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Zarbag’s Gitz: The Littlest Boiz That Could

Hey there readers, it’s Bryce back with a quick tournament report/deck list since I won glass this weekend and Giblin didn’t. I’ve been running Gobbos for a few weeks now, as anyone who’s been following our #Lunchspire reports knows, and doing alright with them. Consistently won against Godsworn Hunt, and generally lost against Garrek’s Reavers, largely since my rolls for board placement turned hard once Giblin switched over to Reavers and controlling board placement is pretty huge for the littlest boiz.

I’m gonna give my deck list first, then a quick tourney report, then general thoughts on Gobbos.

Restricted Cards: Superior Tactician, Change of Tactics, Defensive Strike, Escalation, Ready for Action

Zarbag’s Gitz: Objectives

Change of Tactics, What Armour, Martyred, Defensive Strike, Obliterated: Score immediately cards are always super important. Martyred cause it’s a rare turn where a gobbo doesn’t die, the rest cause they’re just easy to score. Obliterated cause Snirk is both your most reliable damage dealer, and the most interesting model mechanically in the entire game.

Escalation, Solid Gains, Master of War, Shining Example, Keep Them Guessing: Easy passives which you can score off your other score immediatelies, or in the case of Escalation, pretty much any time you like. Keep Them Guessing gets a special mention cause of the Scurry FAQ, so for some reason, it’s very possible to satisfy three conditions (Charge, Scurry, Move) in a single activation. Really weird ruling, but hey, I’ll take it.

Supremacy: You have so many gitz plus Scurry, this is a relatively easy card to score without taking more objective cards to double down. I don’t like doubling up in case you lose three objectives and you can only reliably get 3 models on them one turn, usually. Grots tend to die quite a lot.

Superior Tactician: Worst card in the game, garbage, useless piece of trash. I used to have Mad Scurry, but for about 6 games drew it last on turn 2 or on 3 when too many boiz were dead to score it. Then switched it out for Superior (switching out Fired Up for Shining Example for the restricted slot) and over 9 games since that change I drew Superior in my opening hand 7 times. One of the other times it was the very last card in my deck and I never got to it. Objectively a good card, in terms of my drawing patterns for the last two weeks, complete trash.

Zarbag’s Gitz: Gambits

Abasoth’s Withering: -1 wound means more reliable Snirk killing, or really anyone, without risking triggering My Turn or other damage effects. Brilliant card, auto include for any warband with a Level 2 wizard from the off.

 Transfixing Stare: *Puts on high pitched Snirk voice* NO MY CHILD. DO NOT FLEE FROM MY SCATTER BASED LOVE.

Ready For Action: Best ploy in the game.

Quick Advance, Sidestep, Sneaky Step, Centre of Attention: Sneaky goblinz wants to sneak around. Good for setting up Scurries, pushing Snirk next to enemy models, pushing onto objectives if you get knocked off them, and pretty much anything.

Hidden Paths: Snirk placement or moves to get someone onto an enemy objective.

Last Chance, Rebound: Goblins tend to die a lot. These cards mean that they die a little less. They’re also pretty massive negative play experiences for your opponent (particularly Rebound) but hey, they’re good and apparently no one else hates them as much as Giblin and I do, so….

Zarbag’s Gitz: Upgrades

Great Fortitude: Sometimes this stops a Goblin dying in one hit. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Tome of Offerings: *Puts on high pitched Snirk voice* GIVE ME YOUR SWEET GLORY MY CHILD. (Also definitely needs to be restricted, like when do you ever not take this? Compared to Hero’s Mantle or Formless Key this is so, so, ridiculously good.)

Mutating Maul: Helps score What Armour? Also occasionally lets an arrow boy kill a thing.

Bag of Tricks: Hunt for whatever card you need to score an objective, just great.

Great Strength: Lets Drizgit, a Squig, or Zarbag hit for 3. Sometimes that’s all you need, esp with Abasoth’s Withering.

Faneway Crystal: Move onto objectives that your opponent has the indecency to hide on the opposite side of the board.

Formless Key, Dazzling Key, Shadowed Key, Fractured Key: What is this, early 2018? Keys seem okay. Sometimes you get a tonne of glory, sometimes you get nowt. I didn’t really have any other upgrades I desperately wanted, so eh, these seem to work fine, sorta.

General Playstyle

Goblins are the most mechanically interesting warband in the entire game. They have Snirk and Scurry, two mechanics which are enormously fun to play. However, flipside, they’re also fiddly as hell, and if you misposition, you get punished harder than if you misposition with Stormcast. I don’t believe I’ve ever taken an optimal activation while playing Goblins. I’ve had great activations, but the trick is there’s always a better activation if you think hard enough. They’re just…whew. And interesting as hell because of it.

The Penitent’s Throne

I play this list generally to huddle in my board. Set up Snirk somewhere he’s not in danger turn 1, and where you can Scurry him forward and inspire. Archers go in places where they might die, Zarbag goes somewhere in the middle. Drizgit can flex around wherever he needs to go. If you lose play then take the Penitent’s Throne which has good spacing and options. If you win placement, the new board with three lethal hexes because it lets you force engagement and only give up one git early, which you can even run backwards if you really want. You end up providing your opponent with a lovely choice of attacking Snirk or running into some lethal hexes.

That said, I don’t think Goblins really have a great board for them if you lose. All of the options kiiiiinda suck against aggro cause oh boy they’re a coming for you tiny skulls. You kind of have to hope you draw Last Chance/Rebound early and use Scurry to pull back as much as you can. Flipside, it’s possible to build a much more aggro focused deck with Gloryseeker and maybe Shadeglass dagger if you have the restricted spot, and go for more kills over the more passive play in this deck.

The new one with three lethal hexes

I also realised, over the course of the event, that my deck is built for playing against aggro. It’s a downside of our Lunchspire games that, unconsciously, you tech and get used to playing against the thing we play 5 games a week against. Since Giblin’s been on Reavers, I’ve been expecting people to come in and fight me hard. Playing against a more passive Eyes deck was a bit of an eye-opener (haha).

In general, use your push cards to set up Scurries. Sit yourself on your safe objectives on turn 1, get Snirk next to an activated enemy model, start twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom. Use your Squigs as body blockers or supporting models for your actual Goblins, since Squigs can’t hold objectives, so they’re actually kinda useless in regards of getting Supremacy or keys at the end of the game. It’s okay if Squigs die, basically. Yes, if someone kills Drizgit they turn into hyper accurate murderballs, but they’re less important than your actual gobbos.

Remember to use Rebound where it’ll kill an enemy model (or save someone on an objective at the end of a turn), and save Last Chance for a model you actually care about like Snirk or Zarbag. Ideally on turn 2 you should have at least one three model Scurry set up, and you can usually get four if you position good.

Final point, get used to dying. Gobbos die. A lot. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, the bell tolls for Dibz. Weep not over his tiny broken form, but twirl Snirk merrily into his attacker.

Incidentally, Snirk is simultaneously the most fun and most frustrating model in the entirety of Shadespire. Sometimes he just rolls supports. Sometimes he rolls hammer crit sword and smashes someone from 3 HP in one activation. Be flexible and ideally give yourself a couple of activations to score Obliterated, he’s just not reliable enough to do it in one unless they’re on 1 HP. You got about an 80% chance of rolling at least one hammer on 4 dice though, so point hammers towards them, utter a brief prayer to the Bad Moon and RNJesus, and spin to win.

Tournament Report

Went down to Goblin Gaming, a pretty new store in Norwich. It’s a lovely place, only about a half hour drive from Manchester, and with parking onsite, which I definitely appreciated. Unfortunately there only ended up being 4 of us, an Eyes of the Nine player, a Cursebreaker player, and a Skaven player.

We all played each other, I won’t go too much into the game against the Skaven player, since he was an extremely new player who’d only really started the game very recently. Tried to give a few tips and stuff, so those games were more learning experiences than actual competitive tournament games.

First round otherwise was against Eyes of the Nine!

I won board roll off and got 2 objectives, choosing to set up with a pretty aggressive deployment, four hexes in two twos were up against his board edge, while Zarbag and a couple of arrow boys sat back a bit. I drew Defensive Strike, Escalation, and Superior Tactician on my opening hand. ‘Urgh’ I thought, but at least I’ll get Defensive Strike and then maybe Escalation depending on if he puts an upgrade out. Well, no. He didn’t come in on anyone, and by the time I realised I really needed to be pushing forward with Snirk, Snirk chose the perfect moment to roll a whole bunch of supports and achieve nothing. Ended turn 1 scoring no glory, which I don’t think I’ve done in *purses lips, says tremulously* eighty four years.

Whoops. To top it off, Uninspired K’charik rudely charged Snirk and killed him at the top of two, which at the very least scored me Martyred. Cold comfort, I know. I actually managed to turn my brain on at this point, and killed the Horrors to score Defensive Strike, and like that, we were cooking with charcoal. On the final turn, due to being garbage (and also the Eyes player having Supremacy, Bind the City, and Our Only Way out and getting three objectives), I was pretty heavily down on glory, but I had Keep Them Guessing, Supremacy, and Solid Gains in hand, as well as the formless Key and one other key. Prog Da Netter charged, knocked Narvia/Turosh off an objective, then Ready for Actioned on the objective. Had to eat a charge from the newly respawned Horror, but thankfully it whiffed entirely, so I scored 9 glory on the last turn to take me to a 15-11 win. Why be good when you can be lucky? (and terrible).

The second game I actually managed to get it together. Won board again, but planned better and Snirk managed to roll some dice. Scored Obliterated this time, and managed to get inspired much earlier. Still got my keys out and got a bunch of glory for them, and ended up winning slightly more comfortably 16-9.

These set of two games really highlighted how much practice against a single opponent can actually hamper your play, by setting expectations based on how that person plays and how they tend to build their decks. Lord help if you they play a hard skew list and you end up running into something different that you really need to work around properly.

The next round was against Cursebreakers. Spellboiz. The warband I won the last Grand Clash with (like to drop that one in occasionally just to keep it fresh in people’s minds). I think Cursebreakers are still the best warband in the game. They have such a variable, flexible playstyle, some of the best in faction cards in the game, excellent attack profiles, and Stormcast defensive stats, which is basically playing the game on easy mode. They’re only gonna get better the more spells come out.

Anyway, up against them next. I lost the roll (3 objectives yay) and he started Empowering and coming at me. Managed to lose a Goblin to score Martyred early, and then Snirk stuck next to Stormsire like glue, twirling majestically and smashing the old beardy guy’s head in to score Defensive Strike. Sorry Stormdalf.

Saw a lot of my push cards come up aces in this game, since without Stormsire his threat ranges were actually a bit limited, and so dodging my boiz back out the way of vengeful retaliation was really good. Also I was playing the board with three lethal hexes next to each other, so he had the unenviable choice at one point of coming in on a goblin, but taking two damage to do so, which I am A-Okay with. Managed to score almost all of my objective deck (Superior Tactician was the bottom card, what a good choice I made bringing it!) and control how and where he could attack me.

Won this one 17-12. He got some kills on gobbos (and scored some passives, cause Cursebreakers eh) but my keys and objective play pulled me out.

Second game was much the same, (Superior Tactician in my opening hand, yay) but he came in much more aggressively on turn 1 with everyone. Ammis got pushed around a lot by my boiz, and Centre of Attention, and I ended up getting a 5 glory kill on her with Tome of Offerings, Obliterated, and Defensive Strike which was just wonderful.  

Ended up winning this one 18-9, I think.

So I went undefeated over the three games, and won the glass! I’m probably done with Goblins now, but I gotta admit, I’ve a lingering appreciation for them. The most mechanically interesting and complex warband in the game, punishing if you make mistakes, but putting the puzzle together is enormously satisfying (and effective) if you get it right.

They’re my fifth warband to win glass, and this week I’m trying out Steelheart’s Champions, which I haven’t played since the first time I got the core set. Unfortunately, I’m already struggling with the lack of mechanical complexity. Honestly Steelheart, your troops are good, but it’s not exactly interesting to play. IDK. I’m certainly appreciating my Stormcast privilege again, and also getting to dictate engagement, but gooooood I’m already bored of every activation being draw card or charge, haha.

Alright, well, I’ve prolly rambled enough for someone who won a wee local event with Goblins. Catch ye’s later, and remember: Snirk’s acoming for you.

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