Tactics Talk: House Bolton’s Bastard Girls
PART III: Pairing with House Stark Commanders
This week we will examine which Stark Commanders best fit in the Bastard’s Girls neutral unit for A Song of Ice and Fire the miniatures game. If you missed our first two Tactics Talks on the House Bolton Bastard’s Girls, make sure to check Part I and Part II out as well!
Commanders bring two extra things to the table that cannot be understated, their own selection of Tactics cards, and the best points cost of all time: Free. Free attachments cannot be understated. They bring value for their cost! Now, as your mother probably told you, everything comes with a cost. Commanders can be a liability on the table, as a few game-modes gives extra Victory Points for killing them, or Commanders gain extra abilities that your opponent may want to shut down.
Robb Stark – The Wolf Lord (2 / 5) Oh boy. This ol’ dog. I’m gonna get some heat for this, but I just don’t see the appeal of this wolfy lord. His ability is useful, sure, but the other commanders just bring so much more to the table. Can any of this be redeemed with his Tactics Cards? Hit and Run giving the free retreat can be hilarious for using Sic ‘em a second turn in a row, which does mean you get to double-dip on Vulnerable tokens and Panic tests, but there’s a window for response sandwiched in the middle there. That window allows for your opponent to react, shutting this down. Superior Positioning allows for some breathing room on being required to use Robb’s Order, and the quick move is helpful. Crannogman Trackers will look at you with envy however! Tactical Regroup, okay, now he’s slightly redeemed. It combines all of the fun of Hit and Run, but removes that window of opportunity from your opponent. Bastard Girl’s love this card.
Greatjon Umber – Lord of Last Hearth (4 /5) If you like running down the field and taking enemies out as you go, this is your new best friend. Everything about Greatjon Umber makes the Girls want to move to Last Hearth. His Order ability handing out Panicked and Weakened is great combo with their potential for handing out a Vulnerable token on their ranged shot before Sic ‘Em, and all of his cards make this unit want to reach out and touch something, and probably be killed in the process, but that’s okay, we have cards for that too! Last Stand lets you get that extra Melee Attack (and potential Panic Test!) in as a last hurrah from the Girls. The Vulnerable token from being a House Umber unit is just the icing on top. Lash Out is a great way to help push Wounds onto the defending unit to unjam the Girls from being stuck in combat to let them Sic the dogs on the next victim. It’s quite easy to get the higher wound roll as this unit has light armor, meaning they’ll be more likely to be on less ranks. Berserker Tactics follows this same logic, it’s quite easy to get us to the single remaining rank in order to get the most benefit out of this card. Greatjon Umber is a great addition to the Bastard Girls, but is he good enough to out-do the Umber Champion?
Eddard Stark – Lord of Winterfell (2 / 5) Ned Stark, the most honorable man in the North. He brings some of the most powerful cards in the faction to bear, with one notable downside. He has to be alive to use them. It is possible to get a single unit containing Ned Stark to achieve nine Melee Attacks in a single round, and if you manage to pull it off, please let me know how it goes! I have yet to live that Ned Stark dream. How can you do this you ask? Simple! So simple in fact, there’s going to be an entire article on how to do it. It’s not exactly doable, as it requires you to be engaged for eight of the nine Attack Actions, and if you haven’t killed your opposing unit or your opponent is cheerfully feeding you units to attack, then let me know how you did it! If you haven’t guessed by now, two out of three of Ned’s cards give his unit an out-of-activation Attack Action. Fury of the Fallen allows you to charge or perform an attack when another unit was attacked, and Northern Defiance allows you to perform an Attack Action when you pass a Morale Test.
Lead by Example helps the Bastard Girl’s in-activation Melee Attacks significantly, and lets you double-team a poor and hapless defender. Now, with all of this glowing praise for Ned, why did I rate him a 2?
He death has a huge impact on gameplay. Once you pull him off the table, Fury of the Fallen and Lead by Example become dead cards, taking up space in your hand and deck.
Rodrik Cassel – Master-at-Arms (3.5 / 5) Ser Cassel, oh how you are often overlooked. Rodrik is an often overshadowed commander, who should see the table far more often than he does. His ability looks anti-synergistic, and it slightly is. You can use Expose Opening to gain rerolls on a Disorderly Charge, but otherwise you’re going to be relying on his order to drop Vulnerable tokens to unlock Expose Opening for rerolls, and then spending that token if needed on the defense saves. Martial Superiority can be useful for keeping Rodrik’s unit alive and swinging, as Weakened tokens can be more beneficial for units with 6+ Defense Saves. You don’t need to roll Defense Saves if the hits never happened! Combat Prowess is helpful in a pinch as a pseudo-Winter is Coming, and the Panicked token generation is handy, as Starks don’t natively have that many options for generating Panic Tokens. Press the Advantage is a great card! Notably, it’s only one of a few ways to get Critical Blow on Ranged Attacks, and Bastard Girls can double-dip the Critical Blow as they’re making upto two Attack Actions per turn. All in all, Rodrik Cassel is a great pairing for Bastard Girls, if you can keep him alive.
Brynden Tully – The Blackfish (2 / 5) The Blackfish is an interesting one, he alters the general usage of the Bastard Girls away from a blitzkrieg rush from across the table, instead allowing them to grind down a chosen enemy. His order to restore wounds on successful Panic Tests combines with his +2 to said tests combined with Refuse to Yield to restore 2+d3+1 wounds. The ability to restore 4-6 wounds for passing a Panic Test can be great for keeping the unit on the table, swinging dice at whatever you need them to. Set for Charge is interesting, but the Bastard’s Girls innate Melee Attack pool is small, and not the best for setting up counter-attacks. Tully Valor doubling their Defense Save chance is great, but even a 5+ isn’t great.
Unsurprisingly, the Bastard’s Girls have a deep dark desire to actually swear fealty to House Umber? This makes some sense, they have similar values, except when flaying is involved.
Stay Tuned for Future Articles on making the most of this awesome unit for A Song of Ice and Fire the miniatures game.
Greg Young is a guest writer and owner of RebelLightWorks.com