It can be surprisingly difficult to build a good agro warband. There are many contenders for glory, but only a few end up taking home the glass. This is because agro warbands require a significant amount of finesse, or a lot of luck, to be successful.
Agro warbands win the game by killing the enemy. This usually involves taking out the enemy warband as quickly as possible. In this sense, ‘agro’ warbands are the opposite of ‘control’ warbands, which win by surviving until the end of the game and denying the opponent’s objectives. Usually, the faster that agro warbands can eliminate the enemy, the greater their chance of victory.
This is why agro warbands are so difficult to play. To win consistently with an agro warband, you need to be able to reliably close with the enemy and take them out of action. This can be a tall-order if a devious enemy stands as far away as possible and refuses a fight. One or two turns without combat can be the undoing of an agro warband. Cowards!
To be a good agro player, we need go understand the three essential components of an effective agro fighter: threat range, accuracy and damage. Our fighters need to be able to get into range of their targets, they need to be able to make a successful attacks, and they need to be able to inflict enough damage to eliminate the enemy. If our fighters are missing any of these components, then things are going to be tough for us.
At present, the undisputed king of agro is Mollog. This is because the troll has a great threat range, excellent damage and solid accuracy. Mollog has a move attribute of three and an attack range of two. He can also move twice in a turn, which allows him to get into range of pretty much any hex on the board. His main attack has a base damage of three, which goes up to four when inspired. This enables Mollog to one-shot most fighters in the game. He rolls two attack dice and hits on hammers, which translates to a 50% or better chance of success against most enemy fighters. Basically, Mollog is a tool of destruction in the right hands.
The same cannot be said of other potential ‘agro’ warbands. Many are missing crucial characteristics and this undermines their ability to get the job done. For example, Steelheart’s Champions are accurate and have good damage, but with a movement of three, they are pretty slow and can have trouble getting to the fight. In contrast, the Godsworn Hunt have a good threat range and are fairly accurate, but they lack damage on a lot of their base attacks.
To improve the effectiveness of our agro warband, we need to add gambit cards that compensate for the weaknesses of our fighters. If our fighters are slow, we need to add speed or range. If our fighters are inaccurate, we need to add more attack dice. If our fighters are weak, we need to add cards that increase their damage output.
The problem is that it can be hard to fit all of these cards into a single deck. We often don’t have room for all the movement, accuracy and damage cards we would like. So what’s the solution? Well, it would seem to make most sense to focus on speed first, then accuracy, and finally damage. The logic is that our fighters can’t attack if they are not in range and if they can’t hit the target, then they won’t be able to do any damage. Therefore, to increase our fighters’ overall damage output throughout the game, getting into range is most important, followed by making successful attacks and finally increasing the individual damage caused per attack.
Going back to our earlier warbands, we can see how this works in practice. Steelheart’s Champions lack speed, so we need to fix this before moving onto anything else. Godsworn have decent speed and okay accuracy, so it would make sense to focus on their damage problems before improving their other characteristics. With Mollog, his weakest characteristic would seem to be his accuracy, so this should be the first thing that we can try and address.
Will these improvements guarantee victory? Absolutely not. But if we build agro warbands that have a good balance of threat range, accuracy and damage, we should be able to increase the overall consistency of our fighters. And consistency is the bedrock of any successful warband.