With the recent (ish) release of the Morgok’s Krushas expansion we saw the introduction of a very interesting objective, a 5 glory end phase card called Feed the Beastgrave that incentivises you for either removing or flipping all of the objective tokens in the game. This article is going to dive into the feasibility of running Feed the Beastgrave in a competitive deck, looking at the various warbands and methods that are available. If you are interested in playing a different type of deck, one that naturally counters a very powerful and popular archetype right now, hold objectives, then look no further.
Rewards – Great and Small
If you are building a deck focused around Feed the Beastgrave you need to know if the payout is actually worth all of the hoops you are going to have to jump through in order to score it. The objective itself nets you a very tasty 5 glory, that’s one of the biggest amounts a single card can possibly give you and is a fantastic way to help you win a game. Notice I say help there, fulfilling this objective and scoring it are not on their own going to win you games, do you remember the last time you won a game with only 5 glory? Lucky for those of us crazy enough to consider diving into this plan, there are a number of objectives that directly synergise with the Feed the Beastgrave plan, pumping those rookie numbers up a bit.
Lets have a look at the sexy suspects here:
A surge for removing a token, well this seems perfect.
Change of Fortunes
A surge for flipping a token in a hex containing a friendly fighter, this might be trickier then Scorched Earth but it still seems right up our street.
Master of Hazards
Ooooooh, this might be a bit of a stretch. Flipping two tokens in a round, it’s obviously something we want to be doing but is it actually feasible?
So, no more end phase cards but 2-3 solid surges that support the playstyle. For my money this puts Feed the Beastgrave into a ‘package’ territory and not the sole focus of a deck. The term package is mostly pulled out of my ass but it’s the best I can think of right now, for a comparison a lot of decks run a card draw ‘package’ with combinations of Quick Search/Frenzied Search/Unnatural Truce alongside Digging Deep/Frantic Exchange/To the End that reward their pilots for cycling through their deck but is obviously not the main strategy they actually use to win a game. To continue the comparison a bit, card drawing on its own is fairly powerful, the objectives that reward you for it are not amazing but if they are giving you glory for doing something that is already good then it’s a pretty solid strategy.
To enable the Feed the Beastgrave ‘package’ we are removing and flipping tokens from the board, this naturally counters the hold objective style of play that is so dominant in the Beastgrave season, anytime you matchup into those decks you will often find you are close to automatically winning, however into aggro and control the story is a little less clear. Some aggro and control decks still care about tokens to an extent, objectives like Bold Conquest/Hidden Purpose and gambits like Quick Search are so good that everyone and their mum is packing them, if you take all the tokens off the board you are going to brick those cards for any aggro/control opponent that is dipping into hold objectives in order to take those powerful tools. On the other hand, if those tools are drawn early in a game, before you have had a chance to take many or any tokens away, then this disruption is often relegated to a technicality that doesn’t really affect your game.
You might have noticed that some of the above surges require you to remove a token and some of them want you to flip a token. Intrinsically removing a token is more valuable as there is no way to bring a removed token back to the game (currently) whereas if your opponent is packing any flip tech themselves they can simply flip the token back, which will probably completely ruin your entire game plan.
Feed the Beastgrave itself works with both methods of objective destruction but some of our surges prefer one over the other, making them a fair bit harder to rely on as you will often find yourself with the wrong trigger for the objective you want to score in a game.
The actual process of flipping/removing all of these tokens means you are going to be taking a lot of power cards that let you actually do that, generally as many as you can possibly take, which means not taking other powerful gambits that let you do stuff like fighting or re-positioning. With 5 tokens on the board we need at minimum 5 different methods of flipping/removing tokens in our power deck. Technically you can get away with less if you run a re-usable method, which I’ll go into more detail on later, but that is relying on drawing it early. In fact even with 5 triggers in the deck you are essentially saying that you have to reliably get through your entire deck in order to fulfil the Feed the Beastgrave conditions. Remember if you are taking some of those surges that compliment your strategy then having more triggers also helps their reliability as well.
Realistically if you want this strategy to work consistently you are going to want 7+ triggers within your power deck… or you supplement fewer triggers with a bunch of card draw that helps you reliably get through your entire deck. Either way you are devoting a ton of resources, approximately a third of your power deck has to be just about hitting these objectives. This is all before I dive deeper into the practicality of actually using these triggers to flip/destroy tokens, some of them like Leave Nothing to Chance or Lethal Snares require you to have a friendly fighter physically on the objective token in question, thus requiring you to commit more of your power deck to re-positioning cards like Distraction or Confusion.
You are going to find it tough to get a decent glory total by running a deck like this. The few cards in your power deck that are not tied up in all this objective trickery are going to have to be carefully meted out to supplement your game plan. You can either flex into aggro/hold objective a little bit or go all out into the control archetype and commit to a super low glory ceiling but rely on denying your opponent their own glory.
Having established the need for at least 5 triggers to either flip or destroy objective tokens lets have dive into the universal options available to us:
No positioning is required for this at all. Just a free flip onto any token in your territory, as long as there isn’t a fighter already on it. This is absolutely fantastic if you manage to win priority and have it in your opening hand, instantly deny the token closest to your opponent and watch that Thorn’s player sweat as they realise their hand with Temporary Victory and Swift Capture has suddenly bricked. If you don’t see this in your early hand make sure to leave a token free in your territory for this to target, there is no worse feeling then drawing this in the closing moments of a game and seeing that the only token left is in your opponent’s half.
Leave Nothing to Chance
The requirement of having a friendly fighter on an objective can be tricky – its certainly easy to pull off for the ones in your territory but getting to the ones in your opponents board will be much harder. You are going to need pretty mobile fighters and consistent ways of pushing your opponent’s fighters off of objective tokens in order to use this.
This absolute beast of an upgrade is your flip on a stick. You will need to get the fighter equipped with this onto an objective token, just like Leave Nothing to Chance, but unlike that reasonable one shot, Lethal Snares can be used again and again and again. If you get this onto an ultra-mobile fighter in round 1 that can net you up to 3 flipped tokens in the game just off one card. This is the absolute best trigger out there for the playstyle. The obvious downside is that if the fighter carrying this upgrade dies then it’s effectively only been a one shot that has cost you a glory to use.
We have two spells that work for flipping/destroying tokens and this first one is a belter. Incredibly reliable at 1 channel, you should expect to cast this in the vast majority of games. At a range of 4 it’s also much easier to hit your opponents tokens then using some of the other triggers like Lethal Snares. Especially hilarious if you do this in the last power step of a round, just as your opponent was expecting to score Path to Victory. The downside here is that we can only take this in warbands with wizards and that in a best of 3 set your opponent will know to try and bring down your highest level wizard as soon as possible.
Pro tip – the spells that hit objective tokens do not ‘choose’ them and so are not restricted by pesky requirement’s like line of sight – you can shoot them straight through blocked hexes.
A bit less reliable at 1 focus, Invert Terrain will still cast in 75% of the games that you try to play it. The increase in range over Unmaking up to 5 makes this ultra flexible in how its used and lets you keep your precious spell caster at a bit of a safer distance from enemy fighters.
So that’s 5 triggers in total, pretty much the absolute minimum that is viable to run Feed the Beastgrave. If you warband does not have wizards and/or its own warband specific cards that act as extra triggers then you shouldn’t even try this deck archetype. Currently I think that there are only two warbands that can even attempt to reliably pull this strategy off, lets dive straight into an example deck.
Practical Example – The Ogre
If you want to play around with the deck yourself then you can by following this link
Heads up, this is a mostly theoretical deck. I have played Hrothgorn enough to know the warband pretty well but I have not played this specific deck at any competitive events. So if you want to netdeck for a tournament I would highly recommend against using this list. That said I think this is pretty close to the most viable Feed the Beastgrave deck that you can currently build. It’s also worth noting that I don’t use Change of Fortunes or Master of Hazards in this particular deck – even in a deck devoted to trying to destroy all the tokens they just aren’t reliable enough.
Lets go over some of the key reasons for picking this warband:
- The Mantrappers get to take an extra surge objective, Arm of the Everwinter, that perfectly synergises with Feed the Beastgrave
- You get to take Unexpected Cunning which even though it is restricted is like the easiest surge to score in the entire game
- You have 2 in faction triggers for flipping/removing tokens in the form of More Traps and Frozen Earth – putting us on par with warbands that have wizards but without risking the spell failing
- Hrothgorn himself is fairly mobile at 4 move and is very hard for your opponent to take down – especially with some of the upgrades we have packed into this deck – making him an excellent target for lethal snares.
- Hrothgorn also has a range 3 attack that can get very accurate under the right conditions – giving you the ability to push or even kill enemy fighters holding tokens in a pretty reliable fashion
That’s the sugar. All the exciting reasons for specifically picking the big ogre. But what about that opportunity cost I talked about earlier? Well look at the cards I haven’t taken:
- Ravenous Fury
- Tome of Offerings
- Toughened Hide
- Fighter’s Ferocity
- Any movement ploys like Spectral Wings
Those are some big aggro options that would fit perfectly into a Hrothgorn deck but that we can’t take here because we desperately need to spend so many resources on flipping or removing tokens. TOTALLY OBJECTIVE RANT WARNING; one of my biggest issues with the Beastgrave season is the lack of reliable 1 glory end phase objectives, I don’t want to take Coveted Spoils in this deck but there isn’t a more reliable option, I’d love to take a balanced card like Opening Gambit but for some reason its restricted.
After all those resources we poured into making this strategy work how reliable is it in practice? Well try using that underworldsdb deck link I posted above and going to the card draw simulator. Run it around 10-20 times and keep track of how many times your opening hand bricks.
You have very limited flexibility when it comes to doing over your starting hand, if you have a single trigger in your power hand then you can’t bin it or you lose Feed the Beastgrave and if you have Feed the Beastgrave in your opening hand then you can’t bin it even if you have no surges. On top of that you could be sitting on a surge like Scorched Earth in your starting hand with no trigger to be able to score it, there are a lot of ways that this deck fails simply off its initial card draw.
Succinctly that is why Feed the Beastgrave is not a viable strategy currently. With Nightvault rotating out soon we will be losing both Abasoth’s Unmaking and Scorched Earth, a tasty surge and one of our beloved triggers. Will Direcasm bring us enough support to make this crazy objective worth running? Only time will tell but you can bet that I will be very excited whenever I see such a card pop up in one of our reviews.
Oh did I mention that there were two warbands I think you could pull off this strategy with? Well I have to keep some of my secrets 😉
I’m going to guess Ylthari’s Guardians was one of your two. I’ve played them in exactly this way around Domain Denied, Reclaim the Lamentari, and Leach Power. Use the ranged spells to rub out the objectives in your opponent’s play area, and then camp on the objectives in your own board for the win. With the extra stuff in BeastGrave it should be easy for them to play for removal of them all.
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I knew I couldn’t keep my secrets for long 🙂
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