Updated: May 14, 2020
WiggleFish here with my initial card review of the Universal Upgrades that are currently available in the initial launch of Warhammer Underworlds Online!
You can see my reviews of the Universal Objectives and Gambits here:
For each card, I plan to give it a general rating, and explain what I like or dislike about the card.
My rating system is as follows:
4 - A rating of four means that I would take this card in almost every deck I make.
3 - A rating of three means I would take this card in decks of a certain play-style.
2 - A rating of two means that I might use this card in some very specific decks.
1 - A rating of one means that I cannot think of a deck I would play this card in.
It's not perfect, and it's likely that you could bump a given card up or down a rating based on your preference, but it's how I think about things.
When I think about Upgrade cards, I am typically looking for cards that fulfill some or all of the following:
Make my fighters more durable (more wounds or defence buffs, etc).
Make my fighters more dangerous (more damage or accuracy, better attack actions, etc).
Make up for the weaknesses of thee warband or fighters (Keys for large warbands that lose a lot of fighters, or speed for slow fighters, etc)
Most upgrades are pretty singular in what they do, so there isn't much overlap of these things most of the time, but when there is it can be important.
Frequently, the best upgrades are those that make fighters harder to kill by raising their wounds over the amount of damage the enemy can deal, or upgrades that make your fighters do enough damage to kill an enemy fighter in one hit. After that, the best upgrades tend to be ones that help you land more attacks (+dice, re-rolls, Cleave, and so on), or give you glory in some way (Keys, extra glory for kills, etc).
For more in-depth resources on deck building, I recommend searching the Web Content Library for more that topic.
A lot of my opinions are based on my experience with the tabletop game, so if you think I’ve missed anything, let me know!
I've separated the cards by my rankings, but within ranking they are in alphabetical order.
Ratings of 4:
Awakened Weapon - “You can re-roll one attack dice each time this fighter makes an Attack action.” - A great buff to a fighter's accuracy. Best for the smaller warbands with the hardest hitting fighters, but generally good for all warbands. It was restricted (one of a number of cards you can only have a limited number of) in the tabletop version.
Great Fortitude - “+1 Wounds.” - Pretty much an auto include for every deck. Pushing a fighter out of kill range is very powerful, as it forces the other player to commit more activations or cards in order to take them out.
Great Strength - “+1 Damage to all Attack actions with a Range of 1 or 2.” - The main damage upgrade in the game, pretty much an auto include in every deck. Use it, kill stuff.
Ratings of 3:
Acrobatic - “If this fighter has a Dodge Defence characteristic or has a Block Defence characteristic but is on Guard, roll an extra defence dice when they are the target of an Attack action.” - A great durability card for Dodge warbands, particularly for those with important 2 Dodge fighters like Skritch, since 3 Dodge can be very hard to get through even with extra attack buffs. Not as good for Block warbands unless you can reliably be on guard a lot.
Concealed Weapon - “On a critical hit, this fighter's Attack actions with a Range of 1 have +2 Damage.” - A great upgrade for fighters that throw a lot of dice, made more reliable the more dice or re-rolls you can throw into the attack. It also combos well with a lot of the 3 dice weapon upgrades.
Daemonic Weapon - “Range 1, Smash 2, Damage 3 - Each time this fighter makes this Attack action, they first suffer 1 damage.” - Great for the larger warbands that want to turn a weak fighter into a threat at short notice, and don't mind too much if it ends up dying. Especially good for the rez warbands like Skaven and Skeletons that can just bring the fighter back for another swing.
Light Armour - “Rolls of Critical on a defence dice are no longer a success for this fighter. Roll an extra attack dice when this fighter make an Attack action.” - A great accuracy bonus with a sizable downside. Great on weak fighters that you don't mind losing as long as they blow someone up first, or big fighters that rely more on their wounds to stay alive than their defence dice.
Shadeglass Darts - “Range 3, Fury 3, Damage 1 - On a critical hit, this Attack action has +1 Damage.” - A great weapon for the smaller warbands that may want to avoid charging in the later rounds and use it repeatedly, or the slower warbands that might need to make a long charge.
Shadeglass Sword - “Range 1, Smash 3, Damage 2 - When this Attack action is successful, discard this upgrade. On a critical hit, this Attack action has +1 Damage.” - Not as good as the Dagger most of the time, but a very accurate attack with a good chance to crit for 3 damage.
The Blazing Key - “If this fighter is holding objective 3 in the third end phase, score 2 glory points.” - Keys are great, you just have to plan for them. Best for the objective warbands with lots of fighters that need to hold objectives for scoring their objective cards, since it's likely the opponent won't save push cards to mess you up until the end of the game, and if you can make it to the right objective, you can get a lot of glory. Probably even stronger in the online best of one format, since you can surprise people with them in the last power step. I don't usually like taking more than 2 or 3 of them, though, as they do nothing for you early game.
The Dazzling Key - “If this fighter is holding objective 4 in the third end phase, score 2 glory points.” - Same as above.
The Fractured Key - “If this fighter is holding objective 5 in the third end phase, score 2 glory points.” - Same as above.
The Hallowed Key - “If this fighter is holding objective 1 in the third end phase, score 2 glory points.” - Same as above.
Ratings of 2:
Army of One - “If this fighter is the last friendly fighter on the battlefield, they have +1 Defence and all of their Attack actions have +1 Dice.” - Okay for the smaller warbands that might get down to one fighter fairly often like Farstriders, but useless early game.
Great Speed - “+1 Move.” - A nice card in some situations, but hard to fit into a deck a lot of the time. If they add Cover Ground to the game, this may be worth taking in Skaven as another way to score it along with Spectral Wings.
Heroslayer - “Range 1, Smash 1, Damage 4.” - Amazing when it works, but not the most reliable option without +dice cards to make it more accurate.
Legendary Swiftness - “+1 Move.” - Same as Great Speed.
Light-Footed - “Reaction: During an Attack action that could drive this fighter back (whether or not your opponent chose to), you can instead push them one hex.” - This card can be useful on very durable fighters that take a number of hits before dying, but there are a lot better cards in my opinion. It's reaction should block Trap, though, which can be nice.
Shadeglass Spear - “Range 2, Smash 2, Damage 2 - When this Attack action is successful, discard this upgrade. On a critical hit, this Attack action has +1 Damage.” - A solid weapon upgrade, but less reliable when it comes to critting compared to the Dagger and Sword.
Sprinter - “+1 Move.” - Same as Great Speed. I don't know why there are so many of these cards.
Total Offence - “When this fighter makes their first Attack action in an activation or power step (other than an Attack action made as part of a Charge action), you can choose for that Attack action to have +2 Dice. If you do, this fighter cannot be activated again this phase.” - A powerful effect if you can make it work, but a bit clunky in practice. It works well with Hidden Paths, or If you can apply it before an activation when you have an adjacent enemy fighter. Not something I take very often/ever, but I know that some people do like it. Better for ranged fighters than melee ones.
Trusted Defender - “You can re-roll one defence dice for this fighter when they are the target of an Attack action.” - A decent durability upgrade for the smaller Block warbands like Stormcast, but typically not quite as good as taking more wounds. If you want to take this in addition to a few other defensive upgrades, I think it can be a good option, but it's usually the 3rd or 4th one I would consider.
Ratings of 1:
Coordinated Attack - “Range 1, Fury 2, Damage 2 - When making this Attack action, roll an extra attack dice for each other friendly fighter adjacent to the target.” - Not worth taking, since it's generally worth that most fighter's normal attacks in most situations.
Cursed Artifact - “+1 Defence, -1 Wounds.” - Probably only worth taking if you plan to pile a bunch of health upgrades on a single fighter that already has a lot of health. I could see this in a Ork or Stormcast deck, but still probably wouldn't end up taking it since it's not really giving you much, just trading one good thing for another.
Disengage - “Range 1, Smash 2, Damage 1 - Reaction: After this Attack action, if it is successful, you can push this fighter one hex.” - Not worth taking for the effect, since the attack is very weak.
Ghostblade - “Range 1, Smash 2, Damage 1 - When rolling defence dice, only rolls of Critical are successes for the target of this Attack action. This Attack action can never cause more than 1 damage to a target.” - Not worth taking for the effect, since the attack is very weak.
Low Blow - “Range 1, Smash 2, Damage 1 - Both Fury and Smash symbols are successes for this Attack action.” - Not worth taking for the effect, since the attack is very weak.
Opportunist - “Reaction: After a failed Attack action that targets this fighter, you can push them one hex.” - A decent effect, but probably not worth the upgrade slot in most cases.
Regeneration - “At the beginning of each action phase, remove up to one wound token from this fighter.” - Only worth it on the most durable of fighters, but rarely heals enough to require extra resource commitment from the opponent.
Shadestep - “This fighter can move through other fighters during a Move action, but must end their move in an empty hex.” - A neat effect that just usually isn't worth the slot in your deck.
Vampiric Weapon - “When this fighter takes an enemy fighter out of action, remove one wound token from this fighter.” - Most of the time this is hard to make use of, and when you are able to heal with it it has to get you out of one shot range in order to actually be useful. This usually means it needs to heal you past 3 wounds, which just isn't that likely in most situations, and you'd usually prefer to use upgrades that will help you get the kills in the first place, or keep you alive in a more reliable way.
That’s it for the Upgrades! If you liked this article, great! If you think I missed anything, or made any errors, let me know in the comments. Want more? You can read my reviews of the Universal Objectives and Gambits (Ploys) here: