D&D Miniatures
Vampire Aristocrat
Commander's Notebook
By John Hargrove, Steve Winter, and Jackson Tomas

In each installment of "Commander's Notebook," we present three talented warband builders with a core figure or theme and ask each to build a warband around it. Their warbands are presented here for your review. After reading, we encourage everyone to visit the forum and discuss the warbands' pros and cons with your fellow skirmishers or offer up your own version of this squad.

Bear in mind that what you're reading is not a primer on how to win tournaments. It's an intellectual puzzle in which the contributors may not always be given the best material to work with. The challenge is to make the most of the starting conditions.

For this installment of "Commander's Notebook," we offered our warband builders the chance to spend 200 points on a warband commanded by the fastest figure in the game, a Vampire Aristocrat.

John Hargrove

Vampire Aristocrat (57 pts)
Ogre Ravager x2 (76 pts)
Orc Champion x1 (39 pts)
Taer x2 (16 pts)
Orc Warrior x4 (12 pts)
Total = 200 pts

Orc Champions almost always get the nod in my warbands over the Ogre Ravager because of their 9 speed, better bonuses to hit, magic damage, and Cleave ability which often allows them to attack three times per round (or even more, with opportunity attacks). The Orc Champion is the lawn mower of CE, and everything with 25 hit points or less is the grass. The Ravager, however, brings out the best in the Vampire Aristocrat. The Ravager's Aura of Fear accentuates the vampire's strong commander effect. The Taers follow near the Ogre Ravager, making it harder to hit and simultaneously making other creatures easier for the ravager to hit. More importantly, though, the Taers in conjunction with a ravager give enemy creatures a total of -4 to their morale saves. Failing a morale save means instant destruction if within six squares of the Vampire Aristocrat.

Steve Winter

Vampire Aristocrat (57 pts)
Cleric of Gruumsh (21 pts)
Ogre Ravager x2 (76 pts)
Cursed Spirit x2 (22 pts)
Quasit (19 pts)
Gnoll Skeleton (5 pts)
Total = 200 pts

After a Vampire Aristocrat casts expeditious retreat at its first opportunity, nothing but a Medium Air Elemental can keep up with the vampire. With speed 13, Mobility, and AC 21, the vampire can weave right through enemy screeners to assassinate opposing commanders. The incorporeal Cursed Spirits help in that endeavor. The Quasit's job is to cast its fear cone, ideally onto a pack of enemy fodder infiltrated by the Cursed Spirits. The Cleric of Gruumsh gives extra flexibility to the vampire, allowing it to make wide circling moves if necessary without putting the warband out of command. The cleric also grants Cleave to the ogres, making them truly fearsome.

Jackson Tomas

Vampire Aristocrat (57 pts)
Ogre Ravager (38 pts)
Orc Champion (39 pts)
Drider Sorcerer (30 pts)
Quasit (19 pts)
Orc Warrior x5 (25 pts)
Total = 198 pts

The Vampire Aristocrat has such a cool commander effect that you just have to take advantage of it any way you can. At the same time, chaotic evil offers the use of the Ogre Ravager, the Drider Sorcerer, and Orc Warriors. The Vampire Aristocrat and the Orc Champion have the speed to hunt down and kill enemy commanders or spellcasters. The Drider Sorcerer transposes orcs for vulnerable enemy figures, plopping them next to the Ogre Ravager to be squashed into pulp. The Quasit uses its fear cone to clear out weak enemy figures and then flies into flanking positions.

Coming Up in "Commander's Notebook:" Twelve Figures

About the Authors

John Hargrove works in Wizards' Consumer Services department and is the leader in the current office DDM tournament. Jackson Tomas is an avid Seattle-area miniatures player. Steve Winter puts together these articles, so no one gets to tell him his warbands aren't good enough.

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