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Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire Expansion Warbands Review

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Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire has been extremely well-liked since its launch in October final yr and has been drawing in non-Video games Workshop gamers, in addition to bringing earlier GW gamers again to the model.  Its mixture of fast-paced motion, combined with tactical miniatures fight and randomly generated card decks have had a huge effect on its reputation.  The buy-in for Shadespire can also be extraordinarily affordable, which has been an enormous draw for lots of gamers.

We’ve beforehand reviewed the Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire Core Set and since then Video games Workshop have launched 4 warband expansions:

  • The Sepulchral Guard (Deathrattle / Undead)
  • Ironskull’s Boyz (Orruks / Orcs)
  • The Chosen Axes (Fyreslayers / Dwarves)
  • Spiteclaw’s Swarm (Skaven)

Every enlargement provides the fashions for the brand new warbands, the devoted playing cards that may solely be utilized by that warband, and new impartial playing cards that can be utilized in any warband.  Which means even should you don’t need to play that exact warband, you might need to purchase the expansions to get entry to a number of the impartial playing cards, however don’t overlook, this isn’t a miniatures wargame within the sense that you simply decide a military and solely gather that military; that is extra like a collectible card recreation (CCG) or dwelling card recreation (LCG) in that there’s a meta that modifications and adapts relying on the recognition of sure warbands and decks.  In consequence, accessing all of the warbands, which isn’t that a lot of a stretch as they’re very fairly priced and have sufficient gaps between releases (at present 4 warbands within the 4 months since launch), is important if you wish to play Shadespire competitively, and should you aren’t enjoying competitively, they nonetheless improve your gaming expertise sufficient to justify the fee.

Video games Workshop make the small print of all of the playing cards out there by way of their Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire web site, so prioritizing your enlargement pack purchases may be finished by testing all of the playing cards and buying the warband enlargement with probably the most helpful playing cards for you.  You possibly can see what playing cards can be found in every enlargement through the use of the filters on the sidebar.

Somewhat than a regular evaluation, like we might do for different tabletop merchandise, I’m going to speak about every warband from the enlargement, their strengths and weaknesses, how they play, after which element my favourite playing cards from every enlargement. They may not be the perfect playing cards, as they is dependent upon your fashion of play and the deck you’re constructing, however I’ll speak about playing cards that I take pleasure in and discover fascinating.

shadespire warbandsexpansions001Sepulchral Guard

The Deathrattle are an fascinating and sophisticated warband to make use of.  They don’t pack an enormous punch from the offset and aren’t very sturdy, however the Warden, the warband’s chief, is ready to transfer two of his warriors per activation and in addition resurrect warriors which were taken out of motion.  Additionally they begin with seven warriors, which is probably the most in any warband.  Because of this overwhelming and blocking your opponent’s warriors is extra of an choice than for some other warband, as is surge capturing aims.  They do transfer sluggish, and having your warriors taken out of motion is a setback in the event you’re making an attempt to drive forwards.  They’re probably the most technical of all of the warbands to play, because the arrange of boards and aims can have a huge effect on their gameplay.  Having so many choices every part could be daunting, in order that they aren’t straightforward for a brand new participant to select up, however they’re very rewarding to play.

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My favourite playing cards for the Sepulchral Guard are Greedy Palms, the Necromancer Instructions, and Battle With out Finish, purely due to how thematic they really feel.  Greedy arms lets you block the potential cost of an enemy; even for those who solely have one fighter out of motion, it may be an extremely highly effective card if timed proper. The Necromancer Instructions feels good for the Deathrattle, and the Necromancer reaching out to regulate a person warrior to make sure the success of that assault simply feels proper.  Battle With out Finish rewards the Sepulchral Guard participant for doing what comes naturally, and in the event that they introduced two warriors again, they may each be impressed as nicely.

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My favourite Impartial playing cards from the set are Crushing Pressure, Forceful Denial, and Time Lure. With Crushing Pressure I are likely to play very aggressive decks, and rating instantly aims are all the time welcome.  Most warbands can discover a place for this, with most leaders hitting fairly onerous, however the stronger general warbands will discover extra use towards the weaker warbands with this.  Forceful Denial is a danger, like a few of the extra highly effective playing cards, however I benefit from the danger/rewards playing cards—it’s why I play video games with randomized cube.  Stopping your opponent enjoying a recreation altering ploy is well worth the slot in your deck.  Time Lure is an fascinating card; there’s some controversy round it as the power to go twice in succession can win you the sport in the event you’re already in an awesome place, utilizing it to take out a key enemy, or tactically handle your board presence.  Your opponent will get to go twice after, so benefiting from it’s important.

shadespire warbandsexpansions002Ironskull’s Boyz

The Orruks hit exhausting and may take a punch, which means that the majority of this warband’s decks are going to be fight based mostly.  As soon as on an goal, they are often troublesome to maneuver, however they lack velocity towards a number of the quicker warbands, which means that fight may be prevented by your opponent if they want.  Board placement performs an enormous half of their recreation and may make or break their recreation plan relying on if they are often out maneuvered or not.  Gurzag Ironskull, the warband’s chief, may be made almost unkillable with a number of selection improve playing cards.  They’re an awesome warband for brand spanking new gamers, as a really offensive deck may be put collectively simply, however additionally they have some room to study and develop with earlier than shifting onto the extra difficult warbands.

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My favourite Orruk playing cards from the Ironskull’s Boyz enlargement are Name of the Waaagh!, Kunnin’ however Brutal, and Leadin’ by Instance.  As talked about above, rating instantly goals are unimaginable, and for the Ironskull’s Boys, that is a simple first goal as they’re often going to be heading straight for the enemy.  Kunnin’ however Brutal lets you place a fighter amongst a gaggle of enemies, assault one right away after which assault others, or the identical key enemy on subsequent turns.  Often after a cost, you’re solely capable of assault as soon as, however this lets you place a fighter properly, as long as they survive to assault on future turns.  Leadin’ By Instance is a good way of supplying you with an additional activation in a spherical.  With 4 fighters, most of your 4 activations every flip are spent shifting or attacking, and this frees up an activation for different actions, if timed appropriately.

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For the Ironskull’s Boyz enlargement impartial playing cards, I’ve picked Victorious Duel, Anticipation, and Daylight Theft. These may look like unusual decisions towards a number of the extra highly effective playing cards, however I like what they do for the sport and the thematic really feel they’ve. Victorious Duel is what all struggle video games must be about: two mighty leaders battling it out, whether or not it’s two champions charging throughout the battlefield in the direction of one another or two hunters looking for one another via the shadows, so I like that this rewards that. Anticipation is an exquisite card, punishing predictable performs, or are additionally they bluffing? It performs with the cardboard recreation factor like no different card up to now within the set. All different playing cards are cube rolls and stats, however this rewards you for figuring out your opponent’s warband, deck, and general card information. Daylight Theft is a superb danger/reward card and I’ve stolen a glory level earlier than, just for my opponent to steal it again once more earlier than I might spend it. I like these playing cards for the sport, and whereas not a massively well-liked card competitively, its existence provides a danger to holding on to unspent glory, and I take pleasure in variables in card video games, in any other case it’s all simply stats.

shadespire warbandsexpansions004Spiteclaw’s Swarm

The Skaven are extraordinarily quick, and if their decks are constructed correctly, can be lethal in fight.  They have been precisely what the meta wanted to fight the very defensive Stormcast warband decks that have been rising.  The Skaven can outmaneuver any waband, and their chief Spiteclaw can also be capable of return out of motion fighters to the boards, even to enemy deployment zones, which means that they are often very harmful as an objective-based warband.  They aren’t very sturdy, so if unnoticed of formation, the soldiers might be overpowered simply.  Their security is certainly in numbers with regards to confrontation.  They’re a mid-level warband in relation to problem.  Not as simple because the Stormcast or Orruks however straightforward to pilot in comparison with the Deathrattle, with plenty of selection within the forms of decks you can also make.

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My favourite Skaven playing cards from the Spiteclaw’s Swarm enlargement pack are Lives are Low cost, Musk of Worry, and There are All the time Extra. Lives are Low cost rewards and encourages enjoying like a real Skaven and sacrificing your minions for the higher god, probably probably the most thematic card within the recreation. Musk of Worry I really like for a way helpful it’s. By concentrating on a warrior, it should encourage them after which additionally enhance their protection probability for the remainder of the spherical, which when positioned on the proper warrior can actually enhance their survivability. There Are All the time Extra is nice for 2 causes, firstly, as a result of it brings a warrior again with out having to make use of an activation, and secondly, as a result of in the event that they weren’t already impressed, by concentrating on them with this card, they grow to be impressed, which helps you to put an impressed warrior on any beginning hex, together with these deep in enemy territory or near aims.

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For the Spiteclaw’s Swarm impartial playing cards, I’ve chosen Grasp of Conflict, Miraculous Escape, and Momentary Insanity. I actually like Grasp of Warfare; it’s not for each deck or participant, however the multi-tier goals actually attraction to me, and it may be barely underpowered at just one glory, however rewarding you for doing issues that you’d be doing anyway can solely be a great factor.  Miraculous Escape is a barely evil card, and that’s in all probability why I prefer it; it gained’t see play in lots of decks, because the probabilities of you pulling it off are slim, however in an ultra-defensive deck, you’ll be able to mock your opponent additional by gaining glory for his or her failure, and that’s superior proper? Momentary Insanity might be an extremely highly effective card; it’s 50/50 for pulling it off, however when the celebs align, and two enemy warriors are positioned appropriately, you possibly can take out an enemy with one among their very own fighters, and it gained’t even use one among your personal activations.

shadespire warbandsexpansions003The Chosen Axes

The very first thing you’ll discover concerning the Fyreslayers is how arduous they hit and the way a lot injury they will take, however then you definitely’ll see their motion.  Earlier than they encourage, they’re the slowest of all of the warbands, and getting them in to fight could be tough.  They encourage by holding an goal on the finish of a spherical, so goal placement might be key to their gameplay. As they should get on aims shortly, this could result in a sluggish first couple of rounds earlier than a strong end.  They’re probably the most troublesome warband to make use of efficiently, as they’re unforgiving of poor placement of peak use of activations.  However they’re a really pure counter to aggressive Orruks and Stormcast warbands, and Fjul-Grimnir is the only strongest warrior within the recreation, and any enemy getting in vary of his cost ought to be cautious.

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For the Chosen Axes devoted playing cards, I’ve picked A Declare Retaken, Oathsworn, and Treasure-Lust. A Declare Retaken is so Fyreslayer that it needs to be a prime decide. They’re not the quickest, so attending to enemy goals can typically be tough, however nothing is extra satisfying than settling a grudge. Oathsworn permits you to reroll and assault if it fails, which when mixed with the injury dealing the Fyreslayers can put out could be extraordinarily helpful. Treasure Lust helps get across the Fyreslayer weak spot of low motion, so long as you find yourself on an goal, which is the Chosen Axe’s encourage situation anyway.

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For the Chosen Axe’s impartial playing cards. I’ve gone for Prepared for Motion, Earthquake, and Making a Assertion. Prepared for Motion may be mixed for big impact, permitting you to assault or transfer once more with a fighter you improve. For instance, should you’ve attacked one character, after enjoying an improve card, you possibly can transfer them out of harms approach, assault once more, or transfer to place to assault a unique character subsequent flip. Earthquake, like Time Lure, is among the few controversial playing cards in Shadespire to date. It has a huge impact on a recreation and might be recreation altering towards objective-based decks, however it may be performed round. I personally like big playing cards that affect the entire meta; so long as they don’t seem to be one-sidedly overpowered, I feel that they are often wholesome for the sport. Making a Assertion is a daring goal capturing card, and never all decks will be capable of pull it off, however for 3 glory, it’s value a shot and can certainly make a press release.

I caught up with a couple of gamers for his or her opinions on Shadespire, and their favourite playing cards.

What do you want about Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire?

Jamie G – I’ve been loving Shadespire lately as GW have hit the nail on the top with their mix of deck constructing and miniatures recreation. You may be as aggressive or chilled out as you need to be and the group that’s rising round it are turning into an unimaginable group of gamers.

Jack – I really like that the rule set is straightforward to select up, fast to play and has a shocking quantity of tactical depth. It’s not a recreation that requires tons of miniatures or elements so it’s  good to pack right into a small bag. The group in London is absolutely pleasant and welcoming with common nights popping up everywhere in the metropolis.

Jamie W – Issues I really like about Shadespire – the warbands , like several miniature gamer I’ve an enormous pile of disgrace , with these warbands I can knock them out in a weekend and be able to play , you don’t even want to color them . The primary factor I really like about Shadespire although is how one can flip a recreation within the final part that you’ve been on the again foot in all through .

John – The clear ruleset and aggressive facet in addition to the convenience of playin video games and enjoying with new individuals.

Which is your favorite warband?

Jamie G – My favorite warband needs to be the Skaven. Their velocity and sneaky tips make Skritch’s warrior extraordinarily enjoyable to play, and throwing a lowly rat to it’s dying simply to re-summon it in your opponents territory really looks like a Skaven basic.

Jack – Stormcast Eternals.

Jamie W – My favorite warband in the meanwhile is the Ironskull’s Boyz, who doesn’t love smashing issues with and an Oruuk!!

John – Orruks.

What’s your favorite card/combo?

Jamie – My favorite combo truly exists outdoors of the Skaven warband and needs to be the Orruk multi encourage. Shattering Terrain – Gurzag Cost & take out (evokes by way of injury taken and does 3DMG + 1 for drive again) mixed with Main by Instance to permit Bonekutter to make a cost motion that evokes him and he can deal 4DMG too.

Jack – My favorite combo is Brightshield with nice power and tireless assault held in reserve. Smart way of killing most models with three cube, hammers dealing three injury with a reroll if the assault fails.

Jamie W – And my favorite card is daylight theft, not tremendous aggressive, however gaining a glory and taking one off the opponent is a superb end result!

John – Lure (Admiral Ackbar permitted).

The Backside Line:

Video games Workshop have completed an excellent job sustaining the aggressive play of Shadespire with the 4 new warbands. Every Warband provides a brand new type of play and the playing cards supply some strong selection in deck constructing. It’s nonetheless fairly early for Shadespire, however the rising group and aggressive play scene is displaying actual promise. For those who’re enjoying competitively, then it would be best to buy all 4 warband expansions, and informal gamers will be capable of decide which expansions they need based mostly on the warbands themselves and the playing cards they need entry to, however with the comparatively low buy-in for the return you get, it is going to be worthwhile for everybody to have a full set.


Get this recreation if:

You’re trying to increase your core set with additional choices.

You’re a aggressive Shadespire participant.

You’re keen on the fashions and also you need to use them in your Age of Sigmar video games.


Keep away from this recreation if:

You don’t have the core Shadespire set and also you need to use them for Shadespire.


The copies of Spiteclaw’s Swarm and the Chosen Axes have been offered by Goblin Gaming and you may decide up a replica from them with a 20% low cost off the RRP. The Ironskull’s Boys and Sepulchral Guard have been bought by the reviewer.

Goblin Gaming


Every set within reason priced for the return you get. If you wish to play competatively, you may be looking to buy all 4, however informal players will be capable of decide and selected. All of the expansions supply some nice playing cards and all 4 warbands are strong and rewarding to play.

Adam Potts

Tabletop Specialist

I am the brand new Tabletop Employees author for TechRaptor. I have been concerned within the online game and board recreation business since 1997, from managing communities, to flavour textual content writing for CCGs. Most lately I have been concerned in gaming journalism and playtesting. I am an avid participant of Gwent (the Witcher three Card Recreation) on-line, in addition to an RPG participant and desk prime gamer.

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