There were times when I thought Rhodri was unplayable. I remember one game in particular when Rattlebone used Call Totems to put a wall of Hexlings in front of the dwarf at the top if turn 1. It felt awful. Poor Rhodri just could not get anywhere.
One tendency I have noticed in my play is that I am sometimes too focused on crushing banners. If you view the game that way, Rhodri seems abysmal because our chunky boy cannot really close distances to get to faraway places. This truly hurts when someone like Shayle or Grimgut can keep him from getting to the hexes in the first place.
Kailinn has shaken things up, though. She’s quite rough on the sort of champion Rhodri used to hate to see in his lane. Moreover, she defies lane centered thinking and does not mind coming over to clear a path and thunder her hooves for slower teammates.
Most importantly, though, Kailinn has forced Godtear players to rethink how to play a control game. In dusting off some old friends, I’ve become intrigued by the idea that Rhodri might have been a bit underrated all along.
It may be time for a Rhodri renaissance. You can’t stop me from calling it the Rhodrissance. That’s what I want to call it. Hey, you’re the one reading this, so who is really at fault here? Rhodrissance.
So let’s look at this sturdy boi with fresh eyes and an open mind.
I’m not going to walk you through the cards. If you want that, Dan already did a great job.
Instead, let’s talk hone in on some of the finer points of Rhodri play.
Rhodri’s nightmare is never getting to the objective at all. This is why you want scenarios which let you deploy close to objectives (more on this below). It’s also why you usually want some sort of turn 1 dwarf accelerant.
All maelstroms can do help Rhodri get downrange. Styx and Raith can move a hex closer, which works, too. Nia can make some hexes appear next to Rhodri, so that’s a way to go also.
You also need to ensure that the Grimguts of the world don’t surround the Thane of the Forsaken Hold with garbage. Again, maelstroms are usually good for this. Landslide is aces at it.
Whatever it takes, make sure Rhodri gets to an objective before his activation in the turn 2 plot phase.
Pick Your Spots
Rhodri is not the most flexible champion, but he can really thrive in the right conditions. Part of that is matchup and part of it is scenario.
I already wrote about Rhodri's matchups.
There are three edits I would make if I rewrote that piece today.
I know, it’s spelled “Rhodri.” This blog is free. Relax.
I would not have Rangosh in green. According to math, Rangosh KOs Rhodri before Rhodri KOs Rangosh.
I would have Luella in green instead. She cannot KO these boys well at all.
As a model focused on a particular style of play, Rhodri is probably more scenario-sensitive than most.
Here’s my take:
Life: Hell yes
Death: Hell no
Change: Not a fan
Quest: Hard pass
Chaos: Oh for sure
When Rhodri is off, he’s off. He really needs a scenario where he can get to an objective and settle in. He doesn’t like objectives being far away, moving away from him, or disappearing altogether.
However, if he can be sure of his footing, Rhodri is tough to beat in a short range slug fest.
If you need to activate first to save your banner by Shield Bashing or KOing someone, do that.
Otherwise, Rhodri loves to bide his time.
The obvious reason is Bannerfall. The less obvious reason is Shield Bash (more on this soon). Either way, Rhodri likes to take a punch and then get the last word.
I’ll go into more detail shortly, but Rhodri’s recipe for success involves using the clash phase to mess up the opponent’s next plot phase. It’s goblin-esque if you think about it.
The opponent has less opportunity to recover from this if Rhodri activates late. He doesn’t even mind activating last.
They can’t crush your new banner if they’ve activated already.
Focus on Claim Denial
Rhodri does have a way to deny banners, but it’s not always by crushing them. Rhodri’s best way to gain banner advantage is to deny the opponent claim actions in the first place. He has a few tools for this job.
Shield Bash - For the longest time, I thought this was just to push people away from Rhodri’s banner in order to dave it from being crushed. Shield Bash can do that, but it is also for putting enemy champions off of objectives after they have activated in the clash phase. This makes it hard for them to claim in the next plot phase.
Household Guard - In the clash phase, they’re natural sprinters. They can, in fact, move three hexes in that phase. This is often enough to position them between an enemy champion and a hex cluster.
Swords - Another good way to push enemy champions away is to KO them. Rhodri and the Guards can potentially put a combined 12 damage dice into someone. Not bad. Slayer-esque.
Armor - once they’ve come between you and a hex, you’ll struggle to take out armor 4+ dwarves.
Shield wall - You probably can’t push them either.
Don’t Over-Exert Yourself
Rhodri does not need to go chase anyone. If your opponent plants a banner far away, well, good for them. Maybe a teammate can take care of it.
Rhodri is fine as long as he can tend his own little rock garden somewhere. If they don’t come to you… 6 steps! If they do come to you, smack them hard. It’s Rangosh logic.
If you’re in the right scenario, you’re ideally having a knife fight in a phone booth, though. Usually under those circumstances, enemy banners are local.
Rhodri is kind of a specialist, but a useful one. He wants to lock down an area and force others to come to him. If he gets to his spot, he’s hard to shift. Sometimes he’ll have to concede an enemy banner, but that’s ok if he also scores his own because Rhodri isn’t likely to concede steps in other ways.