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Warhammer Combat Cards deckbuilding and card synergy guide

Warhammer Combat Cards may feel pretty simple to grasp when you’re just beginning, but there are a lot of things happening under the hood when it comes to deckbuilding. Let’s get into it.

Deck types

Warhammer Combat Cards decks generally fall in one of two categories: Heavy Hitter decks, and Horde decks. Within that framework there are a ton of secondary principles and finesse points you will learn over time, but for now consider the main qualities of each deck type.

Heavy Hitter decks consist of just a handful of powerful, expensive cards. They are easier to play and predict, and generally more dependable, especially if you can synergize your most powerful cards’ Talents and protect them with Taunts and Medicae cards. Heavy Hitter decks’ weakness is their lack of flexibility – you can have the perfect combo of cards and still get hard-countered by something random. Without fodder cards, these decks are also vulnerable to things like Target Acquired and Big Game Hunter. Even the strongest Heavy Hitter strategy can fall apart if an unlucky deployment gets a key card melted early.

Horde decks are more chaotic since you cannot exactly control the order in which your cards are drawn. They also crumble against Urien Rakarth, Kaptin Badrukk, Logan Grimnar, and many other meta Warlords. However, Horde decks generally allow for a lot more tactical freedom, since they get more chances to absorb attacks, more chances to move cards around, and overall a bigger toolbox of tricks going into matches. Horde decks can sometimes win against impossible odds with sheer improvisation.

Basic card synergies

Beyond their immediate effects, card Talents have many synergies with each other and with Warlord abilities. Understanding how to combine Talents comes with time and practice, but there are some simple combos you can start working with right off the bat:

  • Medicae compounds the effects of Fear. It can also help you get the most out of other persistent Talents like Inspiring Presence, Berserk, or Psionic Blast, but only if the associated cards have high base Wounds. Otherwise, you should use Taunt to keep cards with these effects on the board longer.
  • If you are taking Barrage or Big Game Hunter, consider also taking Target Acquired to ensure that the right enemy cards are being hit.
  • Despite the usefulness of the Talents mentioned above, you should never take more than two Medicae or Target Acquired cards, and more than three Taunt cards in any deck.
  • Out-of-sequence damage Talents like Warp Surge, Psionic Blast, Furious Charge, and Precision Shot all benefit from Inspiring Presence, as do splash-damage Talents like Deathblow and Barrage.

Initiative

On the back of each card in Warhammer Combat Cards you can see its Initiative value – a hidden stat that is only used for a single (albeit crucial) mechanic in the game. If the average value of your chosen cards’ Initiative is high, you have a higher chance of taking the first turn in a match. That could be both good and bad, depending on your deck and your opponent.

High Initiative decks tend to strike first, and in almost all scenarios that’s great. Going first is especially beneficial for Shas O’Rlyeh, Logan Grimnar, Nemesor Zandrekh, or any other Warlord that can set up powerful 1HKO attacks.  On the other hand, decks that go second get a strong advantage on deployment and can often counter opponents from the start. If your deck relies on a slower strategy of attrition – like so many Urien Rakarth and Gloguthrox the Foul decks do – or uses Target Acquired cards, going second is advisable. Watch Captain Artemis also uniquely benefits from going second.

Since both strategies are valid, you shouldn’t prioritize Initiative when building your Warhammer Combat Cards decks. That said, if you have crafted a deck that noticeably performs better by going either first or second, you can try to replace some of your cards to tweak the deck’s Initiative up or down.

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Asen Aleksandrov

I write about games because they won't let me write about Ed, Edd n Eddy. Send questions/rants to asen at northernarena.ca

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