Line-based effects and spells can be problematic in D&D Miniatures. While line effects have a greater range than cones and more targeting versatility than ranged spells, using that versatility can be difficult. Being able to target your own troops helps, but who wants to krispy-kritter their own creatures along with the enemy? With the Crossfire warband, you won't worry about that.
Red Hand War Sorcerer x2 (68 pts, Cmdr 3)
Dragonmark Heir of Deneith (34 pts)
Fire Giant Forgepriest (84 pts)
Goblin Skirmisher x2 (6 pts)
Kobold Miner (3 pts)
Kobold Monk (5 pts)
Total = 200 pts, 8 activations
Setup for Crossfire requires a little more thought than most warbands. Examine your opponent's warband for effective long-range attacks. If she has few, it is often best to let her pick the side and set up first, because you may find an opportunity for one or even two first round snowball swarms. If this is not possible, then split the Red Hand War Sorcerers between multiple starting areas if you have them. Spread out the rest of your creatures, too, with the Dragonmark Heir of Denieth adjacent to the Fire Giant Forgepriest.
If you are vulnerable to ranged attacks on the first turn, place the Goblins, Kobold Monk, Dragonmark Heir, and Fire Giant in front of the Sorcerers to protect them. Otherwise, place the Sorcerers out front to maximize their starting maneuverability.
Crossfire has two major elements -- a titan and spell blasters. Many of your decisions on the battlefield will depend on which of these two seems strongest against your current foe. If you are up against other titan warbands or warbands with slow, tough opponents, it is best to keep the Dragonmark Heir near the Fire Giant. Otherwise, it is usually best to use her protecting the Red Hand War Sorcerers. If your opponent uses energy attacks, use the Dragonmark Heir's protection from energy to protect the Fire Giant from that energy. If your opponent uses fire attacks, use the protection from energy on the Dragonmark Heir. If your opponent is not strong on energy attacks, use protection from energy to protect the Fire Giant from cold attacks, because you may wish to target him with a snowball swarm when he is not under command.
Move out the War Sorcerers last, paying attention to positioning for the next round. If you can set things up to use two lightning bolts on the first phase of the next round, you are doing well. Use your own under-command creatures as targets for lightning bolts to maximize effectiveness. Take care when moving your creatures so that you can set up a variety of shots. The War Sorcerer needs to be within 6 squares to do this without damaging your own creatures, but the tactic can be very effective. It works especially well against unseen creatures that you can't see but have Line of Effect to, such as those protected by invisibility, smoke and forest. The ability to strike accurately through terrain that blocks Line of Sight but not Line of Effect is one of the major strengths of this warband. Maps such as King's Road and Hellspike Grotto make this warband very deadly.
If possible, use the War Sorcerer's spells, especially lightning bolt, to eliminate your opponent's back-rank commanders and spellcasters while simultaneously damaging her front line creatures. Advance the Fire Giant Forgepriest as quickly as possible. You spent a lot of points on him, and if he doesn't start dishing out damage as quickly as possible, you won't get your points' worth. Use the Giant to engage enemy titans and front-line fighters and distract your opponent from what can often be the real threat -- your Red Hand War Sorcerers. Keep the Sorcerers 6 squares back from the front line so as to keep them as safe as possible while still giving their allies immunity to their spells.
Casting as many spells as possible is crucial for this band. Otherwise, you are wasting spells and making the Sorcerers more tempting targets. If you have a shot with a spell, take it. Every little bit counts.
Important things to remember are --
- Your own troops are immune to the Red Hand War Sorcerer's spells only when they are under command -- within 6 squares of the caster.
- The Red Hand War Sorcerers are both commanders, meaning they are vulnerable to each other's spells.
- You must target either the nearest enemy or nearest ally with your spells. Care should be taken to position your allies optimally as targets.
- The Red Hand War Sorcerers' commander effect doesn't just help you cast spells through your allies, it makes it harder for enemies to make saving throws, even against the other Sorcerer's spells.
- Even so much as touching a hard edge stops a lightning bolt in its tracks. Avoid areas with lots of hard cover.
- You might consider replacing the Kobold Monk with a Timber Wolf as a faster Victory Point grabber. Don't. You can't put the Timber Wolf under command, so he becomes vulnerable to your Sorcerer spells.
- The Fire Giant Forgepriest's forge blessing lets even your goblins and kobolds ignore DR.
- The Fire Giant has Cleave. If you have multiple targets to attack, swing at one you can kill in a single blow first to give yourself a free attack against bigger targets.
Strengths: Crossfire is strongest against warbands that rely on weak to moderately weak commanders, spellcasters, invisible creatures, and against many titan warbands.
Weaknesses: Crossfire is weakest against warbands that rely upon spell and energy resistances or have very effective flying creatures.
To slightly increase the melee strength of this warband, replace the Dragonmark Heir of Deneith with a Duergar Champion.
To reduce the reliance of this warband upon a titan, replace the Goblin Skirmishers, Fire Giant Forgepriest, and Kobold Miner with two Maugs, a Greenspawn Sneak, and another Kobold Monk.
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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.