*Editor’s Note: At the time of writing I have not been able to put the Nightvault models on the table for a game. This is largely Theoryhammer & competitive musings.
It’s truly an exciting time for us Competitive Players. Two new warbands means two new foes to get to grips with and learn what makes them tick. For those of you just joining the party I have been keeping track of every single competitive game of Shadespire I’ve ever played at an event.
Why should my opinion matter?
Well, really, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t but I have a blog and a competitive mindset, and since March 2018 every win or loss and every glory scored has been inputted into a spreadsheet of doom that tracks my overall win percentage, my faction vs faction win percentage, total glory scored and conceded, average glory scored and conceded, and so on…
Here is a snapshot of my experience so far:
|Total Games||Games Won||Games Lost||Win %|
I’m extremely happy with my win percentage and my tournament rankings. In 16 events I’ve placed first 5 times, second 4 times and third 3 times. Quick math here shows I’ve podiumed in 12 of my 16 events. The events I didn’t podium at were two Grand Clashes, my first ever event, and an event where I was nuked by the dreaded Katophrane Relics. So…I’m pretty well versed in Competitive Warhammer Underworlds.
How do the Nightvault Warbands compare to those in Shadespire?
Well, off the bat the Thorns of the Briar Queen definitely seem to be the ‘power faction’ with some extremely powerful in-faction cards, and generally strong profiles for their big hitters (see my card review for the Briar Queen here) Whilst the Cursebreakers feel a little lackluster, yes they have a neat trick in being able to cast a 3DMG spell at RNG 3, but other than that I can only really see them enjoying a defensive play style by making use of the Shadespire Objectives that reward the passive playstyle due to their controlled Inspire mechanic and same ability to interrupt play like the Stormcast can.
I think we’ll see quite a few Thorns of the Briar Queen played at events, which in turn may see an increase in Farstriders, because a single Shardfall and the Farstriders have easy pickings with four Health 2 Chainrasps suddenly being a single bolt away from banishment.
Once we begin to see more Neutral cards introduced into Warhammer Underworlds we’ll get a true representation of how the Shadespire Warbands still fit into the competitive scene. If lots of the new Gambits or Upgrades are in relation to spells then it’s possible that the Shadespire fighters will be abandoned to the ill-fated city for shinier tricks.
Will we see a Ban List for the ‘auto-include’ cards?
Personally I would love to see a Ban List for some of the auto include cards that were released at the end of the Shadespire release cycle. As John has mentioned on his blog I think it would go a long way to shaking up the competitive meta. Cards such as:
- Great Concussion
- Quick Thinker
- Twist the Knife
These have become commonplace in all play style types. In my opinion, damage buffs should be presented up front, as was done originally with the +1DMG cards, this gives the opportunity for counter-play for the opponent. Not being able to respond to Twist the Knife except via some corner-case reactions or Forceful Denial can really really suck. Similarly, Quick Thinker also feels like it wasn’t intended to work on Charges, but it does and can completely kill an entire phase for Aggro warbands. Finally, remember when we all thought Earthquake was game busting…and then it’s bigger badder big brother turned up and EQ has largely been ignored ever since? Great Concussion has no direct counter and the 2 hex rift it can cause between warbands kills aggro, and objective play has disappeared almost entirely in the UK meta because of it’s prevalence.
I’d welcome a ban list to competitive play that, like the beta rules, was up to the TO to enforce. It’d be a fresh take on deck building, especially with the new Netural cards that are sure to be released, and would help to prevent a constant power-creep of having to out do the previous release.