Far away from the eyes of Basilea, the halls of the Dwarves or the Kingdoms of Men, the Winterlands are an almost forgotten part of Mantica. It is a land blasted by chill winds and carved from ice. For most of Mantica’s history it has remained hidden but now stories are drifting south of an alliance of men, Elves and other creatures that could rival even the greatest powers in Mantica.
Travellers have reported that the Winterlands are ruled by an exiled elven prince called Talannar Icekin. His great magic has created a beautiful city – known as Chill – with towers of glittering ice that shoot skywards. Many who live just south of the Ice Mountains have flocked to his banner, intrigued by the strange rumours surround Talannar’s rule.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect for those in the south is that there are whispers Talannar has discovered something of incredible power. It isn’t clear if Talannar is protecting it for his own use or whether he’s trying to stop whatever he’s found from spreading southwards. There are countless rumours: another Abyss, a portal to the Ways and even the body of a Celestian or ancient god. Whatever it is, those who guard it are willing to die to keep its true identity a secret.
However, life in the North is hard and resources are scarce. Since the battle with the Abyss and the Green Lady’s hard-fought victory over the denizens of this forsaken place, more and more sightings of the Northern Alliance have been reported. Warbands of fur-clad fighters are scouring the countryside for whatever resources they can find: food, weapons, fuel and more fighters. They are clearly preparing for something….
The warriors of Talannar’s force is made up from the hardy Northmen of Mantica. Clad in thick furs, they can be exiles from the Kingdom of Men, former Varangur warriors who have fallen out of favour with Korgaan and, increasingly, members of the fragmented Brotherhood looking for a new cause. No matter where they come from, once in the Winterlands they fight with a fury that would rival even the most hardened Ogre.
These are one of the warrior options for the Northern Alliance and are decent all-rounders. They’ve got 5+ in melee and shooting (rolling 3D8 and 1D8, respectively). However, Crushing Strength (1) gives them an extra boost in close combat.
As an exile himself, Talannar tends to attract those who have also been shunned by their own societies. As a result, the Northern Alliance also includes Elf, Dwarf and Human Clansmen. These form the grunts for your warband. As you might expect, the Elf excels in ranged combat, the Dwarfs are good when it comes to close combat and the humans are decent all-rounders.
Huscarls are not the fiercest fighters under Talannar’s rule. That mantel belongs to the deadly Half-Elf Berserkers that roam the wastes after being shunned by their own kind. The Elves are normally an implacable race but the freezing wind brings out a kind of fury in them, driving them to greater feats of incredible violence. In battle they become a freezing whirlwind of destruction and their shrill cries echo across the battlefield.
The Berserkers are a unit to be feared in the Northern Alliance list. With a melee stat of 4+ and 3D8 in combat, they’re going to cause some damage. What’s more, they have the Frenzy ability, which means they get extra dice when Retaliating.
ICE KIN HUNTER
Fighting side-by-side with the Half-Elf Berserkers are the Ice Kin Hunters. Although not as crazed as their half-brethren, they are no less dangerous. Hunting in the Winterlands requires a skillful mix of stealth and accuracy, which is something the Ice Kin Hunters excel at.
Excuse the photography – a proper picture is coming shortly. However, the Ice Kin Hunters are deadly in ranged combtat. They hit on 4+ and roll 2D8 when shooting. However, it’s their Rapid Fire ability that really makes them shine as they can spend two Power to shoot twice at two different targets within 3″ of each other.
Another common sight among the Northern Alliance are the Ice Naiads. After spending so much time in the chilly waters of the Winterlands, their very skin resembles hardened ice and they fight with spears tipped with crystals. Some claim the Ice Naiads fled the Trident Realm after refusing to kneel to their High King. They hoped to set up their Kingdom – far away from the influence of their homeland – but instead swore fealty to Talannar.
Another great Warrior option for the Northern Alliance, the Ice Naiad is armed with a Frost Trident that pins the target. This is great for locking enemy units into position while you pick them off with the Ice Kin Hunter or send in one of your heavy hitters.
Those who have encountered the Northern Alliance in skirmishes say their arrival is heralded by a frozen fog that rolls in as if from nowhere. At the heart of this icy blanket of cloud, you’ll invariably find an Ice Queen. Emboldened by the magic of Talannar these powerful magic users can command the frozen winds of the north, chilling the bones of their foes and freezing them in their tracks.
With Heal, Wind Blast and Lightning Bolt as standard, the Ice Queen is able to deal damage and support those around her. However, one of her main benefits is that she’ll add a blue die to your pool of Power Dice, which can certainly come in handy when you want to trigger all those special abilities.
It’s not just humans and Elves that have flocked to Talannar’s banner. Somehow he has managed to tame the monstrous Snow Trolls. These lumbering beasts were once the scourge of wandering travellers but now fight for the Northern Alliance – perhaps the chill of North makes them more docile? In combat they’re clad in glittering armour but even without the protection, their thick grey fur is equally difficult to penetrate.
Thanks to the Northern Alliance’s warband ability, Talannar’s Pack, the Northern Alliance are currently one of the few warbands that can can add more than one Large model to their warband. This means it’s possible to run two Snow Trolls or a mixture of a Snow Troll and the upcoming Ice Elemental. The Snow Troll is going to be a tough unit to take out, thanks to 4+ armour saves and its ability to Regenerate. So, plant the Snow Troll on an objective and watch as your opponent tries to move it out the way.
What’s more, there’s even a command option for the Snow Troll called the Snow Troll Prime. With the Prime as your Commander, that means you could run a warband with THREE Large models in. Even the hardiest foe is going to tremble when they see three trolls charging towards them.
FROST FANG CAVALRY
The caves and frozen forests of the Winterlands are home to the fearsome Frost Fangs. Only the hardiest warriors are sent out to hunt for Frost Fangs pups that can be trained by skilled riders. Although they’re still unpredictable in the heat of battle, only a foolhardy foe would mess with a Frost Fang and their rider.
Another Large model for the Northern Alliance, the Frost Fang Cavalry get bonus dice when attacking foes smaller than them, so they’re great at clearing Grunts and Warriors. They’re also able to Knock Down enemies on a charge, which makes them useful at controlling the battlefield.
Veteran Huscarls will eventually be given their own warband to lead, under the guise of a Thegn. These experienced fighters are able to read the battle and make tactical decisions on the fly. Their devotion to Talannar is absolute, however, and they’ll do whatever it takes to protect his dark secret.
The Thegn is a great combo with the Ice Queen, as they both generate a blue Power Die. Unlike the Ice Queen, the Thegn also comes in handy for close combat too, with 4D8 under his belt and a melee stat of 4+. He has the Inspiring special rule too, so he’s great at helping to keep your weaker units on the table when things are quite going to plan.