The first copy of Gruff is off the press and has been expressed shipped to me and is in my happy hands right now! Or was... I am typing right now... The quality on the game looks fantastic our friends in China really did a fantastic job. Take a look!
So this is a shot with all components removed. The cardboard spacer is removable so if you decide to sleeve your cards there will be room in the box. Sleeving may be a very good idea if you are playing Clash with the first print run of Gruff since that version had an error on the back side of the cards which caused them to be printed brighter and mover saturated. In Clash we fixed the problem. If you mix the two together sleeves will keep your versions uniform.
All manufacturing will be complete in about 1 week! With that being said I want to throw out a word of caution. Manufacturing is almost complete but we are still about 2 months from fulfillment which I know sounds ridiculous. Let me break it down a bit more. After manufacturing we have the "Long boat ride from China" which takes 6 weeks. Your copies of Clash will be floating over the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, then up the Atlantic coast before arriving in our warehouse on the East Coast of the US. From there 2-4 weeks will be spent getting the inventory through customs and then packaged for fulfillment, then games will finally start to get delivered. We are still on track and ahead of schedule. Assuming no disruptions we will begin fulfillment toward the end of October. I am super excited about it.
An exciting outcome of the world championship at GenCon is that we had not one but 2 Champions of 2016! Its time to break down Steven Lutz winning deck an intriguing hybrid deck with some explosive end-game potential. Let's take a look.
So this deck is doing several very atypical things. It brings 2 very tanky gruffs. Skullheim effectively locks down a single position until the very end game. Darby brings enough mobility on his own to keep himself ramped up and on the offense during the early game. Bubbles is a combo deck's best friend with early control, resource generation and strong card draw options. Grimwood is also the right choice for this line up. Skullheim can use Rigor Mortis to quickly drop him below his threshold, getting an early game resource advantage.
You are going to need that early Crazy to reach this deck's win condition Flying Leap and Deep Secrets.
Flying Leap is your primary damage dealer in this deck, but it is most effective when your opponent doesn't see it coming, or has to deal with smaller threats. Make sure that you drain your enemy of potential counters like Bewilder and Gobble before closing in for the kill with this deck. The best way to do that is to bring Darby's Glory, Grouchy and Intimidate to distract your opponent from the real threat.
One thing to pay close attention to is Bubble's passive stat gain. Most of the time you are going to want to power up her Weird score to get you to that 20 Crazy as quickly as possible. All three gruffs on this team bring Protect (which is arguably the most aggressively costed cards in the entire game) use it to regain tempo and deflect aggression and rely on Bubbles for resource generation.
That basically sums up the core idea of this team. Deflect early aggression and then drop the unavoidable damage for the win. A devastating but fragile strategy. Which do you think would win?
In the wake of the championship I wanted to talk a bit about the most dominant strategies to present themselves at GenCon first I want to dive Into Brat Conway's devastating control deck!
That is one intimidating line up. And a pretty atypical one at that. Hogbox is the easiest choice here, without the Breaking Point change that will be added with Clash he is tied with Capri for the strongest shepherd in the game. He is even stronger in the context of this deck. This team is going to have no problem at all sacrificing Licky and Noggin in the end Game to turn Grinder into an unstoppable powerhouse. Feeding into Hank's life gaining ability!
This deck runs two support goats and one end game striker. In order to win this deck needs to lean on Grinder's defense in the early game then take tempo back with his devastating Mean in the mid-game. A popular deck in the preliminary round used Grinder + Twiddle to exploit soft spots in the enemy line up using direct damage like Flay Mind and Spin Attack. This deck is going in a different direction with Grinder. It is going to focus more on cards like Taunt, Callus, and Grinder's Glory to punish enemy offense until Grinder can come over for the win.
If Grinder has one weakness it is that he grows very slowly. Unlike Gusto (who is also a slow-growth high-cap mean gruff,) who brings tools like Rev Engines to counteract this weakness, Grinder really needs to spend several turns growing in order to get ahead of the Damage/Defense curve. Which means his perfect partner is Noggin.
Not only does Noggin profit of of every turn spent to get Grinder into fighting order, he also brings a lot of tools to get Grinder there faster. Cards like Bulk Up, Augmentor, Invigorate and Maximize cost a lot but are sure to put your damage ahead of your enemy's defense. Additionally, For Science says that in any late game stand-off you are going to be able to outlast your opponent! This deck has a high crazy requirement and is throwing around a lot of mutations, which brings us to the suprise favorite of 2016 Licky.
Licky is a bold move here, by not taking a sturdier gruff this team is left without a defensive line (and without tools like Block and Intimidate) Obviously the risk was worth the reward in this case. As you have already seen Grinder and Noggin are already going to be bringing enough mutations to keep Licky happy. Licky also has the ability to move mutations around the board meaning that using Lick on Callus or Grinder's Glory can offset the costs of not bringing a tank, while earning the benefits of massive amounts of resource generation (Something this team desperately needs.)
So how do you defeat a deck like this? The slow nature of Grinder's build and the attack deflecting nature of the deck leaves this team wide open to combo builds. Zumberg, Skullheim, Bubbles and Brine would be my choice to knock this team off it's pedestal. Part of Brat Conway's brilliance is that neither pod drafted the gruffs that would be required to take this team down.
Well GenCon 2016 is done and the dust has settled. It is time to Congratulate our two gruff Champions for 2016 Brat Conway and Steven Lutz! The tournament was intense. We had a completely full roster for the qualifiers as well as the finals.
These were the Champions decks...
Brat brought some serious pain with Hogbox, Noggin, Grinder and Licky.
Steven joined with Grimwood, Darby, Bubbles, and Skullheim.
I am very happy for both of them and am excited to create their shepherd!
The finals were a draft tournament. The qualifiers were constructed and saw a lot of Pustule, Licky, Blastov and Capri in the decks.
It was a fantastic competition, I can't wait to see what happens next year!
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