Orc Warrior x4
Rubble Assembly Tile
Tank -- the word conjures images of an armored, near-invulnerable juggernaut of destruction. But any student of modern warfare can tell you that a tank, unsupported by infantry and artillery, is far from invulnerable. This weakness is partly what led to the modern military philosophy of combined arms.
What do modern armor tactics have to do with a fantasy miniatures game? Surprisingly, a lot, when you use a 200-point warband like Pincer Maneuver.
Against opponents with strong long-ranged attacks, place tiles to block LOS and to form two-square-wide corridors in areas where you think the battle will develop.
If your opponent has a powerful first round attack, such as a fireball, place the Warrior Skeleton and an Orc Warrior on the outside edge so that they are the closest creatures for your opponent to target. Place the rest of your figures behind the wall for protection. Otherwise, place most of your creatures along the outside edge of the assembly tile with one Chuul at each exit and the Warrior Skeleton near the outside corner. Place both the Drow Wizard and Drider Sorcerer adjacent to your forward-most Chuul.
Pincer Maneuver consists of the three basic elements of an armor battalion -- the Chuuls as tanks, the Drider Sorcerer and Drow Wizard as artillery, and the Orc Warriors, Warrior Skeleton, and Troglodyte as infantry. It is using these elements in combination that makes this warband effective.
On the first round, cast blur and magic weapon on one of the Chuuls, then move both spellcasters and the second Chuul into a position to repeat this procedure on the next round while still advancing toward the enemy. Use cover carefully to protect your creatures from ranged attacks as you advance.
Once your tanks are buffed, use the artillery to soften up your opponents. Against strong long-ranged energy attacks, lead with the infantry but protect the Troglodyte. Otherwise, lead with the armor. Against weak ranged attacks, hold back initially so that the Drider and Wizard have a chance to both buff your tanks and take their place as artillery.
It is best to keep this warband together, but if necessary, you can advance one of the Chuuls quickly by use of a Transposition Fling. This is a technique that uses a transposition spell to give a creature a free movement of up to 13 squares. To accomplish this, move a creature so that it is within 12 squares of the creature you wish to fling. Then move the transposition caster (in this warband, that's the Drider Sorcerer) to within six squares of both creatures and use a baleful transposition spell to swap them.
If you outnumber your opponent by three or more creatures, take the battle to open ground and bring your greater numbers to bear. Your infantry should create flanking situations for the armor and protect them from being flanked.
If you do not outnumber your opponent, start the battle in a two or three-space wide corridor. Block the corridor with one Chuul while swinging the other around and behind the enemy in a classic pincer maneuver. This is most easily accomplished by double-moving one of your infantry behind the enemy front lines and then using baleful transposition to swap it out with a Chuul. If this is not possible, continue the fight in the corridor with the lead Chuul until it comes close to elimination, then transpose it out with the fresh Chuul.
Important things to remember are:
- While it is hard to hide a Chuul completely from LOS, the rules for ranged cover are generous to large creatures. Use cover and blur to make your armor a difficult-to-hit AC 26/Conceal 6 against ranged attacks.
- In addition to the Transposition Fling, other good uses for baleful transposition are to place an unactivated Chuul adjacent to an enemy so that it can attack twice when it activates and to remove a creature from combat without provoking attacks of opportunity.
- Your own creatures may voluntarily fail their saves against baleful transposition, so the spell is 100% reliable when transposing two of your own creatures. The spell can be used to pluck a vulnerable enemy figure from its safe location and transpose it with one of your infantry to a position where it can be quickly overwhelmed.
- Maximizing the Chuuls' ability to hit with both attacks is critical to this warband. Use the Troglodyte, Shrine, flanking, and magic weapon to accomplish this.
- Despite the importance of buffing the Chuuls, it can be more important to gain an early numerical advantage by eliminating most of an opponent's fodder creatures with a first round casting of Snilloc's snowball swarm on his assembly tile. If this can be done, even by use of a Transposition Fling, it is usually an excellent choice.
- The Warrior Skeleton is more durable than the Orc Warrior. It makes a better choice for point guard or tile grabbe, and a perfect choice for targeting a Snilloc's snowball swarm.
- While a Chuul can do 55 automatic points of damage to a paralyzed opponent, four Orc Warriors benefiting from the Drow Sergeant's commander effect can do 100 points of damage.
Strengths:Pincer Maneuver is strongest against warbands that use creatures with low to moderate attack bonuses, ACs of 20 or less, or that rely on poison, conceal, and/or low AC/high HP creatures vulnerable to Paralyze.
Weaknesses:Pincer Maneuver is weakest against undead and creatures that have high ACs, blind-fight, or immunity to paralysis, and against warbands capable of repeatedly dealing large amounts of energy damage.
- To increase this warbands' ability to grab terrain tiles and to transpose creatures into an opponent's rear, replace the Warrior Skeleton, Troglodyte, and two Orc Warriors with a Cursed Spirit and an Abyssal Maw.
- To increase your activations, replace the Troglodyte with an Abyssal Maw and Warrior Skeleton.
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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.