Tactics Talk: House Bolton’s Bastard Girls
PART 1: Pairing with House Stark
Comprised of the bastard sons of disreputable ladies, the Bastard’s Girls are an elite, if ill-reputable group of fearsome trackers and warriors. The Bastard’s Girls hold a unique position in your arsenal as well as a unique tool-set of abilities.
First, the most generic: House Bolton and their “Neutral” status. As of the writing of this article series, House Bolton is in the Neutral faction, meaning all of their units, attachments, and commanders are allowed to be taken in any force south of the Wall. This makes writing an article about them much more lengthy and in-depth, as we have to consider not only what they bring to the table, but how they interface with Stark, Lannister, Night Watch, and Bolton forces.
Second, the nitty-gritty. The Bastard’s Girls have a pair of abilities that self-synergize very well together. The first piece of their puzzle is their Order: Sic ‘Em. “After this unit completes a Ranged Attack: This unit may make a free Charge action against the targeted enemy.” This allows them to effectively “double-tap” an enemy unit by range attacking them and then using their order to declare a charge. What makes this charge even more deadly is their second ability, Tracker’s Bow. Tracker’s Bow is a Ranged Ability that states “If the Defender rolls 1 on any Defense Saves, they become Vulnerable.” Being able to add a vulnerable token onto a unit you are currently setting up to charge allows you to bring that extra oomph to your action.
Editors Note: Did you know that each of Ramsey’s dogs is named?
The Bastard’s Girls are a whirlwind of Action Economy, and that’s the primary reason for the hefty price tag of 7 points. Having the self-synergistic ability to not only hand out a vulnerable token (with a small hoop to jump through) but then follow a Ranged Attack up with a charge-induced Melee Attack allows for you to bring an impressive 7-10 attack dice to bear, with TWO panic tests involved as well.
Now, we know what we get directly from them, but what’s still missing from their puzzle? Since they’re a Neutral Unit, we have a wealth of choices. As per the title of the article, House Stark steps up to the plate first. We have a slew of options, but let’s start with Attachments.
House Stark has a number of Attachments, but not all of them are “easy picks” for the Bastard’s Girls. The first consideration is the point costs. 3 points for a named Attachment is a tough pill to swallow, as that brings the unit up to 10 points. Likewise, a Commander Attachment is a tough sell, as the Bastard’s Girls only have a 6+ armor save, so keeping your Commander alive is a challenging prospect when this unit wants to be the in thick of things. Where does that leave us?
Crannogman Warden (2 / 5) Situationally useful, but when activated, can be helpful. Only re-rolling 4 dice on the ranged shot is not the best math, but re-rolls are still re-rolls.
Sworn Sword Captain (1 / 5) Hands out a Vulnerable token on the Melee Attack, which is right after we hopefully just handed them a Vulnerable token on our Ranged Attack. Sadly, again, no double-dipping for us.
Umber Champion (3 / 5): Now, here’s something interesting. We only gain Vicious and hand out the Panicked token on Melee Attacks, and we have to lose ranks to do so. However, we’re rocking a measly 6+ Defense save, so the likelihood of that happening is high. Can be a great way to continue to get value out of the unit after the initial Ranged Attack / Charge pops off.
No real stand-outs on the generic attachment front, but let’s see what we can muster up from the cheaper character attachments.
Brynden Tully (2 / 5): Not likely to get much use out of gaining additional dice, mostly due to the requirement to begin the turn engaged. The +1 to hit is always nice when you can get it. Stalwart giving them +2 to Morale Tests is a nice addition.
Jojen Reed (4 / 5): Jojen Reed is an interesting case. At the time of writing, he is soon to be released, but we’ve seen his card.
Random Dice Tables: They’re the bane of competitive players. Unreliable, yet contained within them the sweet spoils of slightly unbalanced abilities. Jojen in particular has an interesting set of outcomes. Horrific Visions is universally bad, but on the Bastard’s Girls, it’s not so terrible. A Vulnerable token on a 6+ Defense Save unit is laughable, as you’re almost as likely to not have a legal usage of it as using it. The Panicked token is a little more upsetting, but not scarily so. Guiding Hand is a great ability for us, as even if we’re charging, we benefited from the re-roll on the Ranged Attack. The Path is Clear is situationally great, yet unreliable. Best case scenario is using the free Maneuver to setup a surprise double-tap, but if you get this result while engaged, it’s effectively useless. Perfect Clarity is just great. I hope you have cursed dice that only roll 6s when you need them to.
This puts us in a weird place. No real winners here, yet there’s something we haven’t considered. Run the unit naked, without attachments. Attachments are a great asset, but you really are looking for something that will bring some extra oomph to the unit while not raising their price significantly.
Check in with us next time when we go over the more expensive Character Attachments as well as Commanders. Until then, how do you like to run your Bastard’s Girls with House Stark?
Greg Young is a guest writer and owner of RebelLightWorks.com