Cunning Paths: How to Spend Your Restricted Slots

Aptly, this article is coming close to the end of the Direchasm season. It’s been on my list for a bit, but I was thinking about it as I separated out my Beastgrave cards in preparation for rotation. Once the Beastgrave set of cards leaves Championship play, we will be only left with one forsaken and six restricted cards. So, without much choices, this article may not be as punchy as I would hope, but I did want to go over some theory as to the balancing of your three restricted slots.

The first thing I want to briefly cover is some of the reasoning for the restricted list. Restricted cards usually aren’t ones that are absolutely overpowered or confusing. Those cards normally hit the Forsaken list instead. Limiting the use of certain cards can ensure that they aren’t just auto-includes for every deck. Usually if a card is powerful enough to be in most everyone’s deck, it’s a good candidate for a restriction. I think of cards like Show of Force which was a very strong effect for both passive and aggressive decks which definitely deserved its place on the list. As we go through the different card types, we’ll touch on this in more detail within the specific types. I’m mostly going to focus on the Universal pool today as I believe they are more indicative of the overall card trend and less about the balancing of certain warbands in the meta.

Objectives

Objectives have generally only hit this list for one reason: they’re too easy to score. No, seriously, I think it’s really that simple. When you can effortlessly score your cards (especially surges) without changing the board state, with doing the same game plan whether you had the card in hand, while not needing a dice roll, that’s a good sign that the card is going to be Restricted. I mentioned Show of Force earlier, as I think the main way I saw it scored was the activation after it was drawn. Without any action. Of course you’ll likely have a fighter with three upgrades sometime after round one. So, effectively it read “when you draw this card, score a glory”. Hidden Purpose gives a reward for standing on two tokens, which is the common game state of most horde warbands. And Cover Ground commonly was just scored by running in a circle. Really, this is the main reason you’ll spend slots in the Objectives. It’s a good way to get your glory train going and get some early upgrades out.

Post-Rotation Restricted Objectives: Surge of Aggression.

Gambits

In the gambit side, we’ve generally seen very strong effects that are hitting the list. Overall, in the last set of cards we’ve seen a lot of card draw effects and objective manipulation. But there’s a ton of times that cards hit this list due to the perceived negative player experience from the cards. Honestly, the two cards that are going to stick with us are only on this list because they can cause a bad taste. Slickrock can cancel a charge and be a major disruption. Daylight Robbery can steal an opponent’s only glory if they waited to use it. And I’m not even touching on Rebound.

So, what would convince you to take gambits? Mainly for very strong single use effects. The ability to get through your deck quickly, the strong manipulation of tokens, high damage spells, bonus attacks. You’re really going to focus on these effects if they play into your overall strategy. By having the ability to use something like Restless Prize you can shift a token out from an enemy and put it under you, which is likely the difference between scoring Dominant Position and not. If the card can really help out your overall game plan, take it. But know that you may miss out on an easy score for it. But still, Howling Vortex is worth it when it becomes six Distraction at once…

Post-Rotation Restricted Gambits: Slickrock, Daylight Robbery.

Upgrades

Ok, the last and recently the largest pool. Upgrades have significantly raised in power over the years of the game. I think a big part of these effects becoming stronger is due to the effects lasting over many activations. Using a card for a bonus attack dice or a reroll is ok, but when you get it on every attack it’s a much more efficient use of recources. Extra glory is another way for cards to hit the list such as Cryptic Companion, Proud Runner, Amberbone Sword and Trophy Belt. Another effect we see is super defensive upgrades. Bonus defence dice, permanent Guard and damage reduction.

So, what’s helping make the decision here? Personally, I always think the upgrade slots become the rounders for the list. Did I need the easy glory or were my surges already consistent? Do I really need any of the current Restricted gambit effects? If you’ve got some leftover places, it’s time to patch them up with some very strong permanent effects. You’ll play into the weaknesses of your deck to patch them up. Do you need some more damage or accuracy? Do you need to stay alive easily? This is where you’ll get some strong ways to do that.

Post-Rotation Restricted Upgrades: Geomancer’s Gauntlet, Haughty Resistance, Proud Runner, Savage Visage.

The Final Card

I’m of two minds here. I hope we can be in a place where the game doesn’t need as big of a FAR list. To me, I think this will show a lot of balance in the game. However, it can make the game stale. Being limited by the choices (especially if they aren’t all super powerful) does bring a lot of good variety. I always enjoy a new list dropping because it really shakes up deckbuilding and allows you to change the way that you look at your deck.

How do you feel on the list? Anything missing right now? 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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