Evil Eyes Warband
Duergar Warrior x4
Assembly Tile 6
Spike Stones Cave
The Beholder is an awesome classic creature to many D&D players. It has many cool special abilities. The miniature version captures its versatility, and its randomness helps level out the playing field between skilled and unskilled players. Despite all those eyes, the Beholder has a few blind spots. Let's look at how to deal with those in the 200-point warband Evil Eyes.
Place your tiles to hinder enemy movement and provide cover from ranged attacks. Use the Statue Room or Broken Wall to create narrow corridors near your starting tile. In Assault and Plunder formats, place the Spike Stones Cave on your opponent's half of the board, as far away from both assembly tiles as possible while allowing a portion of it to be out of LOS.
Place the Beholder, Commander, and most of your other creatures on the outer portion of your assembly tile unless your opponent has strong ranged abilities. In Assault and Plunder formats, use the Mongrelfolk's Cave Setup ability to place it in a protected area of the Spike Stones Cave.
Move your creatures toward a defendable position, preferably an area with narrow entrances but clear LOS to your opponent. Move the Skullcrusher Ogre to block the main entrance to that area and use the Duergar as screeners. Placing the Duergar directly in front of the Ogre allows all of them to attack while protecting the Ogre and allowing it to make use of the Hobgoblin Sergeant's Commander Effect. Use the Skullcrusher's ranged attack, Beholder's inflict wounds ray (whenever possible), and the Gauth and Blue to clear away enemy fodder, then let your opponent have it with both ocular barrels. Keeping your opponent away from the Gauth and Beholder for as long as possible is your goal. In Assault and Plunder, keep the Mongrelfolk safe but don't forget to activate him when you want to burn activations.
Only half of the Beholder's eye rays can affect Undead and Constructs, so use the Gauth and Skullcrusher to deal with these. Use the Gauth's Paralysis Ray on creatures within reach of the Skullcrusher so that he can finish them off quickly with 60 points of automatic damage.
Maintaining LOS is important to both the Beholder and Gauth, but cover is not a worry. Use it to minimize enemy ranged attacks. The Duergars' Conceal 6, 10 HP, and AC17, combined with the ranged power of the Gauth and Beholder, should allow you to outgun most ranged warbands. The only exception to this is the Graycloak Ranger, whose Hide ability allows it to attack without being attacked as long as it has cover. Against bands with large numbers of these, you may need to tediously move/slide your warband forward out of LOS to gain a good attack position.
Tactics with the Beholder itself vary widely depending on which effect you roll. You can't rely on rolling disintegrate every turn. Optimal use of the Beholder means having a good use for whatever effect you roll. Often this means sliding your own creatures, so keep them fairly close together and in a position that lets the Beholder choose choice targets by moving only two squares. Telekinesis can be used to a variety of effects. Inflict wounds is terrific for eliminating fodder, damaging larger creatures, and healing undead (if you add some to the warband). Slow is best used on creatures with multiple attacks. Fear and flesh to stone are best used on powerful creatures unless their saves are better than +10. Disintegrate can be devastating to any creature in the game, even those with good saves.
Important things to remember are:
- The Blue's psionic abilities are considered spells, so they're subject to the Beholder's Antimagic Eye. Move the Blue to a location out of LOS from the Beholder before you start using its abilities.
- Because the Beholder gets two activations in a round, it can move from outside LOS and attack, then attack again and move back out of LOS, all in one phase. Use this to protect the Beholder from ranged attacks.
- The telekinesis eye may be the weakest of the Beholder's eye rays, but it is also the most versatile. Use it to slide the Gauth into an optimal firing position or maintain a one-square gap between heavy hitters and the Skullcrusher so that it can use Reach to make its full attacks while opponents without reach must move before they can strike back. You can also slide opponents out of LOS to give the Beholder and Gauth better target choices, or even slide them onto spike stones for damage.
- The Gauth relies on having juicy enemy targets in LOS more than the Beholder, and its fire ray does more reliable damage. It is often best to use the Beholder's telekinesis to move the Gauth into a better firing position than to use many of the Beholder's other effects. A first turn slide + move + fire ray can often catch an opponent off guard.
- Both Gauth and Beholder can function effectively without a commander, so it is better to sacrifice your commander than risk either of your evil eyes.
Strengths: Evil Eyes is strongest against slow-moving warbands, warbands with low to moderate saves, and spell-based warbands.
Weaknesses: Evil Eyes is weakest against warbands with high saves, those that contain strong Undead, Constructs, or Dragons, and those with large numbers of Graycloak Rangers.
- To increase the number of activations and screeners, replace the Duergar Warriors and Blue with seven Goblin Skirmishers.
- To add an undead for the beholder to heal with its inflict wounds ray, replace the Blue and three Duergar with two Goblin Skirmishers and a Gravehound.
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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.