Hey Reader! Last night I managed to put the Thorns of the Briar Queen on the tabletop versus the Farstriders. I was keen to test the Thorns against, what I deem to be, their hardest match up. Oh boy, was I right…
I tried a hybrid deck for the Thorns; passive scoring cards from Shadespire (Alone in the Darkness, Supremacy, Change of Tactics) with the Score Immediately cards from the Thorns faction cards.
The Farstriders were running a similar deck; passive & aggro. The tale of the story is to be careful of Shardgale. That card turns the game on it’s head – giving the Farstriders access to some of the easiest kills from glory I have ever witnessed. Falcon Strike was a guaranteed glory after that, Trap was usable to kill the bigger targets, Shattering Terrain locked down the warband for a turn, bolt shots killed for fun versus single dice. It was miserable!
Round 1. I was able to score three glory by making use of the easy Score Immediately cards; ‘Treacherous Foe’ and ‘Change of Tactics’. This was a really sweet combo that allowed me to score a Glory from ‘Change of Tactics’ equip Great Strength, and play Ready for Action to make another attack – grab a kill and score the ‘Treacherous Foe’. Three Glory from a single activation – nice. However, the Farstriders responded in kind, shooting twice to score ‘The Bigger They Are’ and ‘Precise Use of Force’ – also three glory from a single activation…oh. And to rub salt into the wound they were able to set up a wonderful Round 2 by plinking some wounds off my Chainrasps with another shot & Falcon Strike…AND then a Great Concussion to prevent my own Supremacy and Our Only Way Out. Whilst they were able to score Chosen Champion and Master of War. 3-5
Round 2. The Farstriders started the turn by dropping a Shardgale, killing the two Chainrasps set up from the previous turn AND then used My Turn to take another shot and then Trap to kill off the Ever-Hanged…poor chap, whilst scoring Masterstroke. Knowing that Great Concussion was out of the way I held on to Supremacy and Our Only Way Out but an Inspired Farstrider was able to get into position to threaten all three of my objectives. This was all terribly compounded by the 5 Upgrades I drew into meaning I was purely at the mercy of the dice. The turn went about as well as I could have hoped. I scored Alone in the Darkness as did the Farstriders, but they also scored Shining Example. 5-12
Round 3. I was ready to throw in the towel. I ditched Supremacy and Our Only Way Out and drew into Swarming Spirits and As Nagash Commands. The Farstriders had drawn Skirting Danger and so moved as far away from my Thorns as possible, whilst Farstrider himself ran onto an objective to score The Formless Key, A Destiny to Meet, and Heroes Mantle denying me As Nashash Commands. 5-16
It was a miserable first outing for the Thorns, but it was nice to see that there is not a blatant power creep in Nightvault.
Game 2 – More of the same. It went just as bad.
Inspiring the ghosts is actually FAR harder than I expected! With the easy access to push cards in the game it became increasingly difficult to get into position to Inspire as it’s just as easy to disrupt as it is to get into position. It often felt like I was hanging the ghosts out to be killed in the vain hope of getting the named ones Inspired. In future decks I’ll 100% be including Inspiration Strikes to get the Briar Queen or Varclav ready for combat.
Whilst the Briar Queens attacks at range 2 are strong, they make you not want to move into range 1, but that prevents you from Inspiring. I also found the decision to Push models after an attack a difficult decision – you leave yourself open for attacks from multiple sources (My Turn, Ready for Action, Time Trap) but Inspire on your next activation.
Whilst the faction cards are very strong, like really strong, the Thorns still fall foul to the same problem as the Sepulchral Guard. They have a lot of 2 health 1 dodge models that are easy pickings and can really let your opponent get their engine running.