Bring on the magic – Wu-Zang and Zung Fu (Bushido-Review: Savage Wave)
Wu-Zang and Zung Fu, together with Okina&Oto, are the only Bakemonos that have a Ki Statistic of 2. Let’s start off with Wu-Zang. With him you have a typical debuffing caster who likes to keep back and mutter at the enemy with surprising effects.
He knows the 3 Ki Feats “Curse Fate”, “Grasp of Darkness” and “Psychic Venom”. “Curse Fate” has a 12 inch range and debuffs an enemy model. For each success level you roll a dice (reroll 1’s), the model has to consider any dice it rolls with the same result as failures until the End Phase. This is especially nice if the enemy model has not activated yet or if it is about to be charged by some Brutes or Rinsho. Even a normal Bakemono can become a grave danger for any cursed model. “Grasp of Darkness” also has a 12 inch range and debuffs an enemy model, it gains Slow and Weak. Both Ki Feats are constraint by their high costs of 3 Ki making the rule “this Ki Feat can only be used once per turn” almost obsolete. On the positive side, Wu-Zang can move while performing these Feats meaning he can keep out of harm’s way or even score at objectives if necessary.
For the last Ki Feat Wu-Zang needs to get as close as 8 inches and he may not move making him much more exposed. With “Psychic Venom” the enemy model receives a number of poison tokens if Wu-Zang wins the Opposed Ki test. This is the most expensive Ki Feat with 2 plus X (X can be up to 6) Ki. It can be used to kill off a target model that is already severely hurt (one maybe two wounds left) without needing to get a Bakemono is harm’s way to do so. But “Psychic Venom” is definitely no damage dealer because only 2 poison markers are ever deducted per turn. When wanting to perform “Psychic Venom” you must move Wu-Zang closer to the enemy before performing it. This makes Wu-Zang vulnerable to countercharges as you cannot move and perform this Ki Feat. For this reason “Psychic Venom” is better used in reaction to a badly injured opponent being in range than offensively. I also find that “Psychic Venom” is one of the weaker Ki Feats and I would never invest more than 3 additional Ki (for 3 poison markers = 2 damage). With only 3 poison markers this Ki Feat already costs 5 Ki and it only has a certain likelihood of success. Other Ki Feats (“Summon form the Shadows”, “Darkness”, “Frenzied Rhythm” and “Marching Beat”) are always successful. If you are spending that much Ki on a Ki Feat, you better be sure it is a success. Unfortunately, Wu Zang is no Ikiryo with “Look into the Void”.
For all Ki Feats, Wu-Zang’s trait Force of Will(1) helps a lot to win Opposed Ki tests. As for the rest, he has Bravery, Camouflage(4), Small and Weak as well as Melee Skill 1, Melee Strength -2 and 4 wounds. This means, keep Wu-Zang out harm’s way; full stop!
Wu-Zang generates Ki for you and debuffs an enemy model at a critical time in the game. Wu-Zang is not really able to pass out negative conditions to enemies like candy because all his Ki Feats are simply too Ki intensive. With Wu-Zang you choose an enemy model which thinks it is about to demolish your Bakemonos or before it is being charged by the frenzied mob!
Zung Fu is the smaller version of Wu-Zang simply because he costs one point less and only knows two Ki Feats. Those would be “Shadow Tendrils” and “Strip Soul”. An enemy afflicted by “Shadow Tendrils” suffers -3 to his Move Statistic. This is somewhat situational but can be very useful. An enemy model that has its soul striped gains one Spirit Block and Insignificant until the End Phase. This is very nice against crews that rely on Ki and Ki Feats. Making a model Insignificant is also very powerful in objective based missions for which Zung Fu should always be considered. “Strip Soul” is the better of the two Ki Feats, especially since “Shadow Tendrils” is limited when comparing it with the Ki Feat “Darkness” on the Horde card but more restrictive for one particular model. Yet “Darkness” affects the entire board and will therefore be used in more instances.
Again, for all Ki Feats his trait Force of Will(1) helps out a lot to win Opposed Ki tests. Zung Fu possesses Melee Skill 2 and only has Melee Strength -1 so he has the limited fighting capabilities of a normal Bakemono, but he is not utterly useless like his elderly mentor Wu-Zang.
Overall, Zung Fu has a more focused task in objective based games and will therefore see the tabletop more often. A single one of these two magicians can be used as a Ki battery supplying 2 Ki every turn by Focusing a lot throughout the course of the game. For this task Zung Fu will be used more often as he is cheaper. Both magicians compete a little bit with other effective Ki Feats from the Horde card and Okina&Oto. This is also the reason why they might not be commonly used in non-Bakemono-themed-lists as they need other Bakemonos supplying them with Ki. Yet a Tra-Peng plus one of the magicians make Rashka or Taisho Tenbatsu even scarier to face! If you want to be successful with the both Wu-Zang and Zung Fu, you must be superb in the management of your Ki, Ki Feats and the assessment of their usefulness in every given situation.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,