The Dead Shall Rise
A Preview of the Hidden Kingdoms Expansion for Warhammer: Invasion
“They cannot be reasoned with, bribed or coerced. They know neither fear nor mercy. They need no sleep or warmth, neither drink nor wholesome sustenance and, as they march onwards, their ranks are swelled by the corpses and trapped souls of their former opponents.” –Warhammer: Vampire Counts
In our last preview, guest writer Torsten Krämer explored the different ways the Wood Elves may wage war when they finally have the chance to fight their own battles. Today, we turn our attention to another of the four new playable races: the Undead.
The Terrifying Reign of Count Vlad von Carstein
The unending wars for the Old World take their toll on every race, but the Undead of Hidden Kingdoms have overcome the limitations of mortality, conquering death itself. Surely, their conquest of the Old World must be soon at hand…
Hidden Kingdoms bolsters the ranks of the Undead with a host of new Vampires, wraiths, and other creatures. Possessing no sense of fear or mercy, nor any need for sleep or sustenance, these Undead units require only the guidance of a cruel and cunning leader to cut a swath of death and destruction as they swarm out of Sylvania. That leader arrives in Hidden Kindoms – the new legend, Count Vlad von Carstein (Hidden Kingdoms, 28).
As your legend, Count Vlad von Carstein adds two power to both your Kingdom and Quest zones and can lend two power to any attack in which he participates, and because legends are harder to target with troublesome effects than units or supports, those power icons make him an effective and powerful option for a player looking to raise his Undead army. However, Count Vlad has much more to offer; his unique ability offers a form of undeath to your very deck.
In Warhammer: Invasion, players win by burning two of their opponent’s capital’s zones or by escaping destruction long enough to see their opponent’s entire draw deck depleted. The discard victory condition is a little like surviving a siege: Your opponent batters at you over and over, but when all his supplies run out, death will overtake him… Except when you’re already dead, things are a bit different. Accordingly, Count Vlad can turn the discard loss into a discard win, provided you can deplete your hand of cards before the last of your draw deck is discarded.
The Power of Necromancy
Among the many ways in which Count Vlad’s ability alters the game is that it greatly enhances the power of Necromancy. Cards with Necromancy can be played from the discard pile and go to the bottom of their owner’s deck at the end of the turn, so if you have more cards in your discard pile – and many of them have Necromancy – you have more options for each of your turns. It’s a little like having two hands: your normal hand and your hand of Necromancy effects in your discard pile.
Thus, cards like Swarm of Bats (Legends, 52) do not merely boost their own power. They can add cards with Necromancy to your discard pile and expand your options. While it’s normally dangerous, even for a Necromancy deck, to drive too many cards to your discard pile, Count Vlad von Carstein’s ability greatly reduces that risk. All you need is a way to dump your hand, such as Windcatcher Prism (Vessel of the Winds, 61) or Reap What’s Sown (Tooth and Claw, 59), and Count Vlad converts a sudden loss into a sudden win.
Naturally, a legend so focused on the power of Necromancy will want to field a necromantic army, and Hidden Kingdoms offers plenty of units to terrify your foes. The Abyssal Terror (Hidden Kingdoms, 29) gains one power for each unit in your discard pile, and the Cackling Hexwraith (Hidden Kingdoms, 32) can help drive those units into your discard pile (and speed you along the path to Count Vlad’s alternate victory condition) by discarding the top two cards of your deck whenever it enters or leaves play.
As deadly as these Undead can be, your opponent might not be as terrified by your potential discard victory as you’d like. After all, a well-timed Long Winter (The Fall of Karak Grimaz, 40) could spell disaster, sending a card back to your hand in the same chain of effects that discards the last of your deck. Suddenly, the Count is vanquished, and your discard victory turns back into a discard loss.
To ensure you aren’t surprised by such tactics, you may wish to run Gaze of Nagash (The Imperial Throne, 117), especially since you shouldn’t be in short supply of Vampire units. And if you’re running Gaze of Nagash – or Wight Lord (March of the Damned, 48) – then you might simply prefer to ignore the discard victory altogether, in favor of turning your opponent’s greatest units against him with Mortis Engine (Hidden Kingdoms, 33). After all, when you represent the forces of the Undead, the Old World’s bloody and scarred battlefields are strewn with potential allies…
Your games of Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game are set amid the Old World’s unending warfare, fueled by grudges that endure for generations upon generations, so if you’re looking for a force that might be able to claim ultimate victory, consider pledging your allegiance to an army that owes no fealty to the passage of time. Accept the Blood Kiss. Give yourself over to the Undead armies of Hidden Kingdoms!