Underworlds UK Masters 2020: Meet the Players

People and prizes.

Welcome to a long-overdue blog post from me! For those who were unaware, my PC died in late September and I’ve only got it back just a few days ago. Thus I was without access to make any content and I had to delay the Underworlds UK Masters (unofficial official for certain people) too as I announced on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Today it’s time for some more good news. The Underworlds UK Masters will be taking place on Saturday November 28th. Along with this new date I’ll be introducing you to all 8 players as well as what prizes are up for grabs!

Meet the Players

As I stated in my first article for the Underworlds UK Masters 2020, the tournament would consist of 8 players via invite only which is standard for Master-level tournaments in general. I did plan on making this a 16 player physical tournament with a venue in-mind but then COVID happened.

Player selection started with inviting all active UK Grand Clash winners first. One issue with this was timing but more so was that a lot of previous UK Grand Clash winners have simply…stopped playing altogether. The UK also gets a lot of international attendance and a few UK Grand Clashes have been won by Europeans, which is awesome, but once again reduces the pool of available players.

Once I had my Grand Clash winners locked-in I next asked players who had either racked up an impressive number of store tournament wins/trophies and/or who had Grand Clash top 4 art cards which were available during the Shadespire and Nightvault season. This is because while winning store tournaments is great, coming top 4 at a Grand Clash is a tough feat in itself and recurrent top 4 placings deserves recognition. Sadly, these cards have gone with the start of Beastgrave.

For future Underworlds UK Masters I’m trying to work towards a tournament point tracking system, similar to how the UK players do it in Age of Sigmar for their competitive players. The issues related to this however is managing/calculating points from events but also with COVID events are going to be messed up for a lot of 2021. Yet this is more of a future problem for me. With my methodology behind how I selected each player, let me introduce you to them!

I also asked the players to define their player characteristics as per my article that defines them here. It’s just for a little bit of fun while also some standard competitive analogies that you see in other major competitive games.

THE Jay Clare

Player Name: Jay Clare

Favourite Warband: Spiteclaw’s Swarm (you always remember your first!)

Favourite Playstyle: Flex

Player Characteristics: The All-rounder

Trophies won: 18 (each with a different warband)

Grand Clashes: 2 Jay has been playing Warhammer Underworlds since day one and has been winning events for about the same length of time. After winning the Warhammer World Grand Clash with Spiteclaw’s Swarm, Jay decided to undertake a challenge of trying to win a trophy with every warband. To date, Jay has achieved this with all eight Shadespire warbands, all eight Nightvault warbands, Rippa’s Snarlfangs and the Grymwatch. Out of the five Grand Clashes he has attended, Jay has won two, been runner-up in two, and finished third in the other – the best Grand Clash record going. Though he has only played in one event this year, Jay has set his sights on the Underworld’s UK Masters in a bid to prove he is still one of the top players when it comes to Warhammer Underworlds.

Martin Collins

No description available.

Player Name: Martin Collins

Favourite Warband: Fond memories of playing Thundrik with no score immediately cap shouting Brap Brap Pew Pew!

Favourite Playstyle: Avoiding dice rolls where I can

Player Characteristic: The Technician 

Wins: 1st Games Expo Grandclash with the Chosen Axes, Skirmish Clash Jan 2020 with the Grymwatch and for Store Tournament wins I’ve won with Thundrik’s Profiteers, Grymwatch and Thorns of the Briar Queen.

The amazing thing about Underworlds was travelling to meetups and tournaments, meeting awesome people and playing some tense rounds, seeing what sneaky strats and surprises came up! So I’ve certainly been feeling the loss of that and grateful to John for a reason to get my cards out again. I’m so out of practice I don’t rate my chances, but my personal tournament goals are:

  • Try not to be filmed doing something REALLY stupid.
  • To not draw Jay Clare round one but if I do, he has a very specific frown he pulls if you derail one of his plans – aim for that.
  • Whenever I’ve seen or played against Tom Conboy he has an ingenious trick/suprise in his deck so look forward to seeing it.
  • Try and trash talk Mike throughout but I think he is so used to grief from Tom, Freya and Oli of Steel City Underworlds, I’m not sure it will work.
  • David Smee is owed some divine retribution against me, so to make sure I take it gracefully!

Tommy “He’s Scottish” Conboy

No description available.

Player Name: Tommy

Favourite Warband: The yet to be released Seraphon Warband

Favourite Playstyle: Flex

Player Characteristics: All-Rounder/Loyalist

I’m the UK Games Expo 2019 winner who’s main influence and success has taken place online. My plan for victory is to bring a 2000 point age of Sigmar army instead of a warband, and also I’m going to rig the matchups so that I only face Tom Bond. Even when he loses he will be my next matchup, all the way to the final. It’s completely fool proof, except for the fool himself (Tom Bond).

Mike Carlin

No description available.

Player Name: Mike (Mollog) Carlin

Favourite Warband: Myself; Mollog

Favourite Playstyle: Cheese. Also known as Gimmick Master.

Player Characteristics: I’m here to win bask in the tears of my opponents. I eat social contracts for breakfast, served with a side of store trophies. Whatever deck I bring will be about as interactive as our next general election, you know the bad guys will win so why even bother taking part? The worst possible outcome for this tournament is that Tom Bond finally wins glass with Godsworn, luckily there isn’t a chance of that happening because I am bringing my A-game. A deck so disgusting that Games Workshop are going to give up on adding cards to the FAR list and just forsake me from the community instead. In ancient times I razed the hopes of a balanced meta with Katophrane Relic Stormcast, more recently I terrorised tournaments with Troll Tomes. This tournament shall see the unveiling of my new great horror upon the world. Can Jay Clare save you now?

Mike has also won the October 2019 Warhammer World Grand Clash and a numerous number of store tournaments. He also one of the contributors to Steel City Underworlds.

David Smee

No description available.

Player Name: David Smee

Favourite Warband: Eyes of the Nine fill him with joy

Favourite Playstyle: Flex

Player Characteristics: The Technician

David teaches and deeply loves maths and statistics as well as constantly saying the word “shocker”. Totally doesn’t suffer from severe analysis paralysis every single game. Fondly gives himself nicknames like “Chancellor of Reading” which all his fellow Readingites refuse to acknowledge. He’s also supremely modest. Really modest, more modest than even me.

David also has an impressive tournament record. He was the first person to win a Shadeglass trophy with all the Shadespire warbands with them fully painted. He also went undefeated in the first 240 player Grand Clash in January 2019 with Eyes of the Nine and placed in the top 10. He also came 2nd at the UK Games Expo 2018 to Martin Collins, will he get his revenge at the Masters?  David has a frightful number of Shadeglass trophies and regularly places in the top 16/top 8 at Grand Clashes, only failing to do so once out of 10 Grand Clashes.

Mike Arnold

Player Name: Mike Arnold.

Favourite Warband: Sepulchral Guard/Thorns of the Briar Queen

Favourite Playstyle: Control

Player Characteristics: The Technician

I have been playing Underworlds since the beginning and am probably known best for being that “Relics guy”. I was a “pioneer” of the Ultra Defensive, Stormcast relics deck and at Warhammer Fest 2018 I was the guy who drew the final game and lost to a roll off. After then I have had consistent performances in the competitive scene with a hefty amount of glass under my belt yet that grand clash trophy seems always just out of reach. At Blood and Glory 2018, I came 2nd losing out to John Rees. At one of the Warhammer World Grand Clashes I was defeated by my own Padawan Andrew Robinson who came 3rd. Then in my last Grand Clash at Warhammer Fest 2019, I brought back the Relics game with Thundricks only to be defeated by the tournament’s eventual winner (Tommy Conboy) in the semi-finals.

I would describe my playstyle as Control. I like to plan ahead, strategize and take as few risks as possible. I often rely on my knowledge of my deck, the cards my opponent is likely to play and having as many contingencies as possible. Because of this, I enjoy warbands with lots of moving parts. Sepulchral Guard and Thorns of the Briar queen have been some of my favourites since Beastgrave began. And as the Meta shifts towards fast aggressive play and a battle for board control, I have found my decks to be constantly evolving and adapting. After being forged in the fires of the north I have recently moved south and met a new rival in the form of Rob Howard who I’m sure will be quaking in his boots when we face off. Though I am admittedly rusty given the events of 2020, I am excited to throw down against some of the best players the UK has to offer.

Rob Howard

No description available.

Player Name: Rob Howard

Favourite Warband: Rippa’s Snarlfangs

Favourite Playstyle: Aggro

Player Characteristics: Warband (Character) Loyalist

For those who don’t know me, I’m Rob. I’ve been playing Warhammer Underworlds since day 1, instantly falling in love with the fast-paced card/model hybrid game. It’s such a brilliant combination of deckbuilding, strategic moves, and incredible models. What’s not to love?! I started playing Shadeglass tournaments at the beginning Nightvault, once we’d reached the point where tournaments weren’t dominated by Relics (Looking at you, Mike Arnold…). Since then, I’ve played all over the place, and been fortunate enough to attend the Las Vegas Open for the last couple of years. I’m been fortunate enough to make some great friends, meet some awesome players and see first-hand the fantastic worldwide community this game has.

In terms of playstyle, I’m an aggro man through-and-through. My first proper warband was Ironskull’s Boyz, who spent their first event going on a nice krumpin’ spree, confirming my love for everything sharp and angry. I mean, why would I be interested in things like ‘tactics’ and ‘holding objectives’ when I can just hit stuff really hard? Aggro can definitely be one of the more difficult archetypes to master as it’s very dice-dependent, but thankfully Beastgrave has been very kind to us angry types with some nice cards and tricks for attack generation and reliability. I can’t wait to see what Season 4 brings! My plan for the Masters is simple: Hit stuff, and have fun. I’m really looking forward to being able to kick back with some absolutely top-tier players, and I can tell it’s going to be a blast!

Competitive history: 12 tournament wins, LVO 6th Place 2019, LVO 4th Place 2020, LVO Best player award for good Sportsmanship 2019.

Dan Smedley

Player Name: Dan Smedley

Favourite Warband: Stormsire’s Cursebreakers

Favourite Playstyle: Flex

Player Characteristics: Warband Loyalist / Meta Slave

I started playing Underworlds a few weeks after Shadespire was released and bought Ironskull’s Boyz and The Sepulchral Guard before introducing it to the rest of the guys at Ready 4 Action, and we were hooked from then! I’m most known for playing Cursebreakers, which was a decision I took when I had only seen the models for Nightvault and thought they were fantastic and would be my new warband of choice (hence the “Warband Loyalist” player characteristic), and then they happened to perform fantastic on the board too so the competitive “Meta Slave” side of me was happy too!

I’ve managed to collect four Shadeglass trophies which I’m really proud of, as most of the tournaments I attend contain a combination of top players from teams like Steel City and Vault Dwellers, as well as the odd appearance from the infamous Jay Clare! My best finish at a Grand Clash was Top 4 at Warhammer Fest 2019, going 4-0 and missing out on the final due to tiebreakers.

My plan to win this is to beat Michael Carlin…..I’ve a grudge to settle following day two of the October 2019 Grand Clash that he came out victorious in! Then I’ll just need to beat everyone else, simple!

Hey, what? A Ready 4 Action takeover??

Honourable mention: Tom Bond

“I’ve gone beyond the crits”

Tom sadly had to drop out due to him moving a physical house by himself. His player introduction was so…special, however, that I just couldn’t resist sharing it with everyone. Enjoy.

Player Name: Tom “The absolute Legend (Top Lad)” Bond

Favourite Warband: The one I just wrecked you with

Favourite Playstyle: Winning

Player Characteristics: Low Tier Warrior

Can’t wait to get stuck to all these “Grand Clash winners”. I’ll breeze past Tommy “Get-gone” Boy. Gonna cook my opponents so fast I’ll eat Jay rare. I’ll beat David Smeezy. I’ll Fartin Collins face and also Michael Carlin Sucks. Clearly Grand Clash trophies mean nothing cause John’s terrible at the game. Peace.

PS: To this day, Tom has still not won a trophy with the Godsworn Hunt.

Tournament Prizes

You’ve met the players now it’s time to see what’s available to win! That’s right, just like a physical tournament, the Underworlds UK Masters 2020 is full of prize support! All of it has been designed specifically for the event and are basically limited items. I wanted everyone to go away with at least some prizes. Entry to the Underworlds UK Masters will always be free, whether it’s physical or online. First it’s time to look at the TROPHIES.

Whomever wins the Underworlds UK Masters 2020 will be crowned the Grand Champion and get to claim this MASSIVE beast of a trophy. It even matches the style of Games Workshop official trophies.

There’s also a best painted trophy up for grabs as well, because even with some of the best players in the country, some still have mightily fine painting skills.

No description available.
No description available.

Here are some shots of the trophies to scale with a Grand Clash trophy and a store tournament trophy. The Grand Champion trophy is seriously big. Maybe a bit too big but that’s the price of winning.

Size-wise, it’s comparable to the Best Painted trophy.

Next up is the most sporting trophy. Personally it’s the most important prize at tournaments. I would love it if most sporting was recognised at official Games Workshop tournaments as it’s one of the Warhammer Underworlds’ community’s greatest strengths. Also, prize support from here on out is created and supplied by Cog “O” Two. They do lots of great custom acrylic products and tournament prize support.

Each player will get a white acrylic dog tag (50mm x 28mm) commemorating the Underworlds UK Masters 2020 as well as 4 30mm white acrylic activation tokens. The reverse side is blank while the front has my Crit logo.

For the players who come 1st and 2nd, they will each get a set of 25 GOLD acrylic glory tokens. The front side has my Crit logo and the “spent” side has a skull image to denote when you’ve spent your precious GOLD glory.

For Most Sporting Player, attendees choose a player they’ve played against at the end of the tournament and submit their vote to me via direct message once they have completed their 3rd game. Best painted will be judged by me on the day along with my co-host. Players are encouraged to submit photographs of their warbands in advance so I can then post them on the day on my social media accounts for the public to feast their eyes on. An interesting point is that technically the Grand Champion can win all available prizes if they can truly be a hobby, gaming and community champion.

As a note, prizes will also be shipped to players free of charge. Nothing but the best for my players!

Tournament Schedule

Once again the Underworlds UK Masters 2020 will be streamed live on Saturday November 28th live on my Twitch channel from 09:00 BST. You can watch the action live on the day but I also plan to upload the games to my YouTube channel at a later date. Here’s the tournament schedule for the day:

09:00 – 09:15 Registration/Pairings

09:15 – 11:00 Round 1

11:00 – 11:15 Break

11:15 – 13:00 Round 2

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch Break

13:45 – 15:30 Round 3

15:30 – 15:45 Break

15:45 – 16:00 Final Results and Prizes

Rounds are 1 hour and 45 minutes long which should be fine for the webcam format. Decklist submission will is Tuesday the 24th of November so players still have time to tinker around with their decks. Hopefully everything stays to schedule and the whole tournament should be finished by 16:00 BST at the latest.

Games will be organised and streamed over ZOOM so players will need to download ZOOM which can be done so for free via this link here. I will be DM’ing players the tournament host link before the tournament day as well as the password for obvious reasons.

Updated Tournament Rules

In addition to the rules listed in the original Underworlds UK Masters 2020 article, I’ve made some more changes which I announced on my social media accounts 2 weeks ago. These are the following changes:

  • All the cards and game boards from Arena Mortis are legal for use.
  • Bitter Memories is errata’d to say the following – “Reaction: After a Raise counter is placed on a friendly fighter card, roll two attack dice.”
  • Orruk Kunnin’ is no longer restricted.
  • If a game goes past the round time, I will make the call depending on the point of the game. To prevent over-running of games, if a game is only in the second round (for example) then I will inform players to finish at the end of their next activation as long as both players have had the same number of activations. 3rd end phase cards will not be scored at this time. Games can end in draws, if a winner is needed it will go to tiebreakers. The points awarded for games are as follows: win = 3 points, draw = 1, lose = 0. First tiebreaker is least number of losses, then glory differential and finally total glory scored.
  • An external online dice roller can be used by both players if they agree to using a Vassal engine add-on designed exclusively for the Underworlds UK Masters 2020 (see below).

Vassal Dice Roller

The Underworlds UK Masters 2020 has an optional Vassal dice roller module that players can use. Many thanks to the awesome Shoobie for making this for me and the tournament. To use it you need to install the latest version of Vassal, which you can find for free here. Next you need to download the dice roller module here.

Once you’ve setup a name for yourself on Vassal, you launch the dice roller mod by double clicking on it.

Next you select look for a saved game online and click finish.

To create a room, in the online lobby you type what you want to name the room in the new game box. Press enter then your room is made! Players can join a room by double-clicking on it or right clicking then selecting join. Players can also lock their rooms if desired and put passwords for entry.

When in the room you select file then join as either an observer, player 1 or player 2.

In the room, each player can only roll the dice on their side (yellow attack dice for player 1, orange attack dice for player 2). You can find the dice in the Dice Area button. Dice can be dragged into the box or rolled where they are. You can also select multiple dice at once by dragging over them when holding down the left mouse button. To roll dice you can either right click the selected dice and choose roll or just press Control + F to roll selected dice. Simples!

Just some standard dice rolls for me.

Closing Crit

That’s pretty much it for now. I hope to see you at the Underworlds UK Masters 2020 on Saturday November 28th from 09:00 BST live on my Twitch channel. It’s going to be a lot of fun with the competitive arena combat action you’ve all grown to love. Who will win? Who will lose? Who do you think will win and who do you want to win? Let me know! We still all know the true winner, however, will be crits!

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