Who you go for first is important.
In Warhammer Underworlds you always have a variety of targets to choose from in every game yet who you aim at eliminating to start with can win or lose you games. It may seem simple to just go for your opponent’s strongest fighter but that depends if your foe was even planning on attacking with said fighter in the first place. Today I’ll be going over what you need to think about when deciding who to attack and why.
Identify your opponent’s playstyle
A deceivingly complex task. This comes down to your experience with the game and should be something you’re doing anyway. Signs of this can be picked up from as soon as you see what warvand your opponent is using. However you can’t always rely on this as people are known to play warbands outside of their popular archrtype.
I prefer starting with what board your opponent chooses. Has your opponent chosen to go in long configuration? Most likely playing control. Set boards wide? Aggro is a safe bet. Even the types of boards chosen give a lot away. After that you can use how objectives are placed for further tells to help identify if your opponent is playing hold objectives.
Another tell is checking what cards your opponent discards after a do-over. It’s the most telling as cards are a strong indication of what your opponent wants to achieve.
Finally you have fighter placement. Is your opponent at at the back of the board? Control. As close as possible to you? Aggro. Middle of the board? Either hold objective or flex to tempt you in. With all this information you should be able to develop a solid picture about your opponent.
Who to go for first?
Once you’ve got a solid idea about what your opponent is doing you need to figure out if they have a key fighter to anchor their gameplan around. With a lot of players it’s their leader but it’s not always that easy. Warbands like Godsworn Hunt and Garrek’s Reavers have no centralised threat so you need to evaluate which fighter poses the most risk to yourself. Remember it’s not always who you go for first but what order you target your opponent’s fighters.
Objectives also need to be factored into this. Do you want to wreck your opponent over ignoring your objectives? Usually yes but it’s something you need to judge. Sometimes it’s worth denying your own glory gain to shut down the opponent.
You need remember that your opponent will know who the biggest threat is and will try to play around that by making a chosen target undesirable to charge or by playing their weaker fighters upfront for you to waste time killing. This sacrifices your positioning and activations while they go for the counter attack.
A good example is with Garrek’s Reavers. Targor and Arnulf aren’t that useful. The Reaver player will be happy for you to charge in and kill them, even after they have charged you as it helps further their gameplan. In that situation you just ignore them and go for the more important enemy fighters.
For control the leader is usually the key fighter as a lot of objectives synergise around a leader being alive as well as their generally better stats. Being able to kill the Warden or Stormsire early can almost shatter your opponent instantly if you can reach them.
Risk vs Reward
Sure dismantling your opponent is great but at what cost? If it fails you’re generally scoring nothing while your foe is probably racking up steady glory. Is it worth continually trying to assassinate your opponent phase after phase at the disregard of your own objectives?
This a regular pit trap against warbands such as Mollog’s Mob. Sometimes you’ll invest so much time into killing a single fighter that by the time you achieve that goal you’ll have lost the game.
This is where it comes into a) knowing what your opponent wants to do and b) when to strike. Sometimes the best plan is going for your objectives first to rack up a steady base to attack from then go for your opponent when you’re confident that the investment will pay off. It’s possible that while you wait your opponent will possibly even mess up and leave your ideal target exposed for a juicy kill.
For another example I’ll go with Ylthari’s Guardians. Most players build around Ylthari as she’s just so strong and crucial to the warband that it’s difficult not to build around her. Your opponent, however, knows this and generally won’t leave her exposed. Biding your time for a bit can’t put pressure on the opponent, especially if you kill Gallanghan or Skathael first and force them to commit with Ylthari. It allows you to strike when they’re now pressured, constantly waiting for your precision strike.
With the groundwork covered I’ll provide examples for target priority you can use for your games against each current Shadespire and Nightvault warband. I’m not saying this is what you should do every game against these opponents but it’s a general rule of thumb that’ll help improve your priority target picking.
Khorne’s Blood Reavers are an interesting warband as they have no centralised threat generally. Once inspired and they have upgrade weapons floating about, each one becomes a problem for you. My rule of thumb is go for Saek first, ignore Targor and Arnulf. After that go for Karsus and Garrek depending on what kind of warband you’re running. With those 3 out of the way it’s pretty much game.
The vanilla elite. Once again each fighter provides its own issues but generally you want to go for Severin first due to how control and aggro objectives stack cards just for him. If you’re running a horde warband then Brightshield is the preferred choice due to her reliability at 3 smash.
Underworld’s first 7 (horde) fighter warband may seem daunting on paper. 7 fighters can be a lot to churn through generally. The Warden is always first priority but without mobility tricks that’s generally impossible to do early. Ignore the Harvester, Champion and Prince. Go for the Petitioners first. Doesn’t allow your opponent to inspire and resurrect their ideal fighters while hindering their hold objective capabilities. Then go for the Warden.
This is an easy one. Ignore Hakka and Basha, go straight for Gurzag. Once he’s dead then go for Bonekutta and it’s game.
The Chosen Axes
Once again gunning for Grimnir first is a safe bet. If you’re using a lower wound warband like a horde warband I’d suggest Tefk then Maegrim as once inspired they become huge threats. Also always try to prevent the Chosen Axes from inspiring.
Sadly it’s go for Skritch as he’s always the lynchpin. If Skritch is too far away then kill Krrk. Once those 2 are dead your opponent can only resurrect Clanrats with the gambit There Are Always More.
Once again it’s go for the leader. Kill Farstrider and it’s usually over. Oddly it can be quite easy to do as a lot of Farstrider players will just charge at you. After he’s doneeI recommend going for Swiftblade the waste Well-Timed Lunge and get rid of the fighter with cleave. Eagle-Eye is damage 3 inspired but he’s easier to handle. Just remember to play around their inspire mechanic.
For the second Khorne warband Magore or Riptooth are equally valid targets. I go for who presents themself first which is generally Riptooth. Magore is a prime candidate to kill early so that Show of Strength, What Armour? and his specific upgrades all become useless. Then go for Zharkus with Ghartok last as Gorefists are annoying.
This depends if they’re aggro or magic. For aggro go for Ammis first then Stormsire. If magic then it’s the reverse. Once Ammis is gone they lose a lot of aggro punch. With magic, the deck is heavily stacked towards Stormsire but still functional if he dies. Leave Rastus for last. There’s nothing you can really do about stopping them inspiring.
Thorns of the Briar Queen
Whether aggro or hold objectives, the Queen will come for you. 3 objectives in your half? Sit back and wait for the ghosts to come to you. Varclav is the real target but impossible to reach without a high movement charge due to Hidden Paths and Sudden Appearance. Kill the Queen then the Ever-Hanged and the warband loses its punch. Remember to play around their inspire mechanic.
Eyes of the Nine
Kill Vortemis first. The deck is always built around him, especially when factoring in the Blue Horror. Then kill K’Charik. With that it’s game.
Underworld’s only 9 fighter warband. This band of Grotz is a confusing one due to the slew of targets. If you can, kill Snirk first otherwise just ignore him. Next I like to kill the Squigs then Drizgit. You could go for the other Gitz first while they’re not inspired but that depends how heavily the Gitz player is leaning into hold objectives. Just never kill Drizgit first. Zarbag is more of a distraction than anything, just like inspired Snirk.
The Darkoath warriors. Like Garrek’s Reavers they have no centralised threat. I advise going for Grundann, then Theddra with Shond last. Killing Jagathra before she throws he spear is also advisable too. Also if you kill Shond and Ollo early, What Armour? becomes a dead card without backup upgrades. It’s a lot of work but careful deconstruction of the Godsworn sees them fall apart like a jenga tower.
The infamous Troggoth. You have 2 clear options that work no matter the playstyle of the Mollog player: either kill Mollog or his little friends first. Each one is viable. Mollog actually hates being swarmed as he’s quickly killed when overwhelmed but if this takes too long it can eat up your glory gain. Killing his 3 little friends however lets you rack up glory and objectives quickly while also meaning tome Mollog players have to invest everything in the Troggoth. Either option depends on who is easier to reach and what your objectives are.
Those fearsome gun-toting Duardin. While built around Thundrik who is essential to the warband, he’s not always easy to eliminate early. If he’s out of your reach I suggest going for Ironhail and Lund first. Killing Ironhail denies Get Thee Hence while losing Lund means Thundrik has to commit while inspired to score What Armour? From there it’s whomever is more important. All the Profiteers inspired? Kill Drakkskewer. Just Thundrik? Kill da kaptin!
Sylvaneth try to bring more than just life to the Mirrored City. Once again Ylthari is the key but if she’s not within reach go for Gallanghan IF YOU STRONGLY FEEL YOU CAN KILL HIM. His ability to bounce damage back with defensive crits is highly annoying. Skhathael is a good shout too. Anything to get Ylthari to commit, just don’t forget her threat range with attacks and spells do you don’t fall into a trap yourself. Leave Ahnslaine for last.
With that the article is over. Using the information presented here you will find it easier in identifying what your opponent’s gameplan is and what fighters to prioritise in regards to disrupting their plans. Not only that but it’s a mini tactica article too! Remember the worst thing you can do is just kill aimlessly.
Always have a specific goal with every activation. Don’t go for the fighter that’s presented easily to you. Your opponent will be trying to disrupt you as much as you plan to do to them. Although sometimes it pays off to take a gamble. A calculated risk you could say. I’ve won many a tournament before by just running in killing my opponent’s key fighters to dismantle them. It’s all about gauging how damaging your actions will be to the opponent.
While I went for killing order there’s always the role of target priority by just disrupting what your opponent wants to do. This can range from sitting outside of Magore’s ability to charge so your opponent has to waste activations orrcard investment just to get a single fighter in range to attack or even disrupting the Chosen Axes by continually preventing their key fighter from inspiring. However this becomes more dependent on your opponent’s playstyle as well as glory denial which is something I’ll talk more about in another article soon.
In any case that’s it for me today. I hope this helps level up your game and makes those seemingly impossible matchups just that bit easier. Never forget that you must always prioritise crits!