As part of my Faction spotlight series I’ll be looking at The Chosen Axes today.
Catch up here:
- Introduction: Jamie’s Faction Tier
- Article 1: Top Tier Factions
- Article 2: Mid Tier Factions: Sepulchral Guard
- Article 3: Mid Tier Factions: Spiteclaw’s Swarm
All factions are capable of winning an Event and we’re in a really good place for Game Balance. The warbands in the Mid-Tier are warbands that I see as having an inherent weakness but their strengths can overcompensate for this.
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TL:DR – Their base stats pre-inspiration are not strong. If your opponent can disrupt their Inspiration (easily done) then they are a very weak faction. The Chosen Axes also have a VERY difficult time creating an Objective Deck that isn’t heavily weighted towards combat OR objective play. Once Inspired however the faction catapults into a Top Tier faction able to go toe-to-toe with anyone and come out on top. Inspiring Grimnir is the single most important objective in Turn 1.
What is The Chosen Axe’s inherent weakness?
The Chosen Axes suffer from having some of the worst stats in the game pre-inspiration. Movement 2 is bad. 3 Health is bad. Their attacks are pretty pants too. AND their Inspire condition feels counter to the in-world Fyreslayer mentality.
Charging into battle without hesitation, screaming war cries at a cowering foe while hefting enormous war-axes, the Duardin Fyreslayers are the descendants of the shattered warrior god Grimnir.
Hmm, what better way to represent these gold hungry warriors of renown Inspiring than to have them sit around on an objective hex for an entire turn? YES! It could represent them taking their oath and hammering the ur-gold into their skin but surely that’s all done before they begin the fight.
If the opponent is able to interrupt the Duardin ritual of becoming battle-frenzied then the Chosen Axes have a difficult time engaging on their terms. Movement 2 seriously impedes their ability to start a fight, they must simply finish it. Typically Mad Maegrim is left out high & dry to bait in a charge whilst the opening few activations are spent digging through the power deck to load up on push cards or searching for Inspiration Strikes to guarantee Fjul-Grimnir Inspires. This does allow a Chosen Axes general some freedom in deck building because you don’t have to cut to 20 cards as it’s likely you’ll be drawing heavily.
How did the BAR List impact The Chosen Axes?
The Banned & Restricted List (BAR List) was extremely kind to the Chosen Axes. Firstly warbands lost a lot of access to their +1 DMG cards, which meant that less Duardin fall in Turn 1. Secondly, Great Concussion’s removal from the game allowed a safer Inspiration window for Grimnir and prevent a 2 hex void between the warband which completely reset the progress the Chosen Axes made in Turn 1.
The loss of Quick Thinker is a positive for the Chosen Axes, specifically Grimnir, their leader presents a very powerful threat and typically gets 1 or 2 high impact moves per game with Quick Thinker no longer in the picture you are guaranteed to make your charge! The loss of Time Trap is neither here nor there as everyone abused it and lost it equally.
With regards to Objectives the Chosen Axes loath the restriction of Fired Up and Defensive Strike. Both of these cards feature Chosen Axes artwork and work very well into their playstyle, it’s a shame that they have ended up last in the pile behind high value cards such as Extreme Flank, Change of Tactics & Escalation.
The BAR List on the whole has improved the Chosen Axes from a bottom-tier faction to a solid mid-tier faction. They can play aggressive or objective as they please and it will be a interesting to see which style of play they perform best with.
The Chosen Axes Faction Cards
The Chosen Axes have some amazing in-faction objectives, ploys and upgrades. I’d go so far as to say that post BAR they have the best in-faction cards outside of Cursebreakers.
First up are the Objective cards. Scion of Grimnir & Ferocious Charge are two stellar score immediatelys that the aggressive minded player always looks for. Whilst those who lean more to the Hold Objective playstyle can benefit from Hoarders and A Claim Retaken.
Next up are the Gambit Ploys. This faction has some of the best ploys! Helped immensely be the BAR List removing a lot of the ‘auto’ picks.
- The Earth Shakes – Amazing utility Sidestep/Distraction rolled into one
- Treasure Lust – Incredible repositioning ability
- Piercing Stare – Shuts out your opponent’s big hitter for a turn
- Indomitable – Essentially kills an entire activation for your opponent if they want to fight
- Oathsworn – In this post BAR landscape dice manipulation is rare. Having a re-roll is baller.
Finally the Upgrades in this faction really push the Grimnir super-solo playstyle!
- Griminirs Fortitude/Speed – +1 Def and +2 Move respectively ensure Grimnir can reach anywhere and survive.
- Griminirs Blessing – With Soultrap/Tethered Spirit on the BAR this becomes a juicy alternate path.
- Activated Runes – Missing your Awakend Weapon? Use these instead.
The Chosen Axes got a huge boost to their card index with the Restricted list. Some niche cards like Piercing Stare and Indomitable now become strong flex picks to help you weather the storm pre-inspiration.
The Chosen Axes have seen a resurgence of popularity and have grabbed themselves a few pieces of Shadeglass recently whilst the meta is still settling. I believe that once you’ve Inspired Grimnir the warband has the potential to go on to win any event. They will struggle against the Cursebreakers however as the accurate attacks of Ammis & Rastus and the range of Averon can seriously threaten to keep the Duardin at bay.
Do you think Chosen Axes deserve to be placed in the mid-tier? Where would you put them in relation to the other warbands? Let me know in the comment section below.