Another one bites the dust! Steelheart’s Champions, Spiteclaw’s Swam, and now Stormsire’s Cursebreakers have all entered the Shelf of Champions and can rest on their laurels. This win brings my Glass Trophy total to four little glass trophies and one big glass trophy. The Cursebreakers were an interesting warband to build a deck around, and hand on heart I can’t take full glory for it’s construction.
Bryce (a guest writer on this blog and friend from work) and I have been playing a LOT of Underworlds during our lunch breaks and he has been stomping me rotten with his Farstriders. Not wanting to jump on the wagon and end up playing mirror matches all week, I built on what he had crafted since the Eye of the Nine and Zarbag’s Gitz release and tailored it to suit the Cursebreaker Playstyle.
Bryce was beating me frequently thanks to a combination of Shardgale, Trap, Pit Trap, Raptor Strike and solid play. The immense amount of chip damage the force could put out was whittling me down quickly and I ended up not wanting to commit because of the vulnerability models had after eating a two ranged damage.
The same playstyle can be applied to the Cursebreakers whilst still scoring some really easy Objective Cards. Let’s have a run through of them:
Advancing & Defensive Strike: I’ve grown to love these Score Immediately cards as it doesn’t matter how the model dies, just that it does. Not needing to have the exact damage or specific fighter make the kill frees up your ability to make meaningful decisions. Also, taking both allows you to always have one available regardless of what you’re against.
Change of Tactics & Harness the Storm: These are really simple Score Immediately cards and I wouldn’t leave home without them as Cursebreakers. Casting spells is kind of a big deal for the warband and Change of Tactics is really easy to score with Stormsire’s range.
Fired Up, Magical Supremacy, Shining Example, Alone in the Darkness & Extreme Flank: These are all really simple objectives to score and can really set up your Superior Tactician end game.
Escalation & Master of War: Really strong turn two and three objectives, and combo nicely with the four Score Immediately cards.
Superior Tactician: This card is fast becoming a staple of my, and other competitive, Objective decks. Previously seen as a ‘Win-More’ card Superior Tactician has become a simple to score end game card, unlike Conquest or Denial this card doesn’t require your models to be in a particular area of the board.
Cry of Thunder & Abasoth’s Withering: Great cards for setting up the fight. Chipping damage from range (when it comes off) with Cry of Thunder can make it easy for Stormsire to finish off models once Inspired. Whilst, Abasoth’s Withering has essentially the same effect of softening up a target and is super easy to cast so great for Inspiring Stormsire.
Inspiration Strikes: Feeds into Fired up & Shining Example but if drawn in the opening hand makes Stormsire a nightmare to face 2DMG Range 3 attacks and double Block dice are nothing to sniff your nose at.
Trap & Pit Trap: These really help push the damage numbers higher, whilst also facitiltating Advancing & Defensive Strike because it doesn’t matter how the blood flows, simply that it does (in the correct territory though).
Great Concussion, Quick Thinker, Ready for Action, Hidden Paths & Time Trap: Well, ya know…you just gotta have them. An interesting point I gleaned from playing against Bryce’s Farstriders was that they do not suffer the penalties that Great Concussion & Quick Thinker give unto other combat focused warbands. Why? Because they have Range 3 attacks, these allow you to move comfortably into range of two or more fighters when charging; negating the soul crushing Quick Thinker somewhat because the Charge isn’t wasted entirely. Great Concussion is also commonly used to create a two hex gap between fighters meaning that the opposing fighter must Charge to reengage, not so for Farstriders because they’re still in range to attack. These same points all apply to Stormsire too!!
A Destiny to Meet & Slumbering Key: Lovely, simple, scores glory. In my opinion every deck should have these two upgrades, they can make all the difference between a win and a loss (and definitely aided me at the event with Cursebreakers).
Deathly Fortitude & Sudden Growth: -2 Move & +2 Wounds is #Value seeing a six wound model across the table is daunting, especially versus the non-combat orientated warbands.
Faneway Crystal: This upgrade has fast become a favourite of mine. The shenanigans you can pull are too much to list, and using it to negate the impact of Deathly Fortitude & Sudden Growth is just super handy. Use it with Stormsire to appear and threaten everything within three hexes, also has great usage for scoring Extreme Flank if there is an empty objective on an edge hex.
Tethered Spirit & Soultrap: Having only three models is tough, doing EVERYTHING to stop them dying and losing their board presence is vitally important.
Gloryseeker, Tempest Might & Lightening Whip: These all help boost your damage output. After today I’d swap Lightening Whip for something else as I never found a time to use it. Top contenders include: Great Strength, Heroes Mantle, Potion of Rage and Potion of Grace.
A good deck does not a winning warband make – Averon Cursebreaker
Having a good deck is one thing but there is much more to consider; your board, your model placement, your in-game decisions etc. A huge part of the competitive game is identifying what your opponent is trying to score and denying them the opportunity whilst still scoring your own objectives.
Board choice is becoming increasingly important and finding a board that suits your warband, your deck choices and your playstyle is crucial to success. After playing against the Farstriders and taking on board (bad-um, tss) their board choices it was simply a case of replicating it. The new Nightvault board with three single blocked hexes is ideal for the Cursebreakers and allow a multitude of set ups.
This board allows you a great set up regardless of rotation by grabbing the three central spawn hexes. If you need to avoid your opponent in Turn 1 to score passive objectives then you have good deployment options deep in either set up. Even on the long board set up there are good choices as you have a very far forward hex (the one on the bottom right) or two good choices (on the left). Finally, you have a lot of edge hex deployment if it complements your initial objectives, or have Hidden Paths in hand.
Stormsire’s Cursebreakers have probably the second easiest Inspire mechanic in the game behind Spiteclaw’s Swarm – especially for Ammis & Rastus as they have an in-built spell action that cannot be stopped by the opponent. Stormsire himself is a little bit more difficult as he does not have Empower but instead relies upon his Spell Attack, Gambit Spells or Inspiration Strikes (or Regal Vision). Inspiring Stormsire is SO important! Getting two defence dice and an increase in damage on Fulmination makes him a force to be reckoned with, and asks a lot of questions to the opponent.
Inspiring in Turn One sets up Fired Up and Shining Example, whilst also scoring Harness the Storm and Magical Supremacy. Deploy deep if you have these in hand and spend the turn scoring easy glory. Similarly, Extreme Flank, Alone in the Darkness, and Change of Tactics all can be easily scored in Turn One which sets you up nicely going into Turn Two.
Engaging the Foe
Behind only Skritch Spiteclaw and an Inspired Sanson Fartstrider you have the largest threat in the game. You should be looking to start the engagement by going second in Turn One and charging at the end of the turn to set up the kills. Ideally you’ll want to be in Fulmination range of two or more models so you don’t need to move next turn and can spend the time zapping fools.
With good placement Ammis & Rastus both provide a suitable threat for counter-charging your opponent. Hopefully they’ve Inspired in Turn One and are now rolling some of the most accurate base attacks in the game for decent damage stats, coupled with your damaging Gambits you should be able to start kill when required.
Having only three models can be a blessing and a curse. Aggro warbands have few targets to kill, but your board presence isn’t very demanding. You can negate this further versus aggro builds by stacking additional wounds and life-saving upgrades on your fighters in the thick of it (usually Averon & Ammis).
Rastus makes a great sweeper for your backfield if your playing against an objective based warband and can deal with Skaven popping up in your backfield and Grots who find hidden paths into your backlines.
All the above is great in theory, but the best way to get to grips with any warband is to put them on the tabletop and seeing it first hand. You’ll soon find yourself being able to identify common tactics to score certain objectives. If you can deny them to your opponent you can swing the game in your favour.
There isn’t any way to say ‘this is how you play your models’ with certainty that it will work for each individual. Try and travel to more tournaments and learn how other warbands typically play. The only way to truly become a better player is to play more games. At the time of writing I’ve played and recorded over 160 competitive games, have a match win rate of 73% and have won my past five events, obviously there is a strong correlation between these stats.
This turned into quite a bit more than I intended it too, thanks for making it to the end. If you’ve enjoyed this more in-depth article then please let me know in the comments below, on twitter and in the facebook groups and maybe it’ll Inspire me to make more.
Till the next time…