Meta Thoughts: May 2019

Here we are at the end of Season Two of Warhammer Underworlds. What’s the state of the meta?

Well, there are three meta defining builds at the moment.

First, we have the magic focused Cursebreakers. The basic plan is to load up on spells and magic your way to victory. Turn one typically consists of sitting back, inspiring fighters and scoring passive glory. Turn two and three involve selectively counter-attacking threats or churning out some more passive glory by casting more spells. It’s a pretty consistent deck, as spells are not too difficult to cast. Although I once spent seven activations trying to cast one spell, so it’s not guaranteed.

The second ‘meta-build’ is agro Mollog. He enjoys bullying weaker fighters early in the game and then beating the rest of the warband into submission. Most Mollog decks will run plenty of score immediately cards and ‘tempo’ ploys like ‘Inspiration Strikes’ and ‘Spectral Wings’. Expect early charges against vulnerable targets. It’s not unusual to lose your leader in the first turn to a frenzied Mollog charging across the board. However, in common with other agro builds, the troll relies heavily on good attack rolls. If the dice fail, the warband loses – duh.

The third build we see doing reasonably well is avoidance Gitz. These sneaky little fellas run around the board scoring passive glory with objectives like ‘Keep them Guessing’ and ‘Mad Scurry’. Sometimes they will snag objectives and they often use keys or tomes for a final glory boost. Their main weakness is that they are relatively easy to kill early in the game and can end up bleeding more glory than they can accumulate. Objective heavy builds are also vulnerable to push ploys. You can run a variation of this deck with ghosts, but everyone knows that gobbos are da’ best.

So, how do these decks stack up against each other? Well, in theory Mollog should be top of the tree. He should be able to wipe out the Cursebreakers early before they can buff-up and farm enough of the Gitz to outscore them. If this is true, why isn’t Mollog consistently winning more big tournaments? The answer is dice! More specifically defensive crits. A few of these babies can be enough to stop the troll in his tracks and brick his aggressive score immediately deck. Good defensive rolls can buy time for the Cursebreakers to counter-attack or allow the Gitz to cash-in some high-scoring objectives. Basically, Mollog has to roll above average the entire tournament to win. So, while the angry troll will often win individual games, coming in first place overall is more tricky.

That leaves us with magic focused Cursebreakers and the avoidance Gitz. In terms of passive glory, the Gitz should be able to outscore the Cursebreakers. However, when we throw ‘Tome of Offerings’ into the mix the calculations shift towards the Cursebreakers. Three-to-four dead goblins can net the Cursebreakers 6-8 glory, which combined with their passive glory, should be enough to deliver the victory. A buffed-up Stormsire in the backfield is the Gitz worst nightmare.

Overall, the magic focused Cursebreakers are the most consistent meta build at the moment because they are above average at (almost) everything. They have solid offensive and defensive stats, a decent health pool and great objectives cards that require little risk. That said, they are not unbeatable and can be a little slow to get up and running. Also, if they don’t draw Tome of Glories early enough, then games can be tight.

In summary, if you want the best chance of winning a tournament, pick the Cursebreakers – but don’t expect an auto-win.

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