The mad child, born of Nature and the Void, fell upon Eldurim, striking him from behind. Death ripped away great chunks of earth, defiling them as he flung them aside. Tiny creatures sprang from the scattered pebbles of blackened earth, and they grew into the twisted, vicious race know as the Trogs.
What are they?
Goblins are comprised of elemental Death and Earth. Cunning and vicious, they wield fear as a weapon, sending their foes fleeing from the battlefield with their ferocity and horrifying countenances.
Packing some incredible units and among the best monsters in the game, Goblins are a force of nature and should not be taken lightly. Let's dive in!
The Six-sided Units
As one of the initial five factions of Dragon Dice, Goblins share a large amount of overlap with the other factions created in the early days of the game. However Goblins are anything but ordinary, with some incredible SAIs and faction abilities that can lead to backbreaking plays.
Goblin heavy melee units offer a lot of power by sacrificing defense. With their Swamp Mastery faction ability - which lets them count melee icons as maneuvers at Earth terrains - they can keep pace with faster units, but they don't save well. Smite doesn't function with Swamp Mastery either, making it a bit of a double-edged... axe?
Light melee Goblins give up a bit of that power the heavy melee offers in exchange for speed. At a terrain with elemental Earth, they don't offer any speed over heavy melee, but outside Earth terrain they are faster. The large unit also offers the Counter SAI which is a powerful deterrent to attackers.
Cavalry units allow Goblins to maintain speed outside Earth terrain, and can be critical to winning a horde roll (where faction abilities don't apply). The large unit is also among the strongest dice in the game, offering two Rend faces which can chain into a high damage ceiling.
Goblin missile units are a bit of a misfit in the faction, with their medium and large units showing a "wasted" melee face which hurts their reliability. Although the large carries the Bullseye SAI, missiles don't work with either of their faction abilities, making them a subpar choice for this faction.
With access to several weakening effects in Palsy, Decay, and Transmute Rock to Mud, Goblin mages can cripple opposing forces and send critical units fleeing with Scent of Fear. Do not underestimate them!
Goblins have some of the strongest monsters in the game, with at least two that can be considered powerhouse units, and two more that are at least worthy additions to aggressive strategies.
The rarest Goblin unit to be seen is the Cannibal, with the new and unique Net SAI. With a variety of Stun-like effects, the Cannibal presents some fun and interesting build options. He has seven faces that function during a melee attack, but only three of them can actually kill units. Three of these tie up units and make them unable to be rolled, and Surprise blocks counterattacks.
Also wielding the exceedingly-rare Swallow SAI, this icon is almost a guaranteed kill-and-bury effect when it hits.
Perhaps the strongest monster in all of Esfah, the Troll is a staple of many Goblin forces, and for good reason. With five melee-damage faces including two Smite SAIs he's decent in combat, but he has another trick up his sleeve: Regenerate! This unique SAI brings back dead units and wins wars of attrition all on its own.
The most aggressive of all Goblin monsters, the Shambler has melee-relevant icons on seven faces! The Smother SAI can pick off slower units directly, while Smite simply hammers damage through enemy defenses. At an Earth terrain, the Shambler even maneuvers on four faces, so he's quicker than he seems!
Faster than most monsters, the Harpies trade raw power for better flexibility. At Earth terrain they can reach seven maneuver faces, with six melee-relevant faces and five save faces. While not overly exciting in terms of powerful SAI effects, Harpies can still be a versatile source of melee and maneuver results.
Another of the rarer monsters, the Death Naga is unfortunately a tough unit to place in most builds. While it offers the incredible Poison SAI, it also has two magic faces which skew the reliability of the unit in combat. With no other relevant faces, it also doesn't fit a magic-focused strategy, so it requires some extra work to use well.
Goblins are one of the stronger factions and can be formidable foes in any game where they make a presence.
Their Swamp Mastery ability makes them very fast at Earth terrain, as they can use melee icons as maneuvers. Their heavy melee units become faster than most cavalry, making them incredibly tough to stop when they get moving.
The Foul Stench ability is also a powerhouse when it gets set up properly, as it prevents a number of opposing units from counter-attacking. This creates a perfect storm for fast, hard-hitting melee units.
Trolls bring a degree of resilience most armies dream of, allowing them to repopulate an army with a couple of well-timed Regenerate triggers, which can fire on almost any roll.
They are truly masters of melee combat, with the Scent of Fear and Decay spells, especially considering their faction abilities which allow them to avoid taking as many cavalry units as other factions might.
The Leopard Rider is an army-in-a-can, with Rend providing both maneuvers to control terrain and a high ceiling for damage.
While they are a powerhouse in melee combat, Goblins suffer in a few different ways outside their desired conditions.
As their faction abilities both key off melee, there is little reason to play missile units in a Goblin army. Forgoing all faction benefits for the sake of playing missile units isn't a sound strategy.
They desperately need Earth terrain to capitalize on their strengths. An army built to take advantage of Swamp Mastery will quickly get outpaced if that element isn't present, while an army built to not use it will be demolished by a faster army.
Their mages lack much in the way of finesse, opting instead for more straightforward tactics, such as removing opposing roll results and dealing direct damage. This limits their ability to manipulate the field in deeper, more strategic ways.
Goblin units are generally low on saves, forcing them to heavily lean into their natural defenses such as Foul Stench and Decay, or to bring in "mercenary" units from other factions to grant much-needed saves.
Offering speed and strength in combat, Goblins can take several paths to reach the same destination: utter demolition of opposing forces.
Below we have outlined three 18-point armies to test out.
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This simple build doesn't worry about hitting hard. It focuses on keeping things alive and moving the terrain forward. Every time it attacks or defends, it pushes that Regenerate SAI threat, so nothing stays dead for long.
A mage army makes a fine complement to this build, as it can weaken the opposing army to make the attacks hit harder, and keep the terrains moving up with Transmute Rock to Mud.
No subtlety or finesse to be seen here. This build focuses solely on hitting hard turn after turn. Shambler brings the Smother SAI which can take out meddlesome units directly, while the heavy units punch hard - and with Swamp Mastery can move fast too!
Pair this build with a cavalry-focused army to win the horde roll and move a second terrain, or give it some mage support to further weaken the foe's defenses before an attack.
This army is designed for speed and strength, and makes a strong fit to any Goblin build strategy. Easily able to maneuver at any terrain, Leopard Riders have the potential to punch hard with multiple Rend SAIs chaining together to create a ton of damage.
With an army of mages providing support, or a heavy-melee army to punish opposing forces, this army can go with just about any strategy.
As one of the early factions of Dragon Dice, the Goblins have managed to keep pace with newer additions and remain one of the strongest factions around. Their faction abilities make them brutally fast and and backbreaking in close combat. While their missile units leave much to be desired, they have among the best monsters ever produced, and are an excellent tool in any arsenal.
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