Guardian Matchups - July 2023 Edition
Godtear is a game about interactions between your models and your opponent’s models. Knowing what matchups are likely to create favorable interactions is a key part of mastering the game. In this article, I will attempt to break down what I consider to be the favorable and unfavorable matchups for each Guardian champion. Special shout out to DaveM and Gearbox who contributed their matchup opinions to this article and made me see a few things differently.
Let me start with a bit of framing and hedging here. Matchups are the thing that I change my mind about the most. There are dizzying amounts of different matchups which can occur given the 26 different champions currently available. I have not played them all. I don’t have that kind of time unfortunately.
Some matchups I have played often enough to be fairly confident of how they will play out (Titus v. Rangosh, for example) whereas others I have not played at all. There is going to be some educated guessing in this article. Please let me know if you disagree with what I’ve got here; you may very well be right and pointing it out to me will improve my play.
I tried to find 4-5 matchups which I consider to be the most favorable and 4-5 which I consider to be the least favorable for each champion. This is arbitrary, so there are going to be some close calls. Note that this will not be consistent across champions. That is, me saying that Champion A has a favorable matchup into Champion B does not necessarily mean that I am also saying that Champion B has an unfavorable matchup into champion A. This is because B might have five matchups more unfavorable than A while A does not have five matchups more favorable than B. It’s all relative, I’m saying.
It might also be worth looking at the old matchup articles. I stand by what I wrote there (mostly).
The Guardian Matchups
Ok, those provisos aside, let’s dive in. I made a small table for each Guardian champion. Green means that the matchup favors the champion whose name appears atop the table. Red means that the matchup is unfavorable.
We'll go in alphabetical order, so first up is...
Kailinn does not like to see high dodge and low follower count, which is what Finvarr brings. He'll have the speed to threaten her banners, but she will be literally incapable of crushing his. Even worse, Finvarr's ultimate can punish Kailinn. by moving other friendly banners near her. Keera's Vicious Bite will probably not hit Finvarr, but he can also shrug off hits from the Rain of Fire. Jaak's attacks are unlikely to hit Finvarr, and the elf can threaten Jaak's far away banners. Finvarr will dodge Landslide's earthquakes and can push and slow poor Shayle. Styx is similarly vulnerable to Finvarr's control game, and the ninja boi can also move banners just out of doggy reach.
Finvarr struggles into matchups where enemies can block his way with lots of chaff. Finvarr does not have much attack volume and can only reposition on model at a time, so Rattlebone, Grimgut, and Mourneblade have the potential to lock him down. Raith is arguably a bad matchup into many champions, but he is particularly rough into Finvarr. This is because the elf relies on protecting banners, but his banner protection tech can't deal with the wet dragon. Rhodri is simply immune to Finvarr's attacks and, often, to his repositioning tricks.
The big troll brings essentially three things: accurate attacks, the ability to shrug off chip damage, and the ability to block off objective hexes. The accurate attacks really help Halftusk fight against champions with high dodge, like Lorsann, Skullbreaker, Fenra, and Sneaky Peet. Lorsann and Peet also tend to deal damage in smaller increments than other slayers, so Halftusk can regenerate after they smack him. Fenra would lvoe to see a high follower count, but Halftusk does not oblige.
Rhodri and Jaak will both have an easy time keeping Halftusk off of their banners without really being threatened by Halftusk's punches. Rhodri and Jaak are tough because Halftusk does not like speed blights, push effects, and loads of small followers. Shayle, Lilly, and Rattlebone also bring at least two of those things each.
Helena likes for there to be lots of objective hexes, so playing into the champion who makes objective hexes seems good. Nia does not really have a way to push Helena off of hexes or a lot of followers to block Helena's path. Lorsann, Peet, and Morrigan all love to squash banners, but the whole point of Helena is that you cannot squash her. Maxen is sad that there is nothing for him to Scavenge.
Helena will struggle into those who can block her path, push her around, or KO a bunch of peasants. Mourneblade can keep Helena from advancing to the hexes she needs. Lily, Raith, and Shayle can all push Helena around, which threatens her essential purpose of scoring in the end phase. Blackjaw may miss some hit rolls into dodge 4, but he'll take so many that it won't matter. Shayle and Lily are Helena's special nightmares. In addition to earthquake and avalanche, they can also keep Helena from getting back to the hexes by debuffing her speed. Once these two separate Helena from the peasants, both the self-righteous flag-waver and her followers are easy pickings.
Jaak likes slow, low dodge targets. This is because Jaak isn't the most accurate and because speed blights hurt the most when applied to slow champions. As such, Halftusk and Rhodri fit the bill nicely. Halftuusk does have the accuracy to punch pack, but Jaak can probably. keep the big troll off of his banner, and that's what matters most here. Grimgut is another low dodge target for Jaak, and the Retchlings' slime attacks will hahve a hard time hitting this crew of goblins who like to spread out anyhow. Keera is another slower champion who will struggle to take Jaak's banner off the table, and only one of her attacks is really a threat to Jaak, so he will. have chances to heal up after she has her pets breathe fire on him.
Generally, Jaak fears high-dodge accuracy merchants. Lorsann and Peet can pick him apart without being threatened by the Spider Staff. Skullbreaker is even scarier because he can cover the distance to Jaak's banner through followers. Luella, though, is an absolute terror for Jaak. She feasts on armor 1 followers, and Jaak ahs five of them. Worse, she has ennough speed to get to banners and a group of followers accurrate enough to threaten the mad alchemist himself.
Luella and Halftusk will both struggle to KO Knightshades (armor 3), and both need their advance actions. Halftusk Finvarr has a relatively low attack volume and has no way to move other than by advancing. Rangosh and Skullbreaker are champions that Mourneblade loves to match up with not only because they don't like to deal with followers, but also because their attacks are largely wasted on the fire skeleton. Sure, these beefy slayers have auto-wounds, but they won't really be able to score very much in the way they prefer.
Mourneblade does not want to see Maxen. Maxen can auto-wound the fire skeleton to death and in doing so remove Mourneblade's banner regardless of where it is. This is a seven point swing which Maxen can reliably execute at long range. It's rough. Lorsann offers a less harsh version of this since she can also deliver ranged auto wounds and Scoot away from Knightshades. Peet has auto wounds also, but it's his total indifference to Death Grip and expertise in crushing far away banners which makes him a tough matchup for Mourneblade. Shayle doesn't have much trouble earthquaking the Kinghtshades around, and they will be too slow to recover. Raith is totally unbothered by the Knightshades since he primarily moves by placing.
Rodhri, as you may expect, likes to face most maelstoms because his followers can get to armor 5 without much trouble. Luella, Blackjaw, and even Kailinn will find their attacks pinging a lot. This is less true for Kailinn, but relatively speaking, Rhodri is one of her worst matchups, especially since she can't really reposition Rhodri or get to his banner at all. Lorsann is very accurate, but her attacks don't really faze Rhodri. Her auto-wounds will add up, but not quickly enough to be efficient.
Rangosh and Skullbreaker love a low-dodge, immobile target. Even with his high armor, Rhodri will go down after a couple of 8 damage dice Jawbreakers or 10 damage die Jawblades. Basically, jaw-related things are scary for Rhodri. Both of these slayers bring follower units with auto-wounds, which is tough for a crew that relies on its armor. Fenra is the rare Maelstrom who actually can eat dwarves somewhat reliably. It's not very hard for the curs (and other friendly followers) to encircle the Household guard, setting up big damage rolls for Fenra. Moreover, our sweet lil doom doggie's fast plot phase speed will threaten rhodri's precious banner. Lily is a terror for Rhodri because, well, dodge 2. You might think that Rhodri can resist her movement effects by planting a bannner, but sadly this would require Rhodri to get to the objectives in the first place. Lilly can push him up to three hexes and slow him. As if that weren't enough, her ultimate can occupy the hexes Rhodri needs. This is a trap.
Look, I know... these are not perfect. I made myself pick 4-5 good and 4-5 bad matchups just to give this a somewhat simple structure, but it's easy to see ways of complicating this to make it more accurate. I'm tempted to introduce different shades of red and green to show how bad the matchup is. Maybe every matchup needs a color coding to give you a more accurate sense of... whatever. No. This is how I do all 26 champions without going crazy.
I haven't considered scenario at all, I know. Please have a look at my scenario articles for some insight there.
Hopefully, this article got you thinking more about matchups even if you don't agree with these tables and can see ways of picking them apart. As long as reading this stimulated your strategic analysis capabilities, I'm a happy blogger. Thanks for reading.