Slayers are a really fun class to play in Godtear, but there has been some sorrow around the internet and on certain podcasts that they are underpowered. I do not believe this to be so, but the class is definitely a bit more subtle than meets the eye. Please allow me to share my thoughts.
First, a note about math. I am bad at it. Therefore, I cheat by using an online dice calculator. Godtear dice are the same as blue dice in Monsterpocalypse, so any time you see me making statements about math, the numbers come from the dice calculator on the Monstepocalypse site Monsterroom.app.
It is not easy to one-shot anyone in Godtear. For example, Titus has the second lowest health pool in Godtear (aside from Mourneblade, who is clearly a special case). He has protection 3 against champions. Rangosh is tied with Keera for the highest natural damage roll in the game with his Jawbreaker attack (damage 7). Let’s imagine that Rangosh hits Titus with it (not at all guaranteed) and boosts his damage roll to 8 by using his Brutal Master trait. He has only a 33.05% chance of killing Titus if Titus is at full health.
Because it is not easy to one-shot someone, slayers sometimes feel like they let you down. After all, the other classes access their bonus steps more easily. No dice are required to plant a banner, so shapers have it easy, for example.
Why it’s not that big an issue
Knocking out a champion is a big deal, and it’s something you would want to do even if you wouldn’t receive a extra step. The loss of a champion action and the two-hex reposition are massive. In Godtear, every champion only gets 12-20 actions. If it takes them an action to rally and an action to get back into position, you have potentially reduced the enemy champion’s effectiveness by 10-16%. That’s in addition to scoring.
How you can mitigate the issue
Take two slayers. For real. I can’t fully describe why, but something subtly shifts when there are two slayers. One-shotting a champion is hard, but two-shotting a champion is pretty reasonable. With two slayers, it really feels like you can take out an enemy in one turn. Consider the Titus/Rangosh example from earlier. While Rangosh has roughly a 1 in 3 chance of one-shotting Titus, he has a ~87% chance to do two damage if he hits. If this can be layered in with other high quality attacks (like slayers tend to have), taking out Titus this turn becomes a much more reliable proposition.
Time your KOs for maximum effect. My favorite time to KO a champion is in the plot phase. Fortunately, Every slayer except Morrigan has a way of doing this. Usually, a Slayer’s ultimate offers a reliable way to add that last little bit of chip damage that can finish someone off. This allows you to have a bit more control over when KOs happen, which helps to offset the fact that they happen less often than banner placements.
Be Flexible. Just because your slayer gets extra points for killing champions does not mean that that’s the only thing they should be doing. I always try to plant three banners in every plot phase regardless of what classes I bring. If a slayer plants a banner, they score (of course), but perhaps more importantly, they compel enemy champions to come to them in order to squish the banner. Sometimes, champions need to kill key followers and that’s fine. Lorsann in particular is very efficient at taking out followers to proc her shoot and scoot ability. If that’s what needs to happen for you to get to a key position, don’t fret too much about the class bonus for slaying.
Why you should bring slayers despite the issue
They threaten other models. Even if Rangosh doesn’t kill you, you know that he can. This means that his presence on the board is affecting your decisions more than the presence of a more pillow-fisted model would. This is a subtle power, but a meaningful one nonetheless. It also does not depend on dice at all. When my opponents do not bring any slayers, I always feel a bit more relaxed and free to go where I want. This is not a feeling I desire my opponents to have.
They are fast. With the exception of Keera (who still has great threat ranges), the slayer class offers some very fast models. Aside from Morrigan, they all have the ability to move at least five hexes over the two phases. Morrigan can be even faster than that, though, since she gets a double bonus from the speed boon her minions can give her. This speed advantage is a huge deal since it lets Slayers get to enemy banners, apply their attacks, and get in position to drop banners of their own.
Rolling Dice is Fun. I don’t know about you, but I get a visceral thrill from rolling a huge pile of dice. It is arguable a downside of the class that their win condition is somewhat subject to change, but YOLO games are supposed to be fun. I think it’s fun to roll a bunch of dice. It’s true that they can let you down, but they can also spike. One time I one-shotted Titus three times with Rangosh in a tournament game. Good times, my friends. Good times.