Dark Age Factions: The Kukulkani

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It’s time to look at another Dark Age faction. Let’s jump right into the Kukulkani.

When I started this series of articles, I intended to cover the factions of Dark Age in order of release. The Kukulkani should have been last in this order, but given that they just got a very cool update and a bunch of new models, it seems like now is the proper time to cover these guys. It’s technically the CORE’s turn, but they’ll be getting an overhaul of their own quite soon and that will be the perfect time to cover them. If you want a detailed read on the Kukulkani, you need look no further than their faction document, available for free on the Dark Age website. I’ll summarize here for the impatient.

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The story of the Kukulkani began thousands of years ago, not on Samaria, but earth. They were one of many early Mayan tribes in a state of constant war with one another. But they had the blessings of the divine Kukulkan on their side. With his aid they won many battles and provided him with many sacrifices. They had no idea that their patron was one of the Coatl, an ancient alien race, and that the bio-energy from the offered lives fueled advanced alien technology. The Coatl brought 1,001 of the bravest Kukulkani warriors along when it was finally time to leave the earth.

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Enhanced with Coatl technology, these warriors and their descendants would serve their “god” in battles on countless alien worlds as they harvested bio-energy for their masters. This continued for centuries, until forgotten probes detected Coatl energy signatures on a faraway planet: Samaria. The Coatl have now arrived to discover corrupted robots using their sacred technology. The CORE’s entropic drives are based on reverse engineered Kukulkani bio-energy power sources. If this affront to their god wasn’t enough reason to land, Samaria is teeming with intriguing energy sources in the form of the Skarrd, Dragyri, and Brood. For now, the Kukulkani are here to stay.

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Like the faction document I’ve already linked, the Kukulani cards are free to download. Go ahead and click this link to them so you can look them over while I go over the basics. A big part of the Kukulkani playstyle revolves around a common Dark Age theme: counter collection. These guys are still all about harvesting that Bio-Energy. You can gather this resource with one of the many Kukulkani weapons with the Life Siphon ability. Kill an enemy model with such a weapon and you’ll get a Bio-Energy counter. Just to make sure you never run out of Bio-Energy there are also models that will contribute 1 to your Bio-Energy pool when they die. There are even a few that will give you these counters at the start of your turn.

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Bio-Energy can be spent to do all sorts of helpful things for your army. Models with Bio-Enhance can spend a counter to gain a temporary benefit like a special ability or a stat boost. Of course a much more interesting thing to do with them is let a model with Technomancy spend them to cast Kukulkani rituals. These rituals are the true toolbox of the Kukulkani army. The abilities they grant are as varied as they are useful. There’s one that allows the caster and any models they Squadlink with to Vault over Terrain and other models. There’s another that will heal a friendly model while yet another can cause a friendly model to explode when it dies. There’s even one that just deals damage. The cheapest models with Technomancy are the 50 point Devoted Priests, so depending on how you build your list, you can have quite the arsenal of rituals at your disposal. Ignore the temptation to go too crazy with Technomancy though. There will only ever be so many enemy models to give up their precious bio-energy, and it’s easy to exhaust other sources.

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Of course there’s more to the Kukulkani than just Bio-Energy. If you like big scary monsters, this faction has a lot to offer. The Cabrakan stands head and shoulders above the pack, but the Coatlai is a no less impressive beast, especially with his new Coatlanak pals. They’re not the only oversized models this faction has to offer. There are also the Ah’Chu’Kuks and the intimidating though as-yet-to-be-released Tuucha’naks. If you’re more interested in infantry, the Kukulkani have no shortage of models with the Commander ability meaning plenty of Squadlink opportunities. Since a lot of those Commanders have Technomancy, you’ll also have some great opportunities for buffs and combos within that Squadlink. With such a variety of models you’ll never run out of new list ideas.

~The unique look of this faction makes them one of the most intriguing in Dark Age, but they have a rewarding playstyle to match. What do you guys think of the Kukulkani?

  • Richard Mitchell

    I can’t wait for the new starter sets come out. This is something I am turning people at my scene around on. The low cost and small model count helps, but its really the rules. I tell everyone that I can teach them the entire game in one sitting.And I do. The rules are short but there is a lot of depth and you are always thinking.

  • euansmith

    Some of this Dark Age stuff is super cool. I really like the Celestial sort of feel to some of these big Axtec style guys.