Malice, Vampires, and Hand Destruction

A Warhammer: Invasion deck list by guest writer Torsten Krämer


We recently marched across the Old World to meet the Emperor at The Imperial Throne and saw the final cards added to The Capital Cycle. Now, while we wait for Rising Dawn to introduce us to the new cards and strategies of The Bloodquest Cycle, it’s a good time to reflect upon the current state of Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game and how it has grown.

Today, guest writer Torsten Krämer launches into the first of two deck lists that explore strategies that have gained new potential in the current environment. Known as “Mallumo” on our forums, Torsten has been playing since early 2010. He has a habit of introducing each of his Envoys from Averlorn by proclaiming, “Salutations from the Phoenix King,” and he is thus responsible for the good reputation the Phoenix King holds among his local play group.

Torsten Krämer on destroying your opponent’s most precious resources:

In the two parts of this series, we’ll take a closer look at two less common strategies, both specialities of the Dark Elves, and both of which have been boosted by The Capital Cycle. Hand destruction and deck destruction strategies may not directly threaten your opponent’s capital, but they do put his most precious resources in danger, his cards. Both strategies have become stronger options with the new cards from The Capital Cycle, particularly those from City of Winter.

Hand destruction

Forcing your opponent to discard cards from his hand benefits you in many ways. You limit the options he can use against you. The fewer cards he has in his hand, the fewer tools he has to advance his own plans or interfere with yours. Hand destruction is a powerful tool against combination-based strategies as it can keep your opponent from assembling all the different parts. You can also build combinations of your own for more direct benefits, like the damage generated by a Sorceress Convent (The Twin Tailed Comet, 56), and if that weren't enough, you can even turn his own cards against him after you sent them to the discard pile, through the use of cards like Seeking New Slaves (The Silent Forge, 17).

However, no matter how strong your hand destruction is, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep your opponent’s hand empty at all times. He can easily draw several cards during his quest phase, and since most of your discard effects can only be played during your turn, your opponent will likely be able to play the most important cards before you can get to them. Then, once his hand is empty, further discard effects are useless. There's also the small matter that you still have to burn his zones to win. These are the primary reasons why hand destruction shouldn't be the only focus of a deck.

The Way of the Empty Hand

Thus, this sample Dark Elf deck pairs hand destruction effects with strong unit control:

Units: 23 3x Shades 3x Vile Sorceress 3x Beastlord Rakarth 3x Hag Queen 3x Mannfred von Carstein 3x Seasoned Corsair 2x Mortella 3x Blood Dragon Knight

Supports: 12 3x Warpstone Excavation 3x Contested Village 3x Sorceress Convent 3x Promenade of Malice

Quests: 6 3x Offering to Hekarti 3x Raiding Ships

Tactics: 14 3x Bladewind 3x Chillwind 3x Burn It Down 3x Gaze of Nagash 2x Caught the Scent

Total Cards: 55

How it all comes together

The deck starts destroying your opponent’s hand and choking off his options primarily by attacking him with Shades (Assault on Ulthuan, 25) and Beastlord Rakarth (Signs in the Stars, 75). It doesn't really matter that Rakarth's ability isn't a true discard effect; the point is to empty your opponent's hand, and he still helps you toward your goal. Hag Queen (City of Winter, 91) and Bladewind (Legends, 42) allow you to increase the pressure. They also provide hand destruction effects you can use during your opponent’s turn – maybe he'll even have to discard a card he could have used to stop your attackers.

City of Winter also brought us Promenade of Malice (City of Winter, 92), a card that is remarkable not only because it’s the only one that can currently remove a quest from play. This support shines in a discard deck, since you’ll generate plenty of opportunities to trigger its effect. It pairs well with Caught the Scent (The Deathmaster's Dance, 78), which lets you make sure that even if you can’t discard your opponent’s entire hand, you can at least discard the right card. Also, any time you can peek at your opponent's hand you can better judge when it is the best time to use your other discard effects. Mortella (Assault on Ulthuan, 27) lets you use his tactics against him, and since you’ll be corrupting many of your units to trigger your effects, Chillwind (Assault on Ulthuan, 39) allows you to restore them while simultaneously interfering with your opponent's battle plans. Finally, the deck includes six Vampires, meaning that it can also make use of Gaze of Nagash (The Imperial Throne, 117), one of the very best discard effects in the game.

However, even when your discard engine gets rolling, your opponent will get cards into play, and the other part of the deck is designed to take care of them, assisted by the Promenade. Burn It Down (Core Set, 118) is your big weapon against the most important supports. Offering to Hekarti (The Fourth Waystone, 97), Vile Sorceress (Core Set, 107), Blood Dragon Knight (Legends, 53), and Seasoned Corsair (March of the Damned, 26) provide unit control, protecting your capital and clearing the way for your attackers. Killing off any units he plays into his quest zone can further limit his ability to get and holds cards in his hand. The Vampire, Mannfred von Carstein (The Inevitable City, 18), is the deck’s designated finisher. He’s the unit with the highest damage potential and a useful weapon against decks that might try to benefit from discards, like those using Reclaiming the Fallen (The Silent Forge, 2) or Raise Dead (March of the Damned, 53). Since Promenade of Malice can also be triggered by your discards, Mannfred expands your options there, especially if you’re facing another Druchii deck.

While the deck might be a bit larger than most experienced players prefer, Bladewind and Raiding Ships (City of Winter, 100) allow you to move through it swiftly, providing card draw as well as adding to your hand destruction.

Give the deck a try, and see how it works for you. Then share your thoughts on hand destruction strategies in the forums.

Thanks, Torsten!

Next week we’ll take another look at strategies powered by The Capital Cycle when Torsten turns the spotlight on deck destruction!  

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