Deep within the hellish and steaming jungles of Lustria, amid ancient trees and cloying swamps, the age-old civilisation of the Lizardmen has stood since long before the rise of Elves, Dwarfs, or Men. Savage warriors, the Lizardmen are vigilant in the defense of their ways. These children of the Old One creators fight to restore order to the world, but their enigmatic motivations make them uncertain and often dangerous allies.
Meanwhile, the Vampire Counts, from their gods-forsaken castles and fortresses, lust after the power of the mortal races. Created by unholy rituals thousands of years ago, the Vampire Counts are quick, strong, and resilient. And yet, the greatest threat lies not in their physical prowess, but in their unbridled ambition. It is this force of will that gives them their power over the dead, and those armies of Order that refuse to surrender to the Vampire Counts in life may come to serve them as mindless slaves after death.
The March of the Damned expansion introduces, as neutral forces, the savage armies of the Lizardmen and the undead minions of the Vampire Counts into Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game . The ancient race of Lizardmen aid the forces of Order and the Vampire Counts collude with the forces of Destruction as neutral cards. This set also contains cards for each of the existing six races, which expand upon strategies, tactics, and deck-building options.
James Hata sat down to share his insights into the development process for this exciting new expansion:
I’d like to take some time to talk with you today about two new keywords that I am excited to announce will be introduced into Warhammer: Invasion with the March of the Damned expansion – Necromancy and Savage. Today, I want to pull back the curtain a bit on the development process and show you a glimpse of the thought process behind each of these keywords.
When I first started working on this expansion, I knew I wanted the Undead units of the Vampire Counts to have some form of distinct, discard pile based ability that hadn’t really existed in Warhammer: Invasion. At the time, I thought it was a cool idea to have the undead be this persistent threat that players had to worry about coming back throughout the game. Of course, in order to regulate it, this recursion would need to be limited in some way.
The original (and ultimately flawed) design for Necromancy did this in an unusual way. It was worded as follows: (You may play any action on this card as though it were in play, substituting any cost for the ability with ‘put this card on the bottom of your deck.’). By putting the card on the bottom of the deck, the card wasn’t able to be reused over and over again, and also it allowed for abilities that draw from the bottom of the deck to be associated as natural combo pieces for Necromancy.
Unfortunately, this iteration of the keyword didn’t work. While the freedom of being able to place Necromancy on tactics as well as units with cool abilities was nice, this keyword ability was ultimately deemed to be too complicated and too powerful by playtesting (because you were essentially playing card abilities out of the discard pile for free) and was shot down.
Afterwards, I decided that it would be easier if the necromancy temporarily returned a unit to play. This way Necromancy would be very simple, effective, and could work in tandem with abilities that triggered off of the unit entering or leaving play. And so, the final iteration of Necromancy was born.
Savage is a keyword that was born out of many attempts to figure out a good way to capture the flavor of the Lizardmen, while also having it be a game mechanic that was relatively open ended and distinct in Warhammer: Invasion.
Ambush would allow the unit, if it was played as a development, to be turned faceup during the battlefield phase by paying resources. The ambush units would usually have a “When this unit ambushes” ability on the card as well. This would kind of represent the Lizardmen just coming out of nowhere in the jungles and preying on an unsuspecting opponent. Unfortunately, this ability didn’t playtest well. There were several timing issues and space issues in the text box of the cards. The keyword ability usually required a whole other ability (the “when this unit ambushes” ability) to be paired up with it which took up the entire text box and made the unit useless outside of its ambush ability.
I went through several other iterations of this keyword, talked with a lot of people, and read through the background canon again before I came up with the current keyword called Savage.
The finalized Savage mechanic was largely inspired from a story in the latest Warhammer Fantasy Lizardmen book where a Dark Elf stabs a Lizardman through the chest with a lance. The Lizardman, refusing to die, draws the lance further into his own body in order to rip open his opponent’s throat with his jaws. This idea of being willing to take damage in order to deal the opponent a mortal blow was appealing to me. I based my design of the keyword on this basic idea, and through some development it ended up as you see it today.
Thanks, James! Watch store shelves this fall, and be ready when the dead begin to rise...