Whoooo’s a good girl? Yeah? Whooo’s my best girl? You are? Yeesssyouare!
What a good girl! Whooo’s the herald of the endtimes? Are you the herald of the endtimes?
*tail wagging intensifies*
YES! Yessyouare! Thassagoodgirl!
Fenra is here, everyone, and she is positively glorious. She is the 26th Godtear champion, the 4th champion with the Cave origin, and the 7th Maelstrom. She is, needless to say, a very good girl. Her model is beautiful, and her rules, though a bit complex, appear to be big fun.
Our sweet lil armageddodoggie brings massive amounts of friendly out of activation movement shenanigans. Prior to this, only the Glory Seekers, Lilly, and the Tooth Bearers had the ability to move friendly models out of activation. Those champions had only a limited taste of this mechanic, but Fenra brings a full-on smorgasbord of it.
Without further ado, let's dive in.
Trait and Ultimate
Right off the bat, Fenra establishes what she's all about on the board. This card alone has two very potent out of activation movement effects. Her ultimate is simple, versatile, and extremely strong. Call of the Hunt has many uses. The most obvious one is to enable friendly champions to crush banners that they would otherwise have no hope of getting to, but there are myriad other uses. This ultimate can bring a champion who was KOd back into a relevant part of the board, put a slayer in position to break face, etc. Movement is always at a premium in Godtear and this ability moves a target very far. Three hexes is further than most champions can go in the clash phase, so this has the potential to reposition your warband in dramatic ways.
Pack Alpha is also a very strong friendly out of activation movement effect. Fenra can only get KOs in the clash phase, but she has the potential to get up to five of them! A three hex range is fairly generous, so this has the potential to really reshape the board. This trait can reposition champions or followers, so it also has the potential to do a wide variety of useful things. Even better, Pack Alpha can do multiple things during a single activation with no cost whatsoever to your action economy. Fenra's presence really speeds up your whole warband and allows you to take slower champions in a wider range of scenarios so long as Fenra can serve as the Pack Alpha. Such a good girl!
Holy hot goblins, we have our second dodge 5 character! Fenra joins Sneaky Peet in this elite category. Her overall defensive profile is the same as his, with just 1 armor and 5 health. Fenra will be invincible in some matchups and very fragile in others. The Chainless Curs look a lot like Shadow Sentinels with a 4/2 stat line. The curs are not super resilient, but they are at least able to stand up to Luella.
The first thing that jumps out to me about this crew's plot phase is its very low speed stats. Move 1 in the plot phase is rough, particularly for a champion. Fenra has the potential to miss out on a lot of claim opportunities if her player doesn't think ahead during the clash phase about where Fenra will need to be in order to claim. Fenra's plot phase skills have some very powerful text, but I suspect that their usefulness will be limited by Fenra's relative immobility in this phase and by the general crunch of champion plot phase action economy.
Bark at the Moon, if you end up using it, has a pretty powerful effect. Notice that it affects all friendly followers in range, regardless of which champion they belong to. This essentially lets Fenra rearrange all the friendly followers within two hexes. This can do an fair amount of work in the right situation. Mostly, I imagine this will speed up Fenra's followers, thus compensating for their low speed in the plot phase. Again, it remains to be seen how often Fenra will be in a position to use this to its maximum effect, but that maximum effect is tantalizing. This will certainly be fun to try out with Household Guard or Abyssal Hounds. The Wolf is Loose seems very situational, but it can help speed up this otherwise slow plot phase for Fenra. This ability creates an interesting mini game for your opponent, as they will not want to leave Fenra with anchor points to target with this skill.
The Chainless Curs are kind of a strange combination of Glory Seekers and Shadow Sentinels. Makeshift Plating is nice. Armor boons are always welcome. It would be better if they could give this boon to someone other than themselves, but it's still helpful to be able to get to 4/3. Corner Them has a nice interaction with Fenra's attack actions, as you will see...
In the clash phase, the entire crew speeds up dramatically. Speed 4 is a huge deal; just ask anyone who has played against Kailinn. Unlike Kailinn, the Doom Doggy can enter objective hexes and crush banners, which makes speed 4 even more impactful. This is a level of speed which makes it easy for Fenra to change lanes. This considerably expands the crew’s scenario versatility. Speed 4 also means that enemy follower units across the board will be taking a huge risk by clustering in a single hex. Fenra’s threat to come out of nowhere and rack up KOs provides a powerful disincentive to group followers together. The Curs are bringing speed 3, which is a bit slower but still very good. Their overall speed across both phases is only 4, though, which is only average.
Fenra brings two attacks in this phase and both are very strong. Both attacks add a damage die per hex adjacent to the target occupied by friendly followers. Note that this does not necessarily have to be the Chainless Curs. It often will be, though, because the Curs have a lot of ways to encircle their targets (more on that in a moment). Fenra has a lot of offensive potential, but you’ll probably be taking advance actions in the clash phase, so it seems unlikely that Fenra will be exploding for more than six steps unless your opponent hands you a perfect opportunity to do so.
Feral Bite is the attack you probably want to be using, as it can target up to three followers. Even a single friendly follower will make this a 6/5 attack, which is sufficient to KO most small targets. However, with just a bit more advance positioning, this attack gains real champion slaying potential. In theory, you could be rolling up to 9 damage dice with this, but I expect this to be rare. It does seem reasonably easy to pump the damage up to six or seven dice, though.
Shatterstorm can only target followers, but it is also very good. You can target any two enemy followers within range 2, and this attack also benefits from damage boosts derived from adjacent friendly followers. It’s only accuracy 5, but it’s still going to be serviceable, and when the enemy followers are spread out it will often be the best way to score more than two steps.
The Curs bring an attack and a follower repositioning effect. Snarl is a useful skill which manipulates the position of enemy followers. It moves all followers in the hex, which makes it a real tool in the banner game. This can clear out spaces you’d like to move into, but it can also set up enemy followers to be devoured by the Apocapuppy. Maim and Encircle is a fairly weak attack with a little but of extra movement added. This may help Fenra to get her damage bonuses. Still, M&E isn’t much to write home about. Gang Up once again makes the hit effects more reliable.
This is a champion with a high skill ceiling because she provides players with a wealth of repositioning options. I count seven different movement effects on this crew's cards! Experienced players with a good sense of the banner game will be able to get the most out of all these little tricks. Fenra will probably take some table time to get used to, but there's a lot of potential here.
A big part of getting the most out of Fenra will be finding a way to have your cake and eat it to with regards to her clash phase positioning. Fenra players will need to find a way to get value out of her attacks while still leaving her in a spot to make a claim action despite having such a low plot phase speed. We've really never seen a champion with a dramatically faster cash phase speed before, so Fenra will be a fun new adventure for us all. Speed-wise, she's something of an anti-goblin. I don't think that's necessarily bad. Plot phase speed is probably less useful for removing banners because it does not help you to do so when you're going first. Each turn, Fenra can bring speed 4 to bear when all of the enemy banners are on the board. In the banner game, she's sort of the opposite of Kailinn in that she struggles to claim, but not to crush.
Fenra's skills may seem strong, but I think she'll end up being really well balanced overall. She's got a lot of versatility both in terms of the scenarios she can play into and the targets she can hunt. Although she can technically score ten steps in the clash phase, she's quite unlikely to do this. I think you can expect Fenra to crush a banner and eat 2-3 followers per turn, which is solid. She really becomes powerful when her movement shenanigans support positioning for her allies.
Such a good doggie! Googuurl!