Grand Clash Metagame – The Rest

Some time ago now I started this article series with the intent of having a detailed look at each of the warbands that we had 5+ decklists for at the July Warhammer World Grand Clash.As you may have noticed, that didn’t exactly pan out (for… various reasons).

Since then we’ve now had a new banned and restricted list update, the announcement of Beastgrave, and (for those of you in the US or Germany) the release of Dreadfane – or at least the poorly handled partial release that may not have actually been a release?

This means that the already questionable data from the July Grand Clash is even less relevant now, so rather than spending a load of time writing an article for each of the remaining warbands I’m instead just going to give y’all the rest of the data with a few brief comments on each section – hopefully it’s still at least slightly interesting.

All of the caveats I mentioned in the earlier articles apply to this data (see the first article here for a run down), and as mentioned before the best use for this data is probably to get a sense of what cards people are commonly running for each warband so that you can make (slightly) more informed decisions in game 1 against an unknown opponent…

Ylthari’s Guardians

The Sylvaneth warband made up 15.9% of the field and accounted for 8 of 52 submitted decklists (~15%). They had one of the broadest ranges of power deck sizes with a roughly even split between 20 (2), 22 (3), and 24 (3) cards.


A third of the top 12 Guardians objectives were warband-specific, and Scorched Earth may as well be too given that the Guardians are the only warband that can run more than 1 way of scoring it. There’s not really much else to say about these cards – Calculated Risk is the only card that is now restricted that wasn’t at the time.


Most Guardians decks went all-in on Ylthari, with 3 gambit spells appearing in 88% of decks or more (in fact, half of these 12 cards only work with her). Strangely, the less accurate Pangs of the Great Lack was (just) more common than Sphere of Aqshy, appearing on its own in the 1 deck that didn’t run both. 3 of these cards are now restricted, although only 1 was used by more than half of the lists.


There weren’t many consensus upgrades, which is probably to be expected for such a flexible warband. The chosen upgrades mostly tend towards shoring up the Guardians’ weaknesses (accuracy, damage, survivability…). Fitting in with the popular gambits’ focus on Ylthari, Well of Power was run by all 8 decks, but the other now-restricted accuracy upgrades (Archer’s Focus, Spiritbond, etc) weren’t as popular.

Godsworn Hunt

Theddra’s motley crew were chosen by 8.5% of players at the Grand Clash, and made up almost 20% of the top 16 – a very good showing for a warband that a lot of people initially saw as weak. Six of the seven players submitted decklists, making up 11.5% of the total submitted – of those, two thirds stuck to 20 power cards with the remainder going up to 22.


Martyred appeared in all 6 decks, providing incontrovertible proof that Godsworn players love killing dogs (okay, sometimes guys with bows too). It’s also now the only non-restricted objective shared by all of these decks after Calculated Risk proved just too good/popular to remain unrestricted.


There are a lot of different aggressive gambits boosting damage, accuracy, or mobility, so its unsurprising that there’s not that many widely played cards here. For the two cards that appeared in 100% of decks the bonus move from Spectral Wings is key to making early attacks against more defensive lists (and also opens up Cover Ground) while the attack re-roll from Fuelled by Fury is one of the best ways of ensuring those attacks hit and increasing the likelihood of rolling those all-important crits.


Upgrades are key to the Godsworn Hunt’s playstyle, and all 6 of the decklists we have ran a very similar core package – 7 of the top 12 appeared in 75% of decks or more, and 5 of them were used in every deck. Interestingly the now-restricted Spiritbond was only used in one of the decks (our very own Dr Bond).

These pretty much all play into the Darkoath warband’s plan of stacking accuracy and damage boosts to roll roughly a million dice and end your winning streak in round 5 of the tournament (#notbitter).

Thorns of the Briar Queen

Like the Godsworn Hunt, the Nighthaunt warband was only played by 7 of the 82 players at the Grand Clash (8.5%). Five of those players submitted a decklist, making up 9.6% of the lists we had access to. Of those only 1 went above 20 power cards, running 22 instead.


With good mobility and a useful fighter card action, the Thorns are a really good warband for using Keep them Guessing, so it’s no surprise that all the decks ran it. The extremely powerful Treacherous Foe also appeared in all 5 lists.


The 4 cards that appeared in all Nighthaunt decks are a group of powerful reactions for Treacherous Foe, as well as a better version of a restricted universal card in Sudden Appearance. The rest of the gambit slots were less consistent across decks, but tended towards mobility and defensive tricks.


Seven staple upgrades appeared in 80% of decks or more – a good mix of aggressive and defensive cards. Three of the five decks ran at least one of Sudden Growth or Deathly Fortitude as well. Like with their other cards, the Thorns seem to have been one of the warbands least affected by the banned and restricted list update – there were only 3 single cards across all 5 decks affected by the change.

Thundrik’s Profiteers

The steampunk capitalists of Thundrik’s Profiteers made up 12.2% of the Grand Clash players, with 10 players (half of which actually submitted their decklists). Three of the submitted decks had the typical 20 power cards, while the remaining two had 22.


Pretty much all of the Profiteer decks ran the same core of easy to score immediate objectives backed up with end phase combo cards. With the way the warband’s inspire mechanic works, and the range of attacks available to them, these all seem pretty solid choices. Calculated Risk and Warning Shot both being made restricted will hurt here, but there’s still a few other options to replace them.


Gambit choice was less clear-cut. There’s a few popular options, including 2 powerful warband cards in Seek the Skyvessel and Toxic Gases, but then a broad range of cards across the different decklists.


Like with their Objectives, there seems to be a pretty clear consensus for the Kharadron warband’s upgrade slots – 8 cards each appeared in 80% of decklists with the remaining slots being up in the air. Now that Archer’s Focus is restricted it may see a bit less play, but it’s such a good card for a ranged-focus warband that other restricted cards are likely to be cut first.

The End

So, we’ve finally been through all 6 warbands from the July Grand Clash where there were enough submitted decks to review the statistics. Hopefully you’ve found at least something useful/interesting in these articles – as I’ve said before the best use of the data is probably to get a better idea of what cards your opponents are likely to be playing based on their warband choice, but it can also inform your own deckbuilding too.

It’ll be interesting to see how the meta has changed by the next event we have this number of decklists for (maybe after Beastgrave releases). How have different warbands adapted to the newly banned cards? What different archetypes are being played? Until then, good luck and have fun!

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

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