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Cardiology: Obliterated

Decision: Should You Play Obliterated?

TL;DR: 

If you're playing goblins, you should probably play this.  Snirk is a powerhouse.

Factor:2-Glory, Score-Immediately

Having a 2-glory, score-immediately objective in the early game is particularly important for Gitz players, as the little green guys become significantly more beefy when they inspire.  This kind of objective combos well with Miraculous Escape, Cover Ground, and other similar objectives that score 1 glory for almost no effort.  

As of this writing, there are only 17 objectives that are score-immediately for 2 glory.  Of those, 4 are not available to Gitz players (and why would you be considering Obliterated otherwise?).  Malicious Kill is the other Gitz-specific objective that meets these criteria, and may well be a good option to play with as well.  However, we tend to avoid objectives that require your opponent to do something specific in order to score them.

Of the remaining 11 options, Great Slayer and Victorious Duel both require your leader to perform a feat of derring-do that seems, at the least, unlikely for Zarbag to be able to pull off.  Peerless Fighter and Seize the Initiative are both purely luck based, and suffer to one degree or another from the "Helium problem" addressed in this article.  Balance of Power and Heroic Feat both require your opponent to set up supporting fighters; please see above comment about not depending on your enemy to set you up to score objectives.  Reaper and The Harvest Begins are quite difficult for Gitz to score, as they have no innate area attacks. Cornered and Ganging Up are both dependent on blocking your opponent into a trapped position, or - even worse - on attacking an enemy who is trapped, rolling a tied result, and then having the attack succeed only because the opponent is trapped.  Giant-Slayer was probably a pretty solid bet for an easy to score objective before the most recent Shadespire Banned and Restricted (SBAR) list was released, but the restriction of both +2 wound/-2 move upgrades lowered the value of Giant Slayer significantly.  Of these, Ganging Up is probably the easiest for Goblins to score (thanks to Scurry), but it definitely takes more setup than Obliterated.

It's also worth noting that Obliterated will actually push you over the 3 glory threshold for inspiration all on its own if you manage to score it, as you'll also get a point for killing someone with Snirk.  Of the other available options, Victorious Duel, Reaper, and Giant Slayer also create an automatic 3+ glory situation.  Cornered, The Harvest Begins, Peerless Fighter, Balance of Power, and Heroic Feat may also result in a 3+ glory gain, though they don't require a kill so they also may not.  Finally, scoring Great Slayer will indeed push you above 3 glory, but you actually don't need to score the objective itself in this situation to inspire your goblins, as through some miracle you've already killed three bad guys with Ballbag Zarbag.

At least initially, Obliterated appears to be the strongest choice for Gitz players who wish to play a score-immediately, 2-glory objective.

Factor: Snirk

When used properly, Snirk is an absolute unit (we are in awe at the size of this lad).  In order to score Obliterated, of course, he must be inspired.  This might be troublesome if his inspire condition wasn't inspire him when ever you damn well feel like it.  That's not to say that his uninspired side should be ignored - it does has one very important characteristic: Scurry.  This allows Snirk to move closer to enemy units early in the game, without really expending an action to do so.  An ideal start will often go like this:
  1. Move a non-Snirk model who happens to be next to Snirk (Mirror Well is your friend)
  2. Scurry Snirk 2 hexes closer to enemy models
  3. Inspire Snirk
  4. Profit
Once Snirk is inspired, his defense gets significantly better at 3-dodges.  While he's still relatively fragile due to having only 3 wounds, he does make a great target for (now-restricted) upgrades like Sudden Growth or Deathly Fortitude, largely due to the fact that he no longer makes move actions.  Snirk also benefits greatly from Acrobatic, Ethereal Shield, and Great Fortitude/Tome of Vitality. 

In order to make the best use of Snirk, you should also include plenty of push ploys (Centre of Attention deserves special mention here) in your deck - his base movement is only 2, and the erratic nature of his inspired movement means you'll also likely need a bit of help positioning him perfectly. 

Of course, the real power of Inspired Snirk comes from...

Factor: Breakdancing

This is really where our little Ballbuster Fanatic comes into his own.  We aren't going to quote the entire text of Snirk's action here, but the short version is that you roll 4 dice, scatter 3, and damage anyone you bump into on the way.

Unfortunately, many folks are still of the opinion that Snirk's action is too unreliable to justify playing Obliterate.  So let's look at some numbers, and ways to maximize Snirk's accuracy.

First and foremost, it's vitally important to point the scatter tile such that the hammer is directed at your primary target (it's also really helpful if you can start the action with Snirk adjacent to his primary target).  Obviously, there are more chances to roll a hammer than anything else on an attack die, so this will increase your chances of hitting your target.  However, it's also important because starting out with the hammer-toward-enemy orientation maximizes your chances of hitting the target multiple times due to the way that an initial impact can set up multiple success chances across a 3-symbol arc of the scatter tile.



When starting his action adjacent to a single enemy, Snirk has an 80.25% chance of "bumping" that enemy at least once, assuming you point the hammer at them.  If Snirk is successful with this initial bump on a clear board (no blocked/incomplete hexes), the chances of scoring a second hit are quite good, because the arc of the scatter tile "opens up."  What we mean by this is that the first bump on a hammer can push the impacted model one of 3 directions (hammer-ward, sword-ward, or crit-ward); since you already know the die results, you can choose to bump the model in the direction that will cause them to be hit again by the result on one of your remaining 3 scatter dice.



Regardless of which way they are bumped by the second impact, Snirk will still be able to deal a third impact on 4 of the 6 sides of the two attack dice that are left.  Overall, this grants us a very high potential to hit for 3 damage with a single scatter, as shown below.

Scatter vs. 1 Target (hammer-toward-enemy)
  • 0 damage = 19.75%
  • 1 damage = 02.96%
  • 2 damage = 22.15%
  • 3 damage = 55.12%
These odds unfortunately go down if you have to factor in blocked hexes and edge hexes. Additionally, the scatter can be complicated by additional models standing around in the spaces you'd like to bump your target into.  On the upside, if you start Snirk next to multiple models, he'll almost never fail to do at least one damage, and the chances of doing a multiple-bump scatter go up even further.

Essentially, Snirk's action is more likely to do at least 1 or 2 damage than even the most accurate base attack against the worst base defense (3 hammers vs. 1 dodge = 74%).  Additionally, it's more likely to do 3 damage than a 2 hammer attack vs. a 1 shield defense.  Since none of the other goblins are even capable of doing 3 damage without power-card help, Snirk is easily your most reliable damage dealer - and the most likely to take an enemy fighter out of action, therefore allowing you to score Obliterated.

Summary:


Scoring 3 glory early in the game is absolutely essential to success with the Gitz.  Obliterated, combined with the one glory you gain from taking an enemy model out of action, is perhaps the easiest way to do this prior to the end of round 1.  Besides, who doesn't want to get drunk off mystery mushroom juice and swing a gigantic flail around at random until someone ends up hurt real bad?

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