Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Role of the Stubborn Character

One character that has become more prevalent recently is the fast moving character (typically a flyer) with the Crown of Command (making him Stubborn). The premise here is that the character has a good armour save plus a passable ward and he can go into the enemy and kill them or at worst hold them there.

There are numerous variations depending on Army Book and access to the Stubborn ability. One popular variation is the Bret with Heroic Killing Blow on a Pegasus, the Dreadlord with the Pendant of Khaleth or the Chaos Character on a Disk.
Personally I think that while they can be very useful they are not without potential pitfalls. The most obvious of these is that you choose the wrong target for his charge. For me the most profitable targets are small units of skirmishers, lone characters, warmachines and possibly monsters – basically anything that lacks ranks.

On this basis I prefer Hero level rather than Lord level characters in the role?

Why? Well a number of reasons.

Firstly, a Lord level character is likely to be your Army General and you run a greater risk of him getting killed or at best being drawn away from where his Leadership bubble is most needed.

Secondly, the whole strategy is surrounded by an assumption that you will lose combat (otherwise why the need for the Stubborn crown) and are going to be testing Leadership at some stage.

If you test often enough you will eventually fail the Stubborn test and therefore I believe it is good practice to minimise this risk. For me this means picking your fights rather than chucking the character into any unit. I advocate “clubbing baby seals” (i.e. being a bully by picking unfair fights) and therefore only having to rely on the Stubborn crutch if something untoward happens. Personally I’d avoid engaging units with high static Combat Resolution unless it was absolutely unavoidable.

Stubborn “9” means a 1/6 chance of failing – reduced to 1/36 if the BSB is always there. Now a canny opponent will lure you away from or look to assassinate your BSB. If he’s very clever he’ll look to wait until you are looked in combat before doing it. Suddenly that Stubborn “9” doesn’t look so good.

Far better to my mind to get in and out of combats where you don’t start at a major disadvantage, killing the vulnerable and moving on. The Stubborn trait is your backstop not a weapon.

As always after your thoughts.


  1. The Stubborn solo character is something that I have flirted with in the past, but as an Empire player I just keep seeing better things to do with the points. Need to hold something up? I have 3 unbreakable units to do that with. Need some reach to kill stuff back field? I have cannons for that and a flying character that doesnt need stubborn to kill archers etc.

    I think the best army for this is the Dark Elf pendant/Stubborn character because he can have the 1+ as + the crazy ward and stubborn. However, s3 waywatcher KB is his counter (hmmm I seem to have 12 of those shots/turn sitting in my army...). There is still the question of whether it is needed/does it actually add anything other than a gimmick that is annoying?

    I'm not yet convinced it is a game winning strategy....but then again I dont play against death star lists, so maybe that is why I dont see the need.

    Also everything the stubborn character does (ie hold up the scary unit), cheap chaff does just as well, if not better due to points efficiency.

  2. I've used a stubborn character, although he primarily stayed in the unit he was put in list to make stubborn. The variation, is high ld character, without the crown but a very good save and/or ward, whose happy to lose combats by 1 or 2. Not there to really annoy 3 ranks + std units, but if on mount and unstompable, can hold up a monster for a very long time. The changes to fear/terror rules, make this much easier for most lists than in 7th Ed, as character is auto-broken if they lose a combat againist a fear/terror causer anymore.