Relic Knights Intel: Black Diamond Overview
Relic Knights Intel:
Black Diamond Overview
“You’re going to get more than your hands dirty. But if you’re willing, you’ll find that enough credits can clean up an awful lot of blood.”
- Col. Sophia Drake
Black Diamond is the largest private military force in the galaxy. Professional soldiers, they will take any mission, as long as the client can pay. The company operates with a mercenary mind, putting credits above morals - they are, after all, most strongly connected to the purple Esper of Corruption. Black Diamond has the best training, the best equipment, and the best intelligence money can buy. If a person can be tempted with money and has skills that Black Diamond wants, chances are that person is already on the payroll. As the Darkspace Calamity advances, rumors have begun to spread about secret research projects and dark science being carried out at black sites scattered across the galaxy. But as the chaos caused by the calamity spreads to more corners of the galaxy, Black Diamond sees only opportunity.
AT A GLANCE
Black Diamond is a military force specializing in ranged combat. Once deployed, Black Diamond forces work efficiently, using superior firepower to secure the area of operations. When circumstances require, Black Diamond soldiers will put the objectives of the mission over their own safety. Their units have reliable defenses, allowing for a sustained firefight when necessary. While they have few healing options, their field medics can keep entire squads at peak performance, should casualties be expected.
Black Diamond players will want to maintain an aggressive playstyle, using strong ranged attacks to punish any enemy units that are in Line of Sight. They will want to move toward enemy objectives whenever it is sensible to do so in order to force the enemy to react and move into the open. Good positioning in this regard can force Black Diamond’s opponent to decide between giving up points from an objective or points from losing a unit.
Black Diamond can trace its origins back to Gama, the private security arm of the largest trade guild that the galaxy has known. Originally, this force was set up to defend shipping lanes and protect markets, but they eventually expanded to information gathering, research and development, and arms dealing. Seeing an opportunity to increase profits, the Guild attempted to use the chaos caused by the Darkspace Calamity to leave the bureaucracy of the United Planetary Alliance. Instead of gaining increased freedom, they sparked a war. When peace was achieved, the Guild’s security forces were officially disbanded. This left untold numbers of professional soldiers without an employer, and many of those individuals turned mercenary. A few cycles later, Gaius Senzen, a cunning politician who happened to have been a high-ranking official in Gama suggested the formation of a single, private organization to coordinate and manage the growing number of private security companies. As soon as the Black Diamond legislation passed, Gaius left his elected office to become the Director of Affairs for the newly authorized company.
Black Diamond’s forces are large enough to threaten the power of the Alliance or the Six Peers (to which the paladin order of the Shattered Sword belongs), but their true power comes from the fact that those organizations can’t be everywhere. Black Diamond has defense contracts across the galaxy, with clients ranging from merchants to planetary governments. Even if those clients don’t always agree with Black Diamond’s methods, the clients don’t have many choices when it comes to ensuring their safety from pirates, Noh raiders, or worse...
Black Diamond is a combat force, through and through. Almost all of the attacks in the faction have the singular focus of dealing damage. Abilities that limit the target’s options are rare. Even the support actions available tend towards directly modifying combat effectiveness. Ranged is the favored skill of the faction, meaning most units will want to avoid engaging in melee since their best attacks will be unavailable. Almost all of the units do have some form of melee attack, though unless the unit is meant for melee, those attacks tend to be weak, last resort options. The ability Point Blank is present on Black Diamond’s ranged knights, allowing them to use their ranged attacks even while engaged in melee.
To complement the faction’s ranged combat preferences, Black Diamond units have solid defenses. The faction weighs in with the second-highest average armor, and when combined with cheap active defenses using Block, their ability to reducing incoming damage will frustrate the opposing force. With Block, the additional Armor provided by Cover is also converted to guaranteed damage reduction, making it even harder to remove an entrenched Black Diamond unit. And if cover isn’t readily available, a couple of Black Diamond squads can throw out an Area of Effect token that grants the Cover bonus to any ally in the area.
Black Diamond forces follow clear command structures, with Officer characters that are paired with specific minion squads (An Officer is separate from the associated unit, so one may be recruited without the other). This ability allows the Officer to shift damage they receive to their subordinates, greatly increasing their life expectancy. Additionally, Officers count as a member of their named squad when that squad attacks, allowing them to increase their damage. The Officer and the paired unit must maintain close proximity for these effects to be used, which means that a Black Diamond player that wants to take advantage of the ability will often need to pair their activations in a predictable manner.
Finally, Black Diamond has a number of unit options with increased mobility. Units with Fly or Thrusters allow for easy repositioning or assaulting objectives from unexpected angles. Units with support abilities can gain extra movement, and some can even share that movement with allies, allowing large distances to be covered quickly.
With the emphasis on ranged combat, Black Diamond players will need to maintain constant motion to avoid melee engagements. Including a melee or sacrificial unit to run interference can help slow down an enemy’s advance long enough for Black Diamond’s marksmen to bring down all but the most determined foe. If needed, Black Diamond can also rely on their strong defenses to assault enemy objectives in the hopes of drawing their opponent's units into line of sight.
Outside of the obvious Officer pairings, the units in the faction compliment one another nicely, creating a straightforward, aggressive playstyle. This makes Black Diamond an ideal choice for players who are more impulsive or otherwise dislike the planning required to set up combos.
When recruiting a cadre, be aware that the upgrade options available to units are specialist choices, allowing the unit to perform exceptionally well in a narrow set of circumstances. Without advanced knowledge of your opposition, the upgrades could potentially be points that could’ve been better used to recruit an extra member to a squad.
For resource management, purple (corruption) and blue (order) are by far the most important esper colors, as they power Black Diamond’s attacks and defenses, respectively. Yellow (essence) pays for attack modifiers, while orange (chaos) will allow you to add effects to defenses. Green (creation) initiates support actions, with red (entropy) paying for increased effectiveness.
If Black Diamond sounds like the faction for you, Leopold Magnus is a great Knight to start with. He comes with two strong psychic attack options. Because psychic attacks can be used at a distance or while engaged in melee, Magnus doesn’t lose effectiveness if an enemy gets too close. His biggest asset, though, is his Cadre Ability that can add a variety of abilities to an attack. It has an amazing amount of versatility that allows his allies the option to punch through armor, or add additional damage to more fragile units, or it can be used to hinder an opponent’s ability to generate resources.
The M8-Blitz Auto-Tank is a great, inexpensive unit that will complement any list. With high armor and the Heavy ability, it is extremely hard to get rid of once it finds a place it wants to sit. The Auto-Tank has two ranged attacks, one of which can push enemies out of position, allowing for an easy follow-up attack. But the best thing about the Auto-Tank is probably its support action, which creates an Area of Effect that essentially supercharges allied attacks while helping with resource management.
Black Diamond cadres can recruit Void units, giving the faction access to some strong melee units, among other interesting options. If you choose to include Void units in a Black Diamond cadre, pay careful attention to how those units use esper, as not all Void units will share the same color costs as the rest of the cadre.
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