Shadespire Tactics by Dave C.

We’ve got a guest article diving into the nuts and bolts of upping your Shadespire game brought to us by Dave!

Warhammer Underworlds (WU) is a tournament game, and because of that some of us who love the game, play to win. We test decks, play tons of games and polish the proverbial turd into soul crushing, take no prisoners, game wining, gut punching decks. On our team we have three of the top ten ITC players (and probably one more after Frankie uploads the SoCal open scores), we play each other a lot, we’ve all won local/regional tournaments, and one of us has won more shadeglass trophies (7) than he needs. We’ve come to recognize that maybe some of that hyper competitiveness scares away less competitive players, and in our chat, we’ve talked about limited format nights at the club to encourage more people to play, more in a future article. Basically, we love this game. Unfortunately, this weekend at The SoCal Open there were only seven Underworlds players, six day one and four day two. We were sad.  A few weeks earlier we played in a tournament at The Realm, Games and Comics with 12, and at Gamer’s Haven with eight. Our team was excited to play at SoCal with different players and our rivals to see how good we really are, and we basically played each other.

During and after SoCal we wondered why people aren’t playing WU as much as we had hoped. The Second season (Nightvault) just dropped with two new war bands a week later. The buzz online was good, old players were coming back after the drought at the end of Shadespire. How could there not be a good crowd at SoCal? At Kingdom-Con this spring there were (I think) almost 20 players. So I asked, “Where are our community leaders, who is our Frankie, our Reece?”  Not long after the answer walked up. A cast member of Claim the City (CtC, the only WU podcast I know) wondered by and we talked shop for a few minutes, yeah, he was playing 40K. For the Kingdom-Con WU tournament (which they ran) CtC hyped it up for weeks. Could it be that simple? In our discussion and on the cast, he made the case that WU really needs a tournament format, and I agree that would make running events a breeze. From what I can infer/remember their idea would be to use no neutral cards from season one (Shadespire). He had additional reasons for playing 40K at SoCal that I respect so no hard feelings. However, I disagree, and hope to make an argument for why that makes sense (since you’re not in my head).

First if GW comes out with a tournament pack I’ll embrace it and play the game how they want us to play. However, GW sold us WU Shadespire as a complete game designed at once with 8 war bands, 437 cards, plus the 60 leader pack cards, season two (Nightvault) isn’t done or complete until all the war bands and cards are released. For one Shadespire war bands don’t have magic, and the magic we’ve seen is damn good. Shadespire war bands therefore need the cards they were designed with to compete in an open competitive format. Are there powerful cards in Shadespire? Yes, but if Shadespire war bands don’t have those cards can they are compete. Shadespire cards can also be used with the Nightvault war bands so everyone has access to those same tools. Now I will admit if we get more expansion packs like Echoes of Glory as they re-release the season one war bands Claim the City’s proposal makes sense. But to do so prematurely puts the season one war bands at a competitive disadvantage.

Nightvault has been a great shot in the arm for Warhammer Underworlds I’m excited to see where the rest of the season takes us, the cards and combos we’ll find. Get out to your local club and bang out a few games. Put you head together with your friends and find a deck that hits hard, but most importantly get your tournament organizer to upload their tournament scores so we all can collect those juicy, juicy ITC points.

What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear how the community thinks we can grow the competitive WU scene.

Play more games and I’ll see you in Vegas.

About Dave:

He’s taller, and more handsome than you, but also a little over weight. He helps raise two wild little ladies with his wife and runs a little place called Gamer’s Haven in Colton, CA.


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

3 Responses to “Shadespire Tactics by Dave C.”

  1. The Traitor November 11, 2018 10:52 am #

    Have been playing Underworlds lately and must say I’m very pleased with it. My local community has been wanting to get into the 40k competitive scene for a while, but our store is too small for tournamens and so some of us have picked up Underworlds which requires much less space and time, which is a huge bonus for me as I’ve also been running short of the later.

    So far I’ve enjoyed it a lot, it’s fast paced but highly strategic gameplay lends itself for competitive play easily and it’s simpler rules raise less disputes too.

  2. TheWiggleFish November 11, 2018 11:26 am #

    My feeling is that at some point, the format is going to need to be restricted in some way. It might not be right now, but probably by the end of season 2 / beginning of season 3.

    My reasoning is as follows:

    1. As more cards are released, the most efficient cards push out the less efficient ones, to the point where every deck has the same 10-15 or so cards in it (Escalation, Precise Use of Force, Extreme Flank, Advancing Strike, Change of Tactics, Great Concussion, Trap, Quick Thinker, Time Trap, Hidden Paths, Illusory Fighter, Ready for Action, Deathly Fortitude, Sudden Growth, Twist the Knife, Pit Trap, Acrobatic, Soultrap, Awakened Weapon, Tethered Spirit to name a few) that are SO GOOD that they are not likely to ever be replaced by new cards that come out. This means that as more cards come out, the meta is unlikely to change by more than 1-2 cards each time. We have so many good cards right now, compared to half way through the first season, that any new cards that come out have to compete with the best of the best. This might be okay right now, but as more cards come out there will have to either be intense power creep as they make new cards that are somehow better than things like time trap or quick thinker, or you will just see the same 20 cards over and over again, which is something i feel is starting to happen already.

    2. As the game increases in size, it gets much harder for new players to break into it monetarily. To play competitively, it’s not incorrect to say that a new player would need to buy 90%+ of the current Underworlds products. Echos of Glory lets you skip two of the Warbands, but right now the 6 Warband expansions from Shadespire and everything from Nightvault is practically required to play at a high level. At the time I am writing this, the entire collection is something like $350-$400 depending on discounts and whatnot. As time goes on this number will get higher and higher, to the point where it becomes difficult to convince new players to buy everything.

    I think there are a few solutions to these issues.

    The simplest fix is to just only allow universal cards from the current season, starting probably when the 4th and 5th Warbands for that season are released (so in this case, when the troll and barbarians come out). There should be enough cards out by that time to have a functioning meta without all of the universals from the previous edition. New players will only HAVE to purchase the Warbands from the current editions, plus any of the older Warbands they feel like playing.

    As a bit of a side note, I actually do not agree that magic is so powerful that the older Warbands are at a disadvantage without their old cards, since the randomness of magic actually makes it fairly weak / or at least balanced, and the new magic Warbands can benefit just as much from the old cards as the old Warbands do. Currently the old Warbands are doing just fine, and magic is used very sparingly due to it’s limits and unreliability. I don’t see any reason for this to change just because you can’t use the old universals anymore.

    The other way to move forward might be with a restricted list. As new editions come out, the older seasons cards would move to the restricted list, and you could only have X of them in your deck. X would be something the community would have to settle on, but something like “2 of each card type: Objectives, Gambits, and Upgrades” seems reasonable to me. This would would let new players be able to focus mostly on the new cards, but still allow the use of older cards, though in a limited way.

    I feel like as the game moves forward one of these options will have to be explored, if not now, then by the start of the 3rd season.

  3. Rathstar November 30, 2018 3:01 am #

    Banning season 1 cards will not improve tournament attendence, it will only make it worse. Not everyone wants to buy a new season’s cards just to go to a tournament. I have 4 season 1 warbands, and I won’t be buying another warband until I see one I really like the look of. If you ban season 1 cards then people like me just aren’t going to attend any tournament.

    Give the new banned and restricted lists a chance to affect the meta. The main way to drive attendance is promotion. The majority of ppl at a tournament are not there to win it, do well yes, but not take home first. Saying ppl have to buy a new season’s cards to even play will just alienate people from tournaments when the game is new and needs to grow. After all it is competing against lots of established tournaments such as 40k, Infinity, AoS etc.

Leave a Reply