Often the hardest decision you can make in a game of Warhammer Underworlds is when to do over your starting hand and yet this one decision has an absolutely massive impact on the game. We’ve all had games where it feels like the cards just didn’t come out right for the situation we are in and it leaves you very frustrated thinking that there was nothing you could do. In fact it’s often less painful to lose due to a bad roll of the dice, at least your opponent can see that, however when the cards come out wrong it can sound a bit odd if you say that you swear you have a good deck, honest.
General Rules for Objective cards
The first rule of thumb for doing over your objective hand is how many of the cards can you score? If you are sitting on 2 cards that score only on turn 3, that’s easy, toss the hand right away. You absolutely need to get early glory in a game of Warhammer Underworlds, glory is not only what wins you the game but it allows you access to half the cards in your power deck, without glory on turn 1 your chances of winning are very slim. Below are my some good hard rules to follow when deciding whether to keep or do over your objective cards:
- Keep the hand if you can score 3 or more glory at the end of the turn reliably
- Keep the hand if you have 2 score immediately cards that you can reliably score.
- Keep the hand if you have 1 incredibly easy to score immediately card that you can use to combo into more glory/kills on turn 1 e.g. Keep Change of Tactics and use the glory gained to equip an upgrade then react with Ready for Action to get an odds on kill
None of the above rules seem like they are going to set you up for an amazingly high scoring game. If you only average 3 glory a turn then you would end up with a measly 9 by the end of the game, a rather paltry sum. Remember what I said above though, turn 1 is all about setting yourself up to win the late game, right now you are more interested in reliably scoring glory then in going hell for leather and trying to score as much as possible. Once you have access to upgrades you can kill your opponents fighters much easier and using score immediately objectives should cycle you through faster to your big scoring ones.
Notice that number 3 relies on you having a specific power card in hand, in this case Ready for Action (to be fair every deck should run this), when it comes to the more subtle and difficult decisions on doing over a hand you really do have to look at what your power cards are. In fact the reliability of your objectives will vary based on what power cards you see, which is why doing over both hands can be so risky, you have no control over the combination that comes out.
One of the reasons defensive decks do so well against newer or even moderately experienced players is that they throw out all normal understanding of what ‘reliable’ is, for example if you play Fiends normally the card What Armour? Can be trivial to score as it just needs your leader to hit an attack, he doesn’t even need to kill with that attack, when there is nothing in charge range suddenly the card becomes next to impossible to score.
General rules for power cards
Just like your first objective hand, your power cards are there to give you the best start to the game possible. Ploys are already at a general higher power level then upgrades but these counts for triple at the beginning of the game when you have no glory to actually equip said upgrades. This disparity in power level between the two types of power cards leads to two very easy to follow rules when deciding whether to do over your power cards:
- Always do over a hand with 4 or more upgrades in it
- Always keep a hand with 3 or more ploys in it
That’s most of the situations resolved, unfortunately there remains the ever tricky 2 ploy/3 upgrade hand. Around 70% of the time I toss this hand, the times I keep it are when the ploys in question are some of the best in my deck or if the ploys specifically help me score objectives that I want to keep.
Improving your skills at judging in those edge cases
For the edge cases where you are unsure of what to do the only way to know if a decision is correct or not is to try it out. Like many of the skills in Warhammer Underworld the only way to get better is through experience, however with this particular part of the game you can cheat a bit. Once your deck is made simply run through a massive amount of practice shuffles, sites like this actually have a digital shuffler built in which means you don’t even have to tax your hands in order to do this. Every time you get an edge case decision try drawing the next batch of cards and play the game out in your head (as much as you can) then decide if your original judgement was right or not, this way you can slowly correct your decision making process and make it more optimal.
Whenever building a new deck I spend a lot of time doing this before I even start practicing it against other players, at this stage it can be easy to adjust the cards in your decks if you are finding that your starting hands are all coming out badly.
The really important thing to remember is that there are exceptions to every rule and the better that you get at the game the more you will learn about pushing edge cases for specific match-ups and board/objective placement.