Visions in the Flames: Monsters Beyond the Wall

Maester Luwin says there are no more giants. He says they're all dead, like the children of the forest. All that's left of them are old bones in the earth that men turn up with plows from time to time.”

Let Maester Luwin ride beyond the Wall. He'll find giants then, or they'll find him.

- Bran Stark and Osha

One of the most iconic figures in the Free Folk army are the Savage Giants. Today we’ll be taking a look at their updates coming in Night’s Watch/Free Folk 1.5.

Ok, so that may have been a lot of build-up for what is essentially coming down to some number buffs. As we mentioned during our first Night’s Watch/Free Folk article (Link), the majority of changes to the Free Folk revolved around numbers tweaks more than anything else, and the Savage Giant is the perfect example of that.

Savage Giants in the Free Folk army should serve as a tough and durable option with decent damage capabilities. They came very close to being how we wanted them to be, but in the end they needed some small boosts in key areas to achieve what we wanted.

First, we boosted them to 6 Wounds, which also indirectly buffed their offensive potential, but let’s keep focused on their defensive side. Moving from 5 to 6 Wounds has to be treated differently here than in most cases, as the impact of their Giant rule changes up the basic math- from both “getting damaged” and “getting healed” standpoints. This small change gives them a bigger boost in survivability than it might let on.

This change also directly ties into their damage potential, since the 1 additional Wound directly translates into a potential +1 Wound when they attack, upping their overall damage potential. Looking at that, however, the Giant still had the minor issue that, unless he suffered damage, he was hitting pretty limp for his points-bracket. Yes, the +1 Wound change helped, but it still wasn’t quite there, so their base damage has also been increased, now dealing D3+2, assuming the Giant hasn’t suffered any damage beforehand. This means that, more often than not, a single swing from the Giant will at least be taking off a full Rank (and that is before Panic). The two changes combined means that, should a Giant survive at just 1 remaining Wound, they now have the potential to dish out a staggering 10 direct Wounds to a unit. Savage indeed.

The final change comes in how Giant’s handle Panic. We knew moving into 1.5 this would have an impact on the guys, as even with a 3+ Morale Save, suffering D3+1 Wounds hurts. With most Solos, failing Panic should result in severe consequences (single figures will just run), in the case of the Giants it was proving to be a bit too punishing, especially for a unit designed to be a rock in an army. With that being said, Giants can now only suffer a maximum of 2 Wounds (the minimal, in most every case) for failing a Panic Test. This direction proved satisfying, but continuing to work with it unfortunately proved to be just a little too good when coupled with the Giant’s native 3+ Morale, proving little counterplay in the way of Panic damage, which is the only way some armies can approach this threat (Designer note: Well… That, combined with some other aspects coming down the line regarding Giants), to balance this out, the Giant’s native Morale Stat was increased from 3+ to 4+. Still a rough number for most armies to get around, but not so punishing for ones focused on it. Of course, they’ll still only be dealing 2 Wounds… And thus increasing the Giant’s damage capabilities… But its at least something to aid in that regard!

With that, we’re wrapping up our look at the Free Folk until the last part of the 1.5 Update is release (Yes, there are still more Free Folk changes to be seen). Speaking of which, we’re happy to announce that you can expect the changes to launch on February 14th. Yes, it’s going to be a bloody Valentine’s Day for both sides of the Wall!

We still have one more Visions article coming up in regards to 1.5, but we can almost guarantee you it won’t be what you expect. Join us then for the extinguishing of the flames!

Visions in the Flames: Monsters Beyond the Wall

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