It’s here! You might already be amongst the fortunate who have managed to attend a D&D: Attack Wing Organized Play Month 2 event, or perhaps you’ve got one on your calendar right around the corner. There is a vast difference between the first month and this one, and we’ll continue taking a look at the new units you’re going to have to contend with to give you an advantage when it comes time to start grabbing for that Compass!
In our last OP2 review, we looked at the ranger, druid, and half-dragon fighter. That leaves two more, and if the early buzz around them is to be believed, these are the two you’re really going to want to be watching for — either on your side of the table or your opponent’s.
THE RED WIZARD
Rath Modar is no joke. In the Tyranny of Dragons storyline, Modar is a prime villain, a ruthless wizard looking to advance the power of Thay even if it means subjecting the rest of Faerûn to subjugation by Tiamat, the queen of evil dragons.
In D&D Attack Wing, he’s no less dangerous, and his focus is clear right from the start, as a look at his Primary Weapon Value (PWV) and special ability will indicate. His PWV of 1 isn’t tied for worst — it is the worst, with even the soft-hitting druid still hitting twice as hard. His agility is on the lower end as well. But with a level of 11, Rath Modar is the highest-ranked of all five of the blind booster units, and the “squishy wizard” trope is typically regarded as an offset for eldritch power, something Modar comes with plenty of.
First off, as a dedicated caster, Rath Modar has a tailored special ability that helps him hit a little more often with his magic, allowing a reroll of a blank die result when using a spell upgrade. With four different spells to choose from in the booster box, you’ll have some decisions ahead of you.
In terms of sheer power, Eldritch Blast is the weakest of your three offensive spell options: a humble two dice at a single target at Range 3. In addition to being cheap (2 Legion Points), there’s an additional advantage this spell does have going for it, which is that you don’t need to disable the upgrade to use it, you just spend a Target token. This makes it fairly spammable, and gives the wizard a way to deal damage every round even after any other upgrades have been disabled.
A miniature version of Lightning Breath, this only requires you to have picked up a Concentrate token, which (unlike a Target token) is available anytime. While a 3-dice attack is average, like all of Modar’s offensive spells, it ignores armor. Lines are the hardest area-of-effect (AOE) attacks to position for multiple strikes on opposing units, but they also are the ones least likely to cause collateral damage.
The pick of the litter. Most offensive spells in the game thus far will either do damage or debuff their target, but this spell happily offers both. Usually when you’re rolling attack dice to inflict a status effect, you’re just looking to see if you landed a hit — no real damage is done. While Phantasmal Killer will often be a one-shot effect (you’ll have to discard it at the end of the Fear), being able to injure and shut down an opposing unit makes this a very good use of LP.
Defensive spells that require you to use an action to bring them online are often a painful choice. While we all love to protect our best assets, this also weakens them for the turn, since you typically won’t get a chance to manipulate the outcome of combat through the other actions available to you. What’s nice about Mirror Image is that it lasts three turns, while other options such as Shield and False Life only last two. This makes it easier to pop as you head into combat so as to not waste actions once you’re in the thick of it.
In addition, with the ability to block two hits (two normal and/or critical), you add no small amount of survivability to Rath Modar, or whomever you equip it to in constructed play. A very solid spell at a very cheap cost.
Tattoo of Obfuscation
This simple upgrade effectively offers you +1 Agility and is a bit reminiscent of Limnen for the sun elf archers. There are probably better upgrades for the slot (though initially you’re limited to what’s in the blind booster box), but given Rath’s dreadful agility, a little extra can’t hurt.
Staff of Power
Up until the blind boosters, there was only one game in town for caster staves: the Silver Staff. The one that came with the sun elf wizard gave you an extra arcane slot and could be triggered to reset all of your disabled spell upgrades — just the thing for the busy mage on the go.
Staff of Power, however, is a great option for the more aggressively minded. Sure, you lose the bonus arcane slot, but Rath Modar still has the typical 3. For that loss of versatility, though, you get to give your existing spells quite a bit more punch by not needing to consume a Target or Concentrate token to cast them. Modar is level 11, which means there are still a fair number of units in the game that will be moving after him. If you’ve ever had Lord Max drift into firing range for your Disintegrate but were unable to take a Target action during your move, Staff of Power is here for you.
Furthermore, since you don’t need to consume that Target or Concentrate token to fuel the spell, that leaves you with the opportunity to expend it improving your damage output. What’s better than a 6-dice Disintegrate attack? One where you get to reroll the misses!
Finally, if everything goes pear-shaped, you can snap that twig over the knee and release a torrent of mystical energy, slamming everything in a Range-1 radius (ground and air) for a blast of damage. Though this kills its bearer in the process, it can make a wizard into something of a hedgehog option for melee-reliant opposition.
Like most of the blind booster units, Rath Modar forces you to make some choices. Indeed, this is a bit tougher than what we’ve seen with some of the others, because there are a number of different ways to build him up. Staff of Power is very strong, particularly with the ability to snap it for one more spiteful strike should Modar run afoul of misadventure. That lets you add in Lightning Bolt, though there’s still the problem of only being able to effectively attack once every other round since you won’t always have the luxury of being in melee range of the enemy.
Another build might see you equip him with the superb Phantasmal Killer and Eldritch Blast. Blast is his weakest spell, but the fact that you can spam it every turn gives you a substantial attacking upgrade over his default melee ability. Alternately, you can pitch the control element of Killer and go for straight damage, pairing Eldritch Blast and Lightning Bolt with Mirror Image to keep him around a bit longer.
THE HUMAN PALADIN
This paladin alone stands amongst his blind booster peers by having any natural, un-upgraded armor value whatsoever, lending him that much greater survivability.
The paladin’s solid stats don’t end there. He’s at the top or near the top for Health (4) and Primary Weapon Value (3), though as you’d expect from a man in plate mail, his Agility is rather low (1 for the iconic Ontharr Frume, and 0 for the generic Hand of Fury).
Befitting the grizzled veteran that he is, Ontharr Frume carries a very useful ability to permit a full reroll of all attack dice at the cost of receiving an Exhaustion token. Since one of the paladin’s drawbacks is the inability to take a Target action, this gives you some extra ability to modify the outcome of combat. It’s useful to note that if Frume is already exhausted, he’s still able to use this ability — though multiple Exhaustion tokens are a heavy burden to carry.
Another drawback is the unit’s extremely limited range — a Melee 1 attack is it. The only other unit with so poor a battlefield presence is (of all things) the Red Wizard. As we’ll see, though, the paladin has plenty of ways to impose his will upon the battlefield, thanks to his upgrades.
One of the most tactically flexible cards in the game at the moment, the utility of Warhorse is hard to overstate. Although it may not seem like much on first blush, being a simple movement booster that does nothing else, having the option to alter your movement at the time of movement resolution is tremendous. This gives you the flexibility to react to what your opponent does, whether it be to slip out of a firing arc, or give chase to a fleeing foe.
Not only that, but the Warhorse bonus doesn’t alter the color of the movement on the dial. Atop your noble steed, you can now go 3 forward and still have it count as a Green maneuver. A 2 turn is now White instead of Red, which it would be to any paladin on foot. You can easily move as fast as most dragons forward (4), and when needed jump backwards an entire 2.
In a game so reliant upon positioning and movement, having an upgrade that offers this much advantage is not to be dismissed.
The paladin’s other heroic upgrade option, Challenge allows you to pull a creature out of the sky to face you on the battlefield. As a Free action, it costs nothing to use, but it effectively extends the reach of your melee attacks into ranged ones, since you can now take a shot at a creature in the sky. Since the challenged creature cannot change altitude again that turn, this can also help set up melee attacks from your other units.
The lone spell upgrade in the lot, this priest spell gives you +1 Attack die for the next two combats. In a world where the paladin could get a Target action, this might be a more difficult decision than it is, but the extra die is always welcome. Combine that with a Charge, and now your paladin is hitting as hard as an undamaged Balagos — and bringing the fire to boot!
Helm of Leadership
Things that are free are often risky in games from a design perspective, since there’s little reason not to use them. Not only is there no LP cost for Helm of Leadership, but wearing it actually makes other upgrades cheaper. The only consequence is that it takes up one of your equipment slots, but since it gives you an additional heroic that too is something of a wash. It will be interesting to see the impact of the helm on constructed play, since it opens up quite a range of customization — though at present only a small number of units can actually equip it (Nymmestra, Sarpiel, and the blind booster units).
This weapon upgrade offers two advantages to the paladin. First, it allows your hero to ignore armor. Given the popularity of dragons in particular (with the most recent ones having up to a whopping 3 points of it to chew through), this is a very solid hedge. Perhaps more importantly, it doubles your paladin’s attack range. Forget that puny sword! While 2 Melee isn’t huge, it’s certainly enough to let you get the job done. It certainly hasn’t done Lord Maximillian’s reputation any harm.
Sacred Plate Mail
Our final upgrade for the paladin is his second legendary one, Sacred Plate Mail. In all ways functionally identical to Jarl Horn’s Blackguard’s Mail, this good-aligned suit lets you take the sting out of a critical hit while buffing up your Armor value.
A good 30-point build with Ontharr is about as easy as it gets. Set aside the Sacred Plate Mail and load him up with everything else. Thanks in part to the LP-dampening effects of the Helm of Leadership, you can get every other upgrade on him and still be within your 30 LP limit. Unlike most of the other units, which compel you to some hard choices, the paladin is an autopilot build. That doesn’t reflect poorly on the Sacred Plate Mail (which has its constructed uses) so much as the strength of everything else he comes with.
Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to take one (or more!) of the five blind booster units for a spin. Still, understanding how all five function will be a great help on the battlefield, since we’ll be seeing these five larger-than-life heroes and villains on both sides of the table for the next four months of Organized Play — and almost certainly beyond that.
About the Author
Jay Kirkman first sat behind a DM screen at 9 years of age, and he’s never looked back. In addition to gaming and D&D Attack Wing, his passions include his family and five children, the mighty Glasgow Celtic, and operating his business, Moonlite Comics. Located in the capital, Moonlite has been at the heart of gaming in the Bluegrass for over a generation. They are proud to add D&D Attack Wing to their stable of fully-supported games.