The TRVE Steelhearts
WU:Online - Post-Thorns
If you're newish to the world of Warhammer Underworlds: Online (from now on WU:O), then welcome! I hope this deck guide helps you to find your feet in your first handful of games. I cannot profess to be an expert player but I've had fun playing this deck so far and some measurable success too (i.e. I have won at least some games).
Please feel free to skip the next definitely for veterans only paragraph in case you succumb to any subliminal suggestions about other definitely inferior ways of playing Steelhearts that most certainly do not exist.
Now vets, you're probably thinking "oh, I wonder what interesting new tweaks greatviablecitizen is going to recommend for the good old stand-at-the-back-and-scratch-your-buttplates Steelhearts that we all know and love but if you read my last deck guide you should know that I enjoy doing the exact opposite of what prevailing wisdom says I should so...
This deck is all about pure aggro - the one TRVE way of playing Steelhearts.
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WUOnline Deck Code (If Applicable):
deck building guide
So, having run my Objective Oriented Farstriders deck in one form or another for about three seasons of the Agents of Sigmar WU:O League, I decided it was time to retire them for a while and play something completely different.
Well, maybe not completely.
Having been initially unimpressed with the Stormcast Eternals when Age of Sigmar was first released and not too keen on three-fighter warbands when I first discovered Warhammer Underworlds, I found that the Farstriders had won me over to both. So I found myself being drawn back towards Sigmar's own definitely-not-space-marines. This time, though I wanted to go all-out aggro, thereby defying my opponents' expectations that I would just be running [redacted - this playstyle does not exist] like every other Stormcast player with ranks to grind.
My central design principles were that I would try to choose objectives that would maximise the points that I could get for taking enemy fighters out of action or, failing that, playing aggressively by charging straight into enemy territory. For the gambits, I wanted to include anything that would help me get more attacks in, either by cheating out additional attacks (Second Wind) or moving enemy fighters into contact so I wouldn't have to charge (Distraction). In the upgrade slots, I included cards to get my fighters into a position where they could one-shot almost everyone (Great Strength) but did make a couple of concessions to survivability (Great Fortitude), (Army of One) and a small amount of glory-boosting (A Destiny to Meet).
I put the deck together fairly rapidly and took to the field - and found that I liked the deck immediately. Playing aggressively and hitting stuff was a refreshing change after so long playing a deck that was all about moving around and very rarely wanted to hit anything. So far, I haven't felt the need to make many changes at all but there have been a couple. You might think that "Annihilation" is a strange omission from a deck that claims to be all about aggro but early on I found that, although I was getting points from killing stuff pretty efficiently, it was tricky to close the game out completely and finish off the last remaining enemy fighter. Besides, Annihilation feels like a bit of a "win-more" card to me anyway.
The other main change was dropping "Total Offence" from the upgrades. You'd think a card so-named would be perfect for aggro but I constantly found it was exactly the card I didn't need at that moment. So off it went. I replaced it with "Army of One" on the basis that my aggressive playstyle for the deck (more on this in the next section) would probably see me over-extend and get beaten up for it. So far, though, that hasn't borne out in practice at all.
Edit: So, after a few more games with this I've made one small tweak to the deck - swapping out Heroic Might in favour of Trusted Defender. Heroic Might was a card I virtually never wanted to spend glory on - particularly since Obryn gets cleave when inspired anyway. I've gone for a little bit more survivability instead.
I feel like there's probably room to tinker around with the objective deck a little bit but I haven't made any changes yet. The going is tougher against some of the objective-holding warbands and I'm wondering whether Denial might help with that - but more testing is needed.
Speaking of objective holding... my "longboard against Orcs and Fiends" advice does not hold up against objective oriented orcs. Really, there's no way of knowing ahead of time if that's what your opponent is going to do but if it becomes a frequent thing then maybe don't do that.
This deck wants to one-shot big dangerous fighters whenever it gets that chance and score 3-4 glory per kill for it's trouble. So far, that seems to have been working out pretty well. I've developed a few standard ways of going about this as I've played the deck, which I'll codify as principles to make it feel more CVLT.
Principle One - Obryn the Jenkins
Whenever I see an opportunity to charge in with Obryn and one-shot a big lad, I take it. Yes, sometimes the dice punish me and then I'm over-extended but boy does it feel great when you charge in Round 1, Activation 1 and take out a fiend. Fun fact: Exalted-rank Magore's players will rage-quit 100% of the time when you do this.
It's actually surprisingly easy to pull this off. Righteous Zeal and the combination of Spoils of Battle with Great Strength will put you at 4 damage right off the bat and, if you're really lucky, you'll have Fuelled by Fury in hand to help things along too! Tip: You'll often want to go second in a round if you get the choice so that you can play your ploys and upgrades before you attack. Don't attack unless you have a shot at killing something!
Principle Two: Angry-angry Angharad
Sure, Angharad is the only fighter in this warband without an eight-foot-tall weapon but that's because she has absolutely nothing to prove. While Steelheart and Obryn will frequently embarrass themselves and miss an attack entirely, Angharad will literally never let you down. At three smash to attack she's absurdly accurate, so in situations where you can't one-shot your target and you know you'll need at least two attacks, always lead with Angharad first. She'll put a couple of wounds on an enemy fighter and then you can follow up with one of your big-shot dumbasses in the next activation.
Principle Three: Flexible Ploys
Okay, so I've pitched this as a deck about charging straight into your opponent's face but that doesn't tell the whole story. While Distraction and Sidestep are mainly intended to help you get into the fight efficiently, they can also be used to get you out of a tight spot if you over-extend or score you some easy glory from Seize Ground (Sidestep), Swift Advance (Sidestep), or Consecrated Area (Both). Yes, you're playing aggro but you're not a servant of Khorne and you can't hit anybody if you're dead!
Principle Four: The Tactical Longboard
Doubling-down on the seemingly counter-intuitive here. Against some other warbands - mostly Orruks and Fiends you might want to consider long-boarding if you get the choice. You still want to deploy right at the front of the board, as close as possible to enemy fighters, but having three fighters against their four means that, depending on the boards chosen and their orientation, you can force your opponent to choose which one of their fighters starts the game out of range of the action while all yours are close enough to deal damage.
Also, from a psych-warfare perspective, long-boarding your opponent with Steelhearts will immediately put your opponent on tilt before a single die is rolled since they'll assume that you're running Cowa-[redacted: there is no such thing. There is only one trve ways to play Steelhearts]. They'll already be halfway to that concede button before you've one-shotted your first fiend.
That's all for now!
I might re-visit this guide as I play more games with the deck since, admittedly, I've mostly been matched against Fiends and Orruks so far so I don't yet have much of a sense of how this will work out against things like Thorns and Skaven.
I've had a lot of fun so far playing with something more aggressive and it's really very satisfying watching your no-really-its-not-a-space-marines despatch enemy fighters with one mighty chop from a ludicrously over-sized sword. In the best possible version of this reality the best possible version of you is already laughing with glee as they wreck face for the emperor - join them!
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