Sunday, September 28, 2014

The White Council: Forty-Man Lists

Good morning gamers,

Today, we're continuing our discussion on the White Council and its utility to add valuable heroes to conventional army lists. While in our last White Council post we added two members of the White Council to various Free People's Lists, in this one we're going to add a single member of the White Council to four thematic lists. Note that with these army lists, you will not be able to capitalize on the army special rule that increases your rolls to resist magic spells, as you need at least two units from the White Council list in order to do that.

As with the last post, I'll only be posting lists that follow the warband creation rules for the new sourcebooks (and mostly be working out of the Free People's sourcebook), but I will be the first to say that an LOME list (following the constraints we place on our tournaments) will probably be more powerful than these, since you can upgrade your units/heroes pretty far by dropping one hero from each list.

1) Scouts of the Woodlands: Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien

Warband 1: The White Council

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien - 125 pts

Warband 2: Lothlorien & Mirkwood

Galadhrim Stormcaller - 60 pts
12 Wood Elf Warrior with Elf bows - 108 pts

Warband 3: Lothlorien & Mirkwood

Galadhrim Captain - 65 pts
6 Wood Elf Warriors - 42 pts
6 Wood Elf Warriors with spears - 48 pts

Warband 4: Lothlorien & Mirkwood

Galadhrim Captain - 65 pts
6 Wood Elf Warriors - 42 pts
6 Wood Elf Warriors with spears - 48 pts

Total: 603 points, 40 units, 12 Elf bows, 8 Might

This army uses a large number of Wood Elf Warriors, primarily because they are cheap. Their Defense 3 is a hindrance in close combat, but at range most archery will be wounding you on 5s (and for those around Galadriel, hitting on 6s). I've included a Stormcaller because you want to be able to deal with multiple large foes at once - the stormcaller is great for making sure monsters who lack Will and the Resistant to Magic rule don't approach your lines - ever. While Nature's Wrath allows you to do this for large groups of units (potentially), the Call Winds spell I find to be of far more value (and increases the effective number of turns you can cast magic in, since its casting value is ridiculously easy). Galadriel, for her part, not only protects your units from enemy archery fire, but also brings an excellent combat profile to bear against her opponents. The captains cost the same as Wood Elf Captains, but come with armor as standard issue instead of an Elven blade (2h rules and allows you to carry a bow). If you dropped one of these captains and added another warrior to the mix, you have 55-60 points to spend on upgrades, which could include upgrading the other captain to Haldir/Rumil or kitting out your 12 "vanilla" Wood Elves with throwing daggers or spears. You could also change your Wood Elves with bows to Galadhrim with bows if you need the extra defense.

2) Defending the Old Roads: Radagast the Brown

Warband 1: The White Council

Radagast the Brown - 150 pts

Warband 2: Durin's Folk

Dwarf Captain - 60 pts
10 Dwarf Rangers - 70 pts
2 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes - 20 pts

Warband 3: Durin's Folk

Dwarf Shield-Bearer (DSB) - 60 pts
9 Dwarf Rangers - 63 pts
3 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes - 30 pts

Warband 4: Durin's Folk

Dwarf Captain - 60 pts
10 Dwarf Rangers - 70 pts
2 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes - 20 pts

Total: 603 points, 40 units, 7 throwing axes, 8 Might

This army for sure benefits from running it as an LOME list - you can basically upgrade everyone to a Dwarf Warrior if you drop one of your captains. That much being said, this list ignores the high defense of the Dwarf civilization on its warriors while maintaining a high defense profile on its heroes. Radagast allows you to give heal wounds on your captains and DSB, which greatly improves their resilience. If your heroes are healthy, you can make the units around Radagast cause terror via Aura of Dismay, which greatly makes up for their average defense profile. Before I rain too much on the Dwarf Ranger parade, these units with no upgrades aren't bad units - yes, throwing weapons and bows (even two-handers) are great upgrades, but for the same cost as a Warrior of Minas Tirith (base profile), you get the same Defense value but a higher Fight and Courage value. Rangers without upgrades are also relatively cheap, which means you can afford to buy an expensive wizard to neutralize enemy heroes or support your main line.

3) Defense of the Plains: Saruman the White

Warband 1: The White Council

Saruman the White - 150 pts

Warband 2: The Kingdom of Rohan

Theoden, King of Rohan with heavy armor - 70 pts
11 Rohan Outriders - 77 pts
1 Rider of Rohan - 13 pts

Warband 3: The Kingdom of Rohan

Hama - 50 pts
4 Grimbold's Helmingas with shields - 32 pts
7 Warriors of Rohan with shields - 49 pts
1 Rider of Rohan - 13 pts

Warband 4: The Kingdom of Rohan

Grimbold - 55 pts
4 Grimbold's Helmingas with shields - 32 pts
7 Warriors of Rohan with shields - 49 pts
1 Rider of Rohan - 13 pts

Total: 603 points, 40 units, 14 bows, 9 Might

Though Saruman doesn't have a particularly strong tie to any of the other members of the White Council, he has always been neighbors with Rohan. As such, defense of the plains (which he would later fill with Uruks and Wild Men) was probably important to him at one time. This army takes advantage of the cheap warriors from Rohan (as well as providing some token cavalry to get to objectives or harass your foe) as well as some of the cheap but effective heroes from Rohan. My good buddy Centaur has written up a full review of these heroes and warriors in a previous post, but the Theoden-Hama mix ensures that your army will stay in the fight so long as these two guys are around and Grimbold gives a valuable S4 bonus to certain warriors. By dropping Hama or Grimbold and running an LOME list, you could add throwing weapons to some of your warriors and upgrade others (maybe your Helmingas if you drop Grimbold) into Rohan Royal Guards.

I could go into lists for each of the members of the White Council, but all of the others have their own civilizations that they could build on. I will present below one army that breaks the mold:

4) The Last Stronghold of the North: Cirdan

Warband 1: The White Council

Cirdan - 90 pts

Warband 2: Arnor

King Arvedui, Last King of Arnor - 70 pts
12 Warriors of Arnor - 96 pts

Warband 3: Arnor

Malbeth the Seer - 80 pts
12 Warriors of Arnor - 96 pts

Warband 4: Arnor

Captain of Arnor with shield - 55 pts
6 Rangers of Arnor - 48 pts
2 Rangers of Arnor with spears - 18

Warband 5: Arnor

Ranger of the North - 25 pts

Warband 6: Arnor

Ranger of the North - 25 pts

Total: 603 points, 38 units, 10 bows, 7 Might

This list is slightly below 40 units, but it capitalizes on an interesting alliance I saw in a write-up about a Chicago tournament years ago. Warriors of Arnor start with F4-D6 (the goal of the meta here at TMAT) and for 8 points each, they're a bargain. However, they suffer greatly from only being Courage 2. Enter Cirdan: this is perhaps the only army where Aura of Command is an absolutely necessary purchase. To protect Cirdan, there are over 20 heavily armored warriors who benefit from the equivalent of an upgraded Fury rule from Malbeth the Seer. Your heroes are basic combat warriors, but capable enough to hold the flanks and protect Cirdan from harm. This list also features a volley team of ranger archers, who are more than capable in combat as well as archery. These units can also be protected from return fire from Cirdan's Cast Blinding Light (the others benefit from it too, but it's less important). If you ran this list as an LOME list, you could trade out the Captain of Arnor for another Ranger of the North and four rangers (at hte cost of the spears you currently have on your rangers), but because of the synergy of this army, this may not be necessary (plus you would be relying on Arvedui and the Rangers of the North to be your killing heroes).

I'll be on vacation when this is posted, but when I get back, we'll be gearing up for THRO 2014, so expect to see some battle reports with tournament lists as we learn the intricacies of our own and other lists! Until next time, happy hobbying!

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