D&D Miniatures05/25/2006


Come'n Get Me!
The Art of Warbands



Come'n Get Me!
Arcane Ballista (48 pts)
Cleric of Yondalla (14 pts)
Couatl (42 pts)
Hill Dwarf Warrior (4 pts)
Jozan, Cleric of Pelor (4 pts)
Marut (74 pts)
Mialee, Elf Wizard (6 pts)
Warforged Scout (8 pts)
Field of Ruin
Total = 200 pts, 8 activations

The Arcane Ballista is an interesting conundrum. Offensively, it is powerful, but when you look at the combination of no melee attack, Slow Ranged Attack, and Spellcaster Crew, it can be incredibly easy to shut down. Why bother playing with a piece with such a major weakness? Sometimes a weakness can be turned into a strength. In the case of the Arcane Ballista, a creature everyone normally wants to run up to, what better companion than a creature everyone normally wants to run away from? Such is the basis of the 200-point warband, Come'n Get Me!

Setup

The Field of Ruin map is generally your best choice because the larger size (34x22 squares compared to 33x21) gives you a little more breathing room. While the terrain makes it easy to gain cover bonuses, it is difficult to block LOS. Broken Demongate and Drow Outpost also make good choices.

Placement of your Warforged Scout is the most important part of initial setup. Place him in a Victory Point (VP) area that requires your opponent to move creatures across the Arcane Ballista's field of fire. The Ballista should be positioned where it has a good field of fire with as many of the other supporting troops in the same start area as possible.

Come'n Get Me!Tactics

On the first round, cast magic weapon on the Arcane Ballista and Marut. The Ballista needs every bonus it can get to hit, and the Marut can use the magic damage. You may be tempted to use the Ballista's lightning sphere on the first round, but it is usually best to save it for later. The only exceptions to this are if you have a good chance of killing/routing important support creatures or can catch the majority of your opponent's warband with it.

Your initial tactic should be to keep your warband tightly together and block enemy movement to prevent opposing figures from basing the Ballista or killing the Couatl. Use the Warforged Scout's hide ability to keep it safe while you rack up VPs. Use the Couatl's snake's swiftness to gain additional attacks with the Ballista or to move the Ballista and attack with it in the same phase. Use Mialee's magic missile to clear cheap fodder out of the way so the Ballista can hit valuable targets. Use the Marut to block enemy ranged attacks. AC 25 (29 with cover) plus DR makes life difficult for enemy archers.

With the variety of maneuverable creatures in the game, it is unlikely you will be able to keep all this up for long.

Once the enemy breaks through, you need to remove enemies that base the Ballista before it can attack. Your primary tool for doing this is the Marut combined with snake's swiftness. If mobbed by a large number of opponents, use lightning sphere and mass inflict light wounds to clear them away. Because lightning sphere is a special ability rather than an attacke, it is the only means of damage the Ballista has when it is based or isn't adjacent to a spellcaster. This is why it is usually best to save this ability. While it is likely you will catch many of your own creatures in these effects, the Couatl's commander effect minimizes the damage from the lightning sphere, and the Ballista and Marut are both immune to mass inflict light wounds.

If your opponent is using three or more heavy hitters, it may be best to keep the Marut at least two squares away from the Ballista and use Melee Reach to clear enemies from the Ballista. This prevents your opponent from simultaneously ganging up on the Marut while shutting down the Ballista.

Important things to remember are:

  • Don't forget you must have a spellcaster adjacent to the Arcane Ballista in order for it to attack. With five spellcasters, one being the very durable Marut, this shouldn't be difficult. The biggest risk is simply forgetting this little detail.
  • Flaming bolt and freezing bolt are separate special abilities that can each be added once to a ranged attack. This means that both can be added at the same time, giving the Arcana Ballista the ability to cause 55 points of damage to a single, large target.
  • The Couatl is a sorcerer. This means you can use higher-level spells to replace lower-level ones, giving you potentially six snake's swiftness spells.
  • The Cleric of Yondalla's, Jozan's, and Couatl's cure spells won't work on the Ballista or Marut. Use them to keep the Couatl alive. They are touch spells, so they can be used even when the caster is threatened.
  • Removing the flight ability from enemies can be very useful for this band, but with DC 16, legion's undeniable gravity is not reliable. Use it only if your opponent has a large number of flyers or if there is nothing else to do on the first round.
  • Teleport Temple holds some interesting possibilities for the Ballista because using a teleporter is a swift action that does not count as a move. This allows the Ballista to use a teleporter when it starts its turn to move to a better location and shoot in the same turn, provided it has a spellcaster waiting for it at the other end. Unfortunately, the Teleport Temple has a lot of walls. Also, the Ballista needs to spend two activations making double moves to reach the teleporters closest to the starting areas, so this map is less than optimal for this warband.

Strengths:Come'n Get Me! is strongest against slow-moving warbands and those that rely on large creatures.

Weaknesses: Come'n Get Me! is weakest against warbands with a large number of ranged attacks and three or more fast, heavy hitters.

Variations

  • To increase the amount of ranged firepower for this band, replace the Hill Dwarf Warrior, Mialee, Warforged Scout, and Marut with a Stone Giant, two Men-at-arms, and a Timber Wolf.
  • To add a little more hitting power, replace the Hill Dwarf Warrior and Mialee with two Azer Raiders.

Copy and paste the following into our Warband Generator.

,200,Come'n Get Me,0,8,8,512,1,333,278,13,460,149,524,0,10

Or launch the Gith Assault Squad in our online Warband Generator.

About the Author

Bill W. Baldwin lives on the Space Coast of Florida with his gaming family of a wife, two daughters, and assorted pets. He started playing D&D in 1974 and was a wargamer and miniatures gamer even before that. Bill has been published in Dragon Magazine and does freelance work for Wizards of the Coast.

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