Hey everyone, I’ve decided to move to a weekly schedule to force out consistent content from the website. I find that the more articles and podcasts I create, the more I end up immersing myself in the game and meta.
As that statement implies, I do feel a bit of a lull in my interest at the moment but the Gorechosen have really piqued my interest. I’ve been in fact really interested in all things Khorne. I suppose as time goes on, I really do empathize with embracing the rage that comes with life, and channeling that into something productive. So while I might not be taking skulls for the skull throne, I do hope Khorne accepts my offerings of words and pages. I’ve also really been enjoying the Siege of Terra series – that is a huge factor.
Another thing that has interested me is the updated FaR and errata documents that just dropped. As such I’ll be sharing my thoughts on said items below.
Thank you to Games Workshop for putting together and releasing this update. I’m always happy to see their continued support for Warhammer Underworlds!
Forsaken and Restricted List:
The long awaited organized play update to Warhammer Underworlds has arrived and, as per usual, this has spurred much chatter amongst the community. It’s always pleasant to jump onto discord and see the buzz, reactions, and discussions. I’ve enjoyed participating in these conversations. Though I must say, I’ve enjoy the lurking (reading) much more.
It’s always fun when you login to your deck builder of choice and see that you restricted card count has skyrocketed. So with that, let’s start with the updates to the Forsaken and Restricted List.
Interesting, I think the theme of this update as whole, but especially this FaR list, is to curb the excess. Every change that was made was made to improve the flow of the game while reigning in the cards, rules, and abilities that were pushing the boundaries of the healthy spectrum. It’s not a huge list, the FaR, but it’s certainly impactful and decks will change – hopefully for the better.
Sudden Revelation: We’d be a lying if we said that we didn’t see this coming. This card has perhaps been the most impactful card we’ve seen since Beastgrave’s rotation. It’s an interesting conundrum. On one hand I think this card has allowed many warbands, including a fair share of oldies, to compete in the current climate. It just gives a warband that early seed glory they need to do whatever it is they need to do to stay in the game, and give them a chance to win. People love their passive, low effort glory.
On the other hand, it’s perhaps the most ubiquitous card in the game. It’s truly just that good. Restricting this card is the right thing to do. It’s popular, powerful, and easy – the hallmark traits of cards that end up on this list. That being said, I do feel for the players who had stiff competition in their restricted slots. This change will only make it harder and it’ll cause the warbands with less internal support to show their age perhaps more then they inteded. Again, I think this was the right call. It certainly curbs the excess.
Dark Inversion: This card has been quite divisive for the community, but particularly for me. It has single-handedly ruined my game plan or conversely allow me to ruin my opponent’s. I love competitive play, I love strong cards but this was heavily encroached upon the NPE (negative player experience) territory for me, regardless if I was the beneficiary.
Saying all that, I am conflicted. I believe the best way to counter this card was itself. Yes, that led to an arms race of who would draw the card first. I didn’t mind that because it forced hard choices and mulligans. But again I still felt really bad if I didn’t get it early enough to impact, or counter-impact, the game. Restricting it means we will see it less but it also means that the warbands who benefit from it’s power will continue to do so. An aggro warband can’t tech into this card now for glory denial because it is simply not worth the cost.
I do hope we this card less, truly. However, I do fear that we will still see it rear it’s ugly head and now the player who doesn’t have the card will likely suffer the same ill-fate as before. Only moving forward, the counter play will be to hope that your opponent doesn’t draw the card too early. That still feels like NPE to me. Let’s hope I’m not sounding too ominous, eh?
Death’s Soldiers: Death has always had some of the more powerful cards (often times warbands as well), certainly when compared to the other grand alliances. This card was no exception. Damage mitigation, in whatever form, is extremely powerful in this game and this put that pressure on your opponent for a whole round. As someone who loves aggressive strategies, it feels horrid to play against. The con of playing a larger warband is that your fighters are easier to take down but this often stopped at least 1 elimination (most of time), and that feels bad for the aggressive player. They’re already relying on more fortunate dice rolls and draws to see them through the day, this made it much harder to luck into fortuitous events. I’m glad it’s restricted. Even as someone who loves playing Crimson Court. Sometimes, even the benefactor realizes that cards a way too good to remain un-restricted. Fortunately, I haven’t seen a single comment that challenges it’s inclusion. That alone speaks volumes.
Instinctive Shield: This card is another form of damage mitigation and as we’ve seen historically, and above, these type cards tend to get hit. (Think [Scavenged Armour].) Destruction warbands generally tend to have larger wound fighters. Allowing them to survive longer than they’re expected to has plagued Underworlds since the introduction of Mollog (7 wound fighter). This challenge had been alleviated with the introduction of large fighters (5+ wounds) giving up 2 glory when dying. But this card allowed fighters a cheeky way to circumvent that tax by effectively giving them an extra wound, or 2 if you’re a wizard, while technically remaining at their printed health pool.
Warbands with 4 wound fighters like Madmob, Zarbag’s Gitz, and Rippa’s Snarlfangs have benefited from it immensely. Even sticking this on Torka (Kunnin’ Krew) is great. If your warband is one one of the higher health variety – like Mollog, Mantrappers, Krushas, etc. – then this just continued to make those already hard to take down fighters, harder to taken down.
There was a part of me that was hoping [Troggoth’s Blood] would have been hit instead. It would have been overkill to hit both, at least for now. However after writing all of this out, I think this was indeed the correct choice of the 2 for the current meta.
Shrewd Wits: This card isn’t much of a problem in general except when coupled with 1 warband: Zarbag’s Gitz. Snirk went from occasionally taking out an enemy fighter to mowing through entire warbands. He already commanded a healthy level of respect but this made him terrifying, especially when this came out early. It made [Obliterated] reliable!
The good news is that Gitz will still be in a great place. Pilots will just cut this card in favor of some more defensive, or offensive tech. Everyone has played against Zarbag’s lately will know that they don’t need Snirk to win the game. But if you really did enjoy the sheer power this upgrade gave Snirk, then all you have to do is pay the restricted tax. More than fair while still curbing the excess.
Silent Ring: Excessive card draw gets hit again! I think this restriction was long overdue – we’ve seen people draw way more cards than they should have due to this particular finger bling. Warbands that sport fighters with high activation ability loved this card because it gave them more consistency. If you can draw more cards than your opponent, you have more resources to spend which will in theory help you seal the game.
Obviously the biggest offender was Deintalos but plenty of fighters like Thundrik, Hrothgorn, Mollog, Drepur etc. loved this card’s effect. The accuracy was a nice bonus to because this was often paired with [Silent Helm]. Now you’ll have to make a choice between the 2, burn 2 slots to take them both, or eschew them both entirely.
And if accuracy was what you were indeed relying on, you’ve got better options out there – but more on THAT particular card later.
Surging Tide: If the goal was to curb the excess power of Elathain’s Soulraid then hitting this card won’t probably accomplish that. This is the only card on the list I am going to disagree with. This warband doesn’t need this surge to do well because it’s not an auto-include. There are plenty of better surges out there that are in fact more reliable and easier to score.
Most cards you see on this list are worth taking post-restriction. I don’t think this is going to be one of those cards unfortunately. 2 of the best Soulraid players in the world, Mandarga and Alesor, don’t run it.
I really think they should have hit [Cloud of Midnight] instead. That is an auto-include. It shuts down an enemy activation for a turn while protecting the fighter you need protecting for another activation. That aside, this is great for denying displacement as well. It’s a get out of whatever jail you find yourself in card.
Alternating Strikes: Exiled Dead are strong and this curbs the excess. Surges are the best cards in your deck and this hits the best surge in their faction pool. It makes sense.
I wonder if they’ve been hit a bit too much, indirectly or directly, but time will indeed tell. This effectively gives this warband 2 restricted slots because you are going to take this card 99.9% of the time.
I think overall, I am pretty pleased with the changes to this document. If you’d like to reference the document while reading this, you can find it here.
The highlights are:
- We’ve got some clarification on how the interactions works between Regulus and Prentice Marcov. Regulus can still charge even if he has move/charge tokens when Marcov makes the ‘puppeteer’ action. I think this makes a lot of sense as he is being willed to act per Marcov’s instruction. This does pose some further rules questions for the wider game but I imagine those will be answered in time. Regardless, I am happy for the clarification.
- Scatter effects were also clarified. The biggest change here is that the ‘ghoul call’ action does not count as a scatter effect. I think the competitive community has been playing it this way for a while but it’s nice to see it enforced everywhere now. Great change.
- Another big change is that fighters that start with 1 wound do not count as being vulnerable. This mainly targets the spine-fish from Soulraid. Overall, I do like this change as it prevents people from circumventing the vulnerable condition while still reaping the benefits.
- GW also reversed how [Loaded with Plunder] was scored. You can no longer score it if your fighter is taken out of action. This is very welcome news. It’s also a soft nerf to Rippa’s which many people will appreciate.
- They also clarified how [Darkening Stone] works. You can no longer use [Cover of Darkness] with the aforementiuned upgrade to push into any hex. It must be a cover hex naturally. Same goes with the interactions regarding the Shadeborn’s ‘shadow ambush’ ability. Another great change.
Again I’m happy with the changes overall. While there seems like there was some unintended errors in terms previous questions still being on the document, I think the new clarifications go a long way to making the game experience more balanced and RAI (rules as intended). In short, the excess was curbed.
Some cool tidbits in here as well, including a lot of beta rules to test out if you fancy. Here’s the official document for reference and to follow along.
To start things off with the only true official errata, we’ve got maps. Tons of them! Waterlogged Map, Shifting Map, and Liberated Map now have the official ‘map’ keyword. If you were running cards like Lucky Find and Detailed Map Fragment, this change is huge because now it unlocks the synergies associated with maps.
Next we’re going to jump into Beta Rules. For those of you unfamiliar with them, they are rules that are not official changes but rules that could be. In fact, the change to Khagra’s Ravagers inspire was originally a beta rule that became an official errata. So personally I encourage you to try them. Often times, they’re great feedback for the design team and allows us, as a community, to influence their final decision. Pretty exciting!
So on to our first beta rule!
Effectively moving forward, when playing with or against the Exiled Dead, players can now use reactions. This is a pretty big change, in fact a huge quality of life/game improvement. Many community members had expressed the NPE that was associated when playing against the Exiled Dead and this goes a long way to remedy that.
In terms of their power level, I do think it drops a bit. Opponents can use reactions to use cards, abilities, etc. that can weaken the damage output the zombie horde can pump out. I expect to see this implemented in competitive play because it solves a lot of rules and play experience concerns.
If I were to be nit-picky, I would have made this change to say “opponents can use reactions during this action.” The reason being that I don’t think the zombies should benefit from the reactions themselves. Many people have already called out [Unfair Fight] which gives the attacking zombie a re-roll and the potential dish out even more damage.
Still, overall I think this is a great change. However there is a part of me that feels like Exiled Dead’s wings were clipped before they got to fly. They haven’t won any events thus far. Mixed feelings.
Next we see a nerf to Zarbag’s Gitz as they now inspire when they have 4 or more glory points – previously it was 3. The goblin warband has been quite the powerhouse in the recent meta due to the universal card pool, the surges especially. Candidly, they were inspiring a bit too quickly. 2 dodge is really good, especially when a fighter is on cover – and we know how much this warband loves feature tokens. This slows the inspire down a bit, probably to the end phase. That’s good as sometimes these guys were inspired before the first round was even over.
I think the Gitz took a bunch of hits with some of the cards being restricted above, but in conjunction with this change, if used, I think they’ll be in a more fair position – if such a thing exists. I’m all for curbing their particular excess while still allowing them to compete at the top tables. I expect to see this change implemented in competitive events as well.
An interesting side-effect to this change is that now Snirk must inspire when the Gitz player has accumulated 4 glory. He can react, as per usual, to inspire before that but he doesn’t have the option to wait anymore. I don’t expect this to be an issue as he was inspiring early often. Something to point out though.
I was surprised to see this change but if you think about it, I understand why they’re tweaking the Krushas inspire. Rivals/+ has been increasingly popular as of late and Morgok’s have been a bit of a menace in that ecosystem. It’s mainly due to the limited card choices the format enforces, and lack of a dedicated FaR list for the format.
Having to spend 2 counters to inspire severely impacts they’re efficiency overall. Players will now have to make a choice. Do you want to inspire at the cost of using your gambit cards? Or do you save the counters to use your fighter and card abilities earlier? Sure, they’ll inspire fast but again it limits their ability to use their strong cards.
In terms of their meta performance, I’m not sure how it’ll impact that – if at all. They haven’t done particularly well as of late but that may be due to a variety of reasons. Primarily I think it’s because they’re older and also because they’re not fun to play against. Perhaps players have moved away from them. They were, dare I say, oppressive during the Beastgrave era. Conversely, I also think they haven’t had the opportunity to shine given the many sanctions placed on them.
Looking to the future, I expect them to stay at the lower tiers of the totem pole. But if anything, they do seem balance now in Rivals/+ which is a great thing to help grow the budding population of new players.
In the end I am ecstatic that we got a new FaR list. I know some people have grumbled about consistency issues but I think the mandates set are quite clear.
The cards hit on the FaR list were good and fair. I guess the only thing missing is [Ferocious Bite] but I can see why they held off. That would hurt the Exiled Dead a lot and they’ve already been targeted quite a bit by these changes. In addition to that, we’ve got clarity surrounding rules interactions and abilities which is always welcome.
It is clear that these changes did not take the Hexbane’s Hunters and the Gorechosen of Dromm releases into consideration. That makes a lot of sense. We should be able to enjoy our new toys and play with them before changes are made. That being said, I would have liked to see some clarification on Herax specifically, if only to stop from people saying you cannot attack with him without spending a blood tithe counter. I’m sure we’ll see that in the next one.
Overall, I think this competitive update did the job. It curbed the excess.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.
As always, best of luck on YOUR [Path to Glory]!