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:
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.
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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