WUOnline - EA - Card Drop 1
Version 3 of the "Cowardcast" deck I created for ranked play in Warhammer Underworlds online. This deck takes advantage of some of the new cards added in the first universal expansion. This deck, in various forms, has carried me to the lofty heights of Rank 1 with scarcely any defeats; a testament to the Skaven ethos of leading from the back!
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deck building guide
Defensive Stormcast were always a powerful deck in Shadespire, especially during the Relic days. Because of the limited card pool in Warhammer Underworlds, it struck me that a defensive Stormcast deck would likely do well. However, while they may have begun as a purely cowardly deck, the Cowardcast evolved through play into something that is deceptively aggressive. Version 3.0 is not as thoroughly tested as others, but it has performed well as I expected it to.
This is not a deck for the cowardly or the half-hearted. You must be ruthless with your discards, mindful of your opponent and, once a play is decided on, you must commit to it.
The overall tactics are quite straightforward on paper; hide at the back of the board for early glory, ideally from Bloodless, Sigmar's Bulkwark and/or Consecrated Area. Once you have this, it's time to get aggressive! Get Hidden Paths into your hand and be ready to teleport into the enemy board, ideally swinging a 4-damage Cleave attack into the face of someone valuable!
The aggression of this deck cannot be understated. Poor imitations of this deck merely cower at the back of the board, but true Cowardcast must be willing to potentially sacrifice Steelheart or Obryn if it means grabbing a bit more Glory. With two objectives requiring you to be in the enemy half of the board, the deck is actively rewarding you for boldness - and you'll be robbing people of Denial while you're at it!
For boards, I almost always go with Katophrane's Reliquary. This ensures that I can always have at least two fighters starting on edge hexes, maximising the potential use of Hidden Paths. If I choose second, I will typically set up as a long board to minimise the risk of objectives being placed too far from edge hexes and making it difficult to grab them with ploys alone.
What to hold, and what to fold? Well first off, don't hold onto anything because it might be useful "later". Use it now, or bin it! In particular, you need to be looking for push ploys and that all-important Hidden Paths. Trust to Luck is a great boon here, so if that's in your opening hand you can afford to stand, draw some extras and then dump the whole lot last minute. Objective wise, you ideally want Bloodless / Bulwark early, as these become harder to score later. As a rule, I would not keep a Tactical Supremacy unless it can be scored without Confused Priorities, but these are considerations that must be made in the field. Don't keep Eternals, don't keep Chosen Champion, don't keep Ploymaster unless you can make good use of your ploys (don't play them for the sake of it!). Try to score at least two Glory off your opening hand. Remember: be ruthless with your discards!
In an ideal game, you can spend 3-4 activations just drawing more ploys. At a pinch, you might discard and draw an objective, but Round One is where you are most likely to be safe standing still, so don't waste this golden opportunity! Draw more power cards, build a hand of push ploys and look for the all important cards like Hidden Paths. Great Strength, Righteous Zeal and/or Tireless Assault are valuable things to get into your hand as well. Trust to Luck can be great for cycling out here as well. If your opponent is aggressive, focusing on a few defensive upgrades might be wise as well. Try to make sure at least one fighter ends the round on an objective, in case you draw into Immovable Object.
If your opponent left you alone, carry on as before. If they're coming for you, and they probably are, it's time to start building a fighter. This will usually be Obryn or Steelheart, depending on what else needs to be scored. Personally, I favour Obryn if the fights are in my board, and Steelheart if I'm using Hidden Paths. However, Angharad's 3 hammers and Parry when inspired make her a fine choice for a fighter as well, especially if you need accuracy over raw damage.
By now, if the game is still going, you're at the greatest risk of a punch-up. If you still have Hidden Paths, you might be able to use it to teleport an injured fighter to safety. If you are boxed in, especially if you're playing for Eternals, be smart with your positioning - don't give the opponent charges you don't need to! Brightshield, as mentioned, is the strongest defender when Inspired because Parry prevents her being pushed back, so consider using her to take a charge or two. Use Obryn / Steelheart to remove the heavy hitter(s) if you can. Odds are, if your opponent didn't commit to aggression they might only have 1-2 fighters who can pose a real threat now, so you might be able to rob them of kills just by receiving a charge and then retreating. Patience is key here; do not charge until the opportune moment. Remember also, it's not too late to draw more upgrades or cycle an objective!
Cowardcast are not everyone's cup of tea, and I can guarantee some people will resent you playing a defensive warband that can potentially earn a lot of glory by not doing anything. But it is not an unbeatable strategy, and you must be ready to counter aggression with aggression, or have an answer for a deck that might be able to out-camp you. Be ruthless, be certain, be victorious.
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