No I couldn’t think of a more witty title, I really did try.
If you have been following the series so far you should know the difference between the different archetypes in Shadespire and have a good grounding in how the different factions play, . In part 3 of my ‘beginner’s’ guide to Shadespire we will be looking at the Objective deck and what makes it tick.
Tailor the Deck to your Playstyle
It sounds obvious but you really need to make sure that your objective deck is rewarding you for playing the game that you want to be playing. It’s not only more fun to play Shadespire this way but it’s the most efficient way to earn glory and glory is what wins you games. Remember that you can only have 12 objective cards in your objective deck (no more and no less) and now that all of phase 1 is out there is a lot of competition to pick from. I am going to talk about the best cards for each archetype below as well as a section on cards that are generally very powerful, as with my article on factions I would recommend reading all sections as it is incredibly useful to know what your opponent is trying to score.
Aggressive Objectives – Neutral
Kill, kill and kill again. That’s generally what aggro is all about and there are plenty of high quality objectives that reward you for sending your opponents fighters to an early grave:
- Advancing Strike – probably the easiest to score kill a model objective, Advancing Strike mearly requires that you kill an enemy model in its territory – its only 1 glory but its score immediately – every aggro take should take this.
- Precise use of force – another 1 glory score immediately card – this is not as easy to score as Advancing Strike as you need exactly the right damage in order to score the glory – can be used in combination with Twist the Knife or either of the Strength upgrades in order to score against 4 wound models – note sadly Trap does not work with it.
- Defensive Strike – Advancing Strike’s little brother – the condition isn’t quite as nice as advancing strike but if you are playing vs aggro or even an objective warband then there are plenty of opportunities to score this – only bad in the match up vs defensive warbands.
- Massive Assault – deal 7 damage from your fighters attacks in one turn , again twist the knife counts – if you score 2 hits you should be scoring this – although it can be hard if you don’t have twist the knife or a strength upgrade on – another 1 glory score immediately which is very nice
- Swift Advance – only 1 glory at the end of phase – still you get it for basically doing what you were going to be doing anyway – simply moving into your opponents territory – I consider it a solid card simply because of how reliable it is.
- Conquest – basically swift advance but only scorable in the 3rd end phase while being worth twice the glory – it’s a nice reliable turn 3 objective but the glory is a tad low.
- Denial – 3 glory in turn 3 – a solid finisher that many aggro decks will run – it’s the best way to punish a defensive warband (although watch out for hidden paths) and can also work vs other aggro and objectives if you are taking the fight to them.
- Contained – a strictly worse version of Denial – it can still be nice to have both cards in your deck as it means you can discard one earlier in the game and still know you have one left to come – I personally only run this if you already have Denial and are not planning on running any other 3rd turn objective cards.
- Bold Advance – i wasn’t going to include this in here as i didn’t rate the card but my co author Tom has been running it to great success and i must bow my head to his superior aggro skills – an excellent answer vs defensive decks – warning is useless after turn 1
Note i had originally planned on covering all of the faction specific objectives as well and actually did just that for the aggressive objectives. Suffice to say it took up a lot of space and time and i decided that it was beyond the scope of what i wanted to cover in the article, so i cut it. Sorry.
Extra credit note – if you have been living under a rock and not read Toms article on aggro objectives then i would highly recommend it for a more in depth look at the how to score glory from killing.
What makes an Objective card ‘good’?
There are a few different factors that you should consider when assessing which objective cards make the cut for your deck.
- First and foremost should be how much glory a card can score you, one being the lowest and eight being technically the highest. Again keep in mind that it is your total glory that wins you games so higher glory is always better.
- Scoring immediately vs scoring in an end phase, scoring immediately is always better for two main reasons: It lets you draw another objective card that you can score in the same turn – leading to higher potential glory scored each turn. It gives you unspent glory straight away, so you can play upgrades as soon as you score these objectives, very useful to get snowballing in a game. As a rule of thumb I often consider score immediately cards as 1 glory higher than the score at end phase cards when trying to evaluate putting them in my deck.
- Some cards only allow you to score in the 3rd end phase, these cards come with a nasty downside of being useless on turn 1 and only very situational on turn 2 (sometimes you will keep them after turn 2 if you think you can make them), be very careful about putting to many of these in your deck.
- The final factor that you should use to evaluate an objective card is how reliable it is to score. This is a tricky one as in some matchups some cards do better than others. I actually rate reliability over all the other factors, I would always take a 1 glory score at end phase card that I can score every game over a 4 glory score immediately that I only score 1 in 5 games. Besides eyeballing cards and playing out different scenarios in your head the only real way to know if an objective is reliable is to practice over and over again with your deck and to take notes on what you score each game, if you do this then bear in mind what type of deck you are practicing against and try not to fall into the trap of making a perfect deck vs your practice partner that falls over to what other people play.
When assessing all of the factors on an objective card together it is often a balancing act and there is often not a ‘right’ answer for the exact cards your deck should run, two warbands that have identical factions and power decks could still be played in a different manner and value different objectives over others.
Objective Objectives – Neutral
If I have trained you well then you won’t have laughed at that title, well maybe just a little.
- Hold objectives 1 through 5 – The bread and butter of any Objective deck – having all 5 in your deck gives you some nice consistent glory that you can usually score if your big objectives are failing – the obviously downside of these cards is that you can have the wrong ones sitting in your hand doing nothing – if you run these then be prepared to do over a bad hand or to use the occasional activation to cycle an objective card
- Supremacy – 3 glory for holding 3 objectives of any kind – everyone needs to be aware of this card – its a big scorer that can be scored in any turn – a must include in objective decks despite its difficulty to score when you ‘win’ board placement
- Our Only way out – A 2 glory strictly worse version of supremacy – the nice thing about this objective is that you can double up on the supremacy effect – scoring both in the same turn leads to 5 glory from only 2 cards – may be not as much an auto include as supremacy but you have to have a good reason not to take this.
- Making a Statement – only good if your warband is agile and is happy having models in the opponents territory – see Skaven – sometimes people will be aggressive with their objective placements meaning you only need to grab one objective to score this – on the downside they can have 3 in their territory sitting at the back that you will never get to – i would only include this in objective Skaven decks and even then it’s tough to find a way for it into lists.
- Tactical Supremacy – both of them – Very nice glory for holding only 2 objectives – the problem is that you cannot control what numbered objectives you get on your side of the board – if you include these you have to be aware that some games they will come up big and others they will be next to useless – when playing against objective decks keep track if they have the combination of 1 + 2 or 3 + 4 tokens and to prioritise keeping models off of completing those combinations if they do.
- Determined defender – amazing – 1 free glory in any turn that isn’t turn 1 or you haven’t already lost the game – if i see this in turn 1 i don’t even necessarily toss it as i know its an auto score in turn 2 – another auto include
Note, again i have only included objective cards that i think are good, as with everything if you are finding great success with other cards, e.g. Tactical Genius, then feel free to ignore me and play what’s working for you.
Generally speaking defensive lists will run a lot of Objectives that are scorable for simply ‘doing nothing’ namely sitting at the back of a board. Defensive decks will usually include more cards from the next category ‘Incidental Objectives’ in the article but they do run some specialist cards that no other deck will really run.
- Skirting Danger – 1 glory for having all of your models next to an edge hex – easy money
- Perfect planning – 1 glory for doing nothing – also easy money – watch out as you can accidentally stop yourself scoring this with something like quick thinker
- Bloodless – 1 glory for… you see a pattern here – note if you are playing vs a defensive deck running this try setting up with lethal hexes and just running one model through a hex in your last activation – it can be a nasty surprise for the defensive player.
- Honest opponent- 1 glory for literally being the poster boy for doing nothing – the obvious downside is that you cannot use any ploys for any kind of defence or repositioning
- Unbroken Wall – another 1 glory special – keep all of you guys in a group at the back? Sounds like a plan.
- Complete Victory – 3 Glory at the end of the game for having no dead models. A solid finisher for defensive decks.
None of the above objectives are particularly exciting but it is incredibly useful to know how they work. If you can see a defensive player moving his models all into a line connected to edge hexes then you can use a ploy card like great concussion to try and stop them scoring Unbroken Wall and Skirting Danger. For more in depth advice on Defensive objectives give my co author vanadis’ article on the subject a read here.
This was the best name i could come up with for this category of cards. These are objectives that you score for simply playing the game without necessarily being held down to a specific archetype, interestingly a lot of these are more faction specific then anything else so i will list what factions they are good for. These cards can and will be run in almost every deck so try to commit the details of how they work and how to stop them to memory.
- Alone in the Darkness – 2 Glory for having no adjacent fighters in the whole board (including your opponents) – i swear this is the most used objective card in tournament games and with good reason – low model factions can set this up nicely and your opponent is often deliberately keeping their models apart so that they can safely quick thinker away from a charge – it also synergises fantastically with the ever powerful ploy card great concussion -this is a must include in any 4 model or lower faction – its potentially good even for skaven – only the Sepulchra Guard need not apply.
- Escalation – another 2 glory at end of phase – this one is a bit more tricky to score then Alone in the Dark – it is always dead in turn 1 – and once your opponent knows you have it in a best of 3 they will often play around it by putting on as many upgrades as possible in their end phase – still its a solid 2 glory for the game just being played – best in aggro decks as you only need 2 kills and one score immediately objective to score – i would include this in any aggro deck and seriously consider it in any objective deck that is struggling to find cards.
- Chosen Champion – it’s good on low model factions like the stormcast ones or potentially Orcs – basically where you are pinning all your hopes on one model and putting all upgrades on it – nothing amazing but fairly solid
- Well Guarded – FINALLY AN OBJECTIVE THAT REWARDS THE SKELLIES! – best on skellies – note also nice in defensive decks as a way to double up on Unbroken Wall.
- Change of tactics – it sounds like it would only be good in aggro but honestly a charge is a MOVE and an attack action and its not bad as a solid instant glory in objective decks while you move onto an objective – the issue is that when you place a model on guard you are telegraphing that you are trying to score this (why else would anyone go on guard?) so you need to hive a high threat range – see can hit from lots of hexes away – to reliably score this – good factions for it are Farstriders, Reavers, Fiends and Skaven
- Cover ground – more niche then change of tactics but still amazing if you can score it – you need to be hitting 6 movement for this – so any faction with a 4 move fighter that is including cards like spectral wings or sprint – best with Reavers/Fiends/Farstriders – note weirdly i don’t see it being as good on skaven as they have enough movement already that they don’t include extra movement ploys.
- Superior Tactician – A great finisher for any deck that is simply consistently scoring their objectives over the game – if you don’t already have a score at the end of turn 3 card and seem to be lacking in the amount of glory you are scoring then try this card out.
- Master of War – 1 Glory for basically scoring another objective – the upgrade condition can be a tad tricky sometimes – the ploy condition isn’t even worth mentioning – against its best with aggro but works well with everyone – also synergises well with spoils of battle if you are including it
- Ploymaster – I used to rate this card much higher than i do now – it’s still good – but all too often i have found this sitting in my hand and i CAN score it but it means burning lots of ploys that i want to save until next turn – your value with this card will depend on the type of ploys you play and how proactive they are – if your ploys are all about reacting to your opponent then this may not be for you.
- Shining Example – One of the best cards from the leaders expansion – Skaven look at this and enjoy your free glory – also good on Orcs (Lethal hexes are your friend) and anyone running the inspire card, especially if they are a cheeky Fiends play who have 2.
Notes on Constructing your Objective Deck
By now you should have a decent idea of what cards are decent and by the process of elimination what aren’t. When constructing your Objective deck you want to first and foremost look at the cards from the archetype that you are going for and second have a good hard look at the incidental objectives. A good objective deck will cherry pick the best from both these and their own faction specific objectives. Always remember that sometimes it is good to have a fallback plan, objectives that you can score even if everything is going wrong, and to not be too greedy and plan your deck assuming that everything is going to go your way.