Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Rise, Fall, and Future Relevancy of Kayazy

Kayazy (most specifically Assassins, but this discussion applies generally to Eliminators as well) are a very interesting unit to study the trend of. Here is a unit type that was beyond popular at one point (ubiquitous may be more accurate,) then due to meta changes has becomes so scarce that I've seen new players asking if they're "worth it" anymore.

Sometimes I forget this unit exits, and I own two of them!
This shift has been interesting to me for a few reasons:
  1. Although this has happened many times in the course of the Warmachine meta shifting (it's the nature of the beast, really,) few factions if any have felt a shift as hard as Khador did this one. When Kayazy were "it" they were the backbone of many lists and the inability to rely on that option (combined with other factors that forced further list revision/innovation) threw the Khador meta into a crisis of confidence it is only now recovering from.
  2. The change wasn't a "silver bullet" moment; no one release came out that caused the shift and it didn't seem like PP was specifically trying to address the issue of Iron Fleshed Kayazy running rampant. More that a series of releases did a lot to lessen the strength of light infantry, and the culmination of those releases is a meta where you cannot rely on light infantry to carry the day anymore (which likewise sounded the death knell of some formerly extremely potent list builds.)
  3. The shift led to less of a reduction and more of an outright abandonment of using the unit. This, to me, is the most surprising (and sometimes baffling moment.) While I understand not including Kayazy with high frequency, it's rare that you find them in Khador lists anymore. Even Eliminators, which are cheaper and less of an investment, haven't really been used much. A podcast I listened to recently (the inaugural episode of "C.R.A.") made an offhand comment that Kayazy are "a Merc unit now" and while I don't agree with the sentiment, I definitely see the trends supporting it.
So, what's the deal with Kayazy? How'd they'd go from meta skewing juggernauts to unwanted prom dates? And, possibly most importantly, is there any hope for future relevancy for them?

Join me after the break as I walk through the history and present of Kayazy (in relative brief) and attempt to answer those questions.

The Wild West:
First, lets hit on why every Khador player owned one unit of Kayazy Assassins going into Mk. 2: in Mk. 1 they were deliciously broken and nuts.

A fair bit of their kit stayed the same: they were still DEF 14, ARM 11 models with Stealth and Tactics: Duelist from their UA. Their "mini-feat" is the exact same as it was back then, and they're even relatively the same cost as they were back then. There are three major differences between their original incarnations and current rules, listed in relative severity:
  1. The Underboss made the unit Fearless while he was leading it. As someone that's had this unit fail command checks at inopportune times in Mk. 2, this is one of the changes that I miss (and wasn't necessarily over the top.)
  2. The Underboss had a Chain Attack! I don't remember the specifics, but I believe it was something like "target has to forfeit movement or action next turn." Pretty sweet on it's own, and it wombo-comboed grossly with the third point.
  3. The unit had a rule called "Ventilate", which was their workhorse rule. Whenever a model in the unit hit an enemy model with a melee attack, after determining normal damage the enemy model suffered one point of damage for every other Kayazy Assassin engaging the enemy model.
Ventilate is what made the unit and it's also what broke the unit. Automatic damage is always potent, and it was extremely powerful when you could pour lumps of it onto key enemy models (such as their 'caster.) The UA could do three attacks alone with his Chain Attack, which made him capable of easily dumping 9-15 damage onto a target by himself (and that's without any damage his actual attacks do.) Combine that with other ballbusters like Vlad2's Mk. 1 Feat (additional attack with all melee weapons and boosted attack and damage rolls,) and you had a truly terrifying, wonderfully busted unit.

I distinctly remember one game where I was able to charge Kayazy to an opponent's knocked down 'caster in Mk. 1. After getting the Underboss and two other models into charge range, I ran as many Kayazy as possible into melee, ran the math, and told my opponent that his 'caster was dead. No dice rolls necessary. I didn't use the Assassins often in Mk. 1 after that (and it wasn't like there was much Mk. 1 left after Warmachine: Legends.)

The Golden Age of Light Infantry:
So now we see why everyone who played Khador or Mercs had a unit of Kayazy Assassins heading into Mk. 2 (the ones that didn't were mostly those that absolutely couldn't stand the sculpts.) With the Mk. 2 "level set" of rules, I felt like the Kayazy would take a solid beating with the nerf bat (justifiably so after their Mk. 1 version) and be reduced to a nice niche option.

Much to my surprise, Kayazy stayed absolutely excellent in Mk. 2, and I'd argue that they actually ended up better off as a whole. They traded Ventilate for Gang, which is a strict downgrade in terms of broken rules, but it's a tremendous upgrade in terms of allowing the unit to be able to do work. One of the issues I had with Mk. 1 Kayazy was that they were kind of inaccurate for a unit designed around assassinating higher DEF models (warcasters.) Due to Khador's low amount of infantry accuracy buffs it pigeon-holed them into a small number of lists, making them kind of a specialist unit due to necessity. Plus, out of all the Iron Flesh 'casters, only Irusk1 was able to buff their accuracy and even then only on feat turn, so there was kind of a trade off between having maximum offensive output from them (the Vlads) and having gross defense (anyone with Iron Flesh.)

With Gang, all of that goes out the window. Now the unit is MAT 9, P+S 12 when it needs to be, which is an extremely respectable melee stat line. They lost their ability to reliably (read: effortlessly) kill 'casters, but traded it for a solid bid at killing everything. Without a need or reliance on accuracy buffs, it became much easier and more effective to run Assassins with the Iron Flesh 'casters to really skew towards high DEF. Add to that the fact that two of Khador's Iron Flesh 'casters have sizable damage buffs - Butcher1 and Irusk1 - and you have the makings of a meta bender.

Another factor is what people were playing at the start of Mk. 2. The new edition started off with players excited about the possibility of running more warjacks, but that quickly faded to the wayside as everyone digested the new rule set. Once the dust settled and players found lists they were comfortable with, you maybe encountered one more warjack than you would have in Mk. 1, but Warmachine was still a game ruled by infantry (give or take a Protectorate.)

Kayazy were perfectly poised to exploit the meta: they are excellent at killing other single wound infantry, they could handle moderately tough models (many medium based infantry, warbeasts, some warjack types) on their own, and anything that they couldn't crack on their own could be solved with a quick application of Fury or Battle Lust. The Kayazy were decently well protected on the approach thanks to Stealth and a meta wide lack of blast damage/auto-jumps and they were absolute nightmares once they got stuck in (DEF 16 in melee is bad enough against your average list; DEF 19 is a morale crusher.)

One thing that was fascinating to me during this period was how little the meta was actually doing to counteract the potency of Kayazy. When something becomes a scourge/meta-bender lists adjust to account for it and it seemed like there were plenty of options available: blast damage (very popular in factions like Khador and Protectorate,) auto-leaps (Cygnar), and models that can ignore Stealth (less common initially but ATGM + UA have been around since the Mk. 2 change over) do a great job of thinning them out quickly.

After thinking about it and looking back on how the meta was back then, I think it was a combination of a lot of factors. Cygnar has been poised to be Kayazy poison since Mk. 2 started, but at the start of Mk. 2 they weren't nearly as popular as they are now (likewise with Mercs, who can also bring ATGM + UA.) Protectorate didn't really start to leverage their blast damage heavily until the "Protectorate Gunline" style cropped up, which took a little while to come into being. And on the Hordes side, most factions didn't get solid anti-Kayazy measures (that were also applicable in a general meta sense) until their Forces book models started coming out like Stalkers (with Kromac) and Bombers, which also took a little while.

As those releases started coming out, Protectorate lists started to evolve into gunlines of woe, and Cygnar started to pick up popularity, Kayazy stated to get reined in (along with the general light infantry spam of the age.) However, some big things were around the corner that would kill the viability of light infantry based lists...

A Huge Change To The Game:
Warmachine: Wrath and Colossals changed the landscape of the game dramatically, and no single archtype of model was hit harder than light infantry (many would argue justifiably so.) This one-two punch of release cycles introduced some crucial components that essentially killed the viability of light infantry based lists and pushed a lot of Khador players to bench Kayazy Assassins.

Several factors came together to cause this meta shift:

  1. Battle Engines - Almost all of the Battle Engines bring some significant anti-infantry tool to the table, many have multiple attacks, and almost all of them are ranged focused. All of those factors combine to make models that are excellent at erasing light infantry models from the table in big chunks.
  2. General Increase of Anti-Infantry Tools - Even excluding Battle Engines, many factions received excellent anti-infantry options that allowed them to have a much better game against light infantry spam. A standout example is are the Cataphract Incindiarii; Skorne went from having few good light infantry answers to having an absolutely stellar one, all in one release cycle.
  3. Colossals - Many colossals bring additional infantry haterade to the table, but there's a much bigger factor (no pun intended this time) at play with these models that makes them a natural enemy of light infantry. Unlike their smaller counterparts, colossals are relatively sturdy models that take some work to put down and you often want to be able to do that in a short time frame to minimize reprisal. Light infantry are often poorly equipped in this regard - they don't hit especially hard (mostly being optimized to kill other infantry) and they almost all lack Reach which makes it harder to bring them to bear against a single target (even a Huge based one.)
  4. Faction Popularity Upswings - Stormwall and Galleon (as well as the Earthbreaker, but it was released into a "post-Kayazy scarcity" world) were revolutionary releases for their respective factions. They are powerful, game changing models, and as a result you're seeing many more people play Cygnar or Mercs now than you would have prior to their release (two factions which are pretty well equipped to hate on light infantry even without the additions of the past few release cycles.)
  5. Steamroller Changes - The yearly revisions of the Steamroller format always have a big impact on the meta, and I think it's no different when it comes to light infantry. Steamroller scenarios have slowed down over the years (no more "one turn" wins, "two turn" wins are much harder) which puts an emphasis on models with some staying power (to give you more time to contest/control zones.) Light infantry are often poorly equipped in that regard; if anything touches them they usually die, which makes them a poor choice for long term scenario play.
All of those factors (and others I'm doubtless glossing over/missing) have created a meta where light infantry can't really serve as your "line" infantry anymore, and that has meant a big decrease in Kayazy Assassin popularity. Other types of light infantry have survived thanks to flexibility (in Khador, Nyss and WGI are both still excellent options, just not something you can probably carry a game with,) but Assassins have the dubious distinction of being a melee light infantry unit, so they've been sidelined for other, more meta relevant melee options (most commonly the Iron Fang Pikemen.)

Moving Forward:
That brings us to where Kayazy have been for the past couple of years (if not longer): reduced from a mainstay infantry unit to one that you rarely see. To an extent, I think that is a good thing. 

Kayazy Assassins never struck me as a unit that was really supposed to be a "core" unit for Khador; they're kind of skewed and specialized. They happened to have a time where their kit of abilities (combined with some of the buffs Khador can throw around) were meta-bendingly relevant, but that was inevitably going to change. I don't like how far the pendulum has swung the other way to where Kayazy Assassins are rarely taken (but more on that in a moment), but I honestly prefer it to the skewed approach Khador lists trended towards at the start of Mk. 2.

That said, I think the meta will eventually settle into an equilibrium where you'll start to see Kayazy Assassins again, but as the specialized infantry they always felt designed to be. I think they still have a lot of value in the right lists; the trick is finding which lists are those right lists.

The hard truth is that Kayazy Assassins aren't nearly as "easy" to use anymore. There was a time when putting Iron Fleshed Kayazy on the table would have been enough to skew a game in your favor all by itself. Now you're just as likely to run into lists that have reliable answers to the Kayazy before you can really get them stuck in or, in the worst cases, answers that work even after you get stuck in. With that consideration in mind, you then need to consider how well the rest of your list can a) deal with anything that's a huge threat to the Kayazy and/or b) pick up the slack when/if the Kayazy are neutralized. That adds a great deal of complexity to list building along with adding additional match up considerations.

Additionally, Kayazy Assassins can be difficult to use when you have to apply them semi-cautiously. They're SPD 6, non-Pathfinder, non-Fearless melee models without Reach, so getting them into combat can be tricky, especially if you're looking to engineer charges with them (which can be clutch against harder targets or if you're attempting to start an infantry trade favorably.) You used to be able to get away with running into combat and sorting out melee afterwards, but often that isn't a good option, so you're left playing a careful game of spacing and inter-unit waving. That is necessary with almost all infantry units, but it feels even more important to manage Kayazy Assassin numbers carefully due to probable importance of Gang (many times you need Assassins at MAT 9 or P+S 12 to do the job,) as well as their lack of Reach. If you end up out of position after a round of combat (due to casualties, mis-placement, etc,) it can cost you attacks that you may not be able to afford to lose out on. Its harder to manage that turn-by-turn than working with a unit that has guns or Reach.

Reasons to Reconsider Kayazy:
In many ways, I see Kayazy Assassins as now being in the position that Iron Fang Pikemen formerly occupied in meta list discussion when light infantry were ruling the tables. Then as now, the unit in question is still very usable and useful, but the meta and community consensus points players towards leaning on the more obviously effective option (then Kayazy, now IFP.) It's even the same roles being reversed: IFP used to be more fiddly and hard to use, but the IFK and BD UA have made it much easier to use the unit aggressively so now the Kayazy are the ones you need a more delicate hand with.

The difference between then and now is that I don't think it's an "instead of" question anymore. IFP have cemented their place of value in Khador lists (I'd argue that they never really left, but I understand why many players shied away from them for a long time,) and I don't see that changing anytime soon if ever. Part of that was the meta shifting to make IFP more relevant and necessary. I don't think the meta is going to shift that way for Kayazy (god help us all if that happens,) but what probably will happen is that the meta will shift enough to allow Kayazy to slot back into rotation.

If it's not there already (and I think it mostly is) then it will be in the near future. As lists evolve to deal with high ARM (coming from colossals and the warjacks, warbeasts, and heavy infantry that people are bringing to take them down,) they naturally lighten up on the things that are best at killing Kayazy in droves. I don't think light infantry hate will ever go away (if nothing else from players remembering that they need to respect light infantry or get overwhelmed by it,) but if it lightens up enough then you have a situation where a unit like Kayazy Assassins can be considered more often. 

The combat efficacy of the Kayazy Assassins hasn't really diminished - MAT 9, P&S 12 models are still very effective in the game, and Khador can still easily buff them enough to do work well above their weight class. Kayazy Assassins represent an interesting intersection for Khador: they're some of the most accurate and hard hitting models you can bring for their cost and unit size. Models like IFP or Nyss bring other compelling offensive factors to the table, but neither of them have such strong innate melee flexibility while also maintaining a solid volume of offensive output (IFP can scale up their accuracy with CMA, but it starts to kill their volume of attacks very quickly.) That level of melee potency and flexibility is hard to find, and it's a very compelling reason to put Assassins on the table.

Kayazy Assassins are still defensively obnoxious. At absolute bare minimum, they're DEF 14 models with Stealth. There are plenty of options out there that will shred them (blast damage and ATGM + UA are two of the most common terrors,) but there are just as many models out there that can't efficiently deal with them at range. When Kayazy get into melee they become even more of a pain to get rid of - DEF 16 in melee is a giant pain in the ass for a majority of models to deal with. Most of the times my Kayazy have been easily dealt with are with ranged elements; most of the time when they can make it to melee they do a fine job of being a problem. Iron Flesh makes both "phases" more obnoxious for your opponent: DEF 17 on the approach helps against direct shots, and DEF 19 in melee typically makes Assassins nigh-invincible against everything but dedicated "anti-IF Assassins" tech.

The meta has irreversibly shifted to almost always have something on the table that can threaten Kayazy Assassins, but unlike previous eras in the meta you're much less likely to see prolific light infantry hate. If parts of your list can neutralize the primary threats to your Kayazy, they'll have a much easier time of things and can possibly run the table like days of old (though those moments will be much less frequent.) That means that you can't afford to built lists of light infantry, but it you damn sure can include them as part of a combined list build. Kayazy astride Nyss or WGI make for a more template/auto-leap rich environment, but Kayazy astride BD IFP ask your opponent two different questions that they need different tools to answer. And they've only got a couple of turns to figure that out before they're dealing with the problem face to face.

The biggest things that Kayazy Assassins have going for them (and what make them particularly good compliments for units like IFP) are: self sufficiency and mobility.

Kayazy Assassins have a rule for most things you'd be concerned about: Gang for melee accuracy and damage, Stealth to mitigate some ranged attacks, good DEF for dodging attacks, Duelist to jack that up a notch, and Parry for flexibility of movement. Moreover, all of these abilities are "always on", so your opponent can't circumvent them by doing things like preventing orders, shifting your models, etc. Barring possible command or Pathfinder needs, you can rely on Kayazy Assassins to do a certain volume of work on their own.

"Mobility" is an odd term for a unit that doesn't have any particular speed or movement gimmicks, but it feels fitting for Kayazy Assassins. The reason is that, unlike most other Khador units, Kayazy Assassins very rarely have a reason not to be running/charging; they don't have Orders like Shield Wall or Bob and Weave to slow them down/force certain formations, and they don't have guns. That combined with their suite of defensive abilities allows you to run them very aggressively or make big moves with them (re-deployments, mid game table shifts, etc,) that you couldn't really afford to make with other units.

These factors make Kayazy Assassins an excellent flanking/secondary unit, and they do a lot to compliment a unit like the BD IFP. In that context, I think Kayazy Assassins have a lot of value, and there are a number of Khador 'casters that can run that unit configuration very effectively - any of the Vlads, Butcher1, either Irusk - so I think it's worth keeping in the mental Rolodex when putting a list together.

Bite Sized Assassination:
90% of what I've said about Kayazy Assassins applies to their mini-unit offshoot - the Kayazy Eliminators - but there are some key differences that set the two units apart (and often make Eliminators easier to fit into lists.)

The first and most obvious is size. Kayazy Assassins are a "full unit": six to ten models for 5/8 points, which almost always includes the UA, so seven to eleven models for 7/10 points. While that isn't particularly expensive, it is more than most lists have for "wiggle room" points, especially since you'll often be wanting to take the unit at max size with a UA to maximize attacks and mitigate losses.

Eliminators come in a much smaller package: two models for 3 points. It's actually better to look at the Eliminators as sort of a two model solo than a unit; so much of their output tends to rely on Gang that they often don't operate as a unit would (i.e. spreading out and attacking multiple targets.) That difference in size means that Eliminators are a much lower ROI for buffs (since you're only affecting two models instead of 6-11,) and it's harder to include "problem solver" models like Saxon just on their account. If Assassins are useful for their self-sufficiency, Elminators are defined by it; they are almost always operating on their own, via their own merits (give or take an AOE buff or Vlad2 feat.)

That lower point cost (3/6 vs. 7/10) makes it much, much easier to drop a unit (or two) of Eliminators into a list versus trying to free up the points for a unit of Assassins (plus near mandatory UA.) For this reasons Eliminators are often seen as "Assassins-lite": similar role and board presence, but at a much lower cost and with a much lower model count.

However, the second area where Elminators differ - and why I think they need to be considered differently than Assassins - is in the role they serve. As previously mentioned, Elminators are closer to a solo or pair of solos than a unit in terms of output. Often the pair will be duo-ed up on a target to take advantage of Gang, or they will be making individual Combo Strikes at key targets. Rarely have I found it beneficial to have them each try and Sidestep through a unit with individual attacks, unless you can get some kind of buff on them (against many models either their MAT or P+S end up being a barrier to them getting kills reliably and Gang is hard to engineer on multiple targets.)

Eliminators work best when they can focus on a single target; P+S 15 Combo Strikes are no joke, especially when they're coming off a 1.5 point model. That makes them sort of the inverse of Assassins - Assassins can deal with multiple targets well thanks to model count and Gang, but they have issues piling on a single target effectively due to lack of Reach - and as such they should mostly be considered for scalpel style jobs. Solos are awesome targets for Eliminators (very few solos in the game will survive a charge from one of the ladies, let alone both,) as are high value infantry (cavalry models) and of course warcasters if you get lucky enough to line up on one of those. When all else fails, Gang + Combo Strike allows them to do a very respectable amount of damage on the charge against most heavy warnouns, and then they should do a good job of jamming them up.

Which brings me the third area where Eliminators differ from Assassins: survivability. In some ways, they're very much the same - Elminators rely on Stealth to cut down on ranged attacks, and high DEF and Duelist to frustrate opponents in melee. What makes the Eliminators a cut above is that they start off at a nimbly-bimbly DEF value of 15, which makes them just that much harder to hit in and out of melee, and they have wounds which makes their ARM 11 less of a liability (they'll still die to many direct hits, but lots of blast damage doesn't automatically kill them.) This enhanced survivability is nice, and crucial; once one of the Eliminators goes down the damage output of the unit drops fairly significantly, and of course you get to make one of those command checks that Kayazy love so much. Their fixed unit size and FA: 2 ensures that you can't really exploit their improved durability for much, but Eliminators can do a fine job of jamming/stalling enemy models after they get stuck in.

And that brings me to the last difference between the two units, which is mobility. Eliminators are even faster (SPD 7 instead of 6) and more mobile (Acrobatics all the time instead of Parry + Acrobatics minifeat) than their Assassin counterparts, which makes them that much more adept at getting places your opponent really doesn't want them. They can charge right through enemy lines to get to key models (UA Officers, for example,) or they can leapfrog your units to help out in combat (or possibly un-jam your own models.) Combine Eliminator's higher DEF with their higher SPD, you have a unit that can engage enemy models from very far off and be a quite a pain to remove.

If this makes the unit sound awesome and useful, that's because it is! They're one of the best releases Khador has gotten in Mk. 2 so far, and I'm honestly stunned that I don't see them more often. I'm sure the barrage of anti-infantry measures has something to do with it, as well as how difficult it can be to adjust your list to fit in a pair or quartet of these ladies, but I've never regretted bringing them. They severe a very different purpose than Assassins do (and one that's probably easier to get a return on game-to-game,) which is great because then you can have a list that includes both flavors of Kayazy (though admittedly I haven't been ballsy enough to try that yet.)

The Takeaway:
Kayazy Assassins have been through one helluva ride since Mk. 2 started. Big meta changes have redefined the role of light infantry in the context of the game, and many (myself included) would say that it's a change that needed to happen for the good of the game. Khador players especially have been struggling to find relevancy for the Assassins in the new meta, and in some cases they're being abandoned wholesale.

Kayazy Eliminators still see play here and there (as they should, they're fantastic,) but they're also much easier to slot into lists (being a cheap investment) and they're much easier to manage in game. Even with those considerations, Eliminators are surprisingly sparse given how potent they can be.

My reason for writing this post is because I, like a lot of Khador players, have been passing over Kayazy a lot when making my lists. I was never one to use them often, and with the current meta being kind of ugly for them I became even less likely to take them.

When making my recent Vlad2 list, however, I found that they were one of the better options to slot in for an infantry unit. And though they've run into their fare share of ugly moments (Cygnar murders them wholesale, film at 11,) I've been very pleasantly surprised by how generally solid they still are. They ask your opponent a very potent melee question that isn't always easy to answer, not all lists are well equipped to deal with them, and even when things are stacked against the Kayazy you can usually figure out some way for them to still be a bit of thorn in your opponent's side (just like most other 5/8 infantry.)

So this is a message to all the Khador players out there: don't forget about your Kayazy Assassins, and try to sneak Kayazy Eliminators into more lists. Kayazy aren't the "backbone" (some would say "crutch") unit that they used to be, but they can still be an excellent unit if you are able to design your list accordingly. The meta feels like it's shifted/shifting towards an equilibrium point: it's not going to be as friendly to the Kayazy as it was in years past, but I also don't think it's going to be as deeply unpleasant towards them as it has been either (when everyone was actively tech-ing to try and kill all light infantry with prejudice.) Kayazy can absolutely still be relevant and menacing, and it's our duty as Khador players to not let our opponent's forget that.

Besides, it's fair game to assume that at some point PP will release some model that may put Kayazy back in vogue (there's design space for things like Kayazy solos, for instance,) and you don't want to look like a bandwagoner when everyone starts putting Kayazy back in their lists then. 

Thanks for reading, and may your Kayazy pass all their CMD checks!


  1. As a new player, some of the meta history is quite interesting. I have to agree on the trend towards anti-infantry in the MK2 books.

  2. Thanks! That was actually one of the main drivers for writing the post up in that fashion. It's one thing to talk about a unit, but it's also interesting and sometimes informative to track the course of that unit through the years. One could do a similar profile for IFP, but it be the exact opposite course on the same timeline, for example.

    Also, I have a correction/addition: PP posted Boomfex pointed out a Mk. 1 rule I missed. The entire unit used to have Riposte! Which I can't believe I forgot, and makes the unit even more retroactively disgusting.

    For anyone reading this that didn't experience Mk. 1, try to track down a copy of Legends for fun.

  3. I think that the time of the kayazy might again be on the rise. With the prevalance of the Meat Mountian, and the Fisto of Halaak making a surge, I think it might be possible to go around the people teching for high armor. You'll need something different, I'd imagine, against the Fist, because of all the fire templates, but I'd not be surprised to see them do quite well.