With the year drawing to a close I thought it might be nice to round out 2018 with a small update on how the blog is actually doing and what our plans are for the future. This post is going to focus more on the logistics of what we are doing as a blog rather then on any specific aspect of Warhammer Underworlds gameplay, I expect this is going to be of more interest to our regular readers then to the average player who is looking for some tips.
Was 2018 a success for the blog?
The blog was launched on the 2nd of July with the post Introducing Steel City Shadespire, a short post by Vanadis that garnered a total of 26 views, by the end of the month we were hitting upwards of 600 views on articles reviewing the Leaders Expansion and Tom’s desperate attempts to teach the community how to beat the dreaded defensive deck. The whole month of July gave us a total view count just over 4000, not too shabby.
By the end of the year we have seen a steady growth month on month, with this December seeing us hit just over 8000 views through just over 2000 users. It’s hard to put these figures into context as I have absolutely no idea what the stats are from other blogs but at the very least it’s great to see this kind of growth, a doubling of views in half a year is a great start.
Outside of almost arbitrary online stats it has become very nice to see that whenever we go to a tournament in the country people actually recognise us and chat about the blog. Seriously this community is fantastic and it’s great to engage with it on this level.
One yardstick by which I think we failed is in the constant and regular creation of articles. Both November and December saw the blog produce just 2 articles a month, for contrast we published 17 in July. Yikes. On the one hand it’s great to see that we are somehow still growing our views with less articles, on the other bloody hell we need to pull our fingers out.
As a counterpoint to the lessening of content I do feel like the articles we produce are of a higher quality then the earlier ones, feedback from our readers certainly helps with this but a lot of it is just practice in not only writing about the game but also in continuing to improve our actual play and understanding of Warhammer Underworlds.
Was 2018 a success for the Steel City at events?
Short answer no, long answer yes.
I should probably write that long answer out more coherently:
After the blog launch our top result was placing 4th at the UKTC grand clash, which luckily technically gives three of us a top 4 finish at a grand clash this year. For Tom it’s actually his second top 4 as he came 3rd in the 2nd Warhammer World grand clash. However first place at a grand clash proved elusive and the last one that we attended(Blood and Glory) saw Vanadis come 7th with myself placing 9th, I did however beat the player that came 3rd and only lose to the player that placed 2nd (quality excuses right there).
I had really wanted to bag a Grand Clash trophy this year, especially as the main blogs all have a friendly rivalry between us yet both Jamie and John have already secured their fancy trophies. One legitimate excuse for this lacklustre showing is that we honestly have not been able to attend that many Grand Clashes this year. A bunch of ones in the UK have been held on Workdays which is a straight up a no go if we have to travel and after the 2nd Warhammer World Grand clash there was a distinct lack of ones to attend – literally the two I mentioned are the only ones we attended after the formation of the blog and Tom couldn’t even make Blood and Glory as he was on call.
So given the context our results are reasonable, certainly frustrating and with lots of room for improvement but it’s fair to say that we are fighting for those trophies.
As for small tournaments, honestly I don’t think they are a good bar to measure progress by. I mean it’s certainly great to grab a Shadeglass trophy and it’s absolutely the first step on the way to getting to the top of the game, but there gets a point where you are playing lots of new or even moderately experienced players and they just don’t put up anywhere near the level of competition you get at a big Grand Clash. For those of you who are interested I’m currently at 8 trophies from small events and am continuing my side quest of trying to win with every different warband, I recently beat Tom in the final at the Forge in Manchester and got to tick the Thorns off my list of warbands, putting me at 5 different warbands.
I will say that my poor performance at Blood and Glory did legitimately knock me for six and one of my excuses for a lack of articles recently has been that I took a short break from the game after that.
I will say that I am very happy with my ability to build decks and to stay mildly ahead of the meta. I managed to
coin steal from magic the term ‘Midrange’ and apply it to a specific deck I had created. This deck not only won myself a tournament but saw other people piloting it to Shadeglass and a new blog used it as inspiration for their own mid range style deck. Perhaps the best meta read was me and Vanadis taking Cursebreakers to Blood and Glory – people seem to just now be coming round to how powerful this warband is and that’s even after they got disproportionately hurt by the Ban and Restricted list.
What can you expect from the blog in 2019?
First and foremost we will give you what you really crave. This means pictures of Tom’s sexy face posted every day with smarmy comments from me insinuating that he isn’t very good at the game(he is) while I cry inwardly at my lack of Grand Clash trophies… wait that isn’t what people want?
You want actual content?
Well who am I to argue with the fictitious device that I have used to frame this paragraph. I think it’s reasonable to commit to a hard minimum of 4 articles per month and to aim for higher. January is going to be tricky as me, Tom and Vanadis will be doing a lot of private play-testing to prepare for the January 26th Warhammer World Grand Clash (oh god please let me do well) and so we will want to keep a lot of our decks and opinions secret in an attempt to help us at the event. That said there are still 5 days in January after the event and its almost trivial to pump content out after such a big Warhammer Underworlds event. Expect at least a tournament report and an update on the state of the meta after the tournament. There should also be a festive special involving a crazy bet between me and Tom that I expect to be out around the first week of January.
As the year progresses we will be continuing to try and fill our specific niche in the Warhammer Underworlds blog-sphere, discussion of high level competitive play and articles trying to help newer players get up to that level. The recent experiment of a more detailed battle report between me and Tom seemed to go well and was done at the request of a reader, if you have a suggestion for content absolutely feel free to get in touch (you can just comment on this article), I can’t promise that we will do what you ask but it will definitely be read and considered.
There are some smaller details that I’d like to sort out to, for example a mailing list that
spams informs you when a new article is out etc.
A final note on the State of the game
I think we’re onto a good one here.
Games Workshop have gone above and beyond in support for Warhammer Underworlds this year. There was a bumpy period in the middle where we were getting worried, especially with the lack of Grand Clashes, but with the recently made official deck builder app, a permanent fixture in White Dwarf and the year starting with another Warhammer World Grand Clash it really does look like GW see this as a core game going forwards.
The game itself is also in by far the best shape it has ever been. I hate to admit it, especially as I was a soft opponent of the idea before it was implemented, but the Banned and Restricted list has definitely improved the state of the game. That list combined with the sheer amount of new content we have had with the Night Vault releases mean that there are now many many different ways to play this game and you no longer see the same 3 or 4 warband/deck lists dominate every major event. The balance between Warbands is in a really good state as well, Jamie has written a whole series of articles on his own tier list which I generally agree with, but it’s not only conceivable but very reasonable for a bottom tier warband to beat a top tier one. The only caveat I would place on general balance is that it’s a shame just how much The Eyes of the Nine suck, I won a trophy at a small event with them through borderline blind luck and am staying far away in the future, it’s such a shame as well because they have some the most interesting mechanics in the whole game.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the rest of the Nightvault releases and going forwards to whatever we get in Season 3, which at this point I am very confident is happening.
Steel City Underworlds isn’t going anywhere and we aim to be with you guys throughout the year. To all our readers we hope you have a great 2019, may you roll plenty of crits.