look at exploiting in a game. I'm extremely skeptical about 1x3 Ventala, probably a design bust, trapped in a space where they can only be a ranged unit, but will flake in a big way throughout a standard game. 2x1 with RD are solid. 2x2 are probably where it is at. Maegan does extremely well as a figure in them, and they are probably the best candidate for Hedge Shroud included in their pack. The 2x3 are probably deceptively good. That unit basically wants to keep being a reliable blocker: Take Honor Markings and suddenly the worst Fear traits in the morale deck do not affect you. Strength-1 morale tests decline to a 7 in 30 chance, IIRC, and it weakens some of the worst strength three. If you can put Hedge Shroud on the 2x3 and trigger it, it can very likely hold up anything in the game, which simply leaves you trying to use other units to whittle that down.

Scions: I think a poorly understood unit. Every faction gets more health per point from their siege units, so using them effectively in a list is key. Again, you need to balance their range and melee capabilities. It doens't take that many ranged attacks before they start outperforming other seige units at cost. They just won't stand up as well in a pure melee slugfest. I3 rally/armor-up is a really big one, but don't forget the green I-3 charge. It surprises people altogether too often.

Archers: Really the core to the Latari, good in almost all tray sizes. Please note that you get more damage out of the 2x1 per points, and anti-armor damage out of the 3x2, but 2x2 are the utility builds. In my opinion, too many 2x2 formations is a death sentence for a list, because you'll bog down the points in your list and not get nearly as much return for those points. With a 2x1, if it gets destroyed, it isn't a huge cost investment, and the opponent often has to take about 3 turns to do it, one to move up, one to charge, and one to reposition and get to the next target.

Darnati: the 2x1 is the best naked infantry in the game. 3x2 seems to be the real sweet spot, where you get access to your most important upgrades, pick up threat 3 on a really comparatively cheap platform. It can really end up anchoring your armor and providing the platform around which you can build.

Thanks @Vergilius for the lengthy, detailed, and very helpful suggestions. It seems like I was headed in the right direction with Hunter’s Guile, Overgrown, and Greenwatch Herald. What’s interesting is how my list design (in the Lists topics) forked from that point compared to some of your suggestions.

I guess I was thinking that Malicorne’s gives you some rune flexibility but takes up the artifact slot on one of your heroes reducing their impact. This is certainly a tradeoff to be aware of. I think TS is a better upgrade than Fire Rune as it makes your initial shot more effective and let’s you take your skill action for Wind Rune or some other purpose.

I also find your use of the Scions to be interesting. It seems like a lot of lists use them as throw away units to act as speed bumps giving your opponent free points. Your use plays nicely into the use of Green runes supported by Malicorne's. It just doesn’t seem like they hit that hard, though they can certainly take some damage and hand around.

I also noticed that you don’t have a big unit of Leonx Riders. In principle, the 2x1 gives you the same threat, but obviously less endurance and less upgrades such as Aliana, Raven Tabards, etc. It seems like this is the most maneuverable of the Latari units and has the best chance to get out of the way and make a flank attack. This is where I think we’re struggling as we trust our ability to maximize damage through upgrades and list building rather than positioning and maneuvering.

I like Hedge Shroud on the Ventala, in a unit where every figure matters, this has some lift.

Hopefully, this discussion helps some other newer Latari players. I’ll give your suggested list a try and let you know how it goes.

Glad you found the suggestions helpful!

For Malcorne's, you have to know that you want it. If you aren't building specifically for it, then it is a costly upgrade. You're right that it reduces hero impact. Several heroes, Faolan in particular, have builds that make them more of a utility piece that makes the entirety of the army better.

TS versus Fire Rune depends upon what you think of Ravos. I've seen too many games where Uthuk got across the map, and then the TS couldn't ready from the initial panic token interferring with Rally mechanics. At which point, the upgrade points felt wasted. Faolan fixes that by giving you a critical inspiration to start turn 1. Rallying Starling can be extremely clutch, too. You mention saving the skill for Wind Rune, but TS and Wind Rune take the same slot. Generally speaking, if you are taking TS, you go ahead and dial in the surge so that you auto-generate the damage from TS.

Something not to count out is the possibility of using a dialed surge and an odd surge on the dice to shift at the end of battle. That's a native Archer ability, and one that can change when the opponent can hit you with a charge by a turn, or possibly put it an initiative point or two later.

On Scions, I sat down with the math on every faction's siege units. We already knew Spined Threshers were good. I was simply curious whether too good, the opinion of conventional wisdom, was correct. And since I also play Latari, I was curious how to play Scions better. Basically all of them do comparable amounts of damage, they just go about it in different ways. Spined Threshers have brutal and red dice. Scions get three dice. The 1x1 does pathetic damage precisely because it is threat-1. The 2x1 can feel like it doesn't do much because you don't get rerolls. I've had it do amazing things. And I've had it be a real dud. On the topic of the 2x1, both at range and in melee, the real wildcard is that you will always have a benefit (stun token) out of the double-surge. You will also have a benefit any time you have mismatched surges across the dice. Granted, it isn't as good as the Leonx double-surge=hit, but when it comes to taking a hit modifier away, and in a unit that really wants to hold up the enemy, it is subtly better than anticipated. After all, you see a hit turn into 2 damage immediately, but you only recognize the stun taking away two or three on the next turn. Also, in the 2x2 or 3x2, the reroll makes that damage much more meaningful.

In short, basically you're right about their damage feeling a little lower in straight melee engagement. (Threshers 2x1 is 4.5 without the reroll, but approaches 6 on it, Scions without a reroll is 3.5, about 5 without). I might add that if you really want to boost Scion damage, you can take TS on them, something you can't do on Threshers. Still, I think they should be lower in melee compared to the other factions. They get a ranged attack at all, and one that can affect the flow of the game prior to melee engagement, and possibly affect the flow of the game after the initial clash and when you're looking to move. You shouldn't try to play them exactly like Carrion Lancers or Threshers. Like every other Latari unit, they require finesse.

I do love Leonx and think that 2x1, 2x2, and 2x3 have a place. One could start to look at ways to adjust the list. For example, taking the Scions down to a 2x1 and then bumping the Leonx to a 2x2. In fact, I reworked the upgrades and so forth, and one can certainly do that and still be at 198 points for a small bid. Scion damage goes down by 1.5. Leonx damage goes up by around 2 (sort of, since it is an exhaustible MoI, whereas the Scions always do their damage, not to mention the hit modifier on the dial). These kinds of things tend to be a wash. If you can't maneuver or plan with your 2x1 well, then it just feeds points to the opponent. They are squishy. But the same is also true of the 2x2. Some of the art is positioning. With a distance 6 coverage on the march, you can deploy in odd places early and then maneuver to where you need to get from afar. Not crazy far, mind you, but they don't need to be right on the flank of the rest of your units. And if the opponent lines up directly across from you, then adjustments to your positioning followed by distance-6 coverage can get them out of trouble.

The fun part about Leonx is the roll they occupy in the calvary comparison. Oathsworn can armor up, but are inflexible. Death Knights are naturally armor 3. Flesh Rippers have 3 wounds. But both of those units are more expensive, and at 40 points, each faction ends up buying the same overall wounds x armor. The Leonx simply end up with two more trays for their effort. Also, the ten point distance from 2x2 to 2x3 just isn't that expensive, and if you're looking for staying power, you get an awful lot for those points. So yes, I basically think that Leonx can and do shine. I'm just not building my list around Leonx.

For Leonx, go ahead and take the 2x3, put Aliana and MoI in it, plus Raven Taberds/Metered March. You should always be able to position where you can win the charge, so that's around 10 damage. Now, back it up with a 2x2 Archers, Simultenous Orders, Dispatch Runner, and Rallying Starling. The Starling usually readies MoI, so you're usually throwing white-white-blue-blue-red. Two ten damage attacks, sometimes before the opponent can answer will break all but a really heavy formation. For 2x2s, usually MoI, Metered March, and Raven Taberds, but if I really needed 10 points elsewhere, then maybe Aliana is here.

This is beautiful analysis. I would never have thought that Threshers were about the same damage as Scions. I think what makes Threshers so good compared to them is that they can take 10 damage, but as you said, the Scions have a ranged attack with some special effects thrown in. Then again, there’s so much balance hidden in the dials that often gets overlooked as well. That’s the other point we’re still getting our arms around...

on impact 3 blogspot there is nice analysis of a nimble and fragile but dangerous composition 2 2*2 leonx formations with impact 2 (heraldry upgrade with forgotten name), and rank discipline and aliana to move 1 of those pre-battle. there is enough place left for large archer block with maegan (fire or wind runed) and small tree bloke.

This army worked really well against many different opponents. jumpy cats *2 can make even large stars' owners scratch their heads how to avoid morale effects (3 impact 2 units with 2 out of three being able to jump before battle). Army that is flexible and irresistible like water.

I just picked up Latari, and I find this thread supremely helpful. Great insights! I'm mostly commenting to make sure I can find it again. 😁