Event Recap: Bobbin' and Reavin'
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
Over the weekend, I attended my fourth tournament of the month. For those who have been following my progress, you'll know that there are six tournaments this month, each giving out a Shadeglass Trophy to the winner. This particular event was hosted at Games Workshop Village Center located in the Katy, Texas area.
As I continue my quest to win a trophy with every warband, I have noticed that aggro and objectives play styles have become increasingly prominent in my meta. With that being said, I decided I wanted to take a faction that would be unexpected and could use high movement to their advantage. That narrowed it down to two choices: Spiteclaw's Swarm or Garrek's Reavers.
I ended up selecting the latter as I think they aren't as bad as people peg them to be, and I have a extreme biased towards them. When the game first came out, unlike most people, I mained the Reavers and did my best to win against Steelheart's Champions, and then Ironskull's Boyz when they ran the meta for some time. I knew it was going to be tough but either way, I knew I'd be collecting my fair share of skulls for the Skull Throne.
As you can see, I ended up collecting many skulls. I'm going to be honest, I didn't think the path to victory would come off my first showing with the Reavers. As always, I will be doing an overview of the warband, explain my card choices, describe my tournament experience, and recap the games I played.
Gorebeard, the namesake of the warband, is a durable and agile commander who, once inspired, can take out most fighters in the game. Starting off, Garrek's attack hits on two smash and deals a respectable two damage. That means he has a 54% chance to win an attack against a single blocking fighter and a 59% chance to win over a singularly dodging fighter. Keep in mind you have a 26% chance to critically win as well. What makes him solid is that, like the rest of his warband, he moves four hexes. As one can expect from a lightly armored warband, our bloodthirsty leader only has a single dodge for defense which means he gets hit pretty easily. However, His four health does help him tank a couple of attacks should you find him in the thick of it.
Once Garrek is inspired, he deals three damage and gains a boost in movement by one. The latter is huge as it allows Gorebeard to make some pretty crazy charges and runs for objectives should he need to. Unfortunately, he doesn't gain any upgrades to his defense so again, be careful with him. He is one of your two major sources of damage and an early loss will be felt keenly.
I tend to keep Garrek in the back during my placement and only offensively commit him if I know he can stay relatively safe. Once you start piling some upgrades on him though, Garrek will be a major threat and will demand an answer from your opponent. This is only compounded with the fact that he can earn two glory off every fighter he takes out when he has Grisly Trophy on him.
Blooded Saek, the original cleave machine, is a fighter near and dear to my heart. This guy's weapon does a whopping three damage off the bat and hits with a decent two smash. Like his fearless leader, this resident big-hitter has a 54% chance to win against a single blocking fighter and a 59% chance to win over a singularly dodging fighter. The 26% chance to roll a winning critical is on the lower side which means he is not as consistent as you'd like him to be. Still, slap Great Strength or Gloryseeker on him and watch him eat heavily armored fighters for any meal you desire.
Once Saek inspired, which is rare as he often goes down early, he gains cleave and a movement boost. Cleave makes his chances of hitting a blocking fighter go up to 65% which should help you take out those pesky Stormcasts. Saek has a great threat range and should be used to target the enemy fighter you want gone as soon as possible. Remember, he has three health this makes him more survivable than most which helps because of his single dodge characteristic.
During deployment, I place Saek towards the middle/back of my zone. You don't want him to go down without getting some damage in so protect him. Once the moment is right, rush in and take out that key enemy fighter with one of his infamous suicidal charges. Whether he succeeds or not, he will probably go down early so try to make your swing count.
Karsus the Chained:
Karsus is a solid component to this warband and unique in that he is the only member that has a ranged attack. Requiring three fury to successfully strike an opponent, the left-handed axeman has a 55% chance to successfully hit blocking enemies and wins against dodging fighters 58% of the time. As you can see, three fury is statistically better at striking opponents than two smash thus making Karsus pretty accurate. The 36% chance to land a winning crit is also nice. Like his fellow Khorne worshipers, he has a strong movement of four and a measly one dodge for defense. However, this is offset slightly by his three wound count.
Things get a bit juicier when Karsus is inspired, primarily because his ranged attack gets a bump to two damage. He also gains an attack, Savage Whirl, that targets all adjacent enemy fighters. This can, in theory, make Karsus a danger to low health warbands like the Thorns or the Gits; although it is a bit less accurate due to rolling only two fury. Don't underestimate his ranged attack though, it can come in clutch and help get those hard to reach fighters due to a threat range of six.
Karsus was instrumental in my games and I deployed him usually around the mid to front area of the board. This allowed him to harass enemy fighters while forcing an enemy to charge should they want to hit him back. He isn't as valuable as Saek or Garrek, but I found Karsus to be a bit of a hidden gem.
Arnulf: the most memed fighter in Underworlds history and for good reason, is perhaps the "worst" fighter in the group. He has a single attack which requires successfully rolling off only two fury. An inaccurate fighter, Arnluf successfully hits blocking characters on a 40% chance and dodging characters on a 44% chance. Still, he can critically win combat 26% of the time which is quite nice as his special rule gives it an extra damage. This is sorely needed as he naturally on deals once damage when successfully striking an enemy.
Post-inspiration, Arnulf gains the usual singular boost in movement and an extra die on his weapon. Unfortunately, he still relies on critical rolls to two more than one damage. During deployment, I tend to place Arnulf first and on a starting closer to my enemy if I can't avoid it. Use him to claim objectives of score Extreme Flank, if you can. If he somehow manages to survive being charged and live late into the game despite his lowly health total of two, that one damage can come in clutch.
Lastly, Targor is another poorly statted fighter in a warband that already has stats on the lower end of the spectrum. He requires similar odds to Arnulf when he wants to hit fighters, pre-inspiration. Once he inspires, he gains a boost to his weapon and damage. This makes him fairly decent should you need to commit him to melee. Be careful though as he too has a single dodge and two health.
Like Arnulf, I place Targor early during deployment, usually on an edge hex to aid with the scoring of Extreme Flank. Should you need to, don't be afraid to bait charges with him once his scoring duties are completed.
Note: After playing in the tournament, I found that Supremacy isn't as easy or reliable to score as I found during testing. I would recommend you replace the card. Maybe with something like Martyred or Solid Gains.
As usual, we will start with the restricted cards. Extreme Flank is an amazing card that allows you to net an easy two glory. Most board allows you to score this just by placing your fighters. However if you can't, then the warband's high movement should help you get to the flanks easily enough. Escalation, a must have, is easy to score because playing upgrades should and will be a pivotal part of your winning strategy. Remember, your opponent can aid in the scoring of this. Supremacy, a last minute addition, was included solely because of the fact that there are five fighters in the warband with excellent movement. Should you need to, gaining three glory can be a boon and help stack those upgrades on Garrek.
Compared to most of the decks I have built, the Reavers's include a bunch of their faction upgrades because they fit seamlessly with your strategy: charge and eliminate. Blood for the Blood God! is an awesome card that scores immediately when three of your fighters make a charge action. It Begins and Khorne Cares Not are also pretty easy to score because they reward you for eliminating and losing fighters - again, a natural part of not only the game, but your warbands as well.
Let the Blood Flow is a semi-reliant score immediate card that rewards you for making three successful attack action with three different fighters. As long as your dice aren't cold, you should be able to score it. Draw the Gaze of Khorne is good because you score it immediately when you take out to opposing fighters. This is fairly practical because you are playing an aggro warband. Strong Start is fantastic because you get a quick glory for eliminating an enemy fighter, as long as it's the first fighter removed in the phase. All three of these cards help you cycle and play to your warband's strengths.
Dashed Hopes is another card that rewards you for taking skulls for the Skull Throne, just make sure the skull you take belongs to an inspired opponent. Shining Example should be easy enough to score as long as you protect Garrek. It might take until the third phase to do it, but it requires little effort. Lastly, Superior Tactician is included due to the fact that you are running four score immediate cards. Unless your fighters all go down early, this is an easy three glory which can win you a close game.
The remaining restricted cards in this deck are all much needed. Ready for Action, the best card in the game in my opinion, allows you to take an out of activation attack which can help secure an elimination. Plus, your fighter usually benefits from the upgrade before striking. Trap and Twist the Knife ensure that when you do hit, it counts. That one damage is often the difference between taking a fighter out of action and failing to do so.
Fuelled by Slaughter is another card that can give you an out of activation strike. You can also strike with a fighter who charged and eliminate an opponent too. Insensate is great because it effectively shuts down your opponent's next activation if their goal was to damage or eliminate a fighter. Keep in mind that this can be worked around with power cards that cause damage. Fuelled by Fury helps with accuracy - a much needed boon when you are rolling only two smashes or fury. In theory, if you whiff your roll, you can re-roll all the dice you rolled.
Mighty Swing helps with taking out multiple fighters at once. It can be hard to set up but if Saek or Garrek can get benefit from it, it's insane; especially with Grisly Trophy. Second Wind allows you to make a charge with a fighter and then swing with them later in the same phase which is fantastic with some of your heavier hitting fighters. Spoils of Battle gets a much needed upgrade on a fighter when you don't have the coin to spend. Putting Great Strength on Saek before a key charge is huge when facing higher wound foes.
Lastly, Last Chance and Rebound give you a chance at saving fighters facing certain doom. Yeah, they require rolls but the former takes a rare advantage of your poor defensive stats while the latter is crazy if you can nail that 33% chance.
We're only running three faction upgrades, but boy are they good! Frenzy gives you a chance at increasing your accuracy during a charge. Remember, when rolling three dice you have a 36% chance to crit and a 45% chance when rolling four. Bloodslick and Grisly Trophy are restricted to just Garrek only but they enhance him greatly. The former gives him a respectable boost to defense while the latter can turn your leader into a glory churning machine.
Speaking of defensive upgrades, Acrobatic can give any fighter an extra dice on defense which is extremely helpful. If you put that and Bloodslick on Garrek, he is rolling a crazy three dodge! Trusted Defender and Champion's Fortitude allow you a re-roll on defensive dice. It can be useful considering you only roll a single dodge most of the time. They become more reliable if you have at least two defense on a fighter.
Although they mitigate an innate strength of your warband, putting Deathly Fortitude and/or Sudden Growth on a fighter boosts their survivability dramatically. Gloryseeker helps with taking down high health fighters which is crucial when, at the most, you are naturally only dealing three damage.
Rounding out the deck, Potion of Rage can give a fighter a much needed accuracy boost while Great Strength is fantastic when dealing with any opponent that boasts a high health total (read: enemy commanders).
This week's quarterly official Underworlds event was hosted at Games Workshop: Village Center. Its a quaint store located in the heart of Katy, Texas and run by a fantastic individual by the name of Zach. The manager is kind and quite knowledgeable about all of Games Workshop's system. The store regularly hosts a variety of tournaments and I highly recommend a gander, if you're ever in the area.
We had a total of eight participants in the event with two fresh faces. The warband representation was quite diverse as well and it was nice to see a lot of variety in the meta. Stormsire's Cursebreakers, Thorns of the Briar Queen, Spiteclaw's Swarm, Garrek's Reavers, Steelheart's Champions, and Eyes of the Nine had solo appearances while two players brought the ever popular Magore's Fiends.
The tournament, as always at Village Center, is a quick affair. There are a total of three rounds with each player playing a single game every round. Players are then paired up in the following rounds with similarly performing opponents. Wins decide the victor and in the event of a tied score, glory difference is the deciding factor.
Game 1: Stormsire's Cursebreakers
So my first game of the day was against Hunter, the TO of the event, and his Cursebreakers. Going into it, I wasn't ecstatic that my "low tier" warband was playing against a "top tier" warband but I figured I'd face them at one point or another. Thankfully, I had played this match up numerous times with my practice partners, Mike and Cavhe, so I felt prepared.
Losing the roll for board I decided to select The Shattered Tower as it gives me a great selection of starting hexes on either side of the board. My opponent opted for the Soul Refractor. I also lost the roll for placement and started off by placing Targor, then Ammis was placed, then Karsus, followed by Rastus, then Arnulf, then Stormsire, followed by Saek and lastly Garrek.
Phase one started with me losing the roll off again and I kicked things off by drawing a power card. Rastus moved up the board. Saek charged Rastus and missed, and I followed up with Insensate. Rastus attempted to cast empowered and failed. I played Second Wind in his turn on Saek and in my turn, swung, hitting for three. I pushed Rastus back. Ammis moved up a single hex and, in response, Karsus charged Ammis with his ranged attack successfully dealing a single point of damage. I pushed her back a hex. Stormsire charged Karsus and flung a Fulmination, striking for a single damage, inspiring, and driving him back. I scored Extreme Flank in the end phase while my opponent scored nothing. In the end phase, I put Deathly Fortitude on Saek and threw away Superior Tactician.
In phase two, I won the roll off and after much debate, I elected to go second. Rastus moved towards his squad mates, setting them up some great counter charges. I played Spoils of Battle, put Potion of Rage on Karsus, and played Mighty Swing. In my turn, I charged Karsus into Rastus, eliminated him, and reacted with Fuelled by Slaughter. This allowed me to make an out of activation attack buffed with Karsus on Stormsire which I missed, despite being buffed on a rage inducing potion. Then, due to Mighty Swing, I struck at Stormsire and dealt two damage and drove the magical commander a hex to the right. Stormsire tired to hit Karsus with a Fulmination again, but missed. In the power phase, Stormsire cast Chained Lightning and scattered twice onto Karsus, eliminating him. He then followed up with Cry of Thunder on Garrek and dealt a damage. My opponent then put Lightning Whip on Ammis. For my second activation, I moved Arnulf to objective four. Stormsire then charged at Garrek but missed due to a critical dodge. He then successfully cast Abasoth's Withering on Garrek, reducing his wounds to two. For my third activation, I drew a power card and then equipped Acrobatic on Garrek. Ammis then casted Empower, inspiring herself. I moved Saek towards Stormsire. Rounding out the phase, Ammis trudged up the board to land next to Stormsire. I scored It Begins and my opponent didn't score anything.
Phase three, I won the roll off and charged Stormsire with Arnulf, dealing a point of damage but failing to crit. I put Grisly Trophy on Garrek and Stormsire attempted to cast Vital Surge but failed. Stormsire then fired off a Fulmination at Arnulf and critically hit, but I critically dodged! Unfortunately in my mirth, I told my opponent he could still push Arnulf back. Due to Arnulf being trapped on the edge of the board, he took the damage anyways and was taken out of action. Note to self, don't remind an opponent that they can drive fighters back!
Note: For clarification, this is a bit of tongue-and-cheek. Per the rules my fighter should take the damage regardless of being driven back or not. Shout out to the /r/WarhammerUnderworlds Discord group for pointing this out and asking me to clarify!
My opponent immediately scored Harness the Storm and put both Great Fortitude and Sudden Growth on Stormsire. My warband inspired and I played Fuelled by Fury. The bloodthirsty reaver charged during my activation and successfully eliminated Ammis. Stormsire then attacked Saek with a Fulmination but I dodged. He was however driven back and I put Gloryseeker on Garrek in the end phase. I charged with Garrek at Stormsire but missed, however I did score Blood for the Blood God!. My opponent discarded Extreme Flank and drew another card. I did the same, throwing Strong Start away. My opponent fished for objectives for the last activation of the game. I scored Escalation and he scored Fired Up, Magical Supremacy, and Shining Example.
I narrowly won the game 8-6.
Game 2: Thorns of the Briar Queen
Going into the second round, I got paired up with Jesse. Its always a pleasure seeing him and his greatly painted Thorns. Jesse actually beat me in the first round of the last tournament when we played a mirror match of Thorns of the Briar Queen. I knew this was going to be a tough match and had a score to settle as well!😈
Winning the roll off, I set up diagonally to force him to come to me and that coveted third objective he needed. Hopefully I could use my superior movement to create favorable offensive actions. I chose The Cursed Oubliette while my opponent selected the Soul Refractor.
Unfortunately, my recording of the match up got cut short so I won't be able to get as detailed as I would like. In summary, I had to play offensively as Jesse wasn't committing his ghosts to my side of the board. Karsus came in clutch, post inspiration, by eliminating two fighters on to separate occasions thanks to his Savage Whirl attack. At the beginning of the third round, Garrek made a key charge against the Briar Queen, eliminating her and scoring me some extra glory with Grisly Trophy. I ended up winning the game 21-14.
Note: One of my readers praised me for my detailed play by plays and I think I got jinxed. Not only did this recording get cut short somehow, all three of my games from the last event didn't even record! 😢
Game 3: Magore's Fiends
Okay, we made it to the finals. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised I made it this far. Still, the ultimate test awaited and it was against a rival Khornate warband. Those guys just do everything the Reavers do but better. Plus, they were piloted by Alan who had made it to the final table last weekend with them. I had a feeling I would meet this warband in the final and so practiced this match up till 4 AM the night before.
Thankfully, I won the board roll and set it up diagonally. I picked The Shattered Tower so I could create a small charge lane. My hopes were to take him out piecemeal and use my superior numbers and maneuverability to my advantage. Alan picked The Mirror Well. I started off by placing Targor, Alan placed Zharkus, I placed Arnulf, he placed Ghartok, I placed Karsus, he placed Riptooth, I placed Garrek, he placed Magore, and I ended with Saek.
After winning the roll off, Alan asked me to go first. I started things off by moving Arnulf to the bottom left hex. Alan moved Magore up to the left of objective four. In his power phase, I played Spoils of Battle and put Great Strength on Saek. Alan didn't play anything. I charged Magore with Blooded Saek and rolled two successes but no crits. Magore ended up failing his defensive roll and I was able to successfully take down the opposing leader! I scored Strong Start as well. Zharkus then charged Saek but I was able to fend him off with a successful dodge roll. In my third activation, I drew a power card. Ghartok charged Saek and succeeded by scoring two damage, inspiring the blood warrior. I played Second Wind in my opponent power phase, removing the charge token from Saek and replacing it with a move token. In my final activation, I swung at Ghartok with Saek but it was blocked with a critical roll. I put Grisly Trophy and Frenzy on Garrek and Alan played Fuelled by Fury. Riptooth charged Saek and hit. I played Last Chance and it went off, saving Saek. Still, Riptooth did inspire. In the end phase, I scored Extreme Flank and Escalation. He scored nothing. I threw away Supremacy and Alan discarded Show of Strength and Gory Visage.
Alan won the roll off for initiative in the second turn and swung at charged Saek with Ghartok. Luckily, he missed. I played Potion of Rage on Saek. I swung at Ghartok, rolled three hits, and successfully eliminated the blood warrior. I put Acrobatic on Saek to boost his defense. Riptooth swung at Saek and hit but I was able to block with a crit. Karsus attacked Riptooth with his ranged attack but the hound was able to successfully dodge. Zharkus charged Arnulf and eliminated my poor reaver. However, his death was not in vain - my warband inspired. Alan also scored Advancing Strike. In my third activation, I charged Garrek into Zharkus and rolled a hit but unfortunately, it was blocked with a crit. Zharkus punched him back and scored a wound on Garrek. I played Insensate in case Riptooth went for Garrek. Alan played Great Strength on Riptooth and followed it with Ready For Action, the daemon missed. Karsus charged Riptooth and dealt two damage for my final activation. I drove the hound back. Alan played Healing Potion on Riptooth and healed the dog for one. He also played Brutal Charge on Zharkus. In the end phase, my opponent scored Master of War and Opening Gambit. I scored It Begins and Dashed Hopes. I put Bloodslick on Garrek before drawing up. Alan played No Respite on Zharkus.
In the final phase, I won the roll of and charged Garrek into Riptooth, rolling a crit and a success. I dealt three damage to the dog, eliminating the creature, and scored an extra glory from Grisly Trophy. I put Champion's Fortitude on Saek. Zharkus moved up to be next to Saek and put Great Fortitude on the blood warrior. In my second activation, Targor charged Zharkus and hit for two damage. I followed up with Twist the Knife and after driving him back, played Trap. Unfortunately, I misjudged the wound total on Zharkus and left him with a singular wound instead of eliminating him, and placed him next to Karsus. I put Gloryseeker on Karsus. Zharkus swung at Karsus and dealt two damage. In my final activation, I charged Blooded Saek at Zharkus and immediately scored Blood for the Blood God!. The blood warrior rolled a crit to successfully block. Zharkus then swung at Karsus and eliminated him. I reacted with Fuelled by Slaughter, swung with Saek and removed Zharkus from the battlefield. Having three separate fighters make a successful attack activation, I immediately scored Let the Blood Flow. In the end phase, I scored Khorne Cares Not, Shining Example, and Superior Tactician. Alan scored nothing.
I ended the game 19-5 and won my fourth consecutive tournament of the month! 😊
I am beyond elated that the Reavers were able to win this event. It was a toss up between them and Sepulchral Guard and I am glad I brought the Khorne fanatics. Special kudos to my practice partner, Cavhe, for advising me to select the warband I felt the most comfortable with. It ended up paying off in spades.
Like most people will tell you, you can win any event with any warband. Sure, some are tougher journeys but in the end, you can do it. My opponents all played well and I ended up facing three of the top warbands in the current meta. Thankfully, I was able to use my experience and capitalize on their misplays to secure the trophy. Also, I practiced a lot with these guys.
Garrek's Reavers are on the lower end of the meta spectrum but I think they can be competitive if you build them correctly. The key to them is their movement and upgrades. Five movement is no joke and can help you create favorable engagements. Like any aggro warband, they rely on solid rolls offensively and considerably more defensively. Garrek and Blooded Saek are your key fighters and you should only engage them when you are confident enough to secure an elimination. I highly recommend you give them a go and see how many skulls you can take for Skull Throne.
A big thank you to Zach for running a great event. Games Workshop Village Center is known for its hospitality and great community. Again, if you are ever in the area, do give it a visit. You won't be disappointed.
As we are getting closer to the end of January, only two tournaments remain. My goal was to win four out of the six and with that being successfully accomplished, I have decided to set a stretch goal for myself. Let's see if I can win all six.
Thank you for the feedback and support, seriously it means a lot. Hexes & Warbands has been getting more views then I thought possible. At the moment, I have readers from 28 different countries! You guys keep me going and inspire to me create even more content. The Underworlds community is truly awesome!
Till next time!