On the 22nd of January I had the pleasure of travelling up to Nottingham with a few friends to take part in the first Warhammer Underworlds Clash of Warlords event. Like a lot of people I haven’t been able to play as much Underworlds these days as I’d have liked. I came into the event a bit cold, with only a handful of games of Harrowdeep under my belt let alone Rivals+.
I picked Elathain’s Soulraid because I thought they had a chance of being competitive. Specifically their suite of “Choose one enemy fighter cards” would be really great against the Blackpowder Buccaneers and the range of Illusion cards we knew were releasing in Illusionary Might. Unfortunately I saw neither of the new releases in my games. You can check out the deck I competed with here. I also wanted to take a warband I’d painted well and, of all my pre-tournament prep, that at least paid off. They were voted the second best painted warband at the event after a different Elathain’s Soulraid. You really can’t mess with the crab.
Elathain’s Soul Raid fighter cards, images courtesy of Warhammer Community.
The Clash of Warlords
My first match was against Morgok’s Krushas. This was the match up I’d been dreading going into Clash of Warlords. The Idoneth’s low damage makes it incredibly hard to kill any Orruk fighter, especially if they have any healing.
I had to abandon any hopes of moving forward or getting kills in the first round and in all three games set up at the far back of my board. Once an Orruk has moved forwards you can get a few ranged attacks in. Being careful to stay out of charge range of the others, I set myself up for an aggressive second round. This got me at least one kill in all the games. I was able to force out a very low scoring draw in game one, but it wasn’t enough to get me any wins with the next two games going to Morgok. There was only time for one round of game three, a situation that ended up being pretty common.
Game two was against the Crimson Court, who I’d end up playing twice in the event. Their rivals decks suffered from a bit of a lack of focus so I had absolutely no idea what to expect from them. The first game was a massacre. I decided we were both flexible warbands so I could stick to my game plan and advance into their territory while we traded two damage attacks in what would be a fairly bloodless round one. Oops. This is where I realised this game plan was almost never going to work without a significant deck rework.
In the end step I learned what my opponent was trying to do, they had used the essentials card pack to combine [Death’s Domain], [Preternatural Speed], [Making A Statement], and [Conquest] into an aggressive hold objective deck. I wish I’d thought of it. Moving onto the second game it turned out this was a game the Deepkin were well equipped to play. I made a point of using my fish to delve feature tokens on my opponent’s board, but with that resource taken up the combat struggled even more and the Crimson Court took a convincing 2-0 win.
My third game was the closest of the whole event as I faced up against the Dread Pageant. Finally some two health fighters to look for in round one meant some glory might be possible and things were looking up. My opponent advanced with Hadzu in the first game and I couldn’t believe my luck, but they hunkered down in a gloom hex and the killing blow was redirected to Slakeslash with [Shared Pain]. I was also ignoring the objective game that led to [Excess of Avidity] becoming a problem. Unfortunately a fish can’t hold an objective so I needed to use my Idoneth or kill the objective holders. All three games were tense despite the final scores with early kills dictating the direction of the game. Unfortunately Glissete and Hadzu proved too difficult to kill and despite killing Glissete with a combo of [Spinefin Toxin], [Hypnotic Buzz], and a lethal hex in one game, the Dread Pageant came out with the win.
My final game was against another Crimson Court. Their deck was incredibly different from my game two opponent, favouring a full aggro style over any objective or territory play, although they did still play [Deaths Domain]. With the advantage of hindsight I immediately took to a more defensive deployment and let the vampires come to me. Some aggressive charges and good rolls let me use a lot of support and I dismantled the vampires one by one in the first game, cutting them off from most of their glory early on. In the second and third games however things didn’t go my way. We ended up rumbling in one big crush of fighters and any time I tried to play around the edges of the fight [Countercharge] kept me well and truly in the thick of it. An incredibly bloody three games unfortunately left me with my fourth loss of the day.
There Was A Lot To Take Away From The Event
This was my first time playing Rivals+ as a competitive format, as it was for most people. I think it’s a really competent format. I didn’t like Rivals much because it so heavily disadvantaged some warbands, and completely erased deck building (in my opinion one of the best parts of the game). The Crimson Court massively benefited from the + in Rivals+. It enabled them to effectively pivot into a number of different strategies and take advantage of their strong fighter cards. Despite my poor performance I’d say my deck was right on the cusp of being competitive. There’s definitely a better build for Elathain’s Soulraid out there. Though I think that will hold true for most warbands.
I was also surprised how important the objective tokens were in Harrowdeep Rivals+. Now that your fighter can take advantage of gloom all round before flipping the objective in the last power step it’s incredibly difficult to keep your opponent off them. The “hold all” objectives have become powerful enough to force you into some interesting decisions. I imagine this is true of Harrowdeep in general and would have come as no surprise if I’d got a few more games in. I’m really looking forward to playing that aspect of the game again after it almost completely disappeared in Beastgrave/Direchasm.
Finally there were a lot of firsts for me and this was also my first event at Warhammer World. I wasn’t sure how cut-throat and competitive the players might be. It turns out Warhammer Underworlds and its players are great. I had fun in all my games and every opponent won and lost (but mostly won) gracefully. I’ll definitely be trying to get to more events like Clash of Warlords in the future. Hopefully I’ll meet you there, or I’ll let you know how it goes.
Were you at Clash of Warlords? Let us know how you got on in the comments below!
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