Warhammer Underworlds: Online Chosen Axes for Beginners!

Warhammer Underworlds: Online Chosen Axes for Beginners! 1 - steamsplay.com
Warhammer Underworlds: Online Chosen Axes for Beginners! 1 - steamsplay.com
If you like challenges, subtle moves and one-shot axe blows, you’ve found your new favourite warband !

Chosen Axes are often seen as a kind of hard-mode warband… which is absolutely true.

However, with a bit of training, they can work really well. In fact, even if it’s difficult, playing them can be very rewarding and also very useful to improve in this awesome game.

I’ve experienced it myself with surprisingly good results in the Tabletop version of the game during the first 3 seasons, using a very personnal approach, built around reliability, versatility and adaptability. Naturally, since their release in the Online version, I’ve tried to continue this improbable journey… At that time, after more than 500 games, my win-rate with them is still above my expectations, above 85 %…

Again, something seems to be working here. Let’s find how !

 
 

1/ SEAZING THE SUBSTANCE : Strenghts and Weaknesses of a Challenging Warband

 
Here’s the most obvious part, and many people have said it before. 
 
So let’s try to put it in one single sentence : with Chosen Axes, your warband will be strong but slow, and can be a bit fragile until your dwarves are Inspired – which takes time and can be quite difficult to achieve ; however, with a good deck and some very simple strategic guidelines in mind, it’s also quite easy to make them work and to turn them into a very solid warband, that excels at one-shoting enemies. 
 
 

2/ KNOWING YOUR NEW FRIENDS : Basic Knowledge About your Fighters

 
Note : here ° / °°/ °°°/ °°°° mean relative strenght 
 
°°°° FJUL GRIMNIR : Your Leader is a very impressive fighter, mainly because of his Wound total and of his Damage output, before and (of course even more) after Inspiration. From the very first Round, Fjul Grimnir is very hard to one-shoot and can be very dangerous. However, most of the time, this won’t be enough to ensure you victory. Firstly and obviously, as he can’t be everywhere at the same time (and clever opponents will always play around it)… Secondly, as he lacks accuracy : his 2 Hammers 4 Damage with Cleave Attack when Inspired is good but not great, especially with of all these 2 Dodge Defense fighters that wander throught the Mirrored City by now. However, playing around your opponent’s fear of him becoming a beast can be very useful… 
 
°°°° TEFK FLAMEBEARER : In the minds of many dwarf players, he is the best warrior, or at least, on average, is he considered as good as Fjul Grimnir. When he’s Inspired, his 3 Hammers 3 Damage with Cleave on Crits Attack is tremendous. Because he’s only 3 Wounds right from the bat and 4 Wounds when inspired, he is the one you want to protect the most. 
 
°° VOL ORRUKBANE : In general, the Chosen Axes dean will appear to be the less interesting one late game. When it comes to Chosen Axes sidekicks, damage output is often less useful than accuracy (which is the very thing he lacks, contrary to Maegrim). So most of the time, you will use him as a early hitter, or as a bait – but of course, depending on which warband you face, you might also use Maegrim or even Fjul for this. When he’s inspired, note that he can drive back ennemy fighters on distant lethal hexes, but is that enough to make him shine ? 
 
°°° MAD MAEGRIM : For a long time, no one seemed to know his name except we die-hard dwarf players, but now the card pool has grown bigger, his qualities seem more obvious. When Inspired, his 3 Swords 1 Reroll 2 Damage Attack make him the Chosen Axes hidden gem… Especially with the right Upgrade or versus low Wounds warbands… 
 
 

3/ NOT MISUNDERSTANDING YOURSELF : A Matter of Playstyles and Stategies

 
As almost everyone I suppose, I begun my Chosen Axes career playing with Objectives like Hold Objective 1-5, Supremacy or A Claim Retaken, trying to make my warband work from this starting point. Because Objective n°3 will often be on the bad side of the board, because with Supremacy in hand, you’ll frequently have only 2 dwarves left, or more simply because it’s always harder to go after objectives and to have a good fight at the same time… You will very quickly find that the problem with the Hold-Objective approach is that most of the time you will have dead cards in your hands… Not good at all. Dwarves are slow and can’t afford this. 
 
When you have a closer look at the Chosen Axes fighter cards, a certain idea of polyvalence, or of finesse aggressiveness if you prefer, becomes quite logical : 

  • with accurate attacks and some pretty insane damage output, their stats want to fight, which means Aggro playstyle… even if it’s obvious that they aren’t fast enough to fully rely on it, 
  • their inspiration condition leads them towards holding Objectives, which means a more Passive approach… but again, they aren’t fast enough to fully rely on it.

 
With Chosen Axes, imho, the best way to go is to play a mix of both approaches – which could be called Aggro / Flex. So in general, move forward while carefully playing around objectives and be as agressive as you think you can. This way, you’ll score Glory for one-shot kills and passively, while strongly disrupting your opponent’s plans. But at the same time, don’t rush too early at the enemy, like a classic rush Aggro warband would, because… 
 
Because when playing with Chosen Axes, one thing is of utmost importance : Inspiration. If you want to win, you must ensure that your dwarves get inspired as fast (or as efficiently) as possible. 
 
 

4/ BUILDING FROM THE CORE : Your Best Faction Cards

 
Note : here °/ °°/ °°°/ °°°° refer to comments I make about specific cards. See below. 
 
Chosen Axes have access to some very good faction cards – above average if you compare them to the other warbands. Here are the most remarkable of them : 
 
Objectives / Good cards or cards you should try first :

  • Score Immediately : Ferocious Charge, Scion of Grimnir 
  • Passive : Unstoppable Advance ° 
  • Hold Objective : A Claim Retaken°°

Ploys / Good cards or cards you should try first :

  • Movement : The Earth Shakes, Treasure Lust, Living Wall °°°°° 
  • Combat : Oathsworn °°°, Indomitable °°°, Piercing Stare °°°

Upgrades / Good cards or cards you should try first :

  • Movement : Grimnir’s Speed °°°° 
  • Combat : Activated Runes, Grimnir’s Fortitude °°°°, Grimnir’s Blessing °°°/°°°°

The remaining cards seem either too bad or too situational to find their way in most of the decks you’ll build… but who knows… 
 
 
° Only if it fits your playstyle – here I mean if you enjoy playing aggressive-invasive dwarves. 
°° This one can be quite tricky to score, but also really hard to counter for your opponent… 
°°° In a way or another, all these cards are situational. At least at the beginning, don’t take too much of them, because they could slow your deck too much. To begin, 1 or 2 seems to be the ok spot. Choose well ! Oathsworn and Indomitable are probably the best this version of the game.. 
°°°° To begin, don’t take too much of these, unless you really want to build some kind of heavily-Fjul -Grimnir-dependent deck… Which I think is very appealing but risky. If you need help to make the right choice, remember that in this game, speed is really important… 
°°°°° A somehow underrated card that I learned to love, because it has a decent Round 1 utility. Not good enough to make the cut in any of my recent decks though.
 
 
 

5/ SETTING-UP : The right distance for the right strategy

 
So let’s begin with setting-up : 

  • First of all, and this could be my most important advice, be very careful about distances when you chose the Board itself : in order to set up multiple inspirations, use one that allow you to group your dwarves as much as possible. It’s very helpful if you can reach at least 2 objectives with each fighter, and it’s even better if it can be achieved by a single push… Imho, in that regard, the Mirror Well is the best possible choice and works well regardless of the board result. 
     
  • Then, don’t lose too much time : with this deck, put your Objectives just in front of you and play as aggressivley as you think you can, the precise degree of agressiveness you’ll show depending on your match-up. In any case, always remember that denying glory to your opponent is as important as scoring yourself. 
     
  • If you face Hold-Objective horde warbands such as Thorns of the Briar Queen or The Sepulchral Guard, everything will depend on the number of Objectives you’ll have. With 2 objectives on your side, go straight forward and deliver your uppercuts as quickly as you can. With 3 objectives on your side, most of the time your opponent will have to come to you to score his hold-objective cards, so take your time. In any case, try to read and to disrupt their nasty scoring-passive-glory-plans. Here, remember that you can use your some of your fabulous ploys to achieve this, and that killing a fighter sitting on a Objective is worth twice the Glory… 
     
  • If you face Control / Flex warbands, magical bastards such as Eyes of the Nine, trouble masters such as Spiteclaw’s Swarm – most of the time, agress them as fast you can… and don’t let them dictate your path. But at the same time, don’t give them too early / too many free targets for their ranged attacks if they have some… A fairly complex equation. These two warbands are both very dependent from their leader, so here, you’ll have to be careful with Fjul – don’t over-commit him early game – if you want to have a good chance of one-shooting them at the right time (i.e. with decent odds). 
     
  • Don’t be affraid when you face Aggro warbands, as you will have some great advantage over your enemies : unlike them, your Inspiration condition will not rely on fights, which means that you will have a chance to be inspired before them. In that case, you can be a bit more defensive : avoid being in charge range of your opponent in the first activation if you can and let him come to you. 
     
  • Finally, if you face Defensive Stormcasts (try to read the hints in the board & objective placement steps), don’t panic, just spend the early stages of the game preparing a highly effective mid/end game, inspiring Fjul, digging through your deck to find your best Score Immediatly Objectives and the power cards you need, and strike fast and hard when you’re ready. If you choose your timing and target well, it should be enough most of the time to ensure you victory.

 
 
 

6/ EARLY GAME : Get in motion and find Inspiration

 

  • Whatever the match-up, Round 1, try to inspire your best 2 fighters (which means Fjul and Tefk, no more, no less… unless you absolutely need one of them for another purpose), using every single tool available to you : moves, your various push-ploys, your inspiration ploys… For that reason, mulligan your first power cards hand if you don’t have at least : Inspiration Strikes, good drawing-ploys or several good push-ploys. Even if your first hand is good, consider drawing one card if your opponent does’nt threat you too much Round 1, in order to get momentum as early as possible. 
     
  • In general, unless you believe that your opponent will rush on the Obectives that are on your side, use mid-late Round 1 move actions to reach the nearest Objectives tokens and save your own push-ploys in order to counter his tricks. If your opponent doesn’t do anything to ruin your plans, you can use these Ploys to inspire additional fighters in last power phase of the round, or/and save the remaining ones to help you in the coming fights. When you play Chosen Axes, because inspiring your fighters is so important, it’s very easy to feel upset when your opponent counters some of your Round 1 moves. Here, the key is to never be surprised or destabilized by anything. Don’t be afraid : good things are coming. 
     
  • Of course, depending on your match-up, it can be relevant to make Round 1 attacks, to get the first kill, score early glory and lure your opponent while you inspire your fighters. 
     
  • In general, you’ll end your 1st Round with 1 or 2 Inspired fighters and a total between 1 and 5 Glory points, which should be enough to launch your dwarven landslide successfully.

 
 
 

7/ MID-LATE GAME : Go get that gold

 

  • This leads us to one of the most important questions : timing. If you want to improve your odds of winning your Chosen Axes games, you need to use your fighters and their respective qualities (Fjul’s damage output or Cleave ability for instance, or Tefk’s accuracy) at the right time and in the best possible order. In order to achieve this myself, I use key concepts such as “Bait”, “Early hitter”, “Late hitter”,”Specific Counter” or “Objective Scorer”. Very often, winning games will requiere a lot of patience. Unless you gain a decisive advantage, deny your opponent an important move or score tons of glory, never use your key fighters too early in a given round. 
     
  • Because relying on Fjul only is risky (because he can die early, because he can’t be everywhere at the same time, and because using him only is also a kind of telegraphed strategy), also use your other dwarves, especially Tefk (very strong and very reliable) and Maegrim (against low wounds warbands)… In general, as he lacks accuracy, Vol is very unlikely to become your MVP, but can be quite useful right from the bat (use him as a bait, or for early attacks against low wound / defense fighters if needed, if the odds are good enough). Also note that his Driving Back ability when he’s inspired can be useful sometimes. 
     
  • For your opponent, multiple threats are harder to counter – in your games, always remember that the deck is also built around this idea : use your 4 dwarves as a pack, hunting in concert within a 2-3 hexes range. 
     
  • When you finally reach the enemy, do not be misled by your own agressiveness. In particular, learn when to stop, and when to make strong and calm moves : very often, those are the hardest to counter for your opponent… Be that strong dwarven Hammer. 
     
  • Morale now. Of paramount importance in this game, as it is short and brutal. You have to be prepared for anything – and when this anything happens, you have to keep your fighting spirit… With Chosen Axes, that’s not the hardest thing to do. Always remember that your warband is rock solid and that you have 4 good fighters : even if you lose two of them early, and even if Fjul or Tefk are one of them, don’t panic, you still can win games. 
     
  • One last advice : as always, be sure to know your deck by heart. Every single card and every effect…

 
 
 

8/ CONCLUSION

 
Now you’ve reached the end of this short guide, I’ll simply add one more important thing : may Grimnir bless your dice when you play the Chosen Axes Online ! 
 

Written by WathLab

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