Making the Most of the Herald of Fire
Greetings Conquest players. On October 23, the Herald of Fire was released alongside the Fireforged. This marks the first of the Dweghom Heralds to come to us through its resin model, and this seems like as good of a time as any to talk about how to use the Herald of Fire well.
First, the Herald of Fire is a unit upgrade. You are limited to one per army, so you won’t be able to spam them. You are also limited to a mere handful of units: Hold Warriors, Hold Ballista, Hold Thanes, and Fireforged. The Dweghom Heralds offer two benefits, one to the regiment, and one to a character in the regiment. Furthermore, other than the Hold Ballista at 20 points, taking one will cost you 50 points. That’s a steep price to pay when equivalent upgrades for other factions offer the same benefits as the Herald upgrades for cheaper. The Herald of Fire offers the regiment the Fury draw event. Second, when you’re fighting a duel, your character will gain +1 clash from the Herald of Fire. That’s a meaningful jump in ability.
So if we’re going to make use of a Herald, we want a situation where the regiment can benefit the most from the draw event AND where the character can benefit the most during any duel. This is going to happen in one key situation: You’ve got a block of infantry that are designed to sit on objectives. The opponent either has to cede that objective to you or is forced to step into the regiment and character who is receiving both of these benefits. It seems often enough that a regiment going after the objectives will often have a character in it, making a duel on the objective possible.
Among the characters, clearly the Hold Raegh benefits the most. He’s a high damage character on the objectives and loves to lead a big block of troops. Having an additional point of Clash means more hits in a duel. He really doesn’t need the extra point of clash, since you can also boost it through a Combat-2 Retinue, though you can combine them to ensure he delivers 2 hits on a 1. The second character that works well with the Herald of Fire is the Tempered Steelshaper. Although he starts with a meager clash of 2, you can boost it by 1 in the duel through Herald of Fire, a second time with the restricted Combat-2 Retinue, and a third time if you taking Flaming Weapon. He doesn’t have the dice pool of the Raegh, but his High armor makes him a strong combat capable character. If you aren’t running your Ardent Kerawegh with your Flame Bezerkers, you can again get a solid boost by running him in Hold Warriors. Breaking enemies with Dismay, and then following up with a forced duel can be a powerful way of dealing with pesky supporting heroes.
The benefit of Fury is modest to most Dweghom regiments. Clearly, the Hold Thanes benefit the most, since the extra dice take advantage of the higher clash score and Cleave-1. This seems to me the most logical and natural place for it. You can add a Hold Raegh to the regiment and have a very powerful defensive regiment that wants to sit on objectives and dish out damage. The weakness of this combination is you can only get it on the board on T3, and can’t really get it to influence the fight until T4 at the earliest. In the present, that’s fairly late for a unit that is central to your game plan.
While putting a Herald of Fire in Fireforged or Hold Warriors seems less efficacious, you still will get 3-4 dice out of the upgrade typically, which means a couple more hits. You can combine this with the Tempered Steelshaper’s Unmake Armor to ensure that more of those hits stick. So while the cost of the upgrade might seem prohibitively expensive, the Dweghom abilities like Unmake Armor help extend its damage.
In a recent game, I decided to try putting a Hold Raegh in a regiment of Fireforged with Herald of Fire. The idea here is that you are eventually going to become engaged. In fact, you now want to be engaged. While the Fireforged won’t offer great damage in melee (and neither would a large block of Hold Warriors), the Hold Raegh is really your damage generation machine. In my experience, it is fairly common for the Hold Raegh to contribute half the total hits in this set-up, and then two-thirds to three-quarters of the damage. So it isn’t really a case of Fireforged being bad in melee combat, but more that they will do something at the edges while the Hold Raegh cleans up. This may seem like a counterintuitive build, but when you put it on the table and try it out, you’ll find that the Hold Raegh and Fireforged complement one another extremely well, each providing strengths to the other. In fact, in my most recent game, I had my Fireforged charge precisely because the entire regiment was going to do more damage and act more decisively if they did that, than if they stood still.
The Herald of Fire brings a small, but noticeable benefit to any Dweghom army. If you’re like me, you probably knee-jerked to the Herald of Stone when you first saw the Dweghom army lists. You then expressed bemusement that the Herald of Fire would be released first. The tips here, I hope, will encourage you to give the Herald of Fire a try and explore all that he has to offer the Dweghom player.