Mark: Hey folks and welcome to another article on Path to Glory! It’s been a pretty busy summer so far, so I apologize for lack of written content, but I am aiming to get back into the swing of things. To that end, George has kindly written up a summary of his run at our recent Championship event in the Northeast US, so I’ll let him take it away (mostly)! I’d have let him post it himself but a certain recently married individual has not yet granted him access to the site…
George: Hello again, I’m Kyros on discord and George offline. We recently had the pleasure of that rarest of treats: an in-person CHAMPIONSHIP format tournament! As always, I like to bring out the unexpected, so for this event, I had to bring the GOAT: Grashrak (ok, he’s not the GOAT but he’s a goat).
I was eager to test out Voidcursed Thralls in a championship setting, especially to leverage the biggest value they have to offer. My primary thought process for this pairing was the “suicide aggro” aspect of Grashrak: he can bring [Survival of the Fittest] for 2 glory with 5 fighters OOA as long as I have a surviving fighter, [Pure Carnage] for 3 glory with 7 fighters OOA, and Voidcursed Thralls adding Uncounted Cost for 2 more glory for only 4 fighters OOA as long as 2 of the OOA fighters are voidcursed. Together, that’s a 7-glory bomb just for my opponent killing my own fighters as fast (or faster, even) than I kill theirs. I combined these with the HO subtheme that Grashrak’s excellent faction cards support with [Path to Victory], [Claim the Prize], and [Despoilers] (aka surge-premacy). The rest of the list is built around supporting the two themes above with pushes, +dice, +damage, and the ability to kill my own fighters at will (or at least make it easier for the enemy to kill them).
Round 1: Voidcursed Thralls Grashrak vs. Daring Delvers Domitan’s Stormcoven
The first round started off with a matchup I was concerned about due to the preponderance of ping, and my opponent did not disappoint. In this matchup, my goal is to (ideally) table my opponent while losing 4 or more fighters. To accomplish this, early damage is a must, either from one of my two pings, or a reliable surge and one of my 3.5 (including Surging Power grievous) + damage upgrades. In general, this is a matchup where I expect to need to play the aggressor and take some losses while I invade the enemy territory and try and reach them to overcome the range advantage. Accordingly, my goal for set up would always be a full-frontal or only slight offset, prioritizing the maximum number of starting hexes that could reach into his territory on a charge. However, in all three games of this match, my opponent deployed aggressively engaged in combat with me early, which was generally to my advantage.
In game 1, I was able to take a win by snowballing off of aggressive early gambit play to surge into [Despoilers], [Bestial Cunning], and Involuntary Interdiction. Game 2 went my opponent’s way, as the pings proved too much to overcome with my attacks (and I missed a couple of key attacks) which can be backbreaking with Grashrak, as once you lose your ritual counter it can be uphill trying to hit any more attacks. Game 3, my opponent picked up the whiff-ball on some of his attacks (although to be fair, 2 hammers with no supports or re-rolls can and often do disappoint most of us). Early charges+pings with Draknar for kills on Sarpon were the key plays to get ahead and stay ahead in games 1 and 3, so I won 2-1 for the set.
Round 2: Voidcursed Thralls Grashrak vs. Daring Delvers Ironsoul’s Condemners
This was an unexpected matchup with an unexpected plot pairing, and I was unprepared for this, having a much harder game 1 than I anticipated. In general for this matchup, I’d expect to play quite similarly to my matchup against Stormcoven, except my opponent would be less able to brawl with me, thanks to a lack of attacks with range >1 and no baseline move >3; because of this, I’d be able to pick and choose the fights I take. As before, for this aggressive playstyle and warband, I want to maximize my opportunities to charge and interact with the opponent, as I need them to kill me to unlock my full glory potential, and I’m more than willing to trade charges with them.
Notable moments include giving up [Sudden Demise] to a kill by [Barging Forward] and bricking some of my end phases in the first round. I was able to take the win, however, thanks to the reliable glory bomb of Uncounted Cost + [Survival of the Fittest] + [Pure Carnage]. Game 2 went much more smoothly as I was able to take an early charge with Draknar into a kill with a driveback into a lethal hex (and killing with Unbearable Energies as a backup) although there was again a hitch when my opponent reacted with [Vengeful Strike], preventing driveback and critting on their attack roll to hit back (which would inspire and kill draknar so that I couldn’t play the ping!) A similar stroke of luck came my way, however, as I was lucky enough to answer with a crit defend and still secure the kill. The rest of the game followed this early momentum, although the dice were again with me when my opponent rolled an appalling [Barging Forward] roll that only took them backwards, culminating in a 2-0 win for the set.
Round 3: Voidcursed Thralls Grashrak vs. Voidcursed Thralls Sepulchral Guard (Baconborne)
This was a matchup I had a lot of concern about, as the new SG are quite difficult to match ceilings with if you can’t farm them and hard to shut out unless you can dive the warden. Both of us being voidcursed was also interesting, as while it would make Uncounted Cost potentially easier, it would also mean I might struggle to deny his HO gameplay, and his raise abilities could potentially brick my glory bomb. Killing the warden is always a priority, but focusing too hard on it could lead to my warband getting cut to pieces on the way to reach him. Again, aggressive board placement was preferable, as an offset could leave the warden completely safe until round 2. Knowing that both of us would be fighting to hold tokens, it was also important to try and kill his early token holders or occupy the tokens he could initially reach, to slow down his glory.
Game 1, I was able to farm some early kills, and claim a surprise snipe on the warden after he used [Confusion] to take an objective token but inadvertently put Draknar in charge range of the warden. He quickly scooped as there wasn’t much point to play it out without multi-move/raise abilities.
Game 2, I opened with some strong kills again, but I think I was a bit overconfident going into the later rounds. I took a greedy play where I went for surging into [Despoilers] rather than focusing on killing the warden, and while I scored it (I had concerns about having enough fighters left to score it, as I was down to just 3 fighters), the advantage of the warden persisting to keep his fighters moving kept his HO plan going and, in the end, I couldn’t deny his massive glory ceiling as I suffered attrition of my strong fighters and he was able to return his to the battlefield.
Game 3 could’ve been anyone’s game at first, again, as I was able to deny his hold for a LONG time by leaving a voidcursed Murgoth on a token deep in his territory. I even charged off the token to take a kill with him to score Involuntary Interdiction, only to use Forced Movements to get him right back onto the token. In the end, though, when I finally went for a kill on the warden I whiffed two important attacks, losing my ritual counter and my chance at securing a strong position to win in round 3. He was able to mop my fighters up and despite suiciding my last fighter with [Corrupted Companion] to score [Pure Carnage], I couldn’t close the gap between our scores, so he took the set and the tournament on a 1-2 score.
This event was tremendously enjoyable for me and really showcased how much fun championship is in general, and how great the format could be right now if only we had an updated FAR to curb the worst of the ping excesses. In preparation for NOVA I’ve had to turn my attention away from championship since this event, and I do miss it.
Mark: Not to steal George’s thunder since this is really his article, but I just wanted to jump in at the end to say this was a really great set and, by rights, I think George played better on the day and ought to have taken it had the whiffs not transpired. I definitely deeply regretted not taking Terrifying Screams in my build when his voidcursed fighters were occupying tokens I really needed to be standing on, but overall, I’d encourage you skelly fanatics to try out VCT as your plot deck if you haven’t already. The movement shenanigans can lead to some wild stuff, such as a case we had toward the end of game 3 where George sent Grashrak after one of my fighters in the midboard that was equipped with Refashioned Reactions and I had one fighter in my backline with Refashioned Priorities. After his leader’s move, I took my priorities to jump onto a backline token and then followed it up with my reactions to outmaneuver the charge. A rude sequence, to be sure, but still pretty satisfying to pull off for the first time after having theorycrafted the occurrence so much previously. In any case, this was really my first time delving into SG and I look forward to playing with them more in the future.
Thanks for reading and best of luck on your Path to (Championship) Glory!