I’ve always loved the flavor and coloration of the Firewalkers. They are fast in their racial, they are a no nonsense technical army that thrives on the attack rather than defense. The gladiators from the sun roam Esfah looking for a fight and they are more than willing to show the world their prowess. But enough prattle. Let us back up my claim with dice stats.
Sentinel: (Rare: 3 Melee, 3 Maneuver, 3 Save, 4 Smite, 4 Missile)
Watcher: (Uncommon: 3 Melee, 2 Save, 2 missile, 3 Melee, 2 maneuver)
Guardian: (Common: 1 Melee, 1 save, 1 missile, 2 melee, 1 maneuver)
Thoughts: Before you say “WAIT! Those dice are craptastic!” Firewalkers are 75% Jacks of all trades units, they get their melee prowess and speed later when I discuss racial abilities. Just know that these units are actually really good when in favorable terrain, and possibly modified by item usage. As far as fielding Firewalker heavy melee is concerned, they have some nice options and they can contribute at any range. While not really reliable, like most firewalkers they are never a bad option.
Expiditioner: (Rare: 3 Missile, 3 Melee, 3 Melee, 4 counter, 3 maneuver)
Adventurer: (Uncommon: 1 Save, 2 Melee, 3 Melee, 3 Missile, 3 Maneuver)
Explorer: (Common: 1 Melee, 1 Save 1 Missile, 1 Melee, 1 Maneuver)
Thoughts: Light Melee can be substituted or ran in conjunction with your heavy melee units, they don’t have too much difference other than smite over counter (both are really good in this edition) and either give melee results when you need them. These 2 unit types will be the bulk of your typical force.
Firestormer: (Rare: 4 Missile, 2 Save, 3 Melee, 4 Bullseye, 3 Maneuver)
Firemaster: (Uncommon: 3 Missile, 2 Save, 2 Melee, 3 Missile, 3 Maneuver)
Firestarter: (Common: 1 Missile, 1 Save, 1 Melee, 2 Missile, 1 Maneuver)
Thoughts: After looking at Racials these guys give as good at Ranged combat as they do in Melee, in favorable terrain they can go the full distance with proper support.
Daybringer: (Rare: 2 Save, 4 Missile, 4 Melee, 4 Fly, 2 Maneuver)
Nightsbane: (Uncommon: 3 Missile, 2 Maneuver, 2 Maneuver, 3 Melee, 2 Save)
Shadowchaser: (Common: 1 Maneuver, 2 Melee, 2 Missile, 1 maneuver, 1 save)
Thoughts: These guys can move fast and attack hard, again based on favored terrain. They can quickly move across a battlefield with a coin flip for a maneuver result. A great supplementary force for a heavy attack build.
Ashbringer: (Rare: 3 Magic, 3 Magic, 3 Magic, 3 Cantrip, 4 Maneuver)
Sunflair: (Uncommon: 2 Magic, 2 Magic, 3 Magic, 2 Magic, 3 Maneuver)
Sunburst: (Common: 1 Magic, 1 Magic, 1 Magic, 1 Magic, 2 Maneuver)
Thoughts: The Firewalkers magic is incredible. They are super consistent and crazy efficient. The situational use of Cantrip is not so much a bad thing in this race as a single force. They are one of the few races that have a Cantrip spell that cost over 2 magic and effectively adds another roll for an army. That being said, these guys need items to survive. They like to dual wield shields and command blade golems, then buff a melee force with as many Fiery Weapon spells as possible (remember you want to end the opposing army in one roll if you can).
Fireshadow: (Fly, Create Fireminions, Smite, Melee, Melee, Cantrip, Create Fireminions, Counter, Fly)
Long story short, bring one, or four. Long story long, WOW! Just…WOW! In favorable terrain the fireshadow has a 90% melee contribution chance. Create Fireminions is a wildcard in ANY roll, Counter and Fly generate saves, this monster is amazing and normally at least 8 or 16 points of a Firewalkers army. It has a fairly good pull chance from a kicker. It is literally one of the best monsters in the game.
Genie: (Galeforce, Save, Firecloud, Cantrip, Save, Melee, Firewalking, Melee, Magic)
Another jack of all trades unit, the Genie can contribute to near all phases in the game, save maneuver, reliably and can sometimes save some units from a nasty counterattack should your legion not finish a particularly stout army.
Gorgon: (Flame, Maneuver, Save, Maneuver, Save, Maneuver, Flame, Maneuver, Maneuver)
The Gorgon is fast, Really Fast. He can supplement a cavalry to move a facing forward but that’s about it. It really isn’t good for anything else.
Phoenix: (Fly, Rise from the Ashes, Smite, Seize, Save, Fly, Save, Rise From the Ashes, Seize)
Once again another WOW unit. In favorable terrain the Phoenix has a great time in melee. It’s also a giant flaming shield with the amount of save results it can produce.
Salamander: (Melee, Magic, Save, Melee, Missile, Smite, Save, Melee, Cantrip)
This Fighter Mage can hurt quite a bit in melee range. With Cantrip he can cast up to 2 ashstorms to deduct saves for more units lost. This should be a Flashfire target for sure as the one missile face can be rerolled at a critical junction to deal more damage.
Air Flight: During the retreat step of the Reserves Phase, Firewalkers units may move from any terrain containing blue to any other terrain containing blue and where you have at least one firewalker unit. Firewalkers have a Blue version of Path during the reserve step?! This is an amazing ability when used properly as you can have the army you need at any given time at any given place.
Flaming Shields: When at a terrain that contains fire (red), Firewalkers may count save results as melee results. This ability does not apply when making a counterattack. This is what makes our battlemage monsters, and melee so good. You must get at least red in our terrain to be effective on the charge. So bring lots of minors with red and be able to counter any bad terrain type.
Flashfire: Fire spell: 3 mana, cantrip, reserves
Flashfire may target any army, during any non-maneuver roll that army may reroll 1 non SAI result once, ignoring the previous result. This effect last until the beginning of your next turn. Flashfire is the cantrip spell of choice for Ashbringers due to their 3 cantrip face. Being able to roll out of or into a positive face at any point can be a game saver.
Mirage: (Air, Firewalkers, 5 Magic)
Target five (stackable) health-worth of units at any terrain. The targets make a save roll. Those that do not generate a save result are moved to their reserve area. At first I thought this was an offensive spell that could clear out pesky melee units, and it can be used that way. But it can also be used on your own units to build a bridge mid-Reserve phase to a terrain you need your heavy troops at.
Terrain choice is one of the most important decisions a player can make in Dragon Dice, for firewalkers the choice is rather clear. They want to fight in Westelands where their Melee prowess can be shown to all. Minor terrains are just as important as they can give you access to your racial abilities from various other terrains. I suggest bringing 2 Waistland villages, 1 highlands village and 1 Flatlands for most games. This gives you the ability to supplement the more difficult terrains to maneuver with as well as options for speed or strength depending on the needs of your force. Villages will serve you better than other minors due to the double melee face. Three of 8 faces for your favored action type is better than 2 of 8.
Overall firewalkers hit Hard. They like fighting in their favored terrain types and can really ruin a plan with a good melee attack roll. With proper use of the marches they can be anywhere at any time, massing then dispersing in the blink of a turn. Never underestimate missile units. They are just as good in melee, on the attack, as ranged. From a tower terrain a missile based army can clear a reserve area just as quickly as your melee units can clear a terrain of undesirable save enablers. Always remember to bring mages. They will be your main source of maneuverability and tricks. Because cantrip is present on at least 3 of 5 monsters in the race, it should be considered what to use it for. If you roll a good bit of cantrips for your monsters during an attack there are a couple ways to use that to bolster the melee in your favor. Consider using Ash Storm over Hail Storm, while it may seem like a waste, you will be out rolling your minuses while in Red terrain while your opponent will have to make up the difference from the negatives from the Ash Storm. Most of the time Ash Storm will be the better play, 2 negative results to any roll can negate one half of a cantrip after all. As stated before Flashfire should be used by your Ashbringers on cantrip result anytime cantrip would take effect. This could save an upcoming attack roll, or push an attack roll over the limit of what a target army can save against
Mirage move: This happens when you target a Firewalkers army with Mirage, move a few units back to the reserve area, then reinforce them to a terrain, then use the Firewarlker racial ability of Air Flight to move the rest of the army to that terrain (given that the new terrain and other terrain has blue in it). This can offset either a bad turn or put more pressure on the opponent to retreat to the reserves and reinforce a weak front.