Welcome to the news of December…in January!!!
Welcome to this month in Warhammer Underworlds for December 2020. This is your one stop shop for everything Warhammer Underworlds related and once again there’s been a lot of news for our favourite competitive arena combat game.
As always, if you prefer to check this out in original video format, you can do so below:
Direchasm Core Set Release
December saw the release of the Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm core set after a considerable delay. Everyone finally got their hands on the Dread Pageant and Myari’s Purifiers along with the new universal cards as to which there where 32 brand new universal cards, breaking the trend of having repeated reprints of the same core set cards. This was a great change, especially for returning players of Warhammer Underworlds who felt core sets more of a tax to keep playing rather than a nice buying option.
For the warbands Myari’s Purifiers are a fragile but consistent warband that excel at passive glory scoring. The Dread Pageant are a faster and trickier warband to use, they focus more on having a mix of fragile and tough fighters while also having very strong faction cards. Their inspire mechanic can be a trap for both the user and the opponent. Both new warbands offer new and interesting ways to play Warhammer Underworlds, although newer players may struggle learning the game with them.
Although, while the overall change of direction for the Direchasm core set is great to see, the rise in complexity of rules and tokens for the starter set and warbands resulted in a less attractive purchase for new players. As I stated in my own reviews, if I was new player and considering hopping in with Direchasm, I would find it a very daunting prospect.
Focussing on the article releases for the core set, the Friday before pre-order day saw Games Workshop drop 3 different articles covering Direchasm and the changes it brought. Such a random deluge of articles resulted in most of them being lost in the noise. Articles which deserved their own day disappeared in the flood of articles, namely important ones like the new Forsaken and Restricted list. Was it too much to ask to have all these articles combined into 1 single post or just given their own individual days?
Another point was the loss of certain Warhammer Underworlds staples. To much surprise, the Direchasm core set dropped with: no warband card sleeves, no warband dice and no Direchasm terrain. While none of these were essential, it was a shock to see them all disappear. Even the dice going was a surprise. Instead, we got Grand Alliance themed dice which are…bigger than standard Warhammer Underworlds dice, have pointed corners instead of round and come in packs of 20 dice at £20 compared to the old warband dice which were 8 for £8 (and they were originally 8 dice for £6). Let’s be real, the new dice are bad and being at 20 per pack is questionable as well. No one needs 10 attack dice during a game, the new dice packs are only decent if you are splitting them with a friend. They feel more like a way to get more money out of accessories than offering nice dice to buy.
What caused the sudden change of accessory releases? Who knows? It could all just be nothing but I feel it is worth mentioning with such a sudden change for Warhammer Underworlds when other Games Workshop game systems continue with their accessory releases as normal.
Overall, it was still good to see the new Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm core set despite everything mentioned. As always, I did my in-depth reviews of the core set and warbands as well as an unboxing which you can on the website and linked down below.
New Forsaken and Restricted List
Lost in the ocean of the Direchasm core set news was the update of the Forsaken and Restricted list. It only took Games Workshop 6 months to update. Was the worth wait it?
So what were the changes? The most important one, which was missed quite a bit, changes diagonal configuration board placement from minimum 3 hexes to minimum 4 hexes. This a great change which helps weaken the power of diagonal configuration and helps aggro out a lot.
For cards, all Nightvault universal cards rotated out. Prescient Blow was forsaken, as I called it would be. For new restricted cards we have: Hidden Purpose, Amberbone Mace, Gauntlet of Dominance, Quick Search, Strength of Terror, Tight Defence, Vision of Glory, and DAYLIGHT ROBBERY. WHAT. Faction cards see Inured to Pain from Morgok’s Krushas and then both Treacherous Foe with Howling Vortex from the Thorns of the Briar Queen.
For the new restricted cards, Mischievous Spirits, Gathered Momentum and To The End are still missing. All 3 are incredibly strong and uninteractive cards. Next there is Daylight Robbery. Do I really need to talk about this? Why was this card restricted? It literally was not placing in competitive decks, nor was it being game-breaking or in nearly every deck. Come on Games Workshop, 6 months and then this? Waiting for rotation instead of hitting more Nightvault cards was one thing, but this is disappointing.
It comes off as a worrying sign for me in terms of game balance. While most of it was good, however, missing commonly abused cards and then also Daylight Robbery, a card they reprinted in the Beastgrave Gift Pack from Shadespire which barely registered in any deck, was restricted. What next? Sidestep? I’m disappointed because I expected better. Right now, I’m very concerned about the direction of competitive game balance for Warhammer Underworlds but I’ll wait to make my full judgement when the next FAR list drops.
Then there are the Thorns of the Briar Queen restrictions. As I stated in my last FAR article, Thorns should have had Treacherous Foe and Howling Vortex restricted instead of Sudden Appearance. Now all 3 are hit. Is it overkill? Maybe. They’re still really good because they mechanically break the game by ignoring lethal hexes, still it’s all Tommy Conboy’s fault for beating everyone so much with them.
Also Vanguard Format is new, using universal cards only from the current season of Warhammer Underworlds. It’s fine, much better than Relic which is still a mess. I don’t feel it will help that much with new players or draw back-in old players, yet it is still nice to see. Then there’s the new Arena Mortis format. I mean, it exists. At least Relic has competition now for “least played format”.
Official Warhammer Underworlds Deckbuilder
The Warhammer Underworlds Games Workshop official deckbuilder was not working at launch, and only went up on Friday the 15th of January at the time of writing. Even now it is missing all the Direchasm universal cards as well as those from Morgwaetrh’s Blade-Coven and Morgok’s Krushas. Somehow. Just use Underworlds DB, the best Warhammer Underworlds deckbuilder. It’s actually updated regularly and has a great interface across a number of different platforms.
Possible Direchasm Delays
As stated by Games Workshop on the Warhammer Community site, the global pandemic and Brexit have delayed their ability to release and ship product. So far this has resulted in a change to releasing new stuff every 2 weeks for at least January and February 2021 instead of weekly. Some shipments have already been delayed. For example, there are still players reporting that their Direchasm core set preorders are still awaiting shipment/delivery, even today. There are no mentions of how this affects Warhammer Underworlds but it is left to be seen if the monthly release schedule for Direchasm will be maintained.
Warhammer Underworlds Online News
Seemingly to tie into the release of Direchasm, Warhammer Underworlds Online introduced a restricted list, lethal hex placement and updated board placement rules. While this is great to see, Warhammer Underworlds Online continues to has its own differences when compared to the tabletop version. The restricted card limit is at 5 compared to 3 for the main game. Thorns of the Briar Queen only have Sudden Appearance restricted with no errata for Varclav and his push. The main problem is we are still missing about a third of the remaining universal cards from Shadespire, making the game almost impossible to implement a 3-card restricted list. It’s just such a shame to see Warhammer Underworlds Online so far behind in terms of universal cards released.
Lethal hexes are a great addition, yet the fact we still have only the 4 core Shadespire boards and not even the Animus Forge and Arcane Nexus boards from Shadespire make the online game feel even more incomplete.
Worryingly it seems that this update also brought a plethora of bugs into Warhammer Underworlds, both old and new ones. The Thorns of the Briar Queen have had a lot of their old bugs return, lethal hexes are causing invisible “ghost” fighters to appear which block-off hexes yet still interact with the game regarding scoring and cards. Then there is the continuing game freezing bug which forces you to close the game and count it as a loss. There are unfortunately even more I’m not mentioning as it’s just too long a list. Hopefully, these will all be resolved soon but it is a shame to see Warhammer Underworlds Online become quite unstable after this much needed update.
Edit: at time of posting, most of these bugs have been now fixed as of last week but the game freeze bug and invisible fighters are reportedly still affecting several users.
Podcast corner in December saw Path to Glory drop 3 new episodes. The first detailed the Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm core set, going over the new mechanics, cards and rules changes. They next dedicate an episode each to the new Direchasm core set warbands, going deep into exploration for the pair.
Battle for Salvation also drop a new podcast for December with their take on the Direchasm core set as well as the new format rules introduced for competitive play.
Tournaments and Events
December was a quiet month for tournaments because it was basically Christmas along with the recent drop of the Direchasm core set. There was only 1 tournament this month, the straight outta Shadespire monthly webcam tournament. It saw 14 players with Myari’s Purifiers taking the win after 4 rounds of best of 1 games. The webcam tournament seems to be sticking to a first week of the month date, so you can already register for the next tournament if you’re interested.
Summary of my December Content
December had me return to a more “normal” content production output rate for myself. For YouTube I dropped a number of Direchasm battlereports, This Month in Warhammer Underworlds for November 2020 and a Digimon Card Game unboxing video. Article-wise I released my in-depth reviews for the Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm core set as well as warband reviews for the Dread Pageant and Myari’s Purifiers. I also closed off 2020 with a lookback on the year with my 2020 article review featuring the changes in Warhammer Underworlds as well as my own progress in general.
December 2020 was back to form for Warhammer Underworlds with the release of the Direchasm season. It’s not Doomruin but it still brought back much needed life to the game. The new cards and warbands have been a great addition and I personally can’t wait to start painting my Dread Pageant after waiting for so long.
Direchasm is here and now we await the deluge of new warbands. Will they be good? Will they be bad? All we know is that they will have the chance to roll a crit.