Draco’s Guide to Playing the Frostlings
The Frostlings are one of the most versatile races in Age of Wonders and–if played smartly–can dominate on nearly any map, in any situation. This article will take a critical look at some of their units and examine game winning strategies. Drop me a line if you have any comments, corrections or strategies of your own to share. If you would like to submit a gameplay article to AOW Heaven, please send it in!
~ Angel Draco ~
Some have argued that the Frostlings are not a good beginner race, but I think that their wide variety of units makes them an excellent race for beginners for the player won’t be restricted to a few strategies. The Frostlings are an excellent race for the veteran player who understands the nuances of Age of Wonders and can exploit all of the advantages the Frostlings offer.
The single-greatest advantage of the Frostlings is their Neutrality. It is nearly impossible to win a game of AOW using the units of only a single race. Any veteran will tell you the key to wining is by effective use of “combined arms,” using the best units of several races to keep your opponent on their toes. The Frostlings are a neutral race, which means you can choose which end of the spectrum to ally yourself with (good or evil), depending on whichever favors you better strategically. Depending on the map you can increase your relations (for example) with the Orcs and Undead, or the Highmen and Dwarves. Your enemy will really be surprised when you arrive at his city’s gates with a stack of Yetis, Warlords and Demons.
One of the best advantages of the Frostlings is that they are the only race that employs every one of the mobility enhancing abilities (i.e., Forestry, Water Walking, and Mountaineering ability). With two swimming units, a forestry unit, a mountaineering unit and two of the best flying units in the game, the Frostlings do not need to be wary of unfriendly terrain. Lets take a closer look at some of their units:
Level 1 Units
Swordsman & Archer
Your average swordsman and archer, but each with the Cold Protection ability. The archer gains the Marksmanship I and II abilities at silver and gold medal.
No other race, besides the Lizardmen, has a level 1 swimming unit. You can capture water nodes, or place them in water spots within your opponent’s territory to spy on them and they can’t be touched except by flying units, which the enemy probably won’t have until Turn 15 or 20. The Penguin is also an excellent scout for reaching distant cities. You can buy those cities and set up a forward base, possibly even behind your enemy’s main territory so you can hit them from two sides. The Dire Penguin is also immune to the “seduce” ability.
Level 2 Units
Your average Level 2 cavalry, with the exception of having the Forestry ability. This make them perfect for chasing down stray Elven archers! Send them out in groups of 4 as strike teams.
The Frostling Shaman is far superior to the average cleric or priest-like unit. Frost bolts totally rock! The ability to freeze a 3rd or 4th level unit (even heroes) is essentially signing that unit’s death warrant. If you have the cash, I would build Shamans instead of archers as light defenders for a city, because they can also engage in melee with a magic strike attack. Healing+Magic Strike+Frost Bolts = one awesome unit! Shamans gain the Turn Undead II & III, and Dispel Magic II & III at the silver and gold levels.
Level 3 Units
Here is where the Frostlings really shine. Name another race where ALL of the Level 3 units rock. Lets just take a quick look at a few. Highmen Avengers aren’t very useful; Orc Doombats have a horrible movement rate; and the Elven Ranger is as fragile as glass! The diversity and strategic value of the Frostlings really comes into play when the Level 3 units enter the game.
At 95 gold, the Yeti is an awesome melee unit and walking battering ram with lots of bang-for-your-buck: it has great stats, Cold Strike ability (this is nearly as deadly as Entanglement Strike), Mountaineering, and Wall Crushing. Wall crushing, while not as good as the hurl bolder ability of Dwarven Giants, is still a great ability and means you don’t’ have to drag around a catapult or ram. Plus, the Yeti’s Cold Strike ability means that it can go toe-to-toe with the strongest melee units like Warlords and Titans.
If you’ve never built this unit, you don’t know what you’re missing. Flight, physical protection, great movement rate, and more immunities than you can shake a stick at makes the Nordic Glow one of the best Level 3 flying units in the game. This unit is perfect for spying, but it really shows its worth by “setting off” the enemy’s alters. With its immunities, it won’t be harmed and now you can march right on into the enemy’s territory. The Nordic Glow is immune to fire, cold and poison. It has magic strike so it can take out Wraiths, Incarnates and Air Elementals, and also has physical protection so it can really take a beating. Send them out in groups of two and you can easily capture lightly defended cities.
Again, if you’ve never used one, you don’t know what you’re missing. Lakes and rivers are no longer the safe border your enemy thought they were. March your forces all over you the map and catch your opponent off guard. Also, you can block enemy ships with ice. That irritates them off to NO END! She also has the Frost Bolt and Cold Strike ability, but don’t send her up against any tough units; let her stay in the back tossing Frost Bolts at the enemy. Queens also have the Path of Frost ability, which not only allows them to be concealed, but Frostling units gain a moral bonus when they’re on snow-covered ground. If you’re crossing a large body of water, it’s a good idea to bring a second frost queen along with you that lags behind the main group. If she happens to get killed in the fighting, you might find your units stranded!
Level 4 Unit
Any type of flying dragon unit with a breath weapon is dangerous, and the Frost Drake’s Cold Breath makes it even more deadly. Better, than a black dragon, though not as tough as a red, the Frost Drake is still dangerous. It has lots of HP, a lower defense than a red dragon, but a higher attack (7 compared to 5). Plus, its frost breath freezes enemies for 3 rounds, similar to the Cold Strike ability. Combine the Frost Drake with a few Nordic Glows for a quick strike team, or us it to back up an army of Yetis.
The Verdict? A race that can traverse water, land, mountains and air. A race that can beat down the gates of walled cities or simply fly over them. A race that can, essentially, dominate in any environment. Not to mention that it’s Neutrality gives it a lot of versatility in allying with other races. You can choose to buddy-up with either the good or evil races, depending on whichever favors you better strategically. Good luck!