Overall, the Purifiers have a lot of fairly good cards, held back by mediocre fighters that manage to be both fairly squishy and not extremely killy. With an unreliable Inspire mechanic, they’ll likely find their niche in the Control world, playing a zone control and denial game while trying to power up via Gambits and Upgrades. Fast Aggro will likely tear them to shreds, but they do have some reasonable tricks up their sleeves.
The inspire condition is… fine. It’s not the worst one we’ve seen, but it’s extremely dice dependent and for some of the fighters, is very unreliable and usually will end up with a dead fighter before they get a chance to Inspire. Raf: Yes, they remained uninspired far more often than I’d have expected and I never wanted to burn a re-roll just to make it happen.
Aetherquartz is a nifty mechanic: a one-time reroll on fighters that roll a good amount of dice is never a bad thing, but again, it’s one-off, and there are a lot of Power cards that want you to keep them instead of using them early. There’s some metagame play here – do you use them early and hope to get a lead, or do you hold on and try to draw into powerful ploys that use the Aetherquartz counters?
Raf: Playing them took a bit of wrapping my head around. They really did not hold their own against the Pageant in my initial games, particularly if the Slaaneshi fiends inspired. However, I began playing them a little more passively and they got better. They have some Objective scoring cards that meant they could hold back a bit and let the Pageant be the aggressor. This has the benefit of letting Bahannar stay still and letting Senaela use her aimed shot more often. The Aetherquartz is definitely interesting. Having a re-roll on demand is always nice and the ploys that interact with them are good. It never felt like I would 100% use them for the cards or the re-rolls, which is a good thing.
Overall the relatively low wounds count means you can’t go full aggro and are going to want to be patient and let the game come to them. They can dish out the damage once inspired with a few upgrades but you’ve got to get there carefully.
With baseline 2 Dodge, Level 2 Wizard, and a reasonable Spell Attack Action, Myari looks pretty good at first glance. Indeed, with his Aetherquartz, living on 2 Dodge is pretty reasonable. But, 3 Wounds is a huge downside, and there aren’t that many great spells to make protecting him worthwhile. I have a feeling he’ll be more of a ranged support piece than a heavy hitter for the warband. Raf: I legitimately saw the most success when I parked him on a back objective and did nothing the whole game.
Again, 3 Wounds is bad. But 2 Shields is really strong, and ignoring Drive Back can be a big buff… though it means you can’t move him as much as you might like. An Inspired Bahannar is your Damage 3 baseline fighter, but given all of his bonuses are about standing still, using him aggressively has a lot of drawbacks, making him a fairly awkward fighter, but Range 2 means you could potentially set him up in a chokepoint and try to play a zone control game. Raf: a fine beatstick and one you’re likely to inspire quickly. Absolutely a target for Channel the Zenith if you’ve got it in your opening hand and I’d burn the counter every time.
Your other melee fighter, she’s effectively a worse Bahannar until she inspires, and then she’s… fine. Going to 2 Shields is solid, and 3 Hammer with Cleave is excellent, but again, 3 Wounds, not particularly easy to inspire, makes her a liability as much as it makes her a power unit. If you want to use her aggressively, you have to be very particular about your engagements and positioning. Raf: I had high hopes initially for this fighter but she is firmly a support unit and one that desperately wants to inspire.
A dedicated ranged support fighter, baseline Range 4 is excellent (though you’ll want to use Aimed shots over Lofted most of the time). The Hunter keyword is a nice bonus, though you’ll likely not build around it too much, more leaving her to be the fire support to Bahannar’s zone denial. Using them in conjunction, with Aileen flanking and Myari doing a bit of everything, will be vital to making the best use of these Aelves. Raf: The inspired lofted shot range is bonkers and a great way to deny objectives or reposition enemies.
Patience of the Mountains – 3/5
I actually want to rate this card lower because I hate passive play cards like this, but given that it’s a Surge that you can score without interaction and gets easier to score as you lose models, it’s actually not terrible. I really don’t want to see the Purifiers end up a Passive play warband, though. Raf: Oh boy I have some bad news for you Zach.
Haughty Exemplars – 2/5
Extremely meta dependent. If you expect to see a lot of Stormcast, Wyrmspat, or Rippas, this card is actually not bad (provided you can stay alive or trade fighters), but against most other warbands, you’re heavily outnumbered and die quite easily. 2 Glory is nice, but it doesn’t seem reliable. Raf: 1/5 I would not run this.
Force of the Avalanche – 3/5
This type of objective is usually pretty good, but the damage on this warband is fairly low, and if you lose Bahannar and haven’t stacked upgrades on Ailenn, scoring this is extremely difficult. I could see running it for an Aggro deck, but there’s a high chance it ends up a dead card. Raf: I do think this is a pretty easy include unless you’re going full passive/objective play. You’re going to need some +damage ploys or upgrades and while this will be tricky against an Elite warband it’s still a decent include.
Elemental Blessing – 3/5
The first part of this Hybrid is fairly reasonable – the Elemental cards are quite good overall, so scoring for just playing them is a very reasonable option, but again, you may not have the Aetherquartz to spend when you play it. The other half, scoring for casting two spells, is less reliable unless you’re building a lot of spells into your deck for Myari to utilize, which I don’t think is particularly good. Raf: I think this is an easy include. The first part is easy to score and its a surge.
Diamond-Bright Souls – 1/5
Again, this is a very inconsistent Inspiration mechanic, and you’ll lose 2 fighters faster than you can blame your dice, unless you’re playing very passively (and even then, fighters will likely die quickly against dedicated Aggro). I’d struggle to put this in a deck, even for 2 Glory. Raf: 5 games in and I have yet to score this card. Indeed, I have yet to be in a situation where I could score this card.
Vaunted Speed – 3/5
What a strange card. I’m rating it middling because you can make it fairly reliable with an upgrade or two, and it’s workable in a variety of archetypes, but if you’re not running any +Move upgrades it loses a lot of utility. Build dependent. Raf: This made me mad in all my games against the Pageant because the Pageant is a fast warband, but in general I think you run it. There’s some +Move in the faction cards.
Unsullied Hands – 4/5
You have two reasonably good ranged fighters, though they’re both fairly low damage. Against 2 Wound warbands like the Grymwatch or Despoilers, this is a fairly easy score, though it can be more difficult to pull off against Morgoks or Hrothgorn where the chip damage might not be enough.
Seal the Beastgrave – 3/5
Faction Supremacy. Unlike Temporary Victory, it’s not a Surge, and is just as difficult as the game goes on. There’s also more room for enemy counter play… I doubt you run this card. Raf: Don’t run this card. They’re pretty fragile.
Pursuit of Excellence -5/5
Not particularly a crazy card, we’ve seen Objectives like this before, but 2 Glory makes it really stand out. You can stack defensive upgrades on one fighter (probably Bahannar) and get 2 free Glory as long as your opponent doesn’t shut them down early.
Purifying Light – 4/5
Actually a fairly good card, since you can score it in a variety of playstyles, but again, Myari himself is very squishy at 3 Wounds and any Disruption can mess up this plan. Still, it’s a flexible card that you can reliably score as long as he’s alive.
Perfectionists – 3/5
Gets easier to score as the game goes on, but it’s not particularly reliable for a 1 Glory End Phase card. Forcing yourself into situations where you need to reroll is pretty scary, but you can also utilize Elemental cards to score this, so there’s some flexibility available here.
Perfect Formation – 4/5
It’s Temporary Victory, which is so good that everyone ran it and it had to get Restricted. The only reason it’s not 5/5 is because it’s on a 4 model warband with no multimove or resurrection abilities, and even then it’s probably good enough to run. Raf: Definitely trickier to score than you’d expect, even with 3 Objectives on your side.
Flicker of Light – 4/5
It’s a dice off card and requires an Aetherquartz counter to be on them, I get it. You’re probably better off just using the counter to reroll the Defence dice. But, 50/50 to just ignore damage is pretty darn good, as we’ve seen with Last Chance, Rebound, and other cards. Especially with how squishy the warband is, straight up damage negation might be the most important thing you could put in. Raf: Run it because its good or run it because it will anger your opponent, either way.
Dazzling Light – 4/5
Good card for Control or general defensive utility. It’s not always useful, but taking away dice is great and can ruin plans entirely.
Channel the Zenith – 3/5
Inspiring off of a Ploy is something we’ve seen done before, but this seems to be the first one that goes away if you don’t spend a resource. With a difficult Inspire condition, you may wish to run this in order to get the extra damage off of Myari or Bahannar, or to get the extra Defence and utility off of Ailenn or Senaela. Raf: Definitely at least a 4/5. Worth nothing that if you don’t burn your counter when you play this and you meet the inspire condition naturally, you will uninspire anyway at the end of the round.
Channel the Wind – 5/5
Ploys that just straight up deal damage are amazing, though there is a positional requirement. But, it can be a finisher, or even a double finisher in the right situation. An excellent card that you can even use defensively as a way to neutralize enemy aggression. Raf: Notably worse in Vanguard at the moment due to the Dread Pageant’s Inspire condition, but overall I agree with Zach.
Untouchable Pride – 2/5
It’s another Guard Token card, but instead might Heal? I guess the idea being that if you already used your Aetherquartz, you probably took damage and need the Heal, but with 3 Wounds, anything that is hurt is probably dead even with a Heal(1) effect. Raf: It’s the only card that has a completely different effect depending on whether or not you have the counter. I don’t love it as you will inevitably want to heal a unit that can only get guard or vice versa.
Tectonic Force – 4/5
While the fact that it has a fighter restriction makes it slightly less good, a card that can be either Distraction or Sidestep is a nice, flexible card, though it is limited in both choices. Still, pushes are an excellent use of Gambit cards.
Surety of Purpose – 3/5
It’s a fine Aggro card, especially given the built-in rerolls. They need the damage as it is, but generally speaking one-off +Damage effects are fairly hard to justify over other options. Raf: Helps score Force of the Avalanche.
Lambent Light – 1/5
The only Faction spell for Myari and it’s awful. Hard to cast, you already get rerolls, and very situationally dependent. Would not recommend. Raf: Why on earth are there so few spells for the Lumineth warband?!
Channel the River – 5/5
Sidestep is a great card, and Faction Sidestep letting you double up is even better. You won’t always use the boosted Push 3 option, but having it available is excellent and you’ll love it when it comes up. Probably one of the best cards for the faction.
Channel the Mountain – 3/5
Guard Token off of a Ploy is usually quite bad, and has only been useful in builds where Guard Tokens are necessary (Change of Tactics in the past) or defense is the main focus (Steadfast Defender). But, with their faction cards having a focus on Passive/Flex playstyles, potentially having 2 Defence across the board, and at least one Objective that references Guard Tokens specifically? It’s not awful.
Vanari Dagger – 1/5 (Image above)
If this wasn’t restricted to Senaela, it would be an excellent weapon, but she’s the one least likely to use it. Pass.
Speed of Hysh – 3/5 (Image above)
Most of the time, this is just Great Speed. You’re likely not holding onto Aetherquartz just for +1 Move, so you generally only get the extra bonus in the early game. Pass, unless you’re really going for Vaunted Speed.
Scryowl Familiar – 1/5
Terrible. There’s not enough blocked hexes to make this worthwhile, and even if there were, it only affects Myari. Pass. Raf: 5/5 play the owl you cowards.
Mountain’s Gift – 3/5
Always on Guard is a very powerful effect, though again you’re likely losing your Aetherquartz fairly early. Having to kill something for another Guard Token is kinda harsh, so it loses a lot of power later in the game.
Mountain Stance – 4/5
Ignoring Cleave is insane on a 2 Shield fighter. If there’s anyone you want to build a deck around, it’s probably Bahannar, so making him better is good. The damage boost being tied to not moving kinda sucks, but if you’re using pushes and zone denial, it can be a really powerful tool.
Magical Boost – 2/5
Again, I don’t think there’s enough good Magic support right now to make this worthwhile. Yes, the extra dice can score you Rising Power, and ignoring Backlash is fine, but you probably don’t want all your eggs in the Myari basket, at least at this point in time.
Heightened Senses – 5/5
Another solid Aggro Upgrade. You get both rerolling a dice and then the ability to choose to get Cleave or Ensnare, either of which is excellent, so both is really good. Can be used to clear out that pesky Double Defense Guard fighter when they thought they were safe. Raf: Love that you get to see the roll first. More of this please.
Heightened Reflexes – 4/5
The +1 Move is pretty inconsequential, but a free attack is always great. However, it’s very telegraphed – requires a Glory to Upgrade, an Upgrade slot, and then your Aetherquartz counter on top of that. However, free Attacks are free, and it’s a threat as long as it’s on a fighter. It’ll make anyone think twice about charging near an Inspired Bahannar. Raf: Has some interesting utility in that you can trigger it even if the fighter holding it is not the target, and it can be your archer 5 hexes away. Not sure if interesting also means “good” in this case.
Heartstone Amulet – 5/5
Damage Reduction is the best. It’s effectively a Great Fortitude, but better, for the faction. Now, only 3 Wounds means they’re still quite easy to kill, but you can use it alongside Great Fortitude or other boosting effects to make a truly durable fighter… if you can get all the Upgrades on.
Balanced Soul – 2/5
Rerolling Myari’s attack actions is nice, but I am hesitant to focus too much on him. I also don’t think there are enough good spells in the game to justify building around his spellcasting, though that will change if Direchasm gets a lot of good Wizard support. Raf: I really hope we get some more magic support as we’re losing quite a few with Nightvault rotation.