Silver Fury Warband
Barbarian Mercenary x4
Cleric of Order
Large Silver Dragon
Mialee, Elf Wizard
Rubble Assembly Tile
The Large Silver Dragon (LSD) isn't just one of the prettiest minis of the D&D Miniatures, it's also one of the most powerful that can be used in a 200-point game. That is a mixed blessing because, while the LSD is very difficult to destroy, it is also very expensive to field. That means whatever else goes into the warband is typically incapable of providing much more than minor support.
There are several ways to approach this problem. Most of them focus on buffing the LSD into an unstoppable juggernaut, but there is another way -- Silver Fury.
With Silver Fury, tile placement can spell the difference between a quick win and a long fight. The idea is to place your tiles near your opponent's assembly tile in a way that forces her initial movements through narrow channels. This invites her creatures to bunch up in the bottlenecks and sets them up to be devastated by the LSD's breath weapons. Examine your opponent's warband to estimate how far it is likely to move from its starting tile on the first turn, and then place tiles accordingly. If this type of placement is not possible, then place tiles to block line of sight and channel enemy troops during later portions of the game.
Position your LSD so that it is the closest piece to your opponent. Place Mialee and the Cleric of Order adjacent to the LSD. Place the Men-at-Arms and Barbarians on the outer portion of the tile with the Men-at-Arms foremost.
The first two turns are critical for Silver Fury. Double-move the Men-at-Arms first as screeners. Cast magic weapon and shield of faith on the LSD, and move Mialee and the Cleric of Order as far forward as safely possible. Use cover, screeners, and the LSD to protect the vulnerable Barbarian Mercenaries from ranged attacks.
Move the LSD last. If you succeeded in channeling your opponent's warband, double move your LSD toward it. Otherwise, move the dragon forward far enough to become the closest target to the enemy, but not so far that the Cleric can't reach it on the following turn.
If your opponent moved into the narrow passages, on turn two you should be able to get the LSD within breath range with a single move. Move the LSD first and use its Cold breath. That should wipe out fodder, support units, and weak commanders and force morale checks on most other creatures. Because those creatures are only one move off their starting tile, they may rout right off the board in one round.
Quickly move up the Barbarian Mercenaries to support the LSD and finish off damaged figures.
If you couldn't create choke points with your tile placement or your opponent didn't take the bait on turn two, have the Cleric of Order cast major resistance on the LSD. That way, even if the Cleric is killed, the LSD still fails its morale saves only on a roll of 1. Use Mialee to cast magic missile and kill one of the enemy fodder to reduce you opponent's activations, then have her join the ranks of the screeners. Continue advancing your warband.
Once you have destroyed much your opponent's fodder and support troops, it is time tackle the tougher creatures with Paralysis Breath. The biggest problem the LSD has is that it cannot use melee attacks on the turn it uses its Paralysis Breath. This is where the Barbarian Mercenaries come in. When enemy creatures are paralyzed by the LSD's breath, each Barbarian can inflict 30 points of automatic damage.
Finally, use the LSD to help finish off paralyzed opponents and destroy any remaining commanders.
Important things to remember are:
- The Cleric of Order's commander effect and offensive spells are not that useful to Silver Fury, but the LSD's maneuverability is. Keep the LSD in command while keeping the Cleric of Order at a safe distance. Use your second shield of faith on the Cleric of Order.
- Effective use of the LSD's breath weapons is vital. This means making an effort to bunch your opponent's troops together. If you cannot do this with terrain placement, move your LSD into a semi-vulnerable position to bait your opponent into ganging up on it. The LSD can easily trade a round of attacks in order to maximize its breath weapons.
- With a buffed AC 26, Save +19, 150 HP, and immunity to cold, acid, sleep and paralysis, the LSD is one of the hardest creatures in the game to kill. Its biggest vulnerabilities are spells without saves and energy, especially fire, attacks. Use cover and the LSD's ability to fly behind enemy lines to quickly neutralize these threats.
- Silver Fury lacks the support pieces of other LSD warbands, such as Aramil or the Healer, so don't play defensively. Aggressiveness is the key to victory.
- In timed games, LSD warbands have a distinct advantage. As long as you can score at least 79 victory points, your opponent must kill your LSD before the end of the time in order to win. While stalling is against the rules, nothing says you have to place your LSD in a position where it can be attacked and killed.
Strengths:Silver Fury is strongest against warbands that benefit from bunching up, do not have high attack rolls, or that rely on a large number of support troops.
Weaknesses:Silver Fury is weakest against undead, constructs, and other creatures that are immune or resistant to cold and/or paralysis, and against warbands capable of dealing large amounts of energy or spell damage.
- To increase activations, replace Mialee with two Men-at-Arms.
- To gain healing and ranged attacks, replace the Cleric of Order and Mialee with a Cleric of Lathander and Man-at-Arms.
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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.