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Card Review: Crimson Court Universals

Salutations my bloodthirsty ladies and lords of the undead! As we eagerly await the release of the Crimson Court, I wanted to share my thoughts on the 30 new universal cards that will be added to the season. Thankfully, these have been previewed by Warhammer Community.

In this article, I will be reviewing the 10 universal objectives, 10 universal gambits, and 10 universal upgrades that are included in the Crimson Court expansion.

Note: As per my previous articles, I’ll be using the following rating system.

  • A score of “A” means that the card is very powerful and should almost always be included in your deck builds.
  • “B” means that the card is strong and will usually be included, but not always.
  • A score of “C” means that card can be good in certain situations but will usually require extra support.
  • Lastly, a score of “D” means the card is on the weaker side of things. It doesn’t mean that it is inherently bad but perhaps can be considered hard to use or counter intuitive to your game plan.
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Universal Objectives:

Channeled Hunger: Given the new releases I think we can all surmise that this is pretty doable by the Crimson Court. Aside from them, I do think Stormsire’s Cursebreakers could probably pull it off to given the fact that some spells and gambits can give them Hunger counters. If you are playing passively, this could be a great tool for you. Otherwise, I think it requires too much set up outside of the vampires; and even then, I think they have better end phase options.

Rating: C

Disastrous Hunt: With Hunters literally everywhere right now, I think this is a pretty scorable card if you can get a good meta read. There are obviously some matchups where this is a dud, but I suppose you could hope your opponent is leaning into the upgrades that make their fighters a Hunter – after all they are pretty good. Right now, this probably doesn’t make it into your list given the dominance of Morgok’s Krushas and Mollog’s Mob. If we get a FaR list soon, or the meta shifts to being Hunter dominant, then this card’s stock can rise. For now, it is too matchup dependent to be a reliable enough score.

Rating: C

Dominant Display: This is an amazing end phase objective for aggressive warbands who are looking to enter enemy territory. We’ve seen a lot of synergies with entering the other half of the board and this pairs up very nicely with Bold Deeds. Wild Hunt and Rippa’s have natural synergies here, especially if they are running the ‘speed package’ as they can nab the Primacy token via Proud Runner. This is also just silly on aggro Krushas, Magore’s, Ravagers, and probably the Crimson Court.

Rating: A

Fatal Underestimation: We’ve seen cards like this in the past and I don’t think they’ve ever been worth the effort. If you are looking for Surge objectives that reward you for eliminating enemy fighters then this could be something you reach for. I do think you should look elsewhere though.

Rating: D

Leveling Strike: Due to the wording on this card, unless you are facing against Mollog or Hrothgorn, it becomes quite hard to eliminate the surviving enemy with the highest wound count. For example, if you are playing against Krushas and because they have 5 wounds you wouldn’t be able to score this unless one of them added a wound to their fighter. You could always take down the enemy leader but that is always inefficient.

Rating: C

Magical Mauling: A very situational card and one that is probably only reliably scored by Stormsire’s Cursebreakers due to Tempest’s Might. You could also use Colossal Fist plus a +1 damage card. Relying on a single card, or two specific cards, to score you a surge is not the best idea. Leave this one in the box for now.

Rating: D

Not so Fast: This is similar to Leveling Strike in that it is hard to pick the fighter that moves the most on the other side of the board. Like if you matchup into Starblood Stalkers, you’d have a hard time scoring this until they play a speed inducing card on one of their fighters. There are some warbands where this is easier to score than others like the Duke’s Harriers in the Grymwatch. Also, Hrothgorn loves this card.

Rating: C

Season of Famine: If you are playing Crimson Court, this is definitely something you can build towards. There are a lot of cards that can toss Hunger counters around so just pulling an Oprah can be quite nice here – “You get a Hunger counter, you get a Hunger counter…” Still, your deck will have to heavily be built around scoring this so this is a deliberate choice with sacrifices in the power deck. There is synergy with Blood Curse, as well for them.

Rating: C

Skin and Bones: It is kind of hard to guarantee an enemy fighter will have Hunger counters equal to or greater than their wound characteristic, even if you have cards that can toss them out. I guess it is good counter play to Crimson Court but that isn’t good in a competitive setting. The second condition is also pretty hard as most warbands have fighters with more than 4 wounds who tend to be well protected and VOLTRON’d. This is a free score against Zarbag’s Gitz though…

Rating: D

Supreme Confidence: This is a bit of an odd one. There are cards that allow you to discard the Primacy token so if you happen to have someone holding an objective in enemy territory then this could be scored. Interestingly, you discard the Primacy token at the end of the round after you score it so technically you could score this then as well. I guess if you want 7 end phase objectives, this is for you.

Rating: D

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Universal Gambits:

Blood-Soaked Ground: I think this is pretty cool anti-objective tech for aggressive warbands. Essentially you can take out a fighter holding an objective, flip the token, and then gain a spent glory. So in total that is a gain of 2 glory, count the elimination, and then you can potentially deny your opponent glory as well depending on their objective hand. Even if your fighter gets taken down, this can still deny an objective token. Works great with Feed the Beastgrave as well.

Rating: B

Bountiful Bait: Outside of Crimson Court, I don’t see this having much utility. This is probably a vampire card until further notice and for them, it is neat if you go the inspired route. If you are playing Bloodthirst, this card does nothing except make you a Quarry.

Rating: D

Claim to Supremacy: This is similar to Proud Runner in that you can deny the Primacy gain for your opponent. You could score Underdog in one round which means you still have a gain of +1. Then you can use this or Proud Runner to deny a second, or third, Primacy token score for your opponent. Having the ability to reduce the glory your opponents get from Primacy is pretty cool. Great counter play and something I look forward to seeing and having to think about. Obviously you do telegraph this but short of playing Mischievous Spirits, your opponent probably can’t do much.

Rating: B

Invincible Aspect: Cool concept as everyone loves to heal. The problem is that this requires 2 channel. Outside of Cursebreakers, there are no innates that can help with scoring this.

Rating: D

Irresistible Hunger: This is pretty neat if you are tapping into Hunger strategies. Give your fighter a counter and then have them yank a fighter towards them. Like most Hunger cards, they work the best with the Crimson Court. If you play this with the vampires, you are more likely to use the stronger version of this card (because of Bloodthirst) which can pull all enemies within a 2 hex radius of you towards you. Not only can this help with attacking but it can also disrupt their objective based plans. I think the application of this card can be potentially be quite powerful and I look forward to trying it. It reminds me a lot of Center of Attention.

Rating: B

Magnificent Aspect: Inspiring a fighter ahead of schedule is always quote powerful. Requiring 2 channel to cast makes this not even worth considering, even when playing Cursebreakers. It is unfortunate but that is the way it is.

Rating: D

Narrowing Passage: This is a card that can potentially ruin your opponent’s day. The way I would play this is wait for your opponent to play their first upgrade and then throw this down. This destroys their upgrade and potentially ruins their game plan for the round. Worst case scenario for them, it bricks their hand. It reminds of Daylight Robbery in that it can be devastating if played early in the game. You are effectively wasting their glory.

Rating: B

Momentary Match: This card is cool in that its use varies on which warband you are matched up against. For defense – for example, copying 3 dodge from Otapatl can be nice. I think the strength of this card lies in the hands of slower moving warbands like the Chosen Axes and Sepulchral Guard. You can essentially boost one of your fighter’s movement to 3 or 4 in the next activation which can take your opponent by surprise and help you charge, or nab an objective. Very cool.

Rating: C

Punching Up: This card is neat. Pick a fighter with the lowest wound characteristic on your side and launch them into an enemy. Gaining the Hunter keyword, +1 dice, and +1 damage to their next melee attack can be pretty powerful and catch an opponent off guard. This gets even better when you give them upgrades for accuracy and damage. Works great for a skinks, chain rasps, witch aelves, gits, and ghouls. Hell, even Lighaen and Grawl can be juicy targets for this. This is also just silly on a skaven with Black Hunger

Rating: A

Taste for Power: this is kind of the Hunting Season of Hunger counters. If you are looking to tap into Hunger then this could be your jam. Obviously very good on vampires looking to Bloodthirst as well.

Rating: C

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Universal Upgrades:

Armed to the Teeth: Love the card art. You’ll never have a fighter who has all 3 ranges on their card, unless you are stacking a bunch of attack action upgrades. Really it comes down to are you wanting Ensnare or Cleave on your fighter. For Profiteers, I think the Cleave could be good for Ironhail or even Alensen. But otherwise, I’m not sure if this is worth it.

Rating: C

Awesome Appetite: It is okay for vampires. Pass everywhere else.

Rating: D

Famished Familiar: I like the re-roll, I dislike the damage. Also, there are not enough spells that are worth taking the damage. Maybe if you really need a spell attack action to go through?

Rating: D

Master of Ways: I can see this card being more of a retreating card rather than an initiator – you can get your important fighter out of a dicey situation. I don’t like discarding the Primacy token, though. You might want to use this with objective warbands to hop around to hard to reach tokens but they’ll rarely have the Primacy token anyways.

Rating: C

Preybound: Only really good if you are taking Quarry strategies or have a Quarry in your warband. Might be good for Glissette or a skink if you really want a fighter to survive. I think there are better options. I guess this is good if you play against Hrothgorn a lot.

Rating: D

Preyscent: An orruk farting – I think we’ve seen it all in Underworlds now. This is interesting in that you can stick this on a fighter deep in enemy territory and start yanking fighters around. Works especially well against vampires, which is odd as I feel like they’d have a great sense of smell… It is kind of telegraphed which makes the counter play quite strong against it.

Rating: D

Silent Helm: Essentially you are removing the ability for your opponent to roll their first critical success. So if they roll one crit and you roll one dodge or block, their attack would fail. Pretty neat in builds in which you are VOLTRON’ing a fighter or hoping a key fighter lives. Keep in mind that if they roll more than one critical success, then their second one would count. I think this is the first Silent Relic we have seen so it remains to be seen if the package is worth fully investing into. On a fighter like Glisette or one of the Snarlfangs with a guard upgrade it makes them exponentially more difficult to kill since a a lot of the time you’re crit fishing to hit them.

(Jonathan here! I did some math on this upgrade using the average 3 fury attack, and this upgrade lowers the success chance by 10% for 1 block fighters (from 55% to hit to 45%) and by 9% for 2 dodge fighters (from 48% to hit to 39%). If you compare this to a +1 def effect, this ends up being 1% better for 2+1 dodge (40% to hit), and 2% worse for 1+1 block (43% to hit). If you compare it to being on guard, it is 1% worse for 2 dodge (38% to hit), and 6% better for 1 block (51% to hit). Overall I think this makes this a very solid defensive upgrade for almost any fighter.)

Rating: B

Soultooth Dagger: Reminds me a lot of Shadeglass Dagger from Shadespire. This is a great attack action upgrade you’ll want to stick on weapon caddies like skaven, ghouls, etc. The re-roll, when it comes into play, makes this scary accurate as well. I think this is the best Soultooth weapon we’ve seen thus far.

Rating: A

Starvation’s Grip: Pretty cool card for Crimson Court as it overrides the drawback of them not being able to be on Guard when they are Bloodthirsty. Additionally, this makes them immune to gambits that push fighters as well. Could be very powerful situationally but really just for that warband. Outside of them, I think it requires too many additional pieces.

Rating: B (Mainly for Crimson Court)

Tremendous Maul: This is a pretty solid attack action. Range 2, 2 smash, and 2 damage is leader levels of good in terms of power. I don’t think it matters if you have the Primacy token, though the Cleave and Knockback 2 can be useful in certain situations. Is it better than some of the lances and spears we’ve seen in the past? Probably not, but I like that it exists.

Rating: C

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Closing Thoughts:

As a whole, I find the universal cards included in the Crimson Court set to be a mixed bag. The Hunger mechanic is starting to take shape as we can see the benefits and penalties for acquiring those counters across the battlefield. We also see some additional support for Primacy, aggro, objective strategies, and control.

The Hunger cards are a curious subject because for the most part they just form an extended pool for the Crimson Court. I do like the idea of being able to push enemy fighters and gain benefits in combat. Those seem cool and will see a lot of play. Outside of the vampires, I really don’t see them being used much. Maybe in Stormsire’s Cursebreakers but I find there is not enough support for them via spells. Speaking of spells, both the spells in this set seem quite hard to cast.

In terms of objectives, I find most of them to below the curve. While I think you can make most of them work if you wanted them to, they seem complicated. The standout is Dominant Display which is fantastic.

The power cards in this set are the ones that really shine. We see a lot of cool tech that plays of Primacy and Hunger which can open up multiple avenues over the course of this short meta. I expect to see Punching Up a lot while Momentary Match, Claim to Supremacy, Narrowing Passage, and Blood-Soaked Ground seem uniquely interesting. The upgrades also have some gems including Soultooth Dagger, Starvation’s Grip, and the Silent Helm.

In terms of the meta, I don’t know if there is going to be a huge shakeup but I do like how every play style, aside from magic, got some neat tools. I look forward to seeing how the community experiments with them as warbands, and cards, rise and fall over the coming weeks.

Be on the lookout for additional coverage via this blog and our podcast as we review the Crimson Court due for pre-order this Saturday. Be sure to head on down to your local Warhammer Store or FLGS to order yourself a set. If you prefer to shop online, check this out here on Saturday. I do think this set is must buy in order to stay competitive. Plus, the miniatures look amazing. 

As always, best of luck on YOUR Path to Glory.

Aman

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Aman

Blogger, Podcast Host

Competitive player who loves to attend events and theory craft. Always chasing the next piece of shade glass. 

Favorite Warband: skaeth's WIld Hunt

Jonathan

Blogger, Podcast Host

Loves to discuss all aspects of the game, especially events. Enjoys the data behind the game and is also competitively focused.

Favorite Warband: Spiteclaw's Swarm

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