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.

93U1.gif
“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.

WHUWSacrosanct-Sep18-CharacterHeader1so

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!

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-CharacterHeaders1do

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 Sanson's Farstriders, Thorns of the Briar Queen, Warhammer Underworlds

Briar Queen vs The Farstriders

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…

Oh dear sweet Chainrasps, I hardly knew ye…

 

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!

Game 1

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.

FINAL

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.

Posted in Thorns of the Briar Queen, Warhammer Underworlds

Thorns of the Briar Queen – Faction Card Review

OBJ

As Nagash Commands: A nice Third End Phase card – especially in the current ‘objectives don’t matter’ meta we have. Two Glory is good, but I think I’d rather have Superior Tactician given how easy some of the objectives are, reaching 6 shouldn’t be an issue.

Death Sentence: Crowding out with three friendly fighters would usually be an auto-pass for me, however with the way this warband is constructed and the fact it is a score immediately I’m actually considering this!

Drag Them Down: Requires three successful Attack actions – not a huge fan of this one as a lot of dice are involved. Two Glory Score Immediately is tempting though, and they do have a lot of cleave and dodge-cleave.

Execution: Assassinate. Overall, I’m not a fan of the ‘kill the leader’ cards unless it provides a big glory swing like Victorious Duel.

Swarming Spirits: Easily scorable Score Immediately, especially with Varclav’s Action! Notice the ‘move’ isn’t capitalised so Push actions count for this!!

Take the City: Hold all the objectives on one or more game boards. Nah. I’m good – if I’m going for hold objective cards there are straight up better choices.

Treacherous Foe: Score Immediately for making a Reaction. Yes please; Quick Thinker, Ready for Action, Twist the Knife, Trap, Tethered Spirit, Rebound – all these amazing cards have a brutal in-game effect…and score me glory. Auto include!

The Vengeful Dead: Inspiring these guys shouldn’t be a problem but getting all Inspired for one glory seems like a lot of work. Probably gonna skip this card.

Vengeful Advance: All surviving models into your opponent’s territory – this one is certainly achievable, however with seven models it’s easily disrupted.

PLOY

Howling Vortex: 75% chance of success to cast Great Concussions big brother. This is getting taken. So much versatility!

Sudden Appearance: Ever wanted Illusory Fighter for the whole board? You got it.

Grasping Chains: Each Chainrasp counts as two fighters for supports. Decent but probably not getting taken.

Maddening Cackle: Reaction: Don’t Inspire. Don’t have fun. This is a VERY strong ploy – fighting for space in the 10.

Vengeful Curse: Very flavourful however not so keen on this one. The adjacent requirement makes it unlikely to come off…well unless you hunt as a pack.

Spectral Touch: Cleave for the next attack – decent but there are upgrades that do this.

Rending Scream: Tough to cast but if it goes off…that’s potentially a lot of damage!

Spectral Parry: The Guard Card. Great to score Change of Tactics – where possible this is in most of my decks now.

Endless Malice: ‘Try again Brag’ – if you messed up your first attack don’t worry we got you covered…and hey you also just scored Treacherous Foe!

Drifting Advance: Push all Chainrasps two hexes towards the nearest enemy fighter, this is money in the bank! Likely to Inspire, huge threat extension. God this just so good on paper.

UPGRADE

Face of Death: Yep – make your opponent roll less dice, and it’s a reaction during an attack so prevents Twist the Knife. I’m game.

Grasping Thorns: ‘Get Over Here’ situationally useful. Can see some hilarious Lethal Hex play with it.

Shacklegheist Chains: Trophy Hunter for a model with DMG 3 and 2 Hammers. I’m in.

Inescapable Vengeance: Teleportation on tap. Yep. I’m sold.

Curse of Unbinding: 50/50 to prevent spells/gambits – magic doesn’t seem all that right now. May come back to this with later warbands.

Sadistic Strike: Nice ability if Varclav is uninspired. Scales very well with Great/Incredible Strength.

Strangling Coil: 3 daggers, 3DMG – solid upgrade

Driven by Hatred: Additional dice on the charge – not a bad upgrade but competing to be included.

Chill Touch: Cleave for Dodges – eyes on you Skritch, Reavers & Skeles.

Creeping Terror: Tokyo Drift your way through your opponent and get a cheeky 1DMG point for a 50/50 with no defence. Combos wonderfully with Sadistic Strike!

FINAL

WOW! These guys are looking fantastic – solid upgrades (potentially some of the most thematic AND competitive in-faction upgrades!). I can’t wait to get these on the table and start swarming my opponents with ghosts! Check back tomorrow when I’ll be giving my thoughts on the Cursebreakers!

Posted in Thorns of the Briar Queen, Warhammer Underworlds

Thorns of the Briar Queen – Hot Take

We were recently treated to the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband, and the rules for all the models it contains. Before we begin, a huge round of applause to GW Community team for revealing this pre-release and for letting us get our creative juices flowing.

GW – if you’re reading this and want a level headed review of the Moonclan Grot warband I’d be more than willing to volunteer as tribute.

Let’s dive in!

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-CharacterHeaders1do

Good Move. Good Defence. Good Health Pool. Good Casting. Strong Attack!

A worthy leader for the Chainrasps. Nothing flashy just a good strong profile.

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-CharacterHeaders5fe

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-Varclav2lr

Good Move. Good Defence. Good Health Pool. Good Attack. Amazing Action Economy.

I can see Varclav being used in an objective play deck, and super aggro to allow all five Chainrasps to descend upon their victims – Potential combo play into Time Trap and Ready for Action seems like a real possibility.

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-CharacterHeaders3sp

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-EverHanged3br

Great Move. Weak Defence (until Inspired). Average Health Pool. Average Attack (better Inspired).

I reckon this guy will regularly be the first to fall. 3 Health is in one-shot range for a lot of factions off the bat, and removing Cleave is vital to the majority of warbands.

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-CharacterHeaders4xl

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-Chainrasp4qh

Good Move. Weak Defence (until Inspired). Poor Health Pool. Poor Attack.

The Petitioners of the Warband. Though slightly better than the Petitioners due to the double defence dice upon Inspiration. I’d expect to see these guys used as the ‘warm bodies’ that clog up the way to the meaningful targets and provide Support to the named fighters.

Overall Thoughts

Looking very strong, could fall down to strong aggro play but I expect they’ll have shenanigans aplenty to help deal with them such as…

WHUWNighthaunt-Sep17-Cackle5wg

This card is terrifying for models such as Skritch, Grimnir, Riptooth, and Gurzag who want to be a one-rat/duardin/orruk wrecking crew! Join us tomorrow when we’ll be having a hottake of Stormsire’s Cursebreakers.

Posted in Thorns of the Briar Queen, Warhammer Underworlds

Nightvault – Chainrasps

So we had a leak of the Chainrasps on Reddit! Which gave us the Inspired & Uninspired version of a Chainrasp AND the amazing ploy that will get them Inspired!

So lets take a look at their base profile and break it down…

DmpVHodXcAEGA4s

Underwhelming much!! 1 dodge dice, 2 health – these guys will be easy pickings for Aggro warbands as most warriors will be able to one-shot these ghosts!

Also! That attack is the most inaccurate attack in the game to date! Which makes me believe this warband is going to rely heavily on supporting each other to make their attacks more accurate, and given there are SEVEN of these ghosts I think it’s a safe assumption!

The ability to ignore Hazardous Hexes really make the board pack a tempting pick for this faction as your opponent will suffer whilst you’re free to place them wherever you want. The second part about ignoring blocked & occupied hexes give them almost complete freedom of movement.

Finally! Their inspire condition makes attacking them all-or-nothing; succeed and you’ll probably kill them, fail and you’ll inspire them. Push Ploys will also be a huge way to ensure they do not Inspire (or do if you’re playing them). Speaking of which…

DmpfejjX0AE_mON

Drifting Advance will allow ALL of your Chainrasps to push themselves TWO hexes toward the nearest enemy model! Play this at the end of your opponents activation and you’re very likely to Inspire multiple models, especially with their decent speed value.

So…now you’ve Inspired your Chainrasp what have you gained?

DmpVHPCWwAAACgj

So, you’ve survived the attack or pushed yourself to Inspire. What did you gain? Plus 1 Move, an extra dice on your attack and an extra dodge dice!

All in it’s a good Inspire, and I expect the Mov 4 to enable the resurrection mechanic to get the fighters back involved (I think it’s safe to assume there will be a res mechanic). Two dodge dice are always good to have making it more likely to hit a crit, however the attack is still a little lack lustre. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if this faction had bonuses for crowd outs or allow them to CHAIN attacks together via ploys.

We’ll need to see the leader card to really get a measure of what this warbands playstyle is going to be. It’s exciting times for Warhammer Underwords and little snippets like this really get the juices flowing!

I fear the pits of obsolescence await the Sepulchral Guard with these guys though.

Let me know in the comments, on facebook or on twitter what you think the Chainrasp playstyle will be!