The very definition of a tank, Yuji is one of the toughest models to kill in the game. He can prolong an engagement with just about any model and rarely has a problem disengaging. I fell into a trap early on coming from Jung. I saw the armor and the higher attack stats and swung aggressively. Yuji can do this, but it’s not his strength. He’ll make it a lot further into a game than other aggressive models, but given Minimoto’s limited pool at the moment, Yuji’s your best bet for a late-game fighter and scenario runner.
4 dice in melee with a 3 boost gives you plenty of options. His Push Attack is free, and Stun Attack (1) lets you increase an advantage when you’ve got it. Even dropping to 3 dice isn’t bad, as Melee Prowess can help ensure a good defense roll. His boost is one of the more affordable boosts in the game, as generating 2 ki a turn, he has little other use for it, so by turn 3 he’ll be ready to boost twice. Giving yourself 3 defense dice and 1 attack will keep Yuji going strong until turn 6. The attack won’t always land, but when it does, +2, access to Strong and Powerful Attack(0) he can make success level 0 and 1 hurt.
His ki feat Mighty Blow is there when you need it, but it’s not going to be a cast every turn deal. It’s instant, so you can wait and see what your success level is before you cast it. The argument could be made for either getting the most out of a low success level or driving home a higher one. Either way, for 2 Ki, it’s almost always at his disposal.
Like most of Minimoto, his trait box is where Yuji shines. Armor (4) sells itself. Even PIerce (2) leaves a good chunk behind. Enemies need to work to bypass his defenses. Bear Stands Alone let’s all of Minimoto run with lower model count lists as they can spread out and hold their own. Stacked with Yuji’s base Indomitable(1), Yuji can hold off 3 models on his own, making him a great VIM. Bravery and Steadfast with 2 Ki is almost as good as fearless. There’s a very small window where Yuji will be crippled by Frightened. Resistance (2) is a sleeper ability for Minimoto. Additional 2 points on Opposed Ki Tests make them as resilient mentally as they are physically. With 2 dice already at his disposal, Yuji is a tough nut to crack.
Bear’s Fury punishes your opponent for chipping away at Yuji. Playing defensively, it won’t be till late game that this triggers naturally, but you’ve got the Hasty Bear event if you need it a moment sooner.
Yuji’s biggest weakness is getting thrown around. Without Immovable, he is victim to Prone, Pushes, and Throws.
A specialized toolkit, Yuji only has a few moves, but he doesn’t need more than one: survive and hit back.
Don’t let her Samurai classification fool you, Kimiko does not want to be in melee. With 2 dice, she is going to roll defensively almost exclusively. No armor, no tough, her 7 health will only keep her alive so long. Kimiko is best activated as late into the turn as possible, as an Exhausted Kimiko is a vulnerable Kimiko.
Her benefits start before the game even begins. Her Ice Patch can help slow down your opponent to a crawl when used properly. During terrain set up, make sure you get a choke point somewhere vital, that your opponent can’t ignore. Toss down the ice patch in between and slap Yuji on the other side. Now you’ve either got a whole path shut down, or your opponent will send resources elsewhere to avoid the choke point and leave Yuji unopposed.
Bringing Kami of Reflection gives Minimoto options for the future, but in it’s current state, there’s little reason to dedicate 8 points of your list to it. With her Summon Ice Kami ki feat, if you find yourself against a heavy Target Ki Feat list, you can swap it in without missing out on much. The only Target Ki Feat Minimoto brings is Kimiko’s Icey Veins. While Minimoto LOVES dumping Slow on enemies (Fearless and durable [ranged] means very little to Minimoto, the enemy is welcome to them), it’s rare that you’ll want to spend the Kami’s ki to ping that across the board. If you do bring an Ice Kami, Kimiko makes a great new target for any opposed Ki test, since she can easily get to rolling 4 dice herself.
Immune[Fire] makes her a great choice to run in a Finest Steel list as Nuan, Hauru and Fire Kami spit fire markers recklessly. Melee Prowess is the only indication of her samurai classification, but it helps her stay alive by rerolling a bad defense. Spirit(1) makes her Icy Veins hit consistently on enemies.
Kimiko loves a Blizzard. She and Tetsu can sneak up the board and get into position, which they both are very picky about.
She makes a great recipient for the Mind Over Matter enhancement, as she can typically afford to wait once a turn to gain Tough(2) and Resistance(2), both of which she loves.
My biggest struggle with Kimiko comes in turns 3-6. Early game, she provides a lot to your list and makes a great turn 2 scenario runner. Late game, she suffers from getting locked up without a way to escape. It’s harder for her to disengage and she doesn’t have a lot of tools at her disposal. She feels like the odd one out at the moment in Minimoto, where she is missing some complementary pieces to make her a powerhouse, but against the right opponent, she will save your hide.
Still to Come: Reo and Niko
I haven’t had a chance to see these guys on the table yet, so I’ll have to do an in-depth analysis on them later. For now, I’ll just leave it with they look like they bring some active offensive power to the Minimoto Samurai that I am beyond excited to add into the fold.