Pure Carnage Godsworn 2.0
Tabletop - Post BAR4.0
[2.0 Notes: I updated this guide for the July 23rd BAR4.0. Not too much changed, and you can see the original guide here: https://www.wellofpower.com/userdeckguides/Pure-Carnage-Godsworn]
Wigglefish here, writing about the Godsworn deck I've been having success with lately. I've been playing Godsworn since they were released with various success in my local meta, and recently took this deck to the ATC Grand Skirmish event (5 rounds best of 1) and came in 3rd out of 20 players with a record of 4-1.
This deck focuses on killing the enemy, and counts on losing most of the warband in the process in order to score Pure Carnage at the end of the game.
I find the Godsworn Hunt to be one of the most enjoyable Warbands to play because of their explosive and aggressive qualities and I hope you will enjoy them as well.
(you can click the image for a deck builder link)
deck building guide
This deck is based on having a number of easy to score Score Immediately objective cards that combo into big scoring cards like Combination Strike and Great Gains. It isn't uncommon to score 2-3 objectives during the first round, and then score 1-3 of Combination Strike, Great Gains, or Escalation as well.
Martyred, Calculated Risk, and Change of Tactics are in the deck primarily for first round glory. Because upgrades provide so much value for Godsworn with their inspire mechanic, the first glory is often the most important, and not relying on a kill to start upgrading is very important.
Branching fate is usually easy to score during most rounds since most of your fighters either have or can easily get 3 dice (Theddra and Grundann via things like Dark Darts, Path to Glory, and Challenge Seeker, Inspired Attack). It can sometimes be annoying to score if you don't roll well, but things like Fuelled by Fury and Prized Vendetta can help increase your chances as well.
Cover Ground is fairly reliable with Great Speed, Spectral Wings, and Faneway Crystal.
What Armour? is usually easy to score with Shond or Ollo, and Dark Darts can fill in as well.
Worthy Kill is an amazing card with so many 4hp fighters around, but be aware it has to be the attack action (not a gambit or lethal hex) that kills the target.
Escalation and Opening Gambit are just a great cards you will very reliably score.
Pure Carnage is the deck's finisher, and is in my opinion easier to score than alternate options like Oath of Denial, and isn't restricted like Tactical Supremacy. Generally, it is very hard to beat Godsworn without killing them, and they tend to get a high number of kills even against the smaller Warbands. You could replace it with any of those cards, or perhaps with something like Victory after Victory, or even Master of War if it doesn't fit your play-style as this deck has glory to spare.
Total Glory: 18
The gambits fill a number of roles:
Spectral Wings, Ready for Action, Hidden Paths, and Distraction are all there to help close the distance and increase mobility. You will usually use Ready for Action to attack again, but don't forget about the move option, as it can sometimes be the better option. Distraction can also be used against objective Warbands to disrupt their end of the phase scoring.
Fuelled by Fury, Ready for Action, Upper Hand, Inspired Attack - These are there to ensure your attacks go through and you kill stuff.
Last Chance, Dark Destiny, and Rebound are there to waste your opponent's charges and keep your fighters around for a bit longer. You might think that these cards clash with Pure Carnage, but typically it is not an issue, and you need these cards to stick around long enough to kill everything.
You might notice I do not have Spoils of Battle. I like this card, but find it to normally be a dead card in later rounds, and typically can score enough glory early on to get moving. If you feel like you are not scoring enough glory early, consider putting it in.
The upgrades are mostly aggressive buffs that compliment the base stats of the Warband. Typically you want to stay away from weapon options because they don't take advantage of the Godsworn's great stats.
Great Strength, Gloryseeker, and Concealed Weapon are there to give a damage boost, and the rest of the aggressive upgrades provide more dice or re-rolls.
Faneway Crystal and Great speed are there to surprise the enemy with mobility boosts and to score Cover Ground.
Dark Darts is the only weapon option in the deck, and is there to give some range to Theddra or Grundann, and to help score Branching Fate and What Armour? It can be especially useful in the later rounds when you only have a few fighters and can spend some activations on attack actions.
This is likely the weakest of the upgrade cards, and some possible cards to sub out for it are Light Armour or Shadeglass Darts, but I like the flexibility it gives.
This is an aggressive deck, with a focus on having as many dead fighters at the end of the game as possible.
Playing the deck well involves careful positioning and expenditure of resources to take out important targets and set up for future rounds.
The best match-ups for this deck tend to be the smaller Warbands such as Mollog and Cursebreakers, since there is a very good chance you can just wipe them out with your speed and attacks. It prefers fighting against block Warbands in order to take advantage of cleave and avoid seeing Last Chance, but it plays well into Guardians, Thorns, and Gitz as well. Profiteers are likely the hardest match-up due to how much health they have once they inspire, but careful positioning and target priority can get you through it.
Typically, you should never Mulligan your starting objective hand.
The worst case situation is drawing Pure Carnage, Great Gains, and Combination Strike together. Generally you still want to keep the hand, and just spend your first activation dropping one of them (usually Great Gains) for another power card.
Escalation can sometimes cause problems with Pure Carnage and Combination Strike/Great Gains, but depending on your power hand and the match-up you may be able to still score it (and if you kill enough things, maybe Great Gains as well).
One score immediately card is typically enough to get you going, and it is very possible to hold Pure Carnage through the entire game if the score immediately cards flow decently.
Power wise, the worst hand to draw is 5 gambit cards, because you do not want to drop it, but you need upgrades to get going. If this happens, spend the first activation drawing a card, and if that isn't an upgrade either, just focus on scoring your objectives and hopefully power up in the second round. I have recovered from a number of these hands this way.
Another power hand you don't want to see is 5 upgrades, since those are half of your ability to inspire, and i would be very hesitant to drop this hand either. If you have a good objective hand, keep the 5 upgrades and focus on scoring those and powering up your fighters.
It may actually be worth considering playing more than 20 cards in a Godsworn deck in order to reduce the chances of these all gambit or all upgrade hands, but this isn't something I've tried too extensively.
Board Set Up:
Because of Calculated Risk, you will want to pick a board with lethal hexes. The best one is generally the Arcane Nexus, but Animus Forge and the Shattered Refactor are good as well.
You don't care about holding objectives, so you should usually put them in the enemy territory as long as they don't want them either. Otherwise just hide them behind you. Against defensive enemies, put them next to their starting hexes to set up for Faneway Crystal. If you can think ahead to which starting hexes they might put their most valuable fighters next to while you do this, all the better.
Typically you will want to set up so the other player cannot kill the fighters you think will be important early in the game. This can depend a lot on the match-up and the cards you drew at the beginning of the game. Because you have 6 fighters you can choose one starting hex to leave blank, and choosing the right one can be important.
- Jagathra will usually want to be in the middle or back of the board, as you really want to be able to charge with her javelin, and losing her early can be annoying. The Javelin is the only uninspired 3 dice attack which can be important for Branching Fate, and she is the best fighter to score Change of Tactics with. I will frequently also use her charge to score Calculated Risk.
- Grawl should usually go in the back against opponents you are attacking, and in the front against opponents you think may attack you. It's much better to lose him than anyone else, and he is useful for scoring Martyred and Calculated Risk (and doing both in one activation is frequently worth it).
- Ollo should be in the middle or back to avoid losing him too quickly, but should be in attack range of something in case you need to score What Armour? or Branching Fate. Ideally he can stick around into the second and third round, as he can become quite a powerhouse with the right upgrades (Fighter's Ferocity, Gloryseeker, etc)
- Shond, Theddra, and Grundann are usually in the front to be in the first wave of attacks, or positioned for Hidden Paths. If you think the other warband is going to be aggressive back at you, try to make it so only one of them and Grawl are in easy charge range, and then let the rest counter charge.
Target priority, trading fighters, and fighter positioning are very important things to think about when you are playing this deck.
The targets that are the most dangerous to the Godsworn are ranged fighters with medium damage such as the Briar Queen, Cursebreaker, or most of the Profiteers. It is very important not to place too many fighters within their ranges to be attacked without charges if you can help it, especially later in the game when fighters are dead and activations are the most valuable. When given the opportunity, killing these fighters as soon as possible is ideal. It can also be important to save a 4 wound fighter for scoring Worthy Kill.
Your fighters are made of paper and will die (in fact you sort of want some of them to) but you also want to make sure you are spending the right fighters at the right times, as certain fighters are better at scoring certain objectives, and some are better against different enemies. Try to keep track of when you have scored cards like What Armour? (after which Shond and Ollo become less valuable) and keep in mind what targets you have left (Gallaghann can be hard to kill, so saving Shond, Grundann, or Theddra with the right upgrades to one shot him can be important) and which fighters are best at killing them. These are usually the fighters you want to try and keep alive with Dark Destiny and Last Chance, though it can also be useful to use them to deny enemy scoring.
The great thing about Godsworn is that almost any fighter can be very deadly with the correct upgrade, so it is typically best to avoid putting too many upgrades on one fighter if you can help it, because losing that fighter can significantly reduce your killing power. 1-2 upgrades per fighter tends to be enough, though there may be times when it is worth stacking them on a particular fighter and going to town on the enemy. Ollo and Shond are the ones that I seem to have this happen to the most, since they are usually the last two fighters left, probably because Jagathra and Grawl usually die early as bait, while Grundann and Theddra are the scary big hitters the enemy has to eliminate, and either one can become quite a monster with a stack of upgrades on them.
Positioning your charges is very important for Godsworn, as you want to try and control which enemy fighters can charge which of your fighters, and which of your fighters can then respond to the enemy charges. If you have not drawn Hidden Paths yet in a game, it can also be important to position fighters on edge hexes for the next round. You also want to make sure that any fighters that survive the round will have targets in future rounds. The speed and range of the Godsworn help them be better at this than many other Warbands, and you should make the most of it.
As you play, keep in mind the main goal is to score your objectives and cycle into more score immediately cads or combo finisher cards like Combination Strike and Great gains, as well as the end goal of having 7+ dead models at the end of the round 3.
Usually it is not too hard to make sure 7 models are dead due to how much damage you do and how easily your fighters die, but occasionally you may need to jump a fighter into a lethal hex to get the count to 7, or sometimes you will be danger of wiping out a smaller warband too quickly (it happens vs Stormcast a lot if they are very aggressive), in which case it can actually be worth it to pump the breaks and make sure you are scoring cards over killing fighters right away, since you need the enemy alive to score most of your cards.
That's all for this one. If you try the deck, I hope you enjoy all the killing and dying. I know I do!
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