Thinkin’ Bushido: Tengu Faction Part 1

Welcome back to Voracious Gamer for another addition to our Bushido Articles. Let’s break down the Tengu faction and hopefully defend the models I randomly chose for my starting army of 50 rice and or figure out why they were bad choices. I’m not one for starter boxes, I know they make things easier and cheaper but I’m weird okay. So let’s break it down and figure out what makes the Tengu tick. My perspective is obviously bad here as I haven’t read much of the other factions. But hey, initial thoughts and a base to build from is never bad thing. Sit back and prepare yourself for some armchair theorycraft.

The first model on the list is of course the one and only Sanjakubo from way back in part 1 of the series. Now that we aren’t baffled by the numbers and symbols there’s a lot to be had for this 8 rice model. Starting with his traits we have Fly, Light Wight, Strong Mind(1). He’s a 2*3(*denotes the keyboost cost going forward) melee and 3 range with a mov 4 and 2/8 ki stat. Now Fly is sweet and we’ll see that the Tengu obviously have no shortage of it. It allows declared walk, run, charge or melee actions to ignore terrain, models and ZoCs! Now that it awesome right, on such a small board to ignore terrain and enemy models seems valuable. With a move of 4 he’ll be able to move up to a foot in a full round with two simple run actions if you need to. Or a good 6 inches for his first simple run action then ki feat and take a ranged shot. With lightweight he’ll be able to do just that (move and shoot) without suffering the modifier to the ranged attacks target number for moving. (+1)

**If that paragraph was gibberish to you then head over to the Learnin’ Bushido series.

He’s made to flit around and shoot Shugenja mind bullets. His third trait Strong Mind(1) gives him +1 on opposed ki tests. Sitting at 6 HP seems a bit low but I think damage will be really brutal in this system so that’s hard to say (*remember all this is relative as I’ve not explored models outside the tengu faction nor played a game at the time of writing this!*) His ranged grid below has a 2/4/6 range so he’ll need to be somewhat close but 6″ is still a quarter of the board so that doesn’t feel short. His Unique effect allows him to grant stun markers to targets he successfully attacks with ranged. Remember a stun marker reduces the target’s MS (melee skill) by 1. During the end phase one marker can be removed. This means one can stack these stuns up faster than your opponent can remove them to handicap models throughout the game remember MS is going to affect their defense as well.


Sanjakubo has two feats the first of which is a targeted range 12 3 ki feat called ‘curse of fate’ this requires a simple action. It triggers an opposed duel with the target. Sanja get’s +1 on these because Strong Mind(1). When it passes you roll a number of dice equal to the success level. Now it says to reroll 1’s and dice with the same result. So If I won the opposed duel with SL 3 I’d roll three dice. It says to reroll 1’s and any dice showing the same number with that pool. So let’s say I roll a 2,3,3 with 3d6 and I re roll the 3 for a 5. for the rest of the turn the target treats any rolls of a 2,3,5 or 1 as a failure! It’s limited to a once per turn feat but damn. For three ki you can really hinder somebody from half way across the board. I suppose you’d want to make sure you can pass it because his second feat may be worth doing if the curse has a likely chance of failing or the target is already exhausted for the turn. The second feat is called ‘Raijin’s Rage’ it’s an instant 2 ki feat allowing Sanjakubo to make an additional ranged attack after succeeding on his first. The second attack must target another model within 3″ of the first. The second attack doesn’t require LoS and is considered to be in the medium range band. This seems like the ideal thing for Sanjakubo to be doing.

Remember his unique effect where he gives folks stun markers after attacking them from range? That means he can activate ki feat raijin’s rage move and shoot twice with no penalty giving stun markers with each success. Then he can do it all again with his last simple action of the round. That’s four potential stun markers! And the range rules on the second attack mean you could target somebody outside of his 6″ range giving him a 6″ garmented threat range and a 9 inch potential threat range with his stuns. If he had time he could curse the target’s fate to all but guarantee success on his ranged attacks. It’s probably a good thing his HP is so low, he might survive a round of combat but you’ll want to fly on out it as soon as possible. Although as far as I can tell models with flying still have to take a ‘Disengage action’ to leave combat because the fly trait so clearly states only when a model declares walk, melee, charge or run actions. For 8 rice and the fact that I already own his model Sanjakubo has been recruited for my list. Having review no other models he seems pretty damn good at ranged debuffs and ranged damage with some speed and flight to stay safe.


The next model on the list that I already own is Hilltribe Warrior. He’s got a relatively simple card compared to Sanjakubo’s. But sitting pretty with a 3*3 MS a 4 move and 1/6 ki he’s not a wizard after all. But that MS though he’ll be potent with the same number of wounds as Sanja (6) he might have issues staying around when the real fighting starts, if it starts? But Armor(1) will have him dropping the result of the 2d6 damage roll done by 1 and bravery allows him to reroll fear tests he’s no glass cannon. Far from it, more like a battering ram with +1 wep mod on attack and forceback attack as an option. His one feat is a two ki ability that gives him Fear(5) until the end of the turn. This means you could pop the feat then charge folks hoping to but them into the ‘frightened state’ on a failed fear test or stay out in the open and rely on the fact that many models will fail their declared actions due to the fear test keeping him safe. You can hire two of these into the crew which I may consider as I normally run a high model count force. Not sure how the game will play out but for now this guy is the base level 5 rice. Seems fairly simple with no outstanding stats other than his MS which really could be a pain.

Ryuhobo is on order for next month mostly because I like the model and because he’s a healer. I dig healers. He’s sort of the yin to Sanjakubo’s yang. Healing and cleansing as opposed to cursing and stunning. He’se got the base move of 4 shared by all Tengu (save the few models with a move 5). Melee 3*3 means he’s no slouch in combat, and 2/8 ki stat means he can really get powered up if you want him to. Once you see his feats I think you’ll see why you’ll want that. Starting with traits he’s got bravery leading to re-rolled fear tests, fly and Iron Mind(1). Then the new traits we’ve not discussed yet going in reverse with Weak which aww weak means he rolls 3d6 on damage and chooses the two lowest. He’s got the MS to defend himself and to hit but he’s not going to be bringing the pain as much with no weapon grid his damage will be halved too. He’s really a support piece at 7 rice and 6 HP (again) you probably don’t want him getting in the mix. Leech (6) is next it means that once during Ryuhobo’s activation he may remove Ki from friendly models within 6 inches! So he can absorb the Ki from the rest of your force to spend on his own feats. The last of his traits is Channel(6)   which is sort of the reverse of leech, it allows the model to remove any number Ki from itself and assign them to a model within 6 inches.

You’ll really want to keep a model or two close to back of Ryuhobo and to power up his Ki. The furst feat he has seems situational to me but it may be very useful it removes up to X markers\tokens from models within X. So If I spend 4 ki on the feat I can remove 4 total (poison, fire, spirit block or control) markers from models within 4 inches. Seems all around useful especially for a model with fly he could plant himself where the ‘cleansing’ would do the most good or get to the scene of the accident after one of his models gets poisoned. If he doesn’t get there fast enough his second feat will do the trick it heals X wounds for X ki to the target friendly model in BtB! Just straight healing folks the means while he’s up and moving around the board he can meetup with other models to top them off HP wise and send them back into the fray. I’m sure we’ll find some tasty combos as we delve further into this. But already SanjaKubo could be flinging stuns at oncoming threats while hilltribe warrior waits near ryuhobo to counter any charges and tranfer Ki. For one rice less than Sanja he offers very little offense but some serious utility and a fat heal. Having all that ki moving should be good to so your opponent can’t see or plan for where it’ll be as easy. Also if I were playing against Ryhubo I’d paint a big target on him haha kill that pesky healer right quick!

Alright this guy is also on order and coming to join my team. What a busy card let’s break him down. 5 HP on this cat er bird, so we’re paying for that extra text already with less health. He’s got a mad stat line with 3*3 MS and 3*3 ranged paired with a 4*2 move (3*3 means 3 Ki Boost 3) and a 2/6 average ki stat. He’s potent in melee and from afar, potential speed demon, He could bring a charge at 10 inches or escape that far.. Armor(2) oh, that’s nice! Reducing the 2d6 damage roll by two. Aware gives him a 360 degree LoS, Camouflage(4, yep camo, and it prevents enemies from targeting or entering BtB with Tarobo unless they are within 4 inches of him! Wow, he’s all but invisible. He’s got Flank which is an optional deployment if you use it Tarobo would not be deployed with the rest he’d have to wait until the starting step of turn 2 where you’d roll a d6 and add the game turn to the number rolled. When it’s a five he’d deploy anywhere along the chosen edge, 1s don’t fail here. So on turn 2 he’s out and fighting on a 3+ and turn he’d pop out on 2+. Of course he flys too. Reload (1) means after a ranged attack action he gains a single reload marker. He can’t fire again until he gets rid of it. The marker takes a simple action to remove. Basically limits him to one shot per game turn.


Scout is a second deployment option that allows him to deploy after both players normal deployment up to 4 inches outside the declared deployment zone! Having scout also gives you +1 to the roll to see who deploys first. Next is Sixth Sense which means he is never surprised and ignores camo! With Counter attack defense on his melee weapon it makes sense that it has a -1 weapon strength modifier. And His Ranged attack has a 4/8/12 profile at -1 strength. 12 is the longest range we’ve seen yet. He seems like a good scenario piece in that I mean he’d be good for getting down the table and spending some actions to convert objectives or pray. He’s got the traits to survive the first attack or so and we’ve not covered his feats or unique effects yet. Tarobo is a versatile chicken.


His unique effect gives two options during the starting phase. Target enemy within 8 inches gets a stun marker or friendly within 8″ gets Aware and 6th sense until the end phase. Can you see why I snagged him with sanjakubo! More stuns, right? I think he’ll be trying to stun when possible but this gives him a spotter like ability for friendlies giving them the ability to ignore camo and facing. The first of his two feats is Athleticism it’s a 2 cost that gives Tarobo Jump Up and Dodge(1) until the activation is ended. Jump up allows him to remove a prone marker before declaring an activation meaning he could spend two ki to avoid wasting a simple action to stand up and he’d avoid the melee exchange initiated by standing up in BtB. Dodge(1) just adds to his versatility he can choose one of his opponents attack dice to reroll. His second feat is ‘Dash’ which grants even more traits to Tarobo. Auto-Disengage and Elusive AND (right?) and a walk 2″ after his current activation. Auto-Disengage means he can ignore models in BtB when declaring actions and freely fly out of btb with enemies! Whew that card is fat but this model is laden with traits and abilities. He can’t be everywhere and do everything but damn he’s got the answer to quite a bit for 7 rice he’s way better than Ryuhobo. I mean he doesn’t heal but he does everything else for 1 rice less? I’m intrigued to see if he’s a useful as he seems.
** I later read that Tarobo is the best of the Blue gale scouts!


Also on order is the Scout of the Blue Gale a 3*3 melee, 3 ranged and 4*2 movement he’s a mini Tarobo in most ways. Armor (2) and Camo (4) keeping him safe, the option to flank or scout, fly and reload with -1 weapon mods on melee and ranged. Same range band 4/8/12 and same hp at 5. Coming with Tarobo’s dash feat he’s 6 rice and you can hire two of them! A mini scenario piece, low ki generation but he’s all kinds of useful. With move 4*2 he can get up to 5 before other movement effects and really zip around ignoring terrain. Kind of squishy is a good attack comes through but decent all around scenario piece. A good sup for Tarobo if you need the points or an addition to him if you need more if his skills on the table. For 1 rice over the hilltribe warrior you get fly and range but you lose fear. Oh the speed! It’s crazy I just added it up again and forgot about dash! That would be 2 inches at the end of a 7 inch run? With a simple action that covers some range he could escape or score. Bouncing over some terrain to spend his next simple action on praying an objective or occupying a ZoC at the last second. These guys are good I think. Time think up a way to make an alt sculpt to try two? Time will tell.


Next on my incoming list of models is Zenkibo. 3*3 melee and the Tengu Bushi 4*2 movement stat along with their 1/6 ki. Armor (2) nice, keeping damage 2d6 result at -2. Dodge(1) which means you can force a reroll of one of your opponents’ attack dice. Fly (whew!) and First Strike which is interesting indeed. This grants Zenkibo the initiative for the first melee exchange with an enemy. Only if he starts the exchange outside of BtB with any enemies. So he’s hard to pin down and pretty durable at hp with a push attack on his melee attack which is the first time we see that in the Tengu arsenal. He can rush into combat quick! Basically it can be in a models ZoC if you want it to be? Am I wrong in thinking that from the text? That’s awesome! He can chill and just rush into combat to help Ryuhobo or sanjakubo or tie up key enemy pieces with that. His single feat is a 2 ki personal that grants armor piercing (ignores armor). Could be a very valuable ki feat to handle armor and deal a good deal of wounds since he could bring 3*3 MS in offense. I’m thinking it’s a good use of 6 rice to hire this guy on if you know you’ll facing any armor or for his guard ability to just swoop into 1″ of an enemy. Your opponent won’t be able to ignore Zenkibo if you don’t want them to.

** Zenkibo is the named Zypher guard model, just the guardiest of guards.


Taliriktug, ol’ Tally is another Tribesman bringing 3*3 MS, 4 movement and a 2/6 ki stat. He’s got 6 HP Armor (1) decreases the 2d6 damage roll by 1 and bravery allows him to reroll fear tests. Toughness(1) reduces the final number of wounds he takes by 1. This guy is pretty damn durable compared to what we’ve seen so far. He’s also got a solid +1 and forceback attack(1) on his melee grid like the hill tribesmen. Unlike the hill tribesman Tally comes with feats for a 7 rice model I think they’re pretty good feats too. Cleave is an active personal X cost ki feat. He gets brutal(x) until his current action is resolved. The first time we’ve seen brutal, it adds the number to the final in the attack roll. Ouch he’s already 3*3 then he gets to just add two he’s going to do some damage when he hits!  A max of two, aww I was imagining a super leeched\channeled Tally/Ryuhobo combo. His second feat is the same as the hill tribesmen giving him fear(5) for the action for two ki. I think the subtleties of the Fear actions are going to take some time to iron out. I think it could be useful but I really need to play a game or six to know. Maybe  it’s easy to pass it or not worth it? But I think the chance to prevent your opponent from using an activation and ending up somewhere they don’t want to be is good. For 7 rice he’s no Tarobo but he’s a melee beatstick compared with his other hard hitting tribesmen they could really bring the pain.

That rounds out my first 50 rice warband of Tengu. Coming in at 46 rice here I’ll buy a few special cards and use a Tengu theme to bring a kami for free! We’ll go over all this in future posts. What do you think about these Tengu models if you’ve played or slayed them in the past I’m interested to hear your perspective. In the next post we’ll cover seven more of the Tengu to see what else they have in their faction toolbox!

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