Nature turned to these mute creatures, and she gave them bones of earth and hearts of air. She imbued them with her own desperate ferocity and her own great courage, and the beasts became intelligent.
What are they?
Formed from elemental air and earth, the Feral faction is comprised of a veritable menagerie of animals given sentience and a thirst for battle.
From their Feralization faction ability which keeps them in battle far longer than anyone else, to their Stampede ability which can brutally punish opponents for engaging them head-on, the Feral is a mighty adversary in Esfah. Let's take a look!
The Six-sided Units
Unlike any other faction in Esfah, the Feral are comprised entirely of animals, with different animal families forming the various classes normally found in other factions. Birds, cats, canines, and more come together to form one devastating group of beasts ready to wage war!
Starting with the cats, the Feral heavy melee units lean a little more toward saves than the heavy melee units of other factions. Also differing from the norm, the large units bring the Double Strike SAI - rather than the more-common Smite - which targets four health-worth of enemies to save or be killed, and then rolls again for a new effect.
These are not your cuddly little house cats!
Moving into the canines, the light melee Feral have a solid distribution of melee and maneuver icons, though they tend to be lighter on saves.
The large unit - the Wolf-Folk - brings the Rend SAI, though only on one face with three icons. In case you've forgotten, Rend deals three melee damage and rolls again, or it provides three maneuvers during a maneuver roll.
The somewhat strangely-grouped ungulates - that is, the hoofed animals - include Antelope-Folk, Horse-Folk, and Buffalo-Folk, together forming the Feral cavalry. Much faster than their sharp-toothed brethren, Feral cavalry have lots of maneuver icons and nearly as many save icons, though very few melee icons in total.
The large unit bears the four-point Counter SAI, which means it actually has a 50% chance of rolling melee, maneuver, or save on any given roll. A solid die to be sure!
Feral bring their missile units in the form of birds - falcons, hawks, and vultures - and like their other classes, they differ somewhat from other factions. These missile units trade a bit of their firepower for more speed, having a few more maneuver icons - and a bit fewer missile icons - than other factions tend to have.
That said, they are still no slouch in battle, and the large Vulture-Folk has the ever-popular Bullseye SAI, which deals four targeted damage and then rolls again!
Closing out the classes we have the mustelids - the weasel family - which forms the mage portion of the Feral. Weasels, badgers, and wolverines by size, they trade a bit of their magical ability for saves, making them a good bit more resilient than mages of other factions. With a spell list that includes Lightning Strike, Wilding, Wind Walk, and Transmute Rock to Mud, these sneaky critters are not to be underestimated!
The large unit - Wolverine-Folk - bears the four-point Cantrip SAI common to many large mage dice.
Bringing together some of the world's largest and most deadly animals, Feral monsters have some powerful and interesting abilities, including some unique SAIs not found anywhere else in Esfah.
The tusked Elephant-Folk is a powerhouse unit for any Feral army. Packing seven useful melee faces, it has the Trample SAI which provides maneuvers and melee results, and the Trumpet SAI not found on any other die! This incredible effect doubles the melee and save results for each Feral unit in the army, which can lead to some truly devastating attacks - or can turn the tide against an attacking foe.
When you hear that trumpet calling, head for cover!
This winged monster has a bit of an odd distribution of faces - one melee SAI, one missile SAI, two Fly faces, and three magic faces - but all of that is irrelevant when you see the final two faces: Dispel Magic. A rarity in Esfah - found only on five dice - this SAI can cancel every spell targeting the unit, the army, or the terrain all in one shot!
Offering six melee-relevant faces and four maneuver faces, this horned beast has the Gore SAI, not found anywhere else. When this ability hits during melee, it deals two damage to a targeted unit, and if that unit is killed by Gore it is then immediately buried.
With six faces that work during a melee attack, the Lion-Folk also packs the Double Strike SAI (outlined above), and the Roar SAI. During a melee attack, Roar sends a targeted four health-worth of defending units to Reserves before they can even roll for saves. This can send your best defenders running for the hills, so watch out!
This Ursa Major has a bit of a scattered icon distribution. The most reliable action type - melee - only covers four faces. While it does pack the Double Strike SAI, as well as the unique Hug SAI, it just doesn't have the reliability it needs to really shine in an army.
The Feralization faction ability is an incredible way to rapidly recover dead units with no additional input necessary. Simply having Feral units at an Earth or Air terrain is enough to get a free point of resurrection - at each terrain where it triggers.
The Stampede faction ability requires a bit more work - the terrain must have both Earth and Air, and it only works on counter-attack - but it can be a strong deterrent as it turns your maneuvers into melee results, making your cavalry extra deadly on the return.
Bringing an above-average save result makes Feral harder to kill than normal, and this is further augmented by their Feralization.
Their mages have access to some of the best spells in the game; Transmute Rock to Mud and Wind Walk ensure winning maneuvers, Lightning Strike picks off specific units, and Wilding makes attacks and saves devastating. Berserker Rage can also make counter-attacks a game-ending affair, especially when combined with Stampede.
Units like Tiger-Folk and Buffalo-Folk are some of the strongest units around, slotting nicely into lots of build options with great faces.
Their units are lower on melee, missile, and magic icons compared to other factions, causing them to tend lower on overall results when attacking or casting spells.
Their ideal terrain - like all standard Water terrain - have only a single magic face, making it more difficult to get their mages in position if you are hoping to make any use of their Stampede ability.
Even their hardest-hitting units only reach about 75% melee faces, meaning each die is going to completely miss on attacks 25% of the time or more, on average.
Despite accessing some of the strongest spells in the game, their mages fall below-par for magic results, making them less reliable and less able to capitalize on this incredible spell list.
Their Stampede faction ability requires an exact terrain match, rather than a single elemental match, and only works on a counter-attack, which provides an out for opposing forces to avoid it against armies specifically constructed to abuse it.
As they are nearly-impossible to keep down while they can access Feralization, and with powerful units and SAIs on many dice, Feral can work in a few ways, and can come out on top even from a bad situation.
Here are a few 18-point builds to mix and match - since they are animals, we thought it would be fun to give them human names this time around!
Bringing four Buffalo-Folk provides a strong deterrent to attackers thanks to the Counter SAI, and we're naturally loaded with maneuvers and saves.
Bringing Flatlands terrain ramps this up even higher, as the massive number of maneuvers means anything that survives through the Counter SAI is sure to be killed on the counter-attack.
This time we're bringing the Weasel... well, Weasel-Folk at least. They have slightly fewer magic icons than Wolverine-folk per health, but they have better saves in exchange.
This basic mage build lets us dig into some of those powerful effects, like Lightning Strike and Wilding. This pairs with any Feral build, so grab it and go!
This build is all about the Tiger-Folk. We've taken four of them so we can lean heavily into that amazing Double Strike SAI, which offers targeted removal with a "roll again" effect tacked on. On top of that, they pack six saves and six more melee icons.
Give these big cats some mages to boost their attack and defense!
Feral stand out in a few important ways - such as their Feralization ability which mimics the eighth-face effect of a City - and we also just love that all the units are animals. Double Strike is a great melee ability, Buffalo-Folk are an incredibly well-rounded unit, and their weasel family has one of the strongest, most offensive spell lists around.
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