What arose from the swamps were not the slaves Death had expected, but a vile, independent race of snake-men. Striking from their mysterious homelands, the Swamp Stalkers carry the gift of watery death, seeking to increase their numbers by mutating others.
What are they?
Swamp Stalkers are comprised of elemental Water and Death, taking the form of snake-people who - no surprise - inhabit the swamplands of Esfah. With a powerful ability to mutate their enemies, Swamp Stalkers are fast, hard-to-kill, and lethal.
The Six-sided Units
Boasting some of the best cavalry units around, Swamp Stalkers pack a variety of tools to bring down their enemies. From the more common abilities like Smite to the much more rare SAIs such as Poison, an unwary army can quickly find itself killed or mutated by these slithery swamp people.
Going all-in on the combat angle, Swamp Stalker heavy units - without exception - have nothing but melee and save faces. With about two saves per health and twice as many melee icons, they are devastating in combat. The large unit packs the Smite SAI found on a majority of large heavy melee units.
Trading a bit of their melee and save icons for some missile and maneuver icons, the Swamp Stalker light melee units offer some more flexibility than their heavy melee counterparts. The large unit brings the rare Poison SAI, which offers the chance to kill and bury a targeted four health-worth of units.
Swamp Stalker cavalry can be an army unto itself. With a good number of maneuver and save icons - paired with their Born of the Swamp faction ability which converts maneuvers to saves in Water terrain - they can be incredibly fast and hard to kill. The large unit has the Coil SAI, which offers some targeted removal... at a risk.
With no maneuvers to be seen, Swamp Stalker missile units are slow but pack a punch. With at least four missile icons per health, these scaly spearmen can rain down devastation at range. The large unit has a whopping thirteen missile icons, counting the four-point Bullseye SAI. They are light on saves however, so be sure to keep them at a safe distance.
With four magic icons per health, Swamp Stalker mages are pretty standard compared to other factions. What makes them special is their spell list, which includes some game-breaking spells, such as Mire, Soiled Ground, and Flash Flood. The Mire spell alone can be utterly devastating to opposing forces looking to move the terrain or engage in combat.
Swamp Stalkers bring some incredibly-powerful monsters to the battlefield, mostly focused on melee combat. Between a host of SAIs like Poison, Rend, or Smother, and a terrific icon distribution, their monsters can break armies and destroy opposing forces.
This prehistoric reptilian comes in heavy with three faces that deal melee damage and a re-roll effect, plus another four faces that work during a melee attack. Nothing feels quite as good as chaining together a series of Rend and Tail results, followed up by a Surprise SAI to block an opposing counter-attack.
Do not underestimate this unit. He may be old, but he's not frail.
While it doesn't offer the re-roll potential of the Crocosaur, the Mudmen is still a powerhouse unit with another seven melee faces. Wielding two Smother faces, it can kill slower units with ease, and also has the Surprise SAI so your opponent can't even attack back!
Rarest of all Swamp Stalker units, the Ormyrr is perhaps thankfully the weakest of the monsters. With only three melee-relevant faces, two magic faces, and one missile face, the Ormyrr just doesn't bring any reliable results to the table. Paired with its rarity, it is unlikely to be seen in battle.
Another melee monster, the Swamp Beast has eight melee-useful sides, including two Poison SAIs, two Wave SAIs, and another Surprise face. As those last two don't actually deal damage, it doesn't do as much heavy lifting as other units, but it provides great support to make a melee army better.
Perhaps the best monster in the Swamp Stalkers' arsenal, the Swamp Giant packs seven melee faces, all of which deal damage, including Poison and Smite. On top of this, when using the Born of the Swamp faction ability, it generates saves on six faces, making it both a hard hitter and a decent defender for a melee army. An excellent melee monster!
Swamp Stalkers have two of the best faction abilities in Dragon Dice. Their Born of the Swamp ability - which converts maneuvers into saves at a Water terrain - paired with their incredibly fast cavalry units makes them nearly impossible to kill when Water is available.
Their Mutate ability - which has the potential to kill units in an opponent's Reserves while also resurrecting dead Swamp Stalkers - can swing games by itself, taking out key units and recovering lost warriors. If nothing else, it greatly deters opponents from using their Reserves, and punishes them for staying there.
With access to Poison on their large light melee unit (not to mention a couple of their monsters) they have better access than most to burial effects, which helps win wars of attrition.
While their mages don't have access to a ton of useful effects, they do have staples in Watery Double to augment saves, Soiled Ground to force units to bury, and Flash Flood to knock terrains down. On top of this, their Mire spell can utterly cripple an opposing army, forcing them to either give up an action or risk getting crushed in combat.
Swamp Stalkers need to have access to Water - either naturally in the terrain or via minor terrain - to power their Born of the Swamp ability. If they can't find water, they can get decimated with low saves.
Their magic, missile, and light melee units almost all bear a "wasted" face, which makes them less reliable than they could otherwise be.
Their large cavalry unit trades the more common Trample, Fly, or Rend SAIs for the Swamp Stalker exclusive SAI Coil. While it isn't a terrible SAI, it is risky and leaves the possibility for the coiling unit to be killed, and it hinders the usefulness of an otherwise great die.
Most of their melee units don't hit particularly hard, except the heavy melee units which bear no maneuver icons at all. This means most strong melee options require cavalry to get them moving, which weakens their attack damage.
Their mages lack strong icon modifiers. Without spells like Transmute Rock to Mud, Fiery Weapon, or Wind Walk, they are limited to natural icons rather than being able to modify the outcomes directly.
With the potential for incredible saves and speed, as well as the ability to mutate foes into even more allies, Swamp Stalkers can be brutal in the battlefields of Esfah, and should rightfully feared.
Here are some 18-point armies to mix and match:
Duck and run
This army is focused on one thing, and one thing only: pushing terrains to an eighth face. With almost no combat ability but a ton of maneuvers, it is looking to keep its head down and push for the goal.
Make sure to bring minor terrains to add Water - we really want to make sure Born of the Swamp is active - and perhaps a set of mages to help augment saves and start killing opposing units once the eighth face is captured. And don't forget Mire!
Speaking of mages, this army is all about that magic. Leaning heavier into the larger Swamp Wizard units gives us access to Cantrip which can also cast Watery Double to boost our saves. Take full advantage of Mire, Finger of Death, Flash Flood, and Soiled Ground to take down your foes!
This army can pair with just about anything. Cavalry can get terrain into place for your mages to do their thing, or some heavy hitters can soften up opponents for you.
Does your opponent's Resurrect Dead have you down? Maybe their Troll keeps rolling Regenerate and slowing your progress. This army, reaching into Poison with maneuvers and melee to support it is just the thing you need! A Swamp Giant here brings some more heavy hitting power, with maneuvers and saves to boot!
This works great with mages as well, since they can bring Soiled Ground to help keep the dead right where they belong.
Swamp Stalkers are a very strong faction with some of the best abilities around. Any faction who have cavalry that double as defensive walls is a great pick, and their Mutate ability is both powerful and punishing. It rewards the Swamp Stalkers for having some dead units, and threatens any opponents who attempt to move through Reserves - let alone stay there to recover.
With easy access to Poison and the incredibly-disruptive Mire spell, Swamp Stalkers belong in any player's collection.
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