Cleric of Corellon Larethian
Elf Warrior x2
Graycloak Ranger x4
Half-Elf Bow Initiate
Wolf x4 (minions)
Assembly Tile (Rubble)
Shrine of Justice
Archer-based warbands are one of Chaotic Good's strengths, but they can be tricky to play. Not only must you contend with Line of Sight and cover issues, but having your opponent move his creatures adjacent to your archers ("basing") can shut them down completely. Let's examine some useful ranged tactics with the 200-point warband Corellon's Rain.
Use the Mushroom Tangle to keep an open Line of Sight to your opponent's assembly tile or to slow his creatures when leaving it. Because the Mushroom Tangle has no walls, it can be placed adjacent to any tile. Place the Aftermath and Shrine of Justice tiles near your assembly tile to give your own creatures (especially the Graycloak Rangers) cover to hide behind and to gain the benefits of the Magic Circle.
Every round that your figures shoot works strongly to your advantage, so you want to move into shooting positions as quickly as possible. Place your creatures on the outside edge of your Assembly Tile unless your opponent has a fireball or similarly effective first round attack. Place one wolf adjacent to each Graycloak, the Crow Shaman adjacent to the Half-Elf Bow Initiate (HEBI), and the Cleric of Corellon Larethian (CoCL) adjacent to one of your Graycloaks.
The first three turns of the game are likely to be the most critical for Corellon's Rain. You must score as much damage as possible before the enemy bases your figures. If given the choice of getting off a good shot or buffing someone with a spell, taking the shot is usually the better choice. If there are no good shots, though, your setup allows you to take advantage of many buff spells. The Crow Shaman should cast cat's grace on the HEBI, the Graycloaks cast magic fang on the Wolves, and the CoCL casts magic weapon on one of the Graycloaks. The latter two are especially important if your opponent has creatures with DR. If your choice is to attack the first turn, have the CoCL activate early to cast his bless spell.
Move the Graycloaks into positions with cover. This allows them to take advantage of their Hide ability, which can protect them from being charged or targeted by ranged attacks and spells and also gives them +2 to attack most creatures. Move the Wolves and Elf Warriors out front to act as skirmishers. The combination of magic fang and bless gives the Wolves a chance to use their Stunning Attack. Use this and their speed to harass enemy spell casters and archers, and to grab valuable point tiles in Assault and Pillage scenarios. Select the targets that you want your Graycloak Rangers to shoot at and then do not engage them in melee, because the rangers don't have Precise Shot.
Your HEBI is your primary source of damage. The Crow Shaman's snake's swiftness can enhance this further. You want to inflict maximum damage early in the game, so snake's swiftness is often a better choice than cat's grace.
The Valenar Commander's commander effect should also be used as soon as possible. Use it to target weak, non-commander spell casters and other high cost/low HP creatures. The Graycloaks should concentrate against enemy creatures with 5 to 15 hit points. This cuts down on your opponent's activations and decreases the number of creatures that can move adjacent to your archers. If giant-class creatures are available as targets, the Graycloaks' Giant Foe ability makes them almost as effective against giants as is the HEBI.
As your opponent moves closer, use your screeners and hold person spells to slow down enemy creatures. Once melee becomes inevitable, send the Valenar Commander forward. You have two commanders, so you can afford to lose one, and the Valenar is a decent melee fighter. With a 21 AC from cat's grace and 70 HP, the HEBI can endure several Attacks of Opportunity and still deal a 15-point ranged attack in any round that it disengages from an enemy, so don't hesitate to withdraw him from melee. When possible, use the Valenar Commander and other archers to free up an engaged Graycloak before it activates.
Important things to remember are:
- The Crow Shaman casts sorcerer spells. This means you can sacrifice higher-level spells for lower-level ones, giving you up to nine snake's swiftness spells.
- At DC 14, the CoCL's hold persons are limited in usefulness, but still better than engaging in melee. One roll of 6 or lower (30% chance) from an Orc Champion can change the tide of battle.
- A corner is an archer's best friend. If an archer is adjacent to an enemy creature without Melee Reach on the opposite side of the same corner, not only can the archer still make ranged attacks, it also gains melee cover from the creature while the creature does not gain ranged cover from the archer.
- The CoCL's commander effect should not be overlooked. Seven of your 14 creatures can benefit from it. This can mean a lot if your opponent's warband is heavy with spell casters.
- The Crow Shaman's Chastise Spirits is nice, especially against those pesky Cursed Spirits, but it still has to overcome Incorporeal. The CoCL's Turn Undead 4 does not.
Strengths:Corellon's Rain is strongest against warbands with noncommander spellcasters, slow-moving warbands, warbands with several giant-class creatures, and warbands with ACs less than 20.
Weaknesses:Corellon's Rain is weakest against highly mobile warbands and nongiant creatures with high HPs.
- To increase the melee strength of this warband, replace two Graycloak Rangers and two Elf Warriors with two Bariaur Rangers and an Elf Spearguard.
- To increase the maneuverability of this warband, replace the CoCL and an Elf Warrior with the Inspiring Marshal.
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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.