The Ballad of Rangosh and Maxen
I generally think that Godtear list building is not super focused on combos. It's a recurring theme for me. However, there are some combos I like and one in particular that I positively adore. It's Rangosh and Maxen. It's often a good move to pair a couple of layers together, but these two are a match made in... somewhere powerful matches are made. Turn 1 Setup
Here's how it usually looks at the end of your first plot phase.
Notice that Rangosh is fully locked and loaded. He is also in position to threaten the entire center area. The Gearhawks are in position to put a screen in front of the left objective cluster. Maxen will be able to claim next turn and, possibly, to get off a potshot at whoever is coming into his lane. The Gearhawks will pass Maxen an accuracy boon this phase, and then renew Rangosh's Eagle Eye in the upcoming plot phase. You won't set up this way every time, of course, but this formation gives you a sense of the potential this pairing had. Fill the Lanes Maxen and Rangosh are a sweet combo in part because they do not need to be near each other. Maxen offers accuracy boons and chip damage at range. A to of lists built on combinations are hamstrung by the need for champions to stay close. Consider Nia, the centerpiece of many combo lists because of her ability to pass boons. If Nia wants to, for example, copy the Cold Bones’ damage boon and pass it to Morrigan, Nia has to stay within 2 hexes of her partner. This diminishes their strategic options by making it harder for them to threaten all of the lanes. Maxen’s Gearhawks can make Rangosh more accurate as long as one Gearhawk ends its activation adjacent to Rangosh. That’s easy since the Gearhawks are numerous and mobile. Maxen can also reach out and touch Rangosh’s targets from across the board if the two slayers are at least in adjacent lanes. If Rangosh has someone down to the bottom of their health pool, Maxen has a threat range of 5 in the clash phase to let loose a Piercing Shot or Birdshot to complete the KO and remove the banner.
Eagle Eyed Rangosh Without Maxen, Rangosh’s targets are much more limited. At accuracy 4 (thanks to Brutal master), Jawbreaker is on 72% odds to hit dodge 3. That’s not bad, but the extra bit of accuracy from eagle Eye pushes that to a more comfortable 86%. With his innate damage boon, it’s not hard for Rangosh to push Jawbreaker to 5/9. Against a 3/2 target like Kailinn, that’s absolutely devastating. It averages 4.75 damage and has a 27% chance of one-shooting her at full health. Without Eagle Eye, Jawbreaker is only on 42% odds to hit dodge 4. Jawbreaker is always devastating against dodge 2 or 3, but without Eagle Eye, it doesn’t have enough value against dodge 4 targets. The Gearhawk’s Eagle Eye allows you to push Jawbreaker to accuracy 5 which is at 66% odds to hit. That’s still not super reliable at any given moment, but it is a strong value proposition which will pay off over the course of a game. The average amount of damage Jawbreaker will do scales really strongly with increases in accuracy because it naturally rolls so many damage dice. Consider the typical 4/8 Jawbreaker. Add a damage boon and its expected damage against 4/2 defenses goes from 2.08 to 2.44. If you add an accuracy boon instead, expected damage jumps to 3.09. Combined with Whiplash, Rangosh can expect to average 5.54 wounds per clash phase against 4/2 targets. That’s usually good enough. Control the Timing Slayers are not supposed to be able to one-shot most targets. That would be broken. What they do well, though, is burn their targets health pools down to low levels with big chunks of damage. From there, Slayers are well-equipped to do reliable chip damage at a time of their choosing in order to get the KO at a time of their choosing. Maxen and Rangosh are perfectly equipped to finesse the timing of KOs. Both of them have reliable ways to do chunks of damage in both phases, and Maxen’s scavenger trait allows this duo to translate this into banner denial. That’s kind of abstract, so let’s see it on the board. It’s the plot phase and the Slayers are going second. Nia has taken a bit of a bruising, but she still has half her health and has annoyingly used her ultimate to put a banner in a tough to reach spot. First, the Red Bandits can Ambush her and bring her down to 2 health. Hey have an 81% chance to hit because the accuracy boon they earned by inflicting damage previously.
From here, Maxen can use his ultimate, Birdshot, to put an 8/8 shot into Nia at 3 hexes away. This has a 91% chance to KO her and remove the banner. That’s a nine step swing on the Battle Ladder.
This is all possible because both the Maxen and Rangosh crew bring damage in both phases and because Maxen has the ability to reach out and offer support without abandoning his lane. Screen Game These two champions bring a combined ten followers, which means that they have the ability to really clog lanes and block approaches to objective hexes. This is made considerably more potent by the blazing speed the Gearhawks can bring. The Gearhawks’ Migration skill works in both phases and allows them to be placed up to three hexes away. It’s just like the Splashlings. In the plot phase, the Gearhawks also have speed 1, so the little robot birds can really get downfield. The Gearhawks are great for swarming around enemy champions to trap them in place. Let’s look at it on the board. For example let’s say this is the top of turn 1 on Chaos.
The Gearhawks can get all the way around Halftusk’s formation. The big troll will not be claiming this turn and will have a slog ahead of him to break through to the objective hexes. If the gear hawks activate before he does in the Clash phase, Halftusk probably won’t get there.
The Red Bandits can do this kind of thing also, just not as easily. They can really move if they select a speed boon after doing damage, though. Their ability to Induct makes their screen self-replenishing, so they can perform well in this role also. Reacting to Maelstroms Reading that last section probably made Mealstrom aficionados salivate a bit. It’s true that these two champions bring 20 steps worth of followers with sad 3/2 defensive stats. You might think that Rangosh and Maxen do not have game into Maelstroms. You’d be wrong. Both Rangosh and Maxen have the ability to take their own followers off the board and possess above average control over when and where those followers return. Rangosh in particular can take 4 of his 5 followers off the board in a single activation. Additionally, neither the Gearhawks nor the Bandits need to cluster up in order to be useful. The Gearhawks are fine spreading out and passing out boons. The Bandits add value to your team even if they are not making attacks, since they can still be Rangosh food. The Gearhawks can spread out enough to limit most Maelstroms to a maximum of 2 points per clash phase while still doing their main job (handing out accuracy). Check this out:
Kailinn cannot score more than 2 steps off of the Gearhawks. The Gearhawks are also going to make Maxen more accurate. This position is easily achievable on turn 1. Final Thoughts
This collaboration is all kinds of fun. There are both synergistic abilities (Eagle Eye) and synergistic roles (big damage/chip damage at range). The combo brings lots of damage and a fair amount of banner denial. BEst of all, it's fun. You'll see me rocking it a lot.