Warband Review: Godsworn Hunt, Part 1

Hi Underworlders!

Its not Michael Carlin! That’s right, every now and then I (Tom) come out of hibernation and contribute so that Mike stops throwing sharp objects at me. Given my credentials consisting of one half-decent Grand Clash run, I have now become the most qualified Steel City Godsworn Hunt player probably! Because of this I’m going to write an article about how I build my decks for them, and then another one on how I play them! Feel free to ignore me if you like Oath of Supremacy or Theddra’s sparkly eyeball hand. I don’t. It’s weird and gross.

I’ve tried not to repeat myself too much, my older Godsworn Hunt article can be found here.

Playing The Godsworn Hunt is for masochists. The whole game feels like it’s on a knife’s edge from start to finish. The warband is flexible and versatile, giving you a whole host of options to deal with a variety of enemies. Even so, every games feels like youre never further than one dice roll from defeat. Learning to pilot these chaos worshipping punkrock vikings is without a doubt some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I even win the odd game!

First I’ll do a brief rundown of the warband, then we’ll get stuck into all the tasty card choices you can sink your sacrificial blades into. Lets get started.

NB: Some good boi’s were hurt during the writing of this article

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Figure 1: The most Calculated of Risks

The Warband

Inbuilt immunity to Gloryseeker is the first attribute that jumps out for the Godsworn Hunt. With so few wounds you could give Mollog a vindaloo and watch his stiff breeze wipe your warband before he wipes himself. The second key point to note is the uninspiring uninspired side of your fighter cards. Theddra and Grundann have a passable profile, but beyond Jagathra’s spear no one else  feels worth investing an activation in when they haven’t flipped their cards over.

Easy fix to that, just inspire them.

With one upgrade you can access a 4 damage 5 move surprise that I guarantee will upset most cursebreakers players who have not previously fallen victim to Grundanns apocalyptic stat boost. Having three wounds is not an issue if you’ve claimed a victim from a much stronger warband before they take advantage of your squishyness. Fortunately the fun doesn’t stop there! Theddra is a little slower but can pack the same punch, as she also goes to three damage when inspired. Shond gets cleave, as does Ollo. Even Grawl gets 3 dice and can be a cheeky target for Concealed Weapon. Watch him play fetch with Ylthari’s brambly corpse after you roll a tasty crit. What a good boi!

With such an easy inspire condition, the Godsworn hunt bring damage and speed in spades. Throw in a couple of ranged attacks, and you have a hard hitting warband that’s difficult to hide from.

Unless you can’t inspire.

Enemy warbands that hit hard and fast are a nightmare (Bloodreaver’s), as they get to you before you can set yourself on the Path to Glory. When Shond’s uninspired 2 fury 2 damage attack is one of the most powerful retaliations you can muster, you know the game is not going well. The Godsworn Hunt need space to warm up for the kill.

So breaking the steps down

  1. Score Easy Glory
  2. Get Upgrades
  3. Get Paid

Lets have a quick look at some tips and tricks for individual fighters.

The Godsworn Gang

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Theddra: Your all round heavy-hitter – against 4 wound warbands you want to look after Theddra and use her for a one-shot. Against low health warbands Theddra can be positioned more aggressively, as her extra damage is less important.

I haven’t mentioned the little staff sitting on Theddra’s fighter card. I personally don’t like investigating my deck space on Theddra’s magical abilities gross glowy eye-hand. I’ve dabbled with just including Sphere of Aqshy or Abasoth’s Withering, but in general Theddra is too squishy to use as a spellcaster and when she dies these cards are dead. As soon as your opponent realises you’ve invested your game plan onto a 3 health 1 dodge fighter, they can and should punish you for it. Theddra is not someone you can easily protect. Even if you sneak 1 game in a best of three with some magical mischief, you’ve painted a huge target on Theddra’s back for subsequent games.

I wish Godsworn could make magic work. To be honest I wish any warband other than Cursebreakers could reliably make magic work. Unfortunately, once you start putting cards in your deck that require a specific fighter to be alive, a good opponent will make killing them their top priority.

I rant some more about magic in my older Godsworn article.

Grundann: If it wasn’t already clear from the quite frankly irresponsibly sized axe this gentleman wields, Grundann is your heavy hitter. Crucially, he inspires to 5 movement, allowing him (in spite of the size of his axe) to sprint towards unsuspecting foes. Grundann is your first shot into your opponent, your opportunity to aim for the throat early and pick off a key enemy fighter before they have time to ramp up.

Shond: Shond trades an extra damage on inspiration for gaining accuracy and cleave. Using Shond in combination with Jagathra can make him a reliable finisher. Shond’s extra dice also makes him a tempting target for concealed weapon. This fighter is also one of the two ways your warband can score What Armour?. Knowing when to invest in Shond is key, as upgrading him early when glory is scarce can sometimes limit your options for getting kills. With a couple of upgrades on him however, Shond can eventually become one of your most reliably lethal fighters by tearing through double block opponents.

Ollo: Ollo is your second vehicle for What Armour?. His range also makes him a good fighter to try to score Change of Tactics with. Finally, Ollo’s double dodge defence makes him one of the tankiest fighters in the warband. Ollo must be committed carefully, and he shines when knocking enemy fighters away from objectives and picking off low health fighters. Upgrade Ollo when he’s going to score you glory OR when that extra defence dice is essential.

Jagathra: The one hit wonder, do not underestimate the value of the javelin. Even against warbands that cannot be one shot by the missile, two damage onto a key fighter early can force an opponent onto the defensive. Time the attack well and try to score some objectives with her charge. Jagathra rarely lives long enough to be inspired. If she does her only real strength is inspiring to 5 move, so don’t stress Jagathra dying after the javelin has been used.

Grawl: Often overlooked, Grawl really is a surprisingly good boi. As well as being able to die and score Calculated Risk + Martyred, Grawl can be a surprising source of damage late game. After Jagathra has punted her Javelin, Grawls 5 move and 2 dodge defence makes him a much more valuable fighter to inspire. Plus killing Mollog with a Concealed weapon Grawl feels oh so good.

Darkoath Deckbuilding

Objectives

The Godsworn hunt rely on getting upgrades on quickly, so that their offensive stats exceed the defensive capabilities of any opponent. At this point even trading fighters is a positive play, as you have more bullets to fire at the enemy.

With that in mind, your objective deck needs to fast and reliable. Easy Score Immediatelys are your friends:

  • Change of Tactics: A godsend early, but slightly more inconvenient later on in the game. The important thing about this objective is your opponent can’t stop it.
  • Calculated Risk: Easiest objective in the game. Your opponent has no say in this, you get the glory immediately and you can score this whilst charging.
  • Martyred: Strong Start is good, but you can’t guarantee it. Martyred is entirely in your control with lethal hexes on your board. The Godsworn Hunt need early glory to inspire, even if you need to give a glory to your opponent as well.
  • Cover Ground: This requires some investment from your power deck, but it is yet another score immediately objective that your opponent cannot stop. Spectral Wings, Faneway Crystal and Great Speed can all allow thins objective to be scored.
  • Warning Shot: Another Score Immediately that does not require a successful attack. Quite the opposite in fact. This bizarrely dice dependent objective gets harder and more costly to score the longer the game goes, however an early draw can make an uninspired Ollo incredibly valuable.
  • Branching Fate: Given the number of re-rolls you can load into a Godsworn deck, you can vastly increase the odds of scoring this objective. 3 different results on a 3 dice attack will get you a glory regardless of whether the attack is successful. Just remember that early game your options for scoring this are slim. Only Jagathra’s Javelin will give you a chance to score Branching fate before the upgrades land, so this card can easily brick in your hand early game.

The above objectives don’t force you to commit to score glory. Cards like Advancing Strike and Precise Use of Force are great cards for AFTER you’ve inspired but can be ruined by bad dice OR a defensive opponent. The Godsworn hunt will fall flat if they can’t score objectives from the get go, and the above can be scored without a single kill on the board (although some are still dice dependent). This means you can inspire your warband before charging your most important fighters. After the big guns get some upgrade ammunition, then you can start firing into your opponent.

Some other great Score Immediately Objectives:

  • A Worthy Kill: Two glory on a simple score immediately, if you’re going to have an objective that forces you to commit, make sure it rewards you for it. This objective rewards you heavily.
  • What Armour?: With two in built ways of scoring this objective within the warband, this is a nice score immediately which doesn’t require you to net a kill. Be wary of holding this in an opening hand though, as you need a fighter already inspired. Make sure you can get glory AND have an upgrade for Ollo/Shond AND a target in range if you have this objective.
  • Advancing Strike: If your warband, whether with your power deck or fighters, successfully eliminates an enemy fighter in their territory you get a glory. You can use Encroaching Shadow to pick off enemy fighter that thought they were safely scoring Calculated Risk. This will net you a lead without giving your opponent chance to retaliate. Or you can just fly in and melt some faces. Both work.
  • Precise Use of Force: Given the range of damage profiles your fighters have, you can normally find the correct fighter to charge with and score this objective. Just be mindful of wound tokens added by lethal hexes or cards like Shardgale before you charge, you can sometimes accidentally end up doing too much damage to score this one.
  • Strong Start: The more optimistic version of Martyred, better when you score it, but obviously harder to achieve.
  • A Worthy Deed: A Worthy Kill’s younger brother, this is still a solid score immediately. You’d obviously only take this alongside a Worthy Kill, just make sure your meta has enough 4 wound fighters to kill to score both. If you end up facing Godsworn, Gitz, or even Ylthari’s Guardians or Mollog, you might find these objectives get stuck in your hand. Just pray they are running Great Fortitude.

A cautionary note on Score Immediately objectives

The “Score Immediately meta” is occasionally used to describe the optimal way to build an objective deck. Score immediately cards allow you access to glory outside of the end phase, and they allow you to cycle through your deck, ensuring you can score all 12 cards.

Do you know what else helps you cycle through your deck? Scoring objectives in the end phase.

There’s a danger of ranking all Score Immediatelys as categorically better than their end phase counterparts. The more you load in the deck, the less objectives you can score in the end phase. If you score 3 Score Immediately cards over a turn, but your opponent manages to score one plus 3 in the end phase, they have cycled through more objectives. End phase objectives also tend to be easier to score in the first place. Make sure you balance your deck so you can score in the action phase and the end phase. As long asd you’re not running short of glory to equip upgrades, there’s no prize for scoring all 12 cards in Turn 1. Make your deck consistent, both Score Immediatelies and end phase objectives have a part to play in this.

So with that said, what good end phase objectives can we include?

  • Master of War: Pretty much guaranteed if you manage one Score Immediately, this objective rewards you for playing the game. If you haven’t met the conditions for this card, something has gone horribly wrong this turn.
  • Opening Gambit: Definitely rewards you for scoring a single score immediately, this can combo exceptionally well with cards like Calculated Risk.
  • Victory After Victory: Victory after Victory doesn’t mind when your objectives are scored, you just have to score 3. As long as this isn’t at the bottom of your deck, it’s a very reliable end phase objective.
  • Combination Strike: Combination Strike is very similar to Victory after Victory, but demands two Score Immediatelys be scored. In theory you can include both, just don’t draw them in the same hand. I’d rather pick one of the above two objectives depending on personal preference. and the rest of your objective deck.
  • Escalation: You want to upgrade your fighters, might as well get paid for doing it. With the abundance of early glory in the game currently this is almost effortlessly scored. It’s worth noting that if you dont have Escalation in hand, just be midful that you could end up scoring it for your opponent if you start equipping upgrades without purpose.
  • Alone in The Darkness: This is the first objective in the list that does not require glory to score. If you play against small warbands often, or like to run distraction/other pushes, this card is a strong 2 glory objective.
  • Superior Tactician: Used to be an auto-include, even now restricted this card is a solid 3 pointer that can help you finish strong.
  • Oath of Conquest: This is an interesting card. It is very difficult for your opponent to prevent you scoring – which means you can reveal your Oath without worrying about your opponent trying to counter you. It does dictate your playstyle to you  however, and can sometimes force you to expose your fighters earlier than you might otherwise like to. I don’t like running towards Magore’s Fiends. This card makes you run toward Magore’s Fiends. They have a bigger dog.
  • Pure Carnage: I mean if you’re gonna go ham and do your best bloodreaver impression, this card is for you. This card exists to try and neutralise the glory your opponents score from killing your fighters, rather than get you ahead. However it does mean you can be somewhat blaise about the lives of your troops knowing that you’ll get 3 points back at the end.
  • Shining Example: If you can keep Theddra alive this card is free. If Theddra dies this card is impossible.

These are just some options for your decks if you choose to play Godsworn the way I do. Experiment with your own cards and pick what suits your playstyle. Just remember to balance end phase objectives with score immediately objectives. When practicing keep an eye on what objectives tend to get stuck in your hand for longer than you’d like. You might be surprised with what you end up getting rid of.

The Power Deck

The Godsworn Hunt are a surgical faction. You want each hit to be a kill or an objective, because as soon as you expose a fighter to the enemy they probably aren’t long for this world. With that in mind, what do we want our power deck to provide us with?

Damage

We need to be hitting 4 damage quickly in order to start trading fighters with the toughest warbands ASAP.

  • Great Strength/Incredible Strength/Gloryseeker/Chaos Boon/Possessed Weapon/Concealed Weapon: There are a number of +1 (and one +2) damage upgrades that help push the damage numbers up for our fighters. Gloryseeker has the advantage of working on ranged attacks, with the slight disadvantage of requiring a 4-health target. Chaos Boon can actually work quite well with Challenge Seeker to make your attacks more accurate, but puts your fighters at even more risk of popping like balloons.
  • Shadeglass Hammer/Dagger/Heroslayer/Daemonic Weapon/Fated Blade: If you don’t want to keep adding +1 damage to Jagathras stabby knife attack, you could just kit her our with a heftier weapon altogether. There are several upgrades capable of doing 3+ damage, and even more I haven’t mention capable of doing two. Shoutout to Nullstone spear for the added range!
  • Twist the Knife/Trap/Pit Trap/Inspired Attack/Whip into a Frenzy: There are also several ploys you can use to boost your damage. Twist the Knife has the advantage of making sure your kill will score objectives that require your fighter to have taken the target out of action. Trap and Pit Trap can be used with ranged attacks. Be wary, there are multiple reactions (including Snirks inspire) that can take precedence over Pit Trap. Both can be blocked by Aggressive Defence. Inspired Attack has to be used before the dice are rolled, but is unrestricted AND boosts your fighters accuracy. Whip into a Frenzy can be a risky one, but it’s worth noting that this can be combo’d with My Turn . It can also be used to trigger your own Crown of Avarice.
  • Lethal Strike: If you’re rolling lots of dice, you can use this to one shot even the tankiest of fighters. Just remember multiplication happens before addition, Jagathra will not do 4 damage if you use Lethal Strike!
  • Encroaching Shadow/Lethal Ward: If you want to pepper your opponents into lethal range without committing a charge, these ploys will let you ping damage onto an opponent from across the board. They will also make Gitz regret scoring Calculated Risk.
  • Reflected Injury: Combo this card with a charge through a lethal hex to get that last point of damage onto your opponent!

Accuracy

As much as I love blaming my dice, it’s a bad deck that relies solely on two smash and 3 fury attacks to win the day. Let’s make certain we hit!

  • Challenge Seeker/Light Armour/Potion of Rage/Path to Glory/Haymaker/Determined Effort/Oathsworn Attack/Inspired Attack: More dice means more hits right? Well usually it does, and the most important advantage is the higher chance to critically succeed your attack. These cards combo exceptionally well with Concealed Weapon and Lethal Strike (or even cards like Fighters Ferocity should you want to add even more crit worship to your deck). Just be wary of the awkward interaction between Path to Glory and Challenge Seeker!
  • Prized Vendetta/Awakened Weapon/Fuelled by Fury: Re-rolls are another nice mechanic to increase our accuracy. Prized Vendetta and Fuelled by Fury especially combo well with cards that add dice, as they let you re-roll every dice you attacked with. Make a 5 dice attack a 10 dice attack if you end up re-rolling all of them!
  • Spritbond/Helpful Whispers: Adding supports becomes more valuable the more dice you are rolling (to a point, remember 3 non-critical successes is no different from 2). Spiritbond also allows supports on defence rolls as well, so can be used as a pseudo-defensive item.
  • Upper Hand: Upper Hand allows you to tip a tie in your favour. Ever rolled a single critical success and used the phrase “only a crit will save you.” I have. Mike always crits. Well with this card you can wipe the smug smile off of Mike’s your opponents face. Additionally (although there is still some contention about what constitutes a tie in Underworlds) if you miss your attack, and your opponent subsequently fails their defence roll, the results are tied 0-0. This means you can play Upper Hand!
  • Rising to the Challenge/Army of One: If your approach to underworlds is kill AND be killed then these extra dice cards might be attractive to you. I respect your balls to the wall approach to this game. Run Pure Carnage. Blood for the Blood God! Are you sure you shouldn’t be playing Reavers?

Speed

Last but certainly not least is speed. You NEED to make it to your opponent. If your entire strategy comes undone versus a long board setup then your deck has failed. Make sure you can cover the distance between yourself and the enemy no matter how hard they try to hide. These cards also can help you score Cover Ground, so there’s a payoff beyond just getting to smash skulls that are far away.

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I’d make this bigger if I could

  • Spectral Wings/Tantalising Prize/Sprint: These cards improve your move characteristic for the next turn. Spectral Wings is the least restrictive and needs to be in every aggro deck hoping to take the fight to control decks. The other two can further expand your mobility and reduce your reliance on spectral wings alone.
  • Sidestep/Mirror Move/Commanding Stride: These cards allow you to shuffle your fighters closer to the enemy in the power step, sometimes preventing the need for a charge all together. Sidestep next to an enemy that’s already charged and you have the rest of the turn to beat them to a pulp!
  • Distraction: Rather than moving closer to the enemy, you can move the enemy closer to you. Or into a Lethal Hex. Or off of an objective. Distraction is gold.
  • Centre of Attention/Irresistible Prize: These cards are slightly harder to use but can serve the purpose of distraction and sidestep simultaneously if the right circumstances line up. They require a bit more practice but can have big payouts when you use these cards to close two hex gaps.
  • Hidden Paths: I’ve never felt the need to cut this from a deck. You can cross the entire board with this card, you can dodge away from enemies or move into fights. Drawing this towards the end of a game can be frustrating if no one is on an edge, but into control decks this card is a godsend.
  • Great Speed/Legendary Swiftness/Sprinter: You should know why Sprinter is underlined(NSFW).
  • Faneway Crystal: This card can be a bit hit and miss, however it is another way for your fighters traverse an entire board to land an attack on an enemy. It also helpfully lands you on an objective making you accidentally-on-purpose win tiebreakers.

Whilst Damage, Accuracy and Speed form the core function of…well…any aggro deck, there are plenty of other tricks you can slip in to help stack the odds in your favour.

  • Ready for Action: This one’s a given. Not strictly a damage power card but can land you an extra attack. Not strictly a movement card but can get you into (or out of) any situation you want (or don’t want) to be part of.
  • My Turn/Aggressive Defence: Following down the extra attack action route, these cards allow you to attemp a second swipe at the enemy. You just have to take damage first. If you run My Turn, it’s best you run a couple of ploys to trigger this yourself (Shattering Terrain being my preferred example). If you run Aggressive Defence, a combination of ploys to help you survive lethal damage wouldn’t go amiss. Speaking of which..
  • Last Chance/Dark Destiny Rebound: Each of these cards lets you survive lethal damage on a dice roll, with Last Chance being the most likely to go off, and Rebound being the lest likely. Rebound has the added bonus of making your opponent question why they bothered sitting down to play the game in the first place.
  • Tome of Offerings/Crown of Avarice: Not enough glory in your objective deck? Bang some in your power deck as well! Tome rewards killing, and Avarice rewards dying. You’ll be doing both, so take your pick. Just remember that a) Tome of Offerings is restricted and b) You can trigger Crown of Avarice yourself with ploys (not with lethal hexes).
  • Duel of Wits/Improvisation: Draw power has gone from being overrated to underrated (in my opinion). Having access to 7-8 power cards in a turn fundamentally gives you more options than your opponent, plus you don’t have to use an activation to get them. Just remember with gambit spells seeing play that these will not trigger Duel of Wits.
  • Dark Darts/Mutating Maul: Extra backup cleave to make sure What Armour? gets scored.

Get those Creative Juices Flowing!

Even without entertaining objective or magical play there are a huge number of options the Godsworn Hunt have, making building a deck for them incredibly rewarding! If you fancy using a card I haven’t mentioned then try it, and let me know what’s worked for you!

For an example deck check out the one I took to the UKGE here! Someohow it went undefeated!

My overarching advice when building a deck is try not to restrict yourself. Try to limit including cards that you only want to see Turn 1, or Turn 3. I personally don’t like including cards that are fighter specific in case the fighter dies. Make sure the core functions you want the power deck to perform are being achieved before adding in other tricks. You won’t want to draw Crown of Avarice if you haven’t yet managed to get Grundann to 4 damage! Most of all build a deck you enjoy playing, and can even enjoy losing with.

Because this article is now longer than Mollogs massive memclub I’m going to go over strategy and playstyle for Godsworn in more detail in Part 2. Keep your eyes peeled for my next article, the intervening time will be spent dodging Mikes belt as I desperately try to contribute something to our awesome community.

Much Love! Wish me luck for the Grand Clash this weekend and if anyone wants to talk shop please come drink mango cider with me! I hope I have the…

Upper Hand

Tom

x

(The card puns will never stop)

 

 

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