Grand Clash Metagame – Stormsire’s Cursebreakers

Edit 24/07/19: Once again, I’ve just finished the draft of an article right before the Banned and Restricted list updates. I must be cursed. This does make analysis of the metagame a bit less relevant (and makes me less likely to continue with the rest of the series) but there’s still some value to doing this – especially in seeing how frequently the now-restricted cards were played.

What could be more exciting than looking at metagame data? Well, probably a lot of things actually, unless you’re a boring stats geek like me. In any case, data’s what I’ve got for you here in the first of what will (hopefully – I’m not promising anything) be a series continuing my article from a couple of weeks ago on the metagame in the most recent UK Grand Clash.

We’re going to be looking at the most-played cards – both Warband and Universal – for all the warbands with 5+ submitted decklists for the July Warhammer World Grand Clash. I’m only looking at lists submitted through the BCP app – mostly because I’m too lazy to go tracking down the missing lists, but also because everyone was meant to register their list through the app which means I can pretend it’s not my fault that some aren’t included.

I’m going to be looking at the top 12 most-played cards for each type (Objective, Gambit, Upgrade). I’m going with 12 because that’s the number of cards in an Objective deck, and also the most you’ll realistically use for each half of your power deck (Tom’s giant 3rd place Fiends deck aside…) (I don’t think I could get away with 26 cards now – Tom). Also it’s nice and neat to use 12 for each, and I like that.

Like I said in my overview article, this really shouldn’t be confused for a scientific analysis. The sample size is tiny, there’s a lot of missing data, and we’re only looking at a single event at a single point in time.

The main thing you can get out of this sort of review is a better idea of what to expect when you sit down across from an unknown player – if you know the most common cards in the warband they’re playing then you can prioritize playing around those, until you have a better idea of what they’re running in game 2 and/or 3. It can also help you pick cards to include in your own decks too, although your own personal preferences should play more of a role there.

With that out of the way, lets get on to looking at the first warband – and where better to start than with one of the boogeymen and most popular warbands of the current Underworlds meta – Stormsire’s Cursebreakers.

General Stats

The Sacrosanct Chamber warband made up almost 16% of the field at the Grand Clash, tied with Ylthari’s Guardians with 13 of 82 players. 11 of the 52 decklists submitted through BCP – the highest number of any warband. Clearly Cursebreakers players are honest and law-abiding people (#not-biased)…

The majority of Cursebreakers decks made the sensible choice and stuck to 20 power cards (8 out of 11) with enormous 24-card decks being the second-most popular for some unknown reason.

Most-Played Objectives

(Sorry, I didn’t do the styled charts this time – it was way too much effort to replace 36 separate bars.)

All 11 decks I have lists for ran Escalation and Harness the Storm and 10 ran Magical Supremacy. After that there’s Sorcerous Scouring at 8, then a long trail of objectives at 7-5 decks

3 of the top 12 objectives for the Cursebreakers were warband-specific (Harness the Storm, Magical Supremacy, and Measured Strike), which is a sign of how powerful these cards are – they easily compete with top-tier restricted cards like Superior Tactician, Escalation, and Change of Tactics (only 4/11 decks!).

With how easy the warband is to inspire it’s actually surprising that Fired Up and Shining Example each only appeared in about half the decks – most players preferred to run immediate objectives and 2+ glory end phase objectives over these easy but lower-scoring options.

In fact, what’s notable is the overall aggressive slant of these objectives – 3 of the top 12 are immediate objectives that require kills – and that only half the decks ran Keep Them Guessing. Also (not shown here) Acolyte of the Katophranes and Alone in the Darkness only appeared in 2 decks each.

This all suggests that there’s a decent amount of variety in Cursebreakers objective decks, and – maybe more importantly – that despite worries about “the rise of hard control” most people on the warband are playing more aggressive lists.

Edit 24/07/2019: The only newly restricted card here is Sorcerous Scouring, which is pretty easily replacable by Strange Demise (already played in a lot of decks) and Death from Afar. To be honest I actually really don’t like these objectives myself (and ones like Precise Use of Force etc as well) – I’ve always found that they tend to force you to sequence your attacks and gambits in a specific way that can cause awkward situations in play.

Most-Played Gambits

Like with their Objectives, there’s a decent variety in the Cursebreakers’ gambit choices. 5 cards appear in 8+ decks, 4 in 4-7, then the remaining 28(!) in 3 or less decklists.

There’s not a lot of warband cards here. Lightning Assault is popular, then about 50% of decks took Cry of Thunder, but no others appear in the top 12 (or even top 16…). Universal gambits (especially spells) are very powerful though, so that’s not too much of a surprise.

Like the Objectives again, these are all very aggressive cards – extra damage, extra accuracy, and extra actions. Distraction (highly versatile as ever) and Abasoth’s Unmaking (an easy to cast spell and Faneway counter) are the only exceptions in the top 12.

Interestingly, despite the design team describing it as a fun non-competitive card during the day 1 Q&A session, Seggut’s Salvo appears in as many deck – like me, a lot of other aspiring Stormsires clearly saw the potential of this versatile spell.

Edit 24/07/2019: 3 of the newly restricted cards appear on this list. Sphere of Aqshy makes sense, as one of the most-played universal gambits across all warbands, although Sorcerous Flourish saw a lot less play and is a lot more replacable with other damaging gambits (and it’s not great anyway – it’s not spell damage, so it doesn’t score Sorcerous Scouring or Strange Demise). Upper Hand I think suffered from only just having been released and people not realising exactly how it worked.

Most-Played Upgrades

Unsurprisingly, the most common upgrades support their counterparts in the other half of the power deck in being pretty aggressive. More damage, more accuracy, and more mobility help Cursebreakers decks keep pushing the advantage against warbands with weaker fighters, and the easy-to-score immediate objectives they tend to run make these easy to apply turn 1.

Well of Power was the most popular at 10/11 decks (I was the only person who didn’t run it…), as a way of making your gambit spells easier to pull off that also doubles as a much-needed accuracy boost for old man Stormsire (he’ll still miss).

In fact, with Archer’s Focus in 45% of decks and Tempest’s Might in 82%, cards that mostly boost Stormsire are surprisingly popular (to me anyway – I like redundancy in my power deck for those unfortunate occasions when Mollog or Grundann (Mah Boi – Tom) or someone else with a giant weapon one-shots him turn one).

Otherwise, this is fairly standard for an aggressive spell-casting warband (which the Cursebreakers are definitely the epitome of). A quarter of the most-played cards are warband specific (although Eye of the Storm has a universal version now) – including the powerful new Hand of Sigmar, appearing in 8 of the 11 decklists.

Edit 24/07/19: Well of Power is now restricted, perhaps unsurprisingly? This hurts the more aggressive Cursebreakers lists but is less of an issue for the less common control/defensive lists that prefer Arcane Familiar/Tome of Incantations and Eye of the Storm.

Overview

Stormsire’s Cursebreakers are both a strong and popular choice in the current meta. They currently tend towards aggressive decks, with a few more defensive outliers, but all will be running a ton of easy-to-cast damaging gambit spells and focusing on immediate objectives with a few big scorers (like most decks these days…).

Outside of a few core cards, there’s a lot of variety and room for players’ individual preferences – you can generally expect a lot of the common aggro ploys and upgrades alongside their gambit spells, but you never know when you’ll be surprised by extra damage from Trap or Lightning Whip, card draw from Duel of Wits, or other spicy inclusions.

In general I think the lack of homogeneity here is a good sign for the meta and the game, even though the sheer number of damaging ploys and gambit spells is maybe a bit worrying? 4 wounds just doesn’t feel as much as it used to do back in the good old days (for given values of good and old).

Next time we’ll be looking at a warband with one of the next highest number of submitted decks and another of the big players in the current meta (perhaps the biggest, at least in terms of fighter size…). Join us again in an unspecified amount of time for an in-depth(ish) analysis of Mollog’s Mob – the angry mushrooms beloved by our very own grumpy troll, Mike.

At Steel City we would love to have your feedback. If you have something to say about a specific article then feel free to comment below, if you want to get in touch about the blog in general, or just prefer to communicate privately then you can get in touch by emailing us at team@steelcityshadespire.com

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