The Art of Warbands12/09/2004


Fire & Ice
The Art of Warbands



Fire & Ice
Abyssal Maw x3
Bugbear x3
Drow Wizard
Red Samurai
Rubble Assembly Tile
Abattoir
Shrine
Treasure Room

The Chaotic Evil faction is strong on offense, speed, and immunities. It favors an aggressive style of play that is fairly easy for new players to find success with. Its wide variety of creatures also makes it easier for the new player because effective warbands can be fielded with few to no rare creatures. A 100-point warband that plays upon these strengths is Fire & Ice.

Setup

Place the Abattoir near the center of the board. If your opponent has a lot of high AC creatures or DR creatures, however, place the Shrine there. These are the tiles where you are going to want to engage your opponent. Place the other tiles to give your creatures cover against ranged attacks or to channel your opponent to the center of the board.

Set up most of your creatures on the outside rubble of the assembly tile with your Bugbears closest to your opponent unless he has ranged energy attacks; in that case, lead with the Abyssal Maws. Follow with the Red Samurai. If possible, place the Drow Wizard in a position where he can get line of sight to your opponent's assembly tile on the first turn of the game. This sets up a potentially good target for Snilloc's snowball swarm. If a first-turn spell attack is not possible, set up the Drow Wizard in a protected position next to the Red Samurai.

Tactics

Your biggest weaknesses are low AC and poor morale saves. Compensate for these with very aggressive tactics. Move in quickly and attack before you can be attacked. Use cover to protect your creatures, leading with the Bugbears to absorb any ranged attacks during the approach. Use the Drow Wizard's Snilloc's snowball swarm and magic missile to keep enemy heads down and sweep away weak enemy blockers.

Once you close, any remaining Bugbears should create flanking situations and engage enemy blockers while the Abyssal Maws and Red Samurai move in for the kill against stronger opponents.

Important things to remember are:

  • The Red Samurai's fire breath can turn the tide of a battle. It is good for clearing out large numbers of weak creatures and weakening tougher creatures. It is best when used for both.

  • The Red Samurai's speed is great for bypassing blockers and getting up close and personal with defensively weak spell casters, archers, and commanders. It also gives him fluid flanking possibilities.

  • The Drow Wizard's commander effect is not a cornerstone to this warband, and his attacks are all ranged spells, so it is best to keep him away from the fray while he softens up the enemy with spells. This warband is focused on attack -- holding attackers in reserve to defend your commander can cost you the skirmish. Get the hitters right in there.

  • Unless the Drow Wizard has a good target for a Snilloc's snowball swarm in the beginning of the match, he should cast magic weapon on the Red Samurai on the first turn. The Samurai doesn't need extra magic to get past DR, but the bonus to attack rolls will help against high AC opponents.

  • Abyssal Maws are offensively strong but defensively weak. Avoid engagements with weaker creatures -- concentrate on enemies where the Maws' high damage will be most effective.

  • Abyssal Maws are likely to die or rout quickly whether they're facing strong opponents or weak, so use their big, cheap damage to best effect against creatures with high hit points.

  • Abyssal Maws are immune to the Drow Wizard's Snilloc's snowball swarm and can even survive the Red Samurai's breath if they make their saves, so don't be afraid to catch them in these areas of effect or even target the Abyssal Maws if this optimizes the spell's area.

Strengths:Fire & Ice is strong against warbands with low AC creatures, swarms of weak creatures, and strong creatures with few or no blockers. With its speed and resistances, it can even be effective against range-based warbands.

Weaknesses:Fire & Ice is weak against warbands with High AC creatures, especially those that also have resistance to fire and cold attacks.

Variations

To increase the offensive capability of this warband even more, replace the Bugbears with Orc Spearfighters or more Abyssal Maws.

To increase the defensive capability of this warband, replace the Abyssal Maws with Orc Spearfighters or more Bugbears.

To increase the number of blockers, replace three of the 5-point creatures with five Orc Warriors or five Warrior Skeletons. Warrior Skeletons are offensively weak compared to Orc Warriors but have the advantage of being immune to Snilloc's snowball swarm.

Copy and paste the following into our Warband Generator.

100,Fire Ice,4,12,8,123,123,123,126,126,126,130,138,4,1,2,3,5,''

Or launch Fire & Ice 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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