With Wardrums now available, its time to start looking at some of the changes the new rules will bring to the game. For that purpose, I chose a warband that uses the 8-figure limit and maps.
I always wanted to play a good monk-based warband. As a classic example of speed and mobility, it's hard to beat monks. But monks lacked one thing needed to make them champions on the battle map -- hard-hitting power. At least, that was the case until the release of Underdark. Now the monk has come of age with the Gith Assault Squad (GAS).
The speed of the GAS warband makes it nearly impossible for you opponent to prevent first-round victory points and gives you a strong ability to decide where the battle will be fought. This lessens the impact of detrimental maps, making map choices less critical. Choosing which side, then, becomes more of a decision about which is worse for your opponent's band than which is best for yours. This means you want to pick sides if you win setup initiative.
Your biggest worries during setup are ranged area of effect (AoE) attacks such as fireball and automatic damage attacks. It is usually best to either spread out your warband or form two separate assault squads. Place a Githzerai Monk in a position to reach a victory area on round 1, a Sun Soul Initiate to reach it by round 2, and the Hill Dwarf Warrior to reach it by round 3. Use terrain to block LOS as much as possible, but otherwise, the speed of the warband makes less-than-optimal setup more forgiving than other bands.
Your motto for GAS should be "strike fast, strike hard." With this in mind, advancing quickly is essential. Keep your monks spread out as you advance to allow more tactical options on the next turn, protect your warband against area of effect attacks, and keep your opponent guessing about your destination. The monks' speed means that, like Napoleon, you can concentrate all of your major combatants in a single round to deliver a hammer blow at the location of your choosing.
Advance either a Gith or Sun Soul Initiate to a victory point area and bring up the Hill Dwarf Warrior to take their place as soon as possible -- his job is to sit there and garner points. Rotating the three through the victory area is a good way to gather victory points while keeping your best combatants in the fight.
GAS's speed makes it difficult for opponents to cover every approach. Wait for an opening, then bring in your monks for the hammer blow of four resounding Unavoidable Strike Stunning Attacks. After the initial blow, evaluate your opponent's warband. If it is reeling from the initial attack, press your advantage. If your opponent is recovering quickly, it is best to disengage -- the combination of AC 25 and Stunning Attack reduces your fear of attacks of opportunity. Once disengaged, wait for another opening and repeat the process.
Some warbands, especially those that use powerful undead or constructs, may be difficult for a GAS warband to defeat in a straight fight. Against these opponents, it is best to strike hard and fast at the weaker support creatures while avoiding the tough combatants, then avoid combat as much as possible, aiming for victory through assault points.
Against fast, hard hitting creatures like orcs, speed and high AC won't be as much of a defense. In that case, tthe best defense is a good offense. Use Stunning Attacks to keep enemy figures off-balance and limit the number of attacks they can make.
Against warbands that rely on ranged attacks, spellcasters, or specific commander effects, use the speed of the monks to race around your opponent's flanks and strike his weak support creatures. Two Githzerai Monks pose a serious threat to almost any commander.
Important things to remember are:
Strengths: Gith Assault Squad is strongest against slow to medium speed warbands, those with poor saves, and those that rely on weak support creatures.
Weaknesses: Gith Assault Squad is weakest against undead, constructs and other creatures immune to stun, warbands that use Conceal heavily, and warbands that can dish out large amounts of automatic damage.
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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