A Song Of Ice and Fire: Golden Company Elephants Expansion

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RRP £41.99
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Soldiers train for just about any contingent out on the battlefield. However, few have any real strategy for when they see a massive war elephant bearing down on their battle line. With the Golden Company’s deep resources, they can field these massive beasts, selling their services to anyone willing to pay their price.
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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-CMNSIF518 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Finally, Elephants!
  • Usable in all forces
  • Big high-power unit
  • You get two

Might Not Like

  • Tricky to get max benefit from strategically
  • Limited force composition
  • Expensive point buy
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Description

Soldiers train for just about any contingent out on the battlefield. However, few have any real strategy for when they see a massive war elephant bearing down on their battle line. With the Golden Company's deep resources, they can field these massive beasts, selling their services to anyone willing to pay their price.

Much akin to Hannibal and Pyrrhus you may also now field elephants in your army (mammoths not withstanding). The only requirement being that you also take another unit of Golden Company (either swordsmen or crossbowmen at present) as well as a hefty allocation of 7 points. But what you get in exchange is one very large and angry slab of muscle and tusks. Or more accurately a hammer to use against the anvil of your frontline. Golden Company Elephants

A Brief Treatise On The Effective Use Of Elephants

In the same vein as used historically by the Macedonians and Carthaginians the best use of Elephants is as a heavy shock unit on the flanks. Pin with a unit capable of soaking damage and then hit them in the side with the elephant for an almost certain unit wipe on anything but the most elite foe. They pair exceptionally well with Baratheons who are able to almost indefinitely pin enemies with their tanky units as well as benefitting greatly from any additional movement or charge bonuses they can be afforded.

The other main and perhaps underutilized aspect of taking elephants is the field presence they bring. They are a useful psychological tool and this is also somewhat present in the tabletop as most opponents will focus a lot of attention on your elephants due to them being bigger and more impressive that the rank-and-file troops around them. I am sure there are some creative ways you can use this to your advantage but on a surface level it lets you take attention away from other high value troops. Although you will probably not be able to field many given the point cost if you also want to keep to a competitive number of activations per turn.

It also allows for some truly unusual army compositions. Such as a Wooly Mammoth, giant and Elephant force or even a dragon and elephant combination. It is really great to see the larger and more unusual units making their way into the Asoiaf miniatures game.

From a mechanical point of view, they have some rules fairly expected of a monster class unit. Each elephant has 8 wounds, a decent attack and armour value but lacking in attack die without making full use of the Stomp ability which awards extra attack die for each of the defenders remaining ranks. This makes them most effective against full enemy units but also means they can easily get bogged down if they fail to eliminate an enemy unit quickly and are definitely not a unit that can be left to solo an enemy regiment. They do however completely ignore enemy defence rolls and come with vicious.

The final rule to note is one that further restrains them. They must be kept within long range of a golden company infantry unit or they risk not being able to activate at all. This does take make them a little predictable in terms of deployment however and if you intend to combine them with another unit for a pin and flank maneuver then you are tying another unit down to a rigid position. To add another downside, being monsters they cannot control objectives which makes them tactically useless in some circumstances. It is a lot of restrictions for a 7-point unit.

The Components

As expected in Golden Company Elephants, you receive the supporting cards in the form of two-unit cards. One for each elephant. These are of good quality but are often obsolete due to the patching and updating done via the War Council app that keeps the game competitive. But the main draw of the box is the two models themselves. You get two large elephants that come equipped with barding and some armour. The models are nicely sculpted and they are suitably imposing on the field. Although one criticism is that both elephants are facing the same way which was a somewhat odd choice and looks a bit uncanny when they are put next to each other. But this is a fairly minor complaint.

Downsides

The main downside is the restrictions that taking even one elephant puts on your army due to having to take standard golden company unit as well and at present they are not particularly competitive in terms of cost effectiveness. There are a few cases where they excel such as adding a soaking high defence unit to factions that do not have many options such as Greyjoys or Free Folk but most armies have a cheaper and as effective unit to fill that slot.

You are also looking at about 14 points purely invested in one elephant which is a lot of your force composition tied down in two units. It also means if you want to make full use of both models then you have practically spent your entire points cost on them and the supporting required units. It is a rigid structure and although I like it from a thematic standpoint from a practical view it makes them a lot less versatile and usable. They are also particularly vulnerable to siege weapons which thankfully are only available to the Nights Watch faction at present. The ballista in particular being designed for taking down monstrous units.

Final Thoughts

The elephants are a great unit but they are marred by a high point cost and restrictive force building. They are also tricky to use to maximum effect at the current state of the game. In saying that however the models themselves are great and will make a great centrepiece to an army as well as offering a fun painting challenge. They also have large bases which allow for some unique and creative basing ideas. I am also very keen to see what some of the more experimental artists are able to do with them.

As a unit however they are not massively usable in competitive games at present but it is almost guaranteed that they will receive a buff in a later update as CMON have been on point for keeping all units in the relevant meta and rebalancing underwhelming units. Despite being an expensive pick, they are however great fun to use and it is definitely fun to trample enemy units with an elephant and pulling off some sickening combos with your faction cards/commander abilities.

That concludes our thoughts on Golden Company Elephants. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Golden Company Elephants today click here!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Finally, Elephants!
  • Usable in all forces
  • Big high-power unit
  • You get two

Might not like

  • Tricky to get max benefit from strategically
  • Limited force composition
  • Expensive point buy