10 Easy Ways to Improve Your ‘Shadespire’ Games

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire is the game of the moment in Games Workshop land. As well it should be. This GeekDad Approved game—reviewed here—is the most accessible game GW has made in recent times.

I’ve played a number of games now for my YouTube channel, Agents of Sigmar, and I’ve encountered a few pitfalls that can cause you to lose out when playing the game.

Here, then, are 10 ways to improve your Shadespire game. (All are expanded in the video above.)

1: Know the Rules:

  • It should go without saying, but knowing the rules is a good way of making sure you don’t lose. Knowing when you can do damage or when you can claim your objectives is vital if you’re going to win at Shadespire.

2: Know Your Cards:

  • Know which cards are in your deck. Don’t just pick a bunch of cards that look great and forget about them. If you remember which cards are in your deck, the game is much easier to play. You know what to expect. It helps you plan your strategy as you progress through the game.

3: Know Your Cards (again):

  • Know what the text on your cards says. Make sure you understand what the card does. On a first read, many cards look much better than they actually are. Understand what your cards can do, and what they can’t do!

4: Know Your Heroes:

  • Know exactly what your heroes can do. Not just their stats but the extra conditions they can apply. When do they become inspired? What difference does being inspired make? Remember whether they have “cleave” or “knockback,” and remember to use them in game!
Easy Ways to Improve Shadespire
Know your heroes, whether they be inspired or not.

5: Know Your Opponent’s Cards:

  • This one is a little trickier. Some sort of rudimentary knowledge of what your opponent might throw at you is a great way to make your planning a little easier. Your opponent will always hold some secrets back, but knowing, for example, that fast-moving armies like Khorne are likely to bring Supremacy to the table enables you to plan ways to stop them from getting it. The worst thing in a game of Shadespire is being surprised. (If you’re really cunning you’ll persuade your opponent to put his entire deck online and explain why he’s chosen those cards.)

6: A Free Move Is a Good Move:

  • In Shadespire you only have 12 activations for the entire game. Taking a move action uses up one activation, giving you less opportunity to attack. If you can move into position using card effects, so much the better. Maximizing board coverage is vital, particularly if you play the slower armies such as Stormcast or Orruks. Cards such as “confusion” or “sidestep” are great for gaining the edge on tactical placement. Anything you can do to make your opponent catch you up is a good move.

7:  An In Turn Objective is Your Friend:

  • We play Shadespire for the glory. To win a game you need to hoard as much glory as you can. You have 12 objective cards with which you can win that glory. The faster you can cycle through these the better. Usually, the only time you can cash them in is during one of the three end phases. You can swap one out as an activation, but you have to throw one away as an unclaimed one if you want to do that. Some cards allow you to claim glory immediately and then immediately draw a new one. This is great! Not only will you gain an extra glory to spend straight away on your warband, you’ll also have more time to work towards the objective you’ve just selected. The more cards you can claim glory for, the more chances you have of winning.

 8: Count Your Cards:

  • Knowing which cards you have left in your deck can be vital to winning the game. You can make tactical decisions based on what is most likely to come out when you draw cards. There’s little point in going for an upgrade that might help you to win two glory, with only a 1-in-8 chance of success, when there’s a 50/50 chance of drawing an easily obtainable objective from the objective deck. By counting your cards, you’ll know the relative chances of drawing the cards you need.
Improve Your Shadespire
Blatant showing off pic. These minis are great and the best thing I’ve ever painted. Photo: Robin Brooks

9: Don’t Give Up:

  • From my limited experience of the game so far, even when all seems lost, it might not be. One character can still collect quite a few glory. Many (but not all) have wording to the effect of “all remaining heroes;” this means that you can claim objectives like “Conquest” with only one character. Failed attacks often happen in Shadespire and if you ride your luck, with a little inspiration, perhaps your lonely hero can survive to mop up enough extra glory to overturn a battle. Remember, you don’t know what objective cards your opponent has. It may be that their plans have gone awry and they’re not going to score very much in the final turn. If so, one or two lowly glory might make the difference between victory and defeat.

10: Have Fun!

  • Shadespire is an easily accessible game that’s fun to play. Enjoy it! There’s a huge community out there with focuses in all areas of the game, whether it be painting the minis, honing your tactics, or power-playing your decks. Shadespire really does have it all and with games lasting around 30 minutes, there’s always another just around the corner.
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