Today’s reader’s request article is all about the effectiveness of certain cards.
Some of you may remember that I asked people what they wanted me to write about a few months ago. This article is just one of the many suggestions that I’m slowly working through. It was brought up to me by a very dashing fellow who has a lot of trophies but sadly not as many as me. He wanted to be kept mysterious so I’ll simply call him J. Clare.
Getting to the article at hand, it’ll be focussed on 2 parts: Underused and Overrated cards. I’ll be covering the latter first, looking into what cards I commonly encounter or have seen online via submissions. Now I’m not saying they’re bad cards, just that they’re not as good as people generally think or have downsides of their own. For underused cards, I’ll be going through my favourite cards that may have been popular before or ones that can catch the unprepared player off-guard.
Remember that these are just my own thoughts based upon how I play as well as my experience with the game since it started. Due to playing for so long, I still fondly remember when certain cards were loved or the bane of games.
Second Wind is a common card I see being used regularly, although it’s popularity has began to drop off. While a fairly decent effect, allowing you to activate a fighter who has charged in the next activation, it has a lot of problems. Firstly, it’s slow. The problem that it is not instantaneous allows your opponent to react to it which can be a waste in itself.
I’ve had debates with players over this but I feel that cards with great effects but allow your opponent to respond to it are just not that great. A simple Sidestep or Distraction make Second Wind moot. While that can be a good result, those 2 cards are being used exactly what they are designed for while your charged fighter is left alone and Second Wind ends up being a dead card.
Now hold your horses, I’m not saying it’s a bad card. I think it’s probably the best ploy card or hands-down the best card in the game. My problem with it is how people use it. A small gripe is that it’s a bit of a giveaway when you have it as you usually tell your opponent to wait for a few seconds after they charge (if they don’t ask if you have any reactions to play). It just takes a bit more time for the user to think ahead with Quick Thinker’s use but it can be difficult with how fast paced Underworlds can be.
Another point is that people don’t really think where they’re going to move their fighters with it. Many a time I’ve seen people use Quick Thinker to stop a charge, only to leave the fighter it was used on in a worse position or even blocking the movement of their own team.
Players also forget how flexible the card is. Many a time I’ve used Quick Thinker to move in a friendly fighter to provide support, move a friendly fighter deep into enemy territory while another one is charged and also for the free movement to get my warriors onto objectives. It’s just a super flexible card which people lose track of.
YES I KNOW IT WAS BANNED BUT WHAT I WROTE STILL STANDS 😭
I could write so much about this card. Doing 1 damage to every fighter on the field is a decent effect and helps certain strategies that rely on damaging all fighters. Still, the fact that it puts your fighters into kill threshold is just not a good trade-off. In all the games I’ve had Shardgale used against me, only about 2 or so players managed to use it effectively to combo with cards such as My Turn but even then it almost cost them the game.
A mass push must be great, right? That’s what contributed to Great Concussion being banned after all. It’s also amazing at shutting down Hold Objective play. The problem is that’s all it’s good for. While a mass push can be considered great for gaining ground, you need to remember that it also pushes the opponent back unless they’re on edge hexes etc.
It’s also very easy to telegraph when you see someone line up all their fighters adjacent to objectives. The card also counters itself. I see it all the time in aggro deck post ban and restricted list where cards like Distraction or Quick Advance would be more appropriate. Just remember Earthquake is a niche card with a rather restricted use.
Yeah, I said it. Fight me bro. Strictly speaking this is still an amazing card that can offer great mobility but people often overlook the downsides. For starters the fighter’s next move has to use Faneway Crystal. There’s no choice. This limitation can have huge consequences as it can potentially allow your opponent to predict where you are going.
Next you have to go on any objective hex (including, weirdly, the one you may already be standing on). You’ll have a problem when there are no free objectives on the board. Many a time I’ve had this equipped with nowhere to actually move.
Objective placement becomes even more important so you have to start planning how to use the card from the moment boards are chosen. I usually place objectives on key points around the boards so I can have better coverage. However this can be countered to. At the Blood and Glory final my opponent always placed the last hex on my board edge for Faneway Crystal. After the first game I shut this down by simply sticking a fighter on there and making sure it stayed there to deny any escapes. Faneway Crystal still has amazing utility yet you need to remember all of its flaws.
An extra defence dice isn’t all that you may say but it can offer enough interesting options to help deter charges/attacks. While not great for single dodge warbands, this card becomes very interesting with single block fighters or those with multiple defence dice. Is it worth charging a Skaven who now has 3 defence or a fighter from Steelheart’s Champions now that they’ll have 2 to 3 block dice?
Sure it can be a waste if your opponent doesn’t charge said fighters when the card has been played but no attack occurring means your fighters are completely safe from harm. It’s better to look at this card as a deterrent/mind game card instead of one designed to make your fighters more resilient. It’s the same way Soul Trap and Tethered spirit work.
Yes it’s banned but that won’t stop me. Pre-FAQ Time Trap was a very flexible card. While people mainly used it to attack after charging, I found it very flexible. Many a time did I simple use it to move another fighter out of harms way or place them on guard.
Not only that, it was great to use after an opponent had buffed up one of their own fighters for their next activation. My favourite thing was having my opponent play Daemonic Resilience or Insensate only for me to play Time Trap to bypass their buffs and immediately kill them. It was the best balanced card in the game with a huge drawback that could cost you the game if poorly played.
I hate it but still use it a lot of the time. Rebound has a 33% chance to completely bounce back an attack after rolling your defence dice and stacks with Soul Trap/Tethered Spirit if failed. Although a 66% chance of failure is an appropriately big failure rate and it does indeed rarely go off for me. However this card does have 2 very important uses.
Firstly: MIND GAMES. Play it in game 1 and your opponent has a brief state of panic. In games 2 or 3 is where it really kicks into gear, especially when their fighters are pumping out enough damage to kill themselves from a successful Rebound. I’ve had many opponents who simply refused attacking me because of the risk.
Secondly it stops Twist the Knife. Yes it is restricted but it’s not banned. Both cards share the same reaction window and thus the Rebound controller stops Twist the Knife. It’s the main reason I ran it with my Skaven. Buying Skritch or any other key fighter an extra activation or so to fight again is huge and also unexpected.
A good card from the days of old. With Nightvault’s resurgence of big warbands coupled with Great Concussion being banned make it a very useful card. While it can be a dead card vs 3 model warbands, cards like Distraction and Centre of Attention are great at mitigating this.
It’s a great card for crowd control with fighters that normally can’t fill such a role like Ammis, Gurzag and Brightshield. Just remember that this only works with range 1 attacks.
More of an umbrella group for all speed upgrades, this is something I have more of a personal preference with. Movement and positioning is the most important of Underworlds (fight me) so getting that little edge on movement can change the game dramatically. A fighter going from movement 3 to 4 is a big step and will change how your opponent plays around you, especially considering movement 5 only currently is available with Skaven and inspired Reavers.
Even +1 move on a Skaven is a huge change. Those little extra changes force your opponent to think more about how to exactly keep away from your or which of their own fighters to commit with. Having a movement 4 or 5 fighter in the centre of the board effectively gives you full reach for where to strike. While push cards are still plentiful, they don’t stick around like those movement upgrades.
Hopefully this made you look at your cards more closely in general. A lot of the time there’s more to what a card does than just its description. On the other hand don’t just run what’s popular because everyone else is. Card choice is a lot more fluid and personal now, pick what suits you best as well as what supports how your chosen playstyle functions. Nothing can trump that. Except maybe crits.