FROSTHAVEN CLASS SPOTLGHT: BANNER SPEAR

January 31, 2024

FROSTHAVEN CLASS SPOTLGHT: BANNER SPEAR

Today will be our last Frosthaven starter class spotlight, starring the Human Banner Spear. Banner Spears were warrior representatives of the Merchant’s Guild in Frosthaven. As the Merchant’s Guild abandoned the northern settlement, Banner Spears were forced to find new allies to make it in this unforgiving environment.

Is playing a Banner Spear in Frosthaven for you?

Understanding both the complexity and playstyle of your Banner Spear will depend heavily on your playgroup. To understand why, we must first take a look at the Banner Spear’s unique class mechanic.



 

The Banner Spear has a number of area attack abilities which require an ally to occupy a specific position relative to you, indicated by a blue hex. These abilities can be very powerful but do require some degree of communication and coordination with your allies. Frosthaven has rules regarding permitted communication, but you are absolutely allowed to tell your allies precisely where you’ll be going and where you’d need them to be. 


If that sort of communication is something that could be commonplace in your group, then your Banner Spear can be built to be a strong frontline fighter, capable of taking some hits while dealing out damage and conditions to groups of enemies at a time. Of course, if your friends prefer to plan their turns independently, in that case you may be better served playing a Banner-focused Banner Spear who makes more ranged attacks mixed with the occasional heal.


Accordingly, we’ll take a look at the two builds separately.

Setting up your first melee Banner Spear


Your starting hand:


 


 

Some key cards:

 


When playing a melee Banner Spear, the Reinforcements summon is essential. While your human allies may occasionally have plans that conflict with yours, this ally will never let you down. Try to summon it as early as possible. And remember that death is just a temporary setback for this repeatable summon.

 

 

 

 Combined Effort top is a very easy attack ability to use, but it’s even more useful for its bottom action. Moving both yourself and an ally in a single action can help ensure a reliable setup for another more challenging (and rewarding!) area effect attack ability.


Some other general tips for this build: 


  1. You can always mirror, rotate, and flip your area effect attack ability targeting.
  2. Just because something can hit three enemies, doesn’t mean it always will. For example, with the top of Unbreakable Wall, two targets is very good. The same with just one target for Meat Grinder (level 2).
  3. Pincer Movement has a very difficult top action to use, but its bottom can be invaluable for building up Frosthaven.

What are you looking for on level-up in this build?

The most important cards will be those that make it even easier to move yourself and an ally at the same time, like Boldening Blow’s bottom action (level 4). Otherwise, any stronger area effect attack abilities.

 


Items


Starting items:

Winged Shoes are priceless for you: you have no abilities with Jump, and being able to Jump around enemies can make it easier to set up your abilities. The remainder of your starting gold can be spent on a Heater Shield for added survivability.


Crafting early items:

Try to get the perk to ignore item effects as quickly as possible, then pick up some defensive armor like Crude Hide Armor. 


For potions: even as a frontline fighter, you still do a bit of everything, so you can use most potions your party crafts. Defensive or healing potions will allow you to move into aggressive positions for your abilities a bit more safely.

Setting up your first Banner-focused Banner Spear


Your starting hand:


 

 


 

Some key cards:

 

 

 

 

The Banner of Strength provides an incredibly powerful effect for your party, increasing every ally’s damage each round. Try to summon it in a safe position on round 1 of the scenario and then bring it with you afterwards, using your abilities which grant movement to drag it along. In single-room scenarios, you can consider summoning a second Banner as well, but in any multi-room scenario, it’s best to stick to just one.



As you can spend many rounds just performing ranged attacks or healing, you can afford the larger granted movement of Regroup’s bottom action, which will let you further advance the Banner of Strength (in addition to Combined Effort’s excellent bottom action).


Some other general tips for this build: 


  1. While your ranged attacks are not very flashy on their own, with the Banner of Strength active, they can reach some pretty impressive numbers relative to their ease of use. 
  2. Incendiary Throw is typically risky because flipping a -1 attack modifier will lose you the added Wound, but against enemies without Shield, you can play this top action with the Banner placed down to increase the base Attack to 2, greatly reducing its risk of failure.
  3. As you spend much less time on the front lines, the top of At All Costs can be very effective, allowing you to spend your plentiful hit points to keep your allies alive. 

What are you looking for on level-up in this build?

Anything that lets you move your Banner more easily will be great to pick up (look at grabbing the long rest perk as soon as possible), as well as good ranged attacks and support actions that you can easily play while not moving.

 

 

Items


Starting items:

I would spend my starting gold on a Warden’s Robe if you’re sure you’re going to focus on this build. As your Banner needs to be in the center of the room to be most effective, it is sometimes at risk of taking a stray attack, and losing it is a tragedy.


Crafting early items:


A Spyglass adds some welcome reliability to a key attack and is especially helpful for guaranteeing Incendiary Throw’s Wound.


A Crude Bow can give you added flexibility when you can’t afford to move. And Crude Boots will help to make the few turns where you do move more efficient.


For potions: You have a pretty limited selection of potions that are useful for you, mostly those that are offensive or allow for recovery of items or cards, so try to remind your allies how much they love your Banner when you see a potion you’d like.





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