Hey pals. It’s me, Bryce, now officially Not A Scrub. So I (and about 160 other people) went to the Grand Clash at Warhammer World last Saturday to play some Shadetoys. I, amazingly, won the event. In this post I’m gonna go through my deck list and explain my reasoning behind the cards in it, and do a short review of the event. If I get time I’m gonna go into some more detail on general thoughts about the meta, but depending how long this ends up being, that might have to be a separate post.
The Deck List
So, the bit you all actually care about, the deck list…
- What Armour?: A super easy score immediately card with Rastus.
- Strong Start: It’s an aggro deck, I wanna be killing things, and I can usually do it first.
- Harness the Storm: Oh hey you know your whole gameplan? Here’s a glory for it! And draw another objective! Go nuts pal, you have yourself A Time!
- Precision Strike: It’s in faction Precise Use of Force. It’s good, especially given the variety of attack profiles in Spellboiz.
- Sorcerous Scouring: Kill things with Stormsire’s spells and get glory for it.
- Fired Up: These guys have a super easy inspire condition, so this card is easy to score on turn 1, and relies on zero interaction with the opponent.
- Shining Example: See above.
- Escalation: It’s an easy to score card that doesn’t RELY on interaction from your opponent, but they often make your life easier.
- Master of War: This is an easy 1 glory that doesn’t rely on interactions with my opponent. I have enough score immediatelies + Spoils of Battle that the upgrade part isn’t usually an issue.
- Superior Tactician: In literally every deck from here till doomsday. Score lots of easy cards, get rewarded for it at the end, again with no interaction. Would be amazed if it doesn’t get restricted next time round.
- Magical Supremacy: Oh hey you know your whole gameplan? Here’s a glory for it!
- Alone in the Darkness: Ah HA! You were expecting Extreme Flank, eh? Not for me, my friend. I wanna go into this a little, I swapped out Extreme Flank for Alone in the Darkness for two principal reasons. 1) Extreme Flank with a 3 model warband is actually difficult. I kept finding that in order to score Extreme Flank I had to put myself in bad positions to do so, isolating my models or limiting my actions for the rest of the game. And that’s not even getting into what happens if a model dies. For my money, running Extreme Flank leads to suboptimal positioning and I don’t believe it’s worth the tradeoff for my version of Cursebreakers. That said, I think the card is still an autoinclude for any non Stormcast warband, I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t get banned next time round. My second reason is, honestly, who’s been playing Alone in the Darkness since Extreme Flank came out? Everyone’s looking to counter EF, no one’s positioning against AitD. This allows me to play mind games and ‘set up’ for Extreme Flank, forcing my opponents to make efforts to stop me scoring a card that wasn’t even in my deck. That said, now this article is out the cat’s out of the bag, but tbh the payoff was pretty decent.
- Inspiration Strikes: Being able to inspire without rolling dice is incredible, especially given how much better all my models get when inspired.
- Ready For Action: Literally the best card on the Restricted list, including objectives. Why not run it?
- My Turn: What with all the hidden damage ploys being restricted, 4 health is actually relevant again. One shotting people is quite hard. My Turn lets me either push away to stop an upgrade/Ready for Action for the kill, or lets me counter attack. Or both with Stormsire!
- Hidden Paths: I don’t think I’ve seen a deck without this card in a very long time. It’s incredible for opening the game up if your opponent is hiding at the back.
- Sidestep: Just an incredible card. Super basic, but has SO many potential uses. Like this card used to be one I always looked at and never included. Having played it for like three months, I love it to death.
- Spoils of Battle: My list has a few super important upgrades. Being able to get them out in turn 1 can make all the difference. That said, its value decreases as the game goes on, and it’s kind of useless turn 3. Overall I think the explosive effect it can have turn 1 or 2 is worth it overall.
- Abasoth’s Withering: Inspires me, triggers two of my objectives, effectively does a damage, just incredible.
- Abasoth’s Unmaking: So in previous versions of the deck, I had Mischievous Spirits . However about a month ago this card caught my eye and I realised I’d been a moron for ever including Mischievous over it. This card is, at worst, basically a copy of Inspiration Strikes. At best it completely ruins objective decks, and triggers two of my objectives. Just an incredible card. Can’t believe I didn’t run it for so long.
- Lightning Assault: With Helpful Whispers and Awakened Weapon restricted, anything that adds to your accuracy is solid gold.
- Frozen in Time: Haha, well. I literally only included this card on the morning of the event. Basically Giblin had been playing a Thorns relic deck and beaten me twice with it, so I was terrified of it. So I swapped out Distraction for FiT like two minutes before I handed in my deck list in case I ran into it. This card is basically fine, really strong if the effect comes off, but I hate 50/50 cards. It did essentially nothing the entire day until the final game where it…uh, won me the tournament. 50/50s, right?
- Deathly Fortitude/Sudden Growth/Great Fortitude: If my dudes have more wounds they’re harder to kill. Now that Soultrap/Tethered Spirit are restricted, these are in pretty much all my decks.
- Hero’s Mantle: Pour one out for A Destiny To Meet. Free glory if your leader survives is good.
- Sprinter: I actually really like this card. +1 Move is just good. Like it catches people off guard, and works to counter the penalty from Deathly and Sudden.
- Tempest’s Might: This lets Stormsire do 3 damage with his Fulminations. Combo that with Abasoth’s Withering or Gloryseeker and you’re doing a lot of damage.
- Faneway Crystal: I hate this card so much. It does nothing like 80% of the time (or actively works against you), but then 20% of the time it wins you a game. Bleh. I think you need to include it atm, but I don’t want to.
- Gloryseeker: It’s functionally Great Strength except it also works on Stormsire’s spells. Autoinclude.
- Great Strength: Lets Ammis hit for 4 damage, or Rastus hit for 3. Just solid.
- Potion of Rage: Much like Lightning Assault, accuracy buffs are premium right now. Autoinclude in every deck.
Restricted: Alone in the Darkness, Fired Up, Escalation, My Turn, Ready for Action
Join the Trophy Hunters
So that’s the deck. Now for a quick tournament report. I’m unfortunately not gonna be super detailed here, cause I played 11 games of Shadespire on about 4 hours sleep over an 11 hour period, so I’m more gonna try and hit the key points of each game. If any of my opponents wanna correct anything here, feel free, I’m more than willing to acknowledge any mistakes I’ve made due to a severe case of garbage brain.
Firstly, for the actual tournament day, I wasn’t overly impressed. The people running the event were obviously doing their best, but they were drastically understaffed for the number of attendees. Whatever tournament software they were using had several key errors, for round 2 they had to read everyone’s names out over the tannoy with what table they were on, which took a long time, and led to confusion. In addition, from the reaction to the final standings being posted, it looks like a LOT of people ended up being wrongly placed, which is frankly just unacceptable from a game that’s marketed as The Ultimate Competitive Miniatures Game. Lunch was good, but the lack of staff and poor tournament system meant the whole thing finished almost two hours later than it was supposed to.
A point on the format; it’s bad. 160 players leaves 10 undefeated (ish) after 4 rounds, and then it’s on who has the best tiebreakers for the final. As a result, you’re rewarded heavily for playing worse opponents in the first four rounds, which is mad. What kind of a system is it where you’re literally hoping you just play people you’re way better than all day? You should be hoping for close, tight, exciting games, but if you get that, even if you go 4-0, it’s likely you’ve dropped more than one game over the day, so you’re out of the running for the final. Just daft. It’s possibly cause my background is stricter competitive games like Warmachine and Guild Ball where you’re rewarded in the standings for playing against better opponents, but this system just rattles my brain and feels deeply unfair.
Anyway, for the tournament itself, one of the biggest problems with my prep was that Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 came out on the Thursday before the Clash. As a result, attempting to maximise video gaming time, I stayed up till 2am on Friday flying spaceships around (Cadia broke before the Guard did. MY EMOTIONS). I then had to get up at around half 6 on Saturday to tidy stuff up and head to pick up Giblin in time to get the Clash, so I was pretty bloody shattered all day.
Amusingly, I was so scared of Giblin’s relic deck I almost just ran it. I brought all my cards and was like, inches away from playing Thorns. But meh, I know my Cursebreakers deck like the back of my hand, and I’m someone who’ll always go for something I’m experienced with over the current power list. And hey, if those two just happen to sync up, like with Cursebreakers, it’s just a happy coincidence!
So we rocked up, I made the fateful Frozen in Time change, and we handed in our decks. Both of us were pure starving, but there was no time for breakfast, it was on to round 1! Before I start this, I’d like to apologise to any opponents whose names I get wrong. I am a garbage person.
Round 1 – Becky – Zarbag’s Gits
Sat down and got a lovely woman called Becky from Essex. She was running gobbos, and we jumped in. Game 1 she got truly appalling draws, her deck came out in almost entirely the wrong order and I ended up winning the game 18-2. The second game. Oh man the second game. My opening hand was Superior Tactician, Shining Example, and Fired Up, which sucks against Goblins cause you wanna get kills turn 1, but I figured ‘eh’, at least I’ll get Shining/Fired Up. Becky went first and crucially didn’t inspire the Fanatic, so like, my eyes lit up with dollar signs. Stormsire casts the Withering on Snirk, dropping him to two wounds and inspiring, and then casts Fulmination…which misses. A bit rough, but at least I’d inspired him. Then Becky drops Cruel Taunt on Stormsire and the 50/50 goes off and like my whole game fell apart in front of my eyes. Jesus. What a play. Ammis and Rastus then spend 3 activations failing to inspire and I pretty much lose off of that. I don’t think I killed a single goblin or inspired either Ammis or Rastus by the end of the game. Dice games huh. Also, to be fair, Becky didn’t give me an inch to get back into the game, she played super solidly. Lost this one I think 15-6.
Game 3 I actually don’t remember much about, other than the final score. It was SUPER tight, we were both in super focused hardcore mode, but thanks to Hero’s Mantle I managed to squeeze out a 17-16 win.
This was actually a brilliant round, and oooft, so close. 17-16 is nuts.
Round 2 – Mike – Magore’s Fiends
Uhm. I gotta be honest. Running on 4 hours sleep and German energy drink at this point, and super stressed after game 1, I don’t really remember anything about this round. I think I got longboards deployment at least once? Which is always good against Magores, cause it slows them down. TBH I’m sorry Mike, you were a lovely opponent, I’m just bad at remembering things. I know I won this round pretty handily though, and ended up with solid glory diff.
Round 3 – Steve – Farstriders
I don’t love this match up, but I don’t hate it either. I won board set up both times, I believe, and managed to go for the 3 connecting hex set up, which I love against Striders cause it controls where they can inspire. Again, much like game 2, I don’t remember a tonne about these games other than me panicking cause Steve rolled like three crit defenses in a row at one point, which is real bad, but I managed to pull out two wins pretty comfortably after that. Again, sorry Steve, also a lovely opponent, but for some reason the games in the middle of the day are really hard to remember.
Round 4 – Ben – Thorns
Oh boy, so game one of this round was one of the dumbest games I’ve ever seen. Ben’s playing like a super aggro Thorns list, based around Varclav being a big boi and soloing people. He gets Hidden Pathsed in at the bottom of turn 1 and does three damage to Rastus and knocks him back. Nae danger, inspired Ammis gets Great Strength and charges in with 3 dice with a reroll. Rolls 3 hammers. Varclav gets a crit. Well, damn, but it’s okay. Stormsire killed a Chainrasp and scored me like 3 glory earlier, I get some more in the end phase. Varclav gets Great Strength in the end phase, Ben wins first and kills Ammis. Hmm. Might be an issue.
Stormsire kills a chainrasp and gets me to 8 glory, then Varclav goes on an absolute murder spree with Ready for Action and about a hundred crits, and kills both Rastus and Stormsire by the end of turn 2. This is…a bit of a problem. I score Escalation, but I also notice that actually, he’s only on like 6 glory, and I’m on 10. The last turn we both cycle through, I’ve thankfully scored 6 objectives and have Superior in hand. Also had Alone in the Dark, but unfortunately he left two models next to each other. Regardless, turns out Our Only Way Out and Supremacy were at the very bottom of his deck, and his focus on killing me rather than scoring objectives meant that at the end of the game I got to 13 with Superior and he only got to 12! Winning a game after getting wiped out 6 activations in, WOOP WOOP!
Game 2 was a much more reasonable affair, Varclav’s crits were much weaker this time, and I got to kill him, and murder my way through the rest of the warband. Highlight was Ben spending his entire turn 2 getting his three remaining models onto 3 objectives only for me to drop Abasoth’s Unmaking. I felt bad for that one. Well not really, but you know, it was like I did.
Won this one pretty convincingly, and ended the day with 1 game loss and +78 glory diff! I was convinced that it wasn’t enough to get into the top 2 for the final, since I was sure at least 2 people had gone 2-0, but amazingly, it was!
The Final – Joel – Magore’s Fiends
Following a long, tense wait as results were worked out, it came down to me and a Spanish chap called Joel in the final. Wasn’t keen since it was Magore’s Fiends, and I think that’s one of the harder match ups in the game for Cursebreakers, but hey, we’re in the final and Giblin unfortunately had to get the train home cause I’d been rude enough to qualify.
The game itself is viewable on Warhammer TV (you need a subscription though), so I’m gonna comment more generally. First thing, if you watch the stream, the commentators go on about how unlucky Joel’s draws were, when he got an inspiration card + Spectral wings in turn 1 both games, AND got to choose board alignment. Going longboards into Magores makes this match up SO much easier, so I don’t feel like the commentators are entirely fair there.
That said, Joel played very well. One of my biggest strengths as a competitive gamer is knowing when to just wait, and knowing how to push an activation advantage. It’s rare I see someone else who’s as good at that as I am, and it was genuinely tough. I had a couple of poor rolls here and there, but I was also saved in game 1 by him missing a three dice attack on inspired Stormsire, so I won like 15-9? I think? Game 2 came down to me sitting back with an array of cards and choosing not to go in on anyone on turn 1 cause I was happy with my objectives and I had to go first cause he stole the roll from me. Then I waited till he’d played Spectral Wings and inspired Magore, and I used Frozen in Time on Magore, basically shutting his entire turn down. I scored 3 from Alone in the Dark and Master of War, but that was 3 more than Joel scored.
It was sort of obvious he’d been tilted all to hell by the FiT, and from then on the game was us both drawing cards, attacking when we had the chance, but it really felt like the wind got completely taken out of Joel’s sails at the FiT play. Ended up finishing this one 11-4 up.
And so I took the Clash! Shout out to all my opponents, but especially Joel for being a hell of a finalist, and Becky, for being the only player to take a game off me and giving me the closest round I had all day!
Gripes aside, thanks to everyone for the day. It was grand (lol). I’ve ran out of space a bit so thoughts on the meta and stuff will come later in the week. One last thing, I’m running an event this Saturday at the Game Forge in Manchester, so come by if you’re nearby! I’m hoping to be able to play Mollog’s Mob and give the big guy a run out, so hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading folks, seeya later!