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HERESY! Rokk It Wiv Style

There are easy picks that suit every warlord that can take them, and there are terrible picks that don't even suit the warlords they seemed to have been designed with in mind.

Somewhere inbetween there are a bunch of not-bad cards that for some reason get picked a lot, and a bunch of not-bad cards that often fall by the wayside.

Heresy is dedicated to that last group of cards!

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Keywords Are Great!

But you knew that already!

We love cards those efficient units that carry useful keywords, especially if those units synergise with their stats and abilities. These cards, in case you hadn't noticed, can be really damn effective:

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We've also got a love for cards that grant keywords in efficient ways.

There here cards are recognised as some of the best of the game:

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But there's a rarely loved card that grants a solid keyword, and it sees very little love. There are good reasons for this, but in the Heresy Laboratory, we don't let good reasons get in the way of trying things out!

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Time For Launch?

On paper, it looks alright. 1 resource to give ranged to an army unit, that sounds pretty reasonable. Ranged Units are really useful, as they essentially let you swing an extra time before your opponent does (thus eliminating key threats before they can swing), and can bloody a warlord before he's got time to retreat.

In practice, however, this card has some drawbacks that we need to know about if we want to use it intelligently.

1) It's wargear.

A lot of the best attacking units have the "No Wargear" rule. You start making picks that avoid "No Wargear", and you might end up making suboptimal choices.

2) It's two cards in one place without any increase in resilience.

This means that any control applied to the unit controls two cards at once (for example, if Eldorath exhausts your Rokkit Launcha wielding Evil Sunz Warbiker, he's just controlled two cards with one effect), and that the destruction of the unit means you lose two cards instead of one. This is somewhat problematic, as it means you are running a less efficient game, and lack of efficiency loses games.

3) Ranged is a one-off benefit, generally

If the unit carrying this attachment ends up back at HQ, you know that next time you commit you're gaining no benefit from an exhausted ranged unit.

4) It is telegraphed.

Why is Preemptive Barrage better than Rokkit Launcha?

Both cards cost the same.

Barrage enhances three units as a one-off, Rokkit Launcha enhances one unit permanently.
Barrage has two shields to Launcha's one, but of course Launcha is non-loyal to go with that.
Barrage is limited to Astra Militarum units, Rokkit Laucha is limited to units it can attach to.
Barrage can be Nullified, but Barrage you can pay for after you collect resources from command.

All those factors make Rokkit Launcha a tiny but worse than Barrage. What makes it a lot worse is telegraphing.

This is a term from martial arts and swordfighting. A swordsman who telegraphs his strikes is one whose arm and body movements betray his intentions, and this makes him much easier to counter. One of the big advances in wushu of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do was that a fluidity of forms and an emphasis on efficiency of movement reduced telegraphing, making it hard to counter.

The same is true of Preemptive Barrage. Yes, it needs a resource and a card in hand, but an opponent never really knows whether it is coming or not. Even better, a board position that looks to threaten it (say a couple of strike-strong Astra Militarum units on planet 1) might be enough to scare off an enemy warlord even if you don't have the card in hand. Hell, if you have it and you scare them off, you can make out that it was a feint when it wasn't.

Rokkit Launcha isn't as subtle as all that: it just sits there, a threat presented. If your opponent can deal with it, he turns up. If he can't, he doesn't.

Okay, Forget it!

Screw this card, next article, move along!

Just kidding, of course!

Let's look at the upsides:

1) Permanency

Rokkit Launcha stays in play. So if you can get it in a position where it can be used in more than one battle, it's happy days.

2) Not just for Astra Militarum

Orks and Chaos can use this one too, and they tend to be factions that can generate some nasty attack strengths, as well as having their own bag of synergistic tricks.

3) Played in the Deploy Phase

Wait, didn't we just say this was a downside?
Not if you're using Ammo Depot, which loves cards which cost less than 2 resources and which clear out of your hand in the deploy phase.

4) An attachment

Relevant really for two cards, Warpstorm and Nullify.

So how can we accentuate the positives and mitigate the negatives?

Get Ready...

It's painful if you get your big killer unit all set up, then that bastard Eldorath comes up and says "exhaust that one". It's likewise painful to have you killer unit, and needing to win the next battle, but that killer unit is in HQ.

So we need some means to ready our killer unit.

There's a bunch of effects that ready cards that don't help us here: Cadian Mortar Squad already has ranged, Ancient Keeper of Secrets can't take wargear, targets for Keep Firing generally can't take wargear, Vanguard soldier comes too late.

There's a small number that DO help us:

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Let's keep these in mind as we deckbuild, but these are almost the no-brainer choices: you want to include at least a copy or two of the readying effects you can access.

Get Steady...

A deck needs to be solid overall. That means we need to have enough command, enough shields and enough combat performance if we don't draw the card we're building around.

At the same time, we want cards that will really benefit from our attachment of choice.

Its this sort of deck where a Shoota Mob or Goff Boyz MIGHT be better than a Void Pirate, but don't count on that! Assess the whole deck's shape! We have to look at all these options and think out the pros and cons.

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And finally, lets think about how we maximise the benefit of a big ranged strike.

Broadly, it comes down to movement. Moving from HQ to play, moving from one planet to another.

Here's the cards to think on:

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I can't emphasise enough how important movement is going to be for a Rokkit Launcha centred deck: essentially, if you're relying on presenting a big threat, then movement multiplies the magnitude of that threat.

Stuff that moves only to first planet is going to be less useful, as it stops you being able to play the Rokkit Launcha unit to planet 1, and then move it to the next planet you want to win. However, you can be subtle, and stick that unit at the next planet you want, commit lightly to planet one 1 and hope that the threat scares people off.

Likewise, cards that are very limited in how they move you might not be such a good idea, as you need option versatility.

Broadly, every option here has its pros and cons, and we're going to look at some different builds using different movement options!

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Deck One: Nazdreg Likes to Move It Move It

Momentum: that's the name of this game.

Back in the early days of the LCG, we talked a lot about the "snowball game", where you send a load of units to planet 1 and then commit again and again to planet 1 to win the game. Actually, as a deck archetype that never really emerged, as a canny opponent could always concentrate force to deny you one of the planets you needed for a win, and use the elongated game to let his command advantage show. Instead, people started talking about "command snowballing", a sure sign of recognition of the importance of the long term game.

With the elite meta, things have swung back another way. An old gaming opponent of mine at Gamerz Nexus (a kid called Ethan) used to be infamous for just dropping an Ultramarines Dreadnought on planet 1, and forgetting about command. Needless to say, it rarely worked. Nowadays, with the new elite economy, that kind of approach is back in vogue.

This deck shows another way to "snowball": not neglecting command completely, but basically relying on being able to present continuous aggression at key planets with less of that hanging around exhausted after commitment.

Total Cards: (51)

Yep, we're still doing 51 card decks. Sue me.

1x Nazdreg (Core Set)

Nazdreg is a natural fit for Launcha decks, as his ability lets you generate attack power.

Army Unit: (29)
4x Nazdreg’s Flash Gitz (Core Set)
3x Blood Axe Strategist (Searching for Truth)
2x Boss Zugnog (The Great Devourer)
1x Crushface (Core Set)
3x Evil Sunz Warbiker (The Threat Beyond)
3x Rogue Trader (Core Set)
3x Shoota Mob (Core Set)
2x Snake Bite Thug (The Threat Beyond)
3x Standard Bearer (Legions of Death)
3x Void Pirate (Core Set)
2x Kommando Sneakaz (Jungles of Nectavus)

Strategist lets you get your Rokkit Launcha at planet 1 to next turn's planet 1. Just don't put the Launcha on the Strategist.
Zugnog moves you the other way, covering an upstream planet and then swooping in the Rokkit Launcha if they come to planet one. Also, he's a great carrier for the Launcha itself.
Then we've got 3 standard bearers and 2 sneakaz, for those untaps, which you'll be grateful for against Eldorath, and which give extra firepower against those decks that don't auto-exhaust you.

Attachment: (7)
1x Cybork Body (Core Set)
3x Promotion (Core Set)
3x Rokkit Launcha (Core Set)

Promotion is a necessity here, as our command game isn't all that. Note that as this deck doesn't draw fast we can't rely on getting Rokkit Launchas: the deck is designed to operate even if they don't turn up.

Event: (12)
2x Bigga is Betta (Core Set)
2x Battle Cry (Core Set)
2x Inspirational Fervor (Deadly Salvage)
1x No Mercy (Core Set)
2x Smash ‘n Bash (The Howl of Blackmane)
3x Squiggify (Descendants of Isha)

Fervor keeps momentum going, Smash n' Bash is more readying. Everything else is utility.

Support: (3)
1x Kraktoof Hall (Core Set)
1x Tellyporta Pad (Core Set)
1x Clearcut Refuge (Unforgiven)

Tellyporta pad for more Zugnog-like tricks, but more flexibly. Mostly, Pad is a command play, letting you send Nazdreg somewhere other than Planet 1.
Clearcut Refuge doesn't especially synergise, but just is a little nod to the fact that effective conventional Nazdreg decks do exist, and are probably better than this one. You know, Enraged Orks, Sanctioned Psykers, Squiggoth Brutes...
Every time you lose a game, pull out Clearcut Refuge, scowl at it, and remember that the path of the Heretic is not an easy one.

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Deck Two:

The Kult of Zogwort

Unless you've been consciously avoiding Conquest for the last few months, you'll probably have noticed that the new hotness is Elite decks, and that Venomous Fiend is one of its star players. In fact, as far as the meta goes, I'm often asserting that Kith/chaos with Venomous Fiends is the top deck right now, with all the right mix of command, threat, control, movement and choke in place.

This isn't that deck. It isn't even the Ork-based version of the deck that runs 3 Squiggifies and wishes it had more control options. This is the crazy version that believes that Rokkit Launchas make everything better!

Total Cards: (51)

1x Old Zogwort (Zogwort's Curse)

Zogwort's main advantage over Nazdreg is that he operates well in isolation, freeing up your warlord commitment dial and keeping telegraphing to a minimum.

Army Unit: (25)
4x Zogwort’s Runtherders (Zogwort's Curse)
3x Chaos Fanatics (Core Set)
3x Possessed (Core Set)
3x Rogue Trader (Core Set)
3x Shoota Mob (Core Set)
3x Splintered Path Acolyte (Core Set)
3x Venomous Fiend (Legions of Death)
3x Void Pirate (Core Set)

25 units is a low count, which can give consistency issues, but we still have a decent command base here, and critically many of our other cards are deployable too, which keeps our number of deploy turns up.
In terms of choice of elites, there some notable features here: both Possessed and Venomous Fiend can benefit from and receive Rokkit Launcha, and both are daemons, which helps us discount them.

Attachment: (9)
1x Wyrdboy Stikk (Zogwort's Curse)
2x Mark of Slaanesh (Unforgiven)
3x Promotion (Core Set)
3x Rokkit Launcha (Core Set)

I don't use Mark of Slaanesh normally, but it synergises nicely with Venomous Fiend and Possessed, increasing the movement in your deck. Don't be afraid to put a 1-for-1 to planet 1 and stick a Mark on it: it keeps command spread up, and it can trigger Fiend or move in a threatening Possessed if sniped.

Event: (8)
2x Launch Da Snots (Zogwort's Curse)
3x Promise of Glory (Core Set)
3x Backlash (Legions of Death)

In this deck we've got too many eggs in one basket, using big elites with an attachment. You can't let them die trivially, so Backlash > Squiggify.

Support: (9)
1x Zogwort’s Hovel (Zogwort's Curse)
3x Ammo Depot (Gift of the Ethereals)
3x Corrupted Teleportarium (What Lurks Below)
2x STC Fragment (Legions of Death)

Ammo Depot fits well with the deck's cost curve and style, while Teleportarium keeps the fiends and possessed moving about.

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Deck Three:
Zarathur Done Wrong

As a Zarathur fan through and through, this was a hard one to build. I'm ever torn with Zarathur. Is the optimal current Zarathur deck the one which goes DE for stronger command, combined with three copies of Sathariel the Invokator and heavy use of chaos power event cards? Or is it the old fashioned Zara/ork swarm deck, with Frontline 'Ardboyz added on to make things safer? Regardless, there are some definite easy choices: Promise to Glory, Plaguebeast, and so on.

But even followers of chaos can evoke cries of horror when they challenge "chaos orthodoxy", and this is one very crazy way of doing it. Will it work? Try it and see, that's the Heresy way!

Total Cards: (51)

1x Zarathur, High Sorcerer (Core Set)

Army Unit: (29)
4x Zarathur’s Flamers (Core Set)
3x Burna Boyz (Core Set)
3x Chaos Fanatics (Core Set)
2x Front line ‘Ard Boyz (Boundless Hate)
3x Rogue Trader (Core Set)
3x Void Pirate (Core Set)
3x Splintered Path Acolyte (Core Set)
2x Heretek Inventor (The Howl of Blackmane)
3x Shoota Mob (Core Set)
3x Rotten Plaguebearers (Gift of the Ethereals)

Well, I've saved myself doing a Heresy article on Burna Boyz: a card much unloved since its inception.
Here we have a card that under Zarathur does 6 damage in an attack, with a splash of 2 damage on the side. No, its not a great card, but it does fit this deck.

Attachment: (10)
1x Mark of Chaos (Core Set)
3x Promotion (Core Set)
3x Rokkit Launcha (Core Set)
3x Mark of Slaanesh (Unforgiven)

Mark of Slaanesh's primary purpose is to get your Rokkit Launcha unit back to planet 1. Play a Splintered Path Acolyte or a Zarathur's Flamers: let it leave play in the deploy phase, move your ranged burna boyz back in.
Not exactly efficient, but lets aim at that play anyway!

Event: (11)
2x Infernal Gateway (Core Set)
3x Warp Rift (The Final Gambit)
3x Tzeentch’s Firestorm (Core Set)
3x Smash ‘n Bash (The Howl of Blackmane)

I admit, six of the cards here are pretty much just for their 2-shielders. Smash'n'Bash, however, synergises with Rokkit Launcha and also with Rotten Plaguebearers.

Support: (1)
1x Shrine of Warpflame (Core Set)


Alright, we all know that all three of those warlords have great known conventional decks behind them. Though they play surprisingly solidly, these aren't tourney-quality decks.

Hey, I'm working with Rokkit Launcha here!

Hopefully though, what this deck does achieve is to make you think "hmm, rokkit launcha might work if instead of doing what Asklepios did, I did THIS instead." Or, it might even make you think "I'll drop in a single copy of Rokkit Launcha into my deck, see what happens.".

Either way, job done!

  • VonWibble, Lemonbrick and Zouavez like this


You inspired me to make a Rokkit Launcha ranged deck with Holy Fusillade--should be fun! :D

    • SlaaneshDevotee likes this

Holy Fusillade? Some cards are too out-there even for me. :)

    • VonWibble and estyles like this

That much straighten in a deck, almost makes me want to play Huge Chain Choppa

I remember the last time I tried using Rokkit Launcha was to try and make use of another fringe card: Alpha Legion Infiltrator.  Didn't go all that well, to be honest.


Incidentally, is there a reason the third deck doesn't include Rokkit Launcha?  Decided that the deck is better without it?

    • VonWibble likes this
Sep 08 2016 12:48 AM
I love that zogwort deck. Never played him before, might give it a go. You also appear to have left the rokkits out of the Zara deck....

I remember the last time I tried using Rokkit Launcha was to try and make use of another fringe card: Alpha Legion Infiltrator.  Didn't go all that well, to be honest.


Incidentally, is there a reason the third deck doesn't include Rokkit Launcha?  Decided that the deck is better without it?




right, its meant to be in there. Will edit it.