Top Tournament Decks Toppled

I have transcended and become a photoshop god…

This article is going to look at the top five decks from the recent 62 player online tournament and assess just how they are all affected by the recent FAR update. This should give our precious readers a decent insight into how this latest update will affect top level competitive play and maybe even point you in the direction of a specific deck you might want to play. If you want a more general overview of the new FAR update then you can have a look at Oli’s article here.

We will be looking at the total amount of cards each deck has had hit alongside how easy those cards are to replace. I’ll be giving each deck a rating of Hardly Touched, Noticeably Nerfed (I wanted to use yellow here but it looked rubbish) or SHAFTED, to give a general idea of how viable these decks are with the new FAR. 

Benny’s Well Read Ogre

Pop over here if you want to mess with this deck yourself

Total restricted cards after FAR: 10

Verdict: SHAFTED

There is no beating around the bush here, Hrothgorn has been hit with a lot of targeted nerfs in this update. Benny’s deck is a thing of beauty and part of me was tempted to rate this as Noticeably Nerfed just because there is a reasonable chance it still performs solidly after this update… but when I started going through all the cards it would have to throw away I realised that it just loses so much versatility and reliability that it’s going to drop down several tiers in power. Let’s look at each card in turn:

Acolyte of the Katophranes – If there is one restricted card that you absolutely have to take in this deck then it’s the objective that makes it all work. This card isn’t even under discussion, if you cut it then it’s just a totally different deck that you are building from scratch.

Tome of Offerings – Synergy with your main objective and literally an alternate win condition on its own, when Hrothgorn starts getting kills with this into horde warbands you really start piling the glory on. If you cut this then you both hurt your main game-plan and you also run into the problem of being outscored by hold objective play, I’d argue that this is a must take.

Unexpected Cunning – The most broken surge in the game that can be scored totally passively is probably pretty good for a deck focused around control. If you can replace this with other surges that work in a similar way then fair play, personally I don’t think you can.

Calculated Risk – Very similar to Unexpected Cunning but comes with the legitimate downside of restricting either your choice of board or lethal hex placement.

Toughened Hide – It is actually physically possible for Hrothgorn to die in games now, obviously this is an issue when your whole strategy is based around putting tomes on him. I could potentially see a build where you hide Luggit and Twack at the back, play aggressively with Hrothogorn, and try to stack Tomes on the dynamic duo. That’s a pretty risky plan but when your main plan takes this much of a hit you have to be willing to try stuff out. If we see any new easy surge objectives in future expansions then it is possible people pay the restricted slot for this, the alternative is to put cards like Strong Start in and play a much more aggressive playstyle, I just feel like you lose the unique strengths of the deck then.

Frenzied Search – This hurts. If you haven’t played much with this card you could be forgiven for thinking I am overrating it, card advantage has never really been a big deal in Warhammer Underworlds. I’ve said it in previous articles but going up to 3 cards is the breaking point where card draw gets super strong. Three cards pretty much guarantee’s that you will have a much stronger set of power steps for that round, yes you have to discard a different card but you just pick the worst for that moment. In my experience if you see this card in rounds 1 or 2 then your chance to win goes up about 5% over any other possible card you can draw, yes, it’s that good. In Benny’s deck its not just a strong card but it also synergises with Digging Deep, Frantic Exchange and helps get his triggers for Arm of the Everwinter/Scorched Earth. This is a massive blow to the reliability of the deck, yes there will be games where it doesn’t make a difference but there will also be a fair percentage of games where losing this bricks your hand or just lowers your power steps enough that you lose.

Blazing Soul – for a non-aggressive Hrothgorn build, like the one we have here, this is the main way you inspire. Inspiring gives us a solid accuracy boost and a very tasty defensive boost as well, those two-block dice can prove a tough nut to crack. We don’t even have Gloryseeker in this deck so against some warbands we are extremely unlikely to ever inspire (you potentially slot that in now though). This alongside Toughened Hide really makes the ogre a lot more vulnerable, thank god.

Nightmare in the Shadows – We are finally at the cut off point where Hrothgorn players can stop crying about specific nerfs hitting them and simply moan about losing generally powerful tools. Nightmare in the Shadows is certainly a very powerful tool and the deck will hurt for not having it but every other deck is hit by the same effect, the only ones that might go up in value are likely completely new decks or warbands that have access to their own in faction Distractions.

Combination Strikes – If you somehow managed to keep Frenzied Search in your deck then you can replace this with To the End, it’s slightly less reliable but it works well enough with your playstyle. The problem comes if you can’t replace Frenzied Search then that becomes a bit too unreliable and you probably drop down to a single glory end phase, trimming a bit off your glory ceiling.

Restless Prize – This pretty much only exists to disrupt hold objective play, you don’t get much out of it yourself, except for an easier time using Frenzied Search/Leave Nothing to Chance. Honestly you can just swap this for Mischievous Spirits and not miss it much.

After this update I can’t see Tome Hrothgorn dominating the meta. I think you will end up with semi reliable control decks that can still leverage strong setups, like full offset Molten Shardpit but that will be soft countered by hold objective style decks and hard countered by aggro Mollog. 

Mike’s Murderous Mollog

If you want to read an in depth article on this deck then you can here

Total restricted cards after FAR: 9

Verdict: Noticeably Nerfed

Looking at the raw amount of cards hit could make it seem like this deck has been utterly destroyed but honestly a lot of those cards actually work against the main way that you want to play and are only in there because they are so busted. On the other hand, one card in particular hurts us very much.

Tome of Offerings – This card isn’t a choice, it’s a lifestyle. If you get this early on Mollog you automatically win most games. We are playing an aggressive build designed to kill as many fighters as possible and we do it with only one fighter, putting this on him literally doubles our glory from kills and is absolutely essential to the game plan.

Burst of Speed/Longstrider – Your bread and butter surges that you delight at seeing every time they are in your hand. The only time you don’t score these are when the game is already over, otherwise its free real estate.

Blazing Soul – Ouch. The first restricted card from the new update is really important to the deck. Inspired Mollog gains an extra damage on his main attack and more importantly gets to ignore one charge token, its honestly a very large reason why you play this warband at all. Without this we have two ways to inspire, play Regal Vision or lose our other big advantage, not dying in one hit. Losing Frenzied Search also reduces our chances of getting an inspire trigger, with only one in the deck it might be worth running Bag of Tricks now to fish for it.

Frenzied Search – Every card from here onwards, including this one, isn’t that big of a deal and can be replaced by other options. This is probably top of the list for stupidly powerful cards that are a bit contrary to how we want to be playing. We shouldn’t have to care about objective tokens and in some ways that is going to be quite liberating for the playstyle, unfortunately we will lose an incredibly powerful tool that for some reason not everyone else was taking.

Nightmare in the Shadows – almost all the top decks got hurt by this, the fact we still  get Distraction and Predatory Growls mollifies the loss somewhat, the downside is that between losing this and Restless Prize we no longer have a free match into hold objective decks like the Harrow’s.

Restless Prize – Slightly less versatile then Nightmare, it still hurts us for those same hold objective match-ups and has the knock on affect of making Bold Conquest and Regal Vision a bit harder to play around.

Cryptic Companion – Honestly I am happy to see this go. If we drop this then we also drop Tome of Glories and take some other strong upgrades that the deck needs, probably Blooming Spores and Faneway Crystal. It hurts that we lose our alternate playstyle but it was rare that it came up anyway.

Opening Gambit – With Loner coming off the restricted list (thank god) we can easily swap this for another 1 glory end phase objective that is just as reliable overall to score. There is much less chance of Loner bricking your hand but it does limit your use of the Stalagsquig a bit.

So overall the deck still functions mostly fine after this update. Blazing Soul is the big pressure point that massively affects its reliability. I think this is still very viable after the update but mostly because everything else top tier has been nerfed a similar amount, if these changes happened in a vacuum I’d have to jump ship(Avast!) to something else.

Tom’s Prolapsed Grubs

If you are insane and want to give the Wurmspat a spin then you can read an article from our very own Tom on the deck over here

Total restricted cards after FAR: 9

Verdict: Noticeably Nerfed

Tom:

So we’ve taken a pretty big hit with this one. The Wurmspat rely on strong neutral cards to compete with the field, and we lost quite a few. Even more worrying is the cards we lost synergised so well with certain objectives we might have to lose them too! The deck gets a whole lot less reliable after the update, but there might be a few swaps we can make to hold it together.

Frenzied Search: This is the kicker. You lose reliable access to ping damage to score Unexpected Pitfall. You lose draw power for Digging Deep, To The End and Frantic Exchange. This card tied the deck together nice and tight, and without it the deck falls apart at the seams. I think its ambitious to run Digging Deep and Frantic Exchanged now, and To The End is going to take some concerted effort with drawing to score. Unexpected Pitfall will brick in your hand much more often than it used to as well. A further side effect of ending up with ping damage in your hand less than before is you will inspire a lot slower than before. All of your power is on that inspired side and it just got a lot harder to access.

Nightmare In The Shadows: This hurts to lose for the Wurmspat in the same way it hurts everyone. Being able to disrupt objectives reliably was delicious. Being able to pull people onto Sepsimus and his sexy spear was just plain filthy.

Except losing this card feels even worse for Wurmspat than everyone else.

Pushing people into lethal hexes was another way to get your inspire triggered. Losing a potential ping damage tool is another major blow to this particular deck.

Restless Prize: There are other push cards out there we can replace this card with, but Restless Prize was the best way of getting Swift Capture and Spread His Blessings reliably. It helped move pesky objectives out of no-mans land where they were useless and plonk them in enemy territory under Ghulgoch’s greasy greaves. If you’d already claimed an enemy objective you could pull their unclaimed treasures onto edge hexes to help incentivise your opponents to put themselves in range of a tasty Collapse or Encroaching Shadow. You could evenmove the hex under a fighter for Lethal Ward.

Alas, no longer.

Cryptic Companion: Its been said before and will be said again, your mad not to have this card as an upgrade that can potentially score 3 glory. If you even remotely consider objective play this will be in your deck, and its disappearance will hurt everyone equally. If Mike’s aggro Mollog is taking Cryptic Companion you know its a little too strong.

Might put Tome of Glories in instead.

Combination Strike/Opening Gambit: I mean they’ll just become Solid Gains and Great Gains. I think the newer versions are slightly harder for the Wurmspat as you will rely on Tome of Offerings (and also maybe Glories) kills to meet that glory threshold. Equally with the deck in general becoming a lot less tight it will be harder to reliably rack up glory.

Calculated Risk: You need this. Nurgle have so little reliable surge glory coming their way Calculated Risk is a card you can’t afford to lose.

Tome of Offerings: The Sepsimus win condition. I again think this card is essential to reach a respectable glory total end game.

Sudden Growth: I actually think this OG restricted card might be the one to have to go. It might need replacing with Potion of Constitution or even Hulking Physique, so that one of our tasty gambits (Frenzied Search!) can stay in the deck and stop it crumbling completely.

Cards like Centre of Attention and Irresistible Prize can make way for our lost push cards. Tome of Glories can replace Cryptic Companion and Solid/Great Gains can replace Opening Gambit and Combination Strike. Frenzied Search is the only irreplaceable card and for that reason I think Sudden Growth has to go. Overall we end up with a weaker version of the same deck. I’ll have to see how it functions compared to the weaker versions of everything else.

We still have our Prolapse.

Andrea Rocchi’s Harrowing Harrow’s

If you want to mess with this deck yourself then you can here

Total Restricted cards after FAR: 8

Verdict: Noticeably Nerfed

The second warband we are looking at that has seen targeted nerfs, before this update Harrow’s had so little issues with restricted card that they can take stuff like slumbering key. My impression of this deck is that it is control with a bit of flex into aggro. You score your deck passively but can use your mobility cards, combined with ping damage to be a threat if needed, looking for a big pay-out from Perfect Match at the end of the game.

One Will: A trivially easy to score surge objective like this should always be picked. This is like the Harrow’s equivalent of Calculated Risk except that it doesn’t influence board choice, lethal hex placement or put a wound on a friendly fighter. For a deck running Perfect Match this is even more essential.

Frenzied Search: This deck is running the absolute full card draw synergy here, with To the End, Digging Deep and Frantic Exchange. Losing the strongest card draw effect in the game would absolutely ruin all of that synergy on top of losing a powerful option to play with, for this style of control you absolutely need to spend a restricted slot on this.

Restless Prize: For this deck it can act both as disruption to opponents scoring objective tokens and to assist you in scoring your own. That two for the price of one deal on an effect so strong means that I think you still want to slot this in after the restrictions. It’s a tough to pick this over some of the other good options and we are at the point around here where I am less firm in my opinions.

Cryptic Companion: Tome of Offerings but for the hold objective playstyle. Well we are playing around holding objective tokens and this is a really big multiplier. In an average game this gets you 2 glory, especially with all the card draw this deck has. You will also have games where you get a crazy 3 glory from this. With Restless Prize and Nightmare in the Shadows being restricted this upgrade goes up a bit in value… except for the fact that it is restricted itself. I think you still want this in the deck. You could potentially still keep the ‘soul’ of this deck by cutting Perfect Match and relying on this alongside Tome of Glories to make up the glory differential.

Sudden Growth: Lady Harrow is going to be much easier to kill now, charging her forwards with all your mobility cards is a much riskier play when you can’t slap an extra 2 wounds on the malicious bedsheet. That gives your opponent’s more counter play which is obviously not what you want. This deck become more vulnerable to aggro now.

Survival Instincts: It’s a toss up between this and Sudden Growth for which is the best restricted defensive upgrade on the Harrow’s right now. For my money I prefer the reliability of extra wounds but the downside of – 2 movement is quite a pain. Either way I don’t think you can fit either into this type of Harrow’s deck, making the ghosts fall over much easier.

Opening Gambit: You basically swap this for Solid Gains. Its probably slightly less reliable overall, which does hurt in a Perfect Match deck, but its not that big of a deal.

Slumbering Key: This was a cherry on top of the deck free card already. You don’t really mind losing this one, yes it hits the glory of the deck a tiny amount, take Tome of Glories instead and honestly you probably have a better upgrade anyway.

So overall I feel like this deck has been hit in some fair places. If you want to play this control style of Harrow’s in the future then you still can but you are going to be a lot easier to kill once your opponent gets close for a fight and honestly that seems fairly reasonable. The amount of passive glory you can generate is still very high. Personally, I would cut Perfect Match and take Tome of Glories + Cryptic Companion but I am basing this on experience playing at the top level of the game, Perfect Match goes up in value the less your opponents can play around your objectives. With Nightmare being restricted and if you can find a way to slot Restless Prize in yourself you should find that holding onto your own objective tokens is easier, so in some small ways this deck did get a bit of a buff.

Conboy’s Deep Fried Skeletons

For a go at the Guard pop over here

Total Restricted cards after FAR: 6

Verdict: Hardly Touched

I straight up don’t understand how Thomas Conboy did so well with this deck, he was a hairs breath off top 4 running the low tier warband Sepulchral Guard. It’s entirely possible that I am missing something here but I think you can a very similar deck to this as Thorns and just do better. Post FAR with the Thorns in particular being hit this might actually be a legitimate contender at top tables, maybe Tom is a secret playtester and saw all of this coming? This is as close to a pure hold objective that you can get while still having some legitimate threat from upgrades like Great Strength, Gloryseeker and Sting of the Ur-Grub to not roll over when aggro comes knocking.

Temporary Victory: Oh how the times have changed. This is the first deck we have looked at with the objective card that has dominated so much of the season. For a playstyle like this the card is an absolute must and noticeably adds to your overall power.

Scrum: A surge that you can score in a single activation, sometimes while also moving onto objective tokens. Only downside is that it can become a bit dead (ha) later in the game, you’ll take that downside for a butterly smooth early game.

Restless Prize: For a deck that is so focused on holding objective tokens I think you still keep this. It’s a tough call though and you could potentially swap it for the next card on this list. The big determining factor will be a meta call, if other people still care a lot about objective tokens after this FAR update then this is essential, otherwise you can be more greedy.

Cryptic Companion: Did someone say greedy? A bunch of ridiculously easy glory is exactly how this deck functions, just look at all those keys. This is worth approx. two of those key upgrades on its own. If you can still find a slot for this you are a happy lad.

Frenzied Search: With no specific deck synergies this is just a strong card. You drop it and find something else to replace it, maybe Sidestep.

Rebound: Tom is exactly the sort of degenerate I can see taking this card. Losing this from the deck isn’t a downside, it’s a boon. Join the rest of the civilised world and expunge this card from your collection.

….

Legit though this is a get out of jail free card into some aggro match ups and when it goes off it wins you games on its own. You are forced to drop this after the latest FAR update which makes the Mollog player in me very happy, and horde warbands across the globe wipe sweat from their brows.

If you are looking for a top tier post FAR deck that is still almost entirely intact then this is your first pit stop. Now that both Grymwatch and Thorns have been brought into line we could see the Sepulchral Guard come into their own and honestly I couldn’t be happier. A mild warning though, if you have never played this type of deck before it is HARD. Bring painkillers and/or lots of booze to practice sessions when you unpack this bad boy.

Closing Words

I had originally planned to review the top 10 decks from that online tournament but the article was getting a bit long in the tooth and their are only so many ways I can say ‘losing Nightmare in the Shadows is going to hurt this deck’. I hope that I have given some specific insights into how top meta decks are affected by this recent FAR update, and highlighted the different degrees to which some decks have been hit.

With no expansions released for over 100 days I am over the moon to get any sort of content for Warhammer Underworlds, a FAR list can sometimes feel painful as a bunch of your go to decks fall apart but they always end up creating a healthier meta. I am honestly excited to play in online tournaments where Hrothgorn isn’t the obviously most powerful thing, lets see what new cheese we can all come up with.

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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