Live by the Code: Online Clash IX

As we’ve started to see Harrowdeep in all its glory, it looks like the tournament held on September 18/19 will be the final major tournament of the Direchasm season. Unfortunately, the season saw no official Grand Clashes, due to the pandemic, but we can still look to events like this to get our major competitive fix. Let’s dive in.

Meta Thoughts

I’m going to keep this section brief this time. I spent four hours going over my meta thoughts (pre-Arena Mortis 2) on the Path to Glory podcast. Here is the link, if you want to check it out. For the episode, I did make a tier ranking based on how I thought warbands may perform:

August 2021 Tier List

To summarize, I thought the changes made by the FAR list and the last couple releases made Objective warbands stronger. I think that there’s something to be said about the last gasp of Beastgrave, since after this tournament, I’d expect Season 5 to drop. No more Hidden Purpose, Temporary Victory, Swift Capture. I think I’d be tempted to take them for one last drive. In that same vein, if horde warbands become more powerful, I think that anti-hordes also become stronger. Hrothgorn, Rippa and Crimson Court to name a few here.

Warband Breakdown

There were 28 players at the event, representing 15 of the 36 available warbands. More than half the field (16 of 28) were playing season 4 warbands, which I think is really cool to see. Referencing my meta thoughts, 14% of players were playing the S tier warbands, 57% of players in A tier, 21% in B tier and 7% (2 players) in C tier (although one of those two players was Erik with Eyes of the Nine so that doesn’t even count as C tier for him). On the day of the event, this showed me that there was a really open field. Lots of players with warbands that could work well and perform decently.

So who’s missing? First off, there were three Direchasm warbands unrepresented in the event, Ravagers, Madmob and Myari’s. The beta rule wasn’t enough to salvage the Ravagers. Myari’s is a warband I’ve slowly seen dissapear on the scene. Madmob is a pretty technical warband to make run well (shout out to Compak to winning a second consecutive league with his list from his guest article). The Aggro warbands we’ve seen prevalent in the scene in past events have also fallen off for this event. No Rippa, no Hrothgorn and no Mollog. I think other than a lack of Madmob, Rippa and Hrothgorn, the mix didn’t surprise me.

The Top Eight

The top eight had an interesting breakdown this clash. Five of the top eight were season 4 warbands, which is around the same percentage as those warbands were in the general field. However, neither Wraithcreeper made the cut and none of the three Kainan’s made day two either. One of the Starbloods made day two (which would be expected given they were the most represented warband). Two of the three Crimson Court also made the cut. But it’s the other five warbands that are really interesting to see. There were two Idoneth players at the event and both made the cut for the next day. Erik made it with his Eyes again, Benny made it with Krushas and Neils thundered with the Profiteers to the top spot after the first day. I’ve said it before, but I think a lot of this shows that players who master their warbands always have a good shot at the playoffs.

After the quarterfinals, we had Krushas, Profiteers and both Idoneth making it through to the top 4. However, they stopped swimming there as an ebb tide rose, making the final being Profiteers against the Krushas. After two games, Neils prevailed with Thundrik’s Profiteers. Congratulations to him! Going 14-1 in individual matches during two days of play is a phenomenal result. I also love to see that the sole player with a warband was able to take down the whole event.

The deck itself is a very interesting one. It’s a combination of Aggro and Objective play, focusing on holding objectives with the smaller fighters and being aggressive with Thundrik and Drakkskewer. Eternal Chase unlocked the potential of Absolute Stillness, Ahead of the Hunt, Predatory Instinct and Hunter’s Talisman, while also giving the warband a large speed boost. It’s got some decent ping damage which I think is neat given the inclusion of Underdog. It means that if you are killing, you’re not taking Primacy away so you can still score it.

Shared Cards

As I love to get a guage of what cards are popular in the top decks, this is the list of the cards in which more than half of the top field were playing. Duel of Wits continues to be the most popular card, followed closely by Distraction. The three pretty standard stat boosts in Great Fortitude, Great Strength and Gloryseeker all continued to be popular. The only two shared Restricted cards were in Hidden Purpose and Cryptic Companion, which show the propensity towards some passive, back of board objective holding.

I’ve highlighted some of these cards as half of this list is about to rotate out. Beastgrave season cards have dominated the deck lists, honestly. Out of the remaining five cards in blue, four of them are Essentials and the only Direchasm card is Underdog. I think that the meta will have some major shakeups when we get rotation. As the Essential cards are very basic effects and none of them tied to scoring (other than bonus damage for making kills), it will be very interesting how players adapt their decks to find ways to score efficiently. While Primacy brought us a shakeup to the game, I think that losing a few more tricks around holding objectives will be a major change to see as well.

The Final Countdown

Harrowdeep is nearly upon us and this will be one of the last (if not the last) major tournament before that season drops. I’m really curious to see what the next season brings. We’ve seen some Gen Con spoilers of the new Stormcast warband, Xandire’s Truthseekers and the Kruelboyz warband, Da Kunnin’ Krew. We’ve heard of Rivals mode, Grand Alliance universals and the Grievous keyword. There are new dashed hexes and new tokens. It’s bound to be an exciting time. Personally, I’m planning to main the Truthseekers throughout the next season and really concentrate on them as my main warband. I love Stormcast and given the way the Direchasm warbands worked out, I have good hope that all the Harrowdeep warbands will be nicely balanced and competitive. Tune in here to see if this prediction is right or wrong!

What are you looking forward to in season 5? Which cards will you miss the most? Why is the bird the best? 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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