The Elite Onyx Vipers are one of the first limited edition figures released for the Heroscape game. The figures themselves are a repaint of a squad of Venoc Vipers from an early game expansion. This squad fights for general Ullar, just like all released minions of the viper race.
Visually the vipers are nothing stunning, but it is amazing what you can do to add to a figures visual appeal by adding a little, or in their case, a lot of black paint.
Currently the EOV are the only limited edition squad in Heroscape, and they are definitely my favorite squad to draft in the game.
I see the vipers as the ultimate lightning warfare attack troops. With their exceptional speed and ranged defenses, the EOV can traverse most terrain effortlessly to close the gap and deliver the killing blow to their target before it can even respond.
The vipers in and of themselves do not look very powerful since they have an average attack and below average defense, but their special abilities more than make up for these flaws.
Their best ability is called EVASIVE 8, which allows them to roll 8 additional defense die against any kind of ranged attacks. The defense bonus provided by this ability makes them nearly invulnerable to ranged fire, so they are almost impossible to stop until they get right next to you, but by then it could be too late…
The second but also very enjoyable special power is the FRENZY ability that is common to only a couple other squads in Heroscape. This ability allows them to continue taking turn after turn after turn, as long as you can roll high enough on a 20 sided die after each turn is complete. By the laws of probability, they should only frenzy about every 3 turns but some times luck smiles upon them and allows 2, 3 or more turns in a row with a fair amount of consistency.
The final ability of the Vipers is the SLITHER ability that is unique to all viper squads and heroes. This allows them to move effortlessly through water as if it were dry land. This combined with their fast movement makes for a deadly squad that can get where they want to go and quickly!
So once they get to close range, the vipers experience their first real taste of mortality. If they get the drop on their opponents, they will hopefully dispatch a small squad or team up to drop a single hero before they can be countered. An attack of 3 is nothing special, even with height advantage it is still something that a well armored troop can shake off without too much difficulty; this is where frenzy is key. If you pick a target with a high defense, you may be sending them into a slaughter, so with a successful frenzy or 2, the repeated attacks from all 3 vipers can rack up the damage before they can get attacked.
This squad is most effective against archers and ranged figures, since they typically have lower defense, and can fall prey to the viper’s claws. Plus, the vipers evasive 8 ability will in almost any case assure that they can get in close enough to do their job.
If you choose to rely on the frenzy ability, you are definitely taking a big risk at losing this squad. I recommend holding them back to use towards opponents you know they will drop like squads or a lone here that has little protection.
Another good use of this squad is that they make great glyph holders. Their speed allows them to reach the glyphs before your opponents do, and their ranged defense forces opponents to close the distance on foot to try and unseat them from atop their places of power.
Over all I give this squad 10 out of 10. They are reasonably priced and have some amazing special abilities. If used effectively they will drop a decent sized chunk of your opponent’s forces and can drop a strong hero or two. Personally, one of my favorite things to do in Heroscape is to frenzy successfully and take multiple turns in a row. It can really tip the game in your favor.
This squad is a wise draft in just about any game scenario.