Tactics Talk: Robb Stark, King of the North in the A Song of Ice and Fire the Miniatures Game

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The banners have been called, the War of the Five Kings has begun, and you have rallied to the only king that you care to bend the knee to: Robb Stark…the King in the North!

 

Robb Stark -The Wolf Lord embodies many of the best aspects of House Stark. His primary focuses are on speeding your army up and granting out of activation charges and retreats. Stark units are deceptively hard-hitting and tactically versatile. While the learning curve for Robb might be steeper than other commanders, once you develop a feel for how he manipulates the flow of battle you’ll be able to really deal out damage and seize control points.

Let’s take a look at the first commander to lead the Northern armies: Robb Stark -The Wolf Lord.

Robb’s three tactics cards are Hit and RunSuperior Positioning and Tactical Regroup. They all center around Robb’s theme of affecting movement and threat range, both yours AND your opponents.


Hit and Run

Hit and Run has a lot of implications. First off, retreating will allow you to charge that unit back into the fray on their next activation, or even in the current round if the original attack resulted from the combat zone. Alternatively, you could charge with a unit holding an objective and then return them, allowing you to both be aggressive and hold control points. Finally, it lets a precariously positioned unit withdraw while still delivering an attack on the way out. The weakened bonus is gravy on top, ensuring that any resulting charge by the now unengaged enemy will have a lower damage potential.

 

Superior Positioning

Any time a unit loses its charge rerolls or fails a charge can be a major turning point in a match a potential threat might find itself stuck halfway to nowhere, flanks exposed and making a panic test for failing the charge distance. Then, to add insult to injury, if the enemy is charging Robs unit, he’s allowed to make a short maneuver that often will allow you to get just out of range of the attack and in a position to counter, or at the very least ensure you’re not being hit in a flank,  It might also bump you over to an objective previously out of reach.


Tactical Regroup is similar to Hit and Run in that it allows you to disengage for free, but instead of getting your attack and free retreat, this time you get to retreat at the beginning of a unit’s activation and heal a few wounds. If Robb is within long range then the unit you’re engaged with becomes vulnerable, making it easier prey for the next attack. Depending on your healing roll, this card give your attacker the opportunity to  charge, an extra rank due to healing, and vulnerable on the enemy, meaning that a low-threat potential unit now becomes an active threat. 

When using commander Robb the Maneuver zone on the tactics board is going to be a priority in many situations. This is true with the Stark deck in general, but especially with Robb.

 

The Stark Sworn Swords are your mainline Northern foot infantry. Robb should focus on giving this average speed unit as much of an advantage as he can muster. The Sworn Swords have decent staying power and offense but Robb will allow them added maneuverability  to stick and move.

Their attack value of 4 means they hit 50% of the time and they roll attack die of 8,6 or 5, depending on their rank. Their armor save of 4 also means that they shrug off 50% of the attacks thrown their way. While there are hardier troops, the Sworn Swords handle themselves adequately against the rank and file of other armies. Lastly, they have a morale of 6, only slightly above average.

Their innate ability, Stark Fury, allows them to start punching above their weight class, albeit for a small price of having to suffer D3 wounds. It may not be worth it EVERY attack, you’ll need to weigh each situation with pros and cons, especially now with the new objective control rules., Unless, of course, you are at your last rank, in which case, let the fury FLOW through you. Stark Fury grants an extra +1 to your attack rating and Critical Blow. Suddenly, this 5 point unit is hitting A LOT harder than it has any right to.With a little luck you’ll roll low on the D3, and then you’ll have caused significant damage for the sacrifice of a wound.

The Sworn Swords can also be made more potent through attachments.

Sworn Sword Captain (1pt)

The default attachment is the Sworn Sword Captain.  His vulnerable tokens combined with Stark Fury, can devastate all but the most heavily armored opponents.


Robb Stark – The Wolf Lord

If Robb himself is attached to the Sworn Swords, he adds a layer of survivability. His order Wolf’s Cunning strips the enemy of the ability to re-roll their attack dice or play tactics cards.

 

Robb Stark – The Young Wolf (3pts)

If Robb is NOT your commander, you can attach Robb-The Young Wolf his non-commander unit attachment version which boosts the mobility of unit he’s attached to.

The Young Wolf additional  speed and pivots before marching gives the unit more maneuverability, which in turn allows better positioning. He also grants, Rapid Assault letting an NCU trigger the charge for Robb’s unit and allowing another activation of his unit later. If your opponent is generous, you can take the NCU combat zone for a third attack in one turn! Very few units are capable of tanking three turns of raw, unfiltered Stark Fury.


Both Robbs bring a bonus to your list, Grey Wind! After all, what’s a Stark without his dire wolf? Grey Wind is 0 point model and can only be included if Robb is in your army. A furry, fast-moving missile, Grey Wind uses his superior maneuverability to attack targets of opportunity in the flanks and rear. He boasts an incredible attack value of 2+, but with the caveat of only rolling two attack dice. If you DO get that flank or rear attack, the enemy becomes vulnerable. Use Grey Wind to set up a 1-2 punch with your armies. But be careful, as although his armor of 3+ means he’s harder than average to hit, he only has two wounds. Bear in mind also that the 1.4 rules changes mean that wolves are now worth a Victory Point for your opponent, so try not to take unnecessary risks

Below is a sample list made from the Stark half of the starter set:

 KING IN THE NORTH

Faction: House Stark

Commander: Robb Stark – The Wolf Lord

Points: 35 (0 Neutral)

Combat Units:

  • Stark Sworn Swords (5)
    • with Robb Stark – The Wolf Lord (0)
  • Grey Wind (0)
  • Stark Sworn Swords (5)
    • with Sworn Sword Captain (1)
  • House Umber Berserkers (7)
    • with Greatjon Umber – Fierce Bannerman (3)
  • Stark Outriders (7)

Non-Combat Units:

  • Sansa Stark – Little Bird (3)
  • Catelyn Stark – Lady of Winterfell (4)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

We’ve seen what Robb does as both attachment and commander, but what YOU do with your army is the last piece of the puzzle. Using Robb’s cards and the tactics board you should try to get the Outriders into enemy unit’s flanks and rear. Keep them charging and retreating in a harassment pattern, and avoid prolonged engagement. They don’t hit the hardest but they’re difficult to lock down and may mire down an opponent who gives chase.

While the Sworn Swords take the charges, use your Beserkers as your counterpunch. NO ONE wants an Umber charge  so their very existence functions as board control.

Lastly, have the Stark ladies keep you mobile, grant extra attacks, and heal Sworn Swords after they use Stark Fury. Robb never lost in the field, now go do him proud.

 

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