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Community Blog: The Ice Maiden - Certainly Not a Damsel in Distress!

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The Ice Maiden is the latest addition to the Imperium, coming out for pre-order in August. The release of this model seeks to expand the range of flagships available to Imperium players and is the first dreadnought in the game. 

I’m going to aim to keep this piece limited to how the model works, with a brief review of key stats and some things to think about if you want to incorporate the Ice Maiden into your fleet, with my own personal tabletop experience thrown in.

Before we start though, I do have to just point out that the model itself just screams centrepiece (not just for a model collection but also a good place to put her into deployment, right in the middle!). She is an absolute beauty, and coming in at at least 12”, the model is a fantastic piece for anyone looking to get their painting teeth sunk into a bigger project.

Ice Maiden with Islands and Archipelagos

Let’s look first at the Maiden in the 1.04 revision of the Imperium ORBAT. When building a list in Dystopian Wars, it is important not only to know what ships you want to take but where they will fit in the Battlefleets available for your respective faction.

For the Imperium Admirals wanting to take the Ice Maiden, players are limited (at the moment) to taking either the Ice Maiden Battlefleet or an Imperium Faction Battlefleet. I’ve built and played both options and I would say the Ice Maiden Fleet is the better choice - two command rolls are really helpful. And in larger games, adding a battleship gets you a further command roll; bringing the total to three. 

There are three entries in the ORBAT that have the Ice Maiden ship class trait. Two of these are named ships and thus can only be included once (although the point cost probably rules out taking more than one anyway). The named Ice Maiden variant builds are the SMS Eiskalte Schoenheit (which in my opinion wins in the name competition) and the SMS Prinzessin Wilhelmina. 

All three share the same stat-line with two notable exceptions, the Prinzessin Wilhelmina has one more ADV due to her being outfitted with the Freya Array. This change has already been added to the stat line in her profile, so if you are taking her: there is nothing you need to remember. The other is an extra Hull Point on both the Prinzessin Wilhelmina and the Eiskalte Schoenheit. 

Ice Maiden Dreadnought Super-carrier

Points wise; as with anything classed as a Dreadnought, you are going to expect a price tag that reflects the size of the model. These ships are not cheap, but for your money, you get a great combination of carrier/battleship/and assault barge (my thoughts on the last one later). 

Without any upgrades, the “basic” Ice Maiden unit comes in at 500 pts. At first glance, this will probably unnerve a few people, but considering a Templehof Carrier is 240 and a Kaiser is 280, when you start to compare the stats and special rules of the Ice Maiden against other models, you will see that 500 is a reason to take the Ice Maiden. For one it has the same carry capacity as the Fleet carrier (eight aircraft per turn) and can launch more special SRS a turn (four in total). It also brings more firepower than the Templehof Carrier and the Kaiser combined. The named Ice Maiden models are more expensive (at 530 for the Eiskalte Schoenheit and 600 for the Prinzessin Wilhelmina but this is offset with more firepower and (for me in respect of the Prinzessin Wilhelmina) a completely different role while also keeping the airpower complement.

I would say that you are not going to take an Ice Maiden unit in a game of fewer than 1000 pts. At 1500 you are going to be essentially getting a cruiser squadron for free if you take an Ice Maiden unit.

Now let’s go through the stat line:

The first thing to note (and I think this is actually the most important) is the ship’s Mass: this comes in at an island-smashing 5. Why is this important? Drift! It means that with the size of the ship, coupled with its’ (at first glance) less than impressive speed of 3, the ship can actually move quite a bit faster than you would think. A total move of 8 inches is only one less than the Kaiser, and it has the same turn stat of 3. 

Ice Maiden Dystopian Wars

When I used this model on the tabletop, this turn of speed definitely caught my opponent by surprise. The distribution of movement between drift and active speed does mean that you need to carefully plan your movement and positioning at the start of each activation. However, knowing where it is and where you want it to be before you do anything else is the key to using such a large ship. 

An armour stat of 6 puts it on the low end of Flagship armour and with a Citadel of 10, watch out for those exploding hits! On the tabletop, I found concentrated torpedo attacks were incredibly effective against my Ice Maiden unit, mainly due to its low SDV and the absence of generators.

This is offset by its’ high-end Hull Points, rocking a 12 at Battle Ready (the equivalent of 2 Battleships ) and a further 10 (that’s the same as 2 Hochmeisters) when crippled. This unit takes a lot of effort to hurt and sink. The two named Ice Maiden units are even more of a handful, with 13 Hull Points each (they share the same Hull as the basic Ice Maiden at Crippled).

All three models pack a punch, with four Flak guns, three-volt gun batteries, and a variety of main armament options depending on which model you take. This is good if you can shoot first, but the unfortunate downside to having a large model with a lot of firepower is that your opponent then tends to spend the rest of their game (or turn if they roll well) trying to wipe the model off the table. 

As it was on the tabletop, the Ice Maiden did significant damage to my opponent’s heavy hitter unit early on in round one, but then didn’t survive past the start of round two, finding itself crippled and in the highest level of disorder by the end of my first turn.

While this might sound like a disadvantage, it did mean that I was able to move most of the rest of my army freely, as my opponent spent almost all of their available firepower trying to remove the biggest model on the board.

Cleverly played and well placed, the Ice Maiden can either be a heavy-hitting dreadnought, or a fantastic distraction. I used the Prinzessin Wilhelmina, and in hindsight, I think the Eiskalte Schoenheit might be a better option in many cases because it can hang back and use its’ long-range firepower (more on this later).

Now let’s break down the ships one by one to see what roles they have and how they fit overall in a game.

Ice Maiden:

The basic unit comes in at 500 pts to start. It is armed with 4 Flak Vierlings, 3 Sturmbringer (in a fixed forward arc) and 3 Volt Gun Batteries. It is the only Ice Maiden unit that can buy upgrades - for 4pts each it can upgrade its Volt Gun Batteries to Sturmklaues. This might be tempting, especially since the profile for the Sturnklaue got an update in the new ORBAT. But be advised, they can not link with the Sturmbringer as it has the Sustained quality rule. 

With the new ORBAT the Sturmbringer has more Attack Dice in the closing range band than before. This, along with the Flak Vierlings means you get a lot of attack dice, most re-rolling due to the prolific amount of sustained weapons. Think of it as 3 Vulsung Cruisers strapped together (with more Hull Points) and you can see the potential for pain that this unit can bring.

SMS Eiskalte Schoenheit:

The first named Ice Maiden, SMS Eiskalte Schoenheit (which literally translates as “Ice Maiden”) comes in at 555 points. It comes with 4 flak guns, 3 bombards, and 3 volt gun batteries. Differently from the other two builds, this unit has the temperamental design rule, as this was the prototype for the other ships. This means it’s harder to repair than other models. It has however been given a boost in the new ORBAT with the spotter rule, giving its bombards the rule that helps them sustain quality. 

This version of the ship takes advantage of the lumbering rule which means it can go into full reverse, without receiving a level of disorder! This is where the main strength of this build lies - with three heavy bombards it can stay within extreme range for the whole game if needed. 

I personally think this is the ship with the best guns to points ratio, and what people will probably look to take in most games due to its survivability and formidable weaponry even at a distance. It does not need to get close - the main disadvantage of the basic Ice Maiden unit above.

SMS Prinzessin Wilhelmina:

At 600 points this is the most expensive of the Ice Maiden units. It has the same basic gunnery as the other two but exchanges its heavy weaponry for six heavy volt gun batteries (yes, six). It also has the elite crew and the Freya array as extras. 

This, in my opinion, turns this unit into a slow but very powerful assault barge. It already has a base fray value of 11, but add nine guns with the volt trait and you can boost the fray stat to a whopping 20 when battle-ready. Coupled with the elite quality of crew, it can get where it needs to go and finish off multiple ships with concentrated assaults. 

A special mention has to be made of the unit’s six-volt gun batteries, which is equivalent to a full squadron of Blucher cruisers. In the ORBAT, these have been greatly improved at point-blank range, which as we have already seen is where you want to be with this ship. However at 600 points plus, you do need to write a list around it more than the other two ships. 

Even though I said the Eiskalte Schoenheit is where the best balance of points and firepower is, I personally will be making mine the Prinzessin Wilhelmina. It suits my play style and theme for the army, being a hard-charging line breaker army. 600 points might be a lot, but it does free up the need for a Blucher Cruiser Squadron. 

Ice Maiden the Imperium

With all the ships listed above, one thing always sticks out: the size on the battlefield. While being impressive and just lovely looking, as well as putting the fear of God into the opponent, it is a massive target. With low-end ADV and very low SDV, as we have said before, it suffers from torpedo attacks. Additionally, the points listed above are a base value, not what you will end up spending, as you will need to factor in escorts. I personally take corvettes as this helps with the fray status as well.

In conclusion, the Ice Maiden is a fantastic addition to any Imperium list - it is hard-hitting, surprisingly fast and (most importantly) it looks great. However, it is not a game-breaker, and can’t be thrown in as a sledgehammer unit in an existing list. The Ice Maiden works best when the rest of your army is designed around having an Ice Maiden flagship and requires some finesse, and a lot of planning to get the best out of it.

Be patient, know your mission, and you will be rewarded.

Excited about Warcradle Studios August new releases? Make sure to pre-order at your FLGS stores or Wayland Games online. Get ready to deploy the Ice Maiden this August! 

Head on over to The Sturginium Lounge, the Official social channel for Dystopian Wars.

Make sure to keep up to date with Warcradle Studios’ socials, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for new releases and spoiler alerts. 

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