To Raid or Not to Raid, Is it Even a Question?
In the far North, raiding is a staple of existence, and the Free Folk Raid Leaders are experts in the role.
Raid Leaders are the first basic attachment Free Folk players receive, and also one of the trickiest 1 pt attachments to properly utilize. Their order, Combined Assault, appears straight forward, especially since the Free Folk tactics deck promotes multiple units engaging the enemy, but there are alternative uses I’ll guide you through below.
The most direct way to use Raid Leaders is to activate them, call for a Combined Assault, charge an enemy, align 50%, and have the next unit declare a charge at the same targe.
Group Assault, Distraction Tactics, There’s Too Many!, and (to some extent) Surrounded and Exposed teach us that Free Folk want multiple engagements; additionally the Free Folk Raiders’ Gang Up ability also benefits from the 2 on 1 action. If you are playing a Free Folk army with copious Raiders, think six or more, then you’ll be using Combined Assault early and often since your maneuvering space will be tight until units are destroyed.
To build off the basic Raid Leader tactics, position your units so that your opponent is forced to charge a unit, otherwise risking being charged themselves. The trap will be a supporting unit in the wings who can be activated by a Raid Leader to come in for a nasty flank attack. This unit should be out of your opponents’ threat radius, and something that can pack a serious punch. And if your opponent doesn’t fall for your trap, you get to charge him instead. Either way, you win.
It’s important to note that the chained unit from Combined Assault is activating so Swift Advance can trigger, along with any other “at the start of its activation” triggers.
Another use of Combined Assault is to chain-activate a unit with no intention to attack the opposing unit. Instead, use the second activation to block the enemies objective access. After the initial unit moves onto an objective, the second unit will March in between your opponent and the objective. Learn to love the meatshield. While the earlier offensive Raid Leader attacks are intuitive, the first “level up” when playing Free Folk is to play the table as much as you play the opponent. Pure combat strength will rarely win the game for Free Folk, so keep scenario goals in mind. Tying your opponent up with sacrificial units to maintain objective control is a strong road to a Free Folk victory. Layer another set of protection with some Free Folk Trappers in your backfield and your opponent could be in combat with the blocking unit longer than they anticipated.
The toughest question to answer on Raid Leaders is “How many?”. You can only answer the question by looking at what your list is trying to do. Some Free Folk lists are designed to trade sacrificial bait units to kill tough opponents, these lists require careful unit positioning and often have trouble setting up tactics card triggers on-demand since they might not be able to get units engaged or close enough for things like Surrounded and Exposed or There’s Too Many!. A Raid Leader or two in these lists can help create the positioning needed for success. However, if you are running what I would consider pure Free Folk list with nothing but Raiders and Trappers then you would be well served to grab somewhere between 4-6 Raid Leaders. These Free Folk units often ineffective on their own, so they need all the help they can get from the tactics deck and double, sometimes triple, activations. If you have three units surrounding some House Tully Cavaliers then you should have no problem triggering two Combined Assaults to inflict some serious damage.