Mark is the first mounted Saint available for general release. So who is he and what does he do?
While Mark was available as a pre-release at Templecon and Gencon, this is the first time everyone can grab one. If you think this model is as cool as I do, you might be considering grabbing him to add to your Forsaken army. Maybe he’s even inspired you to start your first Dark Age force. In either scenario, you may find yourself asking what Mark is all about. I’ll start with a little bit of background, then move on to how the models in a Saint Mark force work.
Mark isn’t just the first Saint to be released. He’s also the first Saint to appear on Samaria. It took awhile for things on the planet to settle down after the collapse. Once the populace had rediscovered some of the basics like agriculture they started going through the rubble for more clues about the past. They discovered more than science books and useful technology. At some point someone found an old religious text, and it didn’t take long before it was being used as a tool to help keep the populace docile.
Mark was an ambitious man born into a low station. He advanced in life as a mercenary, some might even suggest a brigand, but wanted more. He saw in the book of the Forsaken god a means for true power. A shrewd man, he planted hints of his “divinity” among a population that already adored him. His gamble paid off, and it wasn’t long before he stood before a mob of admirers as they chanted “Saint Mark” in unison. The discovery of his signature weapon, an energy beam of some kind that he dubbed “God’s Light,” was only seen as further proof of his divinity. His hold over the people was so strong that the Prevailer Council in Port City had no choice but to acknowledge his canonization.
He probably wasn’t expecting their next move: to send him and an army out into the uncharted wastes on a “Crusade.” The Dragyri force he encountered slaughtered almost all of that army. Mark fled the field of battle leaving his soldiers to die. It is a good indication of the unshakable faith his followers have in him that this act of cowardice inspired no loss of conviction among them. As such, he still finds plenty of willing soldiers for his army. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Mark is pretty much an asshole. If you’re the type of person that only likes to play good guys, Saint Mary or John are probably more your speed. Although it is important to point out that Mark and his forces are ultimately keeping the Forsaken citizenry safer. He might not do it out of the goodness of his heart, but that kind of moral distinction would be all but meaningless to one of the far flung settlements he protects from Dragyri attack.
So with that background out of the way, let’s look at the rules for the Saint himself. This is the unmounted version of Mark. Some of you out there that might be asking: “is this what you use when he gets knocked off that Dragon?” No. This is a different model that you place on the table at the start of the battle. He’s 150 points compared to the 200 point mounted version, and if you take this version then you can’t take the other one. In fact now is probably a good time to remind everyone that all the rules for Dark Age are available for free online. That’s Core Rules and individual model rules. So as you read, you can refer to them and I won’t have to feel the need to paraphrase everything.
Mark really is distinguished from the other saints by that gun of his. It’s one of the strongest in the game and it has RF 2 so you can use it more than once per turn. RN 10 isn’t the best there is, but it means that most things won’t be able to charge him on the same turn he shoots. This means it’s less risky for him to spend one or maybe even two of his AP on an aiming.
As for the rest of him, he’s pretty good all around – like all the saints. His defense and arm stats are both good enough to make him pretty tough to kill. He’s not stellar in melee but he can hold his own. His high AS will make him better against high DEF targets but he’ll struggle against anything with too high an ARM.
Dragon Mounted Mark is better in so many ways than his regular version. His gun shares an Assault Group with his Dragon’s Fiery Toxic Breath, meaning he gets to shoot them both at once. He can also fire off that minigun for a total of five ranged attacks. He’s also significantly better in melee since – duh he’s on a freaking dragon. It gets to swing twice with those claws whenever it attacks. Dragon Mark loses two points of Defense, but gets two extra wounds which seems like an even trade to me. The only thing he loses is Human Shield. Dragon Mark is just too big to block shots from apparently.
These new shade sculpts also release this month. These are one of the two unit choices that are exclusive to a Saint Mark force. The fact that they’re stealthy infiltrators does little to explain the skimpy outfits. Last I heard gilly suits were a lot more effective but I guess they were going for more of a Catwoman vibe.
The Shades definitely have an important role to play. They can start up the field and shoot their paralyzing bolts at the enemy, hopefully slowing their advance and giving Mark and the rest of the army more time to shoot. At 50 points a pop, you should really only ever bother with two of them. Their crossbow’s less than stellar PW is unlikely to wound most things so instead try to cripple the big ones rather than going for the kill. Then make sure to move with them and go On Hold. If it looks like anything is going to charge them you can shoot at it with Toxic Bolts. Few things will be able to hit their DEF 3 if also suffering an AS penalty. Then on your following turn, they spend two AP to disengage, shoot paralysis bolts, and then they’re back On Hold again. Incredibly effective for tying things up.
Guess which model hasn’t gotten a resculpt yet? It’s too bad because Hephzibah is another useful model if you are going to run saint mark. She’s a character leader for Shades, and can Squadlink with them. Of course she can fight on her own too, but part of her points cost goes towards giving shades hit and run, and I can’t see anything bad about making them even more elusive. What’s weird about her though is that she’s best in melee, while the Shades she’s meant to link with don’t even have melee weapons. I think the ideal way to use her is to start off having her throw those toxic daggers. Then, as with the shades, anything charging her her will find it nearly impossible to hit. On the following turn she cleans up the chargers with that sword freeing up the Shades to keep paralyzing and poisoning other things.
Another unit that hasn’t gotten a resculpt yet, Junkers are some of the most impressive soldiers to be found anywhere in the Forsaken army. Between those maces doing Extreme Damage, and the fact that they can go Berserk to increase their accuracy and hitting power, these ladies can wreck just about anything. With DEF 4 they’re even fairly hard to hit. Let’s hope they get new models soon though because these just aren’t up to par with the new round of Forsaken Reculpts.
Last up is the Sentinel. He was released last year along with other new characters for each of the Saint’s Subfactions. He’s very similar to Hephzibah, but harder to kill thanks to those Combat Reflexes. He also carries a much better gun. Being able to infiltrate with a spray weapon is really strong since it sets you up for better angles to hit multiple models. The downside is he can only shoot it once per turn. He also can’t squadlink with anyone which is a definite disadvantage.
If you’re thinking of starting a Saint Mark Force, I think a good jumping on point would be to take Dragon Mark, 3 Firestorms, a Weaponsmith, and the Sentinel for 500 points. This assumes that like me, you don’t want to bother with the older sculpts. Then when the new Junkers arrive, you can grab them and the Shades to expand up to 750. Of course you’d only be able to fit in two Junkers in that situation but with Mark’s gun hitting as hard as it does, two of these heavy hitters should hopefully suffice. That doesn’t leave any room for Hephzibah, but I think the Weaponsmith is a better choice. They cost the same amount of points so you can swap them out with no effect on the rest of the list.
Dragon Mark is not a cheap model, so just the 500 point army will cost you about $116 at MSRP. If you don’t think mounted Mark is a must have (I do), you can save $47 bucks by subbing regular Mark in and fielding the 4th Firestorm that comes in the blister.
If you’re wondering why I love the Firestorms so much, it’s more than just that fabulous hair. When you have a model with Inspiring like Mark, it’s nice to try to get that +1 bonus to as many attacks as you can. So I say: go sprays! They also want to do their fighting at a similar range to Mark so you shouldn’t have to worry about them getting too far away to Squadlink with him. Of course, if you prefer the look of a different unit it wouldn’t hurt to try them. In fact, Inspiring also gives a bonus to PW in melee, so models like Coils, Ravages, or even Militia might get even more mileage out of it. Anything with ranged weapons should do ok linking with Mark.
~Hope you enjoyed the article. Has anyone picked up Saint Mark already?