To kick off the re-launch of The Art of warbands, I've decided to fall back and fit some new pieces into one of my old standby-style of warbands: a multi-tasking squad with the ability to adapt to any number of environments and opponents.
Lyrander Skyfire Captain (55 pts, ChR 3)
You're likely to have a ranged attack advantage over most enemy warbands, but, as ever, be wary of what area-of-effect or ranged attacks your opponent brings to the table. All of your archers and your Wild Mage will avail you little if they're destroyed in a well-placed first turn strike. (This is unlikely to happen on Broken Demongate. That's unlikely, not impossible …). Side A (the "happy" side) is recommended for use with this warband. Set at least one of your Skullcleave Warriors adjacent to your Captain in the start area closest to the center of the map, along with the Wild Mage and a Goblin Runner to be used as a screener. Throwing the Human Sellsword and/or the second Skullcleave Warrior in that area is a good idea, as well; the rest of your warband can start in the more remote start area near your "exit" squares.
If your opponent sets up first and allows you to potentially get a first turn strike with your Wild Mage, by all means take it. Otherwise, protect the fragile Mage with your tougher pieces. Try to keep at least one Goblin hidden away so that you're guaranteed at least one turn's worth of tile points.
The best thing about a warband like Skullfire is its versatility. With the Wild Mage, you have a Controller that allows you to blast multiple units with an array of unpleasant effects. The Skullcleave Warriors are, of course, your centerpieces: high-AC beaters capable of dishing out tremendous amounts of damage and that are consistently capable of withstanding punishment. The Lyrander Skyfire Captain, oft used only for his buffing abilities, is a deadly marksman capable of hitting high-AC opponents even when other units in your warband fall short. Finally, the lowly Human Sellsword is more dangerous than his low cost might indicate, and he's more than capable of mopping up injured enemy units or acting as a reserve beater if the Skullcleave twins bite off more than they can chew. Use this array of pieces to deal with whatever threats come your way; the key here is knowing which piece to use in each situation.
Broken Demongate is a tricky map to maneuver on, and deployment is going to be even harder for your opponent thanks to the presence of your Wild Mage and Skyfire Captain. Patience is of the utmost importance when running this warband. Carefully consider your ranged attacks, for there are a number of tricky line-of-sight opportunities on this map if you're willing to wait for an opening. Reaching the victory areas can also prove challenging, as the only means of doing so involve passing through one of the two openings that link the distinct halves of the map.
Position your screeners, Skullcleave Warriors, and Human Sellsword near the central gap but out of easy line of sight to your opponent, thereby establishing control over the area when enemy units move through. Position your Skyfire Captain and Wild Mage further from the gap but within line of sight so that they can take easy shots at exposed enemy units. Use one or more Goblin Runners to build an early lead by grabbing juicy Assault Points. That should force your opponent to come to you in an effort to catch up. While you continue to soften up the enemy with your Champion and Mage, the formidable Skullcleave Warriors and Sellsword can move in and mop up the mess.
Things to remember:
Skullfire is strongest against titan warbands and warbands with little to no ranged or area-effect capabilities.
Skullfire is weakest against warbands that rely on multiple strong beaters and warbands with plenty of energy resistance.
About the Author
Steven Montano gave up his dreams of becoming a kung fu action star in favor of becoming a financial accountant for Wizards of the Coast. Little did he dream how similar those two professions would end up being.
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