We’re starting to explore deep into the caverns of Harrowdeep now and there’s a new danger lurking in the depths. Gorlok Blackpowder is here to plunge into this seasons seabed and plunder its precious booty with the help of two shrunken scallywags, his piratical primate, and a fearsome feathered friend! If you’ve been struggling to scupper these scurvy shipmates then let me give you some tips to protect your precious points from this corsair captain and his cavalcade of criminal creatures. Raise the anchor and hoist the mainsails, as we prepare to learn how to beat Blackpowder’s Buccaneers.
I’d describe the buccaneers as an aggro-leaning flex warband. That means to really score the most glory they can they’re going to need to get into some scraps and force some of your fighters to walk the plank, and this is what their rivals deck encourages, but it’s not the only option they have.
Against a more aggressive warband the buccaneers can afford to sacrifice their ability to score the big points to protect Shreek, Mange, and their comparatively weak knoblars, and set themselves up for better opportunities later in the game. By utilising Gorlok’s powerful Grunderbuss to threaten their enemy at range, and the explosive movement of Mange and Shreek allowing them to gang up on an overextended enemy fighter, they can control the pace of the game in the early activations. They can then catch up later on with their light fingered attacks, letting them destroy enemy upgrades, and take away their opponents hard won advantages.
Key Cards and How to beat them
Aspiring Tyrant, Bold Tales, Gold Diggers, Loaded with Booty, and Treasure-Hungry
The buccaneers have a whopping five objectives that require friendly fighters on feature tokens, including a surge objective, and two objectives worth two glory. That’s almost half their objective deck, so denying them will go a long way towards figuring out how to beat Blackpowder’s Buccaneers. Fortunately there’s a lot of ways you can make life hard for the crew in every phase of the game, starting with placing boards. Bold Tales and Loaded with Booty both require a fighter to get on a feature token “not in your territory” and Gold Diggers and Aspiring Tyrant in enemy territory. If you can, place long or offset boards against Blackpowder.
Both let you better control the entrance into your territory by setting up a choke point you can exploit. If you don’t get to shape the board and end up on a wide board don’t worry, place your objectives just inside Blackpowder’s territory and far back on your board. This will stop your opponent from placing lots of objectives in nobody’s territory or just inside yours and maximise the distance they have to travel to score Gold Diggers or Aspiring Tyrant. In the action phase try and hold the feature tokens closest to your opponent yourself. The buccaneers have no gambits to push you out of position so will have to remove you with an attack into gloom. Remember Aspiring Tyrant is a hybrid card so the buccaneers player can also score it by killing your leader, so make sure they’re not on the front line if possible.
Ammo for his blunderbuss can be hard to come by so Blackpowder wants to get into the thick of the battle and start cutting people down with his Great Cutlass. Do your best to keep him at arms length until you have the strength in numbers, or enough damage modifiers, to take him down quickly. Not only will you greatly improve the survivability of your fighters, but you’ll stop him scoring Brash Braggart.
Smash and Grab
I had to pick a card to represent this, but playing around smash and grab will serve a greater purpose of making it harder for your opponents light fingered minions to make off with your loot, preventing them from inspiring and starving Gorlok of ammo. Every fighter but Gorlok gains a defence dice when they inspire meaning they can quickly go from easy targets, to an un-killable nuisance, by inspiring and hiding in gloom. Worse still, getting “always on guard” thanks to the Troggoth Grease upgrade can make either Mange or Shreek almost impossible to hit without cleave or ensnare.
Obviously you could not play any upgrades but that would still benefit your opponent. Instead avoid playing upgrades that aren’t going to immediately effect the game. Play offensive upgrades in the buccaneers power step on the fighter you’re about to activate, and never play them on a fighter who’s already charged. Be wary of playing defensive upgrades that give health, they will only be worthwhile against Gorloks attacks. This limits your opponents opportunities to destroy your upgrades without them being relevant. These principles are key for how to beat Blackpowder’s Buccaneers.
(It’s a topic of some debate whether the light fingered reaction can be taken if the target is killed by the attack. If it cannot, consider playing more upgrades than usual on fighters with one or two wounds remaining, so that you can get the benefit without your opponent inspiring)
Flurry of Claws and Hasty Shot
There’s not a lot you can or should do to play around these gambits but if your opponent is holding power cards they’re worth keeping in mind. A Shreek or Mange that’s charged might still be able to attack you, and a Gorlok who’s out of ammo could pull off a surprise shot.
Gold Rush and Been There
These two movement gambits can let the Buccaneers put on a surprising turn of speed, letting them surprise you with a lot of supporting fighters, or grab a feature token before you’re able to get there. Been There can be particularly potent is Shreek is also able to follow Blackpowder’s move action with their reaction, turning a charge into a single exposed knoblar into an attack against double support, in the shadow of a hungry ogre.
Be extra cautious of Blackpowder, and if you can, make him come to you. Try and force you opponent to charge if they want to activate him so that he can’t make a lot of attacks with his cutlass. If he charges early in a round you can safely throw fighters at him and try to take him down for the two glory bounty, but otherwise focus on taking out the others.
If you follow these instructions closely then perhaps you’ll be able to claim Gorlok’s treasure, and return to the mainland swimming in glory, but remember these aren’t hard and fast rules…
Let us know how your games against the Buccaneers are going? Have these tips helped you out with how to beat Blackpowder’s Buccaneers? What advice would you give to someone struggling to beat Gorlok and his crew?
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