How I Like to Lily
Lily is my new favorite champion. Not to play against, obviously, but to play with. She's... amazing. When I went to Adepticon, my plan was to just experiment with Lily a bit on the first day and then switch to Raith on Day 2. By the time day 2 rolled around, I just couldn't put Lily down. I was simply enjoying the experience too much. I stuck with her all weekend.
Although Lily is still somewhat new-ish, now that I have a substantial amount of games with her, I have developed a bit of a game plan and a feel for how to play her. While I'm sure there are lots of interesting ways to use Lily that I have not yet discovered, the aim of this piece is to share how I play Lily in the hopes that I can accelerate your learning curve both as a Lily player and a Lily opponent.
Traipsing gracefully around her sylvan groves, leaving behind wisps of fairy dust, and and generally having an awesome time, Lilly wins at Godtear without seeming to even try too hard. Here serene face is in stark contrast to the frustration she causes to opponents. This champion's abilities align well with her theme in the sense that she showcases a classic range of fairy powers. In the grand tradition of the Fae, Lilly gets what she wants by warping mortal perceptions. When Lilly wants someone to go somewhere, she lures them with a Haunting Melody or terrifies them with a glimpse of Nature's Visage. Lilly also derives power from her connection to the earth, summoning Thornlings to do her bidding and manipulating the ground beneath her in order to put the godtears where she wants them. She also leaves charms and hexes laying around using what is obviously fairy dust.
As with all champions, Lily has good matchups and bad ones. She hates to see speed, high dodge, and ranged attacks. She loves to see, well, the opposites of those things.
Here's a table of Lily's matchups, with good matchups highlighted in green and bad ones in red. The neutral matchups are often very good for Lily as well, this is just meant to show a few of her best and worst opponents.
This is how I will almost always open with Lily. If you've built a list that really makes you want to get a boon on a specific model, then you'll want to vary this. Generally, I am not one to build lists that depend on someone having a particular boon, though, so this is how my opening goes.
In deployment, I put the Thornlings on the extreme edges of my deployment zone. This frees up space for other things to deploy. As you'll see, it doesn't matter how far from the relevant parts of the boar d at this point.
First, Lily advances up the board, dropping a speed boon in front of her. For her second action, She'll use Earth Call to pull an objective toward her.
Next, the Thornlings will use Deep Roots to appear adjacent to Lily. This ability has unlimited range, so it's fine that they're coming from essentially nowhere. Since they will be entering a hex with a speed boon, the Thornlings can then make an advance of 2 towards the objective hex, so they can begin the process of surrounding that objective.
An early clash phase priority will be to block that objective off completely. The goal here is to make this Lily's exclusive little scoring patch for the rest of the game. In the early clash phase, Lily will use her tricks to push opposing champions away as much as possible. In the second plot phase, Lily will claim on this hex and then push it away from the nearest enemy champion.
The Birnam Wood
Thorn Wall is a game changing ultimate if used at the right time. This ultimate is all about preventing the opponent from making claim actions. This means that you want to use it when...
- The opponent is about to have their plot phase.
- The objectives that the opponent would like to claim on are empty
- The opponent does not have any models which have yet to activate who can KO or otherwise remove the Thornlings prior to their next plot phase.
Bear these conditions in mind as you enter the middle turns. It's easy to notice that this ultimate is good when you're going first in the plot phase, but often, the moment for this ultimate will appear near the end of a clash phase. If Lily has pushed an enemy champion off of a hex or if an ally done so, Lily should quickly seize the opportunity to deny the opponent access to the objectives no matter what phase of the turn you're in.
Creating effective claim denial is the key to winning with Lily. While she does have a lot of speed, it's much better if she doesn't have to use it. If Lily does not have to spend actions advancing, she can really leverage her long range board control to protect her team's banners while staying out of danger. If Lily's four actions in a turn are claim, Earth Call, Haunting Melody, and Nature's Visage, you are probably winning.
Here's a good spot for a Haunting Melody/Thorn Wall activation. Notice That Rangosh can be pushed away and that he is the only enemy model on the objectives.
Here's what it looks like after Lily's activation:
As you can see, Rangosh will not be claiming. In the ensuing plot phase, Lily will pull that open hex toward herself and claim on it or, if she prefers, snag that accuracy boon before claiming. She has a pretty good shot at keeping that banner safe.
Lily's Touch of the Fae trait is quite powerful, but also somewhat tricky to use. The effect occurs at the end of one of her actions, so she can't drop a boon and use that boon in the same activation. Getting the most out of this unique mechanic requires forethought.
The easiest way to put these boons to use is to pick them up with Deep Roots the way I've described in the opening above. This is all lot phase stuff, so your opponent can't really stop it. All you really need to do is activate Lily before the Thornlings and Recruit or use Deep Roots during the Thornlings' activation. This is a minimum baseline value for Lily's trait.
However, there's a lot more to fairy dust than just passing the Thornlings a boon. This ability is enormously versatile as it can place any boon or blight. A few things I commonly do with this:
Place an accuracy blight in the path of a nearby enemy model that may try to target Lily with a range 1 attack.
Place a tasty boon near Lily before advancing so that she can have it next turn. Usually speed, accuracy, and dodge are good choices.
Place a boon that a nearby champion really wants. For example, an damage boon for Morrigan.
Move away from your banner, drop a speed blight, and then use one of Lily's control skills to pull a potential banner crushing enemy away from your banner and onto the speed blight.
That's not an exhaustive list, of course, but it gives you a sense of the basics. The beauty of this trait is how adaptable it is, though, so you'll want to be reading the board state and making adjustments (like always).
Lily has three absolutely stellar control abilities. Earth Call moves hexes. Haunting Melody moves all models in a target hex. Nature's Visage pushes all models in adjacent hexes away from a target. Each of these is very useful, but in different ways. Each of them has range 3, so Lily will often be in range without having to take advance actions.
Earth Call is the kind of skill that you use often if you are in a good position. Ideally, you'll claim with Lily each turn. This means that whether or not you are able to use Earth Call depends on whether or not you need to use an advance action in order to do so. Earth Call allows Lily to bring the hex to her, which is often the move if she's close enough to claim after doing so. Even better, Earth Call allows Lily to claim on adjacent hex before moving that hex (and the banner along with it) further away from nearby enemy champions. I call this plot phase sequence the "Plant 'n Yeet."
Haunting Melody is probably Lily's signature move. You get to move all the occupants of a single hex up to two hexes. It's accuracy six, which feels very cozy. The most common use for this is to push enemy champions away from banners, but there's obviously a lot more that this skill can do. Here's a brief list of ideas:
- Move activated enemy followers in someone's path.
- Move a scary enemy Slayer or Maelstrom away from its victim(s) or move victims towards friendly killers.
- Clear out a path toward an objective hex
- Push an activated enemy champion away from an objective to deny them claim access in the next phase.
Nature's Visage does a lot of the same things as Haunting Melody, but in a different shape and in a different way. It's only accuracy 5, so you'll either need to choose a low dodge target or snarf down a bit of your own fairy dust in order to be confident that it will hit. Nature's Visage does not move the target, but instead pushes everything away from the target. This means that it can effectively move models up to 4 hexes away! Nature's Visage also moves friendly models, which means it can fling friendly champions towards banners, etc.
These abilities become really powerful when you are able to use both of them in the same phase. That means denying enemy claim actions in order to avoid having to take advance actions with Lily. It feels pretty rough when your champion is pushed by Haunting Melody only to have followers flung its path by Nature's Visage with no chance to counter play. Lilly is lazy; she'd really rather not move around too much. If you have played a good claim denial game, then Lily can just kick back and rearrange the board from long range.
Here's an example. Let's say that the Helena has moved onto an objective and the Rallied Peasants have just moved up to backstop Helena. Surely this ensures that Helena will score in the end phase, right?
Well, not really no. We're dealing with a control freak here. By targeting Helena with Nature's Visage, Lily can burst open that backstop before flinging Helena off the objective.
When she's winning, Lily can feel like the motionless fulcrum around which the whole game swirls.
Lilly has quickly become one of my very favorite champions. She literally cannot attack, but it's completely fine. Lilly is absolutely terrifying even though she can't score in the clash phase. This pernicious pixie combines a tremendous amount of positioning control with an annoyingly persistent follower unit. This combination of board presence and board control allows Lilly to create pockets of space which opponents will struggle to reach. In Godtear, that means end phase scoring. If Lilly cannot thrive in the banner game, then she can't really contribute, but her powerful abilities and long ranges make it hard to prevent her from making her mark on each and every turn.
Lilly is a fragile pacifist, but she should scare you.