Note: This is an archived news article. The information and links are likely out of date.

Of Cannibalism and Cave Goblins

Friday Starter Set Faction Highlight

Happy Friday everyone!

It's that wonderful time of week again, that happy day where I get to post my latest ramblings on a faction. This week, I thought we'd complete one starter set by talking about the Cave Goblins. I honestly don't see too many people play them in my area, which is a sad thing, because these guys are a great deal of fun and very rewarding to play, if you know what you're doing.

Oh, and same deal as last week, I'm only talking about the original cave goblins set, we'll cover their reinforcements as later. So, without any further ado...

Who Should (and Shouldn't) Play the Goblins?

I think the Goblins are a little tricky to play and win with, so they may not be the best choice to learn the game initially, but anyone who likes to overwhelm and be able to outsummon their opponent in terms of sheer numbers will like these guys. If you want tough sturdy commons, then Goblins are not for you. They die almost as quickly as they are summoned if you are incautious.

Basic Play: Commons

Let's just start with saying most of the normal rules about commons do not apply to Cave Goblins. Most of the time, you want to be careful about how many commons you have on the board, or be dumping them constantly for champions. That is most definitely not the case with the Cave Goblins. We'll talk more in depth about that when we get to their events. One big caution about the Cave Goblins commons: due to their fragility, you have to be very careful not to feed your opponent easy magic. Zero cost or not, every single unit you have is valuable and should not be thrown away lightly.

My least favorite common is the Slinger. He's got a negative ability says he only hits on a 4+. However, he is a ranged zero cost common, and that becomes important later, he ends up actually being worth playing more often than you might think.

I love Beserkers. They seem so hardy even though they only have two health. Expect them to be big targets for your opponent, swinging with two dice and the ability to attack all adjacent units is scary. These guys make great distraction units, but they're also handy to break up a small knot of commons that is in your way. The one problem is they cost two magic, and if you play too many of them, you'll really struggle to summon champions later in the game if you're not burning all your commons for magic (which you shouldn't).


The humble fighter is really the all-star of the commons for a simple reason. He attacks after all your normal attacks and his attacks don't count towards your total number of attacks. This is craziness! And he's free! Try not to waste these guys, it's easy to think of them as expendable because they are zero cost, but they're really important to having an overall successful game with the goblins.

Advanced Play: Events

Now, this is where the Cave Goblins are unbelievable. They have all unique events, and they are all extremely useful. First rule, you should not burn these for magic except in the most dire of circumstances. Second rule: these are what make your puny zero cost slingers and fighters into amazing devastating fighters. Well, for a turn at least.

Goblin Rush lets you move 3 zero cost units up to two spaces, and it doesn't count as your move. This card by itself is scary, since you can then move them again, or you can move another three units, so you can get more attacks in that turn.

However, if you pair it with Goblin Rage, which lets all your zero cost goblins attack twice in a turn, it's just ridiculous. So you can bum rush an opponent, then let all your units attack twice.

But, that's not all, next you can toss in a Goblin Horde attack that gives all goblins an extra dice for each goblin adjacent to that target. These three events together can let you pull down just about any unit, given decent positioning.

Goblin Invincibility

Finally, you've got one copy of Goblin Invincibility. I've wished many times for more copies of this card. This card can help you get in position to launch the above big combo, or it can help you survive a withering assault long enough to launch a counter attack. It can encourage you to play bold with your summoner and take big moves because you know he won't die that easily.

Advanced Play: Champions and Summoner

With Cave Goblins, you're probably only going to get one or two champions out in a game, but that's okay, it's all part of the playstyle. Most of the time, you are going to primarily be using dead enemies as magic, so be aware of your limits when you summon a champion.

Cave Goblin champions seem to be a little controversial, people really love one or two of them and usually hate the other one. So, I'm a huge fan of the Eater, but in the early days of summoner wars, I saw a lot of people who didn't like him on the forums, so try out the champions and see who you like best.

The Eater

For me, the Eater is just a beast. He shreds commons. Just don't use him against a champion heavy player, because then he'll have to eat your commons, and that's not fun. It's fun when he eats Dwarves. That makes the Eater happy.

Mook seems to be really popular with some people, but I've just never really liked him. He does make your commons attacks hit more, so he can play a pretty handy role in helping them destroy your opponent, especially if he's in range of your commons during a big event play.

Blarf is my least favorite champion, but he can have up to a four attack if you've got the magic for it. The problem is, if he dies, all that magic goes to your opponent, and we all know that everything in summoner wars dies eventually. If you're going to play him, make sure your goblins strike the killing blow when he's low health, don't let your opponent have that magic!

Using Sneeks properly is the mark of a truly skilled Goblins player. Often, because of his sly ability, he can be used to take down tough units and kill anyone your commons are having trouble with eliminating. Comboing a well timed sly with Goblin invincibility can be a game ender if you can sly next to a weakened summoner. He can really end up functioning like a champion for you, especially early on in the game.


I think of the Goblins as a one big turn faction. There's usually a turning point in a game with them if you play right, where you can just totally give your foe such a devastating blow that he can't quite recover. If you miss that turn, or don't have enough units left to take advantage of an opening because you haven't played cautiously, you'll likely lose; your commons just can't stand toe to toe with the other enemy. So be a goblin and don't stand toe to toe with them, sneak up behind them and hit them with a rock!