{DD Boot Camp}

(Terrain Mastery)

Taking control of the terrain

Head for the Hills!

In this issue of DD Boot Camp, we're going to be building an army focused on taking and controlling terrain. We're running strong cavalry to push our agenda and get our pieces in place, and then using overwhelming magic to force terrains down while our opponent struggles to swim upstream.

This is going to be fun.

First things first, let's see what dice we'll be using.

The Forces

We've got a lot of dice to work through here, so let's break it down in the next section.

Initial Setup

Our Home terrain - a Feyland Standing Stones - starts with a single Hamadryad. We may lose this unit on the first turn, but our mages can recover that. Feyland gives us access to green, as well as a solid number of magic faces.

Our Campaign army - a mixed-faction collection of mages - sits at a proposed Feyland Grove; it gives us four Magic faces to increase our chances of starting on magic, and again provides the green our Swamp Stalkers need for cover.

Our Horde army is built for speed. We'd like to win the Horde roll if we can, so we have a mix of six small and four medium Swamp Stalker cavalry. A green Dragonzealot provides saves, free Dragonkin, and the Bash SAI.

Our Summoning Pool has 12 points of green Dragonkin (again, primarily cavalry), a Swampland Bridge and Swampland Forest, a Feyland Bridge, a Deadlands Forest, and a White Drake.

Army One - Mages

Our army is split into two main forces, the first of which is 18 points of magic, broken down as follows: Two Eldar Dryad, one Dryad, two Hamadryad (one at Home), two Sparker, a single Bog Adept, and five points of water magic equipment.

As all three factions use Water magic, the equipment can be used to cast water spells of all three, which we will discuss in detail later. If the Bog Adept somehow gets buried, a Bog Runner can move over if Swamp Stalker magic is needed.

Army Two - Cavalry

Our second main force is 14 points of cavalry with a 4-point bodyguard, broken down as follows: Four Marsh Swimmers, six Bog Runners, and a green Dragonzealot.

Since we are focused on water terrain, Swamp Stalker cavalry provide a tremendous amount of maneuvers and saves. Our Dragonzealot grants extra saves, shows the threat of a Bash, and brings up to four points of Dragonkin to any green terrain.

The Summoning Pool

We've opted for green Dragonkin cavalry for several reasons: our green terrain allows the Dragonzealot to summon one point for free each turn, and the extra maneuvers granted by the Dragonkin help both our forces move and survive.

Swampland and Feyland Bridges let us add green to any terrain if we find ourselves facing two non-green terrain, and they have two double-maneuver faces (which helps our terrain-control strategy). A Swampland Forest gives us a backup to our Bridges as well as giving two double-save faces to our mages. Finally, a Deadlands Forest can be brought in to any green terrain to give our Swamp Stalkers' the "death energy" necessary for their Mutate ability.

A White Drake puts a dragon out of reach for many other armies, and it provides temporary terrain control until it rolls a Wing and leaves the terrain.

The Plan

Using the setup described above, we want to try winning the Horde roll. We don't necessarily need to win the terrain, but we would like to get the option based on how everything is set up. Here are the things to watch for if we win the Horde roll:

  • If our opponent's Campaign army - the one across from our mages - is their single-point army, we can afford to let them take the first turn safely. This lets us take our own terrain to maximize magic faces. If they have a large missile army there, we can still probably take the terrain choice, since our terrain only has a single missile face.

  • If our mages are facing a melee-heavy army, we likely want to take the first turn so we can get out of there and get to a safe terrain.

  • Our cavalry can operate at any green terrain, so we want to look for the best option based on the board state. That might mean staying at their home, or moving to our own. We want to get our mages to a magic face as soon as possible, and then get that cavalry spinning things up.

If we lose the horde roll, much of the same strategy applies, we just need to survive the first turn relatively intact. If we manage that, we can get our plan in motion. A couple of dead Swamp Stalkers isn't a bad thing, since it deters our opponent from using Reserves, lest they find their units Mutated.

Rising Tides

One of our primary strategies is to manipulate terrain to our advantage and keep our opponent frustrated and stuck. There are four spells available to us that will push this goal, so let's dive into the details of each of those spells and see the powerhouse options we have at our disposal.

Transmute Rock to Mud - Yellow (Earth) - Cost: 6

Target any opposing army. Subtract [six] maneuver results from the target’s rolls until the beginning of your next turn.

Transmute Rock to Mud is a powerhouse spell if you have access to Earth magic in your army. Apart from the obvious maneuver reduction that works in our favor, it has another important aspect that is often missed: due to the order of roll resolution, any faction that "counts maneuvers as saves" loses maneuvers before they are converted to saves!

Flash Flood is the first of our actual terrain manipulation spells. It stacks by increasing the number of maneuvers needed to keep the terrain from rolling back, and it is made even stronger with the application of Transmute Rock to Mud. However it can only ever turn a terrain down once per turn, so doubling it up won't actually roll the terrain down twice.

Flash Flood - Green (Water) - Cost: 4

Target any terrain. Reduce that terrain one step unless an opposing army at that terrain generates at least [six] maneuver results. A terrain may never be reduced by more than one step during a player's turn from the effects of Flash Flood.

Tidal Wave - Green (Water) - Cost: 5

Target any terrain. Each army at that terrain takes [four] points of damage, and makes a combination save and maneuver roll. The terrain is reduced one step unless an army generates at least [four] maneuver results. A terrain may never be reduced by more than one step during a player's turn from the effects of Tidal Wave.

The third piece of the puzzle is Tidal Wave. This spell is a variation on Flash Flood, which deals damage and potentially forces a terrain down a face, if the army cannot generate enough maneuvers. Paired with Flash Flood, a terrain can be forced down two steps in a single turn, and Transmute Rock to Mud can help ensure that both of these spells succeed. Don't forget that Transmute Rock to Mud also hurts certain factions who rely on maneuvers for saves, making Tidal Wave doubly threatening for them.

Mire gives us just one more option for locking up terrains and keeping our opponents reeling. Even if we throw this spell at the same terrain where our cavalry are working, they have lots of maneuvers so they can still function quite effectively.

If we throw Transmute Rock to Mud at their army first, they are going to be stuck in that Mire for a good long while.

Mire - Green (Water) - Cost: 5

Target any terrain. Until the beginning of your next turn, any army marching at that terrain must first make a maneuver roll. The marching player then selects health-worth of units equal to the maneuver results generated by this first roll. The army uses only those units, and items they carry, for any rolls in the march for both the maneuver step and the action step.

Final Notes

We designed this army to highlight the strength of terrain control magic, as well as show the benefits of mixing multiple factions into one army. The use of a single unifying element paired with magic equipment of the same element demonstrates how an army can reach deep into faction-specific spells of multiple factions without spending too many points spread across them.

The ability to utilize Tidal Wave and Flash Flood in the same turn can potentially set our opponent back multiple turns in one shot, and even with the changes in rules version 4.01, Mire remains a strong spell for hindering our adversary.

We'd love to hear what you think, so send us your feedback to info@thedicemustflow.com