Saturday, 16 March 2013

Golgari Aggro

It has been a little while since I last posted anything about Magic, but since my last post I've made a few steps forward in terms of knowing what's good and what's not, and I've moved away from trying to run a BUG deck and right now I've just been focussing on a BG Aggro deck. I prefer to call it "Golgari Aggro" personally. Others like "Kibler's BG Aggro", but naming after one (albeit quite famous) guy that did well with the deck, even though it was around before him, doesn't seem very fitting to me. Then over on MTG Salvation they've been calling it "The Plague", and that's fair enough, but I reckon "Golgari" is a pretty sweet name, and if we can have "Bant Control", "Jund Midrange" or "Naya Humans" then why can't we have "Golgari Aggro"?

Anyway, names aren't too importat I guess. What matters is that it's all the same thing really, and it all works the same.

The Loltroll

The decklist below is made of cards that I currently own. There are still a few cards that I need, and I'll run through those later too, but even without them I'm very happy with the deck.

Golgari Aggro
Land (22)
8x Forest
4x Golgari Guildgate
4x Overgrown Tomb
2x Swamp
4x Woodland Cemetery

Creatures (26)
4x Arbor Elf
3x Deadbridge Goliath
1x Deathrite Shaman
4x Dreg Mangler
4x Experiment One
4x Lotleth Troll
4x Strangleroot Geist
2x Wolfir Avenger

Instants and Sorceries (8)
2x Abrupt Decay
2x Increasing Savagery
2x Tragic Slip
2x Ultimate Price

Other Spells (4)
4x Rancor

Sideboard (15)
2x Dryad Militant
3x Duress
2x Golgari Charm
1x Ground Seal
1x Murder
1x Pithing Needle
2x Silklash Spider
3x Vampire Nighthawk

The main point of the deck is to set up an aggro, but very resilient creature base. Against other aggro decks this gives you the opportunity to either race or play a little more like a control deck, using your creatures to block but not losing any of them mostly thanks to Regenerate/being bigger than most aggro decks can handle, as well as having a bunch more removal than your standard RDW deck. After you take control of the board, creatures like the Lotleth Troll can cause some serious problems and you can usually beat them down in a couple of turns. Against control decks, the deck can come swinging quite easily early game but has a dangerous late-game too, and cards like Supreme Verdict really are quite sub-par against this kind of a deck. Control decks usually just can't handle such a resilient board.

The mana base is still being tweeked a little. I'm mostly trying to work out whether I need the swamps or not and how many Guildgates I should be running. Right now I'm quite happy with the Guildgates, they haven't caused me any issues thus far and it's another dual-land, which is really helpful. The only reason I'm running any swamps at all is because of the Nighthawks and Murder in the sideboard, which both have double-black casting costs.

The creatures, as mentioned, are mostly chosen because of their resilience. The only exceptions to this are those that bring major utility to the deck, like Arbor Elf and Deathrite Shaman. Those that aren't resilient and that have no utility in this deck have the added benefit of being useful in the graveyard because of Scavenge, which is an incredibly powerful and relevant late-game mechanic.

Of the creatures, I've been extremely impressed with all of them except Wolfir Avenger. Sure, he has Regenerate which is what this deck wants, but that's about it. Flash is hardly very useful on him and generally the best that happens is that I Flash him in at the end of my opponent's turn, swing next turn for 3 and then feel obliged to leave 2 mana open so I can Regen him. He's only still in the deck because I have nothing better to do with those slots.

I still need to get myself 4x Predator Ooze, who really is the main creature card in this deck. It's almost impossible to remove, and it doesn't even require mana left open for it. The Avengers will be cut when I get the Oozes, and I'll have to find a couple of other cards to drop too. I also wouldn't mind another Deathrite Shaman or two, and I'm still thinking on Ulvenwald Tracker as a 2-of.

The spells are mostly about the removal. Black has access to some of the best removal around and Abrupt Decay is, in my opinion, the best removal in standard. Rancor is an obvious inclusion. It provides evasion and better swinging potential. Increasing Savagery is just something I'm trying out in the deck. Its Flashback makes it incredible if the game drags on or you get mana flooded and it's basically a Deadbridge Goliath with haste. I'm not 100% on it though, because I haven't tested it a whole lot, but I think it'll work out nicely.

My sideboard is still a little awkward. Murder is there because it's the only removal without any restrictions that I have access to, but it's still a toss-up between that and another type of removal. The only cards I'm completely sold on thus far are the Vampire Nighthawks, Duresses and Golgari Charms. The Nighthawks are incredible against aggro and the other two are beyond useful in control match-ups. A bit of the sideboard is dedicated to Unburial Rites match-ups and the Silklash Spiders were suggested for when I run into some trouble flying creatures, as well as being fat bodies and making for some nice blockers. I'm not sold on them yet though because I haven't found a match in which I'd want to side them in.

"Hey there sexy..."
I also want to try out some Grisly Salvages. I might try a pair over the Wolfir Avengers and see how they go.

So there are still some bumps to iron out and whatnot, but even now the deck is really solid. Golgari Aggro is a serious thing, I reckon.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Monday, 4 March 2013

Why does this keep happening to me?

As some of you may know from a previous post I made, some people have a tendency to mistake my blog for something it most definitely is not. The latest one luckily hasn't quite caught on yet, but whoever searched it was looking for a pretty specific blog, and one that doesn't even exist at that (curiousity made me look it up, don't you judge me...).

Doesn't exist, sorry guys :'(


Friday, 1 March 2013

Tactica: Skaven Magic

Magic is incredibly important in Warhammer, and Skaven have some of the most dangerous magic in the game. Maybe not the best casters, but if the Dreaded 13th isn't terrifying to the likes of Warriors of Chaos, all the elf variants and just about every elite unit and character ever, nothing is. The only thing that really lets Skaven magic down is the lack of a lore attribute which all of the newer books get, as well as lack of access to the lores in the rulebook.


Spells of Ruin

You really can't go wrong with the Spells of Ruin. All of the spells are powerful in there own right and you'll rarely run into a situation in which you end up with a useless spell, but they're not all always useful. For example Howling Warpgale isn't any good against armies without shooting but wrecks Wood Elves and Dwarfs and Cracks Call isn't so great against any of the elves but annihilates Orcs and Goblins, Dwarfs, Undead and anything else with low initiative. In situations where you get a spell you don't need, just swap them out for the Dreaded 13th or Warp Lightning for your Grey Seers and Warlock Engineers respectively!


1. Skitterleap

Skitterleap is a pretty powerful spell really. It has some solid synergy with some of our more powerful items like the Doomrocket by Skitterleaping an Engineer on the flank of an army, it lets your characters disappear from combat if it's too dangerous or you can use it to cause serious issues with their movement phase with Warlock Engineers that you no longer need. You can use Engineers in this manner in basically the same way an elf player uses Great Eagles: place him on an angle an inch away from the unit so they have to charge him. Sacrifice the useless! Such is the Skaven way.

I'd almost never swap out Skitterleap unless I absolutely needed other spells, but that's not often. For only a 5+ to cast, it's just too good.

2. Warp Lightning

People take level 1 Warlock Engineers just for this spell. Warp-energy Condensor makes it even more powerful. It's incredible for removing chaff, light cavalry, hitting lone characters or models, and just in general causing some damage. An all-round good spell with a low casting value.

3. Howling Warpgale

One of the more situational spells, as mentioned. If you find yourself against any kind of missile-based gunline, it can be well worth it. Otherwise it's probably better swapped out for the 13th or Warp Lightning.

4. Death Frenzy

Turns Slaves into killing machines when you need to. Clanrats and Stormvermin too. Really, a nice spell to have, but not always as fantastic as other spells. If you don't see yourself using it during the game, just swap it out.

5. Scorch

Another damage spell, and a pretty interesting one at that. It's nearly double the casting cost of Warp Lightning and has one less strength, but it will hit more guys, doesn't hurt you on the roll of a one, has Flaming and causes a Panic Test if they take a single wound. I definitely think it's worth it. The main thing to remember with this one is that it [i]does not scatter[/i] because it says [i]place[/i] the template anywhere within 24". That's what really makes it good.

6. Cracks Call

A very powerful spell against low Initiative armies and units, and especially dangerous to War Machines. I'd even keep it over Howling Warpgale against High Elves (but not Wood Elves or Dark Elves; their shooting is far more powerful than High Elf shooting) for the chance you might snipe a character with it. It's also ridiculously powerful against Ogres. And when combined with Skitterleap. And especially when combined with Skitterleap against Ogres...

Spells of Plague

I'm going to be honest with you: the only reason Spells of Plague is even worth considering is because of Wither and Plague. Most of the spells are trash, but those two are so incredibly powerful it still makes it worth trying. It's a gamble, but it pays off when you get one or both of those spells.


1. Pestilent Breath

Meh. No armour allowed makes is nice, and it is cheap and has the potential to hit a bunch of guys, but it's nowhere near as flexible or powerful as Skitterleap and other similarly costed spells. Nice with Wither, though, especially being only S2.

2. Bless With Filth

The third best spell in the lore in my opinion, and the second cheapest to cast. Poisoned Attacks can really help your weak Skaven get some more wounds on. Very nasty against monsters. Especially if you manage to get Skavenslaves into them.

3. Wither

Probably the most subtly over-powered spell in the game. Dropping a big unit of High Elf Spearmen to T2 is just plain nasty. Ogre's only real survivability comes from their Toughness, but hit them with Wither and suddenly they're as easy to wound as Clanrats. It's a mean spell and not one to be underestimated.

4. Vermintide

This is my least favourite spell in the game, to be quite honest. 3D6 hits is nice, for sure, and you can hit a good number of units, but they don't ignore armour and the damage really ends up being very negligible when all is said and done. At least Pestilent Breath goes straight through 2+ armour saves. Not worth casting over other spells really.

5. Cloud of Corruption

A reasonable spell for a Plague Priest to have, seeing as he's the only Wizard you want that close that has access to the Spells of Plague. Skaven are meant to die. Get used to it. Just remember that every model of theirs is worth at least 2-3 of yours, if not more, so losing a few of your own guys for some of theirs is always a worthy trade.

6. Plague

A very, very powerful damage spell. Like, incredible. I'd put it second only to the Dreaded 13th in terms of the damage it can cause. The spell can backfire, but as long as you're thinking the way a Skaven general should, you won't care!

Story time!

I cast Wither on a unit of Dwarf Great Beards, then hit them with Plague in the same phase. Over half of the 30 models in the unit went down, the spell then bounced to a nearby Organ Gun and scored a wound, then it bounced to another Organ Gun and caused a wound, then a Cannon and also caused a wound, before finally hitting my own unit of 20-odd Clanrats with Warlord and Plague Priest, bringing the entire unit down to 3 Clanrats, the Warlord and a wounded Plague Priest. Needless to say, I've never had a more successful magic phase!

The Dreaded Thirteenth Spell

Time for more honesty I think, which is quite hard for me, being the mighty Skaven general that I am, but here goes: the Dreaded 13th is OP. Get used to it. In fact, love it. I do. Don't like having incredibly powerful spells? Maybe you're better suited to Ogres, because you're clearly not thinking like a rat.

Anyway, there's really no subtle tactics with this. We go from sneaky one-dicing Skitterleap for some cool movement tricks of setting up bombs, to just pointing at something, throwing 6 dice at the table, removing the previously pointed at unit and placing some more Clanrats that can kill stuff and offer up no Victory Points to the enemy.

A few tips:
  • Small, expensive units (Chaos Chosen, Swordmasters, Wardancers, Grave Guard) are the best target for the Dreaded 13th
  •  The Clanrats from the Dreaded 13th offer no Victory Points to the opponent and are essentially worthless, treat them as such (i.e. throw them at things to keep them away from your Grey Seer, use them to redirect, anything is viable)
  •  The Clanrats from the Dreaded 13th can be given any kit, so always place a unit with Shields and Full Command
  • Take the Dreaded 13th on your Grey Seer every single game unless facing Ogres. Nothing is as valuable.