The Bone Boys are Back!
Tabletop - Post FAR1.0
Hello Underworlds fans!
WiggleFish here with a deck guide for everyone’s 3rd favorite seven-model warband, the Sepulchral Guard.
Despite there being a number of shiny new warbands to choose from right now, I think the old bone boys are worth playing for a few reasons.
Firstly, they are not an easy to warband to play due to their slow speed, a fairly complicated inspire condition, and reliance on the Warden, which means that becoming competent with them is a great learning experience that is likely to make you much better at certain aspects of the game, and is something I love as a competitive player.
Secondly, I believe they are in the best place they have been in a while, as many of the currently available universals play into their strengths, and their (albeit few) worthwhile faction cards fill certain voids in the current card set (hello distraction!). I especially think they have some solid game vs the current scary warband, the Gymwatch, but more on that later.
(you can click the image for a deck builder link)
deck building guide
Beastgrave is a bit of a renaissance for objective play, which has always been the main strength of the Guard. A general rule of deck building is that your objective deck determines the general strategy of a deck, and the power deck should support you in accomplishing those objectives. This deck does that by combining a number of easy to score score immediately cards with big scoring end phase cards to outscore the other player in the objective deck, and supporting that with lots of mobility, accuracy, and extra glory generation in the the power deck.
Calculated Risk, Martyred, Shortcut, What Armour, Scrum, Swift Capture - All fairly easy to score Surge cards to get the glory train started and cycle into the higher scoring end phase cards.
Keep Them Guessing - A good card for most warbands, made better for Guard because the Warden’s ability counts as both a fighter card action and a move action, meaning you can usually get away with Warden action > Charge > Charge > Attack or Guard. Keep in mind that The Necromancer Commands also counts as an attack action, meaning you could technically Warden Action, Charge, miss, Attack and score this in two tasty activations.
Supremacy - An oldie but a goodie. The bread and butter of the Guard’s play style.
Path to Victory - A new card that works very well for this warband, especially against some of the larger warbands. Also great when you only have two objectives on your board.
Coveted Spoils - A bit of a meta call due to the popularity of other hold objective style warbands, but very nice when it works.
Opening Gambit - A reliable end phase card.
Hoarder - The big oomph score at the end of the game, you shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring this card if things are going at least average with 18 other glory points in this objective deck, plus kills and extra glory generation from upgrades.
Gambits and Upgrades:
The gambits in this deck help ensure you are able to both score your objectives and hinder the other player’s plan by boosting your mobility and accuracy, and disruption abilities.
Restless Dead - A required card for any Guard player; great for bringing back the champion or harvester when you need them the most.
Restless Prize - An excellent card both for and against objective warbands, is usually very hard to undo without having the card itself in hand.
Terrifying Screams - One of the best cards in the game right now since distraction has rotated out, this card allows you to clear enemy fighters off objectives, move them into charge range, or push them into lethal hexes. Also a great counter to an enemy objective player moving an objective under a fighter with Restless Prize that does not require you to burn your own Restless Prize.
Shifting Reflection - One of the ways you can score Shortcut along with Confusion, and a great card for helping to score Swift Capture, or get one of your slower fighters unexpectedly into the enemy back line.
Transfixing Stare - One of the most powerful cards in the current meta, great for tying up an important fighter, especially in rounds 2 and 3 when people tend to have fewer options available.
Confusion - Your other way to score shortcut, and a great way to snag an objective from an opponent.
Desperate Flight - The current best replacement for Spectral Wings being rotated, this is fairly reliable at pushing your fighter 2 or so hexes closer to where you want to be.
Two Steps Forward - The best multi-push universal in the game right now, good for snagging objectives or moving fighters into attack range.
Haymaker, The Necromancer Commands, Potion of Rage - Great cards for making sure an important attack goes through, such as when the champion is attempting to score What Armour?
Frightening Speed - A great mobility upgrade that makes the bigger bone boys truly terrifying (especially the inspired Harvester).
Crown of Avarice - A great card for making certain fighters less appealing to kill. Great on an already inspired Champ or Harvester, the Warden, or a petitioner holding a crucial objective.
Faneway Crystal - A card that has recently started seeing less play, but is needed in this deck in order to help make up for the Warband’s lack of mobility, and is empowered by the ability of Restless Prize and Terrifying Screams to clear out a landing zone.
Great Strength - A nice damage boost.
Bag of Tricks - Great for pulling out the right card when you need it. Especially good for Guard since their action efficiency allows them to score Keep Them Guessing in 2-3 actions and still be able to use an action on this card.
Tome of Offerings - A great boost on any of your fighters that are likely to get kills, especially the ones you can bring back. The Harvester can become particularly scary with this one in some match-ups.
Amberbone Axe - A nice way to make a petitioner more useful, and extra glory from kills is always a good thing.
Larval Lance - Turns any fighter into a late game monster.
Sudden Growth - Usually reserved for the warden due to the low mobility of this warband, this can be very important in keeping him alive.
The Sep’ Guard are a fairly complicated warband for a number of reasons. Their fighters have very varied stats, they are very slow, and can bleed glory if too many fighters are allowed to die. These things can be worked around, but it takes some practice and will likely push your skills in certain areas like positioning, target priority, and glory denial.
First lets go over each fighter to make sure we understand them.
The Warden is a fairly good fighter once inspired, but losing him too early means that you lose your resurrection action, and the double move action, which can severely limit the options available to the warband. Because of this, you need to play very carefully with the warden and only risk losing him later in the game, and even then only when you have a lot to gain by doing so. You also need to be generally careful charging with him, since once you do you are no longer able to use the rest of his actions in that round (because of the charge token).
The Petitioners are interestingly what I consider to be the second most important part of the warband in that they are needed to hold home field objectives and you really don't want to lose them if you can help it, as they are not usually worth bringing back with the resurrection action or card. The exception to this might be if they have the Larval Lance.
The Prince is probably the worst fighter of the warband, but is what I consider to be the bouncer of the warband. His fairly reliable attack has knockback, which allows you smack important enemy fighters back an annoying distance from the rest of your warband, especially any Petitioners that are holding objectives. If they also happen to land in a lethal hex, all the better.
The Champion and Harvester are my favorite fighters in the warband, as each one becomes very annoying once inspired, and can afford to play very aggressively since you actually want the other player to kill them so they can inspire. Depending on the match-up and size of the enemy warband, either the Harvester or Champion will tend to be the star of the game and worth stacking some upgrades onto. The Harvester is a monster against larger warbands that have a hard time avoiding his scything attacks, and once equipped with Tome of Offerings, Crown of Avarice, Potion of Rage, and Frightening Speed the only thing it is afraid of is the enemy’s Transfixing Stare. Similarly, the Champion’s cleave makes him effective vs the smaller block warbands, and once it gets tooled up really can't be ignored. It’s low damage is the fighter’s main weakness, but Great Strength and lethal hexes can help mitigate this somewhat. Against the lower health warbands, the three Smash and 2 damage attack profile is nothing to complain about either.
Board and Objective placement:
Objectives are obviously a big part of this deck, so if you win the roll off in most match-ups, you should usually take three objectives. The exception to this might be against an opponent you think is going for a full aggro strategy, such as Magore’s or Mollog, and you don’t think you can take the brunt of 4 charges/attacks. In that situation, it can be best to instead give the opponent three objectives and hope your mobility cards will allow you to score the cards you need.
When you do pick to have three objectives, some good boards to pick are Shyshian Stardial, Penitent’s Thrown, and Living Rock, as these allow you to place at least two of your objectives far back in friendly territory while still having at least one fighter right on the starting line. When you are placing objectives, consider placing one right on the edge of friendly territory for swift capture, as it can otherwise be very difficult to score.
When you are forced to place boards against a warband that wants objectives as well, you will want to set up aggressively to fight your war towards the objectives. If the other player probably doesn’t want objectives and is being aggressive, you will want to set up diagonally. Molten Shardpit, Living Rock, Shyshian Stardial, and Penitent Throne work well in these situations.
When placing your two objectives, consider where your opponent has placed their objectives and where they will likely place their remaining two. You do not want the other player to be able to place all three in the back of their board, so if possible, you may actually need to place your first objective on their board, to force them to place their second one farther forward, ideally somewhere within 2 hexes of one of your fighters.
In either set up, when placing the boards and fighters, keep in mind that the goal is to both hide some of your fighters (Petitioners, Warden) and block/bully with others (Champion, Harvester, Prince). You will likely need to venture forward to take objectives with the Champion, Harvester, and Prince, and will want to make sure they are the only targets the enemy has access to in order to resurrect their more powerful inspired forms.
These rules are especially true when fighting against the Grymwatch, who typically want the three objectives, but also want to make sure you don’t stop them from inspiring. If you win the roll off against them, it is usually best to take the three objectives and do your best to stop them from inspiring but still prioritize scoring your objectives. Since you actually want them to kill some of your fighters so you can inspire them, their inspiration isn’t the end of the world as long as they can’t reach your Warden or petitioners with too many of their fighters. If the Gymwatch take the three objectives, you should set up and play very aggressively and do everything you can to stop their inspiration. If you can stop them from inspiring in in the second round, you have a very good chance of winning that matchup.
Remember that your main goal is to score through your objective deck more than anything else, and plan your activations in such a way that you will accomplish as many of them as possible.
If you have any score immediately cards in your starting hand, prioritize scoring those in the early activations in order to draw into more cards you may be able to score.
As you score cards, keep in mind that you may draw into cards like Supremacy, Path to Victory, and Coveted Spoils, so plan your movements and charges in such a way as to end up on objectives if possible, even if you don’t have those cards in your hand.
Similarly, you may also draw into Keep Them Guessing, so it can be a good idea to make a variety of actions during each round in the hopes that you draw into it, as long as those actions also help the rest of your game plan. The main way to do this is to make sure you attack rather than charge if you get an opportunity to do so, and to use the Warden’s action to move fighters rather than just making a normal move again. If you Card Action > Move, and charge in the first two activations, you can should be able to either attack or go on guard with one of the remaining activations to meet the requirement, and still one left for a second charge.
Because the warband is so slow, positioning is key. Try to always be moving closer to objectives and potential targets when making charges, and keep in mind the potential extended threat ranges you can suddenly gain via Desperate Flight and Frightening Speed.
Killing the other player isn’t a priority unless you need the kill for Path to Victory, but killing the enemy is usually the best way to avoid losing glory from your fighters dying.Try to figure out the strategy of the other player (objective, aggro, etc) and kill the fighters that help them accomplish the most objectives.
When you can, put fighters onto objectives. Having fighters on 3-4 objectives even if you only need 2 to score Path to Victory is always a good thing, as the other player may be able to push you off of one or two, and you can set up future scoring of cards like Supremacy.
If you have Restless Prize in hand, it should be saved as a last resort when you have no other way to gain the 3rd objective for Supremacy, unless you know the other player has already played it, since the person playing Restless Prize second always has the advantage. Ideally you will hold 3+ objectives at the end of every round, forcing the other players to use their Restless prize, and then you can restless prize it right back. If you don’t have Restless Prize in hand, it’s always best to assume the other player does, and try to hold one more objective than you need.
Save your accuracy ploys and upgrades for important kills or making sure you score What Armour? since those are more important than simply landing an attack or killing a fighter. Also remember that The Necromancer Commands counts as an attack for Keep Them Guessing, which can also be more useful than simply landing an attack. That said, if you get a fighter upgrades with Tome of Offerings, the right move may be to go ham for some kills. A particularly favorite combo of mine is the harvester with Tome of Offerings, Potion of Rage, and then playing Haymaker to give him two 5 dice attacks in a row with his Scything attack (since you can choose which attack you react to with the potion).
Well, that's it for my deck guide on the Sep Guard. I have really been enjoying playing this warband in my local meta, and I hope you find this guide useful.
If you try out the deck, let me know how it goes. If you make any changes you think make the deck even better, I'd love to hear about that as well.
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