Breaking: BAR List Update
Ouff, we've gotten our second update to the Banned and Restricted list in less than a month... That is fantastic! I love how the Underworlds Team is taking the initiative, listening to community feedback, and keeping a healthy pulse on the game.
In fact, we even received a personalized message from the Lord of Katophranes himself, Dave Sanders:
"We’re really excited for the arrival of Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave! Ahead of Season 3, we want to make sure that you’re all enjoying your games of Warhammer Underworlds to their utmost in the meantime. We also want to encourage dynamic, fast-paced play where positioning and tactics are key, rather than sitting back and relying on sorcery to win the battle every time.
We’ve been keeping an eye on Organised Play events, and in the interest of keeping the game as balanced, competitive and fun as possible, we’re making an update to the Banned and Restricted List as of today."
First of all, love the personal touch. An interesting thing to note is that Dave mentions magic specifically. It seems the team still considers magic a concern and the intention here is to further mitigate its general impact. I for one love the idea and I am sure all the people raging about the inefficiency of the Season 1 (Shadespire) warbands will be quite ecstatic as well.
There were a total of eleven cards that were added to the list. Let's get into them!
Not at all surprised by this choice, in fact it was to be expected. Katophrane Relics were nerfed in the past and since Tome strategies are reminiscent of that play style, this makes sense. I know some of the defensive players out there are probably a bit disappointed but to be honest, most people (even defensive players) don't like playing against Tomes. It's not (generally) fun and can turn people off from the game.
With being said, I think defensive play does have a place in the game, I just don't think it is by stacking upgrades and hoping to get a big glory pay out at the end.
I am really sad to see this card go. It created a much needed board renaissance in the current meta and gave some of the slow-to-start warbands some much needed gas in order to ramp up. I know that some aspects of the community think the card was too strong but I was never in that camp. Its inclusion does make sense though for the sole fact that it was so popular. I suppose if everyone is taking it, it might be too good.
I will miss the card as I don't see myself taking it very much moving forward.
As Dave mentioned in his blurb above, the design team seems to have identified magic as a cause of concern (for good reason). Although I don't think this needed restricting, it does make sense to limit the amount of glory you get from eliminating an enemy fighter with a spell since they are a myriad of ways to accomplish that.
If you really miss this card, just take Strange Demise from Power Unbound. It does the same thing.
Personally, I love this card - it's just so easy to score. That is probably why it made it on the list. It created this weird dynamic in which players wanted to miss their attack actions, which I don't think is healthy for the game nor how it was intended to play. Furthermore, it created a bit of an unfair advantage to melee centric warbands as all their ranged counterparts had an easy to score card while they didn't.
So long friend, my Profiteers will miss you. Oh, hi Steady Aim! 😎
Again, another targeted choice as it only really affects Mollog and some off-meta decks. Just like its twin, Longstrider, this has been abused since the community got its hands on it. People were taking both Burst of Speed and Longstrider in Mollog decks in order to score passive glory. I am glad they put this on the list.
Mollog, as I am sure you all are aware, is too big of a factor in the meta. Most people strongly dislike playing against him and as him. Mollog has now been neutered again and hopefully this time, his glory generation slows down enough to where his opponents can have a fighting chance. Although I am not sure this will bring the Sepulchral Guard back into the meta, unfortunately.
Bye Felicia! 🙃
Is anyone really surprised? I didn't think so. This card took magic builds up to a whole new level and was frankly quite oppressive. Wizards were able to melt opposing fighters with relative ease and there was nothing the magically disinclined could do about it because taking anti-magic was useless in half your matchups.
This is another card that has been a culprit behind the aggro-magic strategies we see so prevalent today. It effectively help wizards one shot fighters sporting all sorts of health pools.
Furthermore with cards like Trap, Pit Trap and Twist the Knife on the list, it only makes sense to add this for continuity reasons.
Okay, so don't get me started on this card - it's absolutely nuts. After confirming that the card was designed to work even when both fighters failed their attack and defense rolls respectfully, it went through the stratosphere.
Think about it, this card technically lets you hit your opponent for free. In a game of arena combat where every activation and dice roll is paramount, that is huge. For that reason alone, I still expect to see this card everywhere. It's the Nightvault's version of Ready for Action.
Frankly, I think it should be banned.
With the current prevalence of ranged warbands, regardless of the pew-pew or sorcerous kind, this card saw a lot of play. Shoring up a fighter's accuracy for the remainder of the entire game is perhaps one of the strongest things you can do.
Though there is still a ranged limitation on this card, this card needed to go on the list because it is effectively does the same thing as Helpful Whispers.
I love how Jonathan announced his website titled Well of Power and then we see this card get restricted a couple hours later. 😂
Seriously though, the addition of this card on the list keeps in line with Dave's current reasoning of magic being a bit too strong. The main perpetrators were the Cursebreakers because they have a ridiculously easy inspire mechanic and they are all wizards. Turns out transforming your warband to host two level 2 wizards or a single level 3 is really good. Guardians loved it too!
This card also keeps in line with the restricting of game-long accuracy inducing cards.
At this point I feel like I sound like a robot. I hope you get the picture by this point: consistent, accuracy boosting cards are very strong, especially when there are a lot of options to choose from.
Despite the clear drawback here, it was quite easy to circumvent. Furthermore, even if you did eliminate the bonded fighter, it was usually too late as people pile on accuracy right before they hit.
TL;DR: magic bad, consistent accuracy bad.
I am very pleased with this timely and well executed update to the BAR List. In my previous article, I mentioned that I was concerned in regards to magic and ranged attacks after Power Unbound dropped. It seems the community and design team agreed. I feel better about the power level surrounding magic and ranged strategies. They are still quite good but now it seems they won't be oppressive.
I also mentioned that I wanted to see Sphere of Aqshy, Well of Power, Archer's Focus, and Inspiration Strikes join the restricted list. Getting 3 out of the 4 things on your wish list isn't bad, eh? We've all known magic, range, and accuracy cards have been a challenge in the current meta. I am glad to see that rectified.
I also mentioned that although Mollog was the biggest loser during the last update, he didn't seem to lose much. That was validated a couple weeks later when Neil won the Warhammer World Grand Clash and was a part of the winning American Team Championship squad. Both Mollogs were the Tome variant.
To a certain extent, I feel like Mollog has been put in a position where he is manageable now. He will always have the ability to run away with a game but I now believe that should happen less often. Players who take Mollog will have to choose between aggressive and defensive strategies. It will be very difficult to do both. Both variants have advantages and disadvantages but at least now the overall power level for either build will have been lowered.
I still expect to see Mollog a lot, especially the aggro kind.
In terms of the meta, some of the top warbands took some of the biggest hits. We've already spoken at length about Mollog. The other three are Cursebreakers, Guardians, and my beloved Profiteers. I still think all four of the warbands are fairly competitive, especially the latter three.
Cursebreakers will probably revert to how they played before earlier this year (something like this) or move wholly into Tomes.
Guardians will continue to be the hybrid machines that they are but I think they will rely on Ylthari less - which is a good thing.
Lastly, Profiteers will be a little less accurate and require additional improvisation (no pun intended) to keep their score immediate cards going. If they can't do that, they will probably focus on being a bit more control oriented.
Furthermore, I think we might see a possible rise in objective play. At the very least, we will see the Thorns of the Briar Queen more now. They didn't really lose anything. Also, Godsworn still look solid despite losing some of their early ramp cards and accuracy tools.
However, I think the biggest winners will be Magore's Fiends. This might be a dark horse but with a bunch of these warband losing some of their greatest tools, we might see those dastardly warriors taking a greater number of skulls for the skull throne.
All in all, the latest addition the Banned and Restricted list has been fantastic. The cards selected were known to be powerful in one way or another. With them being limited, we can expect to see new strategies, tactics, and a resurgence of some of the older warbands.
Whether you are playing a Season 1 or Season 2 warband, I think you are really going to enjoy the next couple months of Warhammer Underworlds. And on the off chance that you don't, don't worry. Season 3 (Beastgrave) is just on the horizon.