Echoes of Glory

Steel City are were on the ball and reviewing all of the new content that is shaking up the Warhammer Underworlds meta, until I dropped the ball, kicked it under the sofa and failed to retrieve it for a couple of weeks. However, our resident Drizgit has been wielding his squig brand to motivate us poor contributors. Forget everything you thought you knew about Shadespire Nightvault and prepare for the meta to get turned on its head.

Neutral card from The Eyes of the Nine and Zarbags GitzEchoes of Glory

The Eyes of the Nine Warband Review | Zarbags Gitz: Mushroom Madness

Echoes of Glory is the card only pack released alongside the new Steelheart’s Champions and Garrek’s Reavers warband boxed. It provides established players, with a copy of Shadespire, to buy the cards from those expansions without having to pay for duplicate miniatures.

Personally, I think that this is a brilliant decision. More questionable perhaps, is the lack of the neutral cards from Shadespire not reprinted in Nightvault.

Echoes of Glory contains: 22 objective cards; 20 upgrade cards and 20 gambit cards (3 Gambit Spells and 17 Ploys).

Some of the Objectives are identical to ones we have seen before.

  • Girded for Battle is identical to Geared for War
  • Singled Out is identical to Chosen Champion
  • Brute Force is identical to Heroic Feat

Oh no it’s not, it’s worse…

I have been informed that Steel City reviews have a format and formal scoring system now, so with no further ado I shall cease my ravings and begin:

For this review I am will be using the established system from earlier reviews – because I am too lazy to come up with m own. For reference this is a scoring system from 1 – 5 with the following criteria:

  • 5 – Best in class effects that should go in basically every deck that can take them (Great Concussion, Hidden Paths, Quick Thinker, Raptor Strike, Time Trap)
  • 4 – Powerful or versatile effects that are extremely strong in a particular archetype or pretty good in any deck (Distraction, Forceful Denial, Twist the Knife)
  • 3 – Solid effects that will find a place in many decks (Rebound, Sidestep)
  • 2 – Limited effects that might be useful in some specialised decks (Earthquake, No Time)
  • 1 – Just plain bad cards (Curious Inversion, Brute Force)

I am aware my liberal use of half scores and hyperbolic scores may seem to make a mockery of the system, but I am an agent of chaos. Live with it.

Objectives:

All or Nothing: This is a nice idea, I’d be tempted to run it if not for the second clause. As it is unless you have and upgrade deck packed full of keys this one isn’t great.

Score: 2

Arcane Implosion: A nice idea and definitely a thematic card, but most warbands are not going to have a caster. At the moment there are four warbands with wizards out of 12 available warbands. The Steel City money is that the Kharadron Overlords will not have a wizard, nor will the Troggoth. Which means that at the end of the Nightvault Season only 6 of 16 warbands will have a wizard for you to kill, then you need to be able to engineer a miscast, when the wizard is on one wound.

Score: 1

Brute Force: Probably my least favourite card in this set, because as already pointed out it is a lower scoring version of an existing objective. That said, if you were planning on using Centre of Attention to get the positioning and Sudden Paranoia to deny the support it’s not unscorable.

Score: 0.5

Combination Strike: If I were an Aggro player, I think that I would like this card more. It combines well with a deck full of score immediately cards. That said, it is probably not too easy to pull off even then, and is justly rewarded with two glory. A solid card.

Score 3.5

Cornered: The pluses – it is a score immediately; it is worth two glory. The negatives – it requires you to miss an attack whilst still having successes on the attack roll, your opponent to have been maneuvered into a trapped position and your attack to kill the target., whilst having this card in hand. This is functionally unscorable.

Score: 0

Dashed Hopes: Getting better, though from the last card anywhere is up. Another score immediately on a kill, this time for taking out an inspired fighter. I’m not huge a fan, you can rarely control whether you opponents fighters inspire so your targets are potentially restricted. As a primarily competitive player I would pass on this as it is too unreliable if you don’t know what warband your opponent will play.

Score: 2

Ganging Up: For most warbands this card is immensely difficult to score. I think with the Thorns of the Briar Queen it may be achievable, though whether the effort to set it up is worth the two glory pay off, I’m not sure.

Score: 2

Girded for Battle: A reprint of Geared for War, run in a Stormsire’s Cursebreakers deck alongside Heavily Armed for the triple threat. With the addition of Ghoulish Pact to Spoils of Battle it would be within the bounds of possibility to score all three in the first turn.

Score: 2

Grand Melee: Another objective for unrepentant Shardgale fans. Fun in a deck that can spread damage around liberally, but unlikely to see mainstream play.

Score: 2

Hale and Whole: Not a brilliant card, it may find play in focused defensive decks, but the requirement that there be no wounds on fighters is difficult to ensure given the increasing incidence of reliable ranged damage in Nightvault.

Score: 2

Martyred: Score immediately, not round limited and a condition that may well come up. This is not going to be a favourite in the elite four wound warbands that were prevalent in Shadespire, but Nightvault is a new town with new expectations. I like this card for any of the more numerous warbands (5+ fighters).

Score 3.5

Neck and Neck: It’s a nice idea, and I will gleefully applaud anyone that can win a tournament by playing this in the third end phase, but it is not reliable enough for my tastes.

Score: 2

No Heroes: It is a third end phase only card, for two points. I prefer my third end phase cards to have a bigger pay off than this. The condition is achievable, and reasonably controllable, so it’s not unworkable. One to build for if it appeals to your taste.

Score: 2

No Openings: One of my fellow authors *cough* Mike *cough* has high hopes for this card. However, this is my review and my judgement is the only court that has authority within it. I’m not a fan, there are too many reliable score immediately cards for this to be reliably scored.

Score: 2

Opening Gambit: This card is almost a perfect mirror of the previous one. It is going to be a staple in aggressive decks and may well find its way into the other archetypes as we start to see more score immediately cards tied to non-combat triggers.

Score: 4

Quick on Your Feet: One glory for moving all (at least three) fighters. This is a neutral version of March of the Dead. I think it will not be hugely popular, but for small model number warbands, it’s a reliable passive score that can be collected through charges as well as pure moves.

Score: 3

Singled Out: As above, this is a reprint of Chosen Champion, if you liked that card then this one will be just as nice. If the Kataphrane Tomes become popular, or the Kataphrane Relics ever make a comeback then this card will be a solid complementary pick.

Score: 3.5

Strong Start: The pair to Martyred, and likely to be another popular card. It sits nicely in aggressive decks, scores immediately and can be scored in any round.

Score: 4

Swift Beheading: A very restrictive scoring condition that is hard to set up and little pay off for it. I am not a fan.

Score 1.5

Total Dominance: The Grandmother of all win more cards. Six glory is good, but for five you could have Annihilation, which is not turn limited and can be scored with no surviving fighters from your warband on the table.

Score: 1

Trash to Treasure: This card is very situational and not one that you can cause to come off. That said it’s an interesting score immediately, which you would have to have had in hand before the end phase started.

Score: 0+1 for opening an interesting design space.

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Witch-Slayer: See Arcane Implosion. A nice idea and definitely a thematic card, but most warbands are not going to have a caster. At the moment there are four warbands with wizards out of 12 available warbands. The Steel City money is that the Kharadron Overlords will not have a wizard, nor will the Troggoth. Which means that at the end of the Nightvault Season only 6 of 16 warbands will have a wizard for you to kill, then you need to be able to kill the wizard with your leader. This is marginally more achievable, but it’s still not a good objective.

Score: 2

 

Upgrades:

Butcher’s Eye: Have you rolled a critical on your attack roll? Do you really care about shields blocks rolled by your target? This is a nice minor ability when it is native to a fighter, as an upgrade it just does not cut the mustard. Give me cleave or give me death.

Score : 1

Champion’s Fortitude: Ah, Trusted Defender, I almost didn’t notice you were back. A solid card, no complaints and not something that I would regret having a second copy of if I were building that way.

Score: 2.5

Circlet of Companionship: I like defensive playstyles, I like Well Guarded and Unbroken Wall, I like this card. Great Concussion and Distraction do not. I feel that there are few occasions where an opponent would not be able to attack one of your two adjacent fighters just as easily as this one.

Score: 2

Cloak of Shadows: If you are regularly playing against the Farstriders then this card is very good, otherwise, it’s of limited use.

Score: 1

Dirty Fighting: A 50/50 chance of doing one damage if your melee attack misses. I can see the appeal, but I don’t think it fits with my expectations for the survivability of fighters next to an opponent that they have missed.

Score: 2

Enchanted Greeves: A nice idea, I am just not sure how often this would be relevant.

Score: 1

Gloryseeker: No range limitation? Extra damage? Yes please.

Score: 8

Horrifying Armour: Combine with Cursed Artifact for maximum defensive masochism. Not my jam, but I could see it working for the new fanatic.

Score: 2

Mirror of Spite: A lot of other competitive players do not like the cards like Final Blow and Bone Splinters that deal damage on the death of your fighter. But as my fellow authors will generally confirm, I can be quite a spiteful person, so I view these upgrades with glee. Apply this upgrade to a disposable fighter an let them loose. Bonus points if you can resurrect the fighter to reuse this effect multiple times.

Score: 3

Nullstone Darts: This is fairly par for the course, it is three swords fury, for one damage at range three. I would pass this card over, unless you have already included Dark Darts and Shadeglass Darts, as cleave and +1 damage on a critical are more generally applicable than reroll one dice when attacking a wizard.

Score: 2

Nullstone Sword: I like this upgrade, a very accurate equipped attack action for two damage, it doesn’t have the bonus damage on a critical that a Shadeglass weapon has, but nor does it break on a hit.

Score: 3

Potion of Constitution: As a reaction during an attack, reduce the damage done to a fighter by one. In the current meta, where the aim is to be able to one hit kill four wound fighters, this is great. I suspect that it will have more millage as a deterrent to attacks.

Score: 3

Potion of Grace: Token manipulation is good, this will allow for a number of positioning shenanigans. The downside of having to equip the potion is made up for by the bonus of it not competing for a place amongst your gambits.

Score: 3.5

Ready for the Fight: A reaction allowing a fighter to move up to a charger to provide support for the victim of the charge. I am not sure about this card. My inclination is that it is not great, but time will tell.

Score: 2

Seeking Blade: An attack of middling accuracy for one damage that ignores dodges? Not for me.

Score: 1

Slumbering Key: Hello A Destiny to Meet, my old friend. would your clone like a place in my deck replacing the suddenly worth less Formless Key?

Score: 4

Swordbreaker: I like this upgrade, a very accurate equipped attack action for two damage, it doesn’t have the bonus damage on a critical that a Shadeglass weapon has, but nor does it break on a hit.

Score: 3

Tome of Glories: Spend an action to gain a glory mid turn. It is got uses in most builds, to help start the glory engine going. If Kataphrane Tomes become popular then this is adding glory to the Acolyte of the Katphranes objective.

Score: 3.5

Tome of Warfare: Spend an action to boost a subsequent attack. It’s got limited uses in most builds, but if Kataphrane Tomes become popular then this is adding glory to the Acolyte of the Katphranes objective.

Score: 2

Touch of Death: An upgrade limited to wizards that does three damage for a single hammer smash. The placing a charge token is nice, but if you’re hitting for three damage, I would expect that you have some way to convert the hit to a kill.

Score: 1

 

Gambits (Ploys):

Aggressive Defense: I like the idea of this, it’s a nice thematic card, but it opens up a can of worms regarding reaction windows. There can only be one reaction to a particular trigger. This is a reaction that takes place before the dice are rolled, all gravy so far. “After the attack action, if the friendly fighter survives, immediately make an attack action.” This is where it all falls down – what reactions can be played within the window between the attack failing and the immediate attack? Can Brightshield Tireless Assault if she has made the failed attack? What about is she was the one attacked? Could she Furious Parry before making the attack from Aggressive Defense? I do not think that this card is good enough to see competitive play, My Turn does the same job better, but I can see it causing arguments in casual until it gets FAQed.

Score: 2

Baffling Illusion: A nice defensive card making use of the scatter mechanic. I prefer Illusionary Walls for the same purpose.

Score: 2

Centre of Attention: With the proliferation of area of effect gambits this could be useful to group targets. It can also help set up a Mighty Swing or score Well-Guarded.

Score: 3

Damning Pact: If you are running attack spells, this is good. If you have spells like Cry of Thunder that damage multiple fighters at once, this is fantastic.

Score: 4.5

Dancing with Death: After an attack misses a fighter, my fighter is stood next to their opponent – I probably want to hit back. This is bad as an upgrade, as a ploy it is terrible.

Score: 1

Emboldened: Remove a wound from a fighter after an attack against them fails. Healing potion does this better. Unless wound removal is part of a broader strategy this is a bad card. It might have some use if the Sylvaneth warband inspires by healing fighters, but still not a great card.

Score: 1

Ghoulish Pact: Take a damage to equip an upgrade. This is a slightly weaker spoils of battle. On the plus side, it can be used to trigger my turn,

Score: 3

Haymaker: +2 dice for the next attack is brilliant, not making defense rolls is a pain, but to increase the chances of a key attack hitting home this is good. Combo with Concealed Weapon for maximum pain.

Score: 3

Instinctive Denial: Forceful Denial for spells, but only if you have a fighter next to the wizard when he casts. Too niche for regular use.

Score: 1

Lethal Ward: Damage at range to a model on an objective. Simple direct and useful in multiple decks.

Score: 3

Quick Exchange: Swap upgrades between fighters. I’m sure there are uses for this card, but non spring to mind. Quickly Exchange this for a better ploy.

Score: 1

Regal Vision: It’s not Inspiration Strikes, but it does offer a second way to inspire a fighter. Great for warbands with trickier inspire conditions and those that particularly benefit from inspiration.

Score: 3

Revoke: Discard a persisting ploy. This card may well come into its own as Nightvault releases more cards. As it stands, there are not enough persisting ploys for this to be viable. Once persisting ploys are competing with Great Concussion for gambit slots this card will be golden, until then…

Score: 1

Spiked Surface: Upsides, this is a reaction that causes damage. Downsides, this is not Trap or Pit Trap. Unless you are going to regularly trap opponents against blocked or edge hexes this is not going to come up.

Score: 1

Sudden Paranoia: Deny the mob of goblins grotz, trying to claw down Skritch, their numbers advantage. If your game plan involves your leader charging alone into enemy territory, perhaps to Plant a Standard this card may be of use.

Score: 2

Unchecked Energy: A 50/50 chance to do damage to a fighter stood next to a lethal hex. Or you could push them into it? Admittedly that doesn’t damage Ghosts, but Distraction is still a better pick.

Score: 1

Vertigo: A nice counter to new fanatic and some of the scattering spells. However, it’s not of general use and not going to find a place in many decks.

Score: 1

 

Gambits (Spells):

Rend the Earth: Two lightning channel requires a second level caster, and is unreliable without some way of getting innates. However, it is area effect damage and could combo well with Damning Pack and Centre of Attention, if you intend your wizard to get stuck into the thick of things.

Score: 3

Sphere of Hysh: Two lightning channel requires a second level caster, and is unreliable without some way of getting innates. There are ploys that will boost the accuracy of a single attack in the next activation, but crucially this boosts all attacks. Combined with Mighty Swing or a fighter that has a native multi-attack this could be brutal. However, I can’t think of a warband with both a wizard and a native multi-attack.

Score: 2

Sphere of Ulgu: A single swirly focus is reasonably reliable for a second level wizard and this debuffs all attacks in the next activation, not just the first one. However, with plenty of non attack actions I think this is less useful than the other Sphere spells.

Score: 1

 

 

Conclusion:

In summary, Echoes of Glory is a mixed bag. There are a couple of really good cards, but nothing meta reshaping. There are a lot of filler cards, which may become more useful if Shadespire staples get rotated out. There are a lot of cards which rely upon your opponent making and failing an attack, which are nice from a design point of view, but the effects are not powerful enough to offset the unreliability of the trigger.

The stand out cards for me are Gloryseeker and Trash to Treasure:

Trash to Treasure is scored immediately in the end step. I don’t think it’s a particularly good card – there is nothing you can do to get it to score and it can only be scored in the first or second end phase. What makes it stand out is that it’s trigger is in the end phase, which we haven’t seen before.

Gloryseeker is a great upgrade. It fulfills most of the utility of Great Strength, but the lack of a range limitation means that it can boost range 3 attacks. This will allow Stormsire to get to 4 damage at range 3, which is insanely good.

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