A CRITical review of 2020.
Well 2020 is almost over and 2021 is within touching distance. What better way to close out the year than do my annual yearly review of Warhammer Underworlds and my own content! Like before this is a more reflective piece.
Let’s be real, 2020 has been crap. However it did have some good moments. There’s also been basically no tournaments this year so I can’t really do my favourite Friendly Local Gaming Stores (FLGS) and favourite Grand Clashes (as I only went to 1, the Warhammer World January 2020 Grand Clash). So, things are going to be a little different for this year’s review.
Support Your FLGS!
As events basically stopped at the end of Q1, I’ve decided this year to shout out every local store to you instead of listing off the top 3 I played at. 2020 has been really rough for all our local gaming stores and 2021 isn’t going to start off well for them either. If you can, I strongly encourage you to support your local FLGS whether it be a Games Workshop store or an independent. As long as your store has been supportive and as long as it’s affordable to do so, please consider buying all your hobby and gaming needs from them when possible.
Without our FLGS, we have no real place to play. Even excluding store tournaments, FLGS are generally the life-blood for tabletop games. They are places for Warhammer Underworlds to grow and flourish. Once all this madness clears, we can hopefully go back to playing in them with friends and for tournaments in 2022 (that’s not a typo).
A lot of FLGS are doing store pick-ups and/or online orders for delivery. Speak to your FLGS and see what you can do to support them. It’d be a shame to lose any as a result of the global pandemic.
Forget About Physical Tournaments
I love playing at tournaments but the harsh reality is they will likely not be happening until late 2021/early 2022 in a best-case scenario. However there are still lots of ways to get your fix of playing Warhammer Underworlds. Webcam games are one method, there’s even a monthly webcam tournament for the game that has been running for almost a year now. Then there’s even Vassal for people who want to play in an unofficial manner. There’s also Warhammer Underworlds Online if you’re really desperate.
For now, all we can do is focus on staying safe and apart. I don’t write this with glee, I genuinely miss tournaments and all the social interaction they involved but human lives come first before plastic miniatures and cards.
Favourite 3 Articles of 2020
My content has been sporadic this year for obvious reasons but I still managed to post a lot of articles this year (49, including this one). These articles range from what were a lot of fun to write as well as what meant a lot to me personally.
This was something I had planned to write for a long time. I do love writing about tactics for Warhammer Underworlds, especially the more unknown elements of the game. The great thing about Warhammer Underworlds is all the hidden depth and complexity. Bad lethal hex placement can be just as costly as bad board placement. This article helps go through all the tips and tricks I use to maximise lethal hex placement along with sneaky tactics you may not have been aware of. It’s a great tool designed for experienced players and new alike. Hopefully I can do more articles like this for 2021.
The Underworlds UK Masters 2020 was something of a passion project for me. Many of my friends know I’ve been planning this event for about 2 to 3 years now. Unfortunately I was unable to do it as a physical event but I was able to do it as a webcam format event. Thankfully my vision for the tournament remained intact, namely showcasing high-level play from some of the best UK Warhammer Underworlds players and ensuring everyone went home with at least some prize support. I won’t reveal who won but once again thanks to everyone who helped, watched and played. It all went ahead thanks to you all. It was a lot of fun.
DOOMRUIN FOREVER. Yes, you heard that right. This was my favourite Warhammer Underworlds article, of not just 2020, but of all time. So much attention and confusion. My most-viewed article of 2020 and still gets lots of hits, even today. DOOMRUIN wouldn’t have been possible without my good friend Derek Wheatley. Despite dropping on April 1st, the most reliable date for news, people genuinely thought this was legit. SOME PEOPLE ONLY REALISED IT WAS A RUSE AT ORDIAS KOL. Friends even said that if I had left him and the Fellowship of the Ring off, more people would have believed it. Do you know how many people thought this was legit??
Regardless, it was so much fun to write. Even though I got a death threat over it (really, thanks Facebook), the biggest question was whether the M was an upside down W (spoilers: it is 2 A’s). Anyway, I don’t think I can top my magnificent work but DOOMRUIN will live on in my heart forever.
Favourite Warband of 2020
Beastgrave lasted waaaay too long but we still had a decent spread of warbands to enjoy. As always I’ve picked this warband due to a mix of looks, narrative and gameplay. Plus they had to be released in 2020 but as we only had 6 warbands released I will be only picking 1 instead of 3.
The Dread Pageant
A warband that matches of 3 qualifying parts for me evenly. The best looking warband so far, great narrative and interesting rules. This is a warband that encourages you to play differently to the norm compared to other warbands while packing blistering speed and surprising durability. Plus they are Warhammer Underworlds’ introduction to Slaanesh! What more could you want? They have so much depth and I get so much fun from playing with them. As always I’ve got an article on them here if you’re interested in finding out more but there’s no going wrong in picking the Dread Pageant as your warband to play with.
Annual Loot Extravaganza
Yeah, not really going to update this one. I only managed to get 2 new trophies this year before the season was cut short, which still puts me on 34 Shadeglass trophies with 37 trophies in total from 77 tournaments. To find out my full tournament history, check out my Tournament Records page on the blog. I’ll re-post what all my trophies look like together, just imagine 2 extra store tournament trophies in all the images.
2020 was not good. Even for Warhammer Underworlds. Sure there was a global pandemic but some things were not great at all. A big point for contention is the lack of Forsaken and Restricted list updates. We only had 2 this year, excluding the updated that dropped with Direchasm in December. Even with the global pandemic, games that compete with Warhammer Underworlds kept their balance lists regularly updated and even 40K and Age of Sigmar did too!
Then the NOVA 2020 Masters was silently cancelled. From my investigating, only 1 person got a response to their inquiry about the event and that was only because they pushed on the issue. Now I’m not saying it’s bad that they cancelled it, just that no one was really told after NOVA was cancelled. Even if there were only like 6 to 8 players who applied (including me), an official message would have been nice just to let us know for sure it was stopped and whether it will be happening again in the future like other events have done.
I’m hoping 2021 for Warhammer Underworlds will be better but we’re about to enter 6 months of back-to-back warband releases so let’s just say I’m not too confident.
On a more positive note, the community banded together and remained as strong as ever. Despite our inability to play together physically, we’ve all generally been supportive of each other. Even before then, event attendance was growing in leaps and bounds, showing the competitive fervor for Warhammer Underworlds and the community. Another good mention is the Warhammer Underworlds Roadmap. Seeing it for Beastgrave and Direchasm was a great move from Games Workshop that help installed faith in the remaining community members.
For a personal blog take, the site managed to reach over a million views in June 2020! I never expected to get so much attention and reach with the site, especially in just over 2 years. Once again, thanks to all my readers whether you be new or old. Your support has always been greatly appreciated and was what kept me going with maintaining my content.
First I’ll be looking at my goals for 2020 and how I did with them:
- 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?).
I managed to complete 3 out of my 5 goals. I got all my Beastgrave warbands painted, continued supporting my local community (until the global pandemic got everything shut down) and commentated a lot over webcam tournaments and events. The only thing I didn’t achieve was winning a Grand Clash because of aforementioned reasons and my new main warband. I had planned to take Ironsoul’s Condemnors to a Grand Clash to win with them, going in-depth on my journey and tactics with the warband. Then events all stopped. Ah well.
Now the issue is what to do for 2021. For 2021 I think I’ll go for a more focused and dialled-back set of goals:
Continue to Diversify my YouTube Content
Currently my YouTube videos just consist of batreps and news videos. By mid Q1 I should have more free time again meaning I can make more Underworlds related videos. My time is just very limited at the moment due to work. Obviously I still plan to main the blog as well which still be the home for my in-depth warband reviews.
Play Different Games
I still want to support the game but I’m not going to lie, I’m getting tired of Warhammer Underworlds. While I will continue making content for the game, it just doesn’t have the same appeal for me anymore due to not being able to play games with friends and at events coupled with the direction I fear the game is heading in. I’ll expand on this in a future content piece but yeah, I’m currently looking into different games. I’ve just reached my limit with playing via other methods (namely webcam format).
Currently I’ve been playing lots of the new Digimon Card Game which goes on full release in January 2021. Despite being a collectable card game (CCG), it’s a lot of fun and really tactical. I’ve also bought into Marvel Crisis Protocol, X-Wing, Blackstone Fortress, Necromunda and Blood Bowl so I’ve got a lot to get my teeth into. Plus 3 out of those 5 miniatures games have crits! I will be doing content on Digimon at least, it just depends what draws a lot of my attention when it comes to the other game systems.
That’s pretty much it. We’re about to see 2020 off. It’s been rough but there’s been some good. 2020 has pushed me to expand my content reach so if you want more than just articles I now have: a podcast, a Twitch channel and a YouTube channel (along with the standard Facebook and Twitter pages). SO MUCH REACH. But seriously, it’s been a tough transition for me yet I’ve learned a lot from it. 2021 doesn’t looking to getting any better so, as always, my door is always open if you want to talk about Warhammer Underworlds or anything in general.
So until we go deeper into my Direchasm for 2021, stay safe and never forget to ask yourself the eternal question no matter what game you’re playing. When you’ve got a dice in-hand; Can you roll a Crit?