Hello ladies and gentlemen, Harrison here from ATGN with something a little different for you. Over the past few months, I have been playing quite a lot of Final War. For those of you who missed our initial review you can find it here, and you can also find my interview with Developer Jason here. In this article, I’ve put together some of the more advanced tips and tricks that I have come up with in the past few months, starting with building your own deck.
Unfortunately, during the course of filming I forgot one very important card type that should be in your deck – Gold. As you will notice in our gameplay footage, there were several points where Mercenaries came up out of the Fate Deck and neither player was able to capitalize. Slightly less Units, at least 3 Gold cards of the highest value you can get.
As I mentioned in the video, each Final War card has a rarity, ranging from Common all the way up to Elder. For the purposes of building your deck, they come in roughly three groups.
To start with you have Commons and Uncommons. As far as I have been able to tell, once you have them in your hand, there is no practical difference between a Common and an Uncommon. You may have any number of any individual Common or Uncommon in your deck, as long as it is generic or part of your faction. However, apart from a few selected Units, most of the Commons aren’t worth putting into your deck anyway.
The next level up are Rares and Very Rares, which is where the unique Final War deckbuilding restrictions come into play. You may only have a single copy of any Rare or above in your deck, and it must match your Faction, or be a Generic. Rares are where you start to come into the cards that actually have a power level worth having into your deck, including a lot of your Spells and Items. However, at Rare or above you only have seven options for Units in each faction. This means that you will have to play some sub-par cards just to make it to a full deck.
Finally, you have Heroics, Legendaries and Elders. Out of all of the packs I have personally opened (approximately two boxes worth), I have only managed to open two Elders. Luckily, both of those are from the Guildmaster Faction (my personal favourite) so that was a very handy break. The Elder cards, in particular the Units can very easily take over a game. Taking a look at the statline for the Shadow Drake, you can see why –
Don’t ask him about Hotline Bling
With a PR (Power Rating) of 11, the Shadow Drake (and I assume the Forest and Were Drakes, the other two Elder Units I have not yet seen) are the strongest individual cards on the table. As well, the Shadow Drake also has the devastating ability to Poison an entire column, which can wipe out any Warlord in a maximum of three rounds, with very few ways to stop it. If the other two Drakes have equally powerful abilities, then they are very scary indeed.
For the moment, there is no functional difference that I have been able to find between any of the rarities at Rare or above. However, once the new Warlords are released at the end of this year, you will be able to take Rares and Very Rares from existing factions into the new Warlord’s decks. For example, a Very Rare Stalker from the Werewolf faction can be taken into the Necromancer or Orc decks.
As well as deckbuilding, we also sat down and played a game. I took command of the Guildmaster faction, lead by Shadrack the Unseen to take on Fangrist the Terrible, Warlord of the Chaotic Werewolves.
From just a single game, there are a few glaring faults in my deckbuilding. The first and most obvious is how I missed including Gold in the decks. At several points, being able to hire the services of Mercenaries out of the Fate deck would have been a major swing in the game.
As I also mentioned, the only Elder cards I have opened so far are both in the Guildmaster Faction. The other Elder, Pillage, lets you take at least 1, but possibly more cards from the Fate deck and add them to your hand. Given that the ‘Add to Hand’ Fate cards have some incredibly powerful effects, Pillage has the potential to put a game away entirely on its own. You should always keep a very close eye on what Fate cards your opponent has in hand. Because FW doesn’t have a Mana or Resource system, cards can be played at any time, within their restrictions. Because the Fate cards often have powerful negation or combat effects, a single well-timed play can turn a combat completely around, which can put games away in short order.
And finally, you do need to take care not to fill all of your Unit slots too quickly. You can find yourself stuck with stronger Units in hand, that you can’t use because less powerful Units have filled all five of your slots.
Each of the three available factions have their own individual playstyle, strengths and weaknesses. Taking advantage of those strengths and minimizing the weaknesses is key to winning games, both in FW and in pretty much any card game.
Tharas bring two main advantages to the table over the other two Warlords. The first and most immediately obvious is that Tharas is the only (so far) Spellcaster Warlord. With five of the seven magic types represented, including the powerful Conjuration, you have a lot more freedom to include powerful Generic spells in your Elf deck, as you are always guaranteed a Spellcaster. The second, is that (as far as I have seen) the Elves are the only faction with access to Camouflage, and have far and away the most Ranged attackers. This means that they are able to win Initiative more often, and pick away at backrow Heroes to cripple opposing columns in combat, hopefully before the opponent has the opportunity to act. A character at 1 Health is just as powerful as a character at full Health, so being able to take cards off the board is very important.
My personal favourite of the three factions, the Guild are the definition of a glass cannon. With a very high percentage of First Strike cards, including Shadrack attacking three times in the first round of combat, the Guild hit very hard and very fast. However, they do struggle to sustain damage over multiple rounds of combat. One way to mitigate that weakness is the Mastery that Shadrack has over Bandit units. With a 33% chance of ‘acquiring’ any Bandit you encounter, you can shore up some of those combat holes with some quite frighteningly powerful Units. Speaking of acquiring, most of the Guildmaster cards have the ability to steal Items from opposing Heroes. This can severely hamper opposing combatants, helping to give you the edge. Even if you can’t use it, you can always force your opponent to bin them.
Because of a quirk of fate, it appears that I have opened less high-rarity (and therefore high-powered) Werewolf cards than the other two factions. Due to this, my experience has been that the Weres suffer a little in comparison, but this should not be taken as gospel. With the most powerful Warlord in combat, backed up by Lycanthropy, Werewolves have the most effective ability to grind out combat. As well, it seems like the Werewolves have the most powerful Items. This, alongside the high PR Heroes means that the Weres are most dangerous in Skirmish combat, where a single combat is pitted against another. Any individual Were Hero usually out-classes another Hero, but can suffer from being mobbed.
So those, ladies and gentlemen are some of my ‘expert’ (cough, cough) level tips and tricks for Final War. Hopefully these are of some help to you, and if you have any further ideas, please, let me know!
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