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  • The Olde Crow

Charlie "TheOldeCrow" Ramler's Guide to Blackjaw


In this series, we will give you a quick breakdown of each champion. This is geared mostly towards people who have not played with this champion much, so it’s not an in-depth tactical treatise. This is more of a quick breakdown and assessment of the champion.

We will grade each champion’s offense, defense, support, mobility, and control. We’ll explain each grade and then give you a quick vision of a dream activation for that champion.

In a separate series, Grumpy and Dave M have written about how champions match up with each other. Definitely give that a look in our matchups category.

Here is the grading scale for each category:







Blackjaw is a Maelstrom that exerts high battle ladder pressure by threatening many followers with his high attack volume and threat range.

The poster-child of the Maelstroms, Blackjaw is a master at slaying followers. He is one of my personal favorite champions, and a great one to introduce people into the game with. He expertly displays the strengths and weaknesses of Maelstroms, while also showcasing good fundamentals that encourage optimized play. Come join me on this journey where we will learn about him and his Unburnt Reavers together! Let's take a look at his stats and learn a bit more about this crew from the desert sands.


Offense: Outstanding

I'm starting us off in the outstanding category for offense for several reasons. Firstly the volume of attacks is nigh incomparable to most other warbands. His ultimate "Firestorm" has the potential to target up to 5 enemy followers with 6/5 range 2 attacks. I don't need to oversell this, but this is one of the most powerful battle-ladder manipulating skills in the game. This can be used to DEVASTATING effect in the plot, when enemy followers don't have time to run away before they crumple to ash.

While you certainly won't be getting 10 steps every time, hitting and killing most followers won't be much of an issue. His Clash phase is one of the strongest in the game, with a 6/6 kick against a single follower, and up to three 4/5's one hex away, and up to three 5/4's within two. And if you can get a follower KO with his trait it isn't unheard of to use ALL THREE in the same turn!

His Reavers also have good offense, and can pressure champions quite well. We'll get more into that in the Mobility section, but with access to a 5/6 attack or 6/6 if you use their "War Cry" skill can help with this Warbands weaknesses in dealing with champions. Although, with 3 Unburnt Reavers in a hex required to have this punching power can open yourself up to a counter blow from opposing Maelstroms, so be cautious.

Defense: Bad

Let's face it, even in my undying love of Blackjaw I can't give higher than a bad here. The 3/2 defensive profile of the Warband is one of the worst in the game. You WILL get hit and take damage almost every time. This really can set you behind with the Reavers especially, because of them being a priority target for enemy Maelstroms. Their combat effectiveness drops quite harshly when their numbers dwindle.

The saving grace here is that Blackjaw is tougher than most in the game at a respectable 8 health . Don't be afraid to take a hit or two getting to where he needs to be in order to threaten enemy followers, as he can shrug off several hits before going down. Just be careful to avoid big damage dealers like Keera, Rangosh, and Skullbreaker if possible, as they can make his health pool useless by outputting extremely high damage rolls in a single activation. 

Support: Average

Blackjaw isn't designed as a support piece, but he does so surprisingly well. The Unburnt Reavers passive is a very unique trait and can really put certain warbands on the back foot, making them want to group up to avoid the accuracy penalty while ALSO getting them grouped up for Blackjaws attacks. His "Hotfoot" skill can be great on the first few turns in the game, giving your slower teammates into a slightly better position can change the course of the game.

If you have the action economy for them, the "Evil Eye" skill and "Intimidation" can be great to soften up hard targets for later attacks, with an armor blight for followers and a dodge blight respectively. These really shouldn't be prioritized highly but can have very niche yet grand repercussions

Mobility: Good

This Warband has very good mobility, being able to get to their Areas of Operation pretty well. 3/2 move speed is very good, and that move boon from "Hotfoot" we talked about earlier can turn your fiery orcs into true speed demons. For example, if you hotfoot the Reavers, and they move four, and rush two hexes, they can absolutely punish isolated backline champions like Nia or Keera.

While not having skills with movement built in, they still can have the speed to get where they need to be, or to get out of where they shouldn't.

Control: Awful

I could argue that the BEST control is killing whatever is in your way, I don't think that's the most genuine way of looking at this rating scale.. Really nothing to say here. No displacement effects means that if you can't kill it, it will still be in your way.

Example Activation:

Here we have Nia and Maxen squaring off against our Blackjaw in the plot, we go second and have to bring home the 3 VP's to cement our victory. Maxen has used his Gearhawks to set up a wall blocking us from his and Nia's banners. So what can we do to give ourselves the best chances we have?

Well, our self control with our ultimate here has paid off, meaning we can really make some magic happen. As our first activation, we are going to target all five of the Gearhawks. With our 6/5 attacks we have a 93.6% chance to hit, and 86.21% chance to kill each individual Gearhawk. So put all together, we have an 80.71% chance of killing each Gearhawk, and 33.67% of killing all 5 Gearhawks without missing a single roll with this ultimate.

Let's just say for the sake of this example we are cooking with fire and got them all, 10 whopping steps on the ladder, Nice! This means that we have activated our trait and can now take an action this turn as a bonus action. So with two actions left and two banners within range, we can claim behind us for our second action and we can crush both banners with our advance bonus action! Here's what it all looks like visually.

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