Warhammer Underworlds is a competitive skirmish wargame that combines board and card game elements. Set in Games Workshop's fantasy Warhammer Age of Sigmar setting, it launched its fifth season recently with a new starter set Harrowdeep, which gets its first expansions, with the warband pack, Blackpowder's Buccaneers, and the rivals card pack, Illusory Might. In this article, we'll take a look at what's in each expansion, and how they can be used in each of the different Warhammer Underworlds game formats.
To use either product in this article, you'll need a copy of a Warhammer Underworlds starter set, and if you don't already have one, either Harrowdeep or the Warhammer Underworlds Two-Player Starter Set will work, but Harrowdeep has the latest rules, boards, and tokens. For more details on Warhammer Underworlds, including how it plays and what a season is, check out our Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Preview.
Who Are Blackpowder's Buccaneers?
Gorlok Blackpowder is an Ogor Maneater pirate, who previously sailed the Penumbral Sea, but one night, he and his crew were drawn into a whirlpool and found themselves in the Harrowdeep, where they now seek out bigger spoils.
The Blackpowder's Buccaneers expansion comes with the five miniatures that make up Blackpowder's crew, their stat cards, and a ready-to-play Rivals deck (we discuss the Rivals format below). It also comes with an additional set of cards that can be used with any warbands, to add to decks in the other game formats.
Blackpowder heads into combat with four supporting units, two gnoblar's Kagey and Peggz, and two creatures, Mange the monkey and Shreek the parrot. Their playstyle focuses around the huge Blackpowder, who towers over most other units, armed with his powerful grunderbuss, which he can only use by discarding swag tokens. Swag tokens are gained by Blackpowder's minions when they use their light-fingered reaction to destroy a target's upgrade card.
Blackpowder's power deck has cards that give them some extra movement, allow Blackpowder to make some attacks without swag tokens, and also some ways to gain swag tokens if your opponent isn't playing upgrades. The objective deck has a mixture of aggressive and feature token control.
What Cards Do Blackpowder's Buccaneers Have?
Our picks from Blackpowder's Buccaneers warband cards are:
- Been There - This reaction gambit allows Blackpowder to close the distance on an enemy who moves nearby. Great for some free repositioning to get Blackpowder into position for some grunderbuss attacks.
- Done That - This reaction gambit gives Blackpowder a swag token after a failed attack. Blackpowder's defense isn't great, but it can be a cheap way to gain that second swag to inspire them early.
- Cache Compass - This minion upgrade gives them an additional two movement each turn, and also gives you swag counters for them just being on a feature token.
- Broadside - This score immediately objective gives you a glory point just for firing twice in a round. Stock, up on swag tokens, unload, get a cheap glory point.
Blackpowder's Buccaneers also includes thirty-two additional cards, eleven gambits, eleven upgrades, and ten objectives. These include neutral cards that can be used by any warband, and a grand alliance restricted card for order, chaos, death, and destruction in each card type.
Our pick from Blackpowder's Buccaneer's additional cards are:
- Unlikely Hero - This gambit gives a movement boost to any fighter, and an additional boost to wounds and damage if they're a low wounds minion.
- Plunder the Graves - This Death only gambit allows you to recycle a random power card from your discard pile. It's great early game to get a powerful gambit back in a small discard pile.
- Gifted Speed - This Chaos only upgrade gives +1 movement and can be played for free as a reaction after a friendly fighter takes an enemy out of action.
- Make a Path - This universal objective scores one glory if your leader has a charge token in enemy territory and their is an enemy fighter out of action. Great for aggressive warbands like the Buccaneers.
What Is Illusory Might?
Illusory Might is a Rivals Deck that contains thirty-two cards, including twelve objectives, ten gambits, and ten upgrades. Illusory Might is themed around Illusion upgrades which don't cost any glory points to play, but only last for one round, and are also removed if the attached fighter takes damage, or is the target of a gambit card.
Illusory Might is designed to be played straight out of the box with the Rivals game format, which we discuss below, but all of the cards can also be used individually when creating your own decks. All of the cards are universal, so can be used with any warband.
The deck focuses on moving into enemy territory and playing a large number of free illusion upgrades on your fighters, which will benefit smaller warbands who can use some actions to draw power cards for more upgrade opportunities.
What Cards Does Illusory Might Have?
Our picks from Illusory Might are:
- Cover of Darkness - A gambit that can either stop all gambit's dealing damage until the next power step, or push a friendly fighter two hexes into a cover hex.
- Illusory Find - This gambit allows you to pull the next upgrade from your power deck, which is great for a deck focused on playing illusion upgrades.
- Phantom Denial - This reaction gambit allows you to discard a card when a fighter is targeted by a gambit card. It's costly, as you're using two cards, Phantom Denial and the card you discard, but if your gameplan is focused on keeping those illusion upgrades on your fighters, then it would be worth it.
- Phantom Shield - The illusion upgrades in the deck are a mixture of weapon types, but Phantom Shield protects the fighter from taking damage, by giving them a solid defense, which also protects your other illusion upgrades.
- Illusory Nemesis - This one glory objective is scored immediately if your opponent plays an illusion upgrade, or you play three illusion upgrades in the same phase.
- Illusory Prominence - This one glory end phase objective is scored if your fighters have no upgrades and there is an illusion upgrade in your discard pile. Illusory Might does have three non-illusion upgrades, so just be careful when you play them if you're trying to score this.
What Are The Warhammer Underworlds Game Formats?
Warhammer Underworlds has three game formats, the full rules for which can all be found on the Warhammer Underworlds downloads page.
- Rivals - This format uses the set decks that come with each warband, or one of the two Rivals decks, Silence Menace, and Illusory Might. The warbands from the first few seasons don't have enough cards for the Rivals format, so if you're playing an earlier warband, you'll have to use Silent Menace or Illusory Might.
- Championship - The championship format rotates cards out from older seasons. Players can select cards from their warbands cards, and universal cards from the current and previous seasons. Currently, these are Harrowdeep and Direchasm. This format also includes a banned and restricted list for organized play events.
- Relic - The relic format allows players to use any cards from all seasons of Warhammer Underworlds, and it also includes a banned list to balance out organized play.
Why Are There Different Warhammer Underworlds Formats?
The different formats make it easier for newer players to start playing Warhammer Underworlds. Brand new players can pick up a either the Starter Set or Harrowdeep set and start playing straight away in the Rivals format, and then supplement their collection with a warband, or one of the rivals decks. If they then want to play Championship, they're only ever a season behind, and veteran players can always play relic if they want to make use of their full collection.
There is also an unofficial Rivals+ format, which allows players to pick a warband, then supplement their cards with either of the current rivals decks (Silence Menace or Illusory Might). This format allows players to play the older warbands, without losing access to their warband specific cards, which reinforce the flavor of that warband.
What Formats Can I Use Blackpowder's Buccaneers and Illusory Might In?
Using the products above, Blackpowder's Buccaneers can be played in the Rivals format straight away, and the additional card pack included with their set can expand their deck in the Championship/Relic format. The additional cards can also be used with any other warband in the Championship/Relic format.
Illusory Might can be used to replace any deck for any warband in the Rivals format or can be used to supplement any deck with individual cards in the Championship/Relic format.
The copies of Warhammer Underworlds Blackpowder's Buccaneers and Illusory Might used to produce this preview were provided by Games Workshop.