The Stormcrows have arrived on the shores of Westeros and anyone with enough coin can hire them for dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. I’ve been playing around with the Stormcrow Mercenaries, trying to figure out where they fit in best.
Their combat stats are pure midline. As far as Starks are concerned, they don’t bring much to the fight that we don’t already possess. Point for point, the Sworn Swords are the better combatants, especially when Stark Fury is added to the mix.
If you add in the Stormcrow Lieutenant to his unit, then as long as you control the money zone, you at least get that 1 dice bump with sundering but that still doesn’t bring them up to hitting as hard as the Sworn Swords. Granted, you won’t lose d3 men for using their abilities but that trade off might be negligible.
The Stormcrow Archers, on the other hand, have been surprisingly handy to have in my lists, especially in my last game with them where they were able to mow down a unit of flayed men with some hot rolls.
They are the same point value as the bowmen or a Crannogman Tracker with Warden, but they at least get to out-range the Crannogmen. I’ve also found, along with everyone else, that the Stormcrow Captain benefits the archers way more than the mercenaries. Especially since he’s essentially free to add to either unit.
Which really brings me to why us Starks would want these guys in the first place, activation bidding and economy.
Starks tend to have a leg up already with activations. Our direwolves come free alongside generally useful attachments. It’s very easy for us to out-activate our opponent most games and that’s before we include effective and cheap NCUs, Arya and Sansa.
The Stormcrow Mercenaries allow us another cheap activation and showcase the greatest thing they have to offer us, their adaptive ability. Starks have MANY fantastic attachments, if not the best. The problem is that all our greatest attachments sit squarely in the 2-3 point range which is usually enough to force the decision: ‘Do I want a naked unit for the activation, or do I want one less unit but a few great attachments? The Stormcrows let us split the difference. We get to add that activation AND throw in an attachment. This applies to the archers as well, where we have some decent options like the Crannogman Warden or the Reed children but the mercenary unit can really shine with the right attachments.
Maege Mormont and Rickon/Osha give the Stormcrows a degree of survivability with the ability to drop enemy troops out of activation. Syrio gives them a bump in defense and offense, or we have the straight offensive attachments like the Umber Champion or Sworn Sword Captain that can be attached for free and add punch to the cheap unit. Their adaptive ability can be a drawback in one respect as they are a wasted spot for a commander since commanders never have a point value.
Ultimately, the Stormcrows will not perform quite as good as other in-house options, so you have to handle them with finesse. There’s no point including them as a cheap activation just to feed them to the meat grinder at the top of turn 2. Hold them back as a second wave/flanking force or to babysit a control point. Play them smart and you can be sure to get your money’s worth. To capitalize on this, I put together a list chock full of activations and shenanigans that I put to the test last week. The driving strategy is that most enemies should be within long-range of a Crannogman unit SOMEWHERE on the field, which means they will suffer for every inch they move and be in range of arrows at all times. The Sworn Swords are there as the vanguard of your army to counter charge anyone getting past the deluge of arrows with Syrio & his Sworn Swords (a novel I would buy in a heartbeat) playing rear guard
Faction: House Stark
Commander: Howland Reed – Lord of the Crannogs
Points: 40 (12 Neutral)
• Crannogman Trackers (5)
with Stormcrow Lieutenant (1)
• Stormcrow Mercenaries (5)
with Syrio Forel – First Blade Of Braavos (2*)
• Stark Bowmen (6)
with Meera Reed – Cunning Trapper (1)
• Stormcrow Archers (6)
with Jojen Reed – Greensight (2*)
• Stark Sworn Swords (5)
with Bran and Hodor – Protector and Ward (2)
• Summer (0)
• Arya Stark – The Wolf Girl (3)
• Howland Reed – Lord of the Crannogs (0)
• Rodrik Cassel – Combat Veteran (4)
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