Back here with a quick article detailing my thoughts on the latest changes to competitive play. In this article, you will find my thoughts on all of the major changes, including the card changes.
Formats and Rotation:
There are now three different formats in Warhammer Underworlds. The picture below is quite self explanatory. Personally, I am a huge fan of the Alliance format and I think the changes to the Championship format, the new competitive standard, will breath fresh life into the game.
As you are also all aware, with the coming of Beastgrave, universal cards from season 1 have been rotated out of Championship and Alliance formats.
This infographic provided by Warhammer Community demonstrates that all warbands are legal in Beastgrave. Furthermore, all universal cards from Nightvault and Beastgrave are legal in Championship and Alliance play. Universal cards from Shadespire and the Leaders Expansion will not be legal. However, all card are legal in Relic format.
Furthermore, Games Workshop has announced organized play support for all three formats. So regardless of which flavor of Underworlds you prefer, there is something here for everyone!
The best of three games board rule is still in effect which was a very welcome change.
In addition to that, the boards from the Shattered City board pack have been rotated out: the Arcane Nexus and the Animus Forge. Both boards were fan-favorites and used quite often. With the advent of the lethal hex placement rule, both boards seemed very powerful and could be abused.
Secondly, these board were hard to come by. Having boards out there that are not easily available to the payer base, especially newer ones, creates an unfair advantage and for that reason I am fully on board with the change. As a side note, one guy on the Facebook page mentioned he paid over $80 for a board. That's nuts!
Truth be told, I will miss using the boards though in Alliance and Champion play.
The limit to 6 surge cards is a healthy change. This will force players to slow the game down a bit and work towards scoring end phase cards. The pay off is more worthwhile while also allowing your opponent counter play. Even though I benefitted a lot from it, I am glad to see people will no longer be scoring 2-3 cards from on attack activation.
Lethal Hex Placement:
This is another welcome change. Prior to this rule going into effect, a lot of players were creating zones of lethal hexes that heavily dissuaded players into even moving into certain areas of the board. It also gave an unfair advantage to the warbands that had fighters who ignore lethal hexes such as Khazgan and all of the members from The Thorns of the Briar Queen and Lady Harrow's Mournflight.
I'm not sure if I like the new name for the banned list but I still appreciate its function. I guess BAR list will now be the FAR list? It's going to take some time to grow on me.
Starting with the more severe list, we see that the only banned card during Nightvault, Extreme Flank, is still on the list. Upper Hand has now joined it.
I am so happy about this change. If you listen to the Path to Glory podcast, then you'll heard of me ranting about this card quite often. First, it abused a core mechanic of the game by allowing players to circumvent how attacks occur (I mean how can attack hit if you even missed the attack roll). Second, it created a heavy negative play experience.
Imagine your opponent rolling two crits to hit you and the only way you can win the game is to roll a double crit yourself. If you do roll it, that becomes an awesome experience. Its a memorable and positive moment that you will share with your friends. Then imagine your opponent slamming down Upper Hand. Not only does it lose you the game, it just took your high and made it into an extreme low.
The first thing you may notice is that now, you cannot have more than 3 restricted cards in your deck. This is wonderful news. I feel like previous lists had included certain cards to curb certain styles of abusive play: heavy spells and Mollog shenanigans.
When Beastgrave dropped and season 1 universals rotated out, all of those powerful and abusive strategies were back online. For example, Mollog lists could take Longstrider, Burst of Speed, Tome of Offerings, Spiritbond, and Acolyte of the Katophranes while Cursebreakers and Guardians could take cards like Well of Power, Sphere of Aqshy, Warning Shot, Calculated Risk, and Sorcerous Scouring.
By limiting the amount of cards allowed, the design team has brought the powerful strategies back on par with everyone else. Furthermore, it forced hard deck choices which are always welcome. Decks with better construction will succeed and the skill gap in that is huge.
Two cards were also taken off the list! A first in Underworlds history.
Glad to see this card back online. After its restriction, I rarely saw it. However, with the 6 surge restriction, it had been hard to find end phase objectives that felt good. Now, it'll be a lot easier to build decks while also rewarding players who can inspire successfully. No complaints here.
Bringing this card back feels okay. It was a heavy favorite for magic and ranged focused warbands and was partially responsible for their consistent performance. On the flip side, the upgrade category is stacked now and those aforementioned warbands might be hard pressed to fit this card in. Plus, I am sure there will be more ranged fighters coming in the future.
Overall I think these changes were fantastic. The design team has taken the time to assess the meta, and future meta, of the game.
I am looking forward to how they tackle the next FAQ, whenever it comes out.