Tarvenehl, He Who is All, has ever been distant, reluctant to interfere with the affairs of others. What prompted him to descend to Esfah is beyond all knowing. Suffice it to say that he did. He looked about him, saw the Elder Races already engaging in the ruthless sport of war, and shook his head. He splayed out his hands, and from them dropped the Amazons, fully formed.
What are they?
Without element - formed completely of ivory - Amazons are a faction of nomadic herders who take on properties of the elemental terrains they inhabit. Offering a flexibility not available to most factions, they can be deadly at any terrain.
With one of the most devastating faction abilities and some truly interesting monsters at their disposal, Amazons have a lot to offer any build. Let's dive in!
The Six-sided Units
As one of the initial five factions of Dragon Dice, Amazons differ from most in that nearly all their units depict female warriors and mages. Riding chariots into battle, armed with kukris and javelins, Amazons are fast and fierce combatants.
Amazon heavy units are armed with a fairly standard icon distribution, hovering around four melee icons per health, with saves and maneuvers making up the rest. The large unit brings the classic four-point Smite SAI common to large heavies, which can shatter defenses when it hits.
Amazon light melee units have "wasted" missile faces on their small and medium units, though uniquely for Amazons this isn't much of an issue. Their Javelin/Kukri Charge ability - which trades a maneuver and a minor terrain to convert maneuver icons to either melee or missile - means these units can adapt and attack on either of those terrain faces.
The large unit has the wonderful Counter SAI that has reversed attacks on many a foe.
Arguably the strongest class of dice in the game, Amazon cavalry - paired with the Charge abilities mentioned above - are brutal when properly applied. Fast enough to move terrain, while converting maneuvers to damage, they are an adaptable and formidable foe. The Trample SAI - found on two faces of the large unit - does double-damage in a Kukri Charge, as it generates both melee and maneuvers, which are then also converted to melee.
Amazon missile units fall into an interesting niche compared to other factions. They have slightly fewer missile icons per health than other factions tend to, but they offer more maneuvers. This makes them a bit faster, and when paired with a Javelin Charge brings them back in line with stronger missile units from other factions.
Wasted melee faces are present on all three dice, though the large does offer the targeted - and re-rolling - Bullseye SAI, which is a staple for any ranged strategy.
The only mages without an element of their own, the Amazon fortune-tellers nonetheless have access to a wider variety of effects than any faction. Their Terrain Harmony ability - which allows them to cast magic based on the colors of the terrain they inhabit - means terrain choice completely changes the dynamic of spellcasting. With similar magic results of other factions, the large Oracle unit has only a single three-point Cantrip SAI, which means it misses on double-casting any two-point Cantrip spells.
Primarily melee-focused, Amazon monsters have some interesting abilities, and are more reliable in combat than monsters in most factions. From the Firebreath SAI that buries units to the Stone SAI that functions like a Smite in any type of attack, these monsters can all find a home somewhere.
The fiery Nightmare - rarest of the Amazon monsters - is a very fast unit, offering maneuver results on seven faces. Especially potent during a Kukri Charge, this leads to a total of eight faces offering melee results, including two Trample SAIs which deal 8 damage each, and the Firebreath SAI that has the potential to both kill and bury a unit that fails to save.
Exercise caution when you see a Nightmare sitting across the table.
Another rarity on the battlefields of Esfah, the Chimera is a powerful threat in close combat. With seven natural melee faces - increased to eight with Kukri Charge - the Chimera brings the Flame SAI which kills and buries two health with no save possible. It also bears the Smite, Rend, and Fly SAIs, making it an all-around great monster.
Another formidable foe in close combat, the Medusa also brings a natural seven melee faces, including two Stone SAI, which functions similar to Smite for melee or missile attacks. Two maneuver faces brings this total to nine melee faces with a Kukri Charge, and five missile faces with a Javelin Charge.
Slower than any other unit, the Hydra trades all of its speed for melee and saves. With six melee faces, it packs two faces showing the Double Strike SAI, which grants targeted removal and rolls the Hydra again for more damage. Five save faces round out the rest of the die, giving it decent resilience against attackers.
The Centaur is the only unit bearing the Kick SAI, and forms just one more dangerous melee combatant. Kick - which deals four direct damage to any one unit - brings this unit to a total of six melee faces, with Kukri Charge lifting that to eight, including two Trample SAIs which deal eight damage each during a charge.
The flexibility afforded to Amazons with both their Kukri and Javelin Charge abilities, plus their Terrain Harmony ability, allows them to adapt quickly to a changing battlefield.
Kukri/Javelin Charge turn cavalry into flexible powerhouse units that can decimate opposing forces.
Terrain Harmony allows a force to access customized spell lists based on the terrains chosen - getting a third element through use of minor terrains.
As they can carry equipment of any element, their mages can bring magic of any color by selecting the right gear during construction.
The Rally spell functions like a Path spell for Amazons, but moves three times the number of units for one additional magic result.
Every Amazon monster can be playable, and even quite strong, with a little bit of consideration during force construction.
With proper timing, Kukri charge can essentially end games in a single turn by applying the Trample SAI for double damage.
Though they are adaptable and can fit at any terrain, Amazons have some unique weaknesses owing to their faction abilities.
Their strongest ability - Javelin/Kukri Charge - essentially costs two maneuvers and a minor terrain, which means it can be tough to get lined up just right. Mages can offset this slightly by recovering buried minor terrains, but in any case they require minor terrain to access their most potent faction ability.
As their mages lack any element, they lose out on a lot of spells while hiding in Reserves. Their abilities still function, but the best Reserves magic - things like Fiery Weapon and Wind Walk - require bringing magic equipment to access in Reserves.
Their faction-specific spells can be somewhat lackluster compared to other factions. Rally can be useful in the right scenario, and Esfah's Gift can get extra mileage from minor terrain, but they don't compare very well to other faction spells like Tidal Wave, Wilding, or Necromantic Wave.
Amazons are generally low on saves naturally, so they can be fragile to counterattacks without defensive measures in place.
With the ability to turn maneuver icons to missile or melee results, and having neither faction ability tied to any specific element, Amazons can be deadly foes at any terrain and during any action type.
They are also one of the only factions packing a full five playable monsters.
This basic cavalry army leans a little heavier into large units, as the War Driver brings two of those Trample SAIs, which deal 6 damage during a Kukri Charge. These units move fast, can Javelin Charge decently, but are pure destruction in melee.
Bring some mages to bolster saves and maneuvers to keep this army positioned and ready to strike, or bring a missile army to soften up an opposing army before a devastating Kukri Charge turn.
magic in the air
A very basic mage build, this army forgoes the large Oracle in favor of the better magic results and reliability of smaller dice. Losing a 3-point Cantrip is not much loss.
This pairs well with any army, but cares the most about terrain. Wastelands give access to Fiery Weapon and Wind Walk, while Highlands trade Wind Walk for Transmute Rock to Mud and Stone Skin. Swamplands can also offer Transmute Rock to Mud, Flash Flood, and Watery Double.
Run and gun
Focusing more on flexibility over power, this army can quickly switch roles from a melee army to a missile army, depending on the terrain faces showing. The Nightmare is stronger in melee with the Firebreath SAI, but otherwise flexes easily into missile while bringing a lot of speed.
Take a second army of mages to augment the flexibility of this army and resurrect any dead units, or just another set of cavalry units to keep the speed and move terrains.
With one of the most game-ending abilities in all of Dragon Dice, and a solid spread of strong and useful monsters, Amazons are a great faction to explore and field. Their ability to switch gears from melee to missile mid-game, and the endless flexibility of their mages through terrain choice, they can be played in a countless number of strategies, with a depth and nuance not found in many factions.
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