Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Creature Class Critique #14: Goblins

The creepy, crawling creatures that are staples in every fantasy roleplaying game are also a creepy creature class in everyone's favorite collectible card game. Of course, I'm referring to Goblins.

There are seven creatures and one shield set that have the name "Goblin" though that shield set might not be the most appropriate for the class. They're are small, non-flying Mortals, bribable by Gold and only one can receive channeling. (That same one can channel two points to all Goblins as well.) And none have any terrain bonuses (which is why the Goblin Shield set isn't a good match).

The text boxes are what make Goblins into a nasty set of creatures. Since there are only seven, I'll describe them all.

Haba Naba Daba: Cancels its opponents AOE. HELLO! Can you think of a better card to have in a weenie deck? The only way to get rid of a non-command, non-spell AOE is to bribe it away -- or have one of these in your combat hand. And considering that your opponent's AOE will usually be the first card he plays, you know when to play the Daba.

Haba Naba Kaba: Your opponent can't use any ranged attacks this turn. It's like being in the Woods without being in the Woods. Except that you can still use your ranged attacks.

Brown Backs: +4 vs. Large creatures, which is respectable. However, going from 3 to 7 isn't going to help a primary attacker much. It's great for a secondary attacker when you know what you're going up against, but unless you have ranged-attack hanging around, 7 isn't going to beat too many Large creatures.

Brap Backs: another anti-Large-creature creature, it prevents your opponent's match-up creature from counting for control of the Space. Sorry about that Black Unicorn, buddy. For four points on your side, your oponent could be down 20 points when calculating who won the battle.

Urufa, Queen of Goblins: A three-point command card, it gives the effect of a 4-point boost to your Goblins' vitalities. Your opponent has to win by five or the match-up is a push. Given the low Vitalities of your combat hand, this is a must have card before even considering a Goblin deck. (Note: since this is a command card, Embyonic Witch doesn't help you. However, Warhola's Snakes 6 will!)

Snibs Bony Ridged: A 3-point Vitality creature that can channel 2 points or 67% of its of Vitality. That's great. Sure, it can only help Goblins, but that's the majority of your deck. (And it can help other creatures, too. See below.) You can hold all of these back to channel to the grunts, or you can send one out if you want to channel from your Guardian for some reason (like your opponent's Magic Feedback).

Bungee Bony Ridged: The odd-Goblin out of the bunch. It forces your opponent to discard all Goblins and Idiots. Or your opponent could use it to force you to discard all of yours (which might be your entire Combat Hand!). One thing to remind yourself is that this card is a Goblin, so if you play it first, your opponent must discard his. Frankly, there isn't much reason for your opponent to have one. (I haven't seen one outside of starter decks.) More likely he'll have an Idiot.

Shields to use: I already mentioned one above (Warhola's Snakes 6). Here are some others.

Brom's Demonic: Up 4 makes your opponent tell you the size of the first creature (and if it's large that may be a good thing); Up 19 gives you +2 when attacking. This could be good when your Vitalities are so low.

Maitz' Dark: Up 16 means no Bribery (all your Goblins are bribable); Up
14 gives you +3 Vitality when attacking (you can use the help).

Warhola's Snakes: Up 17 says +2 when channeling. (I have to find the text of the actual card. This is what my spoiler says.) If this applies to your Snibs, that's great! It means it can channel more than its Vitality.

Other Cards to Use

Shadow Bank Job: Every Goblin is bribable by Gold and only Gold. 'Nuff said.

Greedy Fiend: See above. Remember there is no terrain that prevents Gold bribery. There are no Lost Cities of Gold, Treasure Islands or Dwarven Mining Companies.

Lizards of the Toast: Do you see a pattern developing? Actually, this is also good because this card allows you to see all your opponent's double-border cards. Very helpful.

Shin Chios, Third Disciple: Believe it or not, this Disciple of Entropy fits perfectly with the Goblins. Those little guys have great abilities, but how do you know which to play when? Play Shin Chois, which can take its ability from an Unchallenged Creature that you play *AFTER* you see what your opponent played. He played a Great Fanged Ogre (or a Watcher or Heaven help us Pink Flamingoes!), hit him with Brap Backs. He played an Ice Spirit or Flame Geyser, hit him with Brown Backs. And if it's an AOE? Then you play . . . . right, you're getting the hang of this, play Haba Naba Daba. And the best part is, she's bribable by Gold!

Xaz, Thief of Twilight: Same purpose as Shin -- prevent your opponent from getting his text box, especially if it will be harmful to you.

Warwick's Conversion: Suppose you play Shin Chois and she needs a little help, but you can only help out Goblins for whatever reason. Poof!
She's now a Goblin and you can use Snibs to channel or Urufa for the push bonus. Soooooooul Mirror is only good if you have a lot of non-Goblins and want to channel a lot, but it's a command card, so it can't be combined with Urufa.

Super Model: She only serves one purpose -- self-destruct along with the Merchant should your opponent have one. (He's a definite danger to this deck). And, like most of the others above, she's bribable by Gold.

Cards to Watch Out For

Merchants (destroy your Gold bribable guys), Icky Bugs (they're Vitality 6 against Gold-bribable guys), any AOEs (nasty), Yap Attacks (exposes
your hand and bribes one of your creatures), Bungee Bony Ridged (discard your cards!).

Guardians to Use

Tookle is the obivous choice since all your creatures are Small. It's less of a benefit if you pick a secondary class that isn't Small. Also Tookle has 7 stones of 5 points each. None of the Goblins are bigger than 5 points of Vitality. (But you'll need a Power Lunch to use them.)

Harkin: Starts with 10 stones worth 6 points. You can't channel more than once, but you'll never need to channel more than once. (Again, you might want to add Rik Sook to your deck before Harkin.)

Sikura: You won't be channeling much, so having a special ability is good, and Sikura's ability is among the best.

Secondary Classes

Do you want just a little bit more? Just a little more protection?

Try Spirits: There are five Spirits that are small (three of which fly). And the Sun Spirit has a 6-point OCB against externals.

Demon and Devils: There are seven small Demons and Devils. Add in a Vestibule of Kabod, and it doesn't count against your Shield's vitality limit. The Baleful Eye will tell you what size your opponent's creature is. Kazarian Squawker can attack his command cards (particularly the
command AOEs that Haba Naba Daba can't stop!).

Gnomes: They're small and bribable by Gold. Actually, the best one to use is Gn'Olegable Gnomes for the bonus. Gn'obby doesn't help much and the Gn'Omish are only okay unless in the Woods. The other problem is
that they're also Mortals. A secondary class of Elementals or Externals would be better.

Bugs: Small and annoying, just like Goblins. But also Mortals.

Summary: Six or seven Goblins can take down many Shields that contain a Large creature or two. That makes them threatening. They are lacking in a class bonus creature (which could seriously aid them) but their remaining abilities almost make up for it. Worth an attempt at a deck.

C. J. Burke
Keeper of the Flame

Haba Naba Raba: Mortal, Vitality 3, OCB 2, Small, Goblin, Gold, CMP 0 Red.
Immune to flying creatures.
(Imagine artwork of a slimy critter that hard to be seen from the air.)

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