In this series, I am going to 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.
I will grade each champion’s offense, defense, support, mobility, and control. I’ll explain each grade and then give you a quick vision of a dream activation for that champion.
Here is the grading scale for each category:
Here are Shayle's cards:
Shayle is a personal favorite of mine. He and Landslide really come at the game sideways by flipping the usual dynamic between champion and follower. Landslide is the powerhouse in this pair, while Shayle plays a supporting role. I have written a more in depth tactics article about these two already, so that may be a good follow up read if you're new to this champion. There isn't much official lore for Godtear yet, but, in my opinion, Shayle's is the coolest. Shayle is part of ancient order of druids who believe that no mortal should possess the power of the gods, so rather than absorbing them into himself, Shayle takes the godtears he finds and places them into the living rock. That's why he's a tiny little wizard with a great big buddy! These are some beautiful models, and they have excellent rulesets to boot.
Offense - Bad
So, the first thing you probably realized is that Landslide actually has the money abilities and Shayle, though nominally the master, is really the supporter. The crew's offense exemplifies this.
Shayle cannot attack at all. Landslide has one attack and it's very, very good. Boulder Bash is a native 6/6, and Shayle can give Landslide a damage boon in the plot phase. This blend of high accuracy and high damage is very valuable. Boulder Bash makes Landslide a real threat to all models in the game. Still, this is the only attack the crew has. Having only one attack for the entire crew means that your offense cannot be considered even average in my humble opinion. I would not be mad if someone wanted to argue that this should be a grade of "average," but for me, the fact that Boulder Bash is such a strong attack is the only thing that keeps this out of the "awful" category.
Defense - Awful
Shayle is a total victim. He has a pitiful health pool and weak armor. Dodge 4 is nice, but not as nice as you might think. If opponents can get to him, they will KO him fast. Even a boring 5/5 follower level attack will still have a 44% chance of doing 2 or more damage to a champion who only has 5 health to begin with. Usually Shayle is down after 2-3 hits, which makes the KO an efficient and lucrative proposition.
Landslide is somewhat tougher to crack, but still has a health pool of only 4. While Landslide is tough enough to laugh at maelstroms with weak attacks like Jeen or Blackjaw, Shayle is SO squishy that this has to be a grade of awful. The way to play into Shayle is to get in his face and KO him repeatedly. If you can.
Support - Good
Shayle cannot attack, but he can steal enemy boons and pass them to his friends in the plot phase using Runeweaving. Tremor is another nice ability that provides support to friendly models by removing boons from enemies. Notice that this cannot target friendly models, though. Stone Strength is another way to generate strong boons for Landslide. It's a good overall support kit. Not game breaking, but solid.
Mobility - Good
Landslide is among the most mobile models in the game thanks to Runecaller. This ability is off the chain. Landslide can place (not move) four times per turn for free when Shayle activates. Places are much better than moves because they ignore intervening models and objective hexes. Since this happens every time Shayle takes any action, Landslide can effectively travel eight hexes per turn without spending an action. It's bonkers. Landslilde is arguably the most efficient mover in the game.
Shayle himself is slow, though. He has no way to speed himself up, and his base speed of 2 is not always enough. This is important because Landslide, for all its might, is still a follower and cannot enter objective hexes to crush banners. The crew needs Shayle to be able to get to banners at times, and at times he cannot. That's the only reason this crew's overall mobility is not rated outstanding here.
Control - Outstanding
This is our little wizard boy's bread and butter. This crew features two of the strongest control abilities in the game.
Landslide's earthquake is the crew's workhorse ability. Most abilities that can reposition enemies target a single model. Earthquake targets an entire follower unit regardless of range. If one follower is hit by earthquake, all of them are hit no matter what their position on the board may be. Oof. Most abilities that reposition enemies move them one hex. Earthquake moves them two hexes. Finally, earthquake can be used in both phases. This is extremely frustrating for opponents. Consider someone like Maxen who can only move a total of 4 hexes per round- earthquake can effectively put him back where he started by the end of the turn. Yeesh. It is only accuracy 4, so you're on 72% odds to hit dodge 3. Fortunately, Boulder Bash (accuracy 6) has a dodge blight as its hit effect. With a bit of forethought, you can position Landslide to hit a target that you want to earthquake with its first action in order to tilt the odds in your favor when the hit roll for Earthquake comes.
The other devastating control tool for Landslide and Shayle is Shayle's ultimate - Avalanche. Avalanche lets you reposition every hex that is within three hexes of Landslide. This is always good, and in some scenarios it's positively game breaking. More than any other ultimate except perhaps Tsunami, Avalanche totally rearranges the board state in a way that forces the opponent to rethink their entire plan for the turn.
Earthquake and Avalanche are this crew's signature abilities, but there's more to Shayle's control kit. Shayle's Stone Spikes gives out the speed debuff, which is very valuable on its own. Combined with earthquake, speed debuffs are positively humiliating. It's surprising how often opponents forget about this very strong control skill.
I could show you some insanity using Shayle's ultimate, Avalanche, but I want to show you something a little simpler. The reason for this is that Shayle's.. er... Landslide's real power lies in its ability to use Earthquake every single activation. What you're about to see is something that Landslide can do twice every turn.
So it's the clash phase, and Morrigan's Cold Bones have just surrounded poor Shayle, thus protecting Morrigan's banner. To make matters worse, Morrigan has speed 4 thanks to her boon, so Shayle's banner is under threat.
Not to worry. Earthquake to the rescue. Landslide has an 86% chance of hitting this earthquake even without first applying a dodge blight by Boulder Bashing a Cold Bone first. When Earthquake hits, Landslide can move every one of those five followers two hexes each in any direction. That's 10 total hexes worth of repositioning.
Now the Cold bones are not only out of Shayle's way, they are blocking Morrigan. Even with her Frost Forged speed, she won't be able to get Shayle's banner. She won't even be able to get close enough to use Ice Blade. At this point, the Lich Queen needs to KO Shayle with her Icebolt (3 damage dice) or else he'll squish her banner. This single action has likely swung eight battle ladder steps, and Landslide still has another action. The big rock golem may as well just give skeleton lady a casual 6/6 boulder bash for her trouble as well.
This is not the actual "Dream Activation," I admit, but it is absurdly powerful for a single action which, I cannot emphasize this enough, Landslide can do twice per turn.