Creating the Hold Raegh Monster
Characters are central and significant to Conquest. They lead Warbands and unlock regiments. But their importance varies from faction to faction. When we started off Conquest with the core set, the first two factions gave the impression of characters contributing a basic number of dice and lending support to their regiments. Many of the 100 Kingdoms heirlooms accomplished this, and both Biomancers and Pheromancers gave the impression of supporting the regiments they accompanied through their selected mutations and spells. While the High Clone Executor was good, he still was roughly on par with the Noble Lord and was not outstanding.
Then the Dweghom released. Characters are central to the Dweghom playstyle. In fact, if I had to characterize what makes the Dweghom distinctive, I’d list the following:
1. Powerful magic.
2. Solid ranged units.
3. High Defense.
4. Character-centric builds and strong characters.
You pay an expensive price tag for all of these qualities. If you compare the Dweghom Hold Warriors to the 100 Kingdoms Men-at-Arms, you see the same stat line, but you pay 15 more points for every three stands. Costing in Conquest seems to be done on a faction by faction basis, and that means that Dweghom units typically look a little worse by comparison, point spent per point spent, than say 100 Kingdoms units. The benefit you get, however, is that Dweghom characters are simply phenomenal.
The goal of this article is modest: Examine a few builds for one of these Dweghom characters, the Hold Raegh. The key to understanding how to build solid Dweghom characters is not merely how the character combines relics, spells, retinues and masteries to create power. The importance of Dweghom characters is woven into the upgrades that the Dweghom regiments can take. If we can contrast Dweghom to the 100 Kingdoms for a second, the 100 Kingdoms characters have tons of great upgrades and abilities that make their regiments a bit stronger, whether a Noble Lord or Priory Command Supremacy, to other great upgrades that negate all cleave units contacting a character, or even denying the enemy any inspire bonus on a clash. Dweghom upgrades by contrast, and I speak chiefly of the three Heralds, the Exemplar, and the Mnemancer’s Apprentice, convey one advantage to the regiment, and a second benefit to the character. This is to say that how you build your characters precisely depends upon what regiments you integrate them into, and what upgrades you decide to give those regiments.
Option 1: The Raegh and his Horde
Mastery: Expose Weakness
Item: Champions Horns
Regiment: Hold Warriors with a Herald (probably Stone, but perhaps Fire)
The goal of this build is to synergize the Champions Horns with the unit that can provide you the most trays for the cheapest: Hold Warriors. At 6 or more trays, taking a Herald seems reasonable. This build has the advantage of making you combat capable in duels, which you are likely to see from strong enemy characters on the objective, but also capable of dealing damage to the opposing regiment. In this build, you’ll get Cleave-2 on the Raegh, and then throw 9 dice most of the time (6 base, 1 more from Combat-3, and 2 more as long as you trigger Champions Horns). The retinue boosts your attack to 5, and an Inspired Clash can produce double hits when you roll 1s. No one will want to push you off the objective quickly because your Hold Warriors will be difficult to chew through and your Hold Raegh will deal a lot of damage to them. While Hold Warriors aren’t impressive on their own, it is not unusual for the Raegh to contribute half of the regiment’s hits on a given round (15 or so dice from the Warriors, producing 7-8 hits, and then 7-8 hits from the Raegh.
If you do face a duel, and there are some powerful character builds possible, you’re using Expose Weakness to reduce their most dangerous item, Retinue, or Mastery upgrade. Tell that Blooded, “No Vinda the Dancer for you in this duel.” Of course, your opponent can also take that Mastery and do the same to you, but you’re still in a great shape to do damage back and survive a round of dueling, possibly winning over two or three rounds or destroying their regiment before loss of your Raegh becomes a problem.
Variant of Option 1: Now that the Fireforged have released, they have a number of similarities to Hold Warriors. While you may look at them and think of a ranged unit, note that they have the option to take a Herald of Fire. While this may seem like more of a narrative upgrade, it is, in fact, quite powerful. Put a Raegh into the group and you’re adding a Fury die to the Raegh as well. He’ll also get an extra point of Clash from that Herald during a duel. While this might be counterintuitive to the unit, it actually works out well. You take the ranged attacks as they come while you approach an objective, and then clash with the enemy, using the Raegh to deliver damage. Once the enemy is clear, your ranged unit is now free to fire upon any supporting units while securing the objective. You can also substitute Draegbrud for the Champions Horns. Here, you no longer have to think about keeping a certain number of trays in your unit, but you’ll push more damage through against high defense. Finally, even if you are short on points, the Raegh is still strong with no additional Mastery or Retinue.
Option 2: The Support Raegh
Retinue: Tactics-1, Combat-2
Mastery: Expose Weakness
Item: “Until We Have To”
Regiment: Hold Warriors, option of taking a Herald of Fire here.
This build has similar themes to the previous builds, and both builds will have similar playstyles on the table, they are simply selecting different upgrades to go about the process. Your Raegh will still contribute good damage to the group, but instead of relying on the Herald of Stone to boost the defense to 4, this build aims to use zonal terrain to boost your Hold Warrior defense to five. “Until We Have To” requires half your stands in zonal terrain. If your group plays with a lot of terrain, this upgrade will always see a huge play value. Alternatively, if you’re in a light terrain environment, the Sorcerer’s spell Magmatic Seep creates Zonal terrain wherever you need it, allowing you to trigger this upgrade conveniently all the time. Boosting your Hold Warrior resolve to 5 with your Raegh, and then giving them a reroll of any failed morale bonuses means that you should rarely fail resolve rolls. In my opinion, Expose Weakness is still an extremely important upgrade to ensure that the best of the dueling characters lose a key upgrade for the duel. You should win a number of duels, but you’re less concerned with losing them and more concerned with doing consistent damage on the enemy, eventually removing them from the objective. While you have the option of going Tactics-2, Combat-1, remember that Tactics is restricted on the Hold Raegh, and I’d rather pay the much cheaper Combat Retinue. Tactics-2 offers you the perk to add another relic, perhaps a Champions Horns or Draegbrud.
Notice that “Until We Have To” has some specific weaknesses. If you aren’t taking a Sorcerer with Magmatic Seep or cannot use the terrain effectively, you’ll lose an important benefit of this build. Your opponent should be aiming to fight away from as much terrain as possible. This also forces your activation sequence, since you will likely need your Sorcerer to activate early in the round, every round. You may find yourself exposed on turns where your opponent wins the initiative.
Which is better? I think it comes down to playstyle and variety. I do not like playing the same exact thing every time, so challenging myself with making the more artistic “Until We Have To” list work is a lot of fun.
Let’s explore one other unexpected option:
Item: The Crown of Ushkelodh. You quite possibly do not take a retinue or mastery on this Hold Raegh for one simple reason: you’re giving the Raegh’s regiment decay. You have the very distinct possibility of losing that Raegh at some point, so we do not want him to be a point sink. The Burnout draw event gives you two options: 1. Nothing Happens. 2. All stands have Decay 3, but gain +1 Clash and +1 March. The real benefit of this upgrade is to get a powerful regiment exactly where it needs to be and exactly when you need it. Think about that critical unit of Dragonslayers. You’ll have 4 stands with the Hold Raegh, and your decay event will cause 12 dice, averaging a full tray worth of wounds at the end. Your trade-off is that you want to completely eliminate the enemy before they can strike back. By having four solid attacking trays, you give yourself the chance to alter board state. I typically aim to trigger it exactly once, maybe twice. By adding 2 inches to the March (and therefore the charge), you’re ensuring that your regiment connects with the enemy or has greater threat range. +1 Clash means that after an Inspired Clash, your Dragonslayers will cause 2 hits on 1s. Combined with your high Cleave value, you should destroy most opposing regiments. In a world where players are regularly concerned about their heavy units getting into the fight and contributing well, this upgrade gives you a great chance of achieving that goal.