Essential for you and me? Read on to find out!
Welcome to the card pack product review of the Essentials Cards pack. This is a new card pack for Warhammer Underworlds, containing cards from the Shadespire, Nightvault and Beastgrave seasons. As always thanks to Games Workshop for providing these to review for free. Still, I always aim to be impartial and honest. With that all out-of-the-way, back to the article at hand.
As an aside, if you prefer video format, I’ve done a YouTube version of the review which you can watch below:
The Essentials Cards pack, as mentioned earlier, is a new way to get staple cards for Warhammer Underworlds players. Whether old or new, players will find a lot of usage from this product. We haven’t had a singular card pack release in a long time, so today I’ll be reviewing it and rating the cards from okay to what I consider my top pics. Everything is Championship format legal so older players can use the previous versions of these cards but with the current wording. This makes it nice for players already invested in Warhammer Underworlds while offering new players a nice way to catchup.
It also comes in an oddly huge card sleeve. Nothing good or bad, just that it’s surprisingly big and difficult to open without ruining it.
Now we come to the part of the review where I go over the universal cards which come within this card expansion. I’ll be a little briefer with these cards as I’ve already covered most of them in previous reviews.
Annihilation is alright, the aggro player dream.
Conquest is another aggro player’s old staple. It’s reliable but 2 glory in the final end phase isn’t so great anymore.
Denial punishes opponents who hide away but becomes very punishable in a best of 3 game.
Hold Objective 1 to 5 are your old staples. Great for new players learning the game.
Making a Statement is for the bold. Can be scored if only 1 objective is in enemy territory for sneaky players.
No Remorse is nice but struggles to be good while elite warbands are in ascendence.
Plant a Standard is fine for those with aggressive leaders who can afford to stand on an objective in enemy territory.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Branching Fate is great to see back. Oddly quite reliable with 3 dice attacks, having about a 50% chance to go off. The Briar Queen is pleased.
Great Gains is back. It’s really good. Passive glory your opponent can’t stop. Needs restricting.
Path to Victory is probably one of my favourite Beastgrave cards, great to see in the essentials pack as it slots into a lot of playstyles.
Pure Carnage is a fun one, pretty much excellent for horde/swarm warbands that expect to die a lot. Garrek’s Reavers love this but mainly Zarbag’s Gitz!
Strong Start is an elite aggro staple. Unfortunate if you draw into it during the middle of the round but otherwise nice to see back.
Supremacy is the old reliable for hold objective players.
Tactical Supremacy 1-2 and 3-4 add more strength to hold objective play. 2 glory for 2 specific objectives is always a good deal thanks to the many mobility cards in Direchasm.
Victorious Duel is another aggro staple. Run if your leader plans to go on the hunt for enemy leaders. 3 glory for a kill is great in the right deck.
Daylight Robbery is back. Again. It’s fine…and restricted. Oh dear.
Grievous Riposte only works on range 1 attacks if you rolled a crit to defend. Not that reliable, even with the 2 damage payoff.
Healing Potion is great to see back. I think the game needs a permanent card like this. Will it go into every deck? No. But it is good to have solid healing cards for those that want to run them.
Keen Avarice is good but needs an enemy fighter on an objective which results in it being quite situational and meta dependent.
Misdirection is your standard swap-a-rooney. It’s just fine.
Shifting Shards is some nice objective hex movement as long as you remember it has to be an empty objective. Will probably become more appealing once Restless Prize rotates out.
Universal Gambits – Top Picks
Centre of Attention is simply amazing. The best card art in the pack too. Hold objectives gives and hold objectives takes away. Cry of Thunder is back to being threatening again.
Commanding Stride is great for leader-centric builds. That 3 hex push is really useful.
Confusion is the classic swap card. Pretty much essential for hold objective play.
Countercharge is a sneaky way to get surprise defensive supports in. Very awesome with Thorns of the Briar Queen and Drepur’s Wraithcreepers.
Determined Effort is your standard +1 attack dice. Simple but effective.
Duel of Wits is such a good draw 2 card. However, with how strong draw cards are in Direchasm, this may end up restricted.
Flickering Step! CRITS TO PUSH! YES!!! Generally speaking you’ll get 1 to 2 pushes out of this or make history and roll 8 crits. Just pray to me if you roll no crits.
Inspired Attack is another aggro card that has seen a lot of play in warbands that inspire quickly and easily. Godsworn hunt likes this.
Inspired Command is a nice way to get an extra push or free Guard token.
Lethal Ward is classic ping damage for sitting on objectives. The Wurmspat may have just had some life injected into them…
Mighty Swing is back! Turn into the Beyblade of doom you always wanted to be!
Mirror Move has reflected into existence. Sneaky techy players rejoice.
No Time is just a good card, namely for hold objective players. Secure that end phase.
Sidestep is your basic push card. Flexible and strong.
Army of One is only really useful for people building lone warrior decks. And Arena Mortis I guess.
Earthing Stone is if you really dislike hold objective players.
Great Speed is good but has been power-crept out of use.
Horrifying Armour is good but that loss of 1 wound just makes you too vulnerable to dying.
Leech Stone is for players who really don’t like Ylthari’s Guardians.
Regenerating Charm is really slow healing. Never been a fan of cards that only work at the start of a round.
Shardcaller is situational start of round objective swapping.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Bag of Tricks helps you fish for that key card. Also a nice way for Skaeth’s Wild Hunt to inspire a fighter.
Champion’s Fortitude gives you a single defensive re-roll. Really strong.
Dark Darts is fairly reliable range 3 Cleave shooting.
Duelist’s Speed is so strong and flexible. Hold objective and aggro players will love this returning.
Fighter’s Ferocity is more damage on the ROLL OF A CRIT AYYYYY! Really good for range 3+ fighters.
Gloryseeker is +1 damage against 4 wound or greater targets. Once again range 3+ fighters love this and Gloryseeker will do exceedingly well in the current Direchasm meta.
Great Fortitude. +1 wounds, what’s not to like?
Great Strength. +1 strength, all the strength.
Guardian Glaive is another good attack action upgrade that has seen a lot of use in hold objective decks due to its reliability.
Mutating Maul is a nice Nightvault staple, bringing more reliable Cleave to the game.
Potion of Grace is a good way to get a double move action out of a fighter in a single round. Zargbag’s Gitz can make great use of it too.
Quickening Greaves. Whooo boy. Hold objective play is back on the table. Essential recovery.
Swordbreaker is just another consistent attack action upgrade and can pop other attack action upgrades with CRITS!
Essentials Card Pack Overview
All in all, I really like the Essential’s Card pack for Warhammer Underworlds. I do like the new card design as seeing more art on cards is always a pleasure of mine. Objectives are neater too with the number of glory inside the glory token. Here’s a comparison of the new and old styles.
Outside of the design, I think the majority of the cards are great picks for new and existing players. This also allows greater design space for core sets by meaning cards like hold objectives 1 to 5 aren’t needed anymore as we saw with the Direchasm Core Set. Great Gains and Duel of Wits worry me but that’s an issue for future FARs with the current Direchasm meta. Still, this pack gives a huge boost to hold objective play and makes them much more stable again. Even aggro got some old staples too so that they’re still on the same playing field.
So, would I recommend getting this? Yes! The Essentials Card pack is ESSENTIAL for new Warhammer Underworlds players. It’s a great way to get a solid card boost, especially if you only have the new Warhammer Underworlds starter set. Even veteran players will want it due to the new card art and updated wording as well as having more doubles for multiple decks. Not to mention, it is at a great price! £12 in the UK is cheaper than Power Unbound was at £15 2 years ago!
If you want to buy the Essential’s Card pack, you can get them via the direct link to Games Workshop here or via my affiliate link to Element Games here which will net you a minimum 15% discount (20% during pre-order week) while helping to support my content, all at no additional cost to you.
Until next time dear reader! Keep your card collection up-to-date with this essential card pack then remember to practice your ability to roll a crit!