Confidence is everything. At least it is in the case of this week's featured creature, the Kobold Archer.
In Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures battles, kobolds are weaklings that have traditionally been relegated to the lowly role of camping in a victory area or perhaps hunting enemy weaklings. With the coming of Dungeons of Dread, the kobolds reclaim their sneaky birthright with the Kobold Archer. This miniature uses the First Arrow special power, a cool game mechanic that reflects Kobold psychology. It establishes him solidly as a bushwhacking coward.
And a great little coward he is. At six points, this guy is an outright bargain. His ranged attack targets the nearest enemy, which means it might take some careful maneuvering and ingenuity on your part to narrow his line of sight to miniatures you want to attack, but he's worth it. Even if you can't target exactly who you want, thanks again to his First Arrow power, the Kobold Archer begins every battle with a +9 attack that deals 15 damage. This is significant enough to be a real irritant, if not an outright concern, to the enemy. Keep him protected, because he drops to +7 and 10 damage once someone takes a swipe at him.
One of the Kobold's most interesting 'powers' is his ability to draw attacks. This isn't actually written on the card, but opposing players will go out of their way to attack the little fella because they know, hit or miss, they will eliminate his combat edge. That's a powerful incentive. It's also not a bad thing, since any attack on this little guy is one that doesn't target more important combatants. With only 20 hp and an AC of 18, the Kobold Archer might not even survive that first attack, making the loss of First Arrow no real loss at all. This fragility is tolerable in a ranged attacker that spends most of his time well behind the front line. Expect the humble, 6-point Kobold Archer to be a regular in warbands for some time to come.Synergies
It's a strange experiment to consider synergies with pieces that players use as fodder. For a dozen points, you can augment any melee-focused borderlands or wilderness band with some respectable, disposable ranged hitting power. This can provide a tactical edge in 200-point play. In lower point games, the Kobold Archer shines even brighter. There, one might consider a Merchant Guard as an ally, because he can retarget early attacks against a Kobold Archer (maintaining the Kobold's First Arrow edge). Kobold archers like Militia Archers, Runecarved Eidolons, and maps bearing sacred circle terrain. A brace of Kobold Archers can reach +13 to hit for 15 damage (or 20 with the Eidolon). In the case of the Militia Archer, this only works against higher-level targets, but that's practically any target, since the Kobold is only level 2.
Finally, several times now we've seen an Eternal Blade expend her last use of a Champion power to grant increased attack and damage to a Kobold Archer. It generally happens late in the game, but when a 6-point Kobold strikes at +11 for 25 damage, it will always make you smile. This tactic makes a degree of sense; late in a battle, your opponent will often be hard pressed to find resources to hunt down the Kobold.500 point play
Surprisingly, these guys have a niche in 500-point play. They are the final addition when only a few points are left over and you are trying to maximize your warband's cost and activations. Here, they benefit from the ability to stay out of the way while still contributing to the fight (generally by hoping to roll higher than average). Don't expect them to do much damage against the big guys, but a critical hit by a Kobold causes much cheering and usually provokes an immediate response against the Kobold.