Every new warband brings with it a bevy of Universal Cards to experiment with regardless of who you bring to the battle. We take a quick look at the cards from both new expansions and let you know which ones are must haves and which ones may not leave your binder.
Morgok’s Krushas Universal Cards
There are a lot of great cards in this set, though it doesn’t look like any single playstyle benefits the most. Aggro gets some good Surges and Ploys, Control gets one really good Ploy and a great Spell, chump Warbands get some great weapons. The only playstyle that doesn’t see good card additions is Hold Objective, but that style is already doing well enough that they don’t need any more cards at the moment.
Change of Fortunes: 1/5 (4/5 for Hrothgorn)
This seems like a reasonable pickup for Hrothgorn, who sometimes already uses Unexpected Pitfall for Arm of the Everwinter. For everyone else, there are only 2 spells, 1 Ploy, and 1 Upgrade that flip tokens, so it’s much less reliable to combo.
Master of Battle: 4/5
This is a pretty reasonable end phase score – note it says “Actions” and not “Activations”, so a Charge counts as two Actions. All a fighter needs to do is one Action plus a Charge to score, so it’s pretty reliable to get for many warbands, especially those with range or who are leaning on their Leader heavily already.
Master Poisoner: 1/5
Poison cards are good, but generally aren’t taken en masse in the way you’d need to in order to make this reliable, and even then it’s a lot of deck shaping for one Glory. Pass. Raf: Cards like this seem tricky to balance. If you’ve built a poison deck then 2 Glory would be too much, but 1 Glory isn’t really enough to make it worth building a poison deck.
Meticulous Strategy: 2/5
2 Glory End Phase is pretty good to see, however, it’s very reliant on Objective draw order. There are more than enough Dual Objectives to make this fairly reliable to take, but it’s a brick if you get it in your opening hand, and I usually like my potential brick draws to be 3+ Glory.
Over My Dead Body: 4/5
Steadfast Defender again, which already sees an acceptable amount of play. Defensive decks or even Aggro decks with some defensive tools like Buried Instinct can make good use of these, so being able to double up (or triple up for Wyrmspat) is very nice.
Show of Force: 5/5
Excellent Surge card for many builds. Fast Aggro can take advantage of it being Surge Conquest, and many warbands can take advantage of Surge Singled Out. Surge cards that can be scored without dice have historically proven to be among the strongest, or at least most ubiquitous, and this seems no exception.
The Avatar Is Risen: 3/5
I love this card. Underworlds has seen its share of “get extra Glory for equipping related Upgrades” – from Relics in Season 1, to Tomes in Season 2, and recently Lost Pages. The Avatar Is Risen feels like one of the best implementations of it. You have three Upgrades that all give fairly tangible benefits, and 3 Glory any End Phase up for grabs. You could potentially score this in End Phase 1 with some really clutch draws and scores, though more likely you’ll be looking at this as a Third End Phase card most of the time, with potential to score earlier, a bit like Aggressive Strategy. However, it is draw dependent, so you’d probably have to build around it with things like Frenzied Search and Unnatural Truce.
Trading Blows: 3/5
My initial reaction was to score this a bit higher, but after thinking about it, it’s very build dependent. Attacking in your opponent’s Activation isn’t uncommon, there are plenty of Reactions that let you do so, but unless your Warband has it naturally like Magore’s Fiends, you’re building around it. One Power card to let you do it wouldn’t be reliable enough, so you’re looking for decks that are running multiple, which there are enough of, but even then you’re rarely holding those Power Cards while you wait to draw into this. I can see it being used, but not commonly.
Feed the Beastgrave: 1/5
Well, we need some meme cards. I guess if you really hate Objective decks and run every card that lets you kill or flip Feature Tokens, it’s a pretty good card, but even then you’d be hard pressed to get it off in a game.
Universal Power Cards
Blind Hunger: 5/5
This is potentially the best Gambit Spell ever printed. There is currently no Enemy Hand disruption effects in the game, save for Harrow’s Enervating Sorrow, kind of. One Channel is extremely easy to cast, and there’s the chance to completely destroy someone’s plan by getting the right card. I don’t know if this is Restriction worthy, but it is amazing.
Haymaker, but better, and only if you’re finishing something off. Obviously this isn’t useful for setting up one hit kills in the same way Haymaker is, but there’s enough chip damage in the game to make this reliable for most teams, even if they’re all big hitters. Expect to see this in any deck that has plink damage Power cards or relies on wearing down opponents, such as Profiteers or other Ranged Warbands. Raf: Nice for Morgwaeth if you’re crit fishing.
Closing Jaws: 3/5
Maybe this sees play after Encroaching Shadow rotates out of Standard, but as it is, this shares space with that and Collapse, and is more predictable. You could potentially run all three, and attempt to force your opponent into a potential three damage, no dice power step, but that’s three power cards that can be absolutely useless if the opponent just dodges edge hexes.
Dulling Dart: 3/5
Situationally one of the better Poisons, but also potentially one of the more useless, depending on matchup and targets available. If you’re making a disruption deck, this can hard shut down fighters that rely on Two Hammer attacks for a whole round. That said, it has little to no effect against Hold Objective Play, and can be played around in a variety of ways. If you struggle to deal with Aggro, it might be worth a look, however.
Go to Ground: 4/5
An amazing Ploy for hard Control builds. Being able to bail from a bad spot is quite good, or reposition to play a Ploy or Gambit Spell. In particular, Magic-focused Stormsire Control builds can use this to retreat from combats or position to cast a spell like Sphere of Aqshy. Hold Objective builds can combo it with Sidestep, Restless Prize, or similar to jump directly onto Objectives, as well.
Headlong Flight: 2/5
Tracking, but for Quarry. As nothing is yet Quarry baseline, this needs to combo with an Upgrade or one of the few Ploys in order to get the +2 movement, which is less than desirable, especially as Survival Instincts, the best Quarry Upgrade, is Restricted now. If you really need extra speed and have cards that make you Quarry, it’s relatively ok, but Spectral Wings is flat better.
It’s kind of interesting, effectively a Reaction to give you Knockback 2, but Scatter instead of Drive Back. However, scatter is always unreliable, it can be interrupted, and honestly driving back more than one hex is only useful if you need to get something off of an Objective and further out of Sidestep range so they don’t jump back on.
Scavenged Defenses: 2/5
We’ve seen this type of card before, and while +1 Defense is very strong, having to declare it in the preceding activation lets your opponent respond to it, which makes it less useful. Especially as you have to declare who is receiving the bonus, allowing your opponent to simply Attack a different fighter. This potentially sees a place in Mollog or Hrothgorn type decks where you go all in one one fighter, but even then it probably doesn’t make the cut.
The Ground Shifts: 2/5
Lethals are important, and being able to dictate where they are can make setting up kills much easier, especially on boards with existing Lethals or lots of Blocked Hexes. However, it’s not any Lethals, just the player-placed ones, and one hex movement is pretty situational, and will be planned around in a Best of Three once the opponent sees it once.
Abasoth’s Auto-Immolation: 2/5
If you’re going for a Pages build, you have to consider each one. And of the Lost Pages, I rate this one pretty low. It’s only useful if you die, which is counter-intuitive to the build. If you’re not going for a Pages build, it’s still a spell that has to go off, then plus a dice roll, and the damage dice roll scales with health, which means it’s better the harder it is for you to die… I think it’s funny, but likely counter-intuitive.
Amberbone Sword: 5/5
Not much to say. Swords are usually the best of the various weapon types, and Amberbone is no exception. Works well with upgrades, works well on chumps. If you’re adding a weapon, this is one of the better ones.
Claws of the Ur-Grub: 3/5
Ensnare is really, really strong… sometimes. A lot of Dodge warbands rely on two or three dice defense stats, and this cuts the effectiveness of those rolls by quite a bit, and makes killing one dice chumps a breeze. Against Shield warbands, it’s still good if they go on Guard or use Substance Siphon. However, it doesn’t work with Range 2 or higher, and doesn’t provide damage or dice boosts, which are often more important. If you think you expect to see a lot of two or three Dodge fighters, it’s a solid inclusion, but if you’re going against a lot of Stormcast, Nurgle, Hrothgorn, etc, it loses some luster.
Cursed Blade: 4/5
Another amazing weapon from this set. While it has the first activation restriction, that’s not always a terrible downside. Reliable 3 damage weapons have always been quite good, and this one comes with +1 Move, making it quite nice for chump warbands looking for a bit more punch. You have to be smart about using it, but it could end up being a great tool to give one of your mid-sized or chump fighters.
Hunter’s Will: 4/5
This reminds me of Hunter’s Reflexes, though obviously more limited in positioning. Still, it can prevent your opponent from getting away from Hrothgorn or Thrafnir, setting up supports or free attacks in the future.
Prescient Blow: 4/5
This card has a really interesting design. It’s a bit like Stand and Shoot, Last Chance, or Rebound, in that it has the potential to kill your attacker or disable their attack. Unlike those, though, your opponent can see you have it equipped, and it can be used multiple times. While it’s not an easy attack to hit, the threat of it can make your opponent think twice, and it can be made more reliable with upgrades.
Soulward Shard: 2/5
Very meta dependent. Can absolutely cripple Stormsire in the right situation, or mess up the plans for Wyrmspat, Ylthari, or similar. But, in non-Wizard matchups, it’s completely dead. It’ll be the latter more often than the former, so choose wisely.
Strength of Terror: 4/5
Extra dice is always a solid upgrade, and the Quarry keyword isn’t all that bad to have either. Not much to say, this is great for making attacks more reliable.
Warding Companion: 5/5
I think this is a sneaky strong defensive upgrade. It’s a flat dice improvement in basically every situation, and neither Cleave nor Ensnare mitigate it. It’s not exciting, but the flat increase is excellent. Raf: Fantastic. It’s the equivalent of going on Guard for a Shield defender, and is tougher to get around. It’s got some combo potential as well.
Morgwaeth’s Blade Coven Universal Cards
This set has a bit of everything. A very good mobility Ploy, some support for Magic decks, Control boosts, and even some nice pickups for Hold Objective play. Hard Aggro doesn’t win out quite as much, but still has a few new toys here and there. While a lot of these new cards have trickery and require a certain build to use, it’s a great set to buy for Neutral cards.
Absolute Stillness: 4/5
This card is excellent… kinda. It’s an easy 2 Glory, but requires Upgrades to score, and some set up. Three of the best cards that make you Quarry have all been Restricted, but they’re still worth including and there are some other good Quarry cards. These Upgrades are strong in their own right, and they enable a solid, easy score, though you might require a push to get on without Tokens.
Ahead of the Hunt: 4/5
Again, you need Upgrades to set it up, but again, those Upgrades are solid, and generally make you harder to kill. If you’re including multiple Quarry Upgrades, this is a solid addition for easy End Phase scoring. Also, a free score against Hrothgorn until you get tabled.
Hidden Purpose: 5/5
Temporary Victory was strong enough to get Restricted. This is Temporary Victory in miniature, so while it’s only a single Glory, it’s basically a free Glory for Warbands that are holding Objectives anyway. Heck, any Warband can usually manage to hold 2 Objectives at some point.
Master of Hazards: 1/5 (4/5 for Hrothgorn)
Most Warbands aren’t running enough flip cards to set this up. Hrothgorn, however, generally does, so this might see inclusion for him, giving him more passive scoring.
No One is Safe: 2/5
This is Unexpected Pitfall, but harder. You can definitely build around this, but as it doesn’t count Lethal Hexes or Attacks, you’ll likely be hard pressed to get those kills twice in a single Turn.
Set the Tempo: 2/5
I find this one really hard to evaluate, but my gut says it’s bad. Yes, occasionally you will have a deck built to specifically take advantage of the requirements, but if you haven’t ended up there naturally, it’s not worth building around this card in order to make it work.
Test of Courage: 2/5 (4/5 for Thorns)
2 Glory is great, but the setup is really risky, and your opponent can push you if they think you’re trying to score this. Also, Lethals can be pretty sparse on a lot of boards, so your positioning is really awkward. However, for Thorns, who have a multi-model push and ignore Lethals, it becomes really useful when you pick a board with Lethals already on it and push your fighters into them.
The Hunter Hunted: 3/5
Surge for 2 Glory after a Kill is really good, but not only do you have your own Quarry restriction, you need the opponent to be a Hunter, which really depends on them either playing a Hunter Warband or playing Hunter upgrades. If you know the meta is rife with Hunters, this is great, but it’s too risky for an event where you might play against zero Hunters.
Abundance of Caution: 3/5
This is really only a card for Elite, Control builds, and really is better in Warbands that have Ploys that put you on Guard. That said, in those Warbands, you can make this a free score with no interaction, though you miss a lot of movement unless you rely on Ploys.
Universal Power Cards
Euphoric Dust: 3/5
I find this a bit hard to set up, even if the effect is very strong. There will be times where you can set it up amazingly and cut down that 2 Shield Stormsire or Hrothgorn, but a lot of times it will be underwhelming or impossible to set up. This might see more play as the meta develops, but it also depends on your Warband having positional ability to use this, as well.
Glorious Triumph: 5/5
Excellent flex card. This helps score many objectives, is good for Hold Objective teams or Aggro teams, and can break tiebreakers in the third round as well. It also shuts down Uncontested very hard, which is great for Aggro Warbands. That said, it has no direct impact on the board state or combat, so you have to get good mileage out of it to be worth the slot… but I think you often will get what you need to be worthwhile.
Honest Scrap: 2/5
I might be estimating this too low, as it can really disrupt some enemy plans both aggressively and defensively, but there’s also a lot of games where this will be a relatively dead card, or you play it and they don’t need the rerolls to get multiple successes.
Hunt as a Pack: 3/5
Getting extra Support power is great, and this has solid combo potential with certain Upgrades and Ploys. It’s not always useful, especially for Warbands that spread out or use a lot of Ranged attacks, but it’s worth consideration in a lot of decks.
Hunting Bolt: 5/5
Excellent Magic support. Point and click damage spells are always good, and this one has potential upside. While it’s not as easy to get off as Sphere of Aqshy, it’s pretty reliable for Level 2 Wizards, and works well with other cards like Unexpected Pitfall or Sorcerous Flourish.
Malkyn Grace: 5/5
This is effectively a second Spectral Wings, but with a downside. However, that downside might not be a downside depending on the situation. If you use it in the last Activation, or use it to get out of combat range, or use it to close to a lone fighter and kill them, who cares if you’re down a Wound? Excellent addition for any Warband that needs mobility.
Quick Search: 5/5
Remember how everyone ran Frenzied Search? And how it was Restricted? Yeah, this is pretty much the same card. Raf: Reminder that this does not make your 22 card deck effectively a 20 card deck; it only draws you 1 card ahead since it first replaces itself. This is a great card but use it to replace your 10th most useful ploy not as your 11th.
Spiteful Dart: 3/5
I like the design of this card a lot, especially for tougher warbands that can take a hit and keep fighting, but overall one damage plink that relies on being attacked, being driven back, and surviving doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. That said, it blocks the reaction window for Pit Trap and Snare, which is nice enough to warrant consideration.
A flat +1 dice for the next attack is alright, but historically not good enough to warrant a slot. If you think there’s enough Quarries in the game, it gains a bit of value. Hrothgorn, of course, can always make full use of it, but he already has a lot of rerolls available from Upgrades, so it’s not necessarily an auto-include for him.
Amberbone Mace: 4/5
Amberbone weapons are excellent, though I’m not sure if the reroll is as good as the Sword just flat having 3 dice. Either way, it’s a good pick for decks that are packing multiple weapons, not much more to say.
Bloody Axe: 3/5
I think there’s some good potential in this card, especially for tough warbands with 4+ wounds and good speed. However, it’s a risky use to get the full benefit, and there are other weapons that perform similar functions,
Greedy Gauntlet: 2/5
This is fairly interesting design, though I think overall it’s worse than other damage boosters. At minimum, it’s a Great Strength that you need to power up before it gives the bonus. Yes, you can stack it to potentially get some truly disgusting damage spikes, but it takes Activations to power up and puts you in a precarious spot. I think there will be ways to make it work, but they will be the outliers.
Hunter’s Talisman: 4/5
For Hunters, a flat +1 Dice is almost universally good. For Hrothgorn, it’s basically broken as he always gets the Quarry effect. Overall just flat dice bonuses, which are hard to say no to.
Keila’s Choking Coil: 5/5
One of the best Lost Pages. While Jared’s Spirited Sphere has Ensnare, the potential for Range 3 Damage 2 is excellent, and allows Cursebreakers to run multiple Ranged Wizard fighters. I think might even be worth consideration for Wizards without ranged attacks even outside Page decks. Raf: Zach you’ve got to stop playing Cursebreakers one day.
Predator’s Trinket: 2/5
Cleave is great, but is it worth an Upgrade slot that doesn’t boost damage or precision? Arguably Cleave is technically precision, except it’s not against Dodge warbands, and does nothing if you miss the dice. I think there are better Quarry cards, but I would consider this if my meta was full of Morgok, Stormcast, Wyrmspat, and the like.
Shadeglass Band: 2/5
I think there are easier ways to get rerolls. Maybe it’s nice for ranged fighters like Profiteers who are turreting shots off to fish for Crits, but I think it’s a bit too harsh to set up for melee attacks.
Stealthy Blade: 3/5
To use a Magic the Gathering term, this is a Hate Card. Are you annoyed with enemies using things like Buried Instinct, Crown of Avarice, or Rebound? Stealthy Blade shuts them down. However, it also prevents you from using your own Reactions. It’s an interesting weapon – not a very good attack, sure, but if you find yourself being messed about by tricky Reactions, it gives you some vengeance against them.
Vortex Stone: 4/5
This is one of the more interesting tricky cards in the game. One use, sure, and it’s more of a set-up card as you can’t particularly use it to pull enemies into an immediate attack (though Jealous Defence does make some interesting plays), but it can do really interesting things like pull fighters off of Objectives and out of Sidestep range, pull enemies through 2 Lethals on Molten Shardpit, pull enemies away from squishier allied fighters and into your tougher Leader, or pull enemies out of your Board to stop Conquest or Denial. It would be broken if it wasn’t a one-use, but as is, I think you’ll see it a lot in Control decks. Raf: You’ll look like a genius or feel like a dope playing this card. I know which situation I’ll end up in but I look forward to losing a game by clever use of this card.
That wraps up our Hot Take reviews of the latest Underworlds releases. If you missed Morgok’s Krushas or Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven, go back and check them out. We’ll be back soon with more Underworlds.