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Undead Expansion Preview
Angelo M. D Argenio
7/17/2008

SAGA, the first and thus far only game in the TCG MMO RTS genre, has been out for some time now, constantly updating to rebalance and retool the game. However, in the world of gaming, “updates” and “expansions” are two very different things. Considering this one thing that has been on some SAGA player's minds is the concept of what exactly a SAGA expansion is. See, expansions in the online gaming world and the collectible world vary greatly. Collectible games get expansions every three months or so, while computer games tend to get two or three expansions a lifetime. So where is SAGA going to lie?

The answer: somewhere in the middle. How do I know that? Well I look at SAGA's release date and think to myself “It's been a while… longer than it would take to make a collectible expansion, but not as long as it would take to build an expansion pack for some other computer games.” Why does this particular point in time matter? Well the SAGA design team has just announced their first expansion, focusing on a whole new faction, the Undead!

Everyone like's controlling zombies. You know it, I know it, and the zombie nation knows it. They are big lumbering pestilent carcasses of death and you get to control them to do your evil bidding. Add in some skeletons, some stitched together freaks, some ghosts, and so on and you soon have yourself a recipe for success! Necrolicious!

Flavor aside, mechanic wise the Undead seem to differ quite a bit from other races as well. They seem to focus on infantry, especially heavy infantry. They also seem to be very anti-infantry in terms of their abilities. For a deeper look at what the Undead can do for you, we have 5 undead unit previews sent to us by the SAGA's very own Slava Zatuchny. So read on to see what he has to say about this new putrefying race.

(DISCLAIMER: The Undead Faction is still in Beta. Statistics and abilities revealed in this preview may change prior to release.)



SAGA's sixth faction is unleashed, the Undead have arisen. A cunning race of ruthless killers, the Undead have one purpose only: to convert the living to the living dead. From the swamps and badlands they have emerged from the Underworld to join with the Brotherhood to eradicate the Elves, Dwarves, and Giants in their pursuit of Death.

SAGA is a persistent MMO RTS; your troops gain levels and amass gear and treasure as you complete quests and build mighty cities to expand your empire online. In many RTS games, players discount the infantry units, focusing instead on the faster, more powerful cavalry for the bulk of their melee combat; but not in SAGA. The thrilling new Undead have arisen as the sixth SAGA race with a range of infantry units you can't afford to discount.



"Reaper"
Attack Speed: Medium
Range: Melee
Movement: Fast
Armor: High
Health: Medium
Damage: Medium
Stamina: High
Maximum Unit Size: 12

Special: "Dripping Wounds - Target unit suffers -50% Defense Rating for 30 seconds. Cooldown: 60 seconds."

The Reaper is blindingly fast for an infantry melee unit, allowing it to blitz past the front lines to devastate the weaker, unprotected units. The Reaper's high stamina ensures that even the faster mobile units will be run down in the long run. Once engaged, even though the Undead Reaper may not have incredibly high damage, the special Dripping Wounds ability will ensure that its blows penetrate even the toughest armor and provide a dependably constant stream of damage.

When questing, players will sometimes encounter especially tough ‘boss' opponents, with corresponding superior rewards. These hero units sport armor ratings much higher than normal units. The Reaper can reduce the armor to a manageable level for the entire army to pick apart.



"Forsaken Guard"
Attack Speed: Medium
Range: Melee
Movement: Medium
Armor: Low
Health: Low
Damage: Low
Stamina: High
Maximum Unit Size: 25

Special: "None Shall Pass – Forsaken Guard and all nearby units (25m) are unable to move for 20 seconds. Cooldown: 60 seconds."

These Forsaken Guard are the grunts of the Undead army. They are ideal for protecting the weaker ranged units and holding the enemy off indefinitely. In this task, they out-perform all other melee troops. The Guard's high stamina allows them to constantly charge in maneuvers to shield weaker units. If the enemy charges the line, the Forsaken Guard's “None Shall Pass” ability will root all enemies to the spot in a fairly large area.

Since the Forsaken Guard are a cheap unit to deploy, an advanced tactic is to sacrifice them by rushing the enemy lines and paralyzing them to protect an important objective or a weakened expensive unit.



"Forsaken Warrior"
Attack Speed: Medium
Range: Melee
Movement: Medium
Armor: Low
Health: Low
Damage: Low
Stamina: High
Maximum Unit Size: 25

Special: "Chilling Touch - Target unit suffers -100 morale for 15 seconds. Cooldown: 15 seconds."

There is only one thing better than rooting an enemy to the ground, and that is pelting it with projectiles and rear attacks as it runs screaming in fear. Most units in SAGA have less than 100 morale, so the Forsaken Warriors' special ability can keep them running scared indefinitely, allowing you to dispatch them without taking any damage yourself.

The Forsaken warriors are a weak basic unit, so players will need to take care to protect them from ranged troops. Their incredible special ability will make them a prime target so it is a good idea to equip them with armor that has a high defense statistic. In addition, since SAGA allows players to enchant their weapons and armor, enchanting the Forsaken Warriors' Armor with either more health or even more defense is wise.



"Humongous"
Attack Speed: Medium
Range: Melee
Movement: Fast
Armor: High
Health: High
Damage: High
Stamina: High
Maximum Unit Size: 1

Special: "Cleave - Unit gains +200% Attack Rating and does +200% damage for
10 seconds. Cooldown: 60 seconds."

Now we're talking. These fast moving killing machines will wreak havoc on the field. Taking advantage of the control abilities possessed by other undead troops, the Humongous can descend on its prey and using its special ability deal triple damage to quickly dispatch the opponent. Attack Rating is compared to an opponent's Defense Rating when determining whether blows land. The Humongous' special ability also grants triple Attack Power to ensure it will penetrate even tank armor with ease.

Smart commanders will not keep the Humongous engaged in extended fights. Sure, its high armor and health will keep it alive for some time, but a multi-unit focused enemy attack will bring them down. The Humongous is most valuable if it can stay alive for its incredible high damage ability to remove multiple threats from the field.



"Abomination" (RARE)
Attack Speed: Medium
Range: Melee
Movement: Medium
Armor: High
Health: High
Damage: Very High
Stamina: High
Maximum Unit Size: 1

Special: "(passive) Abomination has a +100% Attack Rating, +100% Damage,
and +100% Defense Rating against infantry."

Abominations are meant to do one thing and they do it well. Eat anything they can get their “hands” on. SAGA counts any unit that does not fly, have wheels or is mounted as an infantry unit. Nothing short of a full-on cavalry charge can stop an abomination, and its high stamina will ensure that it eventually catches any unmounted prey. A charging Abomination using its weapons to help propel itself, with mouth wide open to devour its target, is pure horror.

While the abomination may seem unstoppable at first, it has no ranged attacks. This means an air unit will still slowly pick away at its hit point pool. Fortunately, the Undead have quite an array of ranged units to take care of such threats, and good generals would be prudent to field a few when using the Abomination.



If you are interested in trying out SAGA check out the SAGA main page. For more SAGA news and previews be sure to keep checking back right here at TCGplayer.


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