D&D Monster Monday: Fire Elemental Myrmidon

A hulking creature stands before you, illuminating a terrifying red-orange light. With a flash, its enormous scimitar ignites and you feel a scorching pain as the fire elemental myrmidon cleaves you thrice with its flaming blade. Perhaps you shouldn’t have investigated the wizard’s basement today.

There are some really fun and flavorful creatures in the Monster Manual that are geared towards early-game play. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s difficult to utilize these creatures as the party grows more and more powerful throughout their adventures.

However, Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes have unleashed upgraded versions of these types of creatures such as the flind for gnolls or any of the four elemental myrmidons for all four of the elementals from the Monster Manual.

The subject of today’s article is going to be the fire elemental myrmidon which is a well-armored whirring dervish of scimitar attacks while still maintaining the flavor and mechanical benefits of being a fire elemental. All of the myrmidons are at CR 7 so you can use them confidently against a mid-high level party.

With that said and done, let’s dive into the pages of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes to take a look at one of the four elemental myrmidons!

fire elemental myrmidon artwork
Why use a shield when you can dual wield? (Many reasons actually but nevermind that!) Credit: WotC.

Fire Elemental Myrmidon Lore

Between this and the gray ooze last week I’m 0-2 for creatures with a lot of specific lore.

An elemental myrmidon is essentially just an elemental that’s been conjured from their respective plane of existence and the bound to a suit of armor by a powerful magic-user. These elementals exist solely as servants for their creators, similar to a golem or a construct in a sense.

Interestingly enough, the armor is specified to be created as part of a ritual. While the lore doesn’t confirm this out-right we can use context clues to understand that the armor seems to be what binds the elemental to the service of the armor’s creator.

This ritual also erases the elemental’s memory. They have no knowledge of their freedom or life before this servitude. This is a shitty existence for an elemental to be randomly thrown into. It’s yet another classic example of magic-users being complete jerks.

Fire Elemental Myrmidon Stats and Abilities

You can find the fire elemental myrmidon’s statblock on page 203 of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

Stats

Size: Medium elemental
AC: 18 (plate)
HP: 123 (19d8 + 38)
STR: 13 (+1)
DEX: 18 (+4)
CON: 15 (+2)
INT: 9 (-1)
WIS: 10 (+0)
CHA: 10 (+0)

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been able to say this before in a Monster Monday, but for once a creature’s HP and AC is the most impressive part of this portion of their statblock. 18 AC is extremely high for creatures in 5e and a health pool of 123 is a large amount of life to bolster their defenses behind their high AC.

The fire elemental myrmidon’s ability scores are as a whole mediocre at best. Their Dexterity is their damage-dealing ability score and is a +4 which is nice, but besides that, they have just a single +2 in Constitution and everything else is between +1 and -1. It’s not great for a CR 7 creature.

They do have positive modifiers in two of the three most common saving throw abilities which is important, but it’s still only a +2 to Constitution which isn’t fantastic. Thankfully the fire elemental myrmidon does have quite a few condition immunities to help prevent being crowd controlled.

Resistances, Immunities, Saves, and Skills

Damage Resistances: bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities: fire, poison
Condition Immunities: paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages: Ignan, one language of its creator’s choice
CR: 7 (2,900 XP)

So on top of a respectable health pool and exceptional AC, the fire elemental myrmidon has resistance to damage from nonmagical weapons and immunity to two of the most common damage types in the game. These myrmidons, in particular, have very healthy defenses on paper.

While saving throws (outside of Dexterity and maybe Consitution of the DC isn’t high) can still be an issue for the fire elemental myrmidon, they have immunity to four common conditions, most of which can give a creature a serious disadvantage in combat if they’re inflicted with it.

The fire elemental myrmidon’s trait, Illumination, when combined with their 60 ft. of darkvision, will allow a fire elemental myrmidon to see clearly in even the darkest of caves, dungeons, and caverns.

CR 7 is a fair label for their statblock, though that’s mostly due to their nearly impenetrable defenses!

Abilities and Traits

Illumination. The myrmidon sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light in a 40-foot radius.

Magic Weapons. The myrmidon’s weapon attacks are magical.

Water Suceptibility. For every 5 feet the myrmidon moves in 1 foot or more of water, it takes 2 (1d4) cold damage.

Illumination is a double-edged sword. While it can give the myrmidon the ability to see in even the darkest of locations, it does the same for their allies. Ultimately though, this is still a highly beneficial trait for the myrmidon. After all, the party can find ways to see regardless of the trait, the myrmidon probably wouldn’t.

Magic Weapons is a solid quality of life trait for the fire elemental myrmidon. It’s not common for player characters to have resistance to nonmagical weapon attacks as opposed to just slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage outright, but in the case that they do, this will bypass those nonmagical resistances.

Water Susceptibility is a trait that adds a bit more flavor to the myrmidon, but a cunning party could use it to their advantage if they can create vast quantities of water in the fire elemental’s environment, forcing them to take a potentially disastrous amount of cold damage.

Actions

Multiattack. The myrmidon makes three scimitar attacks.

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft. one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.

Fiery Strikes (Recharge 6). The myrmidon uses Multiattack. Each attack that hits an extra 5 (1d10) fire damage

Scimitar is not a particularly strong attack, especially for a CR 7 creature. It deals an average of 7 magical slashing damage. On a more positive take though, we can at least say that the myrmidon has a solid chance of landing these attacks thanks to its +7 to hit.

Firey Strikes is a rechargeable action that once used, will recharge on a 1d6 roll with a result of 6 at the top of a future turn. This action allows the myrmidon to both, use their Multiattack and enhance each attack within that Multiattack, culminating to be an average of 15 fire damage if all three attacks hit.

This creature’s Multiattack has an above-average action economy value included in it. Most creatures tend to have two attacks in their Multiattack, but the fire elemental myrmidon has a total of three! With Fiery Strikes, their Multiattack deals 36 average magical slashing and fire damage. However, without Fiery Strikes, their Multiattack damage plummets to 21 magical slashing damage.

Fire Elemental Myrmidon Strengths

Exceptional Survivability

The fire elemental myrmidon is an absolute tank. They are difficult to hit thanks to their 18 AC, but they also have a boatload of HP behind that hefty wall of armor. You’re not going to burst one down in a single round.

Not only that, but they also have a few damage resistances and immunities, all of which are extremely common damage types. Spellcasters will have to pick their spells wisely if they wish to deal damage to them and martial characters will need to have magical weaponry to make much of an impact.

A +2 to Constitution is above-average. It’s not spectacular, but it’s certainly decent. Between this and their +4 to Dexterity, fire elemental myrmidons have a numerical advantage on succeeding saving throws against over 50% of the spells in the game.

The fire elemental myrmidon’s ability to survive massive amounts of damage and crowd control is by far the best part of their statblock.

fire elemental artwork from the monster manual
Fire elementals look goofy without their myrmidon armor. There, I said it. Credit: WotC.

Respectable Movement and Positioning Capabilities

I hadn’t touched on this aspect of the creature’s statblock yet, but their movement is exceptional. They get 40 ft. of speed which is an extra 10 ft. of speed compared to an average medium-size adventurer. This means that at their core they can outpace any character that is attempting to kite them or retreat from them.

But what good is a lot of movement speed if the enemy spellcaster can just crowd control you into oblivion?

Thankfully, the fire elemental myrmidon has an answer to this problem as well. They have immunity to four different conditions; two of which can completely disrupt a creature’s turns (paralyzed and petrified). They can’t be knocked prone either which means that it’s going to be difficult to slow down one of these creatures.

Well, they can still be grappled, but and restrained, but they have the bulk of it.

It’s an enormous boon for a melee-only creature to have solid movement speed, excellent survivability, and the ability to shrug off many movement-impairing conditions.

Fire Elemental Myrmidon Weaknesses

Abysmal Damage When Fiery Strikes Isn’t Available

The average damage of the fire elemental myrmidon’s Multiattack is a whopping 21 between three attacks. This is awful for a CR 7 creature. However, if they empower these attacks with Fiery Strikes they’ll boost that average damage to 36 between three attacks.

Honestly, even with Fiery Strikes, this damage is below-average for a CR 7 creature for sure, so it doesn’t help that it has a recharge of 6 so it only has a 16.67% chance of recharging on any given turn.

It doesn’t help that these are melee-only creatures so it’s not like they have options to duck behind cover and slowly chip away at the party’s health pool from a safe distance.

Their defenses can certainly aid the elementals in dealing some decent damage, but it’s not super likely that they’ll do much more than force the party to use some healing spells, potions, or take a short rest after an encounter is banking on myrmidons being the damage-dealers.

Susceptible to Magic-Users

This weakness does come with a caveat. If the spellcasters in the party primarily use or know spells that deal fire and poison damage, these creatures will be an absolute menace to those poor magic users. However, in my experience, it’s rare to see a spell caster never learn or prepare spells with multiple types of damage.

These creatures are melee-only. It’s going to take them time to either breakthrough or bypass the party’s frontline so the wizards, clerics, sorcerers, and other caster-types will have plenty of time to drop some crowd control or hefty damage on top of these myrmidons.

If the spells that require a wisdom, charisma, or intelligence check can devastate a fire elemental myrmidon. If it’s a crowd control that the myrmidon isn’t immune to it could certainly lock them up for the better part of the encounter as well.

Magic users that are unaffected by the myrmidon’s damage and condition immunities will shred these creatures like you wouldn’t believe.

How to Play a Fire Elemental Myrmidon

Burst Early and Pray for More Fiery Strikes

Some rechargeable actions are meant to be held onto until you can deal an optimal amount of damage. For example, a dragon’s breath weapon attack should be held until the dragon can ensure it will hit enough creatures for it to be worthwhile.

The fire elemental myrmidon’s Fiery Strikes, however, is not like these types of actions. The damage difference between using it and not using it is substantial. It boosts their average damage per turn from 21 to 36, so it’s over a 50% increase in damage output.

I would use Fiery Strikes on turn 1 unless you need to use your first turn to get into position. My reasoning for this comes in two parts, the first of which is to deal the most damage you possibly can while the elementals are on the board. The second reason is that you can immediately begin rolling for a recharge on turn 2.

You have a 16.67% on any given turn to recharge the creature’s Fiery Strikes. The more turns you have, the more chances you have to hit the jackpot and have Fiery Strikes up again.

So basically, drop the hammer and then pray to the gods of RNG that you’ll hit that 6 on a recharge roll to use Fiery Strikes again in this encounter.

earth elemental myrmidon artwork
Each elemental has a myrmidon version in Mordenkainen’s. The earth elemental’s is by far the silliest looking. Credit: Wotc.

Rush in and Disrupt the Enemy Lines!

A fire elemental myrmidon is not a small, dainty creature. They have exceptional survivability and above-average movement speed making them gifted disruptor-type creatures. This is a fancy way of say that they can run into the party’s backline and just wreak havoc upon everyone while the party’s frontline tries desperately to prevent this from happening.

This is one scenario where I would say holding the creature’s Fiery Strikes is a beneficial tactic. If you can Fiery Strikes a couple of casters with 14 AC that’s way better than wishing for the best against the heavily armored tanks with 18+ AC.

I mean, any melee creature would prefer to use this tactic, but the elemental myrmidons all have enough HP and AC to make it happen effectively. Use that 18 AC and 123 HP to your advantage!

5 Fire Elemental Myrmidon Plot Hooks

  1. Conjuring an Army – Unbeknownst to governent officials, an archmage has gone rogue and began conjuring an army of elementals for months.
  2. Tortured Elementals – Release this group of elementals from the material plane. They have bound here for too long, working for self-serving mages.
  3. Disappearing Hikers – The volcano 3 miles outside of town is a popular location to hike to. However, lately those who hike out to this destination seldom return. The corpses of the fallen are heavily burnt and full of deep gashes.
  4. Guardians of the Plane of Fire – It’s said that deep within the base of the mountain that there is a portal to the Elemental Plan of Fire. The tricky part however, is slipping past the ever-watching elemental guards that watch vigilently over it.
  5. Druidic Controversy – Powerful druids have always been able to temporarily change their form into an elemental. However, a pack of druids have recently been wearing metal armor while in these forms. Many debates between druidic tribes have spurned from this happening. Can you settle this peacefully before these traditions spurn a more violent confrontation?

Conclusions

The fire elemental myrmidon is another creature with fantastic defenses, but mediocre damage. However, they have enough AC and HP to still be a bit of a threat simply by staying alive. They are difficult to lockdown and will require the party to waste a ton of resources to deal with them.

When Firey Strikes is available, the fire elemental myrmidon has a bit more bite to its offenses. I think it could’ve gotten away with a recharge of 5-6 instead of 6, but regardless, it’s nice that this feature procs off of all three attacks in the creature’s Multiattack.

The myrmidons, in general, do their job well they are at their core, an upgraded version of the basic elementals from the Monster Manual. This has been a trend for many different Monster Manual creatures in later books like Volo’s and Mordenkainen’s and I hope this trend continues to give us upgraded versions of other creatures.

They’re flavorful and they will nickel and dime the party into giving up their resources. The fire elemental myrmidon is an excellent creature to use to soften up the party before they confront the big boss of a dungeon!

Previous Monster Monday – Gray Ooze

Next Monster Monday – TBD

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4 Comments

  1. Loving these Monster Mondays. You give great insight on these creatures and ideas how to play them. I’d love if you covered some monsters from 3rd party books like the Creature Codex from Kobold Press, especially the Jinmenju (a sentient tree bearing fruit with laughing faces). It’s lore is so fantastically creepy and I’d love to hear your take on them.

    • Thank you! I have a blast writing these so it’s always awesome to hear that they’ve been helpful!

      I appreciate the feedback. I’ve done a couple in the past from third party books/supplements, but I can definitely look into adding some more into the mix!

  2. It’d be interesting to see if these tips and tactics work with the other myrmidons, or just how much you’d need to adapt to the different elements.

    • That’s a good question! The water elemental myrmidon is very similar to this one as it’s recharge action works in conjunction with its Multiattack. However it does have the option to make thrown weapon attacks with its trident.

      The air and earth myrmidons are slightly different than those two. Their rechargeable action is just a single powerful attack so you’d probably want to hold that for a more opportune moment. I believe they have a crowd control effect ingrained in this action too.

      I’d say that their playstyles are similar overall, but each one definitely has a unique element (haha) to it that can give you some variety to challenge the party with.

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