by Emanuel Class
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another Monsterpocalypse Insider! This week, we’re going to look at the third installment of the Vegetyrants and Necroscourge Factions, as well as the last chapter in their story.
For those who have not been following the fiction, let’s catch you up on the story.
In the first part of the story, The Verdant and The Vile, Stomatavorus Rex wakes from its ancient slumber when Karkinos joins the ranks of the Necroscourge.
In the second installment of the story, Plants vs Zombies, we flash back to learn the Necroscourge visited Terra when it was still in its most primordial state. At that time, the Vegetyrants were able to repel the necrotic invaders from space by pooling the collective life forces of all life on the planet. Floruina turned the planet into a weapon, scouring the solar system of the scourge. Or so they thought. This last desperate act sends the Vegetyrants into hibernation, from which they did not awaken until the Necroscourge returned to Terra once more.
What happened next? Well, it’s happening now!
Avarvinea could always feel the thrumming life force of Terra; the ley lines of life that lattice the planet vibrated at the same frequency as the planet itself. Her heart and the planet’s heart beat in tandem at 7.83 Hz. This harmonious resonance had changed, however, though ever-so slightly at first. This woke Avarvinea from her slumber. When the Necroscourge arrived, the ley lines became polluted as they began harnessing its energy to form their Necroscourge Nexus around Terra. Coming out of an eons long slumber was disorienting, as Avarvinea remembered a world as a lush verdant paradise of flowers, trees, valleys, and rivers. But this was not the world she awoke to—in place of the trees, she found concrete; where there were once flowers now stood factories. From sea to sea, the kaiju had destroyed it all, and this broke the Earth Mother’s heart. She called a conclave with Stomatavorus Rex and Floruina to weigh the damage done to the planet and from it, the Vegetyrants determined they would once again reset the world to its natural state. Avarvinea would return life to its rightful balance, even if they had to drag that life kicking and screaming into the forest.
They would not need to wait long, however, because the Necroscourge were about to bring the fight to the Vegetyrants.
With the arrival of the Necroscourge, Zor-Macros of the Syndicate became obsessed with nanites that was their self-replicating technology. He integrated them into his Zor suit before testing his concepts of controlling them on the living, all the while realizing he only had a fraction of the power he could if he tapped into the source of the Necroscourge. Zor-Macros chose to use his newfound power to open a Nexus directly to the Necroscourge source, a venture that tore him to pieces one atom at a time. Yet a voice spoke to him as his atoms scattered across the cosmos. “You have served me well in life; in death, you shall serve me too. Rise, Zor-Necros, and as my vessel you shall have the power you seek.” Thus did Zor-Necros’ mind return to his body, now something very different in the darkness.
When Zor-Necros returned from the Nexus a changed being, he could feel the elements of the cosmos at his fingertips. He could feel the ley lines deep in the roots of Terra; he could see the life force of the planet coursing through its veins. He traced them along the world’s edge in his mind’s eye until the pathways converged to a single point: the Vegetyrant conclave. He knew he would need that power if he planned to open a nexus big enough to bring the entire Necroscourge home world, Malfaxis, to this solar system. Malfaxis is a massive Dyson sphere-like superstructure built around a massive black hole. Just as the nanite swarms, the Nexus home world is a parasite seeking worlds to devour. Its host stretches across the galaxy, finding life to harvest into a nexus, creating a wormhole that brings the nanite home world to a new location. It then devours everything in that solar system before moving on to find its next cosmic prey.
Zor-Necros knew that this was his new mission: to unite his home world with the source. Only then would he be free of his ties to Terra. With this new plan in mind, Zor-Necros tapped into the polluted well the Necroscourge Nexus made in the planet’s ley lines and made a siren call to every nanite. He compelled them to meet him where the ley lines converged on the conclave. And like a black cloud of flies, the nanites took to the skies their migration accompanied a deafening buzz to those who witnessed it. Karkinos left the depths of the ocean where he had been heavily engaged in battle with the Tritons, among whom he had once lived. Galamaxus, now a nightmare version of the dragon it once was, moved at a terrifying pace surrounded by the biggest Scourge Swarm the planet had yet seen. Together, they gathered at the edge of the jungle containing the Vegetyrant capital.
But the Vegetyrants were not the waiting victims Zor-Necros had been expecting. World Trees began to burst forth from the earth, surrounding the Necroscourge in a verdant canopy, and the Vegetyrant monsters converged on the Necroscourge horde from all sides. Floruina scoured swaths of infantry away as gouts of solar energy blasted from her as if purifying divinity. She and her overgrown garden collided with Galamaxus like a wave of vines and bramble crashing into a black sea of death. Stomotavorus Rex grappled with Karkinos. Rex’s massive chomping vines ripped and tore at Karkinos’ fireproof carapace, something that was of little use when surrounded by World Trees on all sides. Avarvinea led the flanking attack. A rolling field of Spore Pods and Humasoids exploded onto the undead horde’s backside. Then Avarvinea led a phalanx straight for Zor Necros; she could feel his malevolence seething from him like a palpable aura. Her vine lance collided against Zor-Necros with such a massive impact that it shook the glade like an earthquake.
The fight, however, was merely a diversion. At the center of the Necroscourge ranks, the nanites had been burrowing into the planet and building the most massive nexus they could create. It tore chunks of earth into its roiling maelstrom, and with each pulse of its dark energy, it spewed wave after wave of Necroscourge into the glade. What seemed like the perfect ambush was slowly turning an endless war of attrition with both sides having a nearly endless supply of resources. This was exactly what Zor-Necros was hoping for. He laughed at the futility of the Vegetryants as they continued to feed his growing horde more and more biomass for his nanites to convert. Avarvinea feared they may come to a stalemate, neither side conceding until the entire planet was consumed by their fury. She did, however, have a plan. The Vegetyrants are nearly as old as the planet itself as one of the very first complex lifeforms to exist there. Before their hibernation, these protectors of the planet had made some allies. The First Guardians were among the earliest protectors of the ley lines and had called for aid from the Vegetyrants once long ago during the God War. And now the First Guardians were finally presented with an opportunity to return the ancient favor. The canopy of World Tree leaves and branches opened up to the sky. Sunlight poured into the glade. Zor-Necros recoiled from the light; looking up into its brightness, he could see the silhouette of a massive, winged snake and a glowing woman with hummingbird wings. They swooped in through the open canopy followed by a flock of Hummingbird Spirits and Gargoyle Monoliths. Like a wrecking ball from the treeline came the Warden of Teocali followed by an army of Jaguar Spirits, Temple Giants, and Monoliths at his side. Necroscourge exploded left and right beneath the mass of bodies. With the renewed aid from their old allies, the scales tipped heavily back in the Protectors’ favor.
With only moments to react, Zor-Necros commanded all of the Necroscourge to dive into the massive nexus they had been creating. Karkinos, Galamaxus, and Necros all made a hasty retreat into the void. Zor-Necros guided them along the galactic currents, but he only had enough energy remaining to get them to the dark side of the moon. Then the nexus snapped shut behind them, stranding them there in the cold of space. Necros knew now he would need a base of operations of his own if he were going to make another assault on the conclave and the ley line conflux. What better place for his new base than a lifeless rock?
On the other side of the closed nexus, the Vegetyrants and First Guardians stood at the edge of the massive crater where the Necroscourge Nexus had once been. The solemn feeling they shared for the scar left in the planet and the ley line was punctuated by rain. Avarvinea broke the silence, her voice deep and ancient: “Let this lake be a symbol of the bond between heaven and earth, between this planet and those living on it, between Vegetyrant and Guardian. May both begin a new era of protection over this planet once more.”
That ends this chapter in the Vegetyrant and Necroscourge story, but as you can see, even though the First Guardians release cycle is over, there’s still plenty of ways to have some of your favorite Factions pop up in the fiction.
Now for the moment you have all been waiting for: the cards! And for those of you who skipped the story and went straight here…THE CARDS!
First up, let’s talk about the Vegetyrants. Our lady of the glade Avarvinea is here and let me say, things are about to get weird.
Avarvinea comes out swinging. With SPD 6, High Mobility, DEF 8, and 11 health, her overall body is pretty average, straight down the middle. This mass of vines has Reach to offer better target selection and positions for her brawl attack, which has Urban Renewal. She also has Stranglehold, which can help slow down things that want to run away from her, and Integrate, which we will talk about in a moment. Urban Renewal allows her to swap a building she destroyed using a brawl attack with another building you brought to the game that is currently not in play. This has some sneaky applications. One of the best things she can do in the early game is punch “junk” buildings that your opponent has placed on your side of the table and replace them with something more useful. Also, note: even if she throws all 5 Action Dice and 4 Boost Dice into her attack, she only has a 51.96% chance to hit a Def 7 building and a 69.71% chance to hit a DEF 6 building. Because of this, Avarvinea really loves having a partner like the Warden of Teocali, The Master of Xolotl, or even Zybanos to offer her some additional accuracy on that attack.
And in hyper, Avarvinea is terrifying. She goes up to a very respectable SPD 7 and DEF 9. She also has a thick hyper health bar at 6. Additionally, she gains Envelop as a special rule, reducing enemy models DEF by 1 if they are adjacent to her. Additionally, she picked up Combo Strike on her brawl attack. This allows her to make an attack on a building, destroy it, and replace it with something new and then make a power attack using Combo Strike. This also gives her a whopping 3 bonus boost on her power attack. Now that all of that is accounted for, let’s talk about Integrate. This ability is wild: it really brings home her theme of the Reclamation of nature from civilization. It allows Avarvinea to reach into buildings around her and use actions of those buildings as if she were the building. One of my favorite interactions with this is the Reclamation Facility, which gives her access to the action Recycle. Recycle lets her eat up a unit that’s in an annoying spot and pick up some power while doing so. One of the other great interactions with this rule is the UCI Industries building. This building has the actions of all other buildings on the table. So, this means that if Avarvinea is near a UCI, she too has access to all the building actions on the table. I can’t wait to see someone make an Avarvinea list and cover all the buildings with vines and foliage!
I said things were about to get funky, and I was not lying. Enter the Humusoid. This dendritic weed is going to be a thorn in your opponent’s side. At SPD 4 DEF 2 and no special attack triggers or boost, this unit’s body couldn’t be plainer. But its special rules more than make up for it. Aggressive is an awesome spawn ability that basically allows you to bump spawn one of these units for free during your spawn phase. This is an exceptionally good combo with the First Guardians’ Temple Giant unit. You can spawn the two of them from the same spawn point and be securing that building. If you secure a Faction building, you can benefit from its discount during the Spawn Phase. And once in position, the Humusoid’s other ability comes into play: Invasive Species allows you to replace this unit with another Faction unit of equal or less cost and put it into play within two spaces of where this one was. With the exceptional line of Vegetyrant units to choose from, there are lots of neat ways to sneak a unit into play just when you need it the most.
Let’s Hop into the Spore Pod next! These pods are filled with compressed gas that makes them Unstable! It’s this very rule that makes them an ideal target to select for your Invasive Species trigger on the Humusoid. If the enemy has a unit that makes two attacks like a berserker, they will make their first attack and kill the Humusoid, and you can place a Spore Pod in its place. Then, if they kill the Spore Pod with their second attack, the Spore Pod explodes, taking the attacker and any of its buddies adjacent to it to their reserves. Once on the table, the Spore Pod can use its Hop action to get into position next to an attacking model. If that model misses an attack, this model can return itself to your reserves to allow you to reroll that attack. This is food for units and monsters. Who doesn’t want rerolls on tap? Best part of Fodder is that it’s not limited to once per turn. This is the last piece to the very attack-heavy monsters in the Vegetyrants. When you are making a lot of attacks, you are going to want access to as many rerolls as you can get.
Let’s take a walk on the dark side of the moon! Zor-Necros brings some serious tools with him. Weighing in at SPD 6, High Mobility, and DEF 9 in alpha, this monster can be tricky to pin down. With his Range 4 blast, Zor-Necros can Strafe his enemies’ power base and trigger Hit and Run after. Like any true supervillain, once he’s run away, he places his minion in the way and makes you fight them instead. His ability Red Shift allows you to put a Necros Shinobi in play at the end of your monster turn at the cost of a couple Power Dice. But Zor-Necros is not an entirely selfish bad guy. With Invigorate, Zor-Necros can offer extra Boost Dice to an allied model within 5 spaces of himself. This is exceptionally helpful for the other Necroscourge monsters, who are all very attack focused. That’s not all, though. One of the key weaknesses of the Necroscourge swarm is accuracy—it’s hard to get a swell of units when you miss key attacks. To help combat this, Invigorate allows Zor-Necros to provide a focused jumpstart to his engine of death.
Flipping the card over, you’ll find Zor-Necros has some surprises for his opponents. With his attention now split, Invigorate becomes Mastermind. Our supervillain pushes those combined attacks to 11, giving them an extra Boost Die. This is a great combo with the Necroscourge Nexus, which also offers a boost die and Fury to units making a combined attack. Beware the swarm—in late game, they may sneak in some monster damage when your opponent least expects it. Necros also picks up Swift Strike, allowing him to make an additional blast or brawl attack each turn. And if you look to the right on the card, you’ll see why that is so important. Zor-Necros’ new ability Gravity allows him to place an enemy monster if he hits them with his blast attack. This can completely change the battlefield in your favor, serving up the enemy monster for a nasty killing blow they may not have foreseen. His evil tool bag isn’t empty with just that. Down in the deep dark depths of subspace, Zor-Necros has Quantum Entanglement. This ability is as crazed as the name implies. Once per turn, if Zor-Necros places an enemy model with his Gravity gun or his power attacks, you can place an allied model within three spaces of that model’s current position. The applications of this ability are insanely deep. Since it also can affect any allied model, Zor-Necros can use this to move units around to better screen himself or for abilities like Death Sentence.
I have already mentioned these units earlier when talking about Red Shift on Zor-Necros. Now let’s talk about what they do. These giant ninjas are every bit their namesake. With SPD 5 and High Mobility, they certainly can get around. As the honor guard for Zor-Necros, these are the best monster screens Necros could have asked for. With Cloak, they can’t be sniped out from far away, and with Disruption, anything that gets close enough to attack them will suffer a penalty on that attack.
The Necros Overlord is the last piece to the Necroscourge puzzle. This sledgehammer is the cornerstone of the Necroscourge forces, bringing all of the synergy together. These terrors clock in at a chunky SPD 5, High Mobility, Flight, and DEF 3. They also swing their weighty 3/2 attack with Penetrator on it at anything that gets too close. With Tyrant, the Overlords pass along Penetrator to Faction units within three spaces, and they also help power up monsters with their ability Energize, which offers out a Boost to allied models withing three spaces. All in all, this unit is one no Necroscourge party is going to want to leave without.
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