Updated: Feb 2, 2020
Welcome to my review of the Universal cards found in the upcoming warband releases, The Wurmspat and Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers.
If you’d like to see my reviews of the box contents or the warbands themselves, you can read about them here:
For this review, I will be combining the cards from each set and grouping them in the order of how relevant they will be in the meta. I will note which set they come in with an (H) for Hrothgorn's Mantrappers or a (W) for Wurmspat after the title of each card, though.
I will also rate rate the cards from 1-4 with the following thoughts behind each rating:
I can’t think of a good reason to ever include this card in a deck
I think this card may see play in a very specific deck, but won’t be common.
This card may be common, but might not be in every deck.
This card should be very common.
The Best (ratings 4 and 3):
In my opinion, these are the cards that will have the biggest impact on the new meta:
Nightmare in the Shadows (W)- 4 - Welcome to the double and triple Distraction meta...
Leadbone Dust (W) - 3 - The new transfixing snare + ensnare, but not as painful for range 1 fighters unless you have pushes to combo with it.
Collapse (W) - 3 - Most of the time, this is just another Encroaching Shadow. Sometimes, way better. A solid plink damage card.
Leave Nothing to Chance (W) - 3 - A Universal version of the Reavers and Boyz objective destroying cards, and now one of the best anti-hold objective cards around.
Lucky Escape (W) - 3 - Great for shrugging off lethal hex damage, Snare, Pit Trap, and so on.
Blindside (H) - 3 - A solid push card reaction, similar to Countercharge, but it works for both your attacks and the enemy’s.
Buried Instinct (H) - 3 - A great way to avoid damage from Snare/Pit Trap/Lethals, make sure you score cards like Steadfast Defender , and just generally stay alive if you have a few defence dice. The quarry bonus is mostly just a bonus if you happen to be playing against Mantrappers.
End Phase Objectives:
Perfect Match (W) - 3 - The new Superior tactician, sort of. This card allows you focus less on glory total and more on ease of scoring your objective deck. To hit the magic number of 16 glory I like to see in decks, your deck only needs to have 12 glory in the other 11 cards. I think we see a good amount of this one. You can’t mulligan if you have it, but mulliganing is usually a bad idea anyway. If this gets too popular, it'll be time to buy stock in One Step Ahead.
Team Effort (H) - 3 - Great for the smaller warbands that do lots of moving or charging. A much needed end phase card for many Shadespire warbands.
Uncontested (H) - 3 - If the meta shifts more towards aggro, and with double distraction being the new sliced bread, this could be the new Supremacy.
Awesome Resilience (W) - 3 - This card is actually fairly easy for low health warbands to score, since they don’t usually keep wound tokens for long. A good option to keep in mind.
Unexpected Pitfall (H) - 3 - Solid for the warbands that are running Snare/Pit Trap, or lots of damage spells.
Arcane Expertise (W) - 3 - The spell version of Precise Use of Force, this is a good card for Cursebreakers and anyone building into a lot of magic. So, Cursebreakers.
Cryptic Companion (H) - 4 - The best glory generating upgrade yet.
Barb-Laden Net (W) - 3 - A very powerful card for shutting down an important fighter. Unfortunately restricted to Hunters only.
Amberbone Dagger (W) - 3 - The best of the Amberbone weapons so far.
Amberbone Spear (H) - 3 - The Range is nice, and just straight up better than the Hammer and Axe.
Substance Siphon (W) - 3 - A great late game defence upgrade for single defence warbands like Mollog, Magore’s, Skeles, or Profiteers. Combine with Survival Instincts for maximum annoyance.
The Rest (Ratings 2 and 1):
Jared’s Spirited Sphere (W) - 2 - Another Lost Page. Ensane is nice. Possibly worth it for Cursebreakers.
Binding Chain (H) - 2 - An average weapon, and another source of Combo initiation.
Finishing Blow (H) - 2 - An average weapon with an insanely scary combo bonus. Possibly worth building a combo deck for, and the dream card for the Black Hunger Skaven Combo combo of doom.
Hunting Companion (W) - 2 - Effectively a worse version of Fighter’s Ferocity since hitting and getting the bonus are less likely to happen together, but only for Range 1-2.
Prey’s Cunning (W) - 2 - A cool card, but probably not as good as Hidden Presence or Survival Instincts, which do similar jobs.
Sprinting Charm (W) - 2 - Possibly worth it for slower warbands that need speed in the early rounds.
The Scattered Tome (W) - 2 - We currently have 3 pages, and they aren’t terrible for a magic spam style deck, so this could be a nice way to get an end game glory boost without relying on 3rd end phase objectives, though it is at the cost of other objective slots.
Victor’s Speed (H) - 2 - It you are taking Great Speed, this is a better version of it. Otherwise, meh.
Victor’s Experience (W) - 1 - Probably not worth an upgrade slot unless you REALLY want to be a Hunter.
Hunter’s Caution (H) - 1 - A much worse version of Champion’s Fortitude. You’d only take it if you really wanted to be a Hunter, or are Mantrappers.
Mandibles of the Ur-Grub (H) - 1 - A fairly weak effect by itself, but required for the Avatar build.
Quintok’s Combative Cantrip (H) - 1 - Really bad on it’s own, since it will almost never be worth an activation. Possibly worth taking in a Lost Page build?
Terrifying Aura (H) - 1 - A very niche effect, probably not worth taking.
Arcane Arrest (W) - 2 - This card will get better if more Hunter and Quarry cards come out, or the more Hunter warbands are released. I don’t like it when cards can be dead, but this one is so easy in some match-ups it may be worth keeping in mind.
Sorcerous Volley (W) - 2 - A decent card for the spell attack action warbands considering the attacks don’t need to succeed, but doesn’t go well with charges, and isn’t great against the low wound warbands.
Master of Many Paths (W) - 2 - If you find yourself taking a number of Hunter upgrades in a warband with a Wizard leader, this might be a good pick. Currently, I don’t think any of the Hunter upgrades are worth it.
Against the Wall (H) - 2 - Pretty good vs the bigger warbands, and in diagonal board set ups. Also combos well with Collapse, Snare/Pit Trap, and Encroaching Shadow. Might be worth taking for warbands that in invest in those options.
End Phase Objectives:
Blaze a Trail (H) - 2 - Probably doable for small, aggressive warbands that tend to kill stuff, and becomes more reliable once you start losing fighters, but may force sub-optimal moves.
Addicted to Power (W) - 2 - Possibly something you could build for in a magic deck, but difficult and unreliable in the first round.
Frantic Exchange (W) - 2 - Possibly useful in decks with Frenzied Search, but I don’t like relying on the other player to help me score cards, or playing cards just to score this.
Rising Power (H) - 2 - Requires too much set up for my liking, and the spell actually has to go off.
Skilled Duellist (H) - 1 - Too unreliable, since you need the first attack to hit, and then the second one to hit as well.
Adaptive Strategy (W) - 1 - There are not enough hybrid cards for this work yet. If a lot more come out, it might be playable, but a deck would have to have 7-8 of them for me to want to play this card.
Triumphant Hunt (H) - 1 - Very hard to do vs smaller warbands, and relies on marking a Quarry somehow. Might be doable for Hrothgorn, but there are still better cards.
Aggressive Strategy (H) - 2 - This card is too reliant on card draw for me to like very much, and too hard to score by even the second round. It is reliable in that you probably will score it by the 3rd end phase, though, but I'd rather just take other 3rd end phase cards with higher rewards.
New Gambit Spells:
Beast Armour (W) - 2 - I don’t love single Focus spells, and this effect isn’t that great.
Wildform (H) - 2 - This spell will usually fail, and when it doesn’t, you probably just get the +1 move. Not a fan.
Irresistible Vision (W) - 1 - Too hard to cast and not worth the effort of building for innate Focus or amassing magic dice.
Rocksnake Toxin (H) - 2 - A nice way to guarantee damage, but a bit slow for my liking.
Dragged Into Darkness (H) - 2 - A weird one because it requires a Move token, but Charge tokens don’t work for it. Lethal Ward seems much more reliable to me, as standing on an objective is typically the only reason to make just a Move action, though I guess you could run both of them.
Vicious Beast (H) - 2 - Not very reliable, and there are better sources of plink damage.
Crushing Charge (W) - 1 - Too random for my liking, and unlikely to make the killing difference in a big scything attack.
Flash of Foresight (W) - 1 - A neat option to have, but unlikely to see much play in my opinion.
Chain Attack (H) - 1 - Probably not worth taking unless you have 3-4 Combo reaction weapons in a deck, and currently there just aren’t enough of them.
Unnatural Truce (H) - 2 - It's good for non-objective warbands that don’t want to take Frenzied Search, or people that want to take both.
Sudden Scarcity (H) - 2 - An interesting control card, but really only very good at the beginning of the game when the other player only has 1 glory and decides not to spend it until you have a chance to play this card. It's worth noting that it only persists until the first time your opponent spends a glory (because it says "the next time"), though the wording on it might make you think it lasts the whole round.
Overall I think this is a pretty good batch of cards, and am looking forward to how they effect the meta.
There aren't too many insanely powerful cards like Temporary Victory, but objective warbands will enjoy the addition of Cryptic Companion.
Aggro warbands gain a few usable cards, but nothing that really screams amazing.
It will be interesting to see what the game is like with Distraction and Nightmare in the Shadows in every deck. It should hurt end phase glory objectives, but actually make the Surge holding easier.
We have some more plink added in the form of Collapse, but we also have the ultimate anti plink card in the form of Lucky Escape.
Objective destruction in general becomes a lot more widespread with the addition of Leave Nothing to Chance, and we may see a lot more Scorched Earth play from the warbands that are already able to destroy an objective, which might give objective play a bit of trouble.
Lastly I think Perfect Match will add a much needed glory boost to warbands that don't have a lot of high glory objectives, since they can now try to take 11 easy cards and Perfect Match, and hope to score through 10 cards and get four more glory at the end.
Overall I am looking forward to having these new cards, seeing how the Mantrappers and Wurmspat effect the meta, and am hopeful that objective warbands will go down in power a bit with this update.
Thanks for reading!
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If I made any mistakes, missed anything, or could something better next time, let me know!