Who's Your Favorite Shaper?
Fishy Wargaming: Raith-Marid
Ok so before the groans and fingers are pointed I will acknowledge... Raith is on the top curve of power for Godtear. His clear opposite may not yet be released (though I think Jeen has an ace game into him). Let’s be frank Raith can be a powerhouse on the table. The pushing, assassination attempts and table disruption is unequalled in Godtear. His flexibility and vulnerability make him so interesting to play. As a player the constant forward thinking and careful precision positioning of Raith, Splashlings and opponents is critical for this play-style. Raith is definitely the strategist's love child. His ultimate is so impactful in a game all about positioning it is undeniable.
Don’t get me wrong these are great reasons to play Raith and for those that want a reactive, slippery champion, It’s ace. But the real reason to play Raith is the model, the look and the elementals.
I jumped into Godtear with the early access and both the metal and the plastic models of Raith are just oozing with character from his ‘too cool for school’ attitude. Or squawking prehistoric beast, those deadly curved daggers. His composition is just excellent. Curved armours, gems, daggers. Throwing my mind back to Saharan and middle-eastern takes. Giving an air of mystical knowledge oozing from Raith-Marid. Then the genes of dragon, lizard, dinosaur and a touch of bird to resonate with evolution patterns! This is all backed with the ohh soo pretty splashlings. Whose Ancient Greek mask throws me back to ‘Clash of the Titans’ and how Raith is already a god of the sea, Controlling the elements.
For me Raith exudes the power of the Gods more than any other champion and is rightfully so at the top of the pile for any team I want to pick. Some could say I have a lizard, bird,Dino, god crush. They wouldn’t be wrong!
Objective Hex: Landslide and Shayle
Right off the top: Shayle is my favorite character in the game. Sorry, Rangosh, but Shayle was the one who drew me in when the very first Early Access Beta characters hit the internet. Even back then, it was clear that Raith was the most powerful champion (he’s been considerably toned down if you can believe it), but Shayle was the one who made me believe that the lore and aesthetic of the game would be worth my time.
On the Table
Shayle and Landslide can enable any style of play in any scenario. They are arguably the most versatile crew in all of Godtear. Shayle is not Raith, but he is definitely a cut above the other shapers aside from Soggy Dragon.
The main attraction here is Earthquake. This is arguably the best skill action in the entire game. It is only accuracy 4, range 2, but you can use it in both phases. The hit effect lets you move the target and any other models in its follower unit (wherever they are) 2 hexes in any direction. It’s quite simple but also phenomenally versatile. This is really the apex of board control in Godtear because nearly every other ability of this kind is either smaller in impact (just one hex or model) or only available in one phase. The uses are endless. Earthquake can block off hexes, clear paths to hexes, set up targets, push hostile models away from their targets, etc etc. The two weaknesses of this ability also have built in solutions. Landslide is phenomenally mobile, able to place up to four hexes away per phase for free, so getting in range is quite doable. Remember that you only need to be able to target one model in a follower unit in order to move every model in that unit regardless of range. To compensate for the modest number of accuracy dice Earthquake has, Landslide’s clash phase attack, Boulder Bash, also has a dodge blight as its hit effect.
Speaking of Boulder Bash, it can get to 6/7 without much trouble because Shayle can boost Landslide’s strength or armor in every plot phase. Landslide can hit even harder by dicelessly debuffing armor in the plot phase. Ok, so Landslide has an elite control ability, eight free hexes of placed movement per turn, and a devastating attack. Surely the fun ends there, right? Wrong.
I’ve been gushing about this pair for awhile now, and I have not even mentioned Shayle’s game-breaking ultimate which essentially allows him to move every objective hex within a massive three hex aura around Landslide. Like Earthquake, it has potentially limitless applications. Shayle also has a quietly great blight and boon game himself because he has very strong anti-boon tech and can hand out the all important speed debuff. This toolkit gives an already versatile crew just a bit more banner protection capability.
Shayle himself is squishy, which is an issue. Landslide cannot move on its own activation, so the opponent has a bit of counter play between when Landslide places and when it activates. That is really all that balances Shayle, and both problems are quite manageable. As long as the Shayle player is a bit thoughtful about activation order and a bit cagey with Shayle, things tend to be alright.
This is, in my opinion, the coolest looking expansion in the game. You’ve got a traditional wizard looking guy, but he appears to be surfing on a crystal-spiked rock! I’m not sure that I’ve seen sculpts of rocks that have this sense of forward motion. It’s sweet. Of course, the best part is the Landslide sculpt. The size and chunkiness of this model is very pleasing. It has a dynamic, forward-leaning pose and really looks ready to smash something. The fist and stone blade are imposing, and there are an abundance of large, textured surfaces which take paint extremely well. I love these models.
For my money, Shayle has easily the coolest backstory of any champion in the game. He has sworn an oath to prevent mortals from obtaining godlike power because they can’t be trusted with it (obviously). At the same time, he clearly needs to harness the power of the godtears in order to contend with all these giant demi gods running around. His solution is to infuse the power fo the godtears he finds into the rock itself - hence Landslide. In other words, Shayle is a badass loner who lives by a code. He’s like a cross between Gandalf and a Clint Eastwood character. So dope.