1) Aragorn - Strider
Rules & Stats
Aragorn could also take an Elven cloak or a horse for 10 points. The Elven cloak is great for ensuring that Aragorn doesn't become an archery pin-cushion before getting into combat, but it also ensures that a Nazgul or Barrow-Wight doesn't begin casting spells on Aragorn before he's close to the enemy battle lines (hopefully allowing Aragorn to cut through the lines and charge the spell-caster after a turn or two). The horse doesn't provide protection for Aragorn, but having 10" of movement means that you can close in on enemy archers very quickly and when you charge them, you have 4 Attacks at Fight 6 - perfect! I haven't played with Aragorn mounted yet, but if you have other cavalry (Riders of Rohan?) this might be a nice combo.
Finally, you can give Aragorn Anduril for 75 points. This is tied for the most expensive item in the game (Sauron can take the One Ring for 75 points and I think that an armored Fell Beast might be that much) and can be useful, but generally I'd say it's overpriced. Anduril allows Aragorn to wound any foe on a 4+, which is great if you are consistently fighting D7 or higher units, but on the whole, I'd be fine with wounding D5 and D6 foes on a 5+ and pay 75 points for a contingent of Rangers or another hero to guard Aragorn's back.
Purpose in the Army
|Aragorn is your killer and he's a must if you're fighting Uruk-Hai. Because I'm a nerd, I'm going to take you through a quick analysis of why this is the case:|
|We know that statistically, your chances of rolling a 5+ on a single dice is 1/3 (33%). Since Aragorn has a free Might point, all he needs is a 5 on his highest dice to win the fight (wounding will be harder, but life is sweet).|
2) Boromir of Gondor
Rules & Stats
3) Gimli, Son of Gloin
Rules & Stats
The second case in which I would recommend using the two-handed weapon is if your foe is trying to tie down your hero with a single warrior. This is one of the most effective strategies for dealing with a killer in any army, and this is the time when you want to be able to call a heroic combat, wound your foe quickly, and help with the rest of the battle.
When the Fight phase begins, the Shield-bearer can call a free Heroic Combat and if he succeeds, he must try to get into Gimli's fight. By placing another unit between Gimli and the shield-bearer, we have prevented the shield-bearer from entering that fight and instead can move him to a different fight (like the one next to him!). On the following turn, the shield-bearer will be within range again and can repeat the process again.
The best thing about using the shield-bearer is that Gimli no longer needs to call heroic combats, as another friendly hero is doing one per turn. This allows the mighty Dwarf to save his Might points for winning fights or killing foes.
Rules & Stats
Legolas' equipment choices are simple: you can take armor for 5 points, an Elven cloak for 10 points, or a horse for 10 points. Each of these options has value, but my standard equipment choice for Legolas is just the armor. Since all Evil armies wield even-Strength bows, getting Legolas to Defense 5 is great for keeping him safe from enemy archery (as Strength 2 bows will be wounding him on a 6). The Elven cloak is a handy item, as it can protect you from archery until the enemy gets close and maximizes the effectiveness of your own archery by negating the charge range of cavalry. Generally speaking, though, I would take a friendly archer (or a melee warrior to stand between me and my foes) over taking the cloak. A horse gives Legolas added mobility and provides a built-in in-the-way roll (two if you are behind some form of cover). While harder to hide Legolas, a horse allows him to decimate foes with Movement 5 and also allows him to rush to cover if necessary.
Purpose in the Army
|The only "tactica" issues that the wielder of Legolas needs to consider are as follows: how many arrows should I shoot, and who should I take to be Legolas' protector. My general rules of thumb for how many arrows I shoot are:|
2) If your opponent brings the Shadow Lord (or some other hero who inhibits the archery prowess of your team), use the single arrow to knock out the guy.
3) If there is a hero or warrior who is immobilized, paralyzed, or otherwise at a severe disadvantage in a fight, it is often useful to use the single arrow to take off some of the pressure.
4) Unless your gut is giving you a different feeling, I recommend shooting with the three arrows in every other case. Don't use your Might to promote your to-hit dice, and use them when you are trying to wound a key unit (a Barrow-Wight, a charging Uruk-Hai, etc.). These shots are best spent on units with 1 Wound and Defense 3-5. Remember also that the instances above where I recommend using a single arrow are for when that shot is going to do something game-changing - shooting once just to hit automatically may not be the best choice (like if you're about to be swarmed by foes). Legolas does not often wound 3 times, but I've seen it done on more than one occasion and some of those times are recorded on this blog. Usually, you will average one kill per round, but if that kill happens to be a valuable one (like a 50 point Barrow-Wight), you can pay for Legolas quickly.
First, if you are fielding Wood Elf Warriors, Thranduil can upgrade them to Mirkwood Guard, who share his 2+ Shoot value. For 2 points per model, this upgrade will be expensive but could be worth every penny. One kill that results from an arrow that hit on a 2+ will pay for the upgrade of 3-5 warriors, which should cover a good many who you upgrade this way. You also will deal a psychological blow to your opponent, who will be saddened that almost all of your arrows hit his warriors.
Thranduil's other benefit to the team is wrapped in his Circlet of Kings special rule. The crown that Thranduil wears allows him to cast two spells automatically: Aura of Dismay (which makes all units within 6" of him when he ends his movement cause Terror) and Nature's Wrath (which knocks down all enemy units within 6" of him). Aura of Dismay is best cast when you have priority or when you call a Heroic Move, as terror only affects enemy units who are trying to charge the terror unit. Nature's Wrath can be used whether you move first or not, as you will be knocking down your enemy to make fights more one-sided or knocking them down to allow your units to fade towards the trees more.
Though we are still trying to reconcile how a spell (like Nature's Wrath) can be cast automatically when it is usually resistible, our current solution is either to treat the spell like a 6 was roll to cast it (consistent with the Cave Dweller rule) or allow Thranduil to cast the spell on a 1+ while rolling two free dice (for a reference to how a Doubles Tournament determined how to treat this rule, see the following link on the Last Alliance forum). In either case, we here at TMAT believe that the spell should be resistible in order to be fair. The only time I've play-tested Thranduil, I cast the spell while no enemy heroes were within the radius of the blast, so it was a moot issue. If Legolas stands beside his father, you can guarantee that they will have some distance put between them and the melee foes of the enemy who seek to charge them.
These are my thoughts on the Fellowship. In the final post I'll be making on Fellowship tactica, we'll be looking at Gandalf the Grey, his successor Gandalf the White, and Bill the Pony. If you have strategies (or common combos) with these heroes, I'd love to hear about them in comments!