Doenrakkar is one of 4 heroes, of the defender class, in the 1st wave Kickstarter, and is perhaps the most well rounded of them all. Today I am going to delve a little deeper into the strengths of the mighty shaman, discuss tactics for getting the most out of him, and also touch on some of his weaknesses. Overall, he is an excellent hero to use in any sized game, and can be the focal point of any battle plan.
Three things immediately jump out at you when you look at Doenrakkar's statistics card. He has the 2nd highest starting health in the game at 20, possesses an aggressor level melee weapon critical damage of 5, and has one of the most effective ally protection abilities in the game with Redirection. Just with these abilities, you get a glimpse of some of the powerful possibilities he offers.
Let's first focus on his critical damage of 5. This is equal to the best aggressors in the game such as Rakkir and Brok, and higher than Istariel. It is gold to watch your opponent's face when they see their knocked down hero getting 15 damage in a single activation from a defender. It is the reason that Doenrakkar works so well with someone like Thorgar. Target a hero that has already activated this turn with Thorgar's Gore Thrust, throw them at Doenrakkar's feet, and it is good night to the hapless soul.
If knock down is not something your warband has access to, Doenrakkar is a prime candidate for the Vorpal Blade magical artefact. I know that may sound unusual to talk about using such an item on a defender, however getting his MEL to 7 makes a huge difference when trying to get those hefty critical hits off. If you also combine him with Bastian, you are looking at a MEL 8 juggernaut that can absorb a tonne of damage and still be around to beat face. I actually think the Doenrakkar/Bastian combination is currently one of the strongest in the game. Bastian's healing, his de-buff removal (i.e. removing Fire), and MEL buffing aura, are all amazing with Doenrakkar.
Normally, defenders possess an ability that protects an ally. Marcus (Protective Stance) and Thrommel (Bodyguard) are both very good, however for me, Doenrakkar's Redirection is just immense.
Redirection - The first time a friendly non-defender model, within 2", is hit by an enemy attack this turn, the hit is resolved against this model instead (damage & conditions).
This ability basically affords total protection, to a weak ally, from a single activation assassin such as Rakkir. Nothing stops the Blood Shadow in his tracks more than the knowledge that his charge attack damage, and possible poison condition, won't be applied to the juicy elf standing before him. Judicious use of Redirection is what separates the good Doenrakkar players from the average ones, and it has the potential to win you the game over a protracted battle. You should keep this ability in mind every time you move Doenrakkar, ensuring you get your order of activations right, to protect those weaker aggressors and soul gazers from your opponent's high damage dealers.
The downside of Redirection is that Doenrakkar will be taking more damage. I mentioned he can absorb a lot of punishment, however he is certainly not un-killable. Boots of Agility makes it a lot more difficult to bring him down, however the item becomes somewhat inefficient when you consider his signature play, Stone Form. By the way, for those that don't know, the Doenrakkar sculpt captures the very moment the mighty shaman is casting Stone Form. :)
Stone Form (1A) - This model's AGI is reduced to 1 & its RES becomes 3. This model cannot be thrown, knocked down or pushed by enemy models, by any means.
There is a lot to like about Stone Form, the fact he cannot be thrown, knocked down or pushed is huge. I cannot overstate how strong that is in the game. The downside is that Stone Form reduces his damage output (by costing an action), and it makes him AGI 1. Don't get me wrong, RES 3 is incredibly strong, however when facing aggressors that ignore RES with their powerful active abilities (such as Rakkir's toxin), the AGI 1 means Doenrakkar can still be killed, even in Stone Form.
Doenrakkar has wonderful synergy with Bastian Oriel, the Human Lorekeeper
A great combo that is not that difficult to get off with Doenrakkar is to charge an opponent, use your last action to cast Stone Form, and then use a Fate point to cast Stone Grasp. Against enemy heroes with 1" melee range, they will have a very hard time getting away from you without significant help from their allies.
Doenrakkar unlocks some decent powers at levels 2 and 3, however perhaps the biggest incentive to level him up is the extra 5 health he gets. In saying that, Hyper Regeneration and Healing Wave can certainly add up in the late game, that is a lot of healing.
Overall, I think Doenrakkar is a fantastic hero that can be pretty easily mastered, and can also be forgiving for newer players. A wonderful addition to anyone's Judgement miniature collection. I would love to hear your thoughts on Doenrakkar so feel free to write comments/questions below or on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.
Andrew "Guns" Galea
Ps - you can purchase Doenrakkar here!
Ps - I would like to shout out the fantastic Doenrakkar sculpt by James W Cain, and the incredible paint job by Trent Denison.