Grumpy's Guide to Rhodri
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 has written about how champions match up with each other. Here are the matchup evaluations for Guardians, Maelstroms, Slayers, and Shapers.
Here is the grading scale for each category:
Rhodri, Thane of the Forsaken Hold, is your archetypal tough dwarf. His armor is fantastic and his health pool is deep. He has a big shield, and he's not afraid to bash you with it. Rhodri is a no nonesnse tough guy. While some champions have fancy sorcery and cool teleportation or whatever, Rhodri relies on stubbornness and and brutality. This is evident in both his play style and his flavor. While other champions have skills with fancy names like "Haunting Melody," "Firestorm," and "Iceblade," Rhodri is rocking a simple Sword Slash and Shield Bash. Mundane? Perhaps, but it gets work done.
This crew's one trick, if we can call it that, is its conditional immunity to repositioning effects. As long as they stay in formation, this crew will stay in place. Everything about these dwarves' abilities tells you that they should plant a banner and stay close to it. This means that they aren't chasing down banners or hunting for KO's, but they compensate for this with a powerful set of tools for making it hard and painful for opponents to move in on their turf.
After falling out of favor for awhile, Rhodri has seen a recent surge in popularity, which I unapologtically call the Rhodrissance. There are some intermediate to advanced Rhodri tactics in the article linked there, so consider following up on this one by giving that a read as well. I have come to really embrace Rhodri as a staple of my tournament lists because he slots in nicely next to some of my other favorites in order to appear in certain specific scenarios.
Rhodri is really a specialist when it comes to scenarios. The Thane of the Forsaken Hold loves scenarios which allow him to get to a cluster of hexes and to stay there. He's great on Life and Knowledge. Scenarios like Quest and Death which often require champions to move across the board are going to be bad situations for Rhodri. He's a tough old boot, but he's not really into cardio.
Also, since he's a thane and all, Rhodri always has a thick Scottish accent in my imagination. Yours too, right?
Here are Rhodri's Cards:
Offense - Average
These dwarves can hit pretty hard. Although this crew has only two attacks, each of them has the potential to roll 6 damage dice. That's on par with some Slayer crews. Without boons or bonuses, Maxen's crew, for example, rolls up to 10 damage dice (plus an autowound) on its attacks over the course of a non-ultimate turn. Still, Slayers and Maelstroms will usually have damaging ultimates and/or ways to turn up the volume on their damage. Rhodri's crew does not have those things.
Although recent releases have leaned towards higher dodge and less armor, damage dice are still more valuable than accuracy dice are. This is because accuracy rolls only have to meet the target number to get the maximum effect out of the roll whilst damage dice become more impactful as they exceed the target number to a greater degree.
Also, it's not as though the dwarven swords are inaccurate, either. Five damage dice are perfectly respectable and have an 85% chance to hit dodge 3.
Overall, this crew definitely has more potential to score KOs than most Shaper and Guardian crews, but it doesn't quite exceed what I'd call average levels of offense. This crew is better at taking out champions than it is at taking out large numbers of followers as it sports a small number of high quality attacks. Also, it's nice to see dwarves with swords instead of axes. Way to fight stereotypes, guys.
Defense - Outstanding
This is the most heavily armored crew in the game. Rhodri is one of only three Armor 4 champions. The other two are Helena (4 hp) and Mourneblade (1hp). Rhodri has 7hp, which amplifies the effect of his incredibly strong armor. This combination of high health and armor is unique. He is also the only one of that group who can grant himself an armor boon. Good luck getting a KO against an armor 5, 7hp champion in a way that is at all efficient or helpful.
I have seen Rhodri KOd, but pretty much every time that has happened, the opponent had to invest so many resources in getting the KO that it was not worth it. When someone throws damage dice at Rhodri, it generally means that the Rhodri player has done something right.
The Household Guard are similarly resilient, with armor4 and a built-in armor boon. This makes them the toughest small followers in the game. Rhodri is an absolute nightmare for slayers and maelstroms. When it comes to soaking up damage, Rhodri is the gold standard in Godtear.
Support - Average
Rhodri's crew has a few things it can do to help others. Two, really. The first is Rhodri's "Hold!" skill, which can hand out armor boons to anyone. This is a valuable skill, as armor boons are welcome anywhere and Rhodri doesn't always need them since his armor is naturally very high anyway.
The crew's second support ability is Rhodri's "Answer the Call." This skill allow friendly follower units to make a recruit action. To be honest, I have seldom seen this skill used, but it's there and it's potentially very helpful when Rhodri is paired with champions like Styx, Lorsann, or Skullbreaker who suffer when their follower units are depleted. It's a bit corner case, but it's there. Rhodri is not really a support specialist, but his crew helps out.
The damage blight from Shield Bash also offers some friendly support at times, I suppose.
Mobility - Awful
They're quintessential dwarves. Both Rhodri and his followers have a speed of 1 in the plot phase, which makes their advance actions very sad. This crew is not that interested in getting places; it's all about staying in places.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, Rhodri's crew actually has a higher top speed than Maxen or Nia because both the Rhodri and the Household Guard can March in both phases. This allows Rhodri to actually achieve a top speed of five hexes per turn, which is faster than Keera or Shayle can go. However, Rhodri would need to spend all four of his actions in order to achieve that top speed. It's nice to have options, I guess, but Rhodri is so inefficeint in his movement that it's hard to find crews that would be considered less mobile than this.
Control - Good
Rhodri really needs his banner to score. Fortunately he has some nice tools for doing so. It's debateable whether Unyielding and Shield Wall should be considered control or anti-control abilities, but to me those two concepts are just two sides of the same coin. If you're in a place your opponent would rather you not be and they can't dislodge you, I'd call that board control. Once Rhodri's banner is up, if he's next to the banner and his followers are next to him, the entire crew cannot be moved by enemy models. At all. This often makes shapers quite sad. It's important to understand that this entire structure falls apart if the banner gets crushed, though. Beware Tsunami.
Rhodri also has Shield Bash, which is low-key one of the best control skills in the game. It can only target one model, but it it is exquisitely accurate and very impactful. Unlike Helena's little Shield Push, Rhodri's Shield Bash moves the target two hexes away. This can really make a banner safe and/or deny a claim action in the upcoming plot phase. To add insult to injury, it also throws out a cheeky little damage blight.
Here, we have the final two activations on turn 3. Poor Rhodri couldn't claim in the plot phase, but he's on the objectives now. His team is down 4 steps. Rhodri has to activate next, and the enemy Rangosh will activate after him.
First, Rhodri uses Bannerfall to make a clash phase claim action. He won't score a step for this, but if the banner stays up, Rhodri will win the turn. Unfortunately, Rangosh is in position to potentially squash the banner.
With his second action, Rhodri Shield Bashes Rangosh. This skill is accuracy 7, so even with Rangosh's excellent dodge of 4, this skill has a 90% chance to hit.
So, Rhodri gets the two hex push. Since he has already used his ultimate, Rangosh's only hope to win the turn now is to KO Rhodri. The damage blight which comes with Shield Bash will make that all the more difficult. Even if Rangosh eats his two bandits, a damage blighted Jawbreaker only expects to do 1.79 damage to Rhodri on average. Our dwarf is sitting pretty.