When I began writing The Chronicles, amongst the many ideas that I had was the concept of the Test Army, a pre-built army that could be used to try out players’ own inventions as their opposition.
In order to be able to do this, the army description and tactics need to be given so that the ‘Test Army’ can be played without worrying too much about tactics. It was to work as an AI army, in effect.
Another thought that I had when this site was inaugurated was that it had to be useful to anyone learning how to play the game. One skill that has not been addressed, so far, from a learner’s point of view, is army construction.
I am hoping, therefore, that by me giving my thoughts on this topic, others of you might be moved to offer your own thoughts in a similar fashion.
Today I am constructing an army of 36 health, as this is the common size of army used in competitions, with a purpose of making it a useful force, but also a force that gives an enjoyable battle, especially as losing should be almost as much fun as winning.
As I have managed to accumulate a lot more Coral Elves than any other race, my army is going to be based around these, with other units and items to make up the areas that are lacking. Let’s start with colours….
The Coral Elves are made up of the elements Air (Blue) and Water (Green) and have Racial Abilities that tie into these colours. This means that, as the Coastland contains these two colours, it makes sense to use a coastland terrain as the home terrain.
The Standard Coastland Terrains all have the following faces:-
- 8th Face
As 4 out of the 8 sides allow for missile action, there is a 4/7 chance that we will begin any battle with the Home terrain allowing missile fire. For this reason, my home army will primarily be a missile army.
Choosing the Home Army
Having played this game long enough to understand that my opponent will try to soak up missile fire with a lot of saves and magic protection, I have decided to override this tactic by selecting units that attack individual units, as well as armies. Such a unit is my old friend the Sharpshooter (featured previously as my Die of the Week), having one face with the Bullseye SAI.
As the bullseye will attack individuals, it can target those enemy units that have the least chance of saving in their own right, thereby bypassing the army’s save roll.
There is, however, only a 1/6 chance (16%) of success with obtaining such a result. Having two Sharpshooters increases this to 1 – (5/6)^2 = 11/36 (almost 31%).
We are having two sharpshooters with the following faces : ID, 3 Manoeuvres, 4 Missiles, 3 Missiles, 2 Melee, 4 Bullseyes.
With the Coral Elf Racial ability of Coastal Dodge, where manoeuvres count as saves, each die has an expected save value of (3 ID + 3 Manoeuvres)/6 = 1 save on Coastland terrain.
|Sharpshooter Statistics||Side 1||Side 2||Side 3||Side 4||Side 5||Side 6||Mean||SD|
As can be seen from the table above, the two Sharpshooters have an expected missile hit of 2 x 2.8 = 5.6
We have now managed to make an army that delivers on average 5.6 missile hits against an enemy army, and can also attack individual units of the enemy is crowded out with shields and save magic. We are now going to sort out those enemy units that naturally save well.
One such animal that can help is the Trebuchet (also featured as Die of the Week), which counts as 3 health with regard to army building, but can pack a lot of punch, having 2 icons (20% chance) with the SAI ‘Crush’.
The Crush SAI is a missile hit that bypasses the defender’s save and instead, forces them to run out of the way using Manoeuvre instead.
Another important feature of Crush is that it can also bury enemy units at the same time. This makes it a very useful addition to an army that is facing any of the Death races, as it will not necessarily add to the number of units in their DUA to give them racial abilities.
The Trebuchet has faces: – ID, 4 Crush, 4 Missile, 4 Save, 4 Missile, 4 Missile, 4 Crush, 4 Missile, 4 Melee, 4 Save, giving it 50% chance of landing 4 missile hits to add to the Sharpshooters’ tally, in addition to the Crush possibility.
So far I have used 9 health of the 36 available to me, and I have Standard missile hits, Bullseyes and Crush to help me get through any size of enemy. Just to make sure, however, I am going to use up 2 more health and introduce one of these:-
The Air Heartseeker has 1 missile, 2 missile, 3 missile and Impale on its faces. The missiles are useful but the Impale is evil.
If you roll an Impale SAI, all enemies not only have to try to save (after dodging the boulders from the Trebuchet), but they also have to try to save without rolling an ID!! If they roll any IDs as part of their save roll, you get to pick which one is killed and ignored.
I think that Bullseye, Crush and Impale should just about work, and I have only used up 11 of my 36 available health and still have the carrying capacity of two more items, should I need them.
With all this concentration on building my missile capability, I have created two problems. Firstly, I have little defence and secondly, I have limited mobility.
To get over the defence problem, I am bring in one of these:-
Yes, an Eldarim Bodyguard. This is of the Morehl (Lava Elf) variety, but any common or garden 3 health Eldarim Bodyguard would do the same job.
This guy has the following faces: ID, 3 Save, 4 Save, 4 Counter, 3 Manoeuvre, 2 Save.
|Side 1||Side 2||Side 3||Side 4||Side 5||Side 6||Mean||SD|
An expected 2.67 saves should help but, as this is an Eldarim unit, with the Dragonkin Handlers ability, he can add up to 3 health of Air or Water Dragonkin at this terrain, one at a time, to add another 3 automatic saves (unless they roll bellies).
We are now up to 14 health of our 36 limit and, as we are getting near to the half way point (18 health permitted at any one terrain), I am going to bring in some magic units to help me heal, should I take any damage.
As Firewalker Magic units have 5 out of 6 faces giving a magic result, plus their Air Flight racial ability which allows them to move between terrains without passing through reserves (if played correctly – more next time), they are the idea ‘hospital units’. I therefore fill up with a Sunburst and a Sunflare, taking this army to 17 health.
Next time I will be showing how I decide on my Horde and Campaign armies, by building on the ideas that we have already used. Once we have these, I will be putting together a strategy guide on how to use the army that we have built.
I hope that this has been useful to new (and not so new) Dragon Dicers.