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The Ghoul Next Door



This week's blog comes with a soundtrack. 

Ahh, Spring!  The smell of cut grass, crisp mornings and warm afternoons; the birds are chirping (though true to Australian form, some of our birds are attacking cars and cyclists with murderous rage channelled straight from the Jurassic). It’s a time of rebirth and renewal, and, appropriately enough, the start of a new Season of Warhammer Underworlds! Bonza!



The Grymwatch Expansion features a bunch of smelly green folk with bad hygiene and questionable mental states. No, we’ve not got another Goblin expansion (though one is coming, but more on that at the end), instead Beastgrave has been overrun with Ghouls. Frankly, they’re so unsanitary it’s enough to make one pine for The Mirrored City. At least there you could only get diseases from Festering Skaven.

Fortunately, while the ghouls are muscling in our being-green-and-crap-and-dying-a-lot racket, the universals that come with the expansion at least give the Gitz some tools to help us defend our patch. 


Path to Victory




This photo is in perfect focus. Don't blame me, your mother said that you'd go blind if you didn't stop. Did you listen?

Holding two unspecified objectives for two Glory is a pretty good deal, even if you have to make at least one person meet their end as well. Regular readers will know that I’m not one for using attack actions to actually attempt to kill someone when playing Gitz, but it can be done. In particular, it’s worth remembering that the fighter need only go out of action, the how is left up to you. With the abundance of lethal hexes, and Snirk’s Ballet of Death, a fighter can be readily taken out of action without resorting to something as gauche as actually hitting someone with a sword. That said, I can see frustrating situations where you’ve achieved one condition but can’t *quite* achieve the other.
Path to Victory puts me in mind of Mad Scurry, in that it simultaneously looks like a very easy score in rounds 1 or two, but can be all but impossible as the body count (on either side in this case) ramps up.  When compared to Mad Scurry, I feel that Path to Victory is the slightly harder card to recommend, as we all know how elusive a kill can be, regardless of the warband.

If you were to pursue Path to Victory, I’d consider one or more of the swathe of playable attack upgrade cards that have come out with the Grymwatch expansion. Amberbone Axe looks great for this, Bloodthief too. Larval Lance ironically probably won’t help that much, as it’s at its strongest when it’s likely to be hardest to hold two objectives.

3/5 Gauche Attack Actions


Scrum


*Rugby reference goes here*
I have a little mental checklist I run through when I’m considering new cards for my Gitz deck. It goes like this:

  1. ·        Snirk
  2. ·        Zarbag
  3. ·        Drizgit
  4. ·        Keep Them Guessing
If a card can add significant value to any one of the above, I’m very interested.  In the case of Scrum, Drizgit might have found his purpose in life (other than shielding Snirk and being a permanent fixture on the Finger Transplant list). Thanks to the unique way that his fungoid charges deploy, Drizgit can theoretically score Scrum without any effort at all.  Speaking of Keep Them Guessing, Scrum offers up some amazing cross-pollination opportunities with that card and Mad Scurry. Check this out.



Here Drizgit has deployed aggressively, (which could be bad, given we’ve likely lost the roll for first turn), but even if Gobbalukk dies we’re still in a good spot to make some Glory*. Drizgit activates, sending Bonekrakka through a lethal hex to score Calculated Risk, followed by a bit of a shuffle that will score Scrum, and put Snirk in a great position to inspire. At this point, without needing a ploy, or even the first activation, we’ve netted two Glory immediately, are 80% towards Mad Scurry and 50% through Keep Them Guessing with a single activation. Pending a push ploy and objective placement, we could even score Swift Capture.
Why do people play other warbands?

*Heck, you could even score
Martyred!
Before we get carried away, I do have a word of caution. As I’m sure somebody said on American Gods, for everything there is a price, and while Scurry is undoubtedly one of the best abilities going around, there is a cost. Similar to Path To Victory and Mad Sweeney, er I mean Scurry, Scrum is rather exposed to a diminishing returns effect; and I’m not even thinking of the likelihood of ending up with fewer than 4 warband members, though that’s indeed unfortunate. No, I’m talking about Scurry.
What tends to happen when Scurry is effectively utilized (eg, 3-4 fighters moved from 1-2 actions) is that your warband will start off relatively clumped together, and then explode outward like a tide of Boxing Day shoppers with particularly low average heights, life expectancies and bank-balances.  This means that the Scrum which would have taken one activation to score in Round 1, could take 3 activations in Round 3. This problem is not sufficient, I don’t feel, to stop me from recommending Scrum, but if you’ve not drawn it during Round 2, it might be worth setting up a few adjacent fighters to ensure you can score it later. For best results, be sure to include both Centre of Attention and Irresistible Prize.

4.5/5 Complicated Diagrams.

Swift Capture

This card will become a topical humour goldmine when Taylor Swift becomes a murderous fugitive.

Get used to hearing the phrase “..and that scores me Swift Capture” and get used to saying it too, because this is going to be EVERYWHERE. As should come as little surprise, Gitz are one of the best warbands to leverage this card. Most other warbands need to spend either a pair of actions or a ploy (and an action usually) to score this, whereas Zarbag and his scurrying pals, need only a single action, which could include a charge action enabling Warning Shot. Happy days.

If I can gush slightly, I love the design of Swift Capture. When designing Beastgrave, two problems would have confronted the design team, front and centre:  1) Warbands focusing on holding objectives were struggling; 2) Their playstyle is frequently on the lower end of interactivity.  With one card they’ve smashed both problems. Not only is this a great card to get players seeing objective tokens as something other than Faneway Crystal landing pads, but it also forces objective players to come into the opponent’s territory.  I’m particularly excited about that last point, as the designers clearly realised that the change to winning the roll is likely to give warbands focusing on holding objectives 3 objectives more regularly than in previous editions, and have done something to force them to come out of their territory regardless.

5/5 Cards that will be EVERYWHERE


To the End
Just look it up on Underworldsdb

Finally. An irrefutable argument as to why 20 cards is better than 21+ cards. Take that John Rees!

Okay, maybe not. To the End seems bad, but I love the space it’s occupying. As someone who loved Improvisation more than I loved life itself, I’m really glad to see players being rewarded for drawing out their decks. As far as whether or not you should play To The End, it does have some reasons for recommendation. For one, it’s entirely passive – short of One Step Ahead there is nothing your opponent can do to stop you scoring this. Second, two glory in an end phase* independent of board state is not to be sniffed at. If your warband likes to draw, I could definitely see a case for this being used. For us Gitz though, I’m unsure. If you’re considering running it, I’d love to see a decklist.
*How quickly can this be scored I wonder? Stephen Vann, I choose you!

Frenzied Search

I suppose it's inevitable, but they do seem to be borrowing a lot of MTG Card Names. It's a good thing that both companies have such a measured and easy going approach to Intellectual Property Law. What could possibly go wrong? 

As I mentioned earlier, I lurve Improvisation, and it is one of three cards I’ve really missed since the rotation (Change of Tactics and Last Chance being the other two). Frenzied Search is at once much worse and also slightly better than Improvisation. On the downside, it only nets 1 additional card. On the upside though, you need only pitch one power card rather than your whole hand to get a bunch of new cards. As anyone who’s used Improvisation for any period of time would know, occasionally there would be situations where you’d need to make agonising choices between keeping important cards that were in your hand, and keeping your power hand churning over.

Frenzied Search isn't likely to become a ubiquitous card, plenty of a warbands will find either the low net gain or restrictions about standing on objectives to be off-putting, but those other warbands, Gitz have so few opportunities to "waste" an action drawing a card, so we need ploys that can do this for us. All in all, it's not great, but it's the best draw that we have.  For the moment, it'll do.

2.5/5 Agonising Choices



Madness Dart



















'Remember kids, Special Officer Snirk says "NO to drugs!"'
Perhaps the best name for a Marijuana cigarette I’ve ever heard, and a rather hilarious thing to do to Mollog*. There’s not a whole lot to say about Madness Dart, it’s good.  But how good? This good:



Previous Hit rate vs 1 dodge
New Hit rate
% change
1 Hammer
0.36
0.19
-0.17
2 Hammers
0.59
0.44
-0.15
3 Hammers
0.74
0.58
-0.16
4 Hammers
0.83
0.69
-0.14

Those are significant numbers, unsurprisingly about 1/6 (being as there’s two hammers and one sword on an attack die). In many cases, the effects of Madness Dart are as good, if not superior to, as Cruel Taunt without the need to roll for whether or not it goes off.
 I feel Madness Dart has a definite place in a Gitz deck, as unlike a lot of other decks, especially with the loss of Rebound, killing a power piece like Mollog or Stormsire is often not feasible. Madness Dart will seriously cramp their style, but leave them alive, which could potentially be superior to them being dead, as the potential is there for wasted actions.  A special mention should be made, just in case you haven’t spotted it yet, Madness Dart makes any attacks on magic dice VERY difficult, as they’re relying solely on Critical Hits.

That said, there will be times when this card doesn’t do much, but it’s probably worth it for insurance alone.

*Now made all the funnier by picturing Mollog high. Is It Asleep indeed!

Restless Prize


Wandering objectives, ghouls, lethal hexes all over the place, why did we leave Shadespire exactly? 

Along with Swift Capture, a card that has a good shot getting restricted in the not too distant future. Restless Prize will definitely see a lot of play. There are so many applications for this card. 

Here’s a short list:
1) Preventing or enabling the scoring of Supremacy or similar
2) Enabling or preventing a Faneway Crystal move or charge
3) Enabling or Preventing Swift Capture
4) Turning Irresistible Prize into a reverse Great Concussion
5) Turning Shifting Reflection into a Mortal Kombat-style “Come ‘ere” move
6) Making Keen Avarice *slightly* more playable
7) Turning Lethal Ward into a really odd version of Raptor Strike. Not advisable unless desperate.
8) Similar to 7) Hilarious combo with Abasoth’s Unmaking. Shift objective under enemy fighter, then turn it into a lethal hex with Unmaking. Lawl. Combine with 5), 6), and 7) to ensure a table-flip. Apparently things don't work the way I think they do. Oops.


Play it. If you’re like me, the rotation will have meant there’s a bunch of less-than-optimal ploys in your deck. There is almost always going to be room for Restless Prize in your deck.

5/5 Janky Combos involving Objective Tokens

Soothing Companion
"I call the big one Bitey..."

This is very narrow, and I won’t spend much time on it, but with the proliferation of lethal hexes, Snirk’s life got a lot harder (potentially much shorter too). By functionally making him immune to the first lethal hex he encounters, (or from taking 'bump' damage), Soothing Companion helps him out a lot. Not sure if it’s playable, but you could do worse.

1.5/5 Healed Self-inflicted Wounds

Survival Instincts

Survival Instincts? We're Goblins. 

Another card I imagine will be restricted fairly quickly. This is epic. Let’s have a look at a chart:


Previous Hit rate vs 1 dodge
Hit rate vs 1 dodge, guarded
% change
1 Hammer
0.36
0.25
-0.11
2 Hammers
0.59
0.48
-0.11
3 Hammers
0.74
0.65
-0.09
4 Hammers
0.83
0.77
-0.06

Solid numbers that only get better once Gitz inspire. See below:

Previous Hit rate vs 2 dodge
Hit rate vs 2 dodge, guarded
% change
1 Hammer
0.26
0.15
-0.11
2 Hammers
0.47
0.32
-0.15
3 Hammers
0.61
0.48
-0.13
4 Hammers
0.72
0.61
-0.12

As we can see, the rate of reduction is similar to that of Madness Dart above, but unlike Madness Dart, Survival Instincts improves defensive outcomes vs all enemy fighters, not just one person who’s suddenly found Bob Marley speaking to his or her soul.  On the downside, obviously is that becoming a quarry can be present new opportunities for your opponent if they’re packing Hunters. On the upside, being wanted (for any reason) is likely to be a new and heart-warming experience for any goblin. Gags aside, there might be a time when Hunters penetrate the metagame sufficiently to make playing Survival Instincts unwise, but for the moment, I have no hesitation in recommending it.


5/5 Goblins With Warm Fuzzies




There you have it, my picks for the best cards to come out of the Grymwatch expansion for Gitz.

I’m really enthused by these cards, I’m over my mourning period for the Season One cards, and the design spaces that are being pushed here are really cool. I’m confident that the game is in good hands, and I’m very much excited to see where things go in Season 3. Forza Gitz!

Finally, I’d like to end on a PSA, I’ll say this loudly for those up the back:

Goblins that ride wolves are trash. They don’t love themselves. Robes and mushrooms are where it’s at, not scary dogs and delusions of Genghis Khan-style grandeur.  No additional column space will be spent on those interlopers than any other faction (last post was just an aberration).

As always, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have, except of course for any apologists for the Dog Boys.

Comments

  1. Great write up, thanks for this. I am likewise excited for my gobbos again. One question: does Madness Dart affect magic attack actions? I thought those are different altogether and thus not changed by this. The only other magic dice attacks are the very few (can only think of 2) attacks on various spellcasters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      As far as I understand it, Madness Darts works as written, as it refers to attack actions rather than attack DICE. I made a note to check the BG rulebook to be sure, then I completely forgot, lol.

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Delete

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