Fenra: A Few Maneuvers
At the time of this writing, Fenra dropped only four days ago. I have not played a full game against another human which involves Fenra. Keep that in mind.
However, I did have a few hours to mess around on TTS and see what's what. This article is my attempt to get a feel for a few of the things Fenra can do and to show you what I've found. There is no doubt much more to Fenra.
It's already clear that she's very tricky and has a lot of options in a lot of common game states. I think she's terrific fun. She seems well-balanced. I have not found her to be oppressive or overwhelming, but instead subtly effective. This is not to say that she can't be very powerful in the right hands, but it will take skill, forethought, and precise positioning to make Fenra sing (howl?).
Here are a few maneuvers.
Here, we see a tense positioning face-off between Lorsann and Skullbreaker. The Lorsann player has taken a few shots at the scary orc and cleverly positioned herself so that Skullbreaker can't retaliate. Although the big fella can move through followers, he can't land on top of them the way Kailinn can. Skullbreaker has a tasty accuracy boon from the Tooth Bearers' initial attack run on Lorsann, but he can't really use it.
Fortunately, Skullbreaker has Fenra and her Chainless Curs on his team. The Curs can open up Skullbreaker's attack lane and at the same time serve up a tasty elf salad for Fenra.
By using their sweet clash phase speed of three, the Curs can fly downfield. By Snarling at the cowardly elves, they can intimidate them into moving out of position. With three Curs in the hex, Snarl has accuracy 6 and is on 81% odds to hit the Mistwood Rangers despite the dodge boon they gave themselves. The Mistwood Rangers are now in kill range for Fenra, and Skullbreaker has a landing spot next to Lorsann.
Fenra is bringing a lot of killing power to this board state. Her Feral Bite will be 6/6 against each of the Mistwood Rangers. Since their dodge boon was expended earlier, the Rangers have a defensive stat line of just 3/1. Fenra has a 92.3% chance to KO each of them, meaning that she has a 78.6% chance to KO all three and score six steps. Meanwhile, the Curs have also set up Skullbreaker for a likely KO on Lorsann. With his accuracy boon, Skullbreaker's Jawblade will do an average of 3.93 damage. It's not drawn on the diagram, but Fenra also gets to move a friendly model within three hexes of her each time she KOs a Ranger. Want to move those Curs closer to the other lane? Or would you prefer to give Skullbreaker another angle? Want to move those Tooth Bearers? It's options galore once the Big Girl gets to feeding.
Here, Lilly has set up a fairly formidable banner protection scheme. She has pushed Fenra away from the objective with Haunting Melody, deployed a cloud of Thornlings in the wolf's way, and used the Change scenario rules to move the objective away from Fenra. To make matters worse, poor Fenra only has a plot phase speed of two. Take a look. Before you say anything, yes, I know that's Styx's banner instead of Lilly's. Do I care enough to recreate this setup and take new screenshots? No. Not at all.
Fortunately, despite their low speed stats, Fenra and the Curs have some movement tricks in this phase. Fenra can get herself into position to threaten Lilly's banner, and the curs can get themselves into position to threaten Lilly. First, Fenra uses The Wolf is Loose to pull herself towards that bottom Thornling, then she takes her humble advance of one. The Curs advance one hex towards the Thornlings before using Corner Them to target the northernmost Thornling adjacent to Lilly. This range 2 skill allows all of the Curs within range of the target to be placed adjacent to the target. In this case, the Curs change their position pretty drastically. Each of those movement skills rolls three dice, giving them a 98.6% chance of hitting the Thornlings. Here's the result.
As the Clash Phase ensues, Lilly has some interesting choices. She could just push Fenra away with a Haunting Melody. With accuracy 6, this is normally very reliable. However, Fenra is dodge 5, so this is only on 61% odds to hit our agile Doom Doggie. She can also put the Thornlings in Fenra's way, which may also work. Still, it's a significant victory for Fenra that she has forced Lilly's hand at all given how bad the starting position was for the Wolf of the Endtimes. Fenra's opponent must activate Lilly or the Thornlings first or else lose the banner. This helps to create initiative for the Fenra player somewhere else on the board.
Here, Lilly and Lorsann have grouped up in the center and fortified their position considerably. It's the clash phase, and Fenra and Skullbreaker are looking to break into this little castle. What to do?
Fenra's got this. First, she'll use Shatterstorm to target the Thornling directly East of her, and the one just Southeast of Skullbreaker. Each bit of sentient underbrush is adjacent to two hexes occupied by a follower friendly to Fenra, so Shatterstorm will be 5/6 against each of them, giving Shatterstorm a 78% chance to KO each Thornling. With each KO, Fenra gets to move a friendly model within three hexes of herself due to her trait, Pack Alpha. The text does not say other friendly model, and Fenra is within three hexes of herself. This means that she can inch closer to the flags and put her teammate in a perfect spot to smash Lilly. Meanwhile, with her path clear of the Thornling, Fenra has the speed to clear out both banners. This activation swung twelve steps.
Calling All Hunters
Here, Lorsann appears to have a safe banner. Fenra can't quite get there because of the Rangers, and poor Skullbreaker is miles away because Lilly pushed him way out of position. To make matters worse, the big dragon slayer is a bit tired from swinging his big blade around and has a speed blight at the moment.
Not to worry. With Fenra's ultimate, Hunting Call, Skullbreaker is right back in the mix. With Fenra's help, he can zip three hexes back down to the objectives and threaten Lorsann's banner once again despite being only speed 2. Lorsann will need to KO Skullbreaker with her next activation or the banner is toast.
I really like this champion. I realize that I'm just scratching the surface here. This article did not explore, for example, Fenra's slaying potential. We didn't really get into the thorny problem of how Fenra sets up for claim actions. There's a lot more to explore with this champion, and that's great.
Godtear, with its relatively simple core rules, continues to amaze me with its deep strategy and vast design space. Fenra is another example of Godtear's magic trick: she gives us something that feels fresh yet fits right in.
Long live Godtear!