How did your boi do at his 3rd Grand Clash?
The setting was Warhammer Fest, the 4th UK Grand Clash, the 3rd I have attended and the 1st 2 day Grand Clash to be held. It was an exciting prospect for sure.
Me and a lot of the other players were expecting a Steelheart relic-filled tournament, with each of us expecting about 30ish people to bring them. We were shocked (and happy) to find out only 4 people had brought them. Once again the community had decided not to spam out the current OP net-deck and instead set out to play what they had fun with. While, yes, this goes against the nature of a competitive game where you want to win no matter what, it was still great to see the Shadespire community band together and fight the trend.
All the people I knew going decided not to relic-up (myself included despite the recommendations of some of my friends) but we didn’t want to encourage the negative play experience Steelheart relics enforce. If people saw us playing what we wanted to play with against the trend and put up a decent fight, then at least we could show the community that you don’t always need to rely on the strongest thing in the game to win and have fun.
Anyway, I had decided to run my Skaven again. I have been refining them for 2 months now and improved a lot since the last Grand Clash. I had changed out a few cards as well as enhanced my gameplay. At the last-minute I also swapped in Trapped and increased my deck to 22 to fit in Trap and A Destiny to Meet, all for the sole purpose of countering Steelheart relics. I don’t usually do last-minute things like this but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
My super secret deck list:
Objectives (12) (19☆):
#154 Skritch is the Greatest, Yes-yes (☆*)
#234 Advancing Strike (☆*)
#235 Alone in the Darkness (☆☆)
#243 Change of Tactics (☆*)
#257 Escalation (☆☆)
#272 Master of War (☆)
#282 Ploymaster (☆)
#284 Precise Use of Force (☆*)
#291 Superior Tactician (☆☆☆)
#292 Supremacy (☆☆☆)
#301 Trapped (☆*)
#305 Victorious Duel (☆☆*)
Power Cards (22):
#159 Musk of Fear
#329 Great Concussion
#331 Hidden Paths
#332 Illusory Fighter
#347 Quick Thinker
#348 Ready for Action
#368 Time Trap
#372 Twist the Knife
#166 Bodyguard for a Price
#171 Sneaky Stab-Stab
#373 A Destiny to Meet
#376 Awakened Weapon
#384 Deathly Fortitude
#391 Great Strength
#395 Incredible Strength
#410 Shadeglass Dagger
#412 Shadeglass Hammer
#424 Tethered Spirit
Round 1 was up against a Skaven player, a lovely chap named George. In our pre-game bants, he revealed it was his first Grand Clash and he decided against using relics as he had no fun playing with them. Game 1 started evenly. I was able to nab 7 glory in the first phase from kills mainly but he was able to catch up with the double Supremacy for 5 glory. Phase 2 had my Skritch killing his but he was still able to keep up with objective play. I wiped him out in phase 3 but it ended on a 17/11 win for me. Despite all my killing, he was still able to keep up with my glory gain.
Game 2 started off with a more aggressive push from me. I managed to get a lot of success from my greedy kills and at the bottom of phase 2 I had wiped him out. It ended on a 21/3 win for me. He had made some mistakes (wrong faction cards in his deck) but still played well and enjoyed the games. I was now on 2 wins with +24 glory. All I could do was wait for the next round.
I was on table 1 for round 2 with me at the top of the tournament! Everything was going to plan. My strategy for this Clash was to play around the ranking system. If I scored big in round 1, it would push me out-of-the-way of relics until the end or later in the tournament as the top of each bracket is paired against the bottom. Unfortunately things did not go my way as all the relic players had terrible round 1s and the lowest person on 2 wins was a relic player. Sadly I did get relic’d but I played well enough in the first game to not have my glory put into the negative numbers. I won’t really go over the games as there’s not much you can learn from relic games. Basically any of my attacks that did hit were crit’d on defence. Now normally I’d say you shouldn’t focus on dice with your games (I even wrote an article about it) but there’s nothing else I could focus on in the game where all your opponent is doing is drawing cards.
I will add that it was my worst tournament game and Shadespire game I have ever experienced. If you beat me don’t apologise for winning, then say that you only won because you were running relics, say I’m the better player and then try to force a handshake. Never apologise for a win unless you’re cheating (winning is exactly what you wanted) and embrace what you’re running. Don’t feel ashamed and guilty for something you know is busted, no one forced you to run that build.
Anyway round 3 was an undead affair. It was against a chap called Harry who had a familiar friend he had travelled down with. It was nice to have a Skeleton player to game against but I was thinking whether he was the Hold Objective variety or the fabled aggro Skellies. During deployment, he placed quite aggressively forwards. This could have been bait so I deploy mid-field. Phase 1 was where he revealed his hand. As I went in for the kill, so did he. We were scoring a lot of glory kills between us but I was able to snowball first and pull out a 12/7 win.
Being more reserved for phase 2, I then went in for a quick kill. Sadly I whiffed and had left my rats in a poor position. Harry capitalised on this and killed both Skritch and Krrk in phase 1 then scored double Supremacy in phase 3 and left only a single rat alive. He destroyed me 1/17.
Going into game 3, my chances for winning were on the line so I pushed things into overdrive. I made a crazy push and killed the Warden with Skritch at the bottom of the phase 1. He managed to survive in phase 2 against a crucial attack from an inspired Champion. He rolled a crit and 2 hammers. Surely Skritch was dead, if he was not in the hands of crit king that is! A double defence crit roll saved my boi and then he went into full killy mode. As I was able to get the glory rolling first, I had taken the lead and managed to take control of the game with a 16/4 win. It was a great set of games with an amazing opponent, we bonded over aggro play and being touched in bad spots by relics.
Round 4 was against Jenny, a very colour-coded Steelheart player. I was wary at first, had I been paired against relics again? Thankfully her deployment gave it away, no relic player deploys in your face 😂. I hadn’t played against aggro Stormcast in a while but I was an old aggro Stormcast player. After a fairly even few rounds, she was able to score a few safe kills and then play the reliability game with Hold Objectives 1 to 5, outscoring me 3/7.
Game 2 was a bit of a stand-off. I got some glory in phase 1 then baited out Obryn into a bad charge that he whiffed twice with in phase 2. With the bait taken, my Skritch went into overdrive and wiped out the warband by the bottom of 2 and I won 13/3.
Game 3 started off slowly again, with me scoring Alone in the Darkness and wearing down the Eternals. After some sneaky positioning I managed to kill Brightshield and then Sevrin, scoring Victorious Duel. Obryn was left. In phase 3 he had Deathly Fortitude but only 5 wounds left. Skritch was only damage 4 and Trap was gone. Luckily for me, I played Incredible Strength at the start of the phase, scored a solid hit and the Soul Trap failed earning me another win of 12/4. It was another set of awesome games with a very good opponent, a great way to end day 1.
Day 2 started with a quick position check. Turns out I was currently 11th, not such a bad placing. I would need to win my next 2 rounds with no losses to ensure a high finish, no easy task with the players left around me in the top end.
Round 4 was against Jamie Giblin, some of you might have heard of him before. He’s a good player apparently. Joking aside it was a shame we had to meet now, I had always hoped we would play each other in a Grand Clash final. I had the pleasure to finally meet him in the flesh the day before and he was a top bloke. Luckily we decided not to share decks on the Saturday. He was running aggro Skaven too so it would be an interesting set.
Game 1 started with a cheeky hand of 3 upgrades, a few instant objectives and Escalation. Jamie ditched his Escalation but I secretly kept a hold of mine. With some sneaky kills and glory gain, I ended phase 1 with 7 glory to none. I was able to get the aggro ball rolling and by phase 2 Skritch had wiped out all the rats, ending on an 18/6 win for me. Game 2 started off fairly evenly, with both of scoring hardly anything in the first phase due to our Krrks being invincible. Sadly in phase 2 his Krrk broke first and started the ball rolling for me again. At the end of 2, the enemy Skritch was dead. Not even Jamie’s legendary Hungering Skaven could turn things around and I was able to slay the mighty beast, scoring me another win of 13/6. An awesome set of games to start the day, Jamie did really well with the first real outing of his aggro Skaven.
Round 5 was about to begin. I was on table 6 and on about +50 glory difference. I need to go 2-0 with a good glory gain to be with any chance of a top 8 finish. It would be tough.
Martin was my final opponent. A Fyre Slayer player who I had first met in the tournament I won up in Sheffield back in March at The Outpost. We both shared a joking sigh of relief as neither of us had relics and then got stuck into game 1.
He deployed quite aggressively so I held back. Letting me go first, I immediately moved Lurking out of charge range to deny any glory, which allowed me to play the waiting game. I had a feeling he was aggro Dorfs and I had a reliable glory objective hand. With his key fighters moved, I went in for a sudden set of charges and racked up about 7 glory at the end of phase 1. Phase 2 started off with the Quick Thinker I saved from phase 1 and at the bottom of 2 Skritch had killed all the Fyre Slayers. Phase 3 was mop-up time and it ended on a 18/5 win for me.
Game 2 was a cautious affair. I took the lead again but Martin was able to keep up with kills of his own. Phase 2 ended with Krrk, Maelgrim and Vol dead. I had the numbers and glory but my opponent wasn’t far behind. With a cheeky Great Concussion at the bottom of 2, I pushed all the little men back into their board and denied any charges. Phase 3 started with a risky gamble. Lurking Skaven charged into Tefk and used his Shadeglass dagger to kill to Dwarf (without crits)! I cheekily teleported him to safety with Illusory Fighter. I needed to score Victorious duel to trigger my Superior Tactician but Grimnir was sitting safely in his zone. With my glory lead, however, he needed to make the first move. Using Treasure Lust, Grimnir threw his Shadeglass Axe at Festering Skaven. He rolled 2 hammers, believing in the heart of the crits and the guidance of Criticus Maximus, I rolled my 2 defence dice. No crits…but 2 dodges! My cheeky Rat survived and then Skritch Sneaky Stab-Stab’d Grimnir who failed his Soul Trap and unlocked all my objectives. It ended with a hard-fought win of 17/11. Once more a super tough and fun pair of games. An awesome way to end the Grand Clash. Now it was all about waiting for the results.
Walking up to the Events Team table, the lovely John Bracken asked me where I thought I had placed. I was hoping for an 8th place finish so was completely gobsmacked when I was told I came 3rd! I’d manage to out-score the other 2 relic players outside of 1st and 2nd to come 3rd with my aggro Skaven. Sure it wasn’t 1st place but I’m more than happy to take my final finishing spot
While taking SCE relics would have won me the tournament, the same could be said of all the other good players at the event that decided not to as well. We enjoyed ourselves and managed to show people you don’t need to run what’s currently OP to do well/win a tournament.
All-in-all it was a great event. Everyone I spoke to had fun and loved (most of) their games. Got to meet a lot of people for the first time (including the legendary Jay Clare) and saw something even more terrifying than SCE relics, a man wearing the Warhammer 40k leggings.
A special thanks to all the people during the Warhammer Fest who came up to talk to me about how they loved the blog and my content. It was awesome to meet you all, hear that what I’m putting out has been useful and being enjoyable for everyone. You guys are awesome and a main part of the reason I do this.
As for what’s next, I’m very satisfied with my Skaven and am happy to retire them after doing so well for such a long time. I’ll be doing some testing over the week to see what I run next. The London GT Grand Clash this Friday will be my next event. London is my home town and it is an event I intend to win, especially with the power of Crits 😉