My photography skills seem to be becoming just as good as my photoshop ones.
Words that come first
There is another large UK grand clash about to happen, on Friday the 31st of May, which means most of my attention is focused on getting ready for that. So today’s article is going to cover a miss-mash of various subjects that are not quite expansive enough to warrant a full article each. I will also pop an update on recent tournament success (who am I to miss a chance to brag) and at the end of the article let you all know what Steel City have planned in store over the next couple of months.
Taking Ylthari’s Guardians to Boards and Swords in Derby
I actually used Tom’s models for the tournament, I don’t think I can assemble these guys without breaking them.
Regular readers of the blog will know of my adventures with Troll Tomes and would probably expect me to take Mollog to the next Grand Clash. I have however been having misgivings about the giant troll recently, the last two expansions slightly weakened Mollog as the only card from them that I included was Calculated Risk and its really hard to score when you are only doing it with either Spiteshroom or putting a wound on the only threat in your warband. So I have been experimenting with another warband/deck and getting some practice in. My target of choice this time has been the effervescent Ylthari’s Guardians. I put down my initial thoughts on the warband here when we were getting spoilers and I admit that after a lot of playing I’m pretty happy with my early assessment.
However I have gotten a ridiculous amount of play-testing in with the giant mushroom molester and I can play Troll Tomes inside and out. Is it worth switching to something else with far less practice? I decided to try the guardians out at a local tournament to see how they stacked up against serious opposition, the results of which would probably determine which deck I would take to the next grand clash.
So on Saturday the 25th I travelled down to Derby to play at a small clash that happened to have Jay Claire (the man who has as many Grand Clash trophies as he has attended and yes that’s more then one), Martin Collins another Grand Clash winner and a player who went undefeated with Ironskullz Boyz at the 164 player January Grand Clash.
Well I did say that I wanted serious opposition…
I’m not going to go into much detail about the specific matches I played, John over at canyourollacrit is much better at doing that kind of content and I’d like this blog to be a bit different. One specific crazy moment was against Thundrick’s Profiteers where both me and my opponent scored our entire objective decks and I edged out the win by one glory. The real scary match of the day for me was facing Jay Claire in the final. Jay was running the Godsworn Hunt while I was on a deck that I was seriously considering for the grand clash.
I managed to pull out the win 2-1.
The games, especially the first two, were absolutely insane and I was literally sweating (though antiperspirant deodorant) by the end of it. In fact the first two games both had approx 6 fighters dead by the end of phase 1, talk about a knife fight. I am both looking forward to seeing and terrified of the potential of playing Jay Claire in the Grand Clash on the 31st, will he keep his 100% win rate at Grand Clashes?
For myself I not only proved that the deck can beat serious competition but I managed to learn some new tricks with it along the way. At this point I’m about 90% sure that I will take the Guardians on Friday, there is a small part of doubt that still has me tempted to take Mollog.
The Race to Complete the Game
With my victory on Guardians the total of warbands that I have won glass with is now sitting at 9, just over half way. My progress in completing this race has been hampered by my practice for the big tournaments but I think even if I was going all in on this that I couldn’t compete with the front-runners.
Front-runners? Is there some sort of place I can go to track who is closest to completing both Shadespire and Nightvault? Well… er yes… just below:
In poll position with a total warband glass count of 14 we have John Rees from canyourollacrit (hey John that’s two plugs in one article, notice me senpai). With only two warbands left to go its fair to assume that this is John’s race to lose.
At second we have Aman of hexesandwarband sitting at 12 warbands completed.
Right behind Aman in 3rd place there is Jay Claire at 11. Some whisper that Jay Claire gave himself the handicap of winning twice with each warband just to make it fair to the competition.
Sitting forlornly at fourth you have myself from er … this place. As already stated I have done it with 9 warbands now, after the Tournament on Friday you can expect me to try doing this a couple more times to get my numbers up before I start getting serious for the next big UK tournament in July.
For those scratching their heads at this little informal competition it is worth pointing out that their is no actual prize for winning glass with every warband, well apart from the mountain of glass itself that is. It’s more of a gentleman’s bet between some of the best players in the game … and me. It’s also genuinely very fun to try seriously competing with every different warband in the game, for those few players who are finding that they are consistently winning tournaments in their local scene you might want to try it.
If anyone else is actively partaking in this race that I am not aware of please contact me and I will include you next time I do one of these.
As soon as you have won glass with a warband everyone and their Mum asks you for the deck list. Soon my dear readers, soon. After I win this Grand Clash on Friday I will ascend to the dizzying heights of blog superstardom and then proclaim from on high the infallible list with which I earned fame and notoriety. Conversely I will do the Steel City special of dropping one round and still write an article where I explain that I’m still actually the bee’s knees and this deck is great really, for sure.
Slaying the Podcast Dragon
I have started my own personal quest of trying to appear on every Warhammer Underworlds related podcast under the sun.
The most recent example is from the Path to Glory podcast, where Wigglehammer tries to interview me on the subtleties of deck building and I go off on massive tangents. The tangents were fun though and its all talking about the game, if you are interested then you can listen to the episode here.
Steel City aficionado’s will know that I recently did a podcast on What the Hex? If you missed it then I do a great interview where I try to defend the often maligned defensive play-style, over here.
I have also technically appeared on the Ready 4 Action podcast where they did a mini interview with me and Tom in between rounds at a local tournament. I didn’t get much chance to speak as my opponent had lost a bit hard and I didn’t want to rub salt into the wounds, still if you want to listen to Tom’s sexy voice wax lyrical for a bit then you can give it a listen here
I think that the only other currently active podcast is Battle for Salvation, watch this space to see if I can ‘conquer’ them as well.
Of Risks Calculated
Apparently images help people to maintain attention when reading long blog posts. So here is something vaguely relevant to get the brain juices flowing.
When I reviewed Calculated Risk in this article I gave it 5 out of 5 and said that I expected it to be restricted as soon as the next BAR lists hits and that even after restriction I still feel it is an auto-include for the majority of decks. That’s a pretty bold statement and it’s fair to say that my prediction on its strength proved correct with every single undefeated deck at Warhammer Fest playing the card.
However after settling down and getting a lot of games in with these new expansions I’m not so sure I want to see it restricted anymore. The thing is that while the upside of Calculated Risk is absolutely massive, a score immediately card that you’re opponent cannot stop and is trivial for you to score in only one action, the downsides are actually really big as well. The fact that one of your fighters will take a wound isn’t a super big deal but it can make a difference. What really makes Calculated Risk a ..er… calculated risk is that you often end up deploying on a sub optimal board just so you can use lethal hexes for this objective.
Board placement is absolutely massive in this game, when I am trying out a new warband/deck I often find that hammering down the best board choices makes more difference to my win percentages then reworking half the cards in the deck. Not only are players now limiting the amount of boards they select from but they are actively choosing to put lethal hexes onto the board that their fighters deploy on. This gives your opponent a much easier way to kill your fighters as they can drive back/push/knockback your fighters into those hexes and get a free damage.
This isn’t hypothetical stuff; I have seen games where those lethal hexes completely determined the outcome.
Also something slightly more subtle, I’m actually finding the game more fun with all these lethal hexes around. The game is almost turning into a knife fight of crazy escalating aggression where any attack has the potential to kill anyone.
After saying all of that though, I’m about 99% sure that Calculated Risk will be restricted, enjoy it while you can folks.
Game of Boards
No one wants to play vs Fiends and look up to see them pick this board.
While in the middle of writing this article a new mini bombshell of play update arrived. For the Warhammer World Grand Clash in July you will not be able to use a single board more then once in a match, this was written in a way that it looks like it updates the play rules for all tournaments going forwards. I mentioned above that board selection was incredibly important to matches, now players will no longer be able to rely on specific board setup’s or staple reaction boards over the course of a match.
The reaction from the community to this change has been overwhelmingly positive on social media and I can certainly see the benefits. Some board sides are just too strong, especially the new Forbidden Board pack with its super aggro side. This new rule means that players will no longer be able to rely on those powerful board choices too much but does nothing to address the high variance in the game tied to winning board roll off. Personally I would love to see a system where the loser of a game automatically wins the roll off for the next one, it would at least mean that everyone gets one game per match where they are in the drivers seat from the beginning.
I’m also slightly worried that this will increase the amount of time people will take to select boards. For some players completing 3 games in 90 minutes can be a struggle and the vast selection of branching paths that board selection offers could lead to them taking up some of that precious time. Personally I play pretty fast, I really hope I never have to call a judge over at a grand clash for someone playing slowly, that just seems like an unpleasant situation all around.
It does make writing warband articles a bit harder, no longer can I proclaim that you should pick this reaction board or this board when you win the roll off but … perhaps that’s a good thing? There is a point at which people should be playing the game for themselves and netdecking etc is a nice tool for people who are starting out but it can quickly become a crutch that actually hinders (I might be stretching the analogy here) there growth as a player.
Realistically we will have to all play with this change a fair bit before we know how it fully affects the game.
Warhammer Underworlds Online
I am really hyped for this.
At heart I’m actually a PC gamer, this tabletop malarkey is more of a side hobby, one which Warhammer Underworlds grabbed hold of. The online version of the game looks to combine both sides of my life like some fantastic abstract blender. The creators have a good track record with their previous games and are absolutely making all the right noises at the moment. The game is intended to be a faithful 1 to 1 recreation of the physical version and is going to avoid micro-transactions. You will only have to buy the game itself and then each Warband that you are interested in playing as separate DLC, neutral cards will be available to all.
Right now there isn’t much to say until I actually get my hands on the game, which I fully intend to do as soon as possible. If this meets my expectations then expect to see a bunch of blog content aimed specifically at the game, I might even do a Youtube vid or two.
For anyone interested in following it’s development you can pop on the website here
I hope they will have a paint scheme for unpainted models so that I can tilt my opponents online as much as I do in real life 😉
Future Steel City Content
In the immediate future you can expect an article from me following this upcoming Grand Clash, wherein I roll out my excuses for not winning and use hindsight to pinpoint the exact changes that I obviously should have made in advance. I’ll also likely talk about how the meta at the event was, hopefully GW will release a final standings document to us to give us the data to work with properly.
After that I am expecting/hoping for a BAR and errata/FAQ update which will provoke the usual article going over the changes, depending on how quick we are to react to this news it is possible we might skip it. There is a lot of competition in the blog space right now and if our opponents ‘get the scoop’ I don’t want us to just rehash the same content over again.
The next big project from us is to do a final review of all 16 warbands currently released. I say final but with the ever changing state of the game any neutral cards from season 3 will date the reviews faster then a freshly bought Tesla, however we still think its worth doing. We are just waiting for the next BAR update before starting because we don’t want it to date as we are in the middle of writing.
So like the cool kids say, see you on the flip-side.
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