Tabletop - Post Power Unbound
Wigglefish here, talking about Farstriders.
With the release of the universal cards in the Guardians, Profiteers, and Power Unbound, The Farstriders have gained a number of really powerful cards, and are in my opinion worth giving a try again.
Be aware that they are not an easy warband to play, and require some amount of game knowledge in order to foil your opponent's plans.
In my opinion, the key to playing Farstriders is to recognize what the other player is trying to do to win, and then foil that plan and outscore them. It is a lot of fun playing these guys, as long as you are prepared for a bit of a learning curve (which in my opinion is also one of the best ways to improve at the game).
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deck building guide
The objective deck is mostly aggressive, but only two cards actually require you to kill an enemy fighter (Strong Start, Death From Afar).
The rest of your glory comes from attacking (Change of Tactics, Branching Fate, Warning Shot), performing actions (Keep Them Guessing, Cover Ground, Calculated Risk), simply existing (Escalation, Shining Example), and for scoring your other objective cards (Combination Strike, Great Gains).
Glory Total: 16
The gambit cards in the deck are focused primarily on doing damage and providing you with the positioning to hit the right targets.
Cards like Rapid Volley, Trap, Pit Trap (keep in mind this one has the same window as Rapid Volley) Ready for Action, and Raptor Strike allow you stack damage onto fighters and secure important kills.
Spectral Wings allows you get quickly into range or out of danger, and helps you score Cover Ground.
Hidden Paths helps you score Keep Them Guessing (so do Rapid Volley, Stand and Shoot, and Ready For Action) and allows you to quickly re-position a fighter.
Inspiration Strikes is typically reserved for Farstrider to make him more dangerous and to help score Shining Example.
Distraction is great for disrupting enemy positioning as well as moving fighters into or out of range.
Great Fortitude and Tome of Vitality are there to help make your fighters more durable.
Swift Stride makes Farstrider's threat range pretty incredible, and allows him to score Cover Ground. Faneway Crystal is similar, allowing anyone to score Cover Ground, and show to up unexpectedly.
Flashing Handaxe boosts Farstrider's melee attack very formidable. Glory Seeker, Archer's Focus, and Fighter's Ferocity make his Star Falcon attack action terrifying. Potion of Rage boosts any attack you really want to go through or crit on.
Finally, Crown of Avarice is a great card for small Warbands like The Farstriders, as it effectively makes killing the warband only worth 1 glory (+2 for two of the normal kills, and -1 for the one with the Crown), and can make killing a particular fighter very unattractive.
The play-style of this deck tends to be control / aggro. It usually starts off very passive and then explodes with violence in the later turns.
The most important thing to think about when playing Farstriders is what your opponent is trying to achieve, and stopping them from doing it. If they want to kill you (aggro), you need to play more defensively, if they want to hold objectives (objectives) you'll need to play more aggressively and knock them off, and if they are playing control (usually Tomes) you will likely have to go aggressive on them to kill the tome bearer / outscore them.
The great thing about Farstriders is that they have the range, speed, and accuracy to hit almost any target they need to, then pile on the damage for the kill. What makes them difficult to play is they are relatively easy to kill and can be hard to inspire.
When it comes to inspiring, the general rule is: don't try to inspire if it means putting yourself in a bad spot. There will be times it makes sense to go into the enemy territory for kills etc, and if you end up inspiring a fighter that round, just look at it as a bonus. Offensively, Swiftblade and Eagle-Eye do not really need to inspire, and you have Inspiration Strikes in the deck to help inspire Farstrider.
During set up, you will almost always want to deploy defensively in the current aggro meta, because losing a fighter in the first round is something you want to avoid if at all possible. The exception to this would be against a warband that is playing even more control than you are (possibly tomes), in which case you may need to deploy more aggressively.
If you win the roll off to choose who goes first, you will almost always want to go second. This is because having the last activation of the round lets you decide the board state at the end of the round, and the other player does not have an activation to react to or counter your last activation. Going second lets your final activation be an aggressive one, perhaps into the enemy territory, perhaps to knock someone off an objective, or perhaps to score a number of objectives (Death from Afar, Cover Ground, Strong Start, etc) all at once in the last activation.
During the first round, take your time. As long as the enemy isn't setting up big scores that don't need your fighters (like Supremacy) you can afford to draw cards, move or go on guard in order to score Calculated Risk / Change of Tactics / Keep Them Guessing.
Keep in mind that although Farstriders do need to make the guard and charge actions to score Keep Them Guessing, they have a number of ways to do the move and attack actions outside of their normal activations, making it usually very easy to score, especially in the first round. One of my favorites is changing, then reacting with Rapid Volley to achieve both a change action and an attack action together. Hidden Paths, Ready for Action, and Stand and Shoot also help, so plan for those if you draw them with Keep Them Guessing.
If the other player is more aggressive than you are (fairly common in the current meta) they will likely move into range of your attacks, and you can focus down the fighters that have charged you, and perhaps be aggressive in the final activation.
Once you reach the second round, ideally having starved the other player of glory and scored a few things yourself, you can start to tool up Farstrider and go for kills. Farstrider is very important to this warband, and you will want to be careful very with him. I typically either hide him in the back until I draw Inspiration Strikes, or will hidden paths him into a back corner of the enemy territory late in the round.
In the current ranged meta Warbands like Guardians and Profiteers can be frustrating to fight against, but Farstriders have the tools to combat them.
Against Profiteers, play passively and make them come to you and use your superior movement + range to out maneuver them. Thundrik, Lund, and Drakkskewer are the scary ones, so killing them if you have the chance may be worthwhile, but the main priority is not allowing them score objectives and inspire because they gain way too many stats when they do.
Against Guardians, use your damage and relative durability to your advantage, ideally assassinating Ylthari before she can burn down your fighters with magic, and outmaneuvering Gallanghann and Skhathael. Also be aware of positioning objectives like Reclaim the Lamentiri, as you may need to go in and stop their objective holding.
Mollog might one of the hardest match-ups for the Farstriders, as they sometimes seem to just melt to his attacks. The main strategy against him is to spread out your fighters so he cannot get free attacks off, and go aggressive on the squigs when you get the chance to. Attacking Mollog can also be an option if you stay at range, since you can stay out of my turn range by driving him back, and with the right power card hand may even be able to kill him early in the game.
Against Godsworn positioning is very important, as is doing everything you can to avoid dying (because Worthy Kill is an amazing card). By starving them in the early rounds and picking off the fighters they do send towards you, you may be able to get enough of a lead on their scoring and cause them to run out of steam. Just be aware of Hidden Paths, Faneway Crystal, and Hidden Paths at all times. Distraction can be a very powerful card in this match-up. Also be aware that you can avoid their "don't die" cards like Last Chance by killing them with gambits like Trap, Pit Trap, and Raptor Strike. Be aware of their movement (remember Grundann, Grawl, and Jagathra inspire to 5 movement) and damage potential (Shond, Grundann, and Theddra can all get very scary with 1-2 upgrades).
Cursebreakers can also be a difficult match-up, as both Warbands can usually afford to play carefully and attempt to control the engagements, and Cursebreakers seem to have objectively better tools. Killing Stormsire is the primary goal in this match-up, as well as avoiding and out ranging Ammis and Rastus, and doing what you can to avoid trading your fighters one for one with theirs.
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide, and if you try out the deck, I hope you enjoy it. It's can be challenging to play, but I think it helps you learn a lot about the game.
If you do try it and end up changing anything for the better.
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