You Spin me Right Round Baby Right Round – Warhammer Underworlds Starts Rotations

Warhammer Underworlds has now become a perpetual motion machine, god help us all.

What On Earth is Going on?

In a Warhammer Community article Games Workshop recently announced that all season one neutral Warhammer Underworlds (Shadespire) cards will no longer be valid for competitive play and that this marks the beginning of a perpetual cycle wherein just before a new season launches the neutral cards from 2 seasons ago will cycle out. Giving us at most two seasons worth of neutral cards to play with at any one time. The big and very relieving kicker though is that all warbands, including warband cards, will remain playable no matter what season of Warhammer Underworlds you are playing in.

Ok, now everyone is on the same page (honestly I expect everyone who reads this article to already know whats going down) I can get into the nitty gritty of what this actually means for the game.

Steel City’s Take on the News

This had to happen.

Any competitive game dies if new players cannot join and if neutrals were not rotated out then the cost of entry was going to keep increasing, with so many other games competing for players money it would only be a matter of time for Warhammer Underworlds to die out if we didn’t rotate cards out. I personally feel like GW should go a step further and release all the neutral cards from season 2 in a special pack for £30-50 to make it even easier for new players but I realise that GW are a company and they kind of like to make money so maybe its not feasible.

The fact that we are retaining warbands is a huge and fantastic direction for the game. If this game is still going in 5 years time we could see people rocking up to tournaments with Sepulchral Guard with some crazy interactions with the new cards, I love this semi legacy system that the game is gearing towards.

One thing that the rotation does is highlight the cost vs reward calculation of investing time and money into Warhammer Underworlds. If the neutral cards from a pack will last at most 2 years then a player needs to know that they are going to actually get enough games in to make the purchase worthwhile. For players outside of the US and UK (and to a lesser extent Europe) Games Workshop really need to up their game, there are a stark lack of grand clashes outside of the regions mentioned and rumour on the grapevine is that local store run tournaments are drying up in those regions. The fact that tournament kits for stores now cost money is only going to exasperate this issue. Warhammer Underworlds is a competitive game with a strong social element, if you cannot get tournament games in then its probably not worth playing.

In the UK GW are doing fantastic at ramping up the amount and the quality of Grand Clashes so for me personally the game is incredibly worthwhile playing, it also helps that this is by far the best tabletop game I have ever played.

The other minor issue I would like to address is the method in which Games Workshop communicated this change to us. It appears this rotation takes immediate effect which means we had exactly zero warning about this change. For some new players they will have started building their collection with Shadespire and just found out that those neutral cards are no longer valid which must be infuriating. We should have had at minimum a 3 month notice on this change and ideally a bit longer, this coupled with the seemingly arbitrary dates for FAQ/BAR updates means that GW is keeping the community needlessly in the dark on essential changes going forwards. We have tournaments occurring on days where these updates happening with TO’s left to try and mediate between different groups of players who want to play by different rules on those days, Dreadfane bringing out the worst in this. Nick Bayton does a fantastic job at herding the cats on social media and placating the trolls but we really need a more top down coherent plan about when changes are happening with clearer communication.

So I think this news is great but its tempered by other factors that I hope GW can address in future.

Whats with the lack of articles?

Sorry, I’ve been on holiday in Portugal and then when I came back the new Path of Exile league launched which will suck at my free time for a few weeks. Freya managed to pop another sneaky article out while I was gone with the final part in her breakdown of the big Warhammer World 2 day grand clash meta.

I started writing my article on the Grand Clash in Scotland before going on holiday but I – ahem – still have no idea how I placed. Waiting on that news before finishing the article. With news of the rotation coming me and Freya will probably leave off doing our battle report on the Dreadfane warbands as the decks we built for them are both completely irrelevant now.

Tom’s Postcards

Tom is off for 3 months, skiving his duties of writing for the blog in Thailand. He is sending us the odd postcard back, so for anyone missing our resident Godsworn expert (without a Godsworn Trophy) here are some pictures of his sexy body:

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

2 thoughts on “You Spin me Right Round Baby Right Round – Warhammer Underworlds Starts Rotations

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  1. Can’t agree with this. While I understand that GW is trying to make money, the rotation doesn’t help such a new game (which WHU is). I know three players (including myself) who started and now the cards are obsolete for at least tournament play. You can do such things after years (like Magic did) but not at start. And why are people considering this a cardgame? It is a miniatures game, I would even call it a boardgame. It would be much healthier to release Warbands with specific cards and separate universal card packs (for around ~20 GBP or EUR, above would just be a joke considering the production cost of cards). You could still tweak the game by releasing new universal cards and banning old ones.

    At the same time like you mentioned, the events outside of UK and US are so rare that no free tournament support by such a large company is another no-go. Smaller companies are much more generous if you ask them about tournament support than GW is. We recently had an event for a 12 € boardgame. The company drowned us in prize support. So what is wrong with GW? They are getting greedy in my opinion and that is one of the reasons for this rotation which was not needed at this early stage. A ban list for cards like Ready for Action would have been enough.

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    1. I’m incredibly sympathetic to your point of view, anyone who recently bought Shadespire cards or even started half way through season 2 and focused on buying season 1 first is going to feel burnt by GW’s decision here. However I still feel like the decision was overall correct, personally I now have 2 friends I can get into the game who were put off by the ever increasing buy in cost. The other potential solution GW could have gone with is to release all of season 1’s neutral cards as a separate pack but that still increases the buy in by some amount and it also kicks the can down the road – the problem will have to be dealt with sometime. The other reason why I am happy with the rotation – and I didn’t mention it because it doesn’t affect as many people – for those of us who play the game day in day out all the time this is a fantastic way of keeping it fresh. Not having to play around Escalation every game or check your opponents discard to see if they have used Ready for Action yet means that Beastgrave is going to feel like an entirely new experience.

      On tournament support I 100% agree with you. Games like this live or die by the communities that are built around them and GW could should really push the boat out to help non UK/US areas. The only reason I don’t get more angry about this and make more of a fuss is because this is GW’s first real competitive game that isn’t focused around the hobby – I legit don’t think they really know what they are supposed to be doing.

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