So there's a tournament coming up, and your friend wants to try D&D Miniatures. You don't have time to teach her the finer points of DDM strategy needed to pilot most Tier 1 warbands, but you don't want her to be smashed so badly that she never plays again. What to do? One solution is to hand her the 200-point warband Lord of Stone & Iron, and give her a quick primer.
Lord of Stone & Iron works best on maps with narrow choke points such as the Drow Outpost and Broken Demongate. On either of these maps, Side B is the preferable start area for this band. On other maps, choose a side or setup that allows early access to narrow, defensible areas.
On the Drow Outpost, place the Warforged Scout in the middle, joint victory area. This is both to grab tile points and to interfere with your opponent's attempts to engage the Iron Golem prior to reaching the victory area. On other maps, place the Scout on the victory area that is most inconvenient for your opponent to deal with. Place the Iron Golem foremost in the start area closest to your chosen choke point. The rest of your warband uses the Golem as a shield against early ranged and spell attacks. Place the Cleric of Order adjacent to the Aspect of Moradin.
Lord of Stone & Iron is a simple 'turtle' band. A turtle band is a warband that relies on one or two tough, high AC creatures to block access to the softer parts of the warband. These warbands work on a point denial strategy. That means they are capable of denying a lot of victory points to your opponent while simultaneously wracking up more points than they are denying. They are fairly simple to play -- just find a defensible area and sit tight -- which makes them good for inexperienced players.
On the first round, advance the Iron Golem as your shield against ranged attacks and spells. It is the shell of your turtle, so your goal is to get it to the choke point as quickly as possible to block off enemy access to the rest of your band. Move the Hill Dwarf Warriors and Men-at-arms to block other possible access routes. Despite his durability, you will initially want to keep the Aspect of Moradin protected. Have the Cleric of Order cast major resistance on the Aspect on round one, then shield of faith on round two. Cast the remaining major resistance on himself and an occasional command into the battle. Keep him safe long enough to help with your Aspect's morale save.
Also keep the Aspect of Moradin close to the Iron Golem. If your opponent can separate the two, you are in trouble. While the Iron Golem engages the main body of your opponent's force, use the Aspect's ranged attacks to throw in more punches. If he can get within melee reach of your opponent's creatures without exposing himself, this is even better. You can accomplish this by using the chasm on the Drow Outpost map. Position the Iron Golem halfway into hallways so that the Aspect can reach the enemy front rank from around corners or by placing medium creatures in front of him.
The most difficult decision you have to make when using this warband is when to commit the Aspect of Moradin. He is far too costly and offensively powerful to just sit back all the time, but his death almost guarantees your defeat. Insert him into the battle too early, and he can be ganged up on and killed. Insert him too late, and the enemy can defeat you in detail. Keep your eyes open for the right opportunity that allows him to join the fight with a minimum of counter threat.
As long as you can keep the Aspect of Moradin relatively safe while still keeping him in the fight, you stand a good chance of winning with this band, especially in timed matches.
Important things to remember are:
Strengths:Lord of Stone & Iron is strongest against slow moving warbands and those that rely on giants, spellcasters, and creatures with only moderate attack bonuses.
Weaknesses:Lord of Stone & Iron is weakest against warbands whose hitters are very fast, fly, or are incorporeal.
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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