Can the great changer of ways prove triumphant?
Greetings, welcome to another thrilling installment of my treacherous trophy travels. I’m on a journey to win with every single Warhammer Underworlds warband and now I only have 4 left! These are: Garek’s Reavers, Eyes of the Nine, Zarbag’s Gitz and Godsworn hunt. For today’s tournament, I had set my eyes on Tzeentch’s favoured.
Since my last tournament 2 weeks ago I had realised my deck building had not been up to scratch (because they kept bricking). Thus I had spent that time theory crafting my last 4 decks, trying to figure out why they weren’t working for me. Coupled with my unavailability for practice games it meant I had to rely on past experiences with each warband. Thus I decided to break my rule of 22 card decks and cut down to 20 (22 is my preferred power deck number) as well as seek help.
Eyes of the Nine are a notoriously difficult warband to play let alone win continuously with. Ironskull’s Boyz weren’t too much of a problem for me as there are now plenty of boards with lethal hexes that they can use plus lots of mobility cards. I have played Eyes plenty of times but turned to the best and most humble Eyes of the Nine player in the world; David (he’s written an article or two here ya know). Our combined scheming ways should produce a formidably flexible deck that Tzeentch himself would be proud of.
Playstyle: Flex (Hold Objective and aggro)
This was what I came up with after 2 weeks of daily changes. In fact on the day I had intended to run Keep Them Guessing but had Bind the City in there instead for some reason. After chatting with David I found cards where you needed to hold 3 objectives for 2 glory wasn’t reliable and the Tactical Supremacy cards are easier to score reliably. The best objective in the deck is probably Tactical Supremacy 1-4 as no one really remembers it!
I dropped Escalation for Great Gains. I needed the restricted slots and Great Gains is actually quite easy to score, especially with this deck. David suggested Hoarder but I found this card more reliable and much easier to achieve. Alone in the Darkness made sense to me. My force will be spread out on objectives and horde warbands aren’t popular currently.
Master of Magic and Sorcerous Scouring are very important score immediately cards. They help quickly cycle through my deck and I can score them while holding objectives. Summoner is essential because summoning the Blue Horror is essential to the warband. It is amazing at getting to objectives you need and staying on them thanks to splitting when the Blue Horror turns into a Brimstone Horror and thus cannot be driven back.
Abasoth’s Withering is there as a no-brainer, it’s just really good. Wracking Change was really tempting but I didn’t want to invest into innate channel upgrades. Arcane Transposition is so important. It’s basically Confusion but as it is a spell it a) helps inspire K’Charik and b) helps score Master of Magic. Confusion speaks for itself.
Shifting Shards is the 2nd most important card in the power deck. This was gifted by David, prepare to have your minds blown. Use it to push an objective onto a starting hex. This allows you to summon the Blue Horror directly onto that objective. It also combines heavily with Deceitful Step. Just teleport onto that objective. So useful for objective 1 or 5 as well as just using it to move an objective onto a friendly fighter.
Next you have my push cards, Hidden Paths for objective capturing or escaping and Ready for Action to use as an extra move to counter being pushed off of objectives or a sneaky way to get on an important objective after charging to kill someone.
Sudden Growth and Deathly Fortitude are the last restricted cards. Originally the latter was Shadeglass Dagger but I needed the wounds more than I did damage output. Stack them on any fighter to make them extra durable so you can just sit on objectives for as long as possible. Amazing on the Blue and Brimstone Horrors too. A giant pair of Brimstone Horrors terrorising the board is an adorable sight.
Empowered Sorcery gives Vortemis extra range 3 damage boost. Silver Tether and the Formless Key help with more glory gain outside of objectives. I ran the Fractured Key because I care about objective 5 and everyone else doesn’t. Plus while my opponent prioritises preventing me getting on objective 1 and I comfortably sit on objective 5.
Shadeglass Sword is just a very reliable weapon. Gloryseeker is another crucial card but not in the way you think. While useful for Vortemis I put it on K’Charik. It makes him even more of a threat so people prioritise him over other fighters. Archer’s Focus is amazing. Vortemis now only needs this upgrade to be truly reliable.
With Eyes of the Nine I needed everything to be in sync. A streamlined deck is important but you need to know the warband inside out and have solid tactics. I’ve already covered most of them already but these are:
- Summon the Blue Horror early, either as a distraction or just out of charge range once your opponent has moved their fighters out of range.
- Shifting Shards an objective hex onto a starting hex. Allows you to summon the Blue Horror directly onto an objective or use Deceitful Step to place a friendly fighter on one. Prioritise Objective 1 or 5 but use it mainly to help score the objective card in-hand first.
- Overwhelm your opponent with targets. My favourite is K’Charik with Gloryseeker or just inspired. Gloryseeker makes him a damage 4 movement 4 missiles while inspited K’Charik is just very reliable. Your opponent will have to deal with him instead of the fighters sitting on objectives. I also put the Key upgrades on either the Horrors or any fighter.
- Plan how to attack your opponent while staying on objective hexes. Deploy them deep in your territory but use the warband’s 3 range threat to your advantage.
- ALWAYS CHARGE WITH VORTEMIS LAST.
- Use pushes to get Deceitful Step. Remember you can’t choose a friendly fighter adjacent to enemy fighters but you can with a fighter that has charged or moved!
- Don’t try scoring Summoner in a single action phase, set it up to score for later action phases. If your opponent hasn’t attacked the Blue Horror the action phase it is summoned then ditch it. Don’t let the card brick your hand.
That’s pretty much everything tactics. Eyes of the Nine was my hardest warband to win with so I treated it as if I was trying to win a Grand Clash. It would also be a big challenge for me playstyle wise. Despite being a flex deck, it heavily focuses on the hold objective element which I’m not good at. Aggro and control are easy for but this isn’t. I’ve never been good at hold objective play. It would be a huge hurdle for me to overcome. Resisting the call of aggro is not easy for me, just think of all the crits…
Venue wise I went to Games Workshop Solihull. I was originally going to another tournament in Birmingham but it went from 4 players to 12+. While I love the growth in attendance for Underworlds events I also like tournaments being Swiss (e.g. a clear winner at the end) so with 3 rounds and probably more than 12 players on the day I messaged GW Solihull.
I was familiar with area (and Birmingham in general, Dudley is great if you love steam engine lines that still run in service) and the store manager was helpful as well as quick at responding. It would be best of 1 but despite not enjoying that format there would be a true winner. With my warband and tactics ready, I went forth for a day of fun and potential glory.
Synonymous Symbol Showcase:
Ironskull’s Boyz headed by Darrel was my first opponent. Losing boards he placed the Mirror Well so I placed the new Forbidden Chambers board. I’ll call it the Amber Catacomb (with the other being the Shattered Refractor). I set the boards in diagonal configuration.
Winning priority via setting up first, I let my opponent go first. Bonekutta moved up so I summoned the Blue Horror. Gurzag charged, 2 smashes pulverising the Horror into a Brimstone. Casting Arcane Transposition, I swapped Vortemis and K’Charik, inspiring the Tzaangor. Then I moved Vortemis onto objective 2. Basha charged into the Brimstone but missed. The Horror then moved onto objective 5. Hakka moved up then I used Hidden Paths to put Turosh on the edge hex next to objective 4. I then played Quick Advance, pushing K’Charik and Turosh onto objectives 3 and 4 respectively. This scored me Supremacy, Bind the city and Tactical Supremacy 3 and 4 for 7 glory. I equipped Narvia with the Shadeglass Sword and Turosh with Deathly Fortitude.
Going first Narvia charged into Hakka. 3 smashes hit him for 2 damage and then he was driven into the lethal hex for an additional point of damage. Next I gave Turosh Deathly Fortitude. Gurzag charged the Brimstone Horror, killing it with a smash and a crit. Next I put Vortemis on guard. Bonekutta charged Turosh, 2 smashes doing 2 damage to him. Next I charged Hakka with Vortemis but his staff missed although I did score change of Tactics. Hakka charged into Turosh but I successfully defended with a crit. Realising Vortemis now couldn’t summon the Blue Horror, I sighed and put Turosh on guard. Basha then charged in but missed. I closed the round by giving Vortemis Faneway Crystal then playing Ready for Action to move him onto objective 1. This scored me Tactical Supremacy 1-4 and Harness Knowledge.
Losing priority in phase 3, Gurzag charged Vortemis, 2 smashes bringing him down to 1 wound. He then played ‘Avin a Good Time, rolled a smash and killed Vortemis with a smash and a crit. Oh. My plans now rather screwed, I moved Narvia onto objective 2. Hakka charged her but failed to hit. K’Charik charged in, his fated blade slicing the Orruk in half with 2 crits. I closed off the game by putting the Formless Key on Narvia which allowed me to win 12/4.
Cursebreakers were the next warband I would play against, this time led by Andy. Losing boards (yay) I placed the Shyishian Stardial while Andy set the Soul Refractor wide.
Going first, Ammis successfully casted Empower to inspire and score Harness the Storm. I moved K’Charik onto objective 4. Rastus tried to cast Empower but failed. I next summoned the Blue Horror. Ammis moved adjacent to it. I moved Narvia onto objective 1. Ammis attacked with 3 smashes but I rolled a crit to defend. Stormsire moved up, inspired via Inspiration Strikes. I used Hidden Paths to place the Blue Horror on objective 3 the drew a card. Going into the end phase I scored Alone in the Darkness and Tactical Supremacy 3-4.
Winning priority, I let Andy go first. Now out of position due to thinking I was originally going to be quite aggressive with Eyes of the Nine, the Cursebreakers could only move up. I simply drew cards then in the last power step I used Shifting Shards to push objective 2 onto a starting hex. I then played Deceitful Step and teleported Turosh onto it. Closing out the phase I scored Tactical Supremacy 1-2, Bind the City and Harness Knowledge.
Phase 3 began with Ammis charging into Narvia, killing her with 3 smashes despite Sudden Growth thanks to Gloryseeker. I gave Turosh, who had Deathly Fortitude, Shadeglass Sword. He rolled 3 smashes but Rastus rolled a crit. Stormsire went on guard Seeing Stormsire was lined up to charge K’Charik, I played Sidestep on Vortemis, casted Arcane Transposition and swapped him with the Tzaangor. I then put Vortemis on guard. Stormsire charged and blasted down Vortemis to 1 wound via a crit and focus. He then rolled 2 crits with Abasoth’s Withering on K’Charik. I gave Vortemis Archer’s Focus and he charged onto objective 2 into Ammis. 2 focuses blasted Ammis away scoring Change of Tactics and Master of Magic. Rastus then swung at Turosh but missed. I simply moved K’Charik onto objective 2 and gave him Silver Tether and the Formless Key. I then scored 2 glory from upgrades, Tactical Supremacy 1-4, Great Gains and Supremacy for 9 glory which put me on a 19/8 win.
Next up was Alex and his Zarbag’s Gitz. Losing boards (yay) I placed the Shyishian Stardial while he placed the Penitent’s Throne in diagonal configuration.
Going first, Drizgit used his action to move up with the Squigs while Prog Scurried up too. I tried casting Arcane Transposition but failed. Narvia was moved onto objective 2. A Grot archer moved up while his adjacent friend Scurried too. I then moved Turosh onto objective 5. With my opponent drawing a card, I summoned the Blue Horror in his territory. Zarbag charged it with a crit and fury, turning it into a Brimstone Horror. I then moved it onto objective 1. In the end phase I scored Tactical Supremacy 1-2, Supremacy and Great Gains.
Losing priority, the Brimstone was surrounded by 3 Grotz. Zarbag got multiple successes but a trusty crit saved me. I fired the Brimstone into an archer, failing to do any damage or hits. 2 archers then Scurried forwards in range of Turosh. I summoned the Blue Horror next to him which scored me Summoner. I then gave Turosh Deathly Fortitude. The 2 Grotz shot at him but luckily their accuracy was terrible. I next put the Blue Horror on guard. A Squig moved up and was then charged by the horror. 3 fury doing 1 damage and scoring me Change of Tactics. Zarbag then moved back. Vortemis charged onto objective 4, rolling a focus and a crit. The Squig was blasted away scoring me Sorcerous Scouring. I then used Deceitful Step to put the Blue Horror back on objective 1. I scored Tactical Supremacy 1-4 and Harness Knowledge.
Phase 3 had Turosh charge a Squig but miss. Drizgit charged in and smashed Turosh down to 2 wounds. K’Charik charged into another Squig and cut it apart with a crit and a smash. Zarbag charged into the Blue Horror, causing it to split again. Vortemis casted Abasoth’s Withering onto a Grot then charged another. Thanks to Arcane Focus, it was blasted apart with magic to score me Master of Magic. Prog charged the Brimstone but I crit’d in defence. I simply drew a power card and played Faneway Crystal with Ready for Action to get Turosh back onto objective 5. He was then given the Fractured Key. Going into the end phase I scored 2 glory from upgrades and Bind the City to win 17/10.
Sepulchral Guard were next, being played by Mark. Losing boards (awesome) again we both placed the Shyishian Stardial but set diagonal.
The Guard went first, simply moving the Champion and Prince forward. I summoned the Blue Horror. Mark then used Terrifying Screams, pushing Narvia adjacent to the Champion. He attacked and killed her with 2 smashes. I moved Turosh onto objective 4. The Warden charged the Horror, failing but attacking again with Necromancer Commands which was what I wanted gone, a smash and a crit turned my Horror into a Brimstone. K’Charik then moved onto objective 1. The Prince of Dust attacked the Horror, missing it. I moved Vortemis onto Objective 2. In the end phase I scored. Tactical Supremacy 1-4 and Tactical Supremacy 1-2.
Losing priority, the Warden killed the Brimstone Horror to score Skills Unforgotten. I next summoned the Blue Horror in my territory to score Summoner. The Champion charged into K’Charik but I rolled a crit (ayyy). I put the Horror on guard. Mark then drew a card. My blue Horror charged the Champion, doing 1 damage with 1 crit, a fury and support to score Change of Tactics. Mark drew another card as I put Empowered Sorcery and Archer’s Focus onto Vortemis. My wizard charged and blasted the Champion away to score Sorcerous Scouring and inspire. Mark brought back the Champion and then used Bag of Tricks to get Spectral Wings. I closed the round by drawing a power card. In the end phase I scored Harness Knowledge.
Winning priority I let mark go first who used Bag of Tricks to draw Great Strength. I put K’Charik on guard and then cast Abasoth’s Withering on the Warden. The Champion was equipped with Great Strength on top of his Gloryseeker and played Spectral Wings so I put Deathly Fortitude on K’Charik and Sudden Growth on Vortemis. He charged K’Charik and cleaved him down to a single wound. Vortemis the blasted apart the Prince with magic to score Master of Magic while the Warden moved back. K’Charik charged back onto his objective to kill the Champion with 2 crits. Mark swapped an objective and I put Vortemis on guard. I used Deceitful Step to put the Blue Horror on a starting hex then played Quick Advance to push it onto objective 2 and Turosh onto objective 4. I then gave the Blue Horror Silver Tether and the Formless Key. In the end phase Mark scored a lot of objectives and Superior Tactician. I scored 2 glory from upgrades, Supremacy and Great Gains to get me a 17/14 close win.
Round 5 was the hardest round. I had received the bye due to there being 7 players. After a grueling 45 minutes I was able to overcome the tough bye thanks to determination and cookies.
Zarbag’s Gitz would be my final challenge. They were being played by my friend Rob. I had beaten him in the finals at Ibuywargames but would I be able to do the same again? Especially considering he constantly beats David and his Eyes of the Nine. Losing boards (so good) I placed the Shyishian Stardial while Rob placed the Shattered Refractor in diagonal configuration.
I let Rob go first who started off by moving Redcap up. I successfully cast Arcane Transposition and swapped Drizgit so he was adjacent to only a single Squig, which inspired the adjacent K’Charik. Realising Snirk wasn’t inspired, K’Charik charged in and killed the Fanatic with a smash and a crit. The Gitz did a big Scurry so I moved Narvia onto objective 3. I drew a card then Zarbag charged K’Charik, bringing him down to 1 wound. Turosh charged Zarbag next to objective 4 but mised then Rob used Bag of Tricks. Vortemis charged Zarbag but missed. I played Shifting Shards to put objective 5 on a starting hex.
Round 2 had me lose priority and now Zarbag had Time of Offerings and Vitality. He attacked with 2 crits and a fury. I reacted with Rebound and rolled a crit (maximum skill). Next I cast Abasoth’s Withering on Zarbag then shot at him with Vortemis who had Archer’s Focus. A crit and a focus were enough to blast Zarbag apart to score Master of Magic and Sorcerous Scouring. Prog charged into K’Charik and killed him with 3 fury. Vortemis then went on guard. Redcap used Faneway Crystal to get onto Objective 5. Vortemis charged but rolled 2 channels with a re-roll but still scored Change of Tactics while Rob got Supremacy.
Losing priority, Prog charged onto objective 4 and pushed Turosh away with 1 damage. Vortemis blasted the trapped Redcap with Bolt of Change. He reacted with Last Chance and rolled a dodge. Rob then shuffled Drizgit and a Squig around objective 1. I summoned the Blue Horror onto objective 5 while Rob drew a card. I drew a card and then Rob drew a card. In my last activation Vortemis charged Prog. He needed to hit. I rolled a single focus then used Archer’s Focus to roll a crit (trademark) and blasted Prog away. I gave the Blue Horror the Formless Key as Narvia had Silver Tether. Rob used Centre of Attention to pull Vortemis away from objective 4 so I played Faneway Crystal and Ready for Action to get him on the objective. Going into the end phase I scored 2 glory from upgrades, Supremacy, Tactical Supremacy 3-4 and Great Gains for 9 glory. The game ended 16/11 to me. Super tight and fun game that literally came down to the wire.
After 5 games I had endedd up as the only undefeated player with a total glory score of 88 and a differential of +34. It was a super tough tournament and I finally got the hang of hold objective play. That little aggro element gave me the needed killing boost. Special thanks go to David as I wouldn’t have won without his help and knowledge.
I had a great time down at Games Workshop Solihull. If you’re ever down in the area, check it out. They’ve got a great local scene and player base plus their store manager Ryan is one of the best around, you’ll always have a good time. He even gave us all the big Warhammer Underworlds Nightvault launch paper game boards!
As for me, it’s back to the planning phase for my last 3 warbands. I’m so close to my goal! Which one will I use next? Well that’s a surprise. What won’t be is the number of crits involved!