A CRITical review of 2019.
It’s approaching 2020 but before the New Year is here it’s time for me to go over 2019 and all its Underworlds activity related to the blog. More a self-reflection about what I’ve done and my favourite Warhammer Underworlds aspects of the year. If you want a review of 2019 for just the game of Warhammer Underworlds you can check out the official Games Workshop (GW) article on the Warhammer Community website 1 by Dave Sanders here.
Once again 2019 has been an amazing year for me. I’ve accomplished so much as well as being able to help lots of people with the game. I achieved my goal of winning another Grand Clash and worked more on local tournament/community support although I still feel there’s more I can do for the latter.
Still, what’s a year review without top 3 lists??
Favourite 3 Store Tournaments of 2019
Once again I’ve been to a lot of store tournaments in 2019. This year I’ve decided to separate store tournaments and Grand Clashes. Firstly I’ll go through my favourite 3 store tournaments of the year. All these stores and Grand Clashes are events I highly recommend attending due to how friendly and fun they are to play at.
3) Chaos Cards
Chaos Cards in Folkstone is a store I’ve regularly attended throughout the year. It’s a massive FLGS serving as a gaming hub for a multitude of different game systems, has a wide range of products and is the main store for all players in the area. It attracts more relaxed veteran players but everyone attends with beautifully painted warbands which has got me to step up my own painting game. It’s a really great store with welcoming staff and players alike.
2) The Gaming Den
Situated in Basingstoke the Gaming Den is a relatively new store but run by Underworlds TO veterans. It’s a cosy store with ample gaming space and close transport links. It has been great to see the store and player base grow and grow from 5 players back in September 2019 to averaging 18 now. A tough tournament due to all the good players in attendance but always a great experience.
1) Bad Moon Cafe
A little bit of a cheat as I TO all their Warhammer Underworlds events but it’s currently my favourite place to play. Situated in Central London with good transports links, Bad Moon Cafe has leapt from strength to strength to become London’s best store to play anything in. A large store with amazing gaming tables, stock, fresh pizza and food, etc. Honestly so lucky to have it here.
Favourite 3 Grand Clashes of 2019
3) UK Games Expo 2019
One of the best run Clashes I’ve been to, UKGE 2019 is a major UK tabletop gaming event. This year registration was super smooth so queues were incredibly short. The event was also smoothly run by the GW Events Team with a huge 109 players! I managed to place 25th which wasn’t too bad but I had a great time and can’t wait for the UKGE 2020.
2) Warhammer World (October 2019)
Warhammer World (WHW) is always a very fun place to play at. Grand Clashes attract huge numbers and rightly so. The Grand Clash I want to talk about is the October 2019 tournament which was also the first Beastgrave Grand Clash. It’s the first Grand Clash I didn’t play at but still attended in a special role as co-host for Warhammer TV with Nick Bayton! This also means you can watch the entire tournament on Twitch here if you’re a subscriber. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun doing it.
Viewers of the stream will also know it’s where I announced I was a playtester as well. I wanted to show people that not all playtesters just want to win constantly and help share my game knowledge with viewers at home so they can better understand game choices and player decisions. Overall the event was amazing and I highly recommend trying to attend a WHW Grand Clash if you can.
Special shout out to my fellow top 16 Godsworn Hunt musketeers back in the July WHW Grand Clash.
1) Tabletop Scotland 2019
TTS 2018 was my favourite event last year and claims the top spot once again, not just because I won the Grand Clash for 2 years in a row too. The venue and staff are all top class, helpful while being a laugh to chat with. They’re all passionate hobby heroes and run a cracking expo. Their Grand Clash was super smooth outside of Tabletop TO software errors and it was even better than last year. Unfortunately it looks like 2020 won’t be a Grand Clash again but it’s such a good event that I’m even considering going again just for the expo. The Scottish Underworlds players are some of the best to play against in the world and if you do go up to Scotland I highly recommend taking the train to take in the beautiful Scottish landscape.
Favourite 3 Articles of 2019
A new category is all about my favourite articles of the year. They range from what I enjoyed writing in terms of fun as well as those that mean a lot to me personally. Click the article titles to be taken to the chosen article.
An article that links fighting game terminology with Warhammer Underworlds. It was a lot of fun writing this while also being a serious look at categorising players. The article also allowed me to link my previous fighting game knowledge with Underworlds, something I do a lot of when it comes to my practice and matchup decision making.
2) Deck Profile: Swarming Spirits
My crown jewel of decks for 2019, almost as good as my Skritch deck pre-forbidden and restricted list. This Thorns of the Briar Queen deck was inspired by a friend’s suggestion and then given my own twist. I rarely stick with a warband nowadays due to trying to win with them all but it was such a fun experience, just a shame it had such a short lifespan. My ultimate flex deck which I had a lot of fun writing about.
Hopefully I can do more “deep dive” decklist articles like these if I can find a warband I’m comfortable sticking with. It’s really fun breaking down all the combos and tactics so other players can see the thought processes and then try to implement them with their own deck building skills.
1) Katophrane Chronicle 5 Tips for Better Games
Not my first Katophrane Chronicle post on the Warhammer Community but it’s the article I’ve wanted to write the most. My local gaming club HATE (Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts) has had a huge effect on me and their core rule of “Don’t be a dick” is something I’ve been working on to share in the correct way for a long time. If everyone played like HATE players do, the Warhammer hobby would be perfect. Roll dice, laugh and have fun.
Favourite 3 Warbands of 2019
There’s been a lot of warbands released for Warhammer Underworlds this year and the competition has been tougher than ever. The following warbands have been picked due to their narrative, miniatures and gameplay.
3) Grashrak’s Despoilers
A Beastgrave core set warband, Grashrak’s Despoilers bring the Beastmen to Warhammer Underworlds. Beautiful miniatures with interesting fighter cards bring a more forgiving twist on Garrek’s Reavers. They can be just as deadly via aggro but have enough mobility tricks to do hold objectives as well. The Ungors also have fabulous peaches.
2) Thundrik’s Profiteers
Kharadron Overlords make their landing in the Mirrored City! Looking for loot and their lost airship, these armoured Duardian bring consistent ranged firepower. I love their aesthetic along with how they inspire via promotions. An amazing warband to paint while offering a new tactical challenge to play. Never underestimate Alensen!
1) Rippa’s Snarlfangs
These wolfy gits are just my favourite warband. Rippa, on a journey for da best choppa in da land, leads his ladz into the Beastgrave. The first mounted cavalry warband, Rippas Snarlfangs bring speed and relentless attacks upon the opponent. Each miniature is detailed and packed with character. While heavily dice dependent, they’re just so much fun to play with. They’re all good bois in my book.
Annual Loot Extravaganza
Time for my annual pictures of all my gathered loot! This time I’m going to skip on posting most of it as there’s too much to fit in a single picture (as a result of attending about 36 tournaments this year) and most of you have likely seen what’s winnable in Organised Play kits already. I don’t post pictures of all my loot throughout the year except for now, so it’s time for me to indulge myself. All I’ll post are my Grand Clash winnings as well as all my trophies. I’m on 32 official Shadeglass trophies now which should still be the most in the world (and also puts me at a personal average of 16 trophies a year). Altogether I have 35 Warhammer Underworlds trophies (32 GW and 3 non GW). Ever wanted to know what 32 Shadeglass trophies look like together in a single place? Here ya go:
2019 was a pretty damn good year for me and Warhammer Underworlds. The year didn’t start off too great for me due to personal loss and struggles but 2019 has ended on a positive note, which is a nice surprise for me. As mentioned earlier I’ve completed my goal of winning another Grand Clash and improved my work on helping support local communities as well as how you can build them although I feel I haven’t done enough in that regard. It’s something I’ll continue to work on in the New Year.
Winning At All Costs
Now another point I’ll touch upon here is more controversial. I decided against posting an article about it but I’ll talk about it here. While Warhammer Underworlds is a competitive miniatures game I’m not happy with the focus the community has taken on Winning At All Costs (WAAC). I think focusing on trying to win is fine but when it becomes your sole focus over everything else, it’s gone wrong. I’ve seen too much WAAC behaviour online, been reported to about it from people across the world and even witnessed it at tournaments I’ve TO’d.
One thing that stuck out to me was when a player complained to me he that he came 2nd and had finished 2nd at his last 3 tournaments. I said he didn’t win but those were still great results. He responded with that they’re all pointless unless he gets that 1st place finish. It was a shame as I’ve seen the same thing repeatedly in person and online. Obviously it’s easy for me to sit in my ivory tower and speak down to how we should behave, heck I’ve dedicated a section of this article to all my trophies (please forgive me) but I know I’m partly responsible for this due to my actions when I started out with this website.
Before I was focussed on getting the big Grand Clash win and even though I wasn’t WAAC it was still my primary goal. However that’s always why I post my tournament round-up articles whether I win or lose. I could what other people do and not post about my losses outside of Grand Clashes but it’s an important part of player growth. The most I’ve learned from are my losses, not my wins (fun fact, I have an event win rate of about 54% so I’m no unbeatable monster). Even when I did win my first (and successive) Grand Clash(es) I had the mind-set of going there to have fun while also trying to win best painted (one day, I swear).
What I’m trying to say is that winning isn’t everything and should never be your sole focus. Trying to win is fine but when it seeps into winning over having fun and results being pointless unless you win an event, it’ll just sour the game for yourself and those around you. It’s why I put my Katophrane Chronicle article as number 1. Thankfully I hardly see any WAAC in-person at events, it’s all mostly online and via reports from other players. It’s not a huge subsect of the game but it’s something I’d rather see not grow anymore. We have such an awesome and welcoming Warhammer Underworlds community that it’d be a shame to ruin it with the WAAC mind-set.
Apart from that I did a few other things too! I was the first person in the world to win with all 16 Shadespire and Nightvault warbands. That was a challenge in itself that pushed me to my gaming limits. It was horrible at some points until the forbidden and restricted list hit and even them it became a slog at times. Still I’m glad I did it, the task was a real test of my skills and I never would have done it Jay Clare didn’t
pressure persuade me into it. I also find it as a nice handicap to stop me rolling into tournaments across the land with my main warband at the time and also helped me prove to myself that I was worthy being a playtester (just a personal thing).
What a smooth segway into being a playtester! Unfortunately I can’t say much else. I’ve been a playtester for a while now helping to test and play Warhammer Underworlds. Beastgrave has been a long wait but I’m so happy that people are out there enjoying it now. Although due to this I’ve been stepping back from events out of my own choice, especially with the release of Beastgrave. I’ll still play at tournaments as they’re my lifeblood but I’ll be reducing the frequency of ones I attend as well as distance (I can only endure 2 to 3 hour train journeys there and back again in a single day so much).
This leads into my other favourite part of the year, being asked to talk about Warhammer Underworlds live on Warhammer TV (WHTV, check out their Twitch here)! It was great being able to share my knowledge in video format. I was lucky enough to talk about the Thundriks Profiteers and Ylthari’s Guardians releases, Power Unbound and I got to commentate the first Beastgrave Grand Clash! It was all so much fun and I hope I was able to improve peoples’ understanding of the game and tactics. Hopefully I’ll be back more on WHTV (and maybe even other video formats…) in the future. Special thanks go to the Warhammer Community people for reaching out to me as well as being so kind and helpful.
I also won my 3rd Grand Clash title, becoming the first person in the world to win 3 Grand Clashes and successfully defend a Grand Clash title. There’s nothing much to add to that really.
Well that was a big 2019 but what’s in store for 2020? It’s a surprise! As always there are lots of surprises with me. Don’t fret though for the new year my goals are:
- Play it painted! I’ll only play at tournaments with warbands I’ve painted. It’s just the right thing to do. #playitpainted
- Continue supporting local communities. I still plan on TO’ing my regular tournaments at Bad Moon Cafe in London but I’ll be trying to work on supporting local gaming communities and tournaments. I’ve written 2 articles on growing and maintaining a local community (click da links) but there’s still more I can do. Gotta make the scene grow all nice and healthy.
- A new main warband! That’s right, I’ll be deep diving into a warband that’s already out which I’ll publicly go through from start to finish and even try to win a Grand Clash with. It’ll be fun. Can you guess what it will be?
- Win another Grand Clash because why not.
- I’ll also be trying to commentate more. It’s something I enjoy doing as I can dump out all my game knowledge (I’m like an Underworlds encyclopaedia) and help show players why decisions are made in-game. This is more difficult to do outside of if WHTV offer me to commentate due to the lack of streamed tournaments in general but I’ll see what I can do (hint hint, are you a UK TO that wants to stream Underworlds tournaments?).
That’s it for me now. I’m all out for 2019. See you all next year in 2020. Thanks for all those who stuck with me, continued to read the blog as well as all the new players and new readers. May your year be amazing and full of crits! Never forget to always ask yourself, either when at midnight or before any dice roll, can you roll a crit?