Theorycraft: Midrange Farstriders
Ah, The Farstriders. A warband near and dear to my heart. They were the first warband that I won a Shadeglass trophy with and offer a unique play style. Aesthetically, they look fantastic too! Since the BAR (banned and restricted) list has dropped, a significant portion of the internet has consigned The Farstriders to a bottom tier warband. Now, while that may be a fair consideration at first glance, I do not believe that to be the case, especially with all those low health warbands running around!
In fact, even my practice partner, Cavhe, claimed that I couldn't beat him with them! So, I did as any proper gentleman would do in that moment, I challenged him to a best two of three. The gauntlet was thrown and we were set to play the following day. That night, I went home and tinkered around on the official deck builder for a bit and settled on this deck: Midrange Farstriders.
Note: If you are interested in understanding what the concept of "midrange" is, the fine folks over here describe it pretty darn well!
Yes, yes I know - I broke the 10 gambit and upgrade rule but I find them all to be pretty good here. I wanted to throw in Hidden Paths into the deck as well but didn't know what to get rid of. If you are set on including it in your deck, I recommend switching it out for Patient Defense. I will probably end up doing that myself!
Let's start with the restricted cards. I opted to go with Change of Tactics, Escalation, and Extreme Flank. The former is super easy to score and aids with activation management as you have less fighters than activations every turn. Escalation synergizes well as you are going to be piling on upgrades on the pew pew boys to make sure they stay alive and do more damage. The latter is chosen because it too, is incredibly easy to score and can help get the glory train running early.
Behead the Beast scores when you kill the enemy leader which you are usually bound to do. Ranger Strike is a great score immediately card that rewards you for doing what the shooty boys do best: shoot things. What Armour? is another solid score immediately that can be scored by Elias, once he inspires. Furthermore, both Sanson and Eagle-Eye can be given cleave via an upgrade.
Master of War is reliable because you are bound to score one of the immediate objectives cards, use that gained glory to play an upgrade, and play a power card in a round. Shining Example rewards you for keeping Farstrider alive, which should be a priority because that bird is damn good. Strong Start is the new age Advancing Strike and will reward you for eliminating your enemies' fighters first which, in theory, should happen.
I was a bit iffy on including both Eternal Supremacy and Supremacy, but since the play style of the deck is to hang back initially and take some pot-shots, I figured I could risk it. Plus, it provides some semblance of positivity if you lose board. Superior Tactician is a staple for me as it strongly rewards you for following your game plan.
Lightning Blow is a damage booster that is much needed on the plethora of low damage ranged attacks being fired off by the warband. Patient Defense can increase the likelihood of a successful defensive roll and can potentially deter your opponent from a particular action. Rangers, Advance is fantastic as re-positioning your fighters can offer a plethora of options during a game. Rapid Volley helps squeeze another attack activation during the round which can secure an elimination, should you need it to.
Warning Cry too, helps with increasing the likelihood of rolling a successfully defensive roll. Furthermore, it pairs well with Change of Tactics. Inspiration Strikes is an auto-include; inspiring your leader early is a boon. Rebound, is just a card I never leave home without. Yeah, it only has a 33% percent chance to go off, but when it does it pays off in spades. Shardgale helps with finishing off enemy fighters while also making them more susceptible to your warband's strong tendency to snipe from afar.
We all know how awesome My Turn is and Retribution is almost a carbon copy. Being able to punish your opponent for attacking your warband is fantastic and can rack up those eliminations quickly. Lastly, Ready for Action is, in my opinion, the best card in the game and should be taken in every list. Out of turn activations are money!
Flashing Handaxe helps round out Sanson to all out beat-stick. Whether sniping with his pet bird or smacking enemies in the face with three damage, he is going to put on the hurt. Overcharged Boltstorm Pistol increases your likelihood to hit with your ranged attacks, plus Cleave is good. Great Strength makes your melee attacks hit harder, always a plus. Furious Blow is pretty much My Turn as an upgrade and adds further insult to injury when they whiff their attacks.
Swift Stride is great because moving "faster" is always advantageous. Faneway Crystal is solid in that you can teleport to any objective on the board. This helps with inspiring, reaching enemy fighters, and scoring your objectives. Gloryseeker helps with taking down fighters with high health and Potion of Rage makes hitting enemies easier. Both work with ranged attacks as well!
Lastly, these last three help improve the survivability of your fighters. You have a small warband so keeping them alive is imperative. Also, the first two are slightly offset because your fighters all have ranged attacks which gives them greater value.
So, you're probably wondering if all this work paid off, right? Well the answer in short, is that it did! I ended up beating Cavhe's Cursebreakers, 2-1 in some hotly contested games. He was using the deck list I mentioned in my previous article (Bryce's).
The midrange play style worked out pretty well as in the first turn, I scored one or more of the following cards: Extreme Flank, Supremacy, Eternal Supremacy, and/or Shining Example while Cavhe was busy casting spells (read: inspiring his warband). In this particular match-up, Ranger Strike and Strong Start weren't really scored reliably but they should be much easier to score against other warbands, especially warbands like the Eyes and the Gits. Also, Retribution, My Turn, and Rebound came in clutch! I got the latter off only once but it pretty much won me the game, much to my opponent's chagrin.
All in all, the list performed above my expectations, especially against one of the top, if not the top, warbands in the current meta. Do I think it needs further refinement? Absolutely. I am hoping to get a bunch of games in this weekend in hopes of further refining the list. For now, I think this is a solid platform to start with.
I hope this theory-craft serves you well and offers you a decent platform for you to build your own Farstriders list. Also, if you enjoyed the article, please do let me know so I can release more of them in the future!