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  • Writer's pictureGrumpysarn

How to Start a Godtear Collection: July 2024 Edition



Overview

This post is meant as a buying guide for new players. The Objective hex is, hopefully, a resource willed with useful information on how to play Godtear, but that is all second order stuff. The first order question is what stuff to get your hands on in the first place. I hope that the OH content helps with that at least indirectly. In particular, I'd recommend checking out this brief introduction to each of the 26 champions who have been released at the time of this writing.


I have previously written buying guides in 2022 and in 2021. A lot of that old stuff is still good stuff, but we're definitely due not just for an update, but for a refresh of this series. You see, previous buying guides were hyper-focused on how to build a collection that you'll take to tournaments, but I've noticed that folks on the old Discored are increasingly asking about how to put together a collection to play with at home and which does not necessarily interact with other people's collections. I'll try and address this as well.


All prices are in US dollars because I am in the US. I would imagine that the prices I'm posting here are not the lowest around, but you should support your FLGS if possible!


Off we go!


How Much Stuff Do I Need to Buy?


Unfortunately, you are actually not ready to play Godtear just because you have the starter set. It's a bit confusing. The starter set comes with the essential game components and two crews. A "crew," by the way, is a collective term for a champion and their follower unit. Anyhow, you CAN play Godtear with one crew against one crew, but it's just not really very interesting. 1v1 gets very old very fast. 2v2 will last you awhile longer, but Godtear is really a game that's about 3 crews facing off against 3 other crews. 3v3 is the full game, and the designers have balanced the game with 3v3 in mind.


This raises the question of how many crews you need. The answer depends on how you're planning to experience the game. If you are trying to set up a game for the people in your household, then you need at least six crews. If you are planning to go to tournaments, then you need at least four. Either way, the starter box does not get you there.


At this point, a word about budgets seems in order. Although you need to buy expansions in order toplay the base version of the game, this does not necessarily make Godtear expenseive in comparison to other games. The opposite is true. Let me explain.


If we compare Godtear's price point to that of other miniature wargames, then Godtear is a steal at twice the price. To have two fully functional armies (and their rulesets) in other popular miniature wargames will cost you roughly $450, without any consideration of terrain, dice, etc. A Godtear starter set and four expansions will run you $188. Another way to think about this is that a Godtear expansion, which includes a champion and their warband, costs about $20 less than a box of space marines.


If we were to consider Godtear to be an extremely robust board game and not a miniatures wargame, it would still be quite reasonably priced. A copy of Gloomhaven 2nd Edition is currently selling on Amazon for $285.


So, I get that it's a bit vexing to have to buy expansions in order to make your game actually playable, but if you take a step back, it's actually a good thing. You're not overpaying at all and you get to customize. That's fun!


Purchase #1: Starter Box (~$55)

You should get one. Specifically, you should get the Borderlands version.

Let's start with why you should get a starter box. You need one because it has the board, tokens, dice, etc. that you need to play the game. In addition, you will get two full crews which are ready to play right out of the box.


There are two starter sets. The Borderlands set includes Titus and his Glory Seekers along with Finvarr and his Shadow Sentinels. The Eternal Glade set comes with Nia and the Quartzlings along with Morrigan and the Cold Bones.


Look, if you love the models in the EG set and you don't care about the rule sets, do your thing. I'm here to tell you, though, that there is a widespread and very durable consensus that Morrigan's crew is badly undertuned, frustrating to play, and very difficult to use well. Nia is a strong champion, but getting the most out of her crew also takes a lot of skill and experience. These were not great crews to put in the starter set, in my humble opinion.


By contrast, Titus and Finvarr are both really strong, flexible champions who tend to make sense right away. These guys show up in tournament lists all the time and are very beginner friendly. If you're getting one starter set, get the Borderlands.


Slayers and Shapers for At-Home Players


If you're putting together a collection to play within your household, that's awesome! I mean it. I'm sorry if this blog feels unduly focused on tournament play because some of the best Godtear experiences I've had have involved rolling some dice on a kitchen table with a beer and a buddy. My favorite Godtear experience ever happened when a dad brought his tween daughter to a tournament and I got to observe them enjoying the game together. Good for you! I'm here for you and I'd love to hear from you on the Godtear Discord!


So, if this is you, the goal is to create a pool of 6 champions which match up against each other in fun and interesting ways. You've already got a maelstrom (Titus) and a guardian (Finvarr), so let's talk shapers and slayers.


In the shaper department, Raith has been an alpha-power pick for a long time. So, if you're focused on playing at home, skip the soggy dragon. He'll dominate and throw things out of balance. Lilly might be in this category, too, but there might be someone in your family who just really likes fairies, and we have to honor that. Lilly is really strong, but she's also very interesting and she won't quite wreck your mini-meta the way Raith will. Lilly is fun.


Assuming that it's not Lilly, I'd go with Shale or Styx. Both are really fun and flavorful. Both are reasonably strong and somewhat intuitive to use. Shayle has a really strong positioning control game, while Styx has a pair of doggies who have the unique ability to remove banners from the table as followers, allowing Styx himself to stay home on an objective while still affecting the banner game all over the board. They are both wonderful models, as well.


Nia probably won't be in your collection unless you want to buy both starter sets because she is not sold separately. Rattlebone can be a fun choice, but she's the other champion besides Morrigan who is difficult to get value out of. Rattlebone may frustrate you.


On to Slayers! My personal favorites. These angry things will satisfy your primal urge to smash face. It's hard to go wrong here since you've dodged the Morrigan bullet. Skullbreaker, Keera, and Rangosh are all fairly versatile and effective. Peet and Lorsann are more specialized. Peet brings a very high dodge value, and Lorsann brings the ability to hit very high dodge values. It might be fun to pair Lorsann with another slayer like Peet or Skullbreaker because Lorsann is a good counter to both of them, so this would set up some interesting dynamics in the mini meta that is your home.


Second Maelstrom and Guardian for At-Home Players

So, once you have one of each, it's time to consider doubling up on a couple of classes to get to six crews and full 3 v 3 awesomeness for our home games. You could definitely choose to double up on slayers or shapers instead, and my previous comments on those classes hopefully gave you some ideas as to how.

When considering a second Maelstrom, I'll just start by saying don't get Kailinn. She's awesome on some scenarios, terrible on others, and generally unfun to play against. Just don't.

After that, it's about selecting someone who fits what you've already got. Blackjaw is an easy to use, rock-solid all-'rounder. Luella is a specialist in fragging high-dodge low armor targets like Peet. Jeen is pretty bad at KOing followers, but brings lots of movement shenanigans. Grimgut scores KOs mostlythrough his followers, which limits his potential for explosive scoring, but he excels at blocking off areas of the board. Fenra is a champion with 5 dodge, like Peet, which could mess up your mini meta if you don't have a high accuracy champion in the mix somewhere. She's really fun and interesting, though.


In the Guardian space, you really can't go wrong. They're all pretty fun and balanced choices. Jaak is a crowd favorite and plays a somewhat more dynamic style than other guardians. Mourneblade can be a negative play experience for opponents at first, but you have Titus, who is well-equipped to deal with Mourneblade.


Some Possible Starting Sixes for Fun Home Game Mini Metas

This is by no means exhaustive, but here are a few combos that I think might be fun.


  1. Titus, Finvarr, Fenra, Lorsann, Shayle, Skullbreaker

  2. Titus, Finvarr, Rangosh, Lilly, Jaak, Blackjaw

  3. Titus, Finvarr, Keera, Jeen, Rhodri, Styx


Collecting Advice for Tournament Players - Start With a Core Four

You should still get the Borderlands starter box.


After that, the best advice I can give is to form your own opinions by trying champions out on Tabletop Simulator. It's the best $20 I ever spent. More on how to do that here.


Some good news: the standard SFG format only requires you to own 4 crews. A tournament-ready list costs $111 and is ready to play right out of the box, Pretty neat, right? So what do you add to your starter box crews?


In thinking about a "good" list, my experience tells me that you want to think about synergies in a more indirect way than in other games. Your models will interact with enemy models much more than they will interact with each other because of the tight action economy and geometry of the board. This means you want to think about what enemy models you need to counter more than what friendly models you need to boost.


All Godtear models have use cases in which they can shine, even Morrigan. In Godtear, what makes a model "good" or "bad" is the breadth of those use cases. Morrigan isn't bad because she can't do anything; she's bad because her favorable situations are few. A "good" list in Godtear is one that can cover a wide range of scenarios and opponents. Consult our articles on matchups and scenarios to get a sense of which models can handle which things.


You don't have to get one from each class, but I think it's probably the best way to build your first tournament list.


In my personal opinion, here are the power picks in each class. These are just very versatile and powerful models.


Slayers: Skullbreaker, Rangosh

Shapers: Raith, Lilly

Maelstroms: Kailinn, Luella

Guardians: Jaak


I'm sure I just made a lot of people mad because that list is reductive and ignores the nuances and etc. Whatever, I'm here to give you the lowdown. Just go back to that first paragraph in this section if you don't like my list. Also, just to be clear, I don't always take these models and I don't think everyone should.


BUT....

You could do a lot worse in rounding out your Finvarr and Titus than Raith and Skullbreaker.


Tournament Collections Beyond the Core Four



From here, it’s wide open. Play some games before making your next purchase. Find out what aspects of the game give you joy. The next additions to your collection will take it from being a generally sensible and solid list of champions into one which activates more specialized playstyles.


Power-Moves


If you want to just be really competitive, then consider Raith and Kailinn. Overall, Godtear is an extremely well-balanced game. It is not perfectly balanced. I don’t think it’s ever possible for an asymmetric game to be perfectly balanced, and that’s fine. In my humble opinion, Morrigan and Rattlebone are rather bad whilst Raith’Marid and Kailinn are somewhat ahead of the curve. I know most experienced players who would agree with me. These two are simply strong and will be strong in any list. I say life is short, so play them without shame. Just one perspective.


In any case, I'll set these two aside as I proceed, but know that either of them can be an excellent addition to any collection and contribute to any playstyle.


Stylistically, the essential fork in the road here is whether to more deeply explore the beatdown aspect of the game or the control aspect. 


Beatdown

This is an approach to the game that is generally fine with all the banners getting crushed because the hope is to win in the Clash Phase. If you want to roll some dice and melt some face, then additional Maelstroms and Slayers are obviously what you need. This the most fun way to play for me. It’s also the most dice-reliant way to go, so you have to be a person who gets a thrill from taking chances in order to have fun this way.


Double Slayer is really rewarding if you are able to think deeply about the timing of your KOs and about how to use the positioning and action denial that comes with them to maximum effect. Double maelstrom can be very effective at creating banner denial since your opponent will be loathe to put their followers in your path.


If you went with Rangosh, consider pairing him with Maxen. The little dwarf tinker will supercharge Rangosh in two very important ways. First, he will supply Rangosh’s attacks with much needed accuracy boons. Second, he will provide ranged attacks which can finish off Rangosh’s wounded victims and remove their banners in the process. Rangosh and Maxen are both perfectly fine on their own, though, so don’t feel like these two are a codependent pair.


Regardless of your core 4, most of the reds and yellows are in play. Peet is a terror in some matchups, as he and his follower have uniquely high dodge stats. Fenra is a really fun Malestrom with high dodge, loads of damage, and a really strong friendly out of activation movement game. Lorsann is is back in fashion because of how well she matches up with popular high-dodge, low armor crews like Skullbreaker and Lilly. Since you already have Titus, a more durable Maelstrom like Luella might be a good choice. Blackjaw is another great all-around maelstrom, although he needs softer targets than Titus does. Jeen is much more of a banner denial piece, so make sure you have other ways of scoring clash phase steps built into your list; she goes very well with a pair of slayers. Grimgut is more of a control character despite his official class.


As an example, If I had a core 4 of Titus, Finvarr, Styx, and Skullbreaker, I’d probably unlock beatdown mode by adding Luella and Rangosh.


Control


If you want to explore the banner game more deeply, I recommend snagging someone who can go with Finvarr and your shaper to play a full on banner game. The control play style is very strong and rewards players who are aware of what both their own models and their opponent’s models can do. This is also a less dice-dependent way to play, so it is nice for those who value consistency. It feels very chess-like.


A good lens for evaluating a control list is to consider how the list would perform in the various scenarios. Someone like Rhodri will be fantastic on Life, but struggle on Quest, whereas the opposite is true for someone like Mourneblade. Life and Knowledge tend to emphasize a champion's ability to hold down an area, whereas Death, Quest, and Chaos tend to emphasize a champion's ability to influence a large area of the board. Control lists need to adapt to scenario a bit more than beatdown lists since they really need their banners to be safe.


Since Titus and Finvarr can play any scenario well, I'd recommend looking at the shaper in your core 4 and deciding from there. Did you get a mobile banner crusher like Raith or Lily? Cool, complement them with a point-holder like Styx, Rhodri, Grimgut, or Halftusk. Need someone who can touch far away places? Consider Mourneblade, Jaak, or a speedy shaper.


Rattlebone and Helena are a bit disappointing, but all the other greens and blues are potentially good options at this stage. Shayle and Lily seem to overlap each other a bit, so perhaps consider other options if you have one of those two already. Finvarr is such a solid all-arounder that he can play with anyone. Halftusk’s accuracy is becoming more valuable as more releases are bringing high dodge values. Rhodri is a very strong option into some popular champions, particularly maelstroms. Jaak is a great mid-lane champion who would combine especially well with shapers who can grant accuracy boons. All things being equal, I’d go with Mourneblade. He may not be the most competitive option, but he’s wicked fun and will pair nicely with Finvarr. Grimgut also belongs in this category even though he is officially a Maelstrom. The Retchlings offer a phenomenal scoring denial/banner protection combination that can be swiftly redeployed for maximum board control.


As an example, if I had a core 4 of Titus, Finvarr, Styx, and Skullbreaker, I’d probably activate full control mode with Rhodri and Shayle.


Final thoughts


If it feels like I’m recommending lots of models, it’s because nearly all of the models in the game are very good. Of the 26 released champions, I’d say 24 are viable for competitive play. I wrote this because I know that a wide open landscape of options can make it hard to know where to start, but please don’t read this article and think that your options are limited by the formula offered here. If you just want a starter box and four shapers, do you. It will probably be fine.


Truly, I say pick the models which look coolest to you. In many games, that’s a recipe for heartbreak, but not in Godtear. Unless you just love ice liches. In that case, reconsider.


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