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I am determined to find a use for this guy.
In all fairness, versus the cost of most other armies standard bearers, I think the Icon Bearer is justified in his cost for his statline and what he can do. Unfortunately, nearly all Tomb King players shy away from the Icon Bearer for two main reasons: 1, He uses up a valuable hero slot that they'd rather fill with a Prince or a Priest to add magic/fighting or magic/utility to the army. And 2, All the magical banners that are useful in most applications are cheap enough that they can be put on a unit's banner bearer instead. But damnit, I wanna see my Icon Bearer hit the table, and actually have some meaningful impact on the game.
The combination I have cooked up so far is this:
15 Tomb Guard with full command and the War Banner*.
Joined by the Icon Bearer with the Icon of Rakaph* (+1 to hit in first round of combat)
Who is also joined by my Tomb King right before the unit is charged. The Tomb King has the Crook and Flail of Radiance and the Cloak of the Dunes.
This gives my King first strike against anything that charges, will hit on 2s against nearly all opponents and wound on 2s or 3s. This shouldn't leave much left to fight back against my RIF, thus giving my front line more attacks to come up with even more wounds since they'll hit at +1 also (3s in most cases). The Icon Bearer and War Banner make up combat resolution because of the small size of the unit. Combat will probably be determined by wounds (which with the King, I should win with).
* I'm not sure if this is how I want the banners configured. I might swap the two.
Anyway, has anyone else ever included the Icon Bearer in their list? Or is he just so shunned no one has ever used him?
The Icon of Rakaph is the one that allows a free reform, and the Icon of the Sacred Eye is the one that allows the +1 to hit.
I have steered away from the Icon bearer due to the reasons you have stated, but recently started testing him out as follows:
Armor of the Ages
Vambraces of the Sun
It has worked out actually quite well. His equipment actually gives him some very solid survivability and the extra combat resolution has been proving to be quite nice. Not to mention his ability has helped make my constructs stick around a bit longer.
To compensate for losing another character that can cast incantations, I have just made sure to have the Staff of Ravening, and the Banner of the Undying Legion. Has been doing quite well, and would recommend trying it before you disregard it.
It's Adventure Time!
2010 'Ardboyz Champion
at 3K i have a spare slot, so use an IB:
all in one unit:
King, GW, vambraces of sun, collar of shapesh, armour of ages
Icon bearer, icon of rakaph
23 tomb guard (5x5) full command and undying legion banner
Hard as nuts, justhave a nearby priest keep it at full strength.
I also thought maybe an icon bearer on steed with the undying legion banner, in a unit of 11 heavy horsemen?? havent had a chance to try it though...
I have never used an icon bearer for the reasons mentioned. I just cannot justify using a hero slot when a prince can be more killy and provide an incantation. I like my TK army to be magic heavy, and overwhelm opponents in the magic phase. Remember, controlling a phase is a big part of the game. If you are using an icon bearer, it is likely that you won't completely control the magic phase and in exchange all you get is a really expensive unit that is still fragile especially to flankers (as in the example with king and IB in the one unit) and a tiny bit more survivability to crumbling. If you are charging in the right places, that one crumble wound won't matter or won't happen because you win anyway.
Just my two cents, I'd be interested to see an IB that works well in an army though.
Also, for those wondering about the effectiveness of him, he was taken in a GT list in Germany who also used a unit of light horseman, and he won his heat.
It's Adventure Time!
2010 'Ardboyz Champion
Ya ive used him once or twice he is quit capable of holding his own. Plus the fact that the bonus just helps a lot of things on the field. I consider myself lucky but i've even killed 5 light horsemen with him alone. Just decided to kill a couple and save all wounds, they flee and i kill them. what crap rolls for my enemy and lucky rolls for me.
Actually in a Settra list, he would be quite useful...
Yes, I too wish there was more use for the Icon Bearer. But in games under 3000 points, I really don't see myself using him much because frankly, we need the magic more. But at 3000 points, I can see him being quite useful. He also might be more useful if we had some high point banners that were really, really bad...