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Card Review - WUOnline - Universal Card Release 03

Updated: May 15

Hello!


WiggleFish here with my card review of the Universal cards recently released Warhammer Underworlds Online as a part of "Universal Card Release 03," which is actually the first card release since the game's actual launch, but third release since early access.


If you'd like to check out the reviews I've done of the cards the game initially launched with, you can check those out here:

Universal Card Release 03


This card release includes the following new cards:

  • Objectives: Assassinate, Blooded, Dauntless, Defensive Strike, Tactical Genius 1-3, Tactical Genius 3-5, Victory After Victory

  • Gambits: Darkness Descends, Ephemeral Shield, Illusory Fighter, Improvisation, Inspiration Strikes, My Turn, Shardgale

  • Upgrades: A Destiny to Meet, Dark Darts, Deathly Fortitude, Incredible Strength, Shadeglass Dagger, The Formless Key ,The Shadowed Key


Lets go through and rate these cards one by one.


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.


Objectives:


Assassinate:

  • Card Text: "Score this in an end phase if your warband took an enemy leader out of action in the preceding action phase."

  • Glory: 1

  • My Rating: 1 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: This card is not reliable in any given turn, and gives very little glory when you accomplish it. I don't expect it to see much play.


Blooded:

  • Card Text: "Score this in an end phase if all of your surviving fighters (at least three) have at least one wound token."

  • Glory: 1

  • My Rating: 2 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: This is normally a bad card, but becomes a lot more reliable if you have Shardgale, or the other player does. Because this seems likely in the current meta, it might be worth throwing in the 4+ fighter warbands, particularly Magore's Fiends since it overlaps well with Rivers of Blood.


Dauntless:

  • Card Text: "Score this in an end phase if your fighters are outnumbered by at least three to one."

  • Glory: 2

  • My Rating: 2 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: This card is really only reliable for the smallest warbands like The Farstriders, and even then is hard to score vs other 3 or even 4 fighter warbands if you kill too many of their fighters. Probably best for the Farstriders, though, since you could double up with Sigmar's Finest


Defensive Strike:

  • Card Text: "Score this immediately when your warband takes an enemy fighter standing in your territory out of action."

  • Glory: 1

  • My Rating: 3 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: A great card for any warband that isn't planning to go all in on the opponent from the get go. Good for any of the defensive or objective style builds.


Tactical Genius 1-3:

  • Card Text: "Score this in an end phase if you hold objectives 1, 2 and 3."

  • Glory: 3

  • My Rating: 1 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: Although they do have a nice reward, These cards are insanely hard to do reliably, to the point I think you just don't take them.


Tactical Genius 3-5:

  • Card Text: "Score this in an end phase if you hold objectives 3, 4 and 5."

  • Glory: 3

  • My Rating: 1 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: Although they do have a nice reward, These cards are insanely hard to do reliably, to the point I think you just don't take them.


Victory After Victory:

  • Card Text: "Score this in an end phase if you scored three or more other objective cards in this round."

  • Glory: 2

  • My Rating: 3 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: This is a great card for warbands that can take a lot of surges, and really helps get the glory flowing. It doesn't help you much if things are going poorly, but if they are going well they help you secure the win. It can sometimes be hard to pull off if you have too many conditional end phase cards that are hard to score all at once, but it makes reliable decks even better. The more surges the better.


Gambits:


Darkness Descends:

  • Card Text: "The first Attack action in the next activation has a Range of 1."

  • My Rating: 1 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: This card is neat, but too situational, and probably not worth the ploy slot in most decks.


Ephemeral Shield:

  • Card Text: "The first friendly fighter to be targeted by an Attack action in the next activation has +1 Defence."

  • My Rating: 2 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: Not a terrible effect, especially if you already have 2 defence dice, but still not quite worth the slot in most decks. It's typically better to use upgrades to permanently gain wounds rather than spend cards on hoping the roll goes your way.


Illusory Fighter:

  • Card Text: "Choose one of your fighters on the battlefield. Place them on a starting hex in your territory."

  • My Rating: 4 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: A very powerful card when used correctly, this card allows you to reposition a fighter at a critical time, perhaps moving forward to make an attack, or moving them back into your territory after overextending with a dangerous charge.


Improvisation:

  • Card Text: "Discard all power cards in your hand and draw three power cards."

  • My Rating: 1 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: If you want card draw, I think Duel of Wits is better, and I don't think you need to take both.


Inspiration Strikes:

  • Card Text: "Choose a friendly fighter. They become Inspired."

  • My Rating: 4 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: This card lets you bypass a big part of the game (inspiring normally) and is one of the biggest power boosts available. This card is best used on powerful fighters with a tricky inspire condition like Sanson Farstrider. Not good for Skaven, since their inspire condition is fairly easy and you might as well take any other choose card.


My Turn:

  • Card Text: "Reaction: Play this after an Attack action or ploy that damages a friendly fighter. Push them up to one hex and make an Attack action with them."

  • My Rating: 4 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: A very powerful card for fighters with enough health to survive a hit. This card also has great combo potential with Shardgale and any other self damaging ploys. Expect to see a lot of this one.


Shardgale:

  • Card Text: "All fighters suffer 1 damage."

  • My Rating: 3 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: A very powerful and meta defining card that actually takes some getting to in order to use it properly. Because it deals 1 damage to all of the fighters on the board, using it too early can end up being worse for your own fighters than it is for your opponent. I tend to try and wait until I have two enemy fighters at one health before using it, or use it to kill one fighter and trigger a combo like My Turn to kill another. If you use it at the right time, you won't care if your fighters are easier to kill, because you should have gained so much from it that the opponent is unlikely to come back from it. A bit of a trap for Ironskull's Boyz since they don't often want to inspire at the cost of going to 3 health, but not a bad card for them to help secure kills with, and the inspire can sometimes be a nice bonus if used at an otherwise good time. Best for Magore's Fiends because of how well it synergies with Rivers of Blood, or for Farstriders since it can help them get smaller fighters within kill range. Not as good for Skaven and Skeletons since they tend to be a bit more fragile anyway, but also not terrible for them if used carefully.


Upgrades:


A Destiny to Meet:

  • Card Text: "If this fighter is not out of action at the end of the third action phase, gain 1 additional glory point."

  • My Rating: 3 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: A very nice way to get an extra glory at the end of the game. If used in the 3rd end phase, usually nothing can be done to stop it.


Dark Darts:

  • Card Text: "Attack Action: Range 3, 3 Fury, 1 Damage"

  • My Rating: 2 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: A nice attack action upgrade that probably competes a bit with Shadeglass Darts, though I think some warbands might consider taking both of these. If What Armour? makes it into the game anytime soon this card suddenly gets a lot better.


Deathly Fortitude:

  • Card Text: "-2 Move, +2 Wounds."

  • My Rating: 4 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: Probably the best durability upgrade in the game. Most of the time, staying alive is more important than moving, and if your fighter is in danger, they are likely close to the enemy anyway. Best on faster fighters like Skritch, but a card that will likely be in every deck until a Restricted list is implemented.


Incredible Strength:

  • Card Text: "+1 Damage to all Attack actions with a Range of 1 or 2."

  • My Rating: 4 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: Damage is so important to the game, that having another way to get to 4 damage in addition to Great Strength is exactly what you want.


Shadeglass Dagger:

  • Card Text: "Attack Action: Range 1, 3 Fury, 3 Damage - When this Attack action is successful, discard this upgrade. On a critical hit, this Attack action has +1 Damage."

  • My Rating: 4 out of 4 (was Restricted in the table top version)

  • My Thoughts: Probably the best weapon in the game, this card kill almost anyone in one shot. Great for the warbands with weaker fighters like Skaven and Skeletons to suddenly make a weak fighter scary in the power step before their activation.


The Formless Key:

  • Card Text: "If this fighter is holding an objective in the third end phase, score 1 glory point."

  • My Rating: 3 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: A nice way to get an extra glory at the end of the game. Best for the larger warbands that don't have to work as hard to make sure they are on objectives at the end of the game.


The Shadowed Key:

  • Card Text: "If this fighter is holding objective 2 in the third end phase, score 2 glory points."

  • My Rating: 2 out of 4

  • My Thoughts: The numbered 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, which is why I have given this one a rating of 2 but the ones in the initial launch a rating of 3.


Meta Thoughts


I think this card release is an interesting one, because it greatly increases the lethality of the game with cards like My Turn, Shadeglass Dagger, Incredible Strength, and Shardgale.


These are just my initial thoughts, so I could be wrong, but I think the clear winners here are Magore's Fiends, who can now take Rivers of Blood and perhaps Blooded as well to get fairly reliable glory over the course of the game via Shardgale. My Turn is also a card that seems made for them. They also love Inspiration Strikes as it allows them to inspire before attacking, and because they also have their own faction version of it in Furious Inspiration, they will now very reliably be able to do so. It is now very possible to fill a Magore's deck with tons of damage and speed and go to town on the enemy, which is what they love most.


Ironskull's Boyz are generally happy for most of the same reasons as Magore's, though I think they will start to find the damage arm race is very against them now, and keeping Gurzag alive to be trickier than ever as they continue their eventual slide into the "less effective Magore's Fiends" zone.


Skaven will enjoy having Deathly Fortitude in order to make Skritch annoying to hack through, and they love having Shadeglass Dagger to pop enemy fighters with unexpectedly, and Illusory Fighter to pop Skritch out of danger. Other than that I don't think they gained very much from this one, though, as they don't really like it when everyone else gets more dangerous, but still have plenty of tricks for good players to make use of.


Farstriders probably gained a fair amount, with cards like Inspiration Strikes and Shardgale boosting their power a fair amount, but I think they will not enjoy the number Magore's Fiends around, as they can have a hard time avoiding trading 1 for 1 with that warband, and the damage is now available to one their shot fighters fairly easily.


Steelheart's Champions that like to fit in the back are probably largely unchanged, and though they may have a slightly harder time when the Magore's finally reach them, they might also pack a bit more of a punch themselves with cards my My Turn and Inspiration Strikes, and be harder to kill via Deathly Fortitude. They also like Defensive Strike a good amount.


Skeletons are the big losers of the update in my opinion, as they didn't really gain any good objectives and do not enjoy having Shardgale Farstriders around, and dislike Magore's Fiends in general. They should do a lot more dying with this update, and their end phase glory game will be harder than ever. I think the most successful decks for the warband will be aggressive ones, utilizing cards like Shadeglass Dagger and Incredible Strength in order to do as much damage early and slow their opponents down long enough to spread out to objectives.


We also got a number of extra ways to score glory passively via The Formless Key and A Destiny to Meet. Generally, I don't expect these to have a big effect on the meta, though they will probably see play. Most of the time they help to decide games that were close, help the skeletons to make up for losing so many fighters (it's nice because they stack, and can stack with the keys as well if you are on the correct objective), and perhaps provide an end game boost to the more defensive Stormcast Builds.


Ultimately I like that the game has got a bit deadly, but I do think I would have liked to see some more cards for objective play such as Our Only Way Out, and I think we could some more push cards like Quick Advance or Inspiring Command. As always, a bigger card pool tends to make the meta for interesting, and the sooner we get the whole Shadespire collection + Leaders the better, so I am definitely looking forward to the next few releases.

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