Unhinged Underworlds is a new column where we explore decks that may be a bit unhinged. They break away from the standard thought process. We have previously gone over deckbuilding for the meta (and building around or to counter the meta), but this segment is more deckbuilding for experimental purposes or to explore previously overlooked strategies.
Some people love consistency. They want repeatable results, predictable outcomes and reliable scoring. For everyone else, there’s the Ironsoul’s Condemners. This Ironsoul’s condemners deck is wild, and with a few early crits you can wipe your opponents off your board. Roll poorly and you will be be stuck with 3 mediocre fighters, so start praying to Nuffle, Sigmar or whichever diety you believe in.
If this level of variance scares you off, this isn’t for you. But if you are someone who loves the dice casino, you’re gonna love this.
We have one rule on this blog: no balance whining. Our focus is on gameplay, and whining about warband or card balance does not make anyone better at the game. By many in the competitive groups, Ironsouls is considered a low / mid tier warband (and I agree), but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them work. Lower tier warbands don’t necessarily mean they are unplayable, it’s just they are tend to be more limited in their options or they have exploitable weaknesses. The warband itself is extremely powerful once inspired, but the difficulty lies in actually inspiring them. It might not be the most consistent warband, but a few lucky dice rolls, this warband will wipe enemy fighters off the table. Embrace the Condemner Casino.
Inspiring is hard
Lets talk about their inspire condition. [Ironsoul] and her friends inspire when you roll a crit on attack or defence. If you ever want an example of a boom / bust inspire mechanic, it’s this one. [Ironsoul Inspired] gives her a massive boost in combat ability as she increases her damage to 3 and her defense value to 2. [Blightbane] and [Tavian] are no slouches either when inspired.
So normal people might look at this warband and their first thought might be:
- “The inspire condition is hard… but I have durable fighters so I should just build around [Avatar of the Ur-grub] and [The Avatar Risen]“
- “… I should just add more dice and push cards to get more consistent results”.
But I’d like to propose a different school of thought. You inspire by rolling crits. Lets look for ways to make as many out of sequence attack actions as possible – even the unreliable ones. More attack actions = more dice = more chances to inspire (and also knock out enemy fighters).
[Soulsurge] and [Vengeful Strike] are extra attack actions that trigger on 50/50 dice rolls, but we take them anyway. Extra attacks (albiet unreliable ones) are still good for us because those extra attacks help inspire our fighters. I left out [Jealous Defence] as I find it’s a bit restrictive and much harder to make use of with this style.
[Improvised Blow] is a great 1 damage attack we can pull out to finish someone off. It also benefits from any dice or damage upgrades the fighter has. [Primal Lunge] allows us to trade in the Primacy token to attack again after an activation, essentially allowing us to attack twice in a row. This glorious double attack gives us options to take out fighters like Hrothgorn, Kainan or even Mollog in a single activation.
Amazing, deck list please?
Alright alright. We take some easy objectives, we squeeze in some push cards, damage and dice upgrades and here’s the deck. The goal is straightforward, kill your opponent as fast as possible and hope you roll Crits. Crits inspire your fighters which makes them deadlier and harder to kill.
We don’t need a big glory ceiling here, as we expect to kill our opponent quickly. We want easy objectives that can score fast. You always want to aggressively do-over your opening hand of objectives if it doesn’t look like you’re going to be scoring them in the first phase.
Other key Cards
- [Colossal Blow] Why would we want to give someone a surprise knockback 2? It helps us score [Forceful Banishment] and eliminate fighters by dealing an extra damage by sliding them into walls, blocked hexes or lethals. Knockback also stacks, which means adding knockback 2 to a fighter with knockback 2 gives you essentially knockback 4, allowing you to send an enemy fighter across the board to knock them out of position. Quoted from rulebook below:
If an Attack action has two or more rules giving it Knockback, add the numbers together for a combined total (e.g. if an Attack action has two rules giving it Knockback 1, it has Knockback 2).Direchasm Rulebook pg 23
- [Punishing Blow] this powerful one shot upgrade gives blightbane a single shot to swing for 4 damage on 3 dice. Besides giving you the ability to turn most enemy fighters into pulp, it also serves as a way to score [Branching Fate], [Surge of Aggression] and [Awesome Predator] (if you didn’t use it).
- [Enchanted Robes] can surprise your opponent by giving your fighter that extra range to get in there and knock someone out. It has an added bonus of allowing your fighter to ignore lethal hexes.
Playing the deck
The strategy is straightforward with a few caveats. Push cards let you close in on enemies and let you attack without charging. Go for kills on fighters that your opponent is counting on for their game plan. With a few lucky crits, you’ll be tabling your opponent in a few activations. While the deck has gotten some tweaks since the video, you can see the playstyle executed in the following Tabletop Sydney Games.