Mike: The Steel City blog is just starting to get rolling with Tom B, vanadis and Hobbit all releasing articles, while I am still languishing around at the unpublished stage, like a hobo who has crashed a party and refuses to leave. But before I release any actual content I have managed to persuade the rest of the team to do a collab article, wherein we all give a short take on the newly released Leaders Expansion. Vanadis has already released an article giving an in depth review on every single card from the new set but we all have a slightly different take on some of the must have cards, so without further ado, here are our top picks from the new expansion.
Hobbit’s Top 5
1: Master of Tactics:
As written it allows you to cycle an objective, but the draw happens before the discard. At best this will trigger twice, but it allows you to fish for an objective without having to risk drawing something worse than you discarded, it also does not use an activation.
2: Hero’s Mantle
A Destiny to Meet, but limited to your leader. I think that this is a good pick and will probably become one of the cards I consider for inclusion in every deck.
3: Quick Advance
Push up to two friendly fighters, as long as your leader is on the table.
I think for me this is the pick of the set and I am hoping that it will make holding objectives an easier proposition, though it will also help aggressive decks position themselves to attack with support more consistently too.
4: Tyrant’s Command
This is a boon to the warbands with low model counts, as well as aggressive warbands wishing to close rapidly with opponents who are hiding at the far end of a long board set up.
5: Seize the Day
This is very much the same as Tyrant’s Command and welcomely so. I am a fan of duplication of effects within the power deck, anything which can increase my chances of drawing the card I need at the right moment is good with me.
Honourable mentions, whilst these don’t make my top five I like them very much.
Initially I thought that this was a replica of Unbroken Wall, but it is a more nuanced card. Harder for a three model warband than Unbroken Wall, because it requires your leader be in the centre of the wall it is easier to score for larger warbands. I suspect that this will become a staple in Sepulchral Guard deck lists going forward.
This card is highly situational, probably too much so for its own good. However, it has shenanigans written all over it. I will be forever wanting to pull off a slick earthquake to score Supremacy while knowing that I can chain through Great Cunning into No Time to avoid being knocked off, while scoring me Ploymaster at the same moment.
Hobbit: It has been a tense wait for these cards to be revealed. I am participating in a tournament on Saturday and the new boards and cards are going to make things interesting. I will tweak my deck to include a couple of the new cards, but they are unfamiliar and may cause me to display in anticipation of more familiar tools. I will also be using the new board and will try to post a tournament review with my more educated reflections after the dice have settled.
My initial read through of the cards was coloured by the previous two releases, each of which contained cards that drastically altered the metagame. I was glad that the earth was not quaking and the concussion was limited.
Overall, I think it’s a nice set of cards that rounds out a few deck archetypes nicely, without crippling any playstyles. My only quibble is that I wish that Ironskull’s Boyz and the Sepulchral Guard had gained a little more to help them catch up with the other six warbands, as in my opinion they are trailing the pack.
Vanadis’ Top 5
1: Quick Advance. This is probably the second strongest push effect in the game, after Great Concussion, and is a great way for hold objective decks to fight back against enemy pushes more effectively. It’s also very nice in defensive decks for scoring positioning-based objectives without spending actions, and gives aggro decks extra reach.
1: Inspired Command. I’m not sure whether this or Quick Advance is better, so they get joint first. Inspired Command is more versatile, and works well in aggressive hybrid decks (e.g. Farstriders, Fiends, or Skaven) where it can set you up for Change of Tactics, protect one of your fighters, or close the gap before attacking.
3: Hero’s Mantle. End-game glory is generally a good use of some of yout upgrade slots, and this is second only to A Destiny to Meet in how easy it is to score. It’s better for more defensive decks that don’t want to put their leader in danger, but always worth considering.
4: Master of Tactics. Getting a limited version of a ploy out of an upgrade slot is really nice. Even if you only get one use out of this it saves you an action smoothing out your objectives, and it really shines when you get to use it the maximum 2 times. As Hobbit mentions, you draw before discarding with this – unlike Rethink Strategy and the action to draw an objective card – which makes it a bit better.
5: Bold Advance. This is a really nice turn 1 objective for aggressive decks, and pairs nicely with Swift Advance, Plant a Standard and similar objectives as a good way to generate glory while closing with your enemy.
Honorable mention: Raptor Strike. This is probably the best card in the expansion, and the only reason it’s not in my top 5 is because I’ve stuck to universal cards (and I don’t personally like the Farstriders). Being able to deal a targeted point of damage without a roll (at 4 hexes and through walls) is just amazingly good.
vanadis: I’m really happy with this expansion overall. While there’s a lot of cards that are rarely going to see play there are also a lot of interesting options for a wide variety of decks. No matter what warband or playstyle you prefer, there’s probably a couple of new cards for you.
Just as important, there’s nothing that really stands out as being exceptionally powerful (other than maybe Raptor Strike), which is refreshing after the disparity between the best and worst cards in the first wave of expansions.
Hold objective decks get a big boost with more friendly pushes in Quick Advance and Inspired Command to help fight against Great Concussion, and there’s some good tools to help aggro lists close with more defensive ones in Tyrant’s Command and Seize the Day.
Defensive decks also get more options, and there are new objectives to help smooth out most deck archetypes by doubling up on similar options – Bold Advance for Swift Advance, Tireless Commander for March of the Dead and so on.
I would have liked to see more warband-specific options, though, and I agree with Hobbit that more could have been done to give the Sepulchral Guard a competitively viable archetype, but I guess you can’t have everything. Maybe the Nighthaunt in wave 2 will be a better Death faction?
Now I just need to work out how I’m going to change my deck before the next tournament…
Tom’s “Top” 5
Tom: So, I thought I’d have a look at some of the cards that are objectively weaker, but might be part of some interesting combos if someone has the time/energy/magical powers to make them work. Sometimes with a little bit of experimentation you can find something greater than the sum of it’s parts!
Disclaimer: Sometimes what you will find is exactly the sum of it’s parts.
Loyal Defender and Trusted Second
These two upgrades together can make positioning easier and make your leader accurate and tanky. Provided your trusted second is close by, he can fly 2 hexes to your leaders aid and provide what is essentially a +2 to his save roll. When your leader then retaliates, the Trusted Second will provide the same bonus to attacks! I’m not sure how you would engineer it to be competitive, but the idea of a dynamic duo wading through the enemy ranks is pretty bonkers. If your warband has access to two defence dice the dream team could form a potentially unstoppable band! Just make sure your leaders buddy doesn’t get shafted first.
This could potentially be quite an easy point if your warband has a couple of push cards about. Also might be quite good into more defensive decks if your cheeky Hidden Paths attack doesn’t actually net you a kill. You at least get a point for emerging from your secret passage, swinging at Steelheart, missing, and insisting you must have got the wrong door.
Specifically in a Farstriders deck when combo’d with Covering Fire, this card could work. If you’re trying to build a range attack focused deck, stick Covering Fire and Commanding Presence onto Sanson and watch as the bolts riddle your foes. Include Punishing Volleys + Concerted Attack and suddenly the glory starts to rack up.
Mike’s Top 5
1: Raptors Strike
Are you playing Farstriders? Do you ever want to kill enemy models? If both of your answers are yes then you should always include this card.
I think this is easily the strongest card in the set. I just wish that other factions got such strong cards.
2: Hero’s Mantle
I am of the firm belief that A Destiny to Meet is the best upgrade card currently in the game. This is a slightly weaker version that lets you double up on the effect.
Anything but the most aggro of warbands should include this and even those warbands should seriously consider this if they can fit it into their power deck.
3: Tireless Commander
This is a bit of an odd one to include, on the surface it seems quite weak. Only 1 glory for an extremely limited condition that most decks can’t even furfill.
So why is it in my top 5 cards? Well GW have done a nice job with the art on this one – the Sepulchral Warden looking pretty on the front of this card is a hint that SG players are the target audience here.
I’ll elaborate a bit more in my waffle at the end.
4: Well Guarded
My initial notes for this card were – gain 1 glory for playing SG – also it’s great in defensive decks. I’ll stand by that.
5: Quick Advance
This is now the best movement ploy that doesn’t affect all models. Objective decks love this as it gives you another way to counter the horror that is great concussion.
Mike: You might have noticed a small theme with the last 3 cards I selected. They are all good for SG, specifically objective based SG. If you take March of the Dead + Tireless Commander + Well Guarded then you can get 4 glory for simply moving some models (preferably away from charge range or onto objectives for future turns) and your opponent can’t do anything to stop you. That’s insane.
Personally I rate consistent glory that you can always score much higher than high glory cards that need the stars to align in order to succeed. Quick Advance is icing on the cake as it gives another solid counter to great concussion and all the other nasty pushes that objective decks have to deal with. Will these new cards make SG viable again? I’m not sure, SG still suffer from a horrible inspire condition and the issue of gifting a bunch of free glory to agro decks, but this is certainly enough to make me consider trying. I might take these to a tournament this month; if I do I will happily post a list and let people know of my success (or lack thereof).
General notes on the expansion, personally I really like this expansion. It doesn’t have any must include cards (except for Farstriders) like Great Concussion or Quick Thinker, which helps stop the power creep as well as helping decks actually be a bit different and not all just carbon copies of each other. This expansion feels like a toolbox, on the surface there is a lot of ‘meh’, especially for already existing very honed decks, but these new cards allow for new strategies and decks to come to the forefront. I have already mentioned the possibility of objective SG maybe becoming viable again and I personally have a super-secret deck that is very enabled by some of the new hotness…