|I didn't think to take a pic until our last game, when I was playing Magore's Fiends, instead of the one when I was playing the Thorns|
Each of the three of us got a chance to play as the Nighthaunt Warband, the Thorns of the Briar Queen, and we were all very pleased with how they worked, even just using a deck that consisted of their Faction-specific cards and a few very generic ones to round it out. Varclav's ability to spend an Activation to Push all the Chainrasps 2 hexes each is amazingly powerful, the ability to move through anything is cool, and they have a bunch of cards that are both flavourful and strong. On the flipside, getting them Inspired can be difficult, and will generally result in a couple of them getting taken out, and the number of Models can be very difficult to manage, especially if someone manages to take Varclav out.
Model-wise, they're fantastic sculpts, but even more fragile than the Sepulchral Guard. Be very careful handling and working with them, and there are a number of bits I'm almost certainly going to have to reinforce with brass rod/wire.
The Sacrosanct Chamber Warband, Stormsire's Cursebreakers, we were less impressed by. I didn't bother playing them after watching the other two each spend a match fighting more against their own deck than the other Warbands. We do think there's some potential there, but they're definitely a Band that's going to need some experimentation and careful Deck-building to get to work. Just tossing all their Faction-locked cards into a deck with a few generically useful fillers is not a workable option here.
They also fall down a bit compared to the Thorns Model-wise. They're still cool Models, definitely better than Steelheart's Champions, and far better than the first Stormcast we saw, but when they're set next to the Thorns, the latter unquestionably steal the show.
The Rules updates didn't all come into play, but those that did were mostly very good. The clarifications about how a Charge Token restricts further Activitions is my fave. Lethal Hexes are a cool addition, adding a nice middle ground between the extremes of open and blocked hexes. Not only do they open the possibilities for being able to take certain paths, but have them hurt, but there is also definite potential in Pushing your Opponent's Models into them for a bit of extra damage.
Spells, we were less impressed by. The ones that require two successes, even if they're Channel (the more common of the two, the lightning bolts), are pretty hard to cast, with even a level two Caster having less than a 50/50 of succeeding. Some of them are certainly potentially very powerful, but they're very unreliable. There are bonuses available, but from what I've seen so far, they're currently very limited. We'll see as the rest of the Warbands for the second season come out whether or not there's enough support to make magic a viable strategy.
We also had the new Terrain pieces around to mark Blocked and Lethal Hexes. They work well for Blocked Hexes, but less so for Lethal ones, since few of them allow a Model to be easily placed in the same Hex. I like all the sculpts, myself, but the throne with all the imagery of Nagash was kind of divisive among the group. Also, while I don't really care much one way or another about coloured plastic in general, the specific shade of teal they chose for these is pretty questionably. But really, they are intended to be painted, so that shouldn't be an issue for the most part.
Overall, it all seemed really cool, and a good start to this wave of expansion on the foundation laid by Shadespire. I'm glad someone brought it by, and I'm very much looking forward to picking it up myself at some point here. Until next time, y'all have a good one, y'hear!