Maddening Cackle: Online Clash VIII

Our latest event breakdown comes after we’ve got all the Direchasm warbands released. Now, we’ve got three more warbands (along with the Silent Menace Deck) to change the field. However, there still hasn’t been a FAQ or FAR to help with the game balance. Let’s dig into the event.

Meta Thoughts

The game has had many new cards come out along with a few new warbands, but honestly, I’m not sure the meta has shifted too much. Here are my thoughts for the event.

Feed the Beastgrave. There are so many options for playing the flipping strategy now. I’ve seen many warbands doing it, from Hrothgorn, Seraphon and Gitz. Cards like Great Tremors and Symbiote’s Call are big additions to make it more consistent. Since these decks innately counter Objective playstyles, they would just have to watch out for full Aggro.

The last five. I’ve seen a lot of players playing the last five warbands released: Starblood Stalkers, Crimson Court, Madmob, Kainan’s Reapers and the Souldrain. Where do I think they sit? I’d say that players have the most experience with Seraphon and Vampires since they’ve been out so long. Both also offer a good mix of playstyles and variety. Madmob, Reapers and Souldrain all have good potential, so we’ll see if canny players have figured out these factions.

The warbands who haven’t gotten weaker. Krushas, Mollog, Rippa, Wraithcreepers. All of these warbands have had some strong results and can play really strong Aggro, either based on damage, number of attacks or accuracy. Their style of Voltron aggro, combined with strong faction objectives that play into the current pool of cards means that they can all be scary in their own way.

Strong statted warbands. With the end of the season upon us, we have the biggest cardpool which means that warbands with innately good stats (but terrible objective cards) can build a cohesive deck. There’s also a crazy amount of +2 move cards (along with Eternal Chase) so slow warbands aren’t as weak as they once were. I think there are some “dark horses” that could emerge.

Warband Breakdown

For the clash, there ended up being 28 players. There was a strong leaning into Crimson Court, with 21% of the field comprising of them. Past that, Thorns had three players and the rest of the field only saw single or duplicate warbands. 15 of the 28 (54%) were Direchasm warbands, which is remarkable. Notable missing warbands included Krushas, Rippa, Grymwatch and Harrows. Other than the one Hrothgorn, there were no other Beastgrave warbands.

From a meta call perspective, there were a decent amount of the last five warbands, 13 players, which was 46% of the field. Luckily that meant that anyone practicing in the current field had a very good chance to get practice into the general field. I personally didn’t see any Feed the Beastgrave decks, but I didn’t see one of the Stalkers or Gitz play. I am shocked that there were no Krushas or Rippa players. Potentially as I mentioned in my last event breakdown, I think potentially people have been looking for shakeups when we don’t have balance changes from GW.

The Top Eight Four

The cut ended up being to top four, since there were less than 32 players. With the field, there were two 4-0 players moving on and the top two 3-1s made it. Congrats as it was definitely a skilled set of players to get through. I’d also like to point out that given the warband spread, there were no duplicate warbands in the top nine (the Crimson Court’s highest placing was 6th).

In the top four, there were an Eyes of the Nine, Thorns, Hrothgorn and Kainan’s Reapers. Notably, compared to my meta picks, only the Reapers would’ve made that list. But when you look at the set of players making top four, it’s not a major surprise. Eyes are an underdog, until you realize that it’s Erik playing them, who has played the most games with the warband than anyone else in the world (I’m confident in that statement). Tommy returned in the top cut, playing Thorns, which he played to near perfection in the Beastgrave season. Tom (AKA Shoobie) is another great player, who’s played a good amount of Hrothgorn as well. And Derek (AKA Kaptain Murder) playing a big boi warband to the top 4 is no surprise to me. Especially since in practice the last few weeks I didn’t beat him once.

For day 2, all the games were streamed with commentary by the gents at Steel City and should be available soon to watch on the Discord channel. So, if you want to watch the action, you should be able to! Tommy took his set into the Eyes 2-0 in what was super early morning for me, so I only saw part of the second game. Then, Derek took his set against Tom 2-0. My favourite moment from that set was the opening salvos in game one. After Distraction threw Kainan into a lethal and he bounced in and out again, Thrafnir charged into him, dealt two damage, one from a lethal and one from Savage Contest, killing Kainan by the end of activation two. However, due to the passive objective scoring from Derek’s deck, he was up still by the end of the first round. Then, Khenta with some bonus damage hit Hrothgorn twice and killed him early in the second round!

So, the final was between the Thorns and the Reapers. Nagash would either have souls or bones for his tithe today. In game one, Kainan was able to take down the big three fighters from the Thorns and ended up surviving and reading from his Scattered Tome to claim victory. The other two games played out pretty similarly, with the Queen and the Everhanged killing off the bone lord in round one or two and holding their objectives to claim victory. And thus, Tommy Conboy became the first player to have won two Online Clashes. Congratulations! It was a well fought weekend by all players.

Overall, Thorns haven’t really been in mode for a long while, due to the in-faction restricted cards. Tommy’s deck had Temporary Victory, Sudden Appearance and Howling Vortex. I know that Howling Vortex was a massive tool to gain Uncontested and crucial in game two of the finals. My thesis about the state of the game from the last event really holds up. Right now, any warband is viable piloted by a great player. And those players are likely to do very well.

Shared Cards

Since I’m going off of the top four, I’ve concentrated on the shared cards that more than half of the top field had. Note that there were an extra 15 cards that two of these decks shared, but I want to point out a couple of interesting cards from that set. Two of the decks had Everything to Prove, a very strong surge in the vein of Underdog. As well, two of them had Mighty Swing!

Out of these nine shared cards, we see the ubiquitous cards of Show of Force, Dominant Position, Distraction, and Deserved Confidence. My last couple Clash breakdowns also saw these in this section, so it’s unsurprising. For the rest of the shared pool, they are all Essentials pack cards. And I honestly think there’s no major surprises here. Great Strength as a bonus damage card with no qualifiers or drawbacks will likely be in every deck, which Gloryseeker is a great second bonus damage upgrade. There’s a resurgence in this top field for objective play, so it’s also great to see Path to Victory back on the list (and Uncontested was in two of these decks as well!).

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading today. I’m glad to have this event to go through and I really hope we can discuss a FAR with the next tournament 🤞. Also, if you haven’t heard enough about Kaptain Murder, I’ve got a special surprise for all of you next week! 😉 If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me at setthetempoblog@gmail.com or on the Underworlds Discord channels as Matt ~ Set The Tempo. Take care and set your own tempo!

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