Master Set Faction Highlight: the Sand Goblins
Happy Friday everyone!
Today we've got yet another one of my favorite new factions from the master set, the Sand Goblins. I've had a lot of fun with these guys, even tied for second in a local tournament with them. The Sand Goblins are absolutely fun to play and combine some nasty tricks with some very hardy units.
Who Should (and Shouldn't) Play the Sand Goblins?
I honestly have trouble imagining someone who wouldn't like playing the Sand Goblins who also likes Summoner Wars, but I suppose they must exist. People who really like straightforward factions with no tricks, just large beatsticks, won't really get a lot of pleasure out of the Sand Goblins. The big catch with two of three of the Sand Goblins champions is the specialized drawbacks they have. On the other hand, if you like a faction with a couple of tricky things you can do, but also with very sturdy and low magic cost units, you will absolutely love the Sand Goblins.
Basic Play: Commons
Every single common costs one magic! Now, you'll have to fight the temptation to common swarm, because that will get you into trouble, remember to build magic, even if you don't want to because you don't want to burn that shaman.
Speaking of Shamans, wow these guys are great. So, generally speaking, a common with a two attack value and a 1 cost is going to be my friend because I like to play a combo army that uses both commons and champions, so cheap two attack commons are great. The Shaman comes with something that's even more fun though, the ability to escape! These guys are great for potshots or maneuvering for a strike, but don't be afraid to just use them as a distraction either. I've noticed they tend to take an inordinate amount of fire because of their attack and escape abilities.
Javelineers are just a solid unit, their ranged protection is handy depending on the faction you're facing, but a two health ranged unit for 1 is a great deal, so don't be afraid to use these guys. They tend to be ignored on the battlefield, so use them to be pingers, and they do take a bit of attacks to take them down because of the two health, so they also make a nice distraction if you have an opponent who goes after them.
Scavengers are really, really situational. They don't help you get magic, but they can be really annoyingly hard to kill if you set up a couple of kills for them. If you're up against a high toughness faction, I don't know if I would bother with these guys, they tend to go right into my magic pile. If you can manage to combine them with the Event Shiny, they can suddenly turn into a threat, but I've only had that happen once. I usually burn both the scavenger and shiny for magic. But that's okay, because you'll need magic for those lovely champions.
Advanced Play: Events
The Sand Goblins have two awesome events and two adequate events. Shiny and Duck and Cover are both really situational. You may have occasional use for them, but most of the time, they make for great magic pile discards. However, the other two events the Sand Goblins have are unbelievably fun.
Mirage lets you heal 3 points of damage on the walls and reposition your walls. Time this right and you can totally mess up your opponent's plans. I almost never burn this for magic, it's worth holding to use later.
Finally, the best event the Sand Goblins have in their arsenal is Taunt! Now, obviously if you're playing against a player who relies solely on his champions, burn this for magic, it only works on commons, but if it's a hybrid player who uses commons to or the rare commons heavy player, this card is fantastic. You can use it to do so many things, you can pull defending units out of the way to let your Shamans peg their Summoner, or you can expose a champion who thinks he is shielded by commons and let your units can gang up on him. This card has so many uses it's truly tough to suggest them all.
Advanced Play: Champions
Now, the champions for the Sand Goblins are definitely the all-stars of the faction. If you're not using at least two of these guys at a time while you're playing the Sand Goblins, you're doing it wrong. These champions all have fantastic synergy, it's best if you can get all three out and use them to control the battlefield.
Two of the champions are very similar: Kreep and Biter both have a 3 attack, 4 cost, and 6 health. That's right, three attacks for four magic. You should be dancing with glee. Yes, they both have a negative ability, but that's okay, because if you use them right, you won't care! Kreep is a coward and has a chance of running away, Biter won't run away unless he's killed his unit. Of the two, I like Biter the best, because if I'm attacking a unit with a champion, it's supposed to die. Kreep is okay, you just have to be a little careful with him to make sure he doesn't run away. Make his attacks count and don't let him get swarmed and you'll be fine.
Finally, you have Silts. Silts takes Kreep and Biter and turns them into powerhouses because he can switch places with them (or any other unit) once per turn if they are next to each other. Silts makes all kinds of shenanigans possible, whether it's chaining attacks (Kreep attacks, Silts switches with him, then attacks the same target and making sure Kreep doesn't run away), or Silts can switch places with an enemy unit to pull him into attack range of a shaman or your champions. Be creative! Silts is definitely a blast to use. If you've built magic properly, getting all three of these guys out shouldn't be a problem.
With these champions, Sand Goblins have a great late game, and with the sturdy commons, they match up really well against just about every other faction. The biggest thing to remember with them is not to sacrifice your champions, losing a champion hurts them a lot, because their champions like being together, a lone sand goblin champion is a sad sand goblin champion, and usually a dead one too.