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Zarbags Gitz: Mushroom Madness
After being mercilessly coerced into contributing something to the blog, I’ve finally completed my run down of the Grotz. Well…I sort of have. This is a Warband I find incredibly difficult to get a grip on, with the ways of playing them being many, varied, and somewhat unique. As such I’m going to do my best to deliver what I have learned about the Warband, but make it very clear that I desperately need advice on how to take full advantage of the undeniably potent tools these miniature munchkins have at their disposal.
First off here are the fighter cards:
The cat demanded attention whilst these photos were taken. After he was appeased the article continued.
So with that out the way, what do we like about them?
- Scurry: The first two horde Warbands released in Nightvault have in my opinion a much better solution to the increased burden on action economy that a large Warband is lumbered with. Goblins Grotz can chain reaction move actions provided each Grot is adjacent to the one who most recently moved. This not only allows your models to dash onto objectives without committing an entire turn to moving but allows you o bring supports along on your charges and reduces your dependence on cards to improve your accuracy (and defence). Thus, Scurry increases priority of cards that let you chain off move actions and decreases priority of cards that provide supports or extra dice. At least I think it does…
- Cleave aplenty: The squigs and Zarbag have access to cleave when inspired, making them incredibly accurate in addition to packing a respectable punch.
- Ranged Attacks: It’s easier to score Change of Tactics. In addition, as you have access to lots of support these attacks can be quite accurate. You can also combo these attacks with Glory Seeker, Trap and Pit Trap for a surprising damage burst. Finally, on top of all of that you can knock people off of objectives from a distance, not too shabby.
- Bollocks loads of models: Ever get fed up with wondering whether to commit a model to the fight or stay back and hold that un-contestable objective? Well with 9 models you can do both, and get supports in combat, and score Extreme Flank, and make a cup of tea, all at the same time! This allows a bit more flexibility with your objective deck as you can achieve multiple goals at once!
- Bollocks loads of models: Ever had someone Cry of Thunder + Shardgale on 3 squishy fungus gremlins? It sucks balls. You have a lot of squishy models who’s two dodge dice don’t help against the plethora of ploys gambits that can deal free damage to your Warband. Additionally, Aggro Warbands loaded up with score immediately objectives will combo heartlessly off of severing Dibbz’s diminutive head from his shoulders. #Pray4Dibbz
- No 4 health fighters: Everyone sits at 2-3 health. Every man and their dog will be able to chow down on any one of your cloth-clad Warband.
- Lackluster Spellcasting: This particular Warband contains one ploy to grant an innate symbol to your spellcasting (incidentally the only ploy to grant Innate focus). This is all you have from a faction specific point of view to help you cast your spells. I like Jealous Hex , but Sneaky Stabbin’ feels to me somewhat overkill, and Curse of da Bad Moon without your mushroom in hand feels too unreliable to attempt. There are a couple of score immediately’s the Moonclan have access to which trigger off of magically induced murder, however with the repertoire of spells you currently have access to these objectives seem too difficult to rely on. Maybe this will change in coming expansions but for me the Grotz spells aren’t worth indexing heavily into. (opinion subject to further testing as I am not smart)
- Hidden paths him in
- Cackle madly
- Welcome to the Snirk Sourtoungue show, where the direction’s made up and defence dice don’t matter!
- FU Stormcast
After a couple of attempts at cooking up a deck list and captaining the Moonclan squad on the table top I’ve picked out a few objectives, gambits and upgrades that have worked for me. I’m going through the faction specific cards plus any neutral cards I think work for these guys. I’ll go through a proper deck build for the Grotz when Mike bullies me into writing more
There are a lot of generically good cards that I haven’t mentioned, instead I’ve tried to focus on cards that do specific jobs for Zarbag’s Gitz.
- Mad Scurry: This 2 glory objective can be scored in a couple of activations if your models line up right. Just be careful that your models survive after they have moved otherwise you can’t score it!
- Obliterated: If you can Hidden Paths or otherwise shuffle the Fanatic next to an enemy model with gambits, this objective is a wonderful 2 glory score immediately. If you do this first turn you will instantly inspire most of your Warband! Just don’t be afraid to bin it if you can’t set the Fanatic up properly.
- Keep Them Guessing: As the Fanatic has his own unique action, you have 5 options to choose from to complete this objective. Additionally, you can make a Move and a Charge action at the same time thanks to Scurry, further reducing this card’s burden on your activations. EDIT from the grand overlord Mike C – Drizgit the Squig herder can also fulfil 2 actions on Keep Them Guessing through his unique action that also causes a move action – this objective seems really good for the stunty little shrooms.
- Fired Up: The Fanatic can inspire as a reaction, so this objective is pretty free.
- Well-Guarded: This objective, formerly of defensive Stormcast fame, is incredibly simple with the Grotz. With the number of models you have you’ll be hard pressed not to leave Zarbag next to two of his cronies.
- Scragged: If you can set off a decent charge with Scurry – this can be much easier to score than it sounds. Just keep in mind that if you want to rely on triggering Scurry to score objectives you’ll need to include plenty of friendly push gambits in your deck.
- Quick Advance/Inspired Command/Sidestep/Sneaky Step etc.: Any cards that push your models serve 3 main purposes. You can line up models for Scurry, allowing offensive and defensive supports to come into play. This can also help you cap objectives, score objectives in your hand, and scatter away from incoming enemies. Secondly your pushes can be used on the Fanatic so that he starts his scatter adjacent to an enemy. If you can’t set him up next to an opposing model I’d think carefully about what you could be doing instead of activating him. Thirdly you can hop back onto objectives after those pesky gambits push you off them.
- Quick Thinker: This card can get you another move action towards Mad Scurry, it can trigger your own Scurry reactions, and still be that heart sink card all aggro decks hate when they commit their kitted-out leader to a charge.
- Hidden Paths: Gets your Fanatic in. Additionally, this can be used to capture edge hex objectives in the last power step of the turn.
- Centre of Attention: This card can be used to bring your own models closer to set up a Scurry or pull them onto objectives. It can also be used to bring enemy models in for an easy kill.
- Stab ’em in the Knee: This ploy is worth mentioning, although i feel it is a difficult one to set up. Two supporting fighters grants you +1 damage, when there are already three other ploys that give you +1 damage without this restriction. Trap, Pit Trap and Twist the Knife are also reactions to successful attacks and therefor cannot be wasted. Having said that if you want 4 damage boosting ploys this can definitely be included.
- Deathly Fortitude/Sudden Growth: As many players have already commented, Snirk does not care about having his movement characteristic reduced. He likes the health though.
- Tome of Glories: Chances are at least one poor (or lucky) Grot will be left on the backlines. This card functions like a Destiny to Meet, except you get the glory during the round. You can also use it multiple times. Study up for the win!
- The Keys: These are another way to take advantage of your multitude of backline models. You aren’t often going to want/need to pile everyone in, so you might as well milk the Grotz for all the points they’re worth.
- Shadeglass Weapons: With a multitude of minuscule fighters dishing out 1 damage apiece, a surprise shanking from one of your tiny dudes can turn a game on its head. It’s always worth including one or two of these for when Prog da Netter is required to save the game.
Playstyle (God knows how to pilot these mushrooms)
There are so many conceivable ways to play this Warband I’m not sure what to try first! I need to try a lot more wild and wacky iterations of decks to work out what is actually strong and what only sounds good in my head. However, I can at least share my experience so far, skewed as that is by my own playstyle and that of my regular opponents.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY SWAMP?!?! (please read as Shrek)
I have found a counter-attacking play-style focusing on easy to score objectives, supremacy and the odd score immediately for when the enemy comes to close has served me best. By holding in your marshy caves, you can force the enemy to come to you, and you can bring your numbers to bear. Once the Grotz are inspired and surrounding a model, 2 dodge dice with supports start to become difficult to punch through. If the enemy doesn’t come to you, just carry on with your day and rake in all the glory you have loaded in your deck. When you draw Hidden Paths, send in Snirk and cackle madly while your opponent is forced to blow gambits/activation’s on avoiding or killing him, while you can sit back undisturbed having a good read of the Tome of Glories.
Drizgit, the Squigs and Zarbag are reasonable fighters, especially when inspired, and with a couple of Gambits/Upgrades to boost their damage you can fend of any of those overpowered 4 health armoured flesh bags that think you are easy pickings.
Finish of the game with Denial and maybe the odd key or two for a nice Turn 3 payoff and you’re off to the races.
Goblin Huddles or Mass Graves….
More so than other Warbands, Grots like to stay grouped up. This, combined with the pitiful preponderance of two health models means they are incredibly vulnerable to area of effect damage. If you split up to avoid this, you become easy targets in 1-on-1 combat, something Grotz famously try to avoid. You also lose the advantage of being able to Scurry your models! This has become the biggest struggle for me whilst trying out Zarbag’s plucky Warband.
The greenskins also struggle to run into enemy territory in the typical full aggro style. If you can’t ball up and outnumber the enemy, your precious fungi will get splattered one at a time. I’ve found more success forcing the enemy to take action, or at least waiting until you know you can set up a “fair” fight with a Scurry bolstered charge.
So much still to test!
I still haven’t tried full objective Grotz. I haven’t gone all in on a Fanatic focused deck. I also (as much as I slagged it off earlier) haven’t given a more magic heavy deck a try.
One thing I’m sure on is this Warband is hella fun and (after a bit of practice) a legitimate threat. With 9 models on the board (1 orbiting a spherical death blob) you can attempt deck builds that wouldn’t be feasible with smaller Warbands. Hopefully at least a few of the Grotz will live to tell the tale too!
I’m aiming to do a couple of battle reports on different iterations of Grot decks to try and keep up discussion around the different approaches to playing Zarbags Gitz. I’m beginning to quite enjoy experimenting so I might do more articles like this in the future for other Warbands if i ever get round to it!
Finally finished an article! That should get me off another week of
beatings helpful friendly encouragement from Mike!
Call that a win!