Games Workshop's "competitive skirmish deck building miniatures game" Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire has been incredibly popular since its release last October, and the final two warbands for it have just been added. This completes the first known set, which started with the first two warbands from the Shadespire Core Set and then added a further four warbands. With these last two warbands, it takes the total to eight and 437 cards in the set. Nothing is known yet about the future of Warhammer Underworlds and where it will go, but Games Workshop have confirmed that more is on the way, but we will have to wait to see what form this will take.
Each Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire warband expansion adds the models for the new warbands, dedicated cards that can only be used by that warband, and new neutral cards that can be used in any warband. This means that even if you don’t want to play that particular warband, you may want to buy the expansions to get access to some of the neutral cards, but don’t forget, this isn’t a miniatures wargame in the sense that you pick an army and only collect that army; this is more like a collectible card game (CCG) or living card game (LCG) in that there is a meta that changes and adapts depending on the popularity of certain warbands and decks. As a result, having access to all the warbands, which isn’t that much of a stretch as they are very reasonably priced, is essential if you want to play Shadespire competitively, and if you aren’t playing competitively, they still enhance your gaming experience enough to justify the cost.
Games Workshop make the details of all the cards available via their Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire website, so prioritizing your expansion pack purchases can be done by checking out all the cards and purchasing the warband expansion with the most useful cards for you. You can see what cards are available in each expansion by using the filters on the sidebar.
As before, with the earlier warband releases, I will talk a little about the warbands themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and some interesting cards from the set. Also, I will show you the deck I started using for Magore's Fiends and am currently building on.
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The Farstriders have the highest starting range of any of the current warbands, but their ranged attack only does one damage. Rolling three dice, however, does give you good odds of hitting your opponent. Tactically managing your range and damage output from the different fighters is key with this warband; great positioning is essential to getting the most out of your fighters. Once inspired, their defense dice goes up by one and Sanson unlocks an attack with his Falcon that has four range, giving him a possible charge range of eight without upgrades. With four wounds each, they are quite a forgiving warband to play for a beginner, but also offer lots of tactical options for more experienced players.
Farstriders' CardsFor this review, we've selected the Overcharged Boltstorm Pistol, Rapid Volle,y and Punishing Volleys for the Farstriders' only cards from their expansion.
- Overcharged Boltstorm Pistol ups the die symbol required, giving you a better chance of hitting and adds cleave to the ranged attack of the Farstrider it's attached to, making this an obvious inclusion for picking off better armored enemies at range.
- Rapid Volley allows your to attack the same target twice with a regular or Overcharged Boltstorm pistol attack, regardless of it hitting or not. With their three dice attack, the high chance of hitting with both shots makes this a guaranteed inclusion in every Farstriders deck.
- Punishing Volleys is an easy, early Objective Card to score for the Farstriders, they will be in range almost every turn, and all shots can also be from the same fighter, or against the same fighter, so even late game, it can be a great card to score.
Neutral CardsFor this review, rather than select three cards like we did in the last, we picked out all of our favorite cards from the Neutral cards available. This is probably our favorite expansion in terms of interesting and possible meta changing cards yet. We selected Improvisation, Inspiration Strikes, Shardgale, Change of Tactics, Great Concussion, Frozen in Time, and Lethal Strike.
- Improvisation - Improvisation is a card that's going to feature in a lot of decks. It will find use in decks that need to cycle to find key cards, but also decks that burn through power cards, in allowing them to discard less cards than the three you will draw, which is a great investment.
- Inspiration Strikes - Instant inspiration, great for inspiring your key fighter, especially in decks like the Fyreslayers with slightly more difficult inspiration requirements.
- Shardgale - Shardgale has many uses, it can be used against large warbands by the smaller warbands for a better damage balance, or in Orc decks to inspire all your warriors whilst also damaging your opponents. It is very useful for the Farstiders to start their damage off, so that their whittling attacks can begin.
- Change of Tactics - I think Change of Tactics is an incredibly interesting card, especially in defensive Stormcast decks, or in decks where you can get your fighters on guard for free. It gives you a score immediately glory point for being defensive and then attacking, which is what you would be doing anyway.
- Great Concussion - Great Concussion, like Earthquake before it, has been getting a lot of attention and it is pretty damaging to Objective based decks, and like Earthquake before it, I think that it's existence is healthy for the game. Running it in your deck means that you're not running other useful cards, and if you're not playing against an objective heavy deck, then it's value reduces. This makes it a very meta heavy card and a gamble in its usefulness.
- Frozen in Time - A 50/50 chance to block a key fighter out for an entire phase, it's a gamble, but the reward for Frozen in Time is huge.
- Lethal Strike - Lethal Strike doubles damage on a critical hit on the next activation, which can be a gamble for big damage, low attack dice attacks, but with high dice rolling attacks, the chance of rolling a single critical is increased, as is the enemies chance to block against high levels of dice.
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Magore's Fiends, the warriors Khorne always promised us. They've got an average movement, decent wounds, and slightly above average attack options and inspire through successful attacks. When inspired, they all benefit from one extra movement and either increased attack dice or damage. Ghatrok and Zharkus both have reaction attacks against attacks that fail to hit them, so getting them into combat early, with some defense boosts can really punish your opponent for attacking them. They Fiends sit under Orruks for damage output, but are faster, increasing your tactical options. We're going to see some fairly aggressive decks run for the Fiends, and while they aren't as difficult to pilot as the Reavers, they're not a beginner warband, even though their tactics and deck choices might seems so.
Magore's Fiends CardsMagore's Fiends have the most auto-include cards out of all the warbands from their unique cards, so we've chosen five out of the set. We've chosen Khorne Sees Us, Bane of Champions, Furious Inspiration, Trophy Hunter and Bloodslick Ground.
- Khorne Sees Us - A score immediately objective for taking out enemy fighters. Which is what they do. Auto include.
- Bane of Champions - Riptooth when inspired can be extremely dangerous. Her three dice, three damage attack has cleave if one critical is rolled. A key upgrade can make Riptooth a deadly opponent for any leader, and with five movement, she can usually reach them and this score immediately objective card rewards you for allowing Riptooth to do what she does best.
- Furious Inspiration - The same as Inspiration Strikes, but for the Fiends. Having both in your deck doubles your chances of getting Riptooth or Magore inspired early and really taking the fight to the enemy.
- Trophy Hunter - Putting this upgrade on an Inspired Magore makes him extremely dangerous. With lots of aggressive objective cards in the deck, you will be scoring glory and upgrading your fighters fast if you're using Magore to finish off damaged enemies.
- Bloodslick Ground - -2 movement in the next activation could stop a key charge against one of your warriors, stop them securing an objective or more importantly, stop them running away. I like the feel of this card in a Khorne deck, it's very thematic.
Neutral CardsFor the Neutral cards from the Magore's Fiends warband expansion, we've chosen Second Wind, Flickering Self, Invisible Walls and Mischievous Spirits.
- Second Wind - An attack action after a charge with one of your warriors, very useful in aggressive decks, or in Farstriders decks that can have several attack options.
- Flickering Self - A gamble in if it works and how far you have to move, but can put your key fighter in an extremely advantageous position. High risk, high reward.
- Invisible Walls - An extremely beneficial card for aggressive decks and even against aggressive decks as it can stop a key movement in the next activation, which could be a charge against you, securing an objective, or moving our of range of your fighter.
- Mischievous Spirits - A strange card, that can work as much against you as for you, but in the right deck, can be a great counter to Earthquake and Great Concussion. A great inclusion in Fyreslayer's decks and also as an anti-objective card.
Magore's Fiends Aggressive (Aggro) Deck - For the Blood God![gallery size="large" ids="233299,233298,233297"]
My first deck construction for Magore's Fiends revolves around easy to score immediate objectives from doing damage and getting the Fiends into combat. The Bigger They Are is amazing if you can score it with one of the reaction attacks that Ghatrok an Zharkus have. All the upgrade and ploys are based around doing damage, drawing cards or chaining attacks. Two of the upgrade cards allow you to remove wound tokens, it's great to get these early on a fighter to get the most of out them and ensure better longevity. There is very little to counteract the weaknesses of the Fiends, so it will require some tweaking depending on the meta that you play in, but it's great fun to play and just remember, Khorne doesn't care who's blood flows, just that it flows!
- All the better to slay them
- Khorne sees us
- No escape
- Show of strength
- Advancing strike
- Precise use of force
- The bigger they are
- Swift advance
- Rivers of blood
- Bane of champions
- Trophy hunter
- Flickering image
- Great strength
- Shadeglass darts
- Vampiric weapon
- Furious charge
- No respite
- Wrathful blows
- Demonic maw
- Brutal charge
- Furious inspiration
- Bloody retribution
- Daemonic resilience
- To the victor, the spoils
- Glory to Khorne
- Ready for action
- My turn
- Second wind
- Spoils of battle
The Bottom Line:
Game Workshop have once again added two very different and interesting Warbands to the meta. Both warbands offer slightly different styles of play and the cards offer some solid variety in deck building. As with the other warbands, if you’re playing competitively, then you will want to purchase all warband expansions, and casual players will be able to pick which expansions they want based on the warbands themselves and the cards they want access to. With the relatively low buy-in for the return you get, it will be worthwhile for everyone to have a full set. It will be interesting to see where Warhammer Underworlds goes from here.
Get this game if:
You’re looking to expand your core set with further options.
You’re a competitive Shadespire player.
You love the models and you want to use them in your Age of Sigmar games.
You want to harry your opponents from afar with the Farstriders.
You want to run your opponents leader down with Riptooth and dedicate his skull to Khorne!
Avoid this game if:
You don’t have the core Shadespire set and you want to use them for Shadespire.
These copies of the Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire warband expansions were provided by Goblin Gaming and you can pick up a copy from them with a 20% discount off the RRP.
Are you looking to get the new warbands? Do you have them already? Which is your favourite warband out of the eight released? What does your Farstrider or Fiends deck look like? Let us know in the comments below.
Each set is reasonably priced for the return you get. If you want to play competitively, you will be looking at buying all four, but casual gamers will be able to pick and chose. All the expansions offer some great cards and all four warbands are solid and rewarding to play.