We’ve all had those games.
Your Haymaker attack with cleave whiffed on the enemy Stormsire against all odds, you fail to roll a single dodge on your apparently not so Acrobatic Fanatic, and Ammis has spent a turn unable to spell Empower let alone cast the bloody thing. When the dice gods curse me, I have an incredibly unhealthy habit of going on tilt. My decision making suffers, and I rush through turns distracted by “what should’ve happened if I’d hit with Shond”. Therefore, this article is almost a note to myself, a series of steps to consider when your activation comes round to make sure that you can still make smart decisions no matter what dice come your way. If you can keep your cool when the odds are against you, you’ll be doing better than I am.
The Initial Plan
This is the bit I think most players manage reasonably well, especially Turn 1. Everyone has a good look at their objective cards, decides how they are going to be scored and plans out their turn in their head. If you can’t plan a turn that lets you score at least two of your opening hand (as a very rough rule of thumb) I’d bin the cards and draw another hand. Exceptions to my rule of thumb are:
- The card you can score is a score immediately you can pretty much guarantee – ie Harness the Storm, Change of Tactics, Cover Ground (with the right power cards). This is because you still have a shot at scoring 2 objectives, and you will definitely get one.
- You have spare activations in your turn where you can afford to swap out pesky objectives for shiny new ones. As you get more experience with a deck you’ve built you’ll get the hang of when you can afford to use activations to straighten out your objective hand rather than mulligan the whole thing.
So we have an objective hand we are happy with. We have a plan for our turn. All is going wonderfully so far.
Don’t forget your plan. Please.
You’ll remember what you meant to do in the end phase when you finally look back at your objective hand and realised you all kinds of screwed up Keep Them Guessing.
The Opponents Initial Plan
Now this is what I’m trying to work on. I know what I want to do, but can I guess what my opponent is gunning for. Experience against other warbands will help you guess common objectives they may be running. Gitz will probably have Mad Scurry and Obliterated, Bloodreavers are going to have Khorne Cares Not, and Steelheart’s will probably be running Consecrated Area. You can also plan for popular generic objectives, things like Alone in the Darkness and Escalation. Assuming you don’t have scoring these cards as part of your initial plan, make sure you factor in denying them from your opponent.
After you have had a think about what your enemies plan is, adjust yours accordingly.
No plan survives first contact with the enemy, and this holds true in Underworlds. The skill here is adapting as you go, re-adjusting your expectations, and not tilting when that initial plan goes straight out the window!
Tom’s Top Ten Turn Tips
- Know how many activations you need to score the cards in your hand. Spare activations are a precious resource! You can dig for power cards to help you, you can reposition fighters for next turn, or you can focus on using those activations to deny your enemy’s glory.
- Denial: Objectives – little things like using an activation to run onto an objective can scupper an enemy’s plan. You can deny Supremacy or stop a Faneway Crystal assault. If you think your opponent wants to be on an objective and you can get there safely, then do it. They have to use cards or activations to knock you off, and that wasn’t part of their initial plan!
- Denial: Passive – Position fighters adjacent to each-other to stop Alone in the Darkness, limit equipping upgrades mid turn if you don’t have Escalation. Knock people off of edge hexes, get out of Change of Tactics range. Your opponent is counting on scoring those cards, so forcing them to change their plan will more likely result in a mistake you can exploit.
- Evaluate your plan as you go. Have the circumstances changed? Is it still worth committing to a kill after your odds-on attack failed? Throwing more fighters in might score you your objective or you could end up overextended and subsequently butchered. Would it be better to deny your opponent so you can counterattack next turn? No when to cut your losses and don’t fall pray to sunk cost. If dice go against you it may be worth trying to force a low glory turn rather than over-commit to a lost cause and feed your opponent.
- Always ask yourself who scores more passive glory. If you can force the enemy to come to you, you will have the advantage. Even if it means not scoring What Armour or Strong Start, if you think not fighting will hurt your opponents’ objective hand more than it will hurt you then stay back. Remember until your rival has glory half of their deck is dead cards.
- Check the odds! Before you go for a Hail Mary attack with Mollog onto an inspired Dibbz remember that your odds of success without modifiers are less than 50%. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself in for, and make sure there isn’t something more productive you can do with that activation.
- Remember power cards exist for your opponent too! You will be scheming away with your own hand, but don’t forget that your opponent has Hidden Paths and Faneway Crystal. Ready for Action could be sitting in their hand. Remember Last Chance exists before you blow every accuracy ploy under the sun on one attack. Be aware of your adversary’s potential power plays!
- Keep track of your opponents cards! The discard pile is free information, you can ask to look and see if Ready for Action has gone. Are you worried your opponent has Conquest in their hand? Check their discards, they may have chosen to mulligan it at the start of the game.
- Remember how your opponent is playing the game going into game two! Defensive Orruks might fool you once, but you have seen your enemies deck once now, remember the cards and play around them!
- Take a deep breath. When you whiff a crucial attack in a tourney it’s easy to write yourself off there and then. You’ll stop thinking about how to win, and just make the first move that comes into your head. Re-adjust your plan, play smart, and try to find your way back in!
200 IQ plays ahead
I hope this article has been somewhat helpful in giving you a few ideas of what you can do with your turn. Every deck, warband and player plays differently and places value on different aspects of the game. Whatever your style, as long as you make considered decisions and not rash ones, you’ll have far more success.
A final tip outside of the scope of this article is to take some of these ideas into deck building. Do you have a plan B built into your deck? Would Distraction be worth taking to deny enemy positional objectives even if it doesn’t necessarily score me any glory? Yes. Give yourself more options in game by building a deck that can afford take a hit.
If you have anymore ideas about what to factor in before committing to an activation, please let me know. I’ll take all the help I can get!
Until next time, don’t forget
P.S. Sorry about the lack of articles lately, I’ve been busier than I’m used to and haven’t taken the time to do writing. The other Steel City members have been picking up my slack so a big shout out to them! I’ve been playing a lot of Godsworn lately and my view on them have changed quite significantly since I wrote my last article, but given the fact we’re closing in on the next set of cards I’m going to hold off writing anything unless I finally manage to win with the Darkoath. Still need to git gud.