Godtear is a game about interactions between yours and your opponent’s models. Knowing what matchups are likely to create favorable interactions is a key part of mastering the game and can be the steepest learning curve. In this article, I will attempt to break down what I consider to be the favorable and unfavorable matchups for each Shaper warband.
Let me start with a bit of framing and hedging here. There are dizzying amounts of different matchups which can occur given the 26 different champions currently available. I have not played them all. I don’t have that kind of time unfortunately. Some matchups I have seen often enough to be fairly confident of how they will play out (Raith v. Shayle, for example) whereas others I have not played at all. There is going to be some educated guessing in this article.
You may disagree with my matchups - one person's view of a bad matchup is another person's view of a favourable matchup. Understanding my rationale and your own is another route to getting better at the game. Feel free to let me know if you disagree with what I’ve got here; you may very well be right and pointing it out to me will improve my play.
I tried to find 5 matchups which I consider to be the most favorable and 5 which I consider to be the least favorable for each champion. This is arbitrary, so there are going to be some close calls. Note that this will not be consistent across champions. That is, me saying that Champion A has a favorable matchup into Champion B does not necessarily mean that I am also saying that Champion B has an unfavorable matchup into champion A. This is because B might have five matchups more unfavorable than A while A does not have five matchups more favorable than B. It’s all relative, I’m saying. Additionally, I will focus on more "unique" matchups - it would be easy to say lots of people have a good matchup into the less powerful champions.
I'd also recommend looking at Grumpysarn's old matchup articles. They were one of the most helpful things for me as I was getting into the game.
The Shaper Matchups
Ok, those provisos aside, let’s dive in. I made a small table for each Shaper champion. Green means that the matchup favors the champion whose name appears atop the table. Red means that the matchup is unfavorable.
We'll go in alphabetical order, so first up is...
The new girl on the block, Lily brings high speed and high accuracy long-range crowd control, but on a fragile base with numerous followers.
Therefore, Lily excels into slow targets, such as Maxen, Halftusk, Helena, Shayle and Titus. She can push them as far as they can move in a phase, plus reliably slow them in the plot: meaning they're potentially moving about 25% as far as they could. All of these targets lack plot phase damage in order to counter her ultimate, meaning she can often deny them a plant too (Maxen could ultimate a Thornling, but that would be an excellent trade for Lily). For these prior points, many people consider Lily into Helena one of the hardest counters in the game: if slowed in the plot, Helena often can't re-reach hexes she's pushed off in the clash and Lily can also Haunting Melody away the Peasants if they try to block Helena in. Admittedly Maxen, Titus and Halftusk are a threat if they can reach Lily, but generally she has the tools to stop these guys doing what they want and keep them at arms length. Lily's followers are excellent at follower blocking, annoying Maxen, Halftusk and Helena. But they are also mobile enough to keep out of reach of Titus and to make them a very low-reward target for Landslide's Earthquake. Further, Shayle has to be very cautious to not be pushed out of range of Landslide by the slippery fairy.
Lily herself is quite fragile, even if she has reliable access to boons. Between 2 Stabbers and himself, Peet should do almost 6 wounds to her in the plot phase. Lorsann can similarly snipe her from afar, whilst Lily doesn't have the number of attacks to whittle down the Rangers. Peet and Lorsann are generally the biggest threats to Lily herself, plus have the speed to potentially get her banner. Jeen, Kailinn and Blackjaw all have the weight of attacks to harvest her followers and therefore punish the Thornlings if they use their passive. Against Blackjaw it becomes a game of 'ultimate chicken' as his ult counters Lily's, plus Lily doesn't have the attacks to trim down the Reavers. The passive of Jeen's Golden Shrikes counters Lily's ultimate plus any of her attempts at follower blocking. Lily is one of the fastest champions in the game, but you know who's faster? Kailinn. Plus, Kailinn has the speed to reach the Thornlings wherever they are and a 2/3 defensive profile is the ideal target for Kailinn's attacks: Brutal Charge is 75% odds to kill a Thornling, before any boons.
Nia brings reliable boon and blight manipulation, alongside game-changing hex creation. However, she lacks the crowd control or big turn-winning ultimates of other Shapers. Like Styx (and Grimgut) I found when thinking about Nia she felt like she was less of a matchups-based champion (unlike someone like Luella), but more of a synergy based champion that should reliably offer something. Bearing that in mind...
Nia's hardy followers can make them difficult targets for some of the premier maelstroms, like Kailinn, Luella and Jeen. Luella can barely scratch them but will get reliably slowed by them. Jeen will also struggle to hurt them, plus may have her high value boons (such as speed) copied by Nia. 2/4 is not an ideal target for Kailinn, but more importantly Nia can really punish Kailinn's inability to enter hexes by facilitating reliable banners for Nia herself and her allies. Keera will likewise struggle to counter these banners and Nia can use these new hexes to keep herself out of reach of Keera's dragons, meaning Nia is not the easiest target for the dragon lady. Whilst not having much to answer Rattlebone's Hexlings, Nia can often copy any boons or blights Rattlebone spreads about - countering her at her own game.
The slow dwarf generally likes to set up a space and create a hex farm there. Therefore she struggles against those that invade this farm without her being able to stop them. Titus is resistant to the Thornlings attacks and has the attacks between him and the Glory Seekers to kill Nia and her followers, also denying her passive. She doesn't have the speed to escape Peet, nor the accuracy to threaten him or the crowd control to keep him at bay, plus her 4/2 defenses make her an ideal target for the stabby goblin crew. Neither Titus nor Peet rely on boons or blights for Nia to turn against them. Raith and Styx, whether through Ker'Splash or Drag, can reliably get to Nia and she struggles to uproot them once they are there. The Quartzlings are ideal targets for the Abyssal Hounds, whilst Nia is vulnerable to being pushed about by Raith. These four champions can all prevent Nia castling and she doesn't have the tools to stop them. With only the one March in the plot phase, Nia struggles to escape Mourneblade's Knightshades and most definitely struggles to reach his banner: giving him the banner advantage. She also doesn't have the damage to threaten him, meaning he'll typically have the banner advantage in this matchup.
Okay, I'm a big Raith fan and would argue he generally has very reliable matchups: I would see most matchups as a shade of green and many of the reds as a lighter red. He brings the ability to jump about all over the place and apply lots of crowd control, although relies on his followers for movement and his dodge makes him vulnerable to hit effects.
Between Tsunami and Ker-Splash, Raith is a banner crushing expert. This makes the likes of Nia Halftusk, Mourneblade and Finvarr particularly sad as he has the range to reach their banners from far away and they don't have the crowd control to stop him. Current, Ker-Splash and Lunging Strike ignores the Knightshades passive, whilst his 4(!) different ways to move people makes the Knightshades and other slow models such as Nia, Halftusk and Maxen sad. Access to Tide in the plot phase also makes the Froglodytes particularly unhappy as it makes it harder for them to stop banner plants. Plus Raith's own passive allows him to shrug of speed blights such as from Nia and Finvarr, further enabling banner crushing. Raith's high armour (often armour 4) also makes him a tough cookie against those reliant on high accuracy, limiting the threat such as from Halftusk and Maxen, therefore potentially denying Maxen's passive whilst being able to teleport past follower-blocking from the Gearhawks (or anyone else that tries).
Although vulnerable to his attacks, Lily doesn't have many of the weaknesses listed above, as she's fast enough to resist much of his crowd control and her ultimate isn't affected by his pushes. Plus Lily's pushes means she can also move Raith out of reach of a Ker-Splash, denying his banner crushing strength. Keera's dragons are one of the few things able to keep up with Raith's mobility, whilst her duo of auto wounds (and generally powerful attacks) helps mitigate his otherwise usually high toughness. Similarly, Jaak's potential trio of strength 6 attacks can reliably hurt Raith and his low dodge, even moreso as his speed blights generally prevent Raith from picking up armour boons. The Cronies can also hamper some of his banner crushing. Raith's low dodge makes him an ideal target for Rangosh, who can punish the water dragon if he comes for his banner and whose followers can Ambush down Splashlings in both phases. It's not perfect for the undead fella, but Styx's dogs can threaten Raith's banner with Raith's low number of attacks, whilst Styx's ultimate is an excellent tool to prevent a good Raith ultimate. Styx's armour blight also forces Raith to prioritise armour boons and the dogs are good into the Splashlings, whether to disrupt or kill them in the clash.
Rattlebone brings an excellent blight game and solid all round stats, but with limited accuracy and a reliance upon fragile followers.
Her low accuracy attacks and the speed at which her followers' accuracy degrades means she does best into low dodge targets, particularly if they're also low in move speed. The Hexlings can plop down speed blights in both phases, even if some of them have been killed. Therefore, Rhodri, Maxen, Morrigan, Raith and Halftusk are all good targets for her warband's attacks. Her damage blight also really mitigates the threat from these targets into her solid defenses. All of these models (except Raith) hate speed blights which her followers can effectively distribute in both phases, particularly as the likes of Halftusk, Rhodri and Maxen in particular can also be frustrated by her followers blocking their path. Morrigan's reliance on boons is also frustrated by Rattlebone's regular distribution of blights, undoing any boon stacking a player may try on Morrigan.
The Hexlings are a potential maelstrom meal, particularly as their accuracy drops so quickly and they can't recruit back in the same way Lily's followers can. Therefore the likes of Fenra, Blackjaw and Kailinn are strong into Rattlebone: they have the speed and spread of attacks to reach the Hexlings wherever they are and can earn themselves lots of battle ladder points as they do it. Rattlebone is also an excellent target for the followers of Kailinn and Blackjaw as she does not have the weight of attacks to reduce their numbers and mitigate their otherwise high threat. Alongside excelling at hunting the Hexlings, Fenra's high dodge also makes her safe from Rattlebone's low accuracy attacks, particularly with her reducing the Hexlings' accuracy with each one she kills. Skullbreaker has the similar advantage of high dodge and threatening followers: therefore he and the Toothbearers can threaten Rattlebone and her threat is limited in return. Rattlebone is one of the few champions with no skills to escape the Knightshades, plus she does not have the number of attacks to remove them, meaning Mourneblade can pin her down with ease.
Shayle offers a potentially massive amount of crowd control through a tough, mobile Landslide. However, he does this through low accuracy attacks and whilst being fragile himself.
Shayle is almost defined by Avalanche: a 2 hex push in both phases can punish those that are slow and low dodge, let alone with a speed blight too. Morrigan and her poor slow Cold Bones are arguably the most vulnerable to this and struggle to do anything in return. What's worse, Morrigan relies on boons but Shayle can potentially remove all of them. Honestly, it's awful for Morrigan. Halftusk and Luella are similarly punished by Shayle's crowd control and don't have the damage to realistically threaten Landslide in return. They can threaten Shayle if they reach him, but that's unlikely to happen. Landslide can also undo any hex blocking the Frogs try to achieve. Jeen doesn't have the damage to score points off Landslide, is vulnerable to Landslide's pushes and won't achieve much through the Golden Shrikes' usually-excellent passive. Shayle is one of the worst matchups for poor, sweet Mourneblade: Avalanche can just undo anything the Knightshades try to achieve, only needing to reach one in order to push all of them further than they can move in the clash.
The strength of Shayle into low dodge lends to his weakness into high dodge: Peet is unlikely to ever be hit by Avalanche and in the meantime he and his Stabbers can gang up on the slow, vulnerable Shayle. Skullbreaker also has the dodge to frustrate Shayle, plus Shayle and Landslide are excellent targets for the Toothbearers. Shayle has an 80% chance to die to Skullbreaker's Finisher, which also pushes him way out of range of Landslide. Separating Shayle from Landslide is the reason Raith wins this matchup: it looks good for Shayle until Raith ults. Then Shayle and Landslide are at least 4 hexes apart and have to get past Raith's 3 other forms of pushes before they can get back together again. Kailinn has the speed to not be bothered by Avalanche and the damage (let alone ultimate) to kill Landslide. Or she or the Virtues can simply target Shayle himself and he won't have the speed to escape them. Lorsann's range and speed means she can always reach Shayle, plus she has the accuracy to exploit his small health pool. Shayle doesn't have the attacks to threaten the Mistwood Rangers who further exploit Shayle's fragility.
Styx is a generally matchup-neutral champion and instead offers reliability. However, he excels at denying areas that enemy's usually want to occupy, although he and his followers can be vulnerable to scary attacks in return.
Finvarr, Rhodri and Halftusk are usually the toughest targets in the game, but Styx's ultimate just nukes them. Styx can then stay planted and hard to shift in the clump of hexes these Guardian's otherwise try to occupy. The Abyssal Hounds also offer another avenue to threaten their banners, love to eat dwarves, and can just drag any pesky Frogs off hexes. Similarly, Nia can't uproot Styx from her hex castle and his dogs have a real taste for the usually tough Quartzlings. He can therefore both threaten her banner and protect his own better than she can against him. Although Keera brings excellent killing power, Styx's passive means she'll struggle to keep him off hexes and this alongside his dogs means she'll struggle to maintain banner parity, therefore relying on a kill to even the points. Counter to most fantasy lore, the dogs also do well into the dragons, often getting a 6 dice damage roll into them.
Although not pushed around if they KO him, Skullbreaker and Peet are excellent at killing Styx. Styx doesn't have the speed or defence to escape Peet, nor the accuracy to hurt him back, and Peet generally doesn't plant a banner to worry about the dogs anyway: if Styx likes to hold an area, Peet is only too happy to share that with him. Skullbreaker is similar, plus the Toothbearers are excellent into both Styx and the Abyssal Hounds, reliably giving Skullbreaker two procs on their passive. Blackjaw and Titus can really threaten a one-shot on Styx's dogs, reducing any threat to their banners whilst their followers can quite effectively punish Styx himself. Like the aforementioned slayers, Titus does not mind sharing hexes with him and does not fear his dogs. Lorsann and her Rangers can reliably put armour blights on Styx and hurt him from such range he will struggle to do anything back. She can easily stay out of range of his ultimate and can target his hounds if she desires: Styx really offers little back into the elf. Lily gets an honourable mention as a bad matchup too.