What some have called the most powerful equipment in the game can also be called the most punishing equipment in the game. With the highs and lows of Scabskin Leathers, I thought there is never a better time than now to break it down in today’s equipment spotlight!
Multiple action points on demand are an extremely powerful ability, with odds perfectly split 50/50 as to whether you gain any action points or not. When you roll a four, five or six, you have two to three action points to dish out damage on your turn. With the ability of most Brutes to hit very hard on their regular attacks, allowing them to go wide in this manner can be extremely potent. Multiple six-attacks can be piled together, or smaller hands can become more potent as well. Cards like Savage Feast, Savage Swing and more can be followed up by a Club swing or multiple Claw swings when paired with another action point. Savage Feast becomes a devastating tempo piece when combined with action points, allowing for devastating three-card hands for the Brute player.
When games are going well, Brutes don’t usually need to roll Scabskin Leathers to close out the win. However, there are times where you can feel the rug slipping out from underneath you. Instances where your opponent drew a couple of very strong hands back-to-back or the threat density in your deck evaporating can mean that the tempo will quickly be shifting to your opponent. Scabskin can be a great finisher in these cases, allowing for the Brute player to get some extra gas on demand, and punish the opponent with a six-attack followed by a weapon swing. In late game, this combination can be very devastating paired with even a single or double intimidate, usually closing out games right there and then.
In addition to this, Scabskin is equally a great catch-up mechanic. For Brutes to truly go wild with their damage output, you really do require four or five-card hands. At times however, it can be almost impossible to lead into your turn with this card count without giving up a massive chunk of life or on-hit effect activation to your opponent.
This is where Scabskin can really help turn the tide of battle. Brute has a lot of options when you have a three-card hand and two action points or a two-card hand, a tunic counter and two action points. The former option works great with cards like Savage Swing (Red) into a Romping Club swing for five, which would present 12 damage alongside an intimidate. The latter options can also be great with sequences like Pack Hunt (Red) into Romping Club, or a Club swing first followed up by a Command and Conquer.
When running Claws, you can do even crazier things with Mandible Claws and a three-card hand. If your combination of cards happens to include Savage Feast + Beast Within + blue pitch, you can easily come in for a Claw followed up by a second attack like Command and Conquer or Pack Hunt (Red)! All this however starts and ends with the double action point roll, and although it isn’t recommended to be playing in a game style dependent on rolling, it can be a fantastic way to get you back into games you have no business winning.
As much as they give, that much more they can take. When the Leathers decide to tighten up, it can be a dangerous time for Brute. If you do happen to hit a one on a critical time, then it could devastate your game.I remember playing a Brute mirror match one time and my opponent got a little greedy after playing out two consecutive Bloodrush Bellows. He decided to roll his Scabskins and I could see his heart sink to the floor as the one came up on the roll.
Shutting down your turn, especially after investing important resources into it is the worst feeling in this class. Its hence important to be aware of what Scabskins can take from you as much as they can give. Being greedy on strong turns isn’t the point of the equipment piece by any standard. In contrast to the other Legendary equipment, Scabskins isn’t a constant source of value throughout the game – rather, it’s more like common equipment in its resolution. Providing big bursts of energy here and there is what this piece does best and keeping that in mind is crucial. To get the best use out of Scabskins, its best to have a very low cost to roll it if you do end up losing your turn.
Although rolling a one is the big main downside of Scabskin Leathers, you must take care to have a game plan for only having one action point as well. If you rely too heavily on the double action points, then you could easily be caught with your pants down if you have no game plan. A hand such as the following is a good place to roll. As Levia, running a weapon such as Claws or Hexagore, we have an Endless Maw (Red) + a blue pitch + a Hungering Slaughterbeast (Red). In this case, we can roll to gain action points to play out the Hungering Slaughterbeast into a Hexagore swing, resulting in a fantastic three-card damage output. However, in the chance we roll for only one action point, we get to play Endless Maw (Red) for nine while putting the strong Hungering Slaughterbeast in Arsenal for next turn! When we have more flexible hands like so, that when we tilt the roll of Scabskin into our favor, allowing us to really get maximum utility out of our hands.
It may feel at times that you can’t do much from your end to affect the Scabskin rolls, however there is some interesting things we can do as opponents of Scabskin players. As we saw above, the magic number for the Brutes to roll is usually going to be with three or five cards. As a result, when attacking the Brute, try to present awkward on-hits exactly when they are at this hand count. You’ll force blocks and eliminate most of the higher end turns Scabskin can produce. There is also the argument of running your own set of Gambler’s Gloves. Although I do think this is an effective countermeasure against Brute, the meta doesn’t currently have enough Brutes (as of this writing) for the piece to be worth the card slot. However, using Gambler’s Gloves as a defensive piece is extremely valuable against both Rhinar and Levia, especially when you can make them reroll a six, or simply even reroll a four or five when you sense they need to pivot the game.
That about wraps it up for my equipment spotlight on Scabskin Leathers. Let me know what equipment you’d like to see next, and what sort of crazy turns you’ve been able to pull off when the rolls have gone your way!