1) Contrary to popular belief, Grudj is the best Freak character in ELO. Grudj and Bogdan are very close but Grudj's pll manipulation is slightly better on turn 1 than Bogdan's SOA. You pretty much start a Freaks preset with those two. I see people post lists without Grudj; it's ridiculous.
2) Explaining the Freak bonus: the positive is that it's very strong. Most damage bonuses need to hit several times to be worthwhile; if you hit with poison on turn 1, that's equivalent to hitting 3 times with FPC. So the argument that poison is useless on turns 3 and 4 is silly; as long as you poison on turn 1 and turn 2, poison is much better than the FPC bonus on turns 3 and 4.
However, this means that the first Freak character you draw essentially doesn't have a bonus. Think of a 1/2 deck. If you draw 1 Freak, he doesn't have a bonus. If you draw 2 or more Freaks, only 1 has an effective bonus. So you want to draw 2 Freaks consistently. You don't want to draw 1 Freak and it's even worse to draw 3 or more. This is why I always run Freaks in 5/3 splits, with 3 Freaks (Grudj+Bodgan+another Freak). This gives you the most probability of drawing 2 while minimizing drawing 3.
3) Remember that the point of a Freak character is to be terrifying on turn 1. Yes, Magda is a good wall, but how good is her ability on turn 1? This is why the best Freaks are 4*, not 2*. 2* characters generally are simply too vulnerable to be consistently topend plays on turn 1. Your third should be 4* or 3*.
Not mono,go half
Make sure to use Grudj and Bogdan since they are very good cards. If one of them is banned you can try experimenting a bit. I like the idea of Freaks along with Pussycats but I have never used them,so I can not say anything more.
But if you are new in ELO,you better try Jungo or Junkz,both great clans
@kitsune you cannot just say that Grudj is more useful than Bogdan.. in some cases where your opponent does not have something nasty, then yah Grudj could be better. but anything ranging from SoB, - power, + power, CoB, and the likes, Bogdan definitely has the edge. This is not to mention Bogdan is generally more useful after turn 1, since SoA could stop so much damage
I didn't say that Grudj is more useful than Bogdan. I said that Freaks lists that don't have both Grudj and Bogdan are lousy.
SOA is great but for almost all SOA characters, turn 1 is the least effective turn to play them.
Grudj doesn't fear SOB because he's carrying pill manipulation on his ability- he's a double threat. If an opponent plays a SOB on Grudj, it's really a win-win: either you won with Grudj and gained 2 pills, or you lost with Grudj, in which case your opponent wasted his SOB character.
This doesn't even consider bonus SOB, in which case Grudj is clearly superior on turn 1. If you play Bogdan on turn 1, your opponent will simply dump their 2* SOB, (or Tyd) whereas +2 pills pressures your opponent into pilling.
Against combat abilities, again you would often rather have Grudj. Blind, on turn 1, +2 pills is a better "combat" ability than SOA.
One of SOA's most important uses is to hit through DR. Not only is this not as useful on a poisoner and almost never relevant on turn 1, but Grudj dominates DR just as well.
There are many initial draws where SOA isn't useful on turn 1. +2 pills is far more often useful on turn 1.
When I draw one and not the other, I will sometimes wish I had drawn Grudj instead of Bogdan on turn 1. I have never wished I drew Bogdan instead of Grudj on turn 1.
On paper it may seem SOA is a better ability than +2 pills, but my empirical experience tells me that Grudj is a slightly better character than Bogdan.
Step 1: get whatever mediocre+ Freaks and whatever mediocre+ Pussycats
Step 2: practice bluffing
Step 3: practice making them think you are bluffing
Step 4: practice calculating opponent's damage doable
Step 5: practice all-in
Step 6: anger management/ accept the elo whatever fate gives you
If you can at least get your opponent into a 50/50 situation if things go wrong, you are doing great.