Scenario Breakdown: So You Have Chosen... Death
In this series, I’ll share my thoughts on each scenario. We’ll consider the scenario’s effect on Deployment, the BattleLadder, the End Phase, and each champion.
Death is a super fun scenario that rewards champions who can fly around the field and fight hard. The board state will change drastically as a result of the end phase condition, so you want champions who can adjust.
Death is almost two scenarios in one. At first, Death is full of hexes spread evenly across the board, but as the game progresses, it will turn into a brawl around a dwindling pool of Godtears. Flexible champions will thrive. Suddenly, an entire lane may become devoid of objective hexes, so you’ll need to suddenly switch. Slower champions who need to lock down an area and stay on it will be sad.
Death rewards players who can recognize when they’ve lost a turn and start setting up a plan for the next turn because the end phase mechanic is so strong. Death will probably frustrate players who want to build a perfect opening and use the same plan to grind an opponent down throughout the entire game. Godtear in general is not set up to reward that approach.
While flexibility and mobility are good here, make no mistake, this scenario is for fighters. Win the fight, win the game. Bring champions who like to scrap.
We start with three lanes and an abundance of hexes. Abandoning any of the three lanes will probably mean losing the early turns, so we are compelled to spread out a bit to start. Deployment is back-row only, so speedier champions will have better control over the initial engagements. The scoring hexes are four away from the deployment area and 3-4 hexes away from each other. This means that, at first anyway, lane switching is fairly doable. The hexes clusters will, of course, shrink.
It’s wide open. Ten steps on each side. Maximum KO scoring. Let the brawl commence.
This is really what makes this scenario. The losing player removes two hexes. This means that any lane can completely vanish in two turns. By the end of turn 4, there will be only two hexes on the map. Scoring flags will be hard. As the scenario progresses, you’ll have no choice but to score by fighting.
The choice of which hexes to remove is a huge decision which will have long term consequences for the game overall. In my games, the perimeter hexes have usually gone away first, but I know that other players have had different experiences. Do you want everyone to bundle up in the middle? Do you want to split the fight in half? Is there a matchup where claiming needs to stop? This aspect of the scenario truly rewards players who can see the big picture and think more than one phase ahead.
As mentioned previously, you want adaptability and capacity for violence. Tricky hex manipulation is not as helpful. Champions who need objective hexes on the board to help their abilities shine will be sad.
Finvarr - Not a great scenario for him. He will have a dearth of hexes to stand on, so he’ll have a tougher time getting his accuracy bonus. There will be fewer landing spots for his banner moving abilities. He’s fast and a good fighter, but some of his kit will be misplaced in this scenario.
Halftusk - Yeah. I like it. Halftusk enjoys a close-in brawl. His short-area movement trick, multiple attacks, and durability will all help here. The clustering-in effect will also boost his ultimate. The Froglodytes can totally seal off a hex cluster if the opponent does not have good tools for moving them off. This is a good spot for the troll.
Helena - No thanks. She needs hexes to stand on. This scenario takes the hexes away. No.
Mourneblade - Nah. This is a similar situation to Finvarr. Mourneblade needs a bunch of hexes lying around to toss banners onto. His movement impairment abilities and indifference to KOs will help, but he’s just not a good enough fighter to really flourish here.
Rodhri - Maybe. He would need someone who can help him move around. He can certainly fight, though. With the right war band composition, I can see Rodhri being ok here. His problem is that he struggles to squish flags, but that becomes less of an issue as the game progresses.
Blackjaw - This scenario helps him. He can fly across the board and score in large bunches without having to plant a banner. It’s hard to hide your followers from Blackjaw. He has enough health to stay in a fight for a minute, and the Reavers will be able to get places with few objective hexes to stand in their way. Yep.
Grimgut - This scenario is neutral for him, I’d say. Grimgut is ok in a fight. Having everyone bunched together will help him use his debuffs, and he has a good follower-killing game with the Retchlings. He can roll from cluster to cluster. The ability to hand out speed and to obstruct champions trying to abandon a dried-up hex cluster are both handy. Still, he’s not my first choice for a slugfest.
Jeen - Fine. Not her best scenario, but she is innately strong enough to still contribute. The banner tax on Goblins is lessened by the lack of objective hexes. She needs soft followers to target, but she can certainly move and help others move. If you want to take a slower bruiser, she and the shrikes can really help move them along.
Luella - This scenario probably helps her. Luella loves flying around the board and is pretty resilient. The Shield Maidens will be happy to get stuck in as well, and will not offer tempting targets to most maelstroms. If you like Luella, this is a good spot to take her.
Titus - He likes to fight, so this is a good scenario for Titus. He has a lot of damage potential. His usual low-health pool problem will be a liability, but he can give as good as he gets. The Glory Seekers, if spread out, can help all of your champions get where they need to be.
Nia - This scenario helps Nia. She alone can break the normal pattern of this scenario by growing new hexes. If you set her up on a wing and have her Calcify and Geode, then you for sure have a hex cluster that you can keep alive with more calcification at least through turn 4. Nia can keep some hexes alive in the center for the entire game. This means that she is the key to unlocking an alternative style of play centered around protecting banners. If you know you can’t win the fight, then Nia can help you find another way to keep the banner game going even as you win turns.
Raith’Marid - This scenario hurts him a bit, but not so much that you should hesitate to take him. Fewer hexes and banners means Raith scan’t do his tricks as easily, but he can still fly all over the board and fight fairly well. There is no situation in which he will not perform well. If there were one, it might be this one.
Rattlebone - This is an ok scenario for her. She is fast and can quickly deploy Hexlings to block lanes. Her boon and blight game help you win fights. The late game clustering amplifies her ultimate. Still, her low attack volume and vulnerable followers will probably be a liability.
Shayle - This scenario hurts him, but not enough that you should not bring Shayle. Landslide can fly across the board when one pool of hexes dries up. He’s versatile and powerful, and that’s what you need here. Shayle’s ultimate will suffer somewhat in the late game as hexes dry up, but Shayle is still good.
Keera - She's great here. This scenario might be her best one. She can threaten the center cluster and a wing at the same time. Fewer hexes means fewer spots the Dragons can’t cross. Fewer banners means less need to bring Keera personally closer to the fray. Keera is an elite fighter, and this is a fight scenario. She’s amazing in Death.
Lorsann - This scenario helps her. She can move and fight. Her banner crushing chops are less useful, maybe, but her long ranges will help her remain relevant even as the board state changes rapidly. She won’t be required to get in the mix, and that’s fine by her. She benefits in the same way that Keera does, but less so.
Maxen - This scenario probably hurts him a bit in the beginning, but Shotgun Max (that’s his name now, in case you missed the memo), will enjoy the later phases of the game when everyone huddles around the last hex clusters remaining. Distributing accuracy boons to the whole team helps. He can literally attack at range like Lorsann, but would very much prefer not to. He is a slow dwarf, but if your war band can compensate, he’ll do ok.
Morrigan - This scenario is probably bad for her. She can move across the board quickly, which is helpful, but she is probably best as a defensive character who camps an objective. That’s not what you need to do in Death. Morrigan also obviously loves boons from other champions, but the need to spread out early makes that harder. Pass.
Rangosh - He loves this scenario. You need speed and fighting power? Rangosh has both in spades. No place to plant a banner? Cool, our beefcake boi will just Channel some Rage.
Sneaky Peet - This scenario helps him because it eases the banner tax on Goblins. Peet can fly all over the board. His ability to stay in a fight depends heavily on the attack profiles of enemy models (he laughs at low-accuracy, high damage attacks), but he is a good fighter who can get places. He does not need objective hexes to be on the board in order to do work.
It’s telling that the super Shapers people are most eager to nerf and/or ban suffer a bit in this scenario. That should tell us something, I think, about the power of manipulating objective hexes. Death seems to be popular with the players I talk to. I certainly like it. I think it’s fun because there’s a built-in transition from spread out to clustered up in a Death game. Heading into a Death match, you essentially know what will happen, but you can’t be sure when and where it will happen. The rubber band mechanic is quote strong, so it is a scenario that constantly gives players hope that they can seize the upper hand after losing a turn.
Also, fights are fun. Rolling dice and scoring KOs gives me happy feelings. I hope you agree!