I'm a new DM and finding it a bit difficult to challenge my group that wants the glorious battles style of game play. When I asked them what they wanted from the campaign, the consensus was that they wanted near death battles that bring them out bloody and bruised. Currently, my players are all lvl 3 (soon to be lvl 4) and can easily destroy a swarm of goblins, orcs, etc.
I've been using the XP Threshold table in the DM's guide (page 82) and having a hard time grouping monsters into the deadly category, where I believe they want to fight, without going completely overboard over the current 1600 XP for 4 – lvl 3 heroes. In the DM's guide, it's suggested:
When making this calculation, don't count any monsters whose challenge rating is significantly below the average challenge rating of the other monsters in the group unless you think the weak monsters significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter.
DMG pg 82
Currently, I'm looking to have a group of Hobgoblins (MM pg. 186) attack the heroes for the next encounter. I was looking at 1 Hobgoblin captain 3(700 XP) and 6 Hobgoblins 1/2(100 XP). If I follow the standard rules, the total XP would be 1300 XP * 2.5 (7 attacks per round) = 3250 XP for the day. This is a bit obscene and is 2x the deadly encounter. If I were to follow the guide of quoted text and ignore the hobgoblin's since they're 6x "weaker" than the captain, this would just total out to a hard encounter.
My question is this then. Using the quoted text from the DM's guide, should I ignore the hobgoblin XP for modifying the encounter XP? My gut instinct on this tells me I probably should as they're going to be chum/1-shotted.