Product review returns for fancy new boards!
Boards are a huge part of the game and something I always focus on when playing Warhammer Underworlds. I’ve written an article all about boards previously as well as a product review on the Shattered City Board Pack from Shadespire. I loved when Games Workshop released the first board expansion so was ecstatic to be surprised by an early board release for Nightvault.
First thing’s first, thanks to GW for giving me this board pack for free to review. Secondly the delay on this article because my delivery was delayed (the new boards are super popular!) and that I wanted some tournament experience with the new boards. I like to be more thorough with these than my warband reviews as there’s so much experimentation with boards.
Another thing to mention is the term I’ve coined: reaction board. It’s basically a board you use primarily placing second in response to what your opponent places first. These boards suffer when placed first but perform amazingly well when placed second. A good example of this is the Shattered Tower. With that all out-of-the-way, let’s get down to business!
It’s like Soul Refractor but broken! The board may seem simple at first with 2 single blocked hexes and a lone lethal hex. The real strength of this board is that it has 3 adjacent starting hexes placed firmly in the middle of the board. This makes the board a suitable choice for placing first as it gives you a fair number of starting hexes, is difficult to punish by your opponent and gives you options for setting up to hang back or go aggressively.
It functions alright as a reaction board for 3 fighter warbands but it doesn’t really perform that role well. It’s rather difficult to play super defensively or aggressively with this board, which I really like. It’s kinda the “safe bet board”. I use it a lot when I’m unsure how my opponent is going to play.
Warbands that love this board:
- Zarbag’s Gitz: You’d be almost entitled to use this board all the time. Start the game with a 3-chain scurry without needing to set it up. Maybe the board is green for a reason…
- The Farstriders: This board gives you a lot of options to set up solidly in the middle, slightly more forwards for an aggressive push or sat back to bring enemy fighters to you.
Whoo boy, where to start. I love this board, it’s so good. While Arcane Nexus provided a solid anti-long configuration board, the Amber Catacomb is the perfect reaction board for long and diagonal configuration. The 3 bunched together lethal hexes offer a huge area of denial. You effectively channel your opponent down a single area or make the journey coming across perilous. I’ll go into more detail as this board has a lot of depth, especially by being the best reaction board in the game.
Probably the best setup, especially against aggro warbands. In fact I use it all the time vs Mollog and is a solid tool for how I counter the Troggoth. As pictured against Mirror Well, you effectively allow only one enemy fighter in if deploying on all starting hexes. Even then, fighters that make the journey need to spend 2 action phases to safely cross the gap. Another tip is always place an objective adjacent to the 3 lethal hexes, it’s awesome Faneway Crystal bait.
A very punishing setup again. As mentioned earlier you force your opponent to either move down the left or take the safer journey across the right path. No matter what you’re still slowing down your opponent.
Really strong for aggro players. Dunk an objective hex next to the lethal hexes and charge forwards. You have 4 far up starting hexes to get to grips with enemy faster. You even have 2 starting hexes adjacent to each other providing great support for 2 chosen fighters. You can setup wide and focus down the opponent like a clawed manoeuvre or go in for a massive scrum in the middle.
Warbands that love this board:
- Anyone playing control
- Sepulchral Guard: The perfect reaction board. Abuse the Prince of Dust’s knockback with the 3 lethal hexes. The board’s a pinball machine, you’re the flipper and everyone are just big steel balls waiting to be smashed into those lovely lethal hexes.
- Spiteclaw’s Swarm: It’s the board every Skaven warlord has been dreaming off. Their 5 fighters allow a strong defensive setup while also using their movement 5 and range of 2 to punish enemy fighters with Skritch.
- Everyone but Mollog.
As an added bonus I’ll talk about some sneaky combos I’ve come up with over the course of using the Amber Catacomb. Some are niche but still surprising uses of card and board.
- Shardfall: You heard me. Use it to entirely block off a part of the board when placed next to the lethal hexes unless your opponent is really brave to run through the lethal hexes. It’s soul crushing for your opponent when you pull it off, especially in action phase 1.
- Distraction: Your opponent thinks they’re smart by safely moving around the lethal hexes BUT NOT TODAY! Extra points if you combine it with an attack, e.g. attack, drive back into a lethal hex, play Distraction to push them through another.
- Grinding Earth: Like Shardfall but not as good. Only really useable by Stormsire’s Cursebreakers but it’s a fun surprise to pull off. You thought 3 lethal hexes were bad but a bunch of 4 is even worse.
- Shifting Shards: Solely because you hate hold objective warbands, specifically Eyes of the Nine.
Buy the Forbidden Chambers Board Pack. It’s good, very good indeed. I got it for free but I would have bought it regardless. These are 2 very powerful boards that give you a lot of options for approaching the game and playing against different warbands as well as playstyles. Boards are so important to Underworlds that I feel you’ll be missing out by not having these in your collection.
Although I dedicated most of my review to the Amber Catacomb, Shattered Refractor is very good too in its own right. Really these boards are very well designed bordering on overpowered. Plus they look pretty nice too. So buy your’s today and beware the Prince of Dust bearing crits!