Posted in Event Review, Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Warhammer Underworlds

Grand Clash Winning Cursbreakers – Deck & Tech

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…

Objectives:

  • 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.

Gambit Cards:

  • 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?

Upgrades:

  • 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


Tournament Report

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.

Upcoming Events

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!

Posted in Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Thorns of the Briar Queen, Warhammer Underworlds

Cursebreakers and Thorns are Top Tier!

Hello Trophy Hunters!

If you read my last article, you’ll have seen how I ranked the warbands based on my current experiences with them. This was met with both pitchforks and a general healthy discussion about people’s local meta. I’ll stress again there isn’t much between the tiers and the game is in a fantastic place from a game balance perspective. The new BAR List has shaken up the meta like nothing else!

Some of you have asked for me to discuss the tiers a bit more, and why I made my choices and I’m more than happy to oblige. I’ll try and look at a tier per article and starting off at the top we have Cursebreakers and Thorns of the Briar Queen.

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“I disagree with your subjective point of view!!”

The Overall Game State

Currently we’re in a state of flux. The meta has not settled yet, and we’re seeing defensive Orruks, aggressive Cursebreakers, objective Skeletons & mid-range Magore’s decks win Shadeglass. Anything goes at the moment.

With the BAR List changing so many of the top tier faction’s playstyle it’s difficult to predict what kind of meta your walking into at a tournament and do you have the tools to beat it? My Grand Clash winning Skaven deck had 18 of 32 cards restricted or banned aka it’s no longer viable. Whilst we’re in this flux you can either go jack-of-all-trades and hope you draw enough of your tech to prevent your opponent’s playstyle OR lean into an archetype and go HAM with it.

Why are Cursebreakers and Thorns doing so well now?

These two factions have full use of all the cards available to a warband, Objectives, Gambit Ploys, Gambit Spells, and Upgrades. So simply put they have more options than a season one warband. But what about Grots & Tzeetch they also have these spells available! Sure, but their base stats are trash. Anyway, more on them in a later article. With the BAR List we lost lethality in the game due to the three Damage Modifiers being restricted, but not Sudden Growth & Deathly Fortitude BUT warbands with wizards have Abasoth’s Withering which essentially is Trap and cannot truly be dispelled yet. This gives these warbands an upperhand over Season One warband as they can increase their lethality through Power Cards quicker.

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TL:DR – Cursebreakers are reliable. Score quickly and consistently. Have full access to all the cards in the game. Great at setting the pace of the game.

The Cursebreakers have an easy Inspiration mechanic that is built into their player cards and profiles. This unlocks easy-to-score objectives such as Fired Up & Shining Example similarly the in-faction Score Immediately Objective Cards are some of the easiest to score in the game. Harness the Storm and Measured Strike (aka Precise Use of Force) both fit into your general game plan. There is a reason Precise Use of Force is on the Restricted List after-all, and this faction essentially gets to take six restricted cards. To push this strength the new Score Immediately cards released with Nightvault Strong Start, Sorcerous Scouring and What Armour? can all be used and abused by this warband. Now normally I wouldn’t recommend taking more than four Score Immediately objectives, but this faction can run 6 with Change of Tactics and comfortably score all of them due to how built-in to their playstyle it is.

What does this mean in the larger picture? Firstly, easier to score objectives means that you cycle through your Objective Deck quicker and can reach the six required for Superior Tactician to provide the end game boost of Glory. Secondly, it means you rarely spend an Activation discarding an Objective to draw a new one instead you can draw a power card. Finally, more in-turn glory scored allows you to equip upgrades that 1) makes it harder for your opponent to score glory, 2) makes it easier for you to score glory and 3) clears your power hand to draw into more cards at the end of the turn.

The Cursebreakers are blessed with the attack action ‘Fulmination’ this super-powerful Range 3 attack allows Averon to do nearly all the heavy lifting, allowing Rastus & Ammis to position themselves for Extreme Flanks and to rush in with Hidden Paths & Faneway once their opponent is suitably weakened. This allows them to determine the pace of play as moving Averon into range of two or more models at the end of the turn gives so many options to the Cursebreaker player.

Ultimately, the warband is a stand out in the current meta due to its consistency of scoring and ability to cycle efficiently through its deck, whilst still maintaining the lethality we knew from the previous meta. They’re not unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination, but they are reliable and in a best of three format reliability is key!

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TL:DR – The Briar Queen is a hyper mobile super-solo that poses a lot of questions whilst your Chainrasps score passive glory & objectives. 

Before we get into the nitty gritty of why I believe Thorns of the Briar Queen are a top tier warband it is important to know that I believe post-BAR that the Objective Hex Archetype is back with vengeance, and that aggro/defensive have taken a bit of a hit. So currently Objective play is in vouge and countering it is key.

The Thorns of the Briar Queen also utilise all the cards available in the game to the same level as the Cursebreakers, but they also have Great Concussions brother Howling Vortex. This allows the Thorns play an Objective Game themselves whilst having a powerful tool for disrupting their oppositions Objective play. In terms of their Objectives the Thorns of the Briar Queen can commit to the Objective Hex Archetype thanks to Varclav’s incredible action economy of moving five models for a single action. Supremacy and Our Only Way Out are trivial for this warband to set up and can easily be scored in any phase. Similarly, Extreme Flanks is similarly an incredibly easy score for them as is Keep Them Guessing due to Varclav. A turn of Guard – Varclav – Charge – Move isn’t a terrible one and scores a guaranteed two glory and can combo nicely for Change of Tactics. The warband also has one of the most insulting Score Immediately cards in Treacherous Foe where the warband simply makes a reaction. Top Gambits to trigger this are: Ready for Action, Duel of Wits, Maddening Cackle and Trap. The new Score Immediately Martyred is fantastic for this warband to maintain its glory race and set up the boss herself – The Briar Queen.

Much like Averon the Briar Queen is the super-solo of this warband. With Sudden Appearance, Illusory Fighter, Hidden Paths, Faneway Crystal and Inescapable Vengeance available to her the Queen can appear anywhere on the board and begin threatening anybody. With Gloryseeker or Great Strength she can one-shot anyone on the tabletop, and she provides the perfect distraction to keep your Chainrasps safe on objectives. When she is upgraded with Sudden Growth and Acrobatic the Queen becomes an unwelcome target for attacks herself. She reminds me of Skritch…with more mobility.

The Thorns of the Briar Queen have a high skill ceiling and may seem unassuming or even weak when used by an inexperienced player, but in the right hands they are punishing and pose many questions to the opposition. Almost opposite to the Cursebreakers in that sense, who instead have an answer for most questions.

What do you think?

There you have it, my reasons for putting Thorns and Cursebreakers top of the Pyramid. Next time I’ll be writing up why I believe Sepulchral Guard, Spiteclaw’s Swarm and Zarbag’s Gitz are upper-mid tier (and a follow up article on Chosen Axes and Magore’s).

What is proving to be the top tier factions in your local meta? Let me know in the comments below and sign up to the newsletter so you don’t miss out on any future articles!

Posted in Event Review, Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Warhammer Underworlds

Event Review: I Put a Spell On You

Hi pals, it’s Bryce again (I won some glass with Dwarfs like six months ago, so I’m super relevant in the community), back today to write about the Shadespire Underworlds tournament at The Game Forge in Manchester this weekend.

I’ve been playing Cursebreakers since the Great Restrictening, largely because I think they still function very well without all of the BAR cards and also I’m a sucker for playing the Good Guys. Giblin and myself have been smashing out games in our lunch breaks aka Lunchspire for a couple weeks now, and so I felt I had a pretty good handle on my deck in the short time since the BAR got dropped.

The Deck

Restricted Cards:

  • Change of Tactics
  • Escalation
  • Extreme Flank
  • Ready for Action
  • My Turn

Objectives:

  • Harness the Storm: This card feels like cheating legally. A sickeningly easy to score objective, and it’s a score immediately. I’m not sure I can ever go back to a faction that doesn’t have this card.
  • Change of Tactics, What Armour?: Easy score immediatelys, always good.
  • Sorcerous Scouring, Measured Strike: Get a kill with a spell (Fulmination yo) and in faction precise use of force. Very easy to score.
  • Shining Example, Extreme Flank, Magical Supremacy, Escalation: Good passives you can easily score with little to no interaction from your opponent if they decide to sit back.
  • Master of War: Tonne of score immediately cards make this very easy.
  • Victory After Victory: Have tonnes of score immediately cards, score them, get extra glory for scoring them. Went back and forth on this card a bit, but over the day I was glad I included it.
  • Superior Tactician: Auto include for any kind of aggro/aggro hybrid deck. Wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up on the restricted list next time.

Gambits:

  • Ready for Action: Duh. The best ploy card on the restricted list.
  • Abasoth’s Withering: Extra spell for Magical Supremacy/Harness, super easy to cast (89%ish), and also it’s effectively a damage buff. Yes please.
  • My Turn: Last restricted card. With so many damage cards now on the restricted list, 4 health is actually super relevant again. Being able to move away can stop a charge/damage/upgrade/Ready for Action to kill one of your dudes. Also, free attacks with all of the good attack profiles I have are great. Nothing quite like scoring objectives off a free attack off My Turn.
  • Shardegale: Non-restricted damage card. Triggers My Turn for some jank. Overall probably not worth it, if I’m honest, too many situations where I can’t safely drop it cause it drops my spellfolk into 3 health one shot territory.
  • Inspiration Strikes: Easiest and safest way to inspire Stormsire.
  • Hidden Paths: Auto include for movement jank + Extreme Flank.
  • Spectral Wings: Sometimes you need to go a bit further.
  • Sidestep: Super generic card, it’s almost never game winning, but equally it’s almost never useless.
  • Lightning Assault: Reroll an Attack if it misses. Action economy makes your important attacks more likely to hit.
  • Mischievous Spirits: My super-secret tech which is now not so secret. This card will win you games against objective decks. If you’re struggling with objective decks, put this card in your deck. Trade off is that it’s dead against aggro (although it can be cute shifting an objective for you to Faneway onto and kill someone) but the meta currently seems to be objective based and hot damn this card is good.

Upgrades:

  • Great Strength: Punch things harder
  • Deathly Fortitude/Sudden Growth: Moar wounds is more better. Hidden Paths/Faneway/Spectral Wings/Sprinter/Fulmination get around the downside.
  • Sprinter: Sometimes you just need to go a bit further.
  • Hero’s Mantle: Free Glory if your leader makes it to the end of the game. Replaces Slumbering/Destiny.
  • Formless Key: Free Glory for being on an objective at the end of the game. Not actually worth it in this deck, I think, there are usually better ways of spending end of game actions.
  • Potion of Rage: Now Helpful Whispers and Awakened Weapon are dead, this is one of the few ways to make attacks more accurate. Auto include.
  • Gloryseeker: Wanna do 3 damage with Fulmination? Here’s how! Functionally just better than Incredible Strength and non-restricted.
  • Faneway Crystal: Movement is good. Jumping across half the board is real good.
  • Tempest’s Might: Wanna do 4 damage with Fulmination? Here’s how! Weirdly this card is incredible on paper and I don’t think it was ever relevant over the weekend, largely due to Shardgale/Gloryseeker/playing a tonne of warbands with 2 and 3 HP models.

That’s the deck rundown, so onto the tournament. We had 14 people at the Game Forge, which is a pretty strong number! The Forge is a great venue, well lit and with plenty of space. Giblin was TO and had intended to play but given there was an even number of players he heroically stepped back so as to ensure there would be no bye (sad music). When I showed up, I noticed that Tom Bond and Michael Carlin of Steel City Underworlds fame (or infamy) were in attendance. While they’re sweet guys, they’re always in competition for any glass that’s around, so it was gonna be a tough field!

Round 1 – Farstriders – Mark

I pretty much forgot all of my opponent’s names cause I’m a s***head, so apologies in advance [Editor’s Note: I am not a s***head so have added them in] First up was Farstriders, a band I wasn’t super keen on seeing given my love of having lots of little dudes to kill and score my glories, but the draw lies where it lies.

I got board placement all three games this round, which is REAL good against Farstriders. Set up with 3 hexes across in all three games, so he never got a model inspired without using Inspiration Strikes over all three games.

First game was a bit of a steamroller for me, he set up quite far forward, I spent my first turn getting all my dudes inspired cause spells and then ended by Ammis using Knockback to do 3 damage and smash a Strider back into a lethal hex for the last point of health. Managed to wipe out his whole warband by the end of turn 2, so got to cycle through and figure out how much glory I could get, which was a lot.

Second game he set up far back, my deck didn’t come out in quite such a kind order, and he played keep away very effectively. He eventually got me by a score of 13-11.

Game 3 he also set up quite far back, but my deck was much kinder this time. Managed to get everyone inspired and dodge quite a few attacks, including a charge from Farstrider that would have let him kill Stormsire and get into the game. Because he missed that charge, I got to kill off two models in two activations, and that sort of ended the game pretty hard. I got a lot of glory and won handily here.

Round 2 – Thorns of the Briar Queen – Ben

I’ve played against these guys quite a lot, and I’m pretty comfortable in the match up. We only managed 2 games this round due to the round timer being 1hr 15mins. He was playing a pretty standard Thorns list, with their in faction easy scores, but mainly going for objective play. Mischievous Spirits helped me out in the first game, as did some kind dice, and it ended up pretty brutal at 17-3.

The second game was a lot tougher, he got three objectives and Mischievous Spirits hid in my deck, meaning he got to score a lot of glory off of Supremacy etc. The game was super tight, but he managed to eke out a small win over me. However, given that we only had time for 2 games, it went to glory diff, which I won due to the absolute brutality of game 1.

Round 3 – Sepulchral Guard – Rob

Feeling a touch lucky to have got through to round 3 having 3 out of 5 games so far, I drew Skellies. Thankfully, this is what Giblin’s been playing in our games of Lunchspire for the last few weeks, so I was pretty comfortable in the game. He ‘lost’ the roll two out of the three games, meaning he had three objectives, which meant I was up against it since I could guess he was running a heavy objective deck.

Fortunately, Mischievous Spirits helped me out here in both games, moving objectives around and just slowing his game right down. Skellies are easy to kill and Stormsire loves being in the middle of the Skelly board firing his Fulminations are everyone. I won pretty handily in game 1, but had an absolute trainwreck of a game 2, where I failed to inspire Ammis and Rastus four times, and then thought we were on turn 2 when we were on turn 3, so made some real poor decisions.

Combination of bad dice and then making one enormous mistake meant this game was one of the worst I’ve played, and I’m a dumbass who deserved to lose it hard. Thankfully I found both of my braincells and got them pointed in the right direction in time for game 3 and won the round 2-1. One funny point in game 3 was Ammis getting attacked by the Champion, trying to score What Armour?, and she was inspired and rolled that dodge like an absolute boss. Literally the only time in 4 rounds that rule came up, but hey, that’s still pretty cool.

Round 4 – Thorns of the Briar Queen – Tim

In the final! I’d watched the tail end of Tim’s game against Tom Bond the round before, and he won narrowly. Taking down one of the Steel City guys is quite something to be proud of, so I was wary going into this game.

Tim’s Thorns deck was nasty, focused on a huge amount of movement and objective play. I actually lost the first game, Mischievous Spirits was the very bottom card on my deck, and he got three objectives. Despite Stormsire and Rastus getting right up in his face on turn 1, and killing off a lot of his spookyboiz, I couldn’t quite steal the game.

Second game, he got three objectives again, but thankfully, Mischievous Spirits showed up and shut down his turn 2 hard, denying him any objectives. While he scored Our Only Way Out on turn 1, the other objectives largely remained beyond him. While I came to loathe the Briar Queen over the three games, since she spent all of her time bouncing around like a march hare, his deck didn’t have a tonne (any, possibly) of cards that scored off of killing. Therefore, it didn’t matter QUITE so much if my fighter started going down, since they could often kill a good number of ghosts first. Managed to win the second game comfortably.

Third game I dumped my starting hand for both, since I’d drawn hard to score turn 1 objectives and 4 upgrades (but lost My Turn ☹). The game was super tight, and some unlucky defense rolls from Stormsire saw him go down at the start of turn 2. Ammis whiffed a five dice Potion of Rage charge to kill the Briar Queen, and in return the Briar Queen whiffed a five dice Potion of Rage charge to kill Rastus. Mischievous Spirits again kept me in it though (seriously this card against objective decks, it’s like having Great Concussion all over again).

I’d been scoring passives and killing some toys, so it was very close going into round 3. I’d dug through my entire deck for Ready for Action (literally the bottom card, btw), and had What Armour, Superior Tactician and Measured Strike in hand. Glory was super tight. Rastus goes, charges the Ever Hanged, hits him for What Armour?, and then I upgrade Ammis and Ready for Action her. She doesn’t let me down this time and smashes the Briar Queen rather successfully, scoring Measured Strike and a kill. Drew up into Victory after Victory and Change of Tactics. The Ever Hanged kills Rastus in return, and we go on guard/draw cards for a bit cause we’ve gone longboards and not much is in range to punch. Ammis then charges, scores Change of Tactics, and kills the Ever Hanged, putting me well up on glory. He scores some objectives at the end, but I have Victory After Victory and Superior Tactician, ensuring I’m too far ahead to catch!

So, I won my fifth piece of glass, and my first with not-Dwarfs. I love Cursebreakers, and I’m prolly going to practice them pretty heavily before the Grand Clash in January. Genuinely not sure I can ever go back to a world without Harness the Storm, like goddamn, I think that’s the best objective card in the game. The event overall was super fun, and the Forge is a cracking venue. Thanks Giblin for hosting (and also letting me write this), and sorry you couldn’t play!

Cheerio troops, catch ye’s in a bit!

Posted in Event Review, Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Warhammer Underworlds

Cursebreakers Win Shadeglass – Deck & Tech

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.

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The deck works!

 

Bryce was beating me frequently thanks to a combination of Shardgale, Trap, Pit TrapRaptor 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 Deck

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:

Stormsires.JPG

objective

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.

ploys

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!!

upgrades

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.


The Tech

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

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.

board
The board of choice!

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.

playstyle

Get Inspired!

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.

Staying Alive

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.

practice

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.

stats
For those interested in how the spreadsheet is looking…

thanks

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…

Posted in Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Warhammer Underworlds

Stormsire’s Cursebreakers – Faction Card Review

objective

Measured Strike: An in-faction Precise Use of Force. This is a great objective!

Harness the Storm: Score Immediately after you successfully cast a spell. Inspire & score glory – nice.

Fight as One: With only two fighters I don’t see this being scored very often, at least it’s Score Immediately.

Devastating Blow: Killing two models in a single action phase for one glory – seems decent but this faction’s damage about isn’t quite there imo.

Blessed Banishment: Assassinate. As in my previous blog post, I’m not a fan of these unless there is a big glory swing such as with Victorious Duel.

Heavily Armed: Have all your warriors equipped for one glory in any end phase. Decent but not all that, possibly useful in a passive deck.

Magical Supremacy: Cast two spells to gain a glory – seems good if you have plenty of gambits in your power deck.

Purify the Earth: Hold an objective that your opponent previously held. Good glory but in the current state of the game doesn’t seem fantastic, as players largely ignore the objectives.

Overwhelming Storm: Score one glory if you have more surviving fighters than your opponent. Leave this one in the deck box. You only have three models, unlikely to get this.

ploys

Aetherwing Stance: Situationally useful. +1 DEF for the next Attack Action usually just means your opponent gets to draw a card.

Empathic Conduction: Hot-trash. Remove a single wound token from an adjacent fighter. Just take a healing potion for a guaranteed version of this.

Cry of Thunder: Nice ability to damage any fighter on the tabletop – there is no hiding from this. The casting value is tough but the effect might be worth the risk.

Gather the Storm: Gain Innate (Lightening) for the next spell – decent to get a guaranteed inspiration or cast one of those tougher spells.

Lightning Assault: Remake the attack you failed – nice way to mitigate dice variance.

Stormstrike: +1 DMG in the next activation – decent but Twist the Knife is a better option. Good to be able to double dip it though.

Lightening Step: Move or Charge like a ghost. Not likely to make it into the ten as it’s too situational. Just position better.

Chain Lightning: If cast and hits an enemy they suffer an auto 1DMG – simple to cast, if your opponents attacks in a conga line it has great potential!

Safeguard Spirit: If your fighter dies then your opponent doesn’t score glory. Great for a Passive Warband, jurys out if this also applies to Score Immediately cards that trigger off of death.

Stormwind: 3+ to prevent a spell – seems alright if magic becomes prevalent but outside of playing Chainrasps or other Cursebreakers it is weak at the moment.

upgrades

Corposant Staff: Spell. If cast gain +1 Range on attacks. Could be decent but the cost of an action for that effect is an investment!

Lightening Whip: Basically Trap for all your attacks from Rastus or Ammis. Strong upgrade.

Hurricane Step: Push a fighter 1 hex after an attack action. Decent to charge in and then disengage after.

Tempest Might: Great Strength for Spells. Not really useful right now but likely to be included with more damaging spells in the future.

Unstoppable Zeal: errr, if you kill someone you get to make a weak attack against someone else – nice to set up another kill but likely means that your opponent had support on the first attack.

Warding Blast: Hits all adjacent enemies 2 swords for 2dmg – decent scything attack but not particularly accurate, probably not in the ten cards.

Stunning Blow: An interesting upgrade 50/50 to place a charge token an opposing model that fails an Attack on this model. Decent if you’re in the thick of it and want to try and prevent your opponent’s big hitter activating.

Eye of the Storm: Upgrade that gives Innate (lightning) decent if drawn early as spells become extremely reliable. Seems like a strong card if you double down on gambits.

Disarming Blow: Extremely situational card. Opposing model fails an attack, you roll a 50/50, and discard an attack action upgrade. SO specific, probably won’t see this unless there are lots of special attacks floating around in the Nightvault.

Blessed Blade: A 2 Hammer 2 Damage cleave attack upgrade. Decent but 2 Damage is pretty trash unless you can stack up Damage buffs. Not likely to make it imo.

final

Currently this warbands seems below the curve but I fully expect they’ll be the Reavers of the season and come into their own once arcane bolts and fireballs become commonplace. Join us tomorrow when we’ll be reviewing the NEW Neutral Cards contained in Nightvault!

Posted in Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Warhammer Underworlds

New Stormcast – Nightvault

Yet more secrets escape from the Nightvault! Found on ‘The Shadespire Community’ Facebook Group are the three uninspired Stormcast!

They contain the ‘norm’ that we’ve come to expect from Stormcast:

Move: 3 Hexes
Defence: 1 Shield
Wounds: 4

But where these golden clad warriors differ is that there attacks are pretty pants! But we also get our first glimpse at a spell!

Empower
Spell Action (?): If this spell is cast, you can re-roll one attack dice each time this fighter makes an Attack action until the end of the phase.

Exciting stuff! The symbol next to the Spell Action (?) seems to be the symbol required to successfully cast the spell, and the new symbol next to the Name seems to be their casting ability. So Rastus the Charmed would roll one dice needing the symbol next to the spell name to be successful. The leader is more adept and rolls two dice, increasing the chance of success! The Stormcast also Inspire by successfully casting a spell – so it seems that Turn One may involve simply casting spells to prepare yourself.

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What do you think of their attack stats?

Their attacks seem rather weak overall though we can make out that Rastus the Charmed has Cleave natively built into his second attack, and that Ammis Dawnguard has Knockback [X] on their first attack. It’s certainly a different approach to combat as these guys will struggle to take on other 4 Wound warbands out of the gate and will need Ploys and Upgrades to reach that mighty 4 DMG stat.

It’s safe to assume that when they Inspire they’ll be getting a second defence dice, but perhaps they’ll also get a DMG increase, which will make that decision to cast Empowered on themselves to reach the higher damage and then Attack with an accurate swing of their hammers!

I’m intrigued to see what Faction specific cards they get as their Objective cards will heavily determine how this warband is played. From the miniscule amount of information we’ve seen here it looks like another Defensive build to me. What do you think? It’s all very exciting times and I cannot wait to see how the Troggoth and Squigeon interact with the game.