D&D Miniatures
The Tactics of Alignment

One of the first decisions you'll face when building a D&D Miniatures warband for tabletop skirmishing is which alignment to focus on. You have four to choose from: lawful good, chaotic good, lawful evil, or chaotic evil. Many players will undoubtedly base their choices entirely on emotional ("lawful good is for wimps!") or esthetic ("this Blackguard figure rocks!") factors. If you want to be competitive, however, there are more rational ways to approach the decision.

The table below shows various pertinent statistics about the figures of different alignments.

LG CG LE CE Any
No. of Figures 16 19 22 28 4
Commons 3 3 7 9 1
Uncommons 10 10 6 10 1
Rares 3 6 9 9 2
Cost 14.31 16.32 19.91 14.18 15.75
Figures/Warband 6.99 6.13 5.02 7.05
Level 3.31 3.16 4.18 3.43 4.75
Speed 5.56 6.21 5.81 6.14 7
Armor 17.25 15.26 16.14 15.64 16.5
Hit Points 23.13 20.79 29.55 24.82 33.75
Melee Attack 4.38 4.53 6.05 5.07 7
Melee Damage 7.81 6.58 7.95 8.75 10
Ranged Attackers 0 8 2 3 0
Ranged Damage 0 5.60 5.00 5.00 0
Commanders 3 4 3 4 0
Spellcasters 5 5 1 2 0
Armor Class/Cost 1.21 0.94 0.81 1.10 1.05
Hit Points/Cost 1.62 1.27 1.48 1.75 2.14
Melee Damage/Cost 0.55 0.40 0.40 0.62 0.63
Special Abilities 12 9 16 19 3

No. of Figures is how many figures are available within each alignment. Some figures can be used in two different warbands. These are factored into both alignments. Jozan, for example, can be either lawful or chaotic good. He counts as a potential figure in both columns. The four figures that can be included in any warband have their own column. They are not factored into the statistics for any of the other alignments. Commons, Uncommons, and Rares break down the total number of figures into their rarities -- pretty obvious stuff.

Cost is the average cost for a figure of that alignment. It doesn't mean that most figures cost approximately that amount. All will cost more or less than the average. Figures/Warband divides 100 (the number of points you get for building a warband) by the average cost to show, on average, how many figures you might expect to see in a warband of a particular alignment. Again, these are not absolutes. They do indicate, however, that chaotic evil warbands are likely to include more figures than lawful evil or lawful good warbands.

Level, Speed, Armor, and Hit Points indicate the averages for these values. The same is true for Melee Attack and Melee Damage. Some fudging was involved in the attack and damage figures. These factor in only the first attack for all figures. Second attacks often have a lower attack bonus and sometimes cause less damage.

Ranged Attackers indicates how many figures have ranged attack capability. In all but one case, ranged attacks cause 5 points of damage. Only the centaur (CG) causes 10 points.

Commanders and Spellcasters is a simple count of how many such figures are available.

Hit Points/Cost, Armor Class/Cost, and Melee Damage/Cost are simple reflections of efficiency. HP/Cost, for example, divides the alignment's average number of hit points per figure by its average cost per figure to show how many points you are paying per hit point in your warband. The same thing applies to armor class and melee damage. Higher numbers here indicate better cost efficiency.

Special Abilities is another simple count. This is the wild card.

Now that we know what we're talking about, let's see what the numbers mean.

Rarity

The biggest concern here is twofold -- how likely am I to get everything I need for my warband in my initial purchases, and how much material will I have to trade for the figures I don't get in packs?

Aside from having more figures to choose from, period, the evil warbands also have more common figures. That means you can probably put together a CE or LE warband with the least amount of money spent on Entry and Expansion Packs. Evil figures make up almost three-fourths of common figures, so they will be easy to come by. (That's also good news for those looking mainly for hoi-polloi opponents for role-playing games.) Anyone assembling a horde-style warband needs to work in chaotic or lawful evil.

That might sound like bad news for those who favor the good alignments but it isn't. The bulk of good-aligned warbands will be made up of uncommon figures, from which there are many to choose. You probably won't get as many as you'd like in your initial purchases. What you will get is more evil rares than you need. How does that help? Players who want evil rares won't get as many as they'd like, or won't get the specific ones they'd like (because there are so many available -- about two-thirds of rares are evil). That means the people seeking uncommon good figures will have evil rares to offer in trade, making a buyer's market. Players building good-aligned warbands will need to seek out trades but they should have an easy time getting what they want.

Stats

This is the place to look if you intend to design your warband around a particular playing style. Level is fairly consistent across three of the alignments but with a spike in LE. That's caused partially by the presence there of the medusa, the single most powerful figure in the set (she is also partially responsible for the spikes in the cost, hit points, and damage categories). If your goal is to build a warband with lots of staying power, then the lawful alignments are your best bets with their high hit points and armor ratings. If dishing out beaucoup damage in hack & slash melee is your bag, focus on evil. If you prefer to pelt your enemy from a distance with slings and arrows, CG is the only way to go. For a warband built around magic, the good alignments offer the best choices.

Efficiency

In terms of overall efficiency -- that is, getting the best defense and the most offense per point spent -- lawful good and chaotic evil seem to be the leading contenders. Bear in mind, however, that this rating, while significant, is less useful than it appears. "Efficiency" varies greatly from figure to figure depending on what you're after. These average ratings are interesting starting points but shouldn't be given too much weight.

Special Abilities

As was noted earlier, special abilities are the wild cards of the game. They are difficult to analyze quantitatively across the board. Even if they weren't, we wouldn't offer such a sweeping analysis here -- discovering which special abilities work well together is a big part of the challenge and enjoyment of building your competitive warband. A figure with a potent special ability or commander bonus, when used properly, can strengthen your whole warband to an extent that exceeds the point value paid. On the other hand, if the figure is used poorly or its special ability never comes into play, then the points spent on it are largely wasted, and your warband is weakened overall. Working out that balance is left up to you (and future articles!).

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