This week I'll discuss Grungor's Charge, Rukar’s Power’s contemporary.
First, let’s look at the Mercenaries.
When it comes to Malevolence, she started out as a cost 5! By the time I actually played her though, she was already up to 6. Once she attacked twice, she was basically Grungor or Blagog, but if she didn’t, she was better. However, she offered a high Attack Value option for the Fallen Kingdom and Vanguards, at a steep price and continued damage to herself. Those two decks also had some easy ways to heal Champions, which made her a great fit for Sera and Ret. Eventually she got bumped to 7 cost.
Now for Vermin.
Originally, they were 1/2 for just 1 Magic. Although Khan Queso was a great deal, I felt that these were too good as commons. Even if they swung at just one Unit, their expected wounds dealt to that Unit per turn were 1, which was equivalent to the PE Guardian, and these only cost 1! As long as players could avoid plaguing their own units, I could see them being in all sorts of decks, and getting production out of your Movement Phase was something that we hadn’t really experimented with. I suggested to Colby that they go up in cost or down in life; Bistro lobbied to reduce their life to 1 rather than up their cost. They were Vermin after all; he didn’t want them to cost as much as some of the elite troops out there. In the long run this seemed like a good call once other later Units allow you to get extra movement(s) out of them.
What about the title character? Grungor?
Aside from some minor wording tweaks, he didn’t really change at all. Again, as a 4/5 for 6, he pretty much always worked. With an expected damage of 2.67, he was slightly more effective than the Tundra Orcs’ Blagog for the same price, but cross faction comparisons don’t always work, and Blagog was usually on the lower end of the line anyway. Charge is a pretty neat ability here, because in order to use it, you have to give up his impressive attack of 4 dice. Joe K., a noted Championiphile suggested that a good deck would use Thorkur/Gror/Grungor.
And around then is when we realized that Thorkur was stupidly good. It made it very hard to price potentially interesting Champions like Tordok when Thorkur made you want to build your whole deck as Magic.
Tordok is a situational, but really neat Unit. He’s kind of a nonbo with the new Guardsmen, but great with Ballistas, or cuddling up with enemy walls with some adjacent Defenders. He works, and is the kind of Reinforcement Unit that I like to see- one that encourages you to play your deck new and differently, even if not ‘better.’
Halvor is kind of like Gruggar, an interesting experiment. He can rise to the occasion by placing wound markers on himself, or just putter around hitting commons. He’s not bad, really, but the GD just have so many great Champions that it’s hard to find a place for him.
I used to totally love Ballistas. I had a test deck called “Ballista Force 7” that had 7 Ballistas in it with Magos, Tordok, and Thorkur. The idea was to try really hard for that double Ballista-reinforce and overpower with tough ranged units. Did I mention that Ballistas used to be 2/3 for 3? Yeah, I guess that’s probably important. Since they were in a Reinforcements faction, we couldn’t really have a 3-cost common, even though we often found ourselves hard-summoning them for 3 anyway. The big beefy ballista rolled 2 dice against Units and 4 against Walls. Colby used them in his “Balls to the Walls” deck that ran Baldar/Malevolence/Grungor, and he liked them there too. Eventually we agreed to go 1/3 for 2, and we kind of missed them. They work fine, and are more specialized now. In a way, Bolvi’s upcoming Assault Towers kind of feel like old ballistas.
Not much to say about Guardsmen, which are vanilla but serviceable. In a faction that has Defenders, it’s hard to do this kind of unit right, but they’re fine, especially when cheated into play via events.
The Cave Goblins stand out to me as one of the groups of reinforcements that people were least excited about when they reached the public. Everyone wanted more 0-costers to replace the Berserkers in the stock Sneeks deck, and Mook set a hard act to follow in the Champion department. In test, Mook/Krag/Reeker was a very popular combo, especially if you took out Berserkers for more Slingers and Fighters.
Colby was pretty effective with a low-unit-count, high mobility deck that used Spear Grounders, Beast Riders, and Climbers to his advantage. Zero-cost Beast Riders would run into similar issues as Hasty Lioneers (which I'll discuss here next week), although I do think they might have been okay as a 1/2 for 1. It was our first exposure to the Rider mechanic, and we erred on the side of caution. Climbers are a unit that started out as a non-ranged 0-coster in design, but became Ranged due to how the art came back. The neat thing about them is that since your opponent often wants to kill as many units as possible, they might just leave your Climbers alone, happily crowding their wall.
Now that Frick brings Throw Rocks to the table, Climbers have some newfound uses. Without spoiling too much more, I’ll say that Frick’s deck will have Cave Goblin players eagerly tweaking decks, with both new units and old.