D&D Miniatures10/22/2008


Wild Things
The Art of Warbands



Warbands from the Wild faction became all the rage just before the DDM Constructed Championships at GenCon last year. With such amazing pieces as the Thrall of Blackrazor to work with, there's little wonder as to why. Here's a fun yet competitive warband that uses some familiar pieces in what is probably a somewhat unfamiliar build.

Wild Things

Sahuagin Baron (42 pts, Ch 3)
Snaketongue Cultist (17 pts, Ch 1)
Thrall of Blackrazor (43 pts)
Werewolf Champion (39 pts)
Elf Conjurer (32 pts)
Wild Elf Warsinger x2 (18 pts)
Ravenous Dire Rat x3 (9 pts)
Magma Keep
Total = 10 Activations, 200 pts

Setup

It is all but impossible to gain LOS for a first-turn alpha strike on Magma Keep, so make your initial placement for this band with an eye toward where you're going to want your pieces to start on Round 2; that plus the fact that this band is focused mostly on melee beaters makes Side B an all around better side to set up on. Position your slower pieces close to the borders of the Start Area so that they can make quick progress toward the coming battle, and be sure to position your Elf Conjurer in a prime position to lay down some ranged damage if the opportunity presents itself.

Be sure to place your Snaketongue Cultist close to either the Thrall or the Werewolf Champion; you'll want to keep him close to one or both of those pieces throughout the battle to optimize use of snake's swiftness.

Tactics

Wild Things is about as basic a warband as you'll ever see: a multi-beater squad with limited ranged and some efficient utility for your strikers. Just because the band focuses on melee hitters doesn't mean it's an easy band to operate. With only two primary beaters, you'll need to carefully select where you engage in order to get the most use out of your big pieces.

Use the Elf Conjurer to force melee engagement to an area of your choosing: Kelgore's firebolt and Melf's unicorn arrow are wonderful incentives for enemy units to avoid the long, open lanes on the map if you can use the Conjurer to threaten them. Once your opponent is forced to move where you want him to go, gang up on individual units with the Thrall, Werewolf Champion, and Baron (the Baron should be the last to engage in melee, as his Champion Rating is valuable for maintaining the Initiative). Despite the narrow corridors, there's enough room in Magma Keep's engagement areas that you should be able to set up Charge attacks in order to take advantage of the Wild Elf Warsinger's special abilities.

While your melee beaters are duking it out with the enemy on the front lines, the Elf Conjurer can hover around the background and dish out a constant barrage of ranged damage. Your Snaketongue Cultist, in the meantime, will provide your beaters with much-needed extra attacks via snake's swiftness, not to mention some potential finishing damage with his poison touch ability. Once the time to charge has passed, the Wild Elf Warsingers are capable flankers and mop-up artists. They are particularly effective at dealing with enemy fodder while your more important figures focus on your opponent's higher-cost pieces. Use the Rats as screeners, flankers, or to grab easy assault points.

Things to Remember

  • With the Snaketongue Cultist to back him up, the Thrall of Blackrazor can make up to a devastating three attacks over the course of two activations using his haste ability and the Cultist's snake's swiftness. This makes your warband's most deadly melee attacker tremendously more dangerous, especially with all of the capacity your champions have to grant him even more damage output.
  • A Werewolf Champion is more efficient when Bloodied thanks to his bloodfury ability, but be careful: his relatively low AC means he'll be Bloodied quickly, which means that he'll be eliminated quickly after that. Make sure to get the most use out of your K-9 before he expires. If you do find him Bloodied, be sure to utilize the Sahuagin Baron's damage bonus to Bloodied units and the Snaketongue Cultist's snake's swiftness to maximize the pup's bloody output before he gets sent to the pound. (I will be punished for so many dog-related puns in one paragraph, I know it.)
  • Though he's primarily in the warband for his Champion Rating, the Sahuagin Baron is a capable combatant in his own right. He can provide some much-needed extra attacks and damage to your hitters with his Champion Powers. His high AC and personal damage bonus when he gets Bloodied also mean that he's capable of holding his own.
  • While the Snaketongue Cultist's primary role is to provide extra attacks via snake's swiftness, don't forget his Champion Power, which can add that extra 10 pts of damage needed to Bloody an enemy unit or finish it off entirely.
  • Besides the devastating Kelgore's fire bolt, the Elf Conjurer can lay down auto damage with his ranged attack every round even with a miss. But his best trick is the Melf's unicorn arrow: try pushing an enemy unit into the lava on Magma Keep and see if he gets fricasseed. The Elf Conjurer's Flight allows him to move over the fiery canyons on Magma Keep with impunity, which should allow you to get him into some prime shooting positions.

Strengths

Wild Things is strongest against slow-moving warbands, warbands with low AC and/or Defense scores, and warbands with minimal ranged capability.

Weaknesses

Wild Things is weakest against warbands with a lot of fire resistance and very high Defense and AC scores.

Variations

  • If you want a more efficient melee beater and don't mind losing out on initiative, swap the Sahuagin Baron for a Cyclops.
  • For an extra beater, try swapping the Elf Conjurer for a Clawborn Scorrow. Since you no longer have a ranged threat, consider switching from Magma Keep to Hellspike Grotto.

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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