The fact that the six different races of Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game each play differently results from one of the fundamental decisions made during the course of the game – namely the decision to create six different races. The forces of Order and Destruction are each subdivided into three races, and players don’t expect any two races to play the same way. Orc rush and Chaos control. Dark Elf discard and High Elf indirect damage. Dwarf slayers and Empire Judgement of Verena. These decks all enrich the game and your play experience with their diversity.
Still, some cards are so good and so easy to play in nearly any faction that they find their way from deck to deck to deck. Warpstone Excavation (Core Set, 116) and Contested Village (Core Set, 111) are two such cards. The neutral units, Blood Dragon Knight (Legends, 53) and Wight Lord (March of the Damned, 48), are valuable additions to nearly any Destruction deck, while the Chaos unit, Sorcerer of Tzeentch (The Twin Tailed Comet, 53), often finds its way out of the Chaos faction. Meanwhile, the forces of Order often rely upon Arcane Power (The Accursed Dead, 57) to form infinite loops to drive powerful card combinations. Despite the presence and impact of factions, then, while players use enough of these “splash” cards – and use them often enough – some of the diversity spurred by the different races is mitigated.
Today, guest writer Torsten Krämer looks at how the Eternal War cycle may encourage players to rethink the use of these standard “splash” cards and, in turn, may encourage greater deck diversity.
Torsten Krämer on the Outlying Tower
Back in the days before the restricted list was introduced, practically every competitive Warhammer: Invasion deck included the so-called “Core Nine”: three copies each of Warpstone Excavation, Contested Village, and Innovation (Core Set, 119). These three cards were considered fundamental because they helped boost your economy, particularly during the crucial early turns. The restricted list broke this triad apart, forcing players to choose between Warpstone Excavation and Innovation (or the other restricted cards), and while sometimes people choose another restricted card over Warpstone Excavation, it is still an absolute staple in most decks, along with Contested Village.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of this. I’ve always preferred more diversity. I like when different decks use more different cards, instead of having so many in common, but I’ve often found myself forced to use these cards if I didn't want to enter a tournament at a disadvantage.
I'm quite happy to say things might change soon. The Core Nine won’t disappear, but they won't be “auto-includes” anymore, either. We will see more diversity.
Muster for War (Days of Blood, 20) has already started to vie for Contested Village's spot in many decks since both have the Limited keyword, and the upcoming Battle Pack, Oaths of Vengeance, brings us Outlying Tower (Oaths of Vengeance, 23). This may remind you of another card from the previous Battle Pack, Chill Sea Watchtower (Days of Blood, 4). You can guess what’s coming over the course of the Eternal War cycle: each faction will get an equivalent support card. It’s an improved Contested Village with the drawback that you can’t have it in play with cards from outside your faction. And I’m hopeful this will encourage a new approach to deck construction.
For Order, the choice to switch to pure faction decks might be particularly easy. They have solid resource acceleration from cards like Derricksburg Forge (The Burning of Derricksburg, 5) and Mining Tunnels (The Burning of Derricksburg, 2) that they can use in place of Warpstone Excavation, and they can use their new supports instead of Contested Village. But these supports are also very attractive for Destruction, helping them with early loyalty and triggering The Capital Cycle quests like Raiding Parties (The Iron Rock, 60).
Of course, you might also use these new supports in addition to Warpstone Excavation and Contested Village, rather than in place of them, to increase your chances of a fast start, even if you might later end up with cards that are only good for developing. Also, you should keep in mind that tactics are never actually in play, so you can freely include neutral tactics in a deck with these supports, and tactics like Desertion (City of Winter, 99) will now be much more attractive!
…Speaking of neutral tactics, don’t you find it annoying when your attackers are so strong you could burn all of your opponent’s zones at once, but you can still only attack and burn one at a time? The Eternal War cycle promised to emphasize battles more, and it does. Oaths of Vengeance addresses this pesky problem of “one attack per turn” with All Out War (Oaths of Vengeance, 40). It’s time to stop fooling around. Just finish your opponent with one decisive attack!
While we don’t expect we’ll ever see the end of Warpstone Excavation or Contested Village, we’re excited to see what players do with the new supports and design possibilities coming with the Eternal War cycle.