Tactics Talk: Mance Rayder and Brian Kerr’s Free Folk “Storm of the Free People” List

Tactics Talk: Mance Rayder
and Brian Kerr's "Storm of the Free People" List

Once a man of the Night’s Watch, Mance Rayder has spent years gathering the tribes of the Free Folk under his command. Brokering peace between the Hornsfoots and the Night Runners, the men of the Frozen Shore and the Ice-River clans, as well as between Harma Dogshead and the Lord of Bones, Mance has proved meticulous in his planning and ability to solidify his power. Of the five other would be “Kings-Beyond-the Wall,” Mance has secured the alliance of Tormund Giants-bane and Styr of Thenn, while slaying the three remaining rivals who opposed him. In the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, Mance Rayder brings a unique style of play to the forces of the Free Folk.

 

This week’s tactics talk is written by ASOIAF TMG youtuber Brian Kerr from Big Top Gaming. Be sure to check out their channel and subscribe!

 

Mance Rayder, King Beyond the Wall has one of the best abilities available for Free Folk but he also brings some of the most unusual tactics cards of any commander in the game.  His Inspiring Presence and Rally Point abilities make Free Folk moral a 6+ within short range, allowing you to minimize casualties over the long term, but Mance does not offer any other elements that help the combat presence of your units.  His tactics cards are all about forcing your opponent into some hard choices and either punishing those decisions or making more options available to you. Mance’s Meticulous Planning tactics card will get what you need at the pretty hefty cost of pitching a card but the Free Folk tactics cards can be situational enough to where that decision isn’t often crippling.

Faction: Free Folk

Commander: Mance Rayder – King Beyond The Wall

Points: 40 (0 Neutral)

Made with ASOIAFBuilder.com

Combat Units:

  • Free Folk Trapper (4)
    • with Mance Rayder – King Beyond The Wall (0)

I’ve chosen to put Mance in a unit of Free Folk trapper so that he can influence the bulk of our units with his Rally Point ability. Free Folk aren’t known for their ability to take hits so we need Mance to be in a unit that allows him to maximize his reach on the battlefield while not being hidden in a unit that we want to get in the thick of things (and thus potentially in danger).  The Free Folk Trappers are a great unit for him because their Hidden Traps ability doesn’t need line of sight and has the potential to help your units survive longer with triggering disorderly charges. The D3 wounds can also help you knock ranks off faster and let’s not forget about the 66% chance to chase off Direwolves. Finally, the movement speed of 6 will allow me to reposition Mance to where his short range command bubble is needed most.

  • Free Folk Trapper (4)

The Hidden Traps ability is so good that I want two Free Folk Trappers in here so I can cover most of the board with that ability and it’s not uncommon to get some work out of their short range shooting.

  • Free Folk Raiders (3)
  • Free Folk Raiders (3)
  • Free Folk Raiders (3)
  • Free Folk Raiders (3) with Raid Leader (1)

Raiders….Raiders, Raiders, Raiders.  These are the iconic unit for the Free Folk and we will be taking our fair share at 3pts a piece, even though they are really 6pts.  While Freefolk Raiders are not very impressive stats wise, only throwing six dice at their best, if you think of them going off in pairs you’re getting 12 dice hitting on 4’s then 3’s and they bring 24 wounds all for 6pts.  They can also take a lot of table space as well as assist in ensuring you out activate our opponent. Coupled with Mance’s Rally Point ability, these units can help slow down enemy forces simply by being a large number of bodies to plow through!   For attachments, typically these are great with Raider Leaders, but we’ll be only including one due to restrictions due to other expenditures in this list.

 

  • Cave Dweller Savages (5)
    • with Raid Leader (1)

To round out our combat units we are grabbing two of the latest release, the Cave Dweller Savages. These units really change the landscape for Free Folk in that they give us a unit that can go in to clean up units that the Raiders struggle to break and with speed 6 they are often able to grab flanks. Cave Dwellers also have a 4+ moral stat so they can afford to exist on the edges of the table and support themselves, so Mance can focus on staying more central to the raider blob we will be deploying. In the first unit, I’ve elected to place a Raid Leader to open up options on Combined Assault; if we can get into flank with a Cave Dweller unit it doesn’t matter if we aren’t turning on extra Ruthless Savagery perks since we get pseudo sundering from the side, instead it is more important that we turn on Gang-Up on the Free Folk Raider unit and dropping a Group Assault here can easily wipe a unit with this one-two punch.

 

  • Cave Dweller Savages (5)

 with Tormund Giantsbane – Tall-Talker, Horn-Blower, Breaker Of Ice (2)

For the Second unit, we are bringing one of my favorite characters from the series, Tormund Tall-Talker, Horn-Blower, Breaker of Ice.  He is a pricey attachment at 2pts but he brings some great utility to Cave Dwellers and makes them good at being the first to connect with an enemy with Furious Charge and Shattering Assault.  At first, glance, giving Sundering seems redundant but it allows you to choose the better of two Ruthless Savagery perks when going into a full unit and if they have one rank missing you, essentially, get all your abilities. Furious Charge also makes sure you will get the most out of those attacks making the retaliation from the enemy less impactful.  

 

Non-Combat Units:

  • Craster – Ally of Convenience (3)
  • Lady Val – The Wildling Princess (3)

For NCU’s we will grab the two available to us, Crastor and Lady Val.  We like going for the Maneuver Zone on the tactics board and taking the Swords every now and again but the Free Folk presence on the tactics board is either grabbing those two or trying to block options for our opponent. If your opponent really wants the Crown, for example,  we can throw Lady Val on it and just move a unit to set up a flank charge or grab an objective. There’s no formula to what you do on the Tactics Board here, just take what fits your situation the best because you aren’t bound to the zones effect.

This list can play on just about any scenario in which Victory Through Combat is present due to all the Insignificant units but really struggles on Feast of Crows. You’ll always be feeling the Hindering and Rough from the corpse piles and your units are fairly easy to kill and 7+ or 9+ moral can stack those extra victory points up quick. I would also be mindful of Lannister players since they can Cersei Crown zap Mance off the table over a few turns and Lannister Supremacy can really hurt even with Mance’s Rally Point. This list is also not Highly mobile so Winds of Winter can be challenging but it really depends on how the Secret Mission deck treats you. I’m also reluctant to drop this on Clash of Kings since the way to hold objectives with this list is to block your opponent off with bodies and being able to deploy on the flanks really cuts off that tactic; it’s just too hard to sustain, Mance becomes less effective, the units you’re bringing back need to double team units in order to make strides in the game, and you like to attrition but when the unit you just put a lot of effort into killing comes back it’s exhausting. The natural pair for this is an all Giant list because it kind of solves for those issues and offers a very different approach to take down.

How would you deal with this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Mance Rayder references can be found in:

  1. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  2. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
  3. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
  4. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
  5. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31, Melisandre I.
  6. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 53, Jon VII.
  7. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
  9. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  11. George R. R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire, Mance Rayder.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
  13. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 70, Jon IX.
  14. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  15. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
  16. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 43, Jon V.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  18. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 30, Jon IV.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 26, Jon III.
  20. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  21. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  22. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 64, Jon VIII.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 69, Jon IX.
  24. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
  26. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  27. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  28. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
  31. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  32. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
  34. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 21, Jon V.
  35. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  36. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon VIII.

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