The Sand Goblins! Highlighted recently in our Friday Faction Highlight, you learned the basics of each unit and event card. Now, here's some further thoughts on Krusk's advanced strategies:
Krusk's Base Deck
- Mirage allows you to summon during your event phase, so use it to move a wall (or two) up to the front lines all of the sudden and summon a champion for an immediate attack during that turn when your opponent doesn't expect it. 90% of it's power comes in the fact that you can move or place a wall first, then summon a unit. Perfect for an opposing summoner getting more aggressive than is wise.
- Taunt is best for mucking up your opponent's plans. Just look at what your opponent is trying to do and see how Taunt can screw with it. For example, in my last game my opponent had some weaker Swamp Orc commons near his swamp walls so I either had to get hit by them or help him grow his swamp... I just taunted them away from the walls and killed them... three different times.
- Duck and Cover is hardly ever useful. Don't bother inventing plans for it. Build it for magic immediately unless you're playing against the Benders or you see an awesome use out of nowhere.
- Shamans, compared to commons in other factions, are definitively under-priced. Summon lots of them, but have an immediate use for each one. Contrary to popular opinion, DO use Escape if it will save them for a second attack, because 1 card for escape is cheaper than 2 cards (1 magic and the Shaman itself) for summoning a new one, especially if you've gotten your Shaman deep into enemy territory. And a two-dice ranged attack is a great deal for 1 card.
- Your Champions are awesome. You should be summoning all three every game without trouble because all your units are cheap. If you don't find them easy to summon, you're not building enough magic. Hold Kreep/Biter until you get Silts if possible. Silts can help the other two overcome their weaknesses. Use them together as a team (using Cunning to get Biter/Kreep out of trouble and get more attacks in vs. a Champion). Finally, a way to foil those confounded Defenders! If Silts is at the very bottom of the deck, Biter can do some damage on his own, but make sure he has a use his first turn (likely in combination with Mirage) because otherwise your opponent can anchor him with puny commons before he does anything worthwhile. Never send Kreep out alone. An effective Silts + Biter/Kreep tagteam is one of the most demoralizing situations for an opponent to deal with in Summoner Wars.
- Make sure to always have and maintain at least four magic in your magic pile by your second or third turn, so your opponent will have to sweat out whether you're gonna bring out a Champion at all times.
- Sandstorm is a powerful ability, and another reason you need to keep your magic pile stocked. Always be on the lookout for creative uses. Not just moving opponents into range; sometimes you'll move your units toward the opponent, or sometimes you'll move an opponent's unit to reveal an otherwise protected unit. The cleverest Sandstorm use of all is to crowd your opponent's walls; not just with your units but even with their own units, so that they can't bring any new units onto the field.
And Next, We Discuss Reinfor-Oh look, something Shiny!
Many Summoners dislike Scavengers and Shiny (which grants a 2 attack value boost to Scavengers that have cards under them). I love them, but they don't work against every faction. If you're playing the Jungle Elves, Shadow Elves, or Cloaks, don't even bother. Build all your Scavengers and Shinys for magic because they can make your Scavenger with five cards under him disappear instantly via events. (If Grognack actually wastes a Freeze card on a Scavenger, kill the Scavenger yourself. The joke's on Grognack.) If you're not facing any of these factions, Scavengers can be effective. Here's how:
- Go first if possible, and attempt to kill your starting Shaman with one of your starting Scavengers (preferably the one towards the middle). Shamans are great, but that one's way out of the action, and there's plenty of cheap Shamans left in your deck. Then, kill any of your other starting Commons when they're wounded to keep loading up.
- Once you've got two or three cards under your Scavenger, send him out to where all the action is. As long as you have other units around, your opponent will hardly ever be able to afford attacking the Scavenger, since it does him/her almost no good, especially since the Scavenger rolls one measly melee die on attacks. This is especially true with high attack value units, since their attack is more wasteful vs. a loaded Scavenger than a lower attack value would be. In the meantime, give your Scavenger a chance at cheap kills whenever the opportunity arises. Ideally you end up with four or five cards under him.
- Once you're loaded up, charge that Summoner, Wall, or troublesome Champion. Use Shiny, perhaps two turns in a row, to get some major hits in. Is it an efficient strategy? I have no idea. Is it tons of fun for you and really annoying to your opponent? Most definitely.
The Sand Goblins are CHEAP and RESOURCEFUL. They get by on the minimum amount of magic while their units last an outrageously long time. The Scavenger embodies these principals. Don't listen to those armchair Summoners telling you Scavengers are worthless. Krusk has chosen them for his army, and he demands Shininess!
Something Reeks, and It Ain't Reeker
First off, I'm disappointed that the Goblins got ripped off again and denied a reinforcement pack title. Who wouldn't want to pick up a copy of Stink's Lucky Stench? Heck, it could be the title for a Disney Channel Original Movie. Nonetheless, here's some ideas for your Taliya's Spirit reinforcements.
- Bombers and Slayers are exciting units. But which commons to take out for them? Despite my impassioned tribute to Scavengers above, take out all 5 in-deck Scavengers. The reason is that any Scavenger damage you're going to do is going to be done with the two Scavengers that start on the board, especially if you load one of them up during the first turn. Their whole schtick is that they can survive the whole game; you don't need any more.
- Stink seems quite expensive for what you get. The key to remember is that he's not meant to experience much combat at all. The longer he lives, the more times his Lucky ability is used and the better the investment you've made. Hide him in the back. Only use him to help support an attack. Don't take anyone on by yourself.
- To get the most out of Stink, maximize his ability's use by rolling dice as often as possible. For example, Stink makes a Silts-less Kreep viable, reducing his Cowardly tendancies from 33% to 11%. Also, go crazy on the Sandstorms, reducing the risk of harming your own unit to 25% while increasing the odds of hurting an opponent to 75%. Be sure to throw in some Bombers who can now give you the desired result more often, thanks to our pal Stink. The great thing about Stink is, you choose to use his power after seeing your dice roll results, so you can always save his power for the most high-leverage situation of the turn.
- In a Summoner Wars meta-game where Champions and low unit counts are the status quo, Tark is a major advantage for the Sand Goblins. Save him for the endgame or keep him away from your opponent's walls (because new units won't be affected by his ability). Conceal doesn't work against Summoners, but when facing Summoners who can't do their dirty work themselves because they're low on life or they're Prince Elien, endgame Tark is the piece you need to put your opponent in checkmate.
There's no perfect combination of champions for the Sand Goblins. They're all strong. You should never build a deck with Kreep without including either Silts or Stink; however, other than that, just go by what sounds fun and what matches your playstyle. I didn't discuss Sand Wyrm but of course Silts helps him out as well, since using Cunning doesn't count as moving a space.
The most important aspect of playing the Sand Goblins isn't strategy; it's attitude. Sand Goblin players thumb their noses at the Summoner Wars royalty elitists. Those snobs have gotten by all these years with luxuries like Magic Drain and Summoning Surge and Chant of Haste. Sand Goblins take the abilities and events that other Factions didn't want, and they win with them. It's been tough surviving in a dry, dry dessert, and frankly, it's made the Sand Goblins thirsty... for dwarf blood! Feeling parched yet?