Turn Zero - How to Deploy
I have previously written about the importance of turn 1, but there are important decisions to make prior to turn 1. List composition is crucial, but so is deployment. Deployment matters in Godtear because Champions get relatively few actions (12-20) in the course of a game. This means that an average, speed 2 champion would only travel 12 hexes in a three round game if it took its full advance at every opportunity. Because actions and movement are at such a premium, where a champion starts has a very significant effect on where they will spend the bulk of the game. This is less true the more mobile a champion is, but it remains somewhat true even for certain puddle dragons. Deployment often puts champions into a “lane.” I imagine that this is somewhat by design as the game is explicitly inspired by MOBAs. Yes, champions can change lanes, but it costs precious actions to do so. This is not so much the case in the Life scenario, but in other scenarios, laning happens. There tend to be three lanes at the start of Change, Chaos, and Death and two lanes at the start of Knowledge and Quest. So why do lanes matter? Well, your opponent will be in the lanes with you. The champions opposite each other in the same lane will very likely engage with each other, at least in the early to mid game. This means that you want to deploy in such a way that your champions have favorable matchups in their lanes.
In the picture at the top of this article, the player with Lorsann, Keera, and Blackjaw is already winning. Blackjaw will love killing red bandits. Lorsann will auto-wound Mourneblade all day. Keera's dragons will casually fly over the retchings, allowing Keera to unload her 7 damage dice into Grimgut's low dodge body.
The importance of lane matchups means that going second on turn 1 is a big advantage because you also get to deploy second. This allows you to decide which of your champions will match lanes with your opponent’s champions. Counter-deploying is very, very good. So lets do a little drill. Imagine that you are deploying second in Change. Your list is Shayle, Sneaky Peet, and Titus. Your opponent is bringing Keera, Nia, and Blackjaw. Your opponent deploys Nia first in the center (see below). What champion would you deploy opposite her?
My answer is to put Peet opposite her in the center. Nia will be helpless against Peet’s dodge of 5. Even with her accuracy boon, she can still only get to accuracy 5, which is a 40% shot to hit. Keera can hit Peet easily. Blackjaw might also struggle a but to hit Peet, but there’s a better counter to Blackjaw in your list.
So let’s imagine that they put down Blackjaw next. How do you counter deploy?
My answer is to put Shayle opposite Blackjaw. Even with kick, BJ will have a lot of trouble getting his third action in this matchup. The Reavers are a threat to Shayle, but earthquake has a 72% chance to hit them (91% if they have the dodge blight from Boulder Bash), so Landslide can control them pretty well.
Finally, this leaves you putting Titus into Keera. Love it! The young dragons are no threat to Titus thanks to Superiority. Titus can also reposition the dragons with I’ll Kill You All, which means that he can pull them away from Keera. This means that she has to move into Titus if she wants to attack through the dragons (not great for her). Titus is also well equipped to murder large followers and champions alike. So the board would like this after deployment:
Pretty good situation for player 2! Notice that deploying second gives you almost total control over the lane matchups. It will take knowledge of the champions and their vulnerabilities to make the most of this advantage, but it can absolutely shape the dynamic if a game. This also means that if you are deploying first, you need to mitigate this advantage. One way is to put champions a bit closer to the center. This makes it easier to change lanes. The price will be delayed arrival at the scoring zones, so you’ll have to decide whether conceding some territory is worth it to change the matchup. It often is. I hope this at least gets you thinking about turn zero!