So many questions, so little answers.
Greetings and welcome as I talk about a special subject for Warhammer Underworlds. Balance. Before I get into the subject, please remember to let me know in the comments what you thought of today’s article. If you prefer video content, this has also been done as a YouTube video which you can watch here:
Today I wanted to talk about a special thing for our community. Did you know, it has been exactly 1 year since Games Workshop last updated the FAQs for Warhammer Underworlds? 365 days without any update to the myriad of questions people need answering for the game. 2 seasons of confusion. It’s honestly terrible. Now before getting into the negative, let us celebrate this momentous day. Happy birthday to the June 2020 FAQ! You’re so big now, as a year without any update whatsoever! Enjoy the cake!
Why Warhammer Underworlds Needs a New FAQ
So let’s be serious now. I can tolerate not having a Forsaken and Restricted (FAR) list update, even if that is almost just as bad. At least the last FAR update was in December 2020. People having been playing around that with community FAR lists or playing pure Vanguard format only. However, when it comes to FAQs, the community can’t really solve that as only the developers of Warhammer Underworlds will known the correct interpretations and rulings.
People may be saying in response: “But John, there are no real physical events going on right now or tournaments, what’s the big deal?” That’s partially correct while we have the issues of the global pandemic still affecting everyone. Countering this point though, people ARE still playing whether it be competitively or casually. Even then, Warhammer Underworlds has numerous online tournaments as well as people playing in places in the world that are safe to do so. Also other Games Workshop game systems, such as Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar, are still receiving numerous FAQs despite facing the same conditions. So what gives?
Since June 2020, Warhammer Underworlds has gone from Beastgrave to Direchasm, even having a new side-game released as Arena Mortis. There are so many cards and new mechanics that need questions answering, leaving it up to players to basically decided before the game for some kind of consensus. Now you can argue a new FAR list is not necessary now but we really need a new FAQ just for the ease of everyone. You don’t need competitive data for that.
What Questions Need Answering
Now, I’ll go over some major questions that need answering for Warhammer Underworlds. The biggest question players have is Primacy, the mechanic everyone is using. What lots of players want to know is the exact order of when you gain the Primacy Token. Rules for the mechanic state you get it after an activation once you have met any of the conditions needed to score the Primacy token, which is fine. The issue most players have now is the exact timing you gain the Primacy token.
Currently, the game order goes as follows: After the activation, then inspire, then play reactions, then score objectives. Players currently have no idea where the Primacy token slots in this chain. There is also no where in the rules that state this order too or give any hints as to how to resolve this issue. Which is part of the problem from excluding card-based mechanics from the core rules. The only people who can give us a concrete answer are the Warhammer Underworlds games developers. At the moment, most players consider you gain the Primacy token after inspiring but before reactions. Having this timing clarified would help the community so much.
My own personal favourite is Bitter Memories. This is a universal card from Arena Mortis. It is a reaction card with no defined reaction window. It either reacts to nothing or everything currently. Who knows? You decide! Yes it is a card that isn’t seeing really any use currently but the state of its reaction window being ambiguous until now is still just so bad.
Another big issue we have currently is due to the new Direchasm rules set. Currently, under power cards on page 25, a power card can only be played if you can follow all the conditions on the card. Now, this was probably done to stop people playing cards that had no full trigger such as cards which said “choose a fighter, then etc”. Due to this rules change, there are so many Warhammer Underworlds cards from new and old seasons alike that need questions answering because of this.
For example, healing cards can’t technically be played on fighters with no wound tokens, Duel of Wits cannot technically be played if you only have 1 card left in your power deck as you have to draw 2 cards, Bestial Transformation from the Crimson Court cannot be played if the friendly fighter has no upgrades. The list is huge. Some of these feels like RAI clashes with RAW and wrong, such as with Bestial Transformation. This is a major issue that Games Workshop desperately needs to clarify.
Then we have the Spinefin. It counts as not being out of action, getting removed instead. However, like with the Brimstone Horror, does it count as being out of action when not deployed? Does the Spinefin remain counting as out of action when it is removed from play? The intention is no, the Spinefin is supposed to count as removed and never out of action yet that’s not clarified clearly in the rules or on the Spinefin card. Warbands that inspire based on fighters out of action, desperately need this answered.
For the Crimson Court, can they take the guard action while Bloodthirsted? Bloodthirsted Crimson Court fighters cannot be on guard, because they’re mad for blood. Yet this doesn’t mean they can’t take the guard action, even if they get no benefit from the guard token. People currently believe they can take the guard action to trigger upgrades and card effects that require a fighter to make an action. RAI, this is not what is supposed to happen as the Guard action was changed when Katophrane relic users were spamming it back in the Shadespire days to repeatedly gain 4 glory. RAW, however, this is technically legal. Just more confusion from newer warbands that need clarification.
Another quick point is, that under the old Shadespire FAQ, Duel of Wits is resolved immediately the moment it is played. This is not how the card should work under Direchasm rules and it should be played AFTER a gambit is resolved. This interaction is a minor problem but is still another example of old rulings clashing thanks to reprints of older cards.
I could go over, many, many, MANY, more questions but there is not enough time in the day. Although, online user Mandarga has compiled a list of commonly raised questions people have found needed answering in the Warhammer Underworlds community. You can check out these questions in his reddit post.
Remember, you can always send Games Workshop your own questions at their e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t fell totally bummed out by this. Players currently sort these issues out by agreeing on things before games begin, house rules basically. A lot of tournaments are already doing this and while it does take more work for general players before a game, it helps stopping these issues arising mid-game and causing clashes to happen.
For another way around this issue, I propose a small community FAQ for simple issues we can clarify without needing too much work. Some of these may be incorrect until we get official clarification from Games Workshop but that could be a long time away. Now I’m not saying I’m going to make my own for everyone to follow, however, we as a community could compile something we all generally agree on just to make games smoother. I’d be happy to compile and host them on my website to make finding it easier too. Just so we all have a unified place we can easily access a community FAQ.
As an example, I think a simple FAQ we could all agree on for now is to have gaining the Primacy token trigger after an activation but after inspiring and before reactions. This would allow reactions that trigger after an activation to trigger when you gain the Primacy token in the proceeding activation. Simple but effective.
Yet when it comes to other interpretations, that is where it becomes a clash of interpretation. Let’s look at Bloodthirsted Crimsom Court fighters. They can’t go on guard and the intention is they would not be able to take guard actions either. Still, the rules state nothing of this issue so, RAW, they can take the guard action to trigger effects from cards while Bloodthirsted. Even if this feels incorrect and against the intent of the card. This is why I don’t think a single person can come up with the answers to all the common questions. The only ones who can do that, is Games Workshop.
So now we come to the end of this amazing birthday celebration. The main reason for this piece is to highlight to the community and Games Workshop why FAQs are so important. Plus it has been a year since we last had an FAQ. For the Ultimate Competitive Miniatures Game. While I would love a new FAR too, let’s just go with the FAQ first. Let me know what questions you would like answered when in comes to Warhammer Underworlds for a community FAQ either via the comments section or via DMs, whatever you like. Hopefully we can all come together to help answer these questions to ensure everyone has a smooth time when playing.
Once we have a collated community FAQ, even tournament organisers could adopt it for the smoother running of their events, anything to help TO’s relieve the pressure of event management. Even then, it will be a great benefit to the community as a whole. Heck, if it works well enough, we could even work towards trying to form a semblance of a universally agreed community FAR list. Although, that will probably never end up working well haha.
Therefore, until next time, join me in celebrating the June 2020 FAQ’s birthday! You’ve served us well for a whole year. Will we be celebrating your 2nd birthday in 2 years’ time? Let’s hope not! Either way, enjoy the cake even if you can’t have your crits and roll them too!