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Cardiology: Peerless Fighter

Decision: Should You Play Peerless Fighter?


Author's Note: This article was partially inspired by a single stray thought in an upcoming episode of the "What the Hex?" Podcast on which I was graciously allowed to appear.  Check it out here!

TL;DR:

No.  But if you're going to, you potato, at least try to throw in some other cards to make it work.

Factor: Exclusions

The first, and quite unbreakable, requirement of scoring Peerless Fighter is that you have to be rolling at least two dice.  Therefore, there are a few base attacks in the game that cannot trigger Peerless on their own:
  • Scavenged Flail (Uninspired Hungering Skaven)
  • Gorefist (Uninspired Zharkus and Ghartok)
  • Nighthaunt Blade (Uninspired Chainrasp - Anne Boleyn Version)
  • Nighthaunt Axe (Uninspired Chainrasp - Spartacus/Phillipe Bourbon Versions)
  • Ball and Chain (Uninspired Snirk)
  • Rock Maw (Uninspired Stalagsquig)
If your army is heavy on these attacks - I'm looking at you, Queen of the Briar Thorns - it's probably best to avoid running Peerless fighter.

This failing can usually be overcome with a single attack action upgrade; however, a few attack
upgrades are also unable to score Peerless Fighter without some assistance.  Heroslayer and Touch of Death won't do the trick, and Unparalleled Strike presents a conundrum that we'll examine more a little later.

Factor: Base Attacks

At the time of this writing (what will almost certainly be called the "Post-Mollog Era" by archeologists), the best base attacks on any given model roll only 3 attack dice. The closest thing to breaking this unwritten rule is K'charik of the Eyes of the Nine, who sort of rolls 4 dice on his inspired side.

In many cases, magic dice skew attack rolls further toward success, but that simply isn't the case when you're only shooting for criticals - so for now we'll just consider lightning-and-swirly dice the same as hammer-and-sword dice.  The only downside of trying to score Peerless Fighter with magic dice is that if you do manage to pull it off, your caster will also be eating a damage.

A 2-dice attack roll is only going to come up with double criticals 2.78% of the time, while a 3-dice attack will score at least two crits 7.41% of the time.  Inspired K'charik tops the scales for natural double criticals at 11.57% of the time if you reroll anything that's not a critical, even dice that would normally succeed.  While this strategy will help K'charik score Peerless Fighter, it's not likely to end up winning you a lot of games.

If we discount power cards and upgrades, an average game contains 12 activations.  Using all 12 activations on 2-dice attacks will net you an overall 28% chance to score Peerless Fighter.  If you upgrade to 3-dice attacks, you'll up your chance of scoring to Peerless Fighter to 60% of games.  Finally, if you somehow manage to attack 12 times with Inspired K'charik (how did he live so long!?), you'll score Peerless in just over 77% of games.

Obviously, you can greatly improve your chances of scoring Peerless Fighter by taking advantage of effects that give you more attacks - whether by adding additional "activations" to the game or targeting multiple models with a single attack.  For example, if you can manage to target at least 2 models with an Inspired Harvester on all 12 attacks, you'll score Peerless Fighter 82% of the time!

Adding a single Ready for Action or My Turn! attack will also bump your chances of scoring Peerless, though not as significantly as swinging at multiple targets (roughly a 2% increase across the board for going from 12 to 13 attacks). Which leads us to our next section...

Factor: Adjuncts

Beyond your choice in fighters, here are a lot of cards that can help you score Peerless Fighter.  We won't be going through all of them at this point, but we will hit a few highlights.

First and foremost - Fuelled by Fury will significantly improve your chances of scoring Peerless off a single attack (unless, of course, you're already rerolling all your dice, K'Charik).  Effects that grant 2 additional dice, like Haymaker, Potion of Rage, and Total Offence also offer a big increase in your chances of scoring Peerless; going from a 3-dice attack to a 5-dice attack bumps your chance of scoring this objective from 7.41% to 19.62% across 12 activations.  Effects that grant a single extra die don't give you as much of an advantage, but often come without the downsides associated with cards that provide 2 dice.

Factor: Special Adjuncts


There are also a few special circumstance cards to consider, some of which we've touched on already.  These cards offer large bonuses toward scoring Peerless Fighter, but also introduce specific restrictions on how you must play.

First, we have Unparalleled Strike.  Though you can't score Peerless with Unparalleled alone, if you combine it with effects that increase your dice pool, you can really bump your chances of pulling off this unlikely objective.  If we add a single die to an Unparalleled Strike attack, you've got a 25% chance of scoring Peerless off just one attack; almost as good as a whole game's worth of 2-dice attacks.

If you'd rather focus on magic attacks, Power Surge will provide you with a a similar boost.  Since you only play Power Surge when you know it will succeed, you just have to wait until your caster's attack comes up with one critical (which it will, 27.78% of the time on a 2-dice magic attack) to instantly qualify yourself to score Peerless - at the cost of one damage to your caster.

Finally, there's no better card for stacking attack dice than Coordinated Attack.  In a warband with enough models (gerblins, ghosts, skellies or badsworn), it's quite possible to be rolling 7 attack dice on your attack - granting you a 33.02% chance to score Peerless in a single attack.

It's worth noting that the effects from these three special adjuncts aren't stackable with each other - each one excludes the use of the other two on any given attack.

Alternate Path:

Often, in this section we choose to explore a similar card as an alternative to the card being discussed in the main article.  However, today, we're going to try something a little different - an alternative alternative path, if you will.

Honestly, Peerless Fighter isn't a very good objective for the vast majority of decks.  You're just not very likely to score it during a normal game.  So we can't recommend trying.  But, what if you built your deck specifically to score Peerless?  Well, you'd probably end up losing the game.  However, along the way to your devastating and much-deserved loss, you might actually score Peerless Fighter - quite the rare feat.

Let's start with a decklist: we'll go with Zarbag's Gitz for a few key reasons.  First, Zarbag and his gerblins have quite a few 3-die attacks on their inspired side, and are easy to inspire.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, they offer a chance to play all three of the special adjuncts we discussed before without disrupting their key strategies.  Anyone can benefit from Coordinated Attack; Zarbag can grab a magic attack with an upgrade; and the archers lack any melee attack at all, so can make good use of Unparalleled Strike.  The Gitz also have a good selection of warband-locked cards that can facilitate our foolish, but achievable, goal.

As for strategy, we'll focus on stacking as many attack (or magic) dice into a single attack as possible.  For example, if we give Zarbag the upgrade Vindictive Stare, and then stack him with all of our bonuses that work on magic attacks, we'll end up rolling 11 magic dice, and only looking for 1 critical (because, of course, we've also got Power Surge in hand).  With that single attack, we've got an 87% chance of scoring Peerless Fighter.

If Zarbag were to die, we can instead focus on melee attacks.  Using all our available resources to buff up the attack from Coordinated Attack and swinging against a surrounded opponent will have us rolling 21 dice -which happens to be more dice than my odds calculator will handle.  Throw in Fueled by Fury and you're effectively getting 42 chances to roll a critical on at least 2 dice - which will happen in all but .0005% situations.

Finally, if you're down to only a few fighters, you can try throwing all your resources at Unparalleled Strike, resulting in an attack roll of 15 dice, all of which critical on three sides.  Again, we can use Fueled by Fury to effectively double our chances of success, meaning we'll roll 2 crits on this one attack 99.99999998% of the time.

Of course, very few of these situations are plausible - even with Improvisation and Duel of Wits - but with the abundance of  additional dice provided by this deck, you're relatively likely to score Peerless Fighter at some point in the game.  So, if you're looking to do something dumb, but do it well, you could build your deck solely around scoring Peerless Fighter.

Summary:

You really probably shouldn't play Peerless Fighter.  But if you insist on doing so, there are plenty of other cards - most of which are at least decent on their own - that can help you score it.  Just don't throw it into any old deck and expect to score it often.

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