How to Live With Kailinn
Kailinn is a problem. She punishes mismatches hard and can move so fast that she can dictate who she matches up with. For this reason, if you have even one crew in your war band who Kailinn can victimize, she will zoom over to their area and wreck shop.
As more Kailinn games have unfolded, it’s become clear that she can play in almost any list on almost any map because her speed and control give her versatility. Her ability to reposition enemy followers, move friendly champions, and blast around the board to far-away hexes make her a good support piece in the banner game even if she cannot personally enter objective hexes.
Kailinn is a problem. If you’re playing in a format where you cannot ban her, you need to build your list to deal with her.
I have not found a good way to deal with her. It would appear that no one has. At the most recent Borderless Godtear tournament, Kailinn had a record of 7-1.
With the understanding that the ideas below are not so much solutions as partial mitigations, let’s look at some ways to handle Kailinn.
It Takes a Village
Kailinn is so fast that there is no way to really control where she is. Yes, you can move her around and slow her down, but she can usually recover given that she usually moves 8+ hexes per turn. Given that Kailinn is extremely difficult to control, managing her means managing her all over the board. That means that when selecting a war band to oppose Kailinn, you have to think about how all three of your crews match up with her. If there is a single weak link in your war band, Kailinn will find and smash it. It takes a village to contain a centaur. Everyone has to pitch in.
Nia, Luella, and Rhodri all have armor 4 followers. These are actually not super easy for Kailinn to take out. A 2/4 small follower is only 58% likely to be KOd by Flashing Blade. That’s not so bad, really. Kailinn will usually have boons, but still. If Kailinn can come up short on 1-2 of her KO attempts, then you might be able to manage the overall situation by exploiting Kailinn’s weakness and keeping an extra banner up.
Finvarr, Skullbreaker, Raith’Marid, ans Styx have dodge 4 followers. A small 4/1 is 65% likely to be KOd by flashing blade. That’s considerably worse than Armor 4, but it still takes the edge off compared to something like a 3/2. Those poor guys go down at an 80% clip.
Large followers don’t do the trick either. Even setting aside the fact that Kailinn can use her ultimate to dicelessly score 4 steps off them, her large damage stats bring them down fast. Flashing Blade averages 2.9 wounds into a dragon, 2.01 wounds into Landslide, and 2.65 into an Abyssal Hound. She can attack twice, so it’s not great for our beefy pets.
The most survivable followers into Kailinn are definitely the Sneaky Stabbers, though. Flashing Blade only gets them 41% of the time. It’s not bad.
Big, Big Damage
It’s my solution to everything, I know, but it can work here. Keera is off the table because Kailinn just slays her before slicing up the reptiles. However, Rangosh can take bandits off the table without giving up steps, and the Tooth Bearers are not the worst at staying alive against Kailinn. With good positioning, Skullbreaker can Kailinn has low defensive stats, so she’s killable. The problem is that she can run away, but if you build your overall war band in such a way that there’s damage threat all over the board, you can bring her down with a little teamwork. With most champions, it’s better to take them out before they activate in the clash phase. In Kailinn’s case, though, I’d rather have her KOd in the plot phase. This prevents her from claiming, which makes things much easier.
I like it (sort of). Peet can hold down an area and stand up to Kailinn pretty well. She will struggle into Dodge 5. Even with an accuracy boon, Flashing Blade only hits 61% of the time. An un-booned Brutal Charge has only a 19% chance to hit dodge 5. The Virtues are quite sad into Peet and his followers, as well. Peet’s attacks are not likely to KO Kailinn quickly, but he can stay upright and give you a shot. Peet usually can’t protect banners well, but he can definitely protect his banner from KailinIs it good? No. Is it less bad than most of the other options? Yes.
As previously mentioned, the Splashlings have a good dodge stat, which is nice. Raith’s real value into Kailinn is his ability to stay alive well enough to plant a banner and go get Kailinn’s. Banner advantage goes a long way in dealing with the evil horses. Raith can even pop a Virtue every once in awhile. If he takes a damage boon after one his Kersplashes, the wet dragon can one-shot a virtue with a headbutt 32% of the time.
Finvarr is another version of this. He also offers dodge 4 followers and can get to 4/4 himself, which makes it tough for Kailinn to slay him. He probably won't be able to KO anything in this matchup, but his banner shifting ultimate may help you exploit Kailinn's weakness by shifting multiple banners into her area.
The only way to really control Kailinn is to play in a format where she can be banned. As long as we're in SFG standard format with no champion rotation, Kailinn is a problem you have to consider in forming your warband. You can complain about Kailinn, but if you're unprepared for her, that's on you. She does tilt the list building dynamics, but we'll learn to cope. After all, we learned to cope with Raith, right?