Let’s be honest with ourselves before v1.5 did anyone ever field the Stark Bowmen? The long-range option available for the Starks since the inception of A Song of Ice and Fire: The Miniatures Game has always been lackluster for the cost. Yes, without shifting you could roll ten dice at max ranks but, hitting on a 4+ was uninspiring. Everyone that tried this unit has had them lined up to make an impactful attack, only to hit with three dice. Thankfully, these men have been revitalized. With a refurbished attack profile and adjusted ability, this unit now makes its presence felt on the battlefield.
The first change that stands out is the +1 to their attack, which gives the unit more bite. While this could have easily been the only change to the unit, the developers also decided to expand their role beyond shooting a ton of arrows. The new Arrow Volley feature turns off enemy orders and gives the opponent a weakened token, as long as they fail a panic test. Bowmen now fit in the army as a support unit debuffing opponents.
Functionally the Bowmen will be used in the same way on the battlefield as they have in the past, flanking enemies and shooting or holding a rear objective while firing over their comrades. Also, you can position the Bowmen where they can attack units or attachments with powerful orders. I’m looking at you, Jon Snow.
The three commanders the Bowmen thrive with are Rodrik Cassel – Master–at–Arms, Eddard Stark – Lord of Winterfell, and Ramsay Snow – The Bastard of Bolton. In my opinion, the best option is v1.5 Rodrik. His cards trigger off being attacked and attacking (and not just with melee). He can also be attached to the unit with his ability Order: Mark Target, and Expose Opening can give the Bowmen reroll potential. His secondary tactic card effects also positively synergize with his placement in the unit.
Eddard Stark lists can also benefit from Bowmen. If they are kept in long-range of Eddard they can be kept safe from a panic standpoint through his card Northern Defiance. Also, with Northern Defiance, if they shoot into combat where Eddard is engaged they could give another Panic Test to his unit, potentially triggering the secondary effect of the card (has anyone ever used the secondary effect of this card?).
The last commander with synergy would be Ramsey. Mainly due to the proliferation of Panic tokens on the field, which can be used to trigger Arrow Volley’s order suppression.
The Bowmen has been changed to give it a defined support niche within the Stark arsenal. Amongst the many changes that occurred with 1.5, don’t pass on this newly effective Stark tool.
We’ll leave you with a Stark Bowmen list I’ve found to be effective in 1.5:
RODRICK’S SHOOT AN’ SCOOT
Faction: House Stark
Commander: Rodrik Cassel – Master–at–Arms
Points: 40 (12 Neutral)
• Stark Bowmen (6)
with Rodrik Cassel – Master–at–Arms (0)
• Stark Sworn Swords (5)
with Daario Naharis – Reckless Mercenary (2)
• House Umber Berserkers (7)
with Greatjon Umber – Fierce Bannerman (3)
• Stormcrow Mercenaries (5)
with Sworn Sword Captain (1*)
• Stormcrow Mercenaries (5)
with Umber Champion (1*)
• Sansa Stark – Little Bird (3)
• Catelyn Stark – Lady of Winterfell (4)
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