Making a List: To Rainbow or Not to Rainbow?
A new player picking up Godtear might feel a bit agoraphobic about the dizzying multitude of potential champion combinations. After all, there are 20 champions (soon to be 21) and no factions. The means there are currently 1140 potential warband combinations!
Sometimes folks ask if it's better to take champions from each class or to double (or triple) up on a particular class. In other words, go rainbow or not? I do not recommend tripling up, generally, but doubling up can be great in the right circumstances.
The good news for newbs feeling overwhelmed is that Godtear is extremely well-balanced, so list building in a vacuum is actually not that big a factor in your success. List building in the context of scenario and opponent war band will matter, though, and it’s important to consider the format you’ll playing in.
SFG Standard Format
Essentially, this means you can pick any 4 champions to take to a tournament and choose 3 of them for each game. You are stuck with 4 champions to take on all comers. Usually, you do not know the scenarios until after you have committed to your 4.
In this format, you want to choose 4 champions who can cope with a wide variety of scenarios and opponents. As such, you probably want to have a bit of a toolbox. This leads most players to go rainbow in this format.
I love to play 2 slayers. It’s my default setting. However, I once took a tough tournament loss because my list of 4, in order to include 2 slayers, had to go without one of the classes. This was before Maxen came out, so I was kind of in love with Mournemblade. I certainly wasn’t going without Raith, so that meant no Maelstrom. When I ran into a list featuring Grimgut, that made me very sad since I had no way to deal with his worthless walls of slime.
The SFG format is rather restrictive, so flexibility is at a premium. This is not to say that it’s always a bad idea to double up on a particular class in the SFG format, but if you do so, consider how you will handle the normal duties of the missing class.
For a sense of what champions are good at performing each role, here are my rankings.
Some Example Lists I Like for SFG Standard Format
Starter Box Rainbow
Finvarr, Titus, Nia, Morrigan
If you have both starter boxes, you have a fairly decent tournament list! Finvarr and Titus are top-shelf in their classes. Nia is excellent also. Morrigan is the weak link, perhaps, but she combines very well with Finvarr and Nia. What Morrigan really needs to function that her own followers cannot give her is a damage boon and an armor boon. Finvarr's followers can apply both of those boons to themselves. Nia can copy boons. So, the trick will be having Nia within 2 hexes of both a Shadow Sentinal and Morrigan. A bit tricky, but it can be done. I won't pretend that this is the most competitive list you can run, but it is perfectly viable for those who are just starting their Godtear collections.
Raith, Titus, Keera, Halftusk
This is a very powerful and flexible list. For me, Raith and Shayle are the two most powerful champions in Godtear. That means putting together a rainbow list (all 4 colors) means starting with the choice of which one to take.
Raith brings elite mobility and banner crushing abilities. This means you can afford champions who are bit slower and who can hit hard and protect banners. Titus adds just a little extra mob
ility with Roar of Battle. Keera gives you access to high damage, Halftusk can support the team with boons and banner protection. This list is comfortable into most situations.
Shayle, Rangosh, Jeen, Finvarr
If you go Rainbow with Shayle, then you are trading Raith's elite mobility for Shayle's elite board manipulation and banner protection. That means that you need to bring lots of speed throughout the rest of the list. Jeen, Rangosh, and Finvarr have all the speed you need. This list can fight and play banners as needed.
Keera, Sneaky Peet, Grimgut, Raith
Keera is your heavy hitter, but she cannot really get to banners. Fortunately, Peet and Raith have that covered. Grimgut fills in the gaps by giving you a nice combination of banner protection and the follower KO potential of Slimed. This list is definitely focused on fighting, but will not be short of ways to handle whatever the opponent might bring.
Mourneblade, Helena, Jeen, Rangosh
This list is tricky. Jeen helps Helena out a lot with Drive Back and Press Forward. Shayle can earthquake things into the loving embrace of a Knightshade. This list does miss out on the two elite shapers, but that seems better than having absolutely no ability to take out a champion. Rangosh gives this list a bit of a punch and also helps Jeen hunt down banners.
Titus, Grimgut, Finvarr, Maxen
This list is weird, but I think it can do some good things. It can certainly KO followers, but Grimgut and Finvarr also give it elite banner protection skills. Maxen rounds the list out with some good damage output and a cheeky ability to Scavange banners without moving onto them. This list has sneaky tankiness, mobility, and board control.
Shayle, Raith, Keera, Jeen
This is a straight up power trip. These are arguably the four strongest champions in the game. Raith and Jeen threaten banners. Dhayle protects banners. Keera and Raith hunt champions, while Jeen brings just enough Maelstrom-iness to threaten follower hordes. This list is not the tankiest, but it will definitely have an edge in the banner game even as it fights pretty well.
If all champions are available to you before the game starts, then list-building is a whole different thing. If you know the scenario and some of the opponent’s picks, you can tailor each game’s war band to deal with what’s in front of you. In a draft, I might know that I’m not going to deal with Grimgut, so no need for a maelstrom (maybe). I might not normally want to take Mourneblade, but if the scenario is Quest and my opponent doesn’t have Maxen… hell yes!
In these formats, feel free to get very specialized. In the Life scenario, I expect a big brawl in the middle of the board. That means that I want to make sure my war band fights better than my opponent’s war band. I don’t particularly care about a balanced list. Conversely, on a scenario like Knowledge, banner scoring is going to be essential, and the scenario’s static hex formations will place a premium on champions who can manipulate or add hexes to the board (shapers). In that circumstance, I am going to try to build a list that will gain me the all-important banner advantage.
Here are some examples of lists which are tailored to perform certain functions.
Sometimes in a draft format, you’ll want to take picks which counter your opponent’s picks. If you have Raith, I want Keera. If you have Mourneblade, I want Maxen. If you have Helena, I want Shayle. If you have Grimgut, I want Jeen. If you have Shayle, I want Peet. And so on.
Learning which champions play well into each other is vital to mastering a draft format and to deploying well prior to turn 1.
I know that it's fun to ponder all the possibilities of list building, but one of the things about Godtear is that the outcome of a game is almost completely determined by the decisions you make during the game and not the decisions you make before the game. Godtear is about positioning and sequencing much more than about list building. I'm not saying I don't think about lists too, but if you really want to improve your play between games, I'd recommend laying out some pieces on a physical or virtual board and contemplating board positions.
Really, any list can work if you play it right. I mean that. Pick the champions that make you happy and get lots of table time with them.