Updated: Jan 22
The second Forsaken and Restricted (FAR) list came as a bit of a surprise today, landing less than 10 days before the first Grand Masters Championship Grand Clash and just over two weeks before the Las Vegas Open Grand Clash.
You can find the announcement and Underworlds lead designer Dave Sander's Reasoning behind the new FAR here.
You can find the PDF with the Championship Format Rules here.
In this article, I wanted to go over my thoughts on how these changes affect the overall meta, and then give a number of example decks I think might be good starting points for most of the warbands.
Meta Thoughts After The FAR
A few cards were removed from the game and added to the Forsaken list:
Keep Them Guessing: From Dave's article, it seems like it was removed due to how confusing it was for new players to understand. This card was one of a few 2 glory end phase cards that most warbands could use, though it was better for some than others, and I think it's removal will have the largest impact on the game of this update.
From a balance perspective, Keep Them Guessing is what I would consider to be very passive card, as the warbands that were good at scoring it tended to be able to do so without working very hard at it, due to very useful card actions or, double actions, or cards that let you do some of the actions required outside of an activation. This meant that you frequently scored 2 glory for going on guard, or making one other perhaps sub-optimal activation in the round. There also wasn't much the other player could do to stop you from completing the actions required short of avoiding your fighter's charge range.
I think this card was viable for Sepulchral Guard, Skaven, Farstriders, Gitz, Cursebreakers, Thorns, Mollog, Ylthari’s, Thundriks, Grymwatch, Wild Hunt, and Rippas, so it does leave a hole in a number of my decks that will need to be filled.
Not having this card in the meta means that some warbands will have a harder time getting to the 16+ glory mark in their decks, or have to swap in Keep Chopping (Wild Hunt, Thundriks, Farstriders, and perhaps Mollog and Ylthari’s as well) take more objective oriented end phase objectives such as dug in or coveted spoils if they weren’t taking those already, or perhaps rely on their 2 glory faction cards more than before (this mostly applies to the Beastgrave warbands, who each have a few).
I think this means that the meta will shift to become more aggressive and generally more active, but perhaps a bit less complex, as most of the cards that replace KTG require you to specifically work towards completing them and generally require more effort individual effort than KTG did. Time will tell if this is a good thing.
Aggressive Defense: The loss of this card from the meta hits the higher health warbands fairly hard, as well as those deck using it to protect from Pit Trap/Snare/Lethal Hexes or score the recently released Steadfast Defender.
This card will be missed, but unlike KTG, it’s also fairly easy to just not include it anymore and take something else.
The loss of this card hits the warbands that liked it the most: Mollog, Condemnors, Magore’s, and perhaps Lady Harrows, Thorns (most notably this was in Phil Kelly’s 2nd place Thorns deck), and Thundriks.
The warbands this card's disappearance helps are pretty much anyone hoping to drink the Potion of Rage, or make an attack with plans to target back, and with the added restriction of Rebound, makes attacking in general a much safer prospect (though watch out for Sorcerous Reposte and Grievous Reposte!).
Objectives tend to be the most important cards in your deck, so these two have the biggest impact on the meta, mostly because the warbands that don’t need these cards are fine, while the ones that still take them have to do so at the cost of another restricted card.
Temporary Victory: I don't think we will see too much less of this card, though the 4-5 fighter warbands that used to flirt with the idea of playing objectives (Godsworn, Thundriks, Harrows, etc) might be more likely to leave it out. Grymwatch and Despoilers might also opt to only take their faction versions and take another restricted option, though doubling up should be very common. The real change from this card going restricted is that Thorns, Gitz, Sepulchral Guard, Grymwatch, and Despoilers now have to drop another R card to take it, likely lowering their overall durability from restricted upgrades, or perhaps losing Pit Trap.
Scrum: We should see less of this card moving forward, I think. Unrestricted, it’s a bit of a no brainer, but I’m not sure it’s worth a slot of anyone outside of Gitz, Thorns, or some kind of control deck that wants a safe score early game. It is pretty easy to score, but with only 6 surge slots in the first place, it's not too hard to find something to use instead, so I don’t think it makes the cut in most decks anymore. If you do take it, it’s at the cost of another R card, probably a defensive upgrade, so that feels like a fair trade.
Gambits are important, but also usually fairly easy to replace with other cards you likely wanted to take, but didn’t make the cut. In Beastgrave, there aren’t many gambits that are so popular you’d take them no matter what, so they mostly let you take specific tech cards, and it’s unlikely to see more than 0-1 restricted gambit in most decks.
Transfixing Stare: Smaller warbands and melee warbands love this restriction, as this card has the potential to shut down a powerful fighter and is hard to counter. I think we will still see this one now and then, but not nearly as much as before.
Rebound: I think we will see a lot less of this card moving forward, much to most people’s joy. I think I’d still take it in my Godsworn deck, and Thorns or Ylthari’s might consider it as well since it is a good reaction, but that’s likely about it.
Some of the best cards in the game right now are upgrades, so before this update many decks had 2-3 of their R slots in this category. Small changes to this list actually matter very little as there are so many other good upgrades worth taking, but changes to the objective or gambit cards on the R list are likely to push the upgrades out of play if those cards are more important.
Tome of Vitality: I think this card is effectively removed from the game outside of very specific cases where a warbands wants an extra wound very badly (and already has Potion of Constitution, Great Fortitude, AND any warband specific equivalents), and does not want the speed reduction from Sudden Growth. Tome decks might still take it, but having to take Acolyte of the Katophranes and then choose between Tome of Offerings, this card, and other high value restricted cards like Calculated Risk and Sudden Growth will be very difficult.
Winners and Losers
The biggest losers in this change are defensive tome builds like Thundrik's and Eyes, who were likely taking Keep Them Guessing and now have a hard time building for tomes and the durability to make keep them alive until the end of the game. If these builds are viable at all anymore, it’s a lot harder now.
A number of warbands took sizable hits, but should be just fine. Objective warbands like Thorns and Gits will miss KTG and have to spend R slots on Temporary Victory and Scrum, but still have the glory ceiling they need to win games, and have a few options to replace KTG with. They will just have to think a bit more about their second and third R cards from now on.
I think the biggest winners of these changes are aggro warbands like Rippa's and Wild Hunt, who lost little or nothing in the changes, and like that the hold objective warbands can’t take as many defensive upgrades anymore, making them easier to kill.
I think the overall effect of these changes is a smoothing out of the warband power levels and a more aggressive game in general as aggro gets a bit of a boost and objective warbands have to think about their R cards and control the board if they want to score as much as before in the end phase.
Personally I’m going to miss KTG deeply, but it had a good run and I’m very excited to see how this slice of the meta plays out at the upcoming Warhammer World and Las Vegas Open Grand Clashes.
The State of the Restricted List
Below I will evaluate the current cards on the restricted list:
A=Great cards you will see a lot in play-styles they support
B=Solid cards you will see in some builds
C=Situational cards sometimes worth taking
F=Pretty bad cards you will probably never taken, but are probably on the list for balance reasons.
Acolyte of the Karaphranes - C
Burst of Speed - C
Calculated Risk - A
Loner - F
Longstrider - C
Scrum - B
Sorcerous Scouring - F
Temporary Victory - A
Warning Shot - B
Pit Trap - A
Rebound - C
Sorcerous Flourish - F
Sphere of Aqshy - A
Spiritbond - A
Slumbering Key - F
Sudden Growth - A
Tome of Offerings - B
Tome of Vitality - F
Transfixing Stare - C
Well of Power - C
Overall I like the current restricted list. If I could pick one card to add to it, it would be Survival Instincts, as that card is much too good at what is does for fighters with 2 defence dice, and the no drive back aspect of being on guard is too good at shutting down the damage from lethals and drive back reaction cards, which many warbands rely on. When you combine this with Sudden Growth, killing a double dodge fighter becomes mostly impossible, which can be problematic on Warbands like Harrows, Rippa's, and Thorns.
Some Updated Deck Lists:
To help anyone that might be scrambling to build decks or change their strategy, I have updated a large portion of my championship decks and linked them below.
For those of you you used to follow my old WiggleHammer blog, or are currently in the Path to Glory Discord channel, you know I usually share the decks I am currently playing with in order to give people a good starting point (and shamelessly harvest ideas from anyone who tries them out).
Obviously these decks are likely to be less than perfect, and are designed with the way I usually like to play in mind, so take that with a grain of salt, and I recommend changing them to fit your play-style as needed. I also haven’t had a chance to play much with these decks (though a few of them just happened to make it through the BAR with no changes, lol), so future tweaking is also VERY likely.
That said, I am fairly confident that these decks all function as is to some level of competitiveness.
If I have left out a warband, it's because I have not been playing them lately, and didn't have a base deck to update at the time of writing. If you have a deck that you think works for a faction I've left off, let me know and i'll take a look at it.
Steelheart's: - No deck at this time
Reavers: https://bit.ly/2uBARVt - Aggro!
Ironskull's Boyz: - No deck at this time
Chosen Axes: - No deck at this time
Sepulchral Guard: https://bit.ly/2R1z9UX - Hold Objective/Aggro
Skaven: https://bit.ly/2sei5CK - Hold Objective/Aggro
Magore's: https://bit.ly/2FB6fWs - Aggro + A liiiiiiiittle Hold Objective
Farstriders: - https://bit.ly/38w2pKC - Aggro + a little Hold Objective
Cursebreakers: - No deck at this time
Thorns: https://bit.ly/2R7auy2 - Hold Objective/Aggro
Gitz: https://bit.ly/2sbQVfN - Hold Objective/Aggro
Godsworn Hunt: https://bit.ly/35CWEc9 - Aggro/Hold Objective - This one actually didn't change at all in the FAR2.0
Mollog: https://bit.ly/2tLzZgi - Aggro/Control
Thundrik's: https://bit.ly/36PHPo9 - Hold Objective/Aggro
Ylthari's: https://bit.ly/37Tdu89 - Aggro/Hold Objective
Ironsoul's Condemnors: https://bit.ly/36HsTbp - Aggro/Control
Lady Harrows: https://bit.ly/382oW1t - Control/Aggro
Despoilers: https://bit.ly/308fdnp - Hold Objective/Aggro
Grymwatch: https://bit.ly/2FCVR05 - Hold Objective/Aggro
Rippas: https://bit.ly/2uxUygJ - Aggro/Control
If you want to follow these decks or see what I am playing in future, feel free to join the discord and check the stickied posts.
If you notice how much I seem to like Opening Gambit and Combination Strike, I find they work pretty well together (see this great article on Call it Shadespire for some more on that).
If you have any questions about the decks, or think there are changes that can improve them, let me know!