Mr. Black here, and today we're going to talk about some beginner tactics for your new Forsaken Starter box. I'm going into this assuming you know the basic rules, so if you don't go pick up that rulebook and get reading!

...Or ignore me and read below, I can't really force you into anything...


What's in the Box

3x Bane

2x Coil

1x Warwind

305 Points

The General Overview

First things first to understand about the Forsaken: You have a broad access to both general and highly specialized troops, more so than any other faction. In reality you can built whatever sort of list you want in the end, be it forced on just a few elite troops or swarming the board with grunts, all shooting or melee or some combination in between. Basically if you have a tactic in mind then there is some way of manifesting it in the Forsaken- the starter box exemplifies this perfectly.

The Specifics

Banes make up the cheapest troop option available to the Forsaken, rounding in at 40 pts a piece. What do we get for these points? Well, just as you'd expect there's nothing flashy about them, but in the end they do their job.

For starters we have an average AV and MV speed, giving them a decent amount of maneuverability (although nothing to write home about), a pathetic DF, which is in turn compensated by a respectable AR value. What does this mean? Well basically the Banes are going to get hit rather easily and you're going to have to rely on their AR to keep them alive- a risky venture given the weapons that exist in Dark Age. In the end, despite the decent AR for the price the Banes just aren't going to be staying around long- but this should be expected with the cheapest troop option available.

Next up let's look at their attacks- again, nothing super special to be seen here. Average AS and, relatively to most other troops in the game, low PW. This is offset however by the fact they have a two attack AG group as well as access to the Knock Prone ability. Given that both attacks have this you're basically getting double the chance to work it, and while knocking someone prone is more of a bother than a real hindrance every little bit matters. Add all this together and you can quickly find the Banes are worth their points, especially out of the starter. It is a sad fact that Banes are too often passed up in favor of some of the flashier options available to the Forsaken.

Coils very quickly became one of my favorite Forsaken units due to their highly damaging attacks combined with the fact they could do so from a relatively safe distance. Again, as with the Banes, Coils have average AP and MV, a terrible DF and, sadly, a low AR value as well. So what gives? Well basically in the Coils you have a glass-cannon unit: they can put out some serious hurt but so much as a stiff breeze hits them and their going down.

Basically, Coils are there for one reason and one reason alone: a powerful gun- Hard to have guessed I know. A decent RN of 12 means the Coils can fire from relative safety, and while a RF of 1 means you're limited to one shot all that says to me is there is seldom reason not to Aim or provide yourself with the best tactical position available. Really the best advice I can give is treat the Coils as a sniper unit- keep them out of sight/in cover and line up your shot- you're only going to get one a turn, so best make it count!

Ah, the Warwind, now we're getting into the elite section of the Forsaken! 4 AP, 3 MV, this guy can get around the board and really put the hurt on. Low DF, high AR, 2 HP, combined that with Never Fear, Never Panic, and Tough as Nails and you can quickly see why the Warwind is one of the harder models in the Forsaken army to kill- Just keep in mind that, while yes, his stats are impressive, he can die just like anything else in the game. Don't get arrogant with him and bite off more than you can chew- solid advice for not only the Warwind but every model in Dark Age.

Now, looking at his attacks, you likewise see the "elite infantry" aspect come manifest, given the Warwind's proficiency in both melee and range. Basically, this guy is used as a filler where-ever your forces are lacking. Need some extra melee punch to take a target down? Furious Charge in there with two AS 10 PW 10 Katanas. Coils get killed early on? Sneak around the board and take pot-shots with your RF 2 gun, limiting their ability to catch up to you with a 50% chance to knock them prone.
In the end, the Warwind is it's own self-contained threat- he can adhere to pretty much any role a scenario would require of him on his own, but his real power lies in filling in the weak gaps that may appear in your forces as the game progresses. Remember this, and use him accordingly, and you'll find him to be one of the best options available anywhere in the Forsaken roster.

Bringing It All Together

So, as you can see, you have some good options available to you: Banes for melee purposes, Coils for ranged, and the Warwind to tie them both together and fill in any gaps. This is a unique mixture compared to the rest of the starters and gives you a great versatility in dealing with threats. Some basics, given our mixture of troops, is both straightforward and a bit complex... If that makes any sense (note: it shouldn't, it's rambling garbage)... Initially I'd march the Banes up- you want these guys to present themselves as a threat to the enemy, both for Target Priority purposes and as an actual threat.

Basically, they're not going to do you any good unless they're engaging the enemy, so best not to waste any time in doing so. Now, the trick here is two-fold, yes, it's true you want the Banes up there doing what they can, but really, for me anyway, it's more of a distraction so you can get your real damage dealers, the Coils and Warwind, where they need to be. As we discussed above, the Banes PW 4 is rather weak, and against anything but light infantry the chance of you dealing any sizable damage is slim, meanwhile you have the Coils (a respectable PW of 6x2) and the Warwind, both of whom can really put the hurt on your foes.

In my games, the primary goal is run the Banes as a distraction unit, should they actually kill anything then that's great, but once more the goal is either tie up a unit that has a low chance to harm them or force Target Priority with a actual ranged threat. While this is going on the Coils should move up a flank or find another safe means of traveling up the board, aiming to get into a position when they can begin a routine of move, aim, shoot, kill. If you can set them up in a way that makes that same pattern available each turn then you're well on your way to dismantling your opponent's forces piece by piece.

While that is going on you also have the Warwind, whom you can either send out solo to deal with high-priority targets, or run him along with the Banes or Coils, depending on the situation. What is great about him is that he turns either unit into a real danger to anything else around them, given that he can either reinforce them in their primary role (melee for Banes, ranged for Coils, obviously) or cover their weaknesses, making charging the Coils a bad idea, or likewise preventing the opponent from simply sitting back and shooting at the Banes- this last scenario is very favorable as you can use the Banes as a Priority shield while you lay down some devastating return fire.

Once you've weakened their forces sufficiently, or set yourself up for a nice "killing blow" turn then feel free to use the Command ability of the Warwind, giving you a two-for-one activation: this is a nice setup which, surprisingly, catches a lot of players off guard (at least the first few times) and can really be a game-changer. Use this ability when you're ready to make your push to finishing off their forces or, hopefully not, a recovery move to eliminate a threat that has entrenched itself in your line.

The last thing to speak about is actually, in my mind, the biggest weakness of the army: your Morale. Looking back on your two troops you'll notice something rather quickly- should you be forced to take a Morale Check (something that IS going to happen often given your low points) you're only going to pass your check 60% of the time. Given that the Coils need only lose one model for this to happen (the Banes needing two, but I'm more inclined to let that pass) something you'll need to always consider is having your Warwind in range to rally them should the worst happen.

Most loses I've seen with low-point Forsaken have actually come due to this: people forgetting their troops are not exactly the most motivated and, frankly, will take off without much hesitation. Just remember to keep this in mind, and likewise keep your Warwind within range, and you should be fine. Everyone is going to have the off game where their troops just up and run off the board, don't worry about it and remember: it's a game, have fun in your tragedy!

Expanding Your Forces

The starter chimes in at 305 points, so where do we go from here to expand it to the next plateau of 500? Honestly, maybe it's at this point you want to experiment with some specialty forces, removing units here and there, what have you- and that's fine, that's what the game is about. But if you want to just use what you have? Well, I can offer some suggestions:

It's about time you started looking at the Saints. This is easy enough since most of you got into Forsaken for them anyway, so now is the time to use them. Mary, Luke, John, Mark, Johan-...Err... We don't speak about that last one... Ahem... Any of the four saints run about 130, making them a nice addition to your forces to bring them to 500 as well as giving us some 60 or so points to play with in addition, so what do we add? Well, an addition Coil wouldn't hurt, bringing them up to three, as well as making it so they must lose two models to force a Panic Check in place of three. A fourth Bane perhaps? Ehh... It's alright, but given the option I'd take the Coil each and every time. Personal preference I know, but I'll stick to my opinions.

Other options, for those who want new toys, are to pick up either a Field Medic or a Sister of Compassion, both of which add their own unique options to the frey. Of the two, really the choice comes down to whether you want another melee combatant with a bit of a healing potential versus a specialized healing unit capable of, effectively, giving your models an extra wound. This in itself has huge potential to swing games in your favor. In the end, though, your choice. I prefer the Field Medic, but some of you more bloodthirsty types may prefer the latex-covered assets of the Sister of Compassion.

One final option worth considering is picking up some Firestorms. Basically drop a Bane, add two Firestorms and you've now given yourself four units (Banes, Coils, Firestorms, Saint) to work with- the only issue here? Well, two Banes aren't going to do much... and will break once even one is killed... Honestly losing the third Bane hits the unit quite hard, and I don't know if it's worth it, even if the Firestorms are, in my humble option, one of -the- best units available from a tactical standpoint. Really, if I were going to go this option I'd rather wait until higher points or, as blasphemous as it may sound, replace the Warwind to make room for the Firestorms, but I can't feel right even considering that.

In the end just play around, get what you think looks cool and make the force you believe you'd want to play. Given the wide variety of the Forsaken troops most any army you could want to play is available in some form or another.

Now get out there and fight!