Fester & Hunger (& Skritch) v2.0.3
Tabletop - BG Pre-Season
Hello again dear reader!
So I've been hopeful about an S1 rotation for some time. When it was announced, I switched over to an S3 build (basically, no S1 universals) and (when they were available) started playing using the BG ruleset. I've actually been pleasantly surprised by the impacts of the S1 rotation. My initial impressions (pre-first-warbands) are as follows:
1. Deployment matters more than ever. Without Hidden Paths, your backline and reserves are exactly that. This improves tactical depth, and makes deathporting or high movement/range fighters more significant.
2. A model that has charged is unlikely to suddenly pull a second attack out of it's ass (Second Wind, Ready For Action). This also improves tactical depth and the relative strength of certain faction cards.
3. Lethal hex deployment means you can play CR with a S1 board and still be guaranteed it. You can also set up some horrific chokes if you deploy diagonally.
4. Being on guard means you can't be driven back. Nice for blocking objectives, but super duper useful for when you're trapped.
5. Most of the passive objective bullshit is gone - SupTac and Escalation will not be missed.
6. Rebound and Last Chance are gone. Good. This means that your successes are unlikely to suddenly be converted into failures. More on this later.
7. 6 surge cards per deck makes for a much more reasonable mix of objectives, and it'll hamstring a few decks which were getting out of control (TPs looking at you dudes)
Fundamentally, it seems the game is heading in a really positive direction. The lack of cheese, passives, get out of jail and saving throw cards makes for a much tighter and well balanced experience. I really, really hope GW don't release imbalanced universals this season.
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deck building guide
So, we felt some unique losses this rotation. Killing Ground, Reflected Injury, Concealed Weapon are not faction cards but aren't seen much outside of F&H. They gone now fool, they gone.
We also felt the losses of some more meta cards - Suptac, Escalation, Last Chance etc etc.
The thing to remember is that where we have lost power so has everyone else. Where we have lost passive objectives so has your opponent - and where our enemies can no longer use saving throw ploys (Last Chance, Rebound) neither can we. The cards that we'll be falling back to however are arguably better in our hands than in a lot of warbands.
Change is very much afoot; however I genuinely believe Skaven can ride this change to victory. We are nothing if not adaptable.
So we're going to have to diverge a little bit from original F&H, but only because we've lost a number of objectives which made F&H viable as was. However, the essence of the deck is preserved; suicide for glory continues, and now we're looking to our faction objectives to fill some gaps.
You will have noticed that this deck is now relying on Skritch a little. Be careful with Skritch. He is a superb fighter and while that S1 cheese rotation means his successful attacks aren't going to be rebounded or last chance'd, neither does he have those options. Engage safely and wisely.
Take an enemy out of action (i.e. anything but a lethal hex kill). Look to Skritch, Lethal Ward, Pit Trap to achieve this. It's not as easy as it would be with Nullstone Spear, but Nullstone Spear doesn't work with Branching Fate and isnt' as reliable as swords. You can make it work, I promise!
Skritch is the Greatest, Yes-yes.
I mean, he is.
OK so in S1 a lot of people would upgrade Skritch and go ham, but he was always held back by his 2 hammer attack stat, which made his games very swingy indeed. You rolled hot and he was an unstoppable force of retribution sent by the council; you missed and he might as well not be there.
In S3, we have a few tricks to make him more accurate - Upper Hand being the most significant.
Be careful with this, but you may find SwordBreaker/Nullstone Sword a worthwhile skritch upgrade if he can strike a killing blow for SitGYY, because it opens up a range 1 option for Inspired Strike.
Because Annihilation is too hard vs 9 model warbands and Hoarder is boring.
Nullstone Sword, Swordbreaker, Hungering or Krrk with Inspired Attack, an inspired rat with Spectral Armour. 44% chance in all of these instances.
We all know it and love it
This deck has 6 cards that can inspire 5 rats. You'll manage it.
Sometimes tricky, but with Denial it's a doddle. A solid end phase card.
Keep chopping/Keep Them Guessing
It flies in the face of conventional wisdom to include both, but at the moment there aren't that many universal cards which are worth the slot. They are mutually exclusive, for Skaven at least, but are both easy to achieve. IF you are unlucky enough to draw both, don't sweat it. Pick one and do the other next phase.
Summon a rat a long way away. Presto. Or move one far away but whatever y'know.
Yeah, not explaining this again.
At first blush, this looks tricky. Remember though that Skritch with Great Strength and Pit Trap can score this in one, or a rat with a Sword (big S deliberate) and inspired Skritch will do this in 2 attacks. Again, Upper Hand and Inspired Attack/Whip Into A Frenzy are your friend.
For this you'll want boards with double adjacents against the aggro side if possible - it can be hard to achieve but in a post-RFA world, it's well worth the effort.
I have found it relatively easy to set up provided you use CC or a charge action to move a rat adjacent to an enemy, then charge with another rat. Skritch can then charge that enemy, striking "through" the two friendlies. This should put him adjacent to two friendlies and enable MB in the power phase.
You can also use the rat respawn function to set up an adjacency with very little (if used as an action) or zero (TAAM) warning. Ideally use an expendable or CoA rat which the enemy is disincentivised from attacking - try summoning one next to a tank rat (inspired krrk) and you're good to go.
I want to be clear that this is not an easy setup. There is a knack to it and it requires both planning and a little luck, however there is a good reason for this - an extra charge of 5 hexes with the most aggressive faction in the game is terrifying.
Just make sure you don't spend too much time obsessing about it. Find the balance.
Musk of Fear
OK, this does not score you Keep Them Guessing. Change of Tactics is gone dude.
However, it does put a rat on guard, which means you can use it to protect Skritch post-charge, or make a trapped rat (i.e. edge hex) untrapped, or inspire a rat prior to charging, etc etc. Synergises absurdly well with Spectral Armour, Sneaky Stab Stab and Skritch.
There Are Always More
If I have to explain this then you should probably play Mollog or Cursebreakers :D
Oh lawd but this is good. Double dodge fighters benefit so much from support it's unreal. This allows you to inspire a rat AND bring it in as support to another rat.
If you draw this vs melee warband, set up lurky near to krrk. When they charge lurky, use it to inspire Krrk and move him in. They can now choose between krrk with 2 shield and 1 support, or lurky with 2 dodge and 1 support.
If you draw it vs a ranged warband with cleave, put fester or hunger up front. Instant double dodge.
If you draw it vs a ranged warband with ensare, put krrk up front.
When they charge krrk/fester/hunger, play it to move adjacent and inspire. Presto, you broke Death From Afar and tanked their success odds.
Being able to inspire and push a fighter 3 hexes is amazing.
Free inspire, free upgrade and optional suicide with CoA. What's not to love?
Can suicide CoA for points, or use it to hunt down objective players. Drive back onto objectives for maximum laughs.
Countered by Guard. Be careful. Still awesome though. Great for Spike or just finishing someone.
Whip Into A Frenzy
Yeah this inspires a rat, gives +1 damage and can be used for suicide. For maximum lolz, combine with Inspired Attack and Krrk for 3 dice and 4 damage. Brutal.
Horrified that this doesn't work with range 2 attacks, but my golly does it make range 1 attacks great. Either use it with a sword bearer or give it to Krrk
Makes Skritch attacks worthwhile. One of the problems with Skritch was his inaccuracy, but with Upper Hand we can make the key attacks strike true. Worth the slot several times over.
Combine with whatever you have to turn Hungering into an AoE grenade. Probably the best offensive upgrade in the game, with both +damage, +AoE and synergises with attack action upgrades like swordbreaker and nullstone sword. Be in awe.
Wins my award for being the most annoying upgrade in the game, bar none. A rat with expendable, when an attack is going to deal damage to it, can be removed from the battlefield by you and a point of damage is done to the attacker. So, what’s the significance of this? Well:
- Your opponent did not take the rat out of action. You did. This means they can’t claim a glory for killing the rat. This also means they can’t score any objectives relating to taking you out of action, like Death From Afar.
- The attack did no damage, which means the attack failed. This blocks Headshot and other cards which interact with attack success, while simultaneously scoring Miraculous Escape.
- Your opponent did not take the rat out of action, and so they cannot claim additional glory for Tome of Offerings or Shacklegeist Chains.
- If you rolled a crit and have Lethal Riposte, it is triggered by this failed attack.
Be aware though that it has counterplay – lethal hex damage will kill this rat normally, as well as gambit or reaction damage that isn’t administered via an additional attack. Also note that the rat still counts towards objectives like Pure Carnage, Killing Ground, Lives Are Cheap, Strong Start and Martyred.
Watch Skritch do Keep Chopping on his own lol
Crown of Avarice
Less vexing than Expendable, but more wide-spectrum. The recent FAQ states that you can claim the glory that your opponent claimed by killing your rodent – and this works for attacks, gambits and at any range – just not lethal hex damage. Be aware that you have several ways to suicide a rat (Lethal Ward, Black Hunger, Ghoulish Pact), and CoA will work with those to score you a glory. This is a huge deal – it means that when YOUR guy dies, YOU get a VP. That’s a 2VP shift, which is equivalent to scoring escalation.
Use it on an inspired rodent to give them 3 dodge and maybe score Branching Fate on the defensive. Rodents on guard benefit an absurd amount from this card.
Scratching in the Shadows
So I used to run Lethal Ward but after thinking about it, I think SitS does the same thing but better. Not only can you push someone off an objective (and by golly is objective play going to be odiously common) but with all these lethals around, you can probably push them into a lethal too. It can't score you At Arm's Length directly (boo) but it can push a fighter away from or towards Skritch to let him have a shot.
I think there's good play left in our friend Nullstone Spear, which will work just fine with Festering Blades, At Arms Length and Upper Hand, but note that it won't work for Branching Fate or Inspired Attack. Lethal Ward may also be worth a slot, along with Encroaching Shadows.There would also be nothing wrong with Potion of Rage, or the two Longstrider cards (scored via death or Momentary Boldness or potion of grace). I can see all of that working - go forth and test on some slaves in the name of the council!
I want to try out Lethal Riposte at some point, especially as it has an amusing interaction with Expendable.
So I think our vermin pals are very well placed at the start of S3.
They are hyper-mobile, able to use move 5, momentary boldness and deathporting to get to where they need to be. We don't have to fear Hidden Paths, and while Faneway Crystal is still hypothetically a gateway to our back line, with sensible objective placement it's not too bad. We still have access to our glory denial tools (Exp, CoA) and now the enemy is far less likely to cheat Skritch out of his kills. We've got access to Distraction through our faction ploys (oof to the other lads), and Skritch is a lot less likely to eat several consecutive attacks thanks to the removal of RFA.
Expendable is going to be a royal pain in the ass for factions that require attacks and deaths as their mechanic (beastmen), and CoA will likewise help a lot vs those same folks.
Skaven faction objectives are frankly ass, with the exception of the two surge objectives included in this deck. However, our faction ploys and upgrades and the synergy between universal ploys/upgrades and our fighters is still unreal. Yes, the loss of Last Chance initially made me worried, but that's a double edged sword, and given we have the luxury of mobility like no ohter faction, if we play our chances right it's more likely to cut them than us.
For example, I play against Treeple quite a lot. The queen has 2 dodge base, and Skritch inspired has 2 hammers and 3 damage. With Upper Hand, my success rate is around 70%. Previously the application of Last Chance would drop that to around 25%, which was miserable. Now though, I can look at the enemy (and upgrades) and know if an attack is likely to work, or what setup work (i.e. yeeting a sword bearer in first) needs to happen up front to make it reliable. Heck, without Upper Hand and assuming Ylthari had LC, my odds of success were around 15%!
Placing lethals works in our favour too. We can use boards from S1 with double adjacencies (hello Momentary Boldness/Countercharge) and still have a lethal where it's useful. We can put it behind objective markers and push enemies into it with Scratching in the Shadows or attacks. Just be careful - lethals are counterplay to CoA and Expendable!
Ensnare (the keyword) is maybe bad news, but folks we have guard actions, a guard ploy and Expendable for that.
We lost a load of safety nets and neat tricks, but we have fallen back to damage ploys and accuracy ploys and let me tell you folks, it is a damn good time to be a rodent. My best round so far using BG rules and rotation has been 11 points of damage done in AP1, and that was vs double shields and double dodge.
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