Order, Diplomacy, and Deck Destruction

A Warhammer: Invasion deck list by guest writer Torsten Krämer


Last week, Torsten Krämer explored how City of Winter bolstered Dark Elf hand destruction strategies. Today, Torsten returns with a second deck list for Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game, one that explores how cards from The Capital Cycle have strengthened deck destruction strategies.

Dedicated to deck destruction:

While most experienced players try to construct decks that hew as close as possible to the minimum 50 cards, newcomers sometimes worry they'll run out of cards if they don’t pad their decks. This concern is usually unnecessary. Warhammer: Invasion can be so fast-paced that matches are decided long before decks exhaust, even if you're drawing five or more cards per turn. It’s very rare that players ever play evenly matched, drawn-out games that feature attackers and defenders dealing damage back and forth until one deck is depleted. So if you want to beat your opponent by forcing him to draw his last card, you’ll need to do more than hole up and hope you can hold out. You'll need to lead him to his doom and attack his deck directly.

The problem is that you really need to devote yourself to this approach, because a little bit of deck destruction doesn't cut it. While you might feel good about discarding the occasional card from your opponent’s deck, there’s no guarantee the cards you’re discarding would have been useful. Even worse, you might inadvertently help him get to his best cards sooner. If you don't focus on depleting your opponent’s deck, you’re probably better off focusing on damage or hand destruction rather than deck destruction effects. While a little damage or a little hand destruction almost always helps, a little deck destruction very rarely does.

Striking the right balance of deck destruction effects in a deck can be difficult. If your whole deck is tuned towards attacking your opponent’s, you’ll most likely be at a loss to defend yourself once your opponent gets some cards in play. While hand destruction limits your opponent’s options, there are few immediate benefits to deck discard. One solution to this is to use as many cards as possible that do offer benefits, like the potential card draw from Bathe in the Cauldron (Fiery Dawn, 117). You may also want to include cards that feed off your opponent's discard pile, some of which we discussed in last week's spotlight.

Deck destruction doesn’t have to be nasty to be effective

When you choose a race for your deck destruction strategy, it’s natural to think first of the Dark Elves. Not only do they excel at using their opponents’ discarded cards against them, they also count the highest number of deck discard effects, like Barbed Snares (City of Winter, 86) and Spawn of Kintearer (Realm of the Phoenix King, 35). Because they favor the forces of Destruction, they can also recruit the vile Plague Monk (Arcane Fire, 20) to their cause.

But are the Dark Elves the only choice? No. Today, let’s try something different. Let’s look at a deck destruction strategy for the Empire, with crucial support from the Dwarfs:

Units: 18 3x Huntsmen 3x Lore Seeker 3x Runesmith 3x Sons of Coin 3x Wilhelm of the Osterknacht 3x Friedrich Hemmler

Supports: 17 3x Contested Village 2x Helstorm Rocket Battery 3x Church of Sigmar 3x Dark Abyss 3x Temple of Verena 3x Treasure Vaults

Quests: 3 3x Infiltrate!

Tactics: 17 3x A Noble Quest 3x Iron Discipline 3x Ancient Map 2x Called Back 3x Forced March 3x Mastering the Spell

Total Cards: 55

How it all comes together

Infiltrate! (Core Set, 120) offers potentially devastating deck destruction. Dark Elf decks seldom include it because the forces of Destruction have difficulty keeping questing units alive, and Infiltrate! depends highly upon your questing unit staying on it for several turns. The Empire, however, excels at protecting units. So this is our attack on the opponent's deck: we will try – with help from Ancient Map (Assault on Ulthuan, 56) – to get Infiltrate! into play as soon as possible, we'll protect the questing unit with Church of Sigmar (Core Set, 39) and Iron Discipline (Tooth and Claw, 45), and we'll quickly accumulate resource tokens on the quest thanks to Lore Seeker (Karaz-A-Karak, 63). Meanwhile, Dark Abyss (The Fall of Karak Grimaz, 19) will provide additional deck discard.

And that's it. We're done with all the attacking. We're tired of fighting, and we'll demonstrate our commitment to peace by being very polite and helping our opponent draw more cards. He likes that, doesn't he? Drawing cards is good! So we'll assist him by moving as many of his units to his quest zone as possible. Our main man for this diplomatic approach is Wilhelm of the Osterknacht (The Fall of Karak Grimaz, 5), and he's supported by Helstorm Rocket Battery (Fiery Dawn, 108). After all, diplomacy always works better when it's backed by rockets.

Forced March (Core Set, 48) and Mastering the Spell (The Eclipse of Hope, 88) can also help move opposing units to the quest zone, prioritizing those with the most hammers and with Kingdom and Battlefield abilities. Occasionally we might make an exception and move a Questing unit out of the zone, or one with a Quest ability, but only if it really bothers us. Called Back (The Fall of Karak Grimaz, 6) is our last resort against units that can be problematic no matter which zone they occupy. The effects that relocate our opponent’s units supports our goal while they simultaneously interfere with our opponent's strategies and protect us from potential attackers.

Meanwhile, we build up our own kingdom zone with Sons of Coin (The Iron Rock, 52), Friedrich Hemmler (Redemption of a Mage, 63), our Buildings, and enough developments to trigger the effect on our Treasure Vaults (Assault on Ulthuan, 55). These provide us with plenty of resources, and once we get a Runesmith (Core Set, 5) into play we will spend our riches during our opponent's kingdom phase, to give one of the units populating his quest zone a huge increase in power. He'll draw even more cards! He'll be very happy and thank us dearly for our diplomatic approach to the game… right until he draws the last card in his deck and loses the match.

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