Leading from the Front

Some more cards from the upcoming Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – Leaders expansion have just been revealed on Warhammer Community. While some of the earlier spoilers were a bit lackluster these new reveals have quite a bit to be excited about, although to be fair there’s still a few cards that are niche at best.

Here’s some of my initial thoughts, which may not necessarily reflect those of my co-authors – watch out for our full review of the new expansion after it releases on the 14th.


leader preview ploys

Commanding Reach

This will sometimes be better than a push card as it doesn’t expose you to counter-attacks, but most of the time it’s just a lot worse. Too narrow to be worth a slot in the vast majority of decks.

Final Duty

A neutral version of Last Lunge that’s leader-only. This isn’t great. I’d much rather potentially survive an attack with Last Chance or On your Feet than get an extra attack in – especially as there’s a good chance of then missing or not being able to kill your attacker. The one good thing is the slim chance that you get an attack off with Vampiric Weapon and get to come back to life.

Quick Advance

This is a fantastic card. Rangers, Advance is great for Farstriders and making a marginally weaker version available to decks that can get more out of it is amazing. In fact, it’s arguable if it even is weaker – your leader needs to be alive, but you still get to use it if they’re the only model left alive unlike with the Farstriders card.

It inspires 2 Skaven at once, helps hold objective decks fight back against great concussion, increases the consistency of scoring defensive ploys, and gives you extra mobility. Sure, the downside will sometimes mean that it’s dead in hand, but if you were going to put sidestep in your deck you should definitely put this in instead.

Tyrant’s Command

This is interesting, and probably a lot better than the similar Second Wind. Letting a fighter take additional move actions (or move and then charge) helps close the distance against defensive decks, especially when one of those move actions was a Hidden Paths or Quick Thinker. In the right deck this could be a useful trick.

Impress Da Boss

Extra damage sources are always appreciated in a meta that revolves around 1-shotting 4 wound models, but this is a lot weaker than options like Trap or Twist the Knife. You need to be able to plan for a fighter to be next to your leader, which leaves you weak to pushes as well as the normal problems with telegraphing attacks with “in thenext activation” cards. This is probably a pass.

Coveted Trophy

Running what’s essentially an extra score immediately objective in a ploy slot could be good… if ploys weren’t generally tighter picks than objectives. Hard pass.



Apex Predator

This is kind of bad. There are a lot better options to gain glory off upgrades, as cards like The Formless Key and A Destiny to Meet don’t require you to kill one specific model to gain the glory. The Khorne-specific versions of this are a lot better – if your leader is one of your main fighters then getting an additional glory for any kill is great. This? Not so much.

Commanding Shout

Cards that grant non-attack actions are rare, and seeing a new neutral one is interesting. I’m not actually sure this is very good, though? You’re basically getting a worse version of the Warden’s movement ability, albeit one that does let you move the same fighter multiple times. There’s just not that many situations where this is a good use of an activation, and the only extra action card it interacts with is Time Trap. If only this was any fighter – pushing an enemy would be an action definitely worth taking.

Rising to the Challenge

This is pretty good. In a lot of warbands your leader is just another fighter, and getting to play an overstatted upgrade when they’re taken out of action is quite nice. Even for aggro Skaven or other leader-focused strategies this is a decent fallback option for if your leader dies, and you can generally live with having some upgrades that are situationally useful. I can see this finding a place in a lot of decks, even if some of the time you just end up discarding after drawing it early.

Treacherous Second

Like Apex Predator, this is worse than other glory-scoring upgrades. You need to have it equipped before your leader dies, and it’s only a single glory. You could make an argument that it discourages attacks against your leader while the fighter it’s equipped to is alive, but if your opponent scores literally any objective off killing your leader they’re still ahead. Run The Formless Key or A Destiny to Meet instead.

Steelheart’s Second

Running two +1 damage upgrades seems fine in the majority of Steelhearts decks, so adding in a third strictly worse version is of extremely limited use. The wording is interesting though – will we see more support for multiplayer games in the future, or maybe even alternative leaders?

Gory Visage

‘Ard Head is a lot better when you can put it on a fighter like Magore instead of the uninspiring Orruk mooks. This isn’t quite as good as it doesn’t reduce damage from non-attack sources, although there aren’t many yet that deal more than 1 damage (maybe with the new trap boards, though?). Definitely worth considering as a way to help keep one of the Fiends’ key fighters alive.



Well Guarded

This is decent for defensive decks as a second copy of Unbroken Wall. Purely defensive decks are stretched for good objectives at the moment, and having the option to double up on another easy to score early game objective is nice.

Fearless Leader

This seems like it might be a decent fit for aggro Skaven and other leader-focused warbands, but you don’t tend to end the turn adjacent to enemy fighters that often – either they kill you or you kill them.


Too much setup to be worth it, even for a score immediately objective. You almost have to be continually failing attacks against the same fighter to stand a good chance of scoring this. I don’t see this making many decks – there’s a lot of options for score immediately objectives, and most of them are more consistent than this..


The existing “one glory for taking out 2 fighters” objectives like Awe-Inspiring and Draw the Gaze of Khorne can be tricky to score consistently in some match-ups, so a version that only works with your leader doesn’t feel particularly good. For warbands like Spiteclaw’s Swarm or The Chosen Axes that focus on their leader and don’t already have access to these objectives, this might be okay though.

Great Slayer

If your leader has taken out 3 fighters in one action phase you’re probably pretty far ahead already, so spending an objective slot on an extra 2 glory when you manage to pull it off seems like a waste. Even in the most aggressive deck I’d much rather put in cards that I can still score when I’m not completely dominating my opponent.


This is a solid score immediately objective against hold objective decks, but not consistent enough against decks that don’t care about objective tokens – which, at the moment, is most of them. Heavily meta-dependent.

Pride of the Lodge

What’s essentially a second copy of Chosen Champion could be okay for defensive Duardin lists, and being restricted to faction-specific upgrades isn’t too bad as you have a lot of strong ones. I don’t think this is terrible, but it’s not that good either. Niche playable.

Khorne’s Chosen

Just… no. So much has to go right for you to score this, and while the 8 glory is a big payoff you’re much better off using more reliable 2-3 glory objectives as your endgame options – Denial and ConquestSuperior Tactician and so on. Even something like Annihilation is better – you get 3 less glory, but at least you don’t have to go out of your way to keep Magore alive while getting the rest of the warband killed off.

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