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Gitfellas - A Warband Primer


“As Far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a Goblin”




Greetings and welcome back to No Gitz, No Glory! I had another article written, but it was a bit off topic, and a bit rambling- Here’s the TL:DR: 

 Sorcerous Scouring won’t be restricted ever, and only Cursebreakers should use it.

Feel free to drop me a line if you want to discuss this, but I feel pretty confident Scouring will stick around for a long time, though will only become a big deal if a warband is released with two or more fighters capable of making a spell attack.


The actual article for today is a bit of a deep dive into the members of the Gitz. What each fighter is good at, what they're not, and what upgrades you should and shouldn't put on them.

This article is primarily aimed at players who are just starting off with the Gitz, but more experienced players might find a few interesting bits. It's quite funny too.

Zarbag
What he’s good at:
Being the hero the Goblins deserved, but not the one they needed.

Zarbag’s natural habitat is sitting at the back, his natural behaviour is steepling his fingers and saying ‘excellent’, Monty Burns style.  Also like Monty Burns, he’s quite good at living for a long time.  Two dodge from the get-go, three wounds and being largely unobtrusive will do that to a fella. He can cast spells, if you want him to, but his lack of a spell attack means that’s mostly a sideline than an overall strategy to pursue. Sphere of Aqshy can be useful in an opportunistic manner, if you’ve got the ploy room. Seggut’s Salvo merits more testing before I can say anything conclusive about it. Zarbag is also a pretty handy, though frustratingly unreliable fighter. Three swords, two damage and cleave is a threat in the late game, where fighters will often have had a wound or two chipped off.
   
What he’s not good at:
Being the hero the Goblins needed, but certainly didn’t deserve. 

He’s not a warrior-king like Stormsire or Magore, nor is he an unkillable tank like Mollog or Stormsire, or potent offensive mage like… Stormsire. Essentially he’s just another goblin. Using him as a Leader ™ is likely to lead to disappointment, just use him as you would another goblin – sit on objectives, scurry, run through the odd lethal hex etc

What’s a good upgrade for him:
Tomes are good, if you can protect him, or a key.  Hero’s Mantle is an excellent idea, as are Slumbering Key/A Destiny to Meet. Spiritbond is quite good on Zarbag, as he’s probably the fighter best placed to use both the offensive and defensive benefits of the card – while communing with his soulmate, his attack becomes functionally Three hammers and 2 dice with Cleave, which is awesome.  His 50% odds of getting a Crit makes Concealed Weapon a strong candidate - a potential 4 damage attack with Cleave is a truly frightening prospect. Vindictive Glare  (which I only just discovered while writing this article) is decent for Warning Shot backup.

What’s a bad upgrade for him:
Most of them. He’s not your focal point, and your upgrade slots are mostly going to go towards things that can earn extra glory, whether that’s Keys or Tomes or even Relics (*dips pointy cap to evil genius John Rees*).

Drizgit
What he’s good at:
Being efficient. He and his cruciferous pals are your best fighters out of the gate, and a three hammer attack once inspired is very reliable. He also helps you gain massive efficiencies out of Keep Them Guessing and Mad Scurry due to his ability to cross off two items in one action with the former, and move three fighters (before factoring in Scurry) for the latter.  He’s also excellent in deployment. You can use the Squigs as a wall to protect valuable fighters, or block off areas of the board (see below. Drizgit is the red blob, Squigs the green).
Finally, his ‘ability’ of inspiring the Squigs when he dies gives opponents something of a disincentive to attack him, use this to your advantage, he’s a good target for glory generating upgrades like keys (don’t give him tomes unless you’re desperate – too risky!) or for being a Spiritbond target (the bondee not the bonder).

Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that Wall!  (Seriously, though, don’t. Refugees are people. Show them kindness and compassion – and don’t vote for governments who won’t)
Deploying Drizgit here can make things very tough for an aggressive warband. Not only have you blocked lines to important fighters (Sorry Drizgit) but there’s only one spot a range one fighter can charge that won’t result in at least one support for your fighters. Nifty!

What he’s not good at:
Making defence rolls. We’re at a weird spot in the game where, due to the prevalence of Cleave and the awesomeness of Last Chance, it feels like one Dodge is almost better than One Shield, while two Dodge is strictly better. It pains me greatly that Drizgit has a different defence profile to the rest of the Gitz, but you can’t have everything (otherwise my third archer would be Ahnsliane and not Dibbz).

What’s a good upgrade for him:
Honestly, not much. As mentioned above, he can get good mileage out of a key, Formless or Slumbering for preference.  He, like Zarbag, can get reasonable use of Concealed Weapon, especially as if he dies your squigs get a boost!
What’s a bad upgrade for him:

Tomes other than Tome of Glory. Now, I mentioned keys as being good on him, and they are, but that’s mostly as his main defence is being unobtrusive. If you make him worth more than 2 glory, he becomes too big a target that dies too easily. Keep him lean and mean (in this case ‘mean’ being a synonym for ‘average’).

Gobbaluk and Bonekrakker
What they’re good at:
Being disposable. In the lore, Squigs are a so prone to dying they're unlikely to be named. So I’m 90% certain that Gobbaluk and Bonekrakker are titles, not names, in much the same way as ‘Header’ and ‘Huntaway’ are titles for different types of sheepdogs, likewise used in pairs to earn glory for their masters*.   

 *No Gitz, No Glory Inc, accepts no liability for damages caused by using Squigs to herd sheep, consult your local agricultural professional before attempting any such activity


The banning of Extreme Flank has cut down their utility as a glory earner, but they can still be used to score cards such as Martyred and Calculated Risk (no one said life was fair…). Targeting a Squig with Confusion, which has been given an ironclad excuse to use by the printing of Shortcut, can be good at setting up interesting Scurry chains (see below


Look Mum, Glory! Here using Confusion (scoring Shortcut), you can switch Drizgit’s position (upper left) before charging with Stikkit (furthest right) scoring Change of Tactics, while Zarbag (centre right)  scores Calculated Risk. You’re also 80% the way to Mad Scurry, 75% the way to Keep Them Guessing, and could be on three objectives. What a turn! 

Broadly though, it's safe to consider them one shot missiles. Charge them into something, and if they survive any retaliation, that's a bonus.


What they’re not good at:
Holding objectives. They just can’t. They’re often difficult to inspire without leaning into it,  and missing out on a movement buff when they do inspire is surprisingly restrictive, and makes their threat radius rather underwhelming.  Their biggest problem is that, because they are hard to inspire, they’ll often be your least sturdy fighter defensively, and with two wounds, basically any attack will take them out. This is largely unsurprising when you consider they’re made of teeth, cabbage and/or cottage cheese.

What’s a good upgrade for them:
Pass on upgrades for these guys.

What’s a bad upgrade for them:
Not an upgrade, but a word on What Armour?  The Gobbaluk and The Bonekrakker (I am so going to write Standards for both breeds), have native Cleave, so you might be tempted to include it.



I don’t feel it’s worth taking unless you also take cards like Dark Darts and/or Mutating Maul. The trouble is, you’re using upgrades to prop up an objective, despite neither of them fitting with your overall strategy well enough.

As mentioned above, I struggle to regularly inspire the Squigs without doing something silly like playing Lethal Hex Hopscotch with Drizgit. This means you can't rely on getting cleave from the Squigs; whereupon you’re placing a lot of responsibility on Zarbag’s scrawny shoulders.

I do love What Armour?, especially in warbands that can score it in the first round, but I don't think it gels well enough with the Goblins. Maybe once I get around to writing up the aggro-goblins build I keep talking about, I'll change my mind


Prog THE Netter (enough of the Cockney nonsense, please GW)

What he’s good at:
Being a good listener, and making Mollog’s life hell. Like Charon, the Ferryman in the Ancient Greek Underworld, Mollog lives and dies by his ability to make other people make the transition from living to dead.  If you can cut down his accuracy, you’ll go a long way to keep yourself on the right side of the River Styx. Prog’s reliable attack, with its ability to cut down attack dice is the single most efficient way to do that.

What he’s not good at:
Killing guys. If you’re not playing against Mollog, Stormsire or Magore, Prog has few uses other than making up the numbers. His attack, while accurate, is hampered by poor damage, making him a go-to-guy if you want if you’re more concerned about the push effect of an attack rather than killing a fighter. Taking this to the extreme, he can be combined with Hidden Paths to be a timely objective-pusher-offerer, so a backfield/edge posting is a good plan.  

What’s a good upgrade for him:
Slumbering Key/A Destiny to Meet, Formless Key, Regular Keys - Anything that you can use to leverage glory from a fighter who’s probably not going to receive much attention player overly much. As ever, Concealed Weapon, is useful, if you feel motivated to attack. Literally any ranged attack upgrade you give him will make him better than an archer, so there’s that.
What’s a bad upgrade for him:
Wound or Defence upgrades. No one is likely to bother trying to kill him, other than by opportunity, and you shouldn’t waste a slot trying to protect him

My beloved archers (and Dibbz)
What they’re good at:
Scoring Objectives of one kind, and standing on Objectives of the other kind (One thing GW really nail is avoiding ambiguous language…). These guys are the unsung heroes of the warband (and Dibbz). Here’s a short list of cards that will be scored either exclusively by, or likely to involve, an archer:

Keep Them Guessing, Change of Tactics, Calculated Risk, Warning Shot (two swords becomes a feature, not a problem!), Mad Scurry, Supremacy, Pure Carnage, Martyred, Finish Them, The Bigger They Are, Well Guarded, Our Only Way Out, Call That a Win

Note, I put Finish Them and The Bigger They Are, in for completeness, I don’t endorse actively relying on them to kill someone other than themselves (Dibbz would find a way to miss his own head).

In addition to scoring objectives and generally standing around, they form the vital bulk of the warband. In short, while they’re around, you should never be short an opportunity to charge, provide or cancel a support, or block a charging lane.

A note on deployment. Since Warning Shot and Calculated Risk have been printed, I’ve begun using the archers much more offensively (though Dibbz has always been deeply offensive).  And I’m finding that deploying two about three to four hexes from the midline, and one (usually You Know Who) as far forward as possible. Avoid committing both of the deep-lying ones early, keep one back , as you never know when a timely arrow could swing the battle (or just score Warning Shot). The point man (aka Sacrificial Lamb) should be in Attack Range immediately, which is a good first action if you’re hold Keep Them Guessing.
  
What they’re not good at:
Hitting targets except when you don’t want them to. Two swords is a terrible attack stat. Though now a feature, it remains disheartening when you *need* that attack to at least push someone, and it’s downright blood-boiling when you roll double Crit with Warning Shot in hand.  They’re also bad at surviving the game, but don’t be too disheartened. We can always recruit more.

What’s a good upgrade for them:
Keys. Crown of Avarice. Fungal Blessing (not sold on that one).  
What’s a bad upgrade for them:
Volley Caller. It’s bad. One two sword attack is terrible, two is not much better. You could play this card and then use Ready For Action for four(!) terrible attacks, but that isn’t likely to do much at all.
As with Prog, don’t waste your time on defensive upgrades for them, as they’re not high enough priority.  That said, they make excellent Last Chance and Rebound targets, especially against warbands that get extra glory off kills or need a fast start. I’ve used a timely Last Chance to completely stymie a Mollog player’s first round.
And Finally…

Snirk Sour Tongue
What he’s good at:
Coming in like a Wrecking Ball.  He deals unblockable damage; he can damage and push multiple fighters in a round; he helps score Keep Them Guessing; he has one of the highest defence stats going around; he scores Obliterated; and he can cover the most ground of any un-upgraded fighter in the game. Snirk is so good it hurts. Also, don’t forget he can hold objectives.

His reputation precedes him, and your opponent will likely give him a wide berth. Cards like Shadowed Step, Illusory Fighter and Hidden Paths become essential with him. These mean you’ll likely be playing Shortcut too, which is in no way a bad thing.

What he’s not good at:

With great power, though, comes great responsibility, if you get over confident with him and get him killed early, or rely too much on his random movement, you can easily turn a winning position into a losing one. He’s not bulletproof, 3 dodge is in no way impenetrable, and if he goes down, the rest of your warband will suddenly look much more fragile without his aura of menacing, smashy death.

What’s a good upgrade for him:
Spirit Bond, Tomes, Slumbering Key/Destiny To Meet, Acrobatic, Spectral Armour, Deathly Fortitude/Sudden Growth, Great Fortitude… basically all the defensive cards I’ve been telling you not to play on everyone else. Crown of Avarice will turn his “go away” aura up to 11. Tethered Spirit can be remarkably good if you have the Restricted slot for it, while Quickening Greaves seems like a bit of fun on him too

What’s a bad upgrade for him:
Anything that would boost attack or movement, as he can’t use them. Other than that, the world is your oyster.

So there you have it, a Warband review about 9 months after they were released. If you’re new to the Gitz, I hope this gives you some strategic pointers. For more experienced players, I hope there’s a nugget somewhere in the midden. If I’ve missed something, or you feel I’m off base about something, please let me know.

Cheers

Rowan

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