A Few of My Favorite Tactics
Godtear is a very deep strategy game in part because it often presents players with novel situations. A player's ability to comprehend and adapt to what they see on the board will go a long way in determining whether that player wins or loses a given game. However, this is not to say that there aren't some bread and butter tactics which I find myself using across multiple games.
This article is an attempt to explain and show a few of my favorite tactics. I know that lots of other players already employ these moves, but even those players might benefit from seeing them laid out and given names. Godtear imposes a substantial cognitive load on its players by offering numerous decision points and by complicating those decision points with multiple objectives, risks, and opportunities. Anything which lets players recognize patterns more easily will lighten this load and help those players to make better decisions. I'm hoping that this piece will do that for you.
Without further ado...
Pocket the KO
If an enemy champion is on low health, I often will not KO them right away. If the wounded champion has already activated, then there is usually no rush (unless Jaak or Halftusk are involved). In these cases, I'll wait until the turn is almost over.
Towards the end of the clash phase, I generally have a pretty good idea of how close the turn is going to be. When there are just one or two activations left, I'll assess the board state. If the KO will win the turn, I'll go ahead and take it. If not, I'll "bank" those steps for next turn. It is satisfying to get a KO, and the control effects are useful even after the turn ends, but it's still often better to wait.
If I have someone who can deal damage in the plot phase and I'm going first, I generally like to cash in the KO at that point. This will usually deny the opponent a claim action, which really helps with the banner game. If a plot phase KO isn't available, then an early clash phase one will be fine as well, particularly if the wounded champion has not yet had a chance to activate. An early KO can really put you in the driver's seat and give you a valuable tempo advantage.
Plant 'n Go
I am convinced that lanes are a thing in Godtear, but they are not an ironclad rule. Usually, scenarios break down into lanes, but not always. Sometimes an opponent will decide that it's better to abandon a lane in order to get an advantage elsewhere. Sometimes, it seems like a good idea to spot Skullbreaker 5 banner points in order to avoid getting smacked really hard. After all, if you can score your banner somewhere else, things might just even out. This can work sometimes, but I like to punish people for abandoning a lane using a tactic I call Plant 'n Go.
The way to punish an opponent for vacating a lane is to plant a banner in the empty lane and then rush into another lane to make trouble. Not every champion can do this; speed is required. This also takes some foresight and set up. In order to Plant 'n Go, you need a fast champion who starts the plot phase adjacent to an objective hex.
If you are able to plant a safe banner and go wreck some shop, you'll usually come out ahead in the turn. This move does mean that you'll end up in a crowded lane at the end of the clash phase and won't have the benefit of a free banner next turn. Still, Godtear is a game in which you'll know what turns are potentially decisive. If you can get to 5 VPs with a plant 'n go, then who cares about next turn?
Push 'n Trap
Pushes are nice, but they can become extremely rude when combined with other control effects. Usually a champion will have some mechanism for overcoming a single control effect. Unless you're dealing with an especially slow champion, they will often have an extra movement trick or two. To really ruin someone's day, combine a control effect (usually a push) with entrapment by a follower unit.
After pushing an enemy champion away from an objective and/or debuffing their speed, trap them with followers. At first, your instinct might be to tightly surround the champion, preventing them from moving at all. Sometimes, this is the right call, but often, you will want to leave a space between your followers and the enemy champion. This way, the enemy has to use their advance action to move one hex before attacking your follower. If you surround the enemy tightly, they will often be able to KO one of your followers before moving their full speed.
Followers are generally not very powerful compared to champions. Body blocking like this may seem like a waste of a follower unit, but you're usually coming out ahead if you can make one of your follower units irrelevant in order to make an enemy champion irrelevant.
Shape 'n Castle
This is a great tactic if you've built a defensive, synergistic list or if you've found yourself in a scenario which emphasizes scoring banners (like Knowledge). Not every list has the control capabilities to pull this off, but some champions will excel at the Shape 'n Castle.
Essentially what you want to do is create a situation in which your opponent cannot access several objectives, thus creating an overwhelming end-phase scoring advantage for yourself. To do this, you'll end up clustering two or three champions together in order to maximize the benefit of controlling that area and to give yourself the best chance of keeping opponents out. This means that you may end up conceding some of your opponent's banners elsewhere, but as long as you can gain a net banner advantage, this tactic is sound.
For this reason, "castling up" is a good move when you've ended the previous turn in good position to deny the opponent's claim actions. This takes the pressure off of your own champions to crush banners.
To create a good castle, you'll need a combination of push effects, hex manipulation, and tough models which can hold territory. This is why shapers and guardians are especially adept at executing this tactic. However, the end-phase scenario rules can sometimes contribute the hex manipulation you need, and Slayers can push enemy models simply by KOing them. This means that this is a universal tactic rather than a class specific one.
Hold the Path
If you want to make sure you can get to an objective, this tactic works very nicely no matter what skills are printed on your models' cards. Essentially what you do is occupy the path to the objectives with your own followers before the opponent can block the path with theirs. This does mean that the path will be closed initially, but as long as you can move your followers off the path before your champion needs to get to the objective, this doesn't matter.
This tactic is devastating into enemy champions which don't have good ways of dislocating follower, but even if the opponent clears out your followers, all they've really done is clear a path to the objective for your champion. To pull this off, you need a follower unit with some board presence, but that's it, really.
Waste Their Steps
Sometimes, the opponent will max out the BattleLadder early in the turn. It happens. Maybe Blackjaw let out a Firestorm in the plot phase. Maybe they planted two shaper banners before uncorking a Slayer KO at the top of the Clash phase. It happens. It doesn't mean you're a bad player, and it doesn't even mean that you've lost the turn. What it definitely means, though, is that you don't have to worry about giving up any more steps. In fact, you probably want to.
If your opponent has maxed out their ladder, then any additional steps they score are cost-free for you. This means that your wounded champions can casually saunter up to Skullbreaker, and that your Rallied Peasants are free to leave Helena's protective bubble. In this situation, you actively want the opponent to score more steps, as they will be effectively wasting actions and opportunities when they do so. At the same time, you'll want to delay your own scoring for as long as possible in order to make it harder for the opponent to use their own actions productively.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. Going forward, I'll make an effort to notice the tactics I use often and to try to put language to them. I encourage you to do the same! Even though some of these tactics are fairly standard, their application remains complex and unique to each game. Godtear is anything but repetitive.
I hope this has helped. Thanks again for reading!