Summoner Wars Mega #7: Cave Goblins vs. Swamp Orcs
The free people of Itharia declared a national holiday when they heard about the Cave Goblins’ plan to invade Swamp Orc terrain, because these are two of the most ill-intentioned factions currently in possession of summoning stones — which makes this battle something of a freebie for the side of Good no matter how it turns out.
How did it turn out? I will say it wasn’t quite the steamrolling many people assumed it would be, though to get more than that you’ll need to read on.
Somerset: Sneeks of the Cave Goblins
The first time Dan and I ever played Summoner Wars, it was with me as the Guild Dwarves and Dan as the Cave Goblins. Here I was thinking I was doing all right, Gror was growling and knocking his hammer into the ground (that’s what I imagine him doing and then his legs fly up in the air because he has to hit that hard) goblins were flying into the air to splat onto the ground, then suddenly there was this plethora of little green boogers on my side of the board and Sneeks — that sly bastard — switched places with one of his minions and murdered Oldin. Two turns and my life — er, Oldin’s — was over. Lame. And cool too, I guess, now that I’m the Cave Goblins.
CG are tricky little bright green boogers. Fighters and Slingers cost 0 and two events empower these free commons to move farther (Goblin Rush) and attack twice (Goblin Rage). Of course, goblins aren’t very strong (all but one common have a single hit point) and Slingers are poor shots, so the strategy behind these little swarming devils is to plan an onslaught or three with at least two events in effect to overwhelm the enemy. Because CG have so many free units, normally the thing to do would be to crowd Dan’s walls, but playing against the Swamp Orcs with their ridiculous amount of vine walls will make that a challenge. To benefit from this excess of walls, I’ll be bringing all my Climbers to gain the advantage of only being hit on die rolls of 4+ when they’re adjacent to any wall. Being able to climb over walls won’t necessarily be of much help though, unless they’re climbing over original walls. I’m not really sure what strategy to employ here against a team so overwhelmingly more powerful than my own, other than to do what I’ve already said: get out a lot of free ones, swarm walls, and hold on to events to play at the opportune time. I guess it will be hard for Dan to get a lot of units out since they’re so pricey, but he usually has such good hand management that I really don’t see that being a problem for him.
I’m most concerned about those Savagers, boy I hate those guys. Up to five mini-champions if Dan really wanted to play his hand that way, but I guess that would be pretty hard to get out. Heck, I hate all the SO units, common and champion alike. All of them get some kind of perk from Vine Walls and I’m sure those will be growing all over the place. I suppose the thing to do is just block them.
I’m planning on taking Reeker because any time I can attack with more than three units is a plus. Scagg makes the cut because he gets a free hit on an adjacent enemy, and Krag is coming to move around those pesky vine walls on his way to do some damage to Mugglug (yeah right). I’m leaving out The Eater even though he’s such a sweetie, because I just don’t think I’ll be able to maneuver well enough to feed him properly. Hmm. Pretty sure I’m going to lose this one.
Somerset’s Cave Goblins deck (reference):
Krag, Reeker, Scagg
1 Berserker, 5 Climbers, 8 Fighters, 4 Slingers
Dan: Mugglug of the Swamp Orcs
The coming match will be a contest of the few versus the many: while the Cave Goblins love to deploy their hordes of rabble to crowd walls and play gang-up events, the Swamp Orcs are powerful hunters that are tough and vicious, but rarely numerous. Many people consider the Cave Goblins to be among the game’s weaker factions, but I live in absolute fear of having three of those little buggers surrounding a champion when Goblin Rage and Goblin Horde Attack have been activated. And their Summoner, Sneeks, isn’t to be taken lightly.
There are a couple excellent ways to counter the endless swarms. But before I get to that, I should probably explain my faction’s unique mechanic: Vine Walls.
See, whenever a unit dies adjacent to one of my Walls (whether my own or my enemy’s, and whether that Wall is a regular 9-life Wall or a weaker 2-life Vine Wall), a Vine Wall grows out of the corpse of the fallen. I also have three Vine Growth events to trigger the same thing without needing the corpse. These Vine Walls are different in that they’re more fragile, they can grow over onto the opponent’s side of the board (and permit me to summon over there too), when they’re destroyed they don’t go into a magic pile (they have a separate deck), and units can move across them. The problem isn’t moving onto them — that’s as easy as moving into any open space — but when a unit tries to leave, unless it’s one of my units with the “Vinemancer” tag in its ability, it has to roll. On anything lower than a 4, it’s trapped and wounded; 4+ and they can escape and move normally.
On the one hand, this is great if I can entangle a bunch of 1-life goblins. On the other, the Cave Goblins are possibly the game’s best wall-crowders. At least I’ll be able to step onto my own Vine Walls to fight back rather than just letting them chip away at my defenses until they fall, but I’m wary of my opponent’s tricks. I mentioned that there are some ways to counter them. Foremost among these is to lay out a horizontal wall of units across the entire map, thus not letting the goblins surround my units and take full advantage of their brutal events. Since most Swamp Orcs are expensive, I’ll be taking a larger number of Conjurers than I normally would, since they’re the cheapest 2-life unit the SO possess. I’ll also be bringing some Savagers and Swamp Beasts despite their high cost — Savagers because their Fear ability is an amazing way to deter hordes of commons; and Swamp Beasts because I’d love to get one or two behind enemy lines and let them die fighting, which then activates their Spore Carrier ability and places a brand new Vine Wall, which I can use as for its summoning spots on the following turn. I’ll also be bringing along a few of my vanilla Hunters and Shamans, and hoping to use them in my growing swamp to good effect.
My champion picks revolve around the fact that my commons are so expensive. The one pricey champ I’m bringing is Blerg, whose ability to heal or add to his attack is a great way to survive lots of little wounds. My other two champ picks are cheaper: Murk, who gets an extra attack against anyone adjacent to a Vine Wall, which sounds excellent against wall-hugging goblins; and Glarg, who becomes more powerful (and a ranged attacker) when he’s standing among vines. These are both dependent on a full thicket of Vine Walls, so I’ll definitely be spending some of the early game tending to my garden. This means I’ll probably be sacrificing a few of my own orcs as fertilizer.
Dan’s Swamp Orcs deck (reference):
Blerg, Glarg, Murk
5 Conjurers, 4 Hunters, 3 Savagers, 3 Shamans, 3 Swamp Beasts