TaKtiX: Laurence J Sinclair

Laurence J Sinclair has been playing the Warlord CCG since the release of the game - mainly thanks to that killer Rathe art. He even stuck with it through that dark time involving Campaign Rathe art. Now he is a playtester and a member of the Warlord Story Team - guiding the armies of the Accordlands into an uncertain future.


Will The Chosen be Chosen?

The Chosen are still shiny and new to me, and I still can't remember all their names when casting I Call Forth Valor. Yes, it's been a year.

ATIRATU has all that summoner-fu going for her, but as I said, I can't be bothered to learn the names of all those daemons, and my deck doesn't attempt to ranch dragons. Any wizard deck worth its wand chews her apart really quickly.


NARAM-SIN hasn't even been properly updated with either of the expansion sets, still slowly plugging away with base set cards. And it shows. I've been meaning to convert him over to Nin-Gula (who at least sports the Cantor trait), but that's hardly the thing I'm going to do the night before the tournament (yes, it's tomorrow!)


SANGA-KISH is another blasty wizard, with none of the complicated interactions of the other two Chosen decks. He blows things up with spells,effectively has a six card hand,and practically guarantees himself movement to the second rank on the first turn. He gets more powerful as he gets hurt, to boot,so the opponent had better hope to drop him in one hit!

Yes, of the three options available, Snaga-Kish is the most likely to be used in the tournament tomorrow, as he fits into that bicycle-riding window of opportunity. We'll see.

But it'll probably be a few days before I post final choices and resulting events up here...

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Ahh, the NoThRoG. Always reliable for doing the thing they do best.

KRENTHOR GOUGE is a frontline warlord with a means to heal himself and give his associates better attack bonuses as they get wounded. Those two abilities cover two of the bases of worry that a frontline fighter has.

Krenthor is surrounded by blitzy buddies, nobody above level 3 (although with Hovrakk and Hrunting the level 3 representatives, one can hardly say he's losing out on power by ignoring level 4) and - much like those other frontline decks I have - aims to get to the position where he devours the opposing warlord's face as quickly as possible.

What he has over the others, tactically speaking, is the self-healing to save him from an early,embarrassing demise (not to mention that 4th HP) and a high enough attack that he doesn't need to wait to grab a weapon before getting stuck in.

His downside over,say, Brymin or Alera is that I just don't like him as much, despite his cool name. For one thing he's a troll, and for another he's generally popular, which just rankles me for no explicable reason.


SCYRAX is the latest iteration of the siege master style of play, and while he doesn't quite measure up to Syvonne (it's hard to measure up to a hundred foot fire giantess, to be fair), he does bring the wizard tricks that push him past also-rans like Sceth and Contal. And he has an adorable little grin.

It's a 'shooty' deck, but it relies upon the minions more than the warlord to dealout punishing, multi-HP wounds to the enemy (outside the occasional Lightning Bolt where required). And since war machines are pretty chunky, it doesn't want for 'meat' when it comes to holding ranks.

Scyrax does require a LOT of thinking, though. WHich machine should he move forward? Should it fire now, or wait for a more auspicious moment? Is it worth Goza crumpling up an ally for more ammo,or would it be better off lasting for next turn and another shot of its own?

I'm not sure if I want to have to make decisions like that in a tournament. I can't rely on myself to make the right ones in the spur of the moment.


SET'ROKH is sexy. The token NoThRoG female for the moment, she follows the Uthanak path to victory - command from behind, allowing big ol'NoThRoG bruisers to win the fight. She uses all those tactical actions that I never manage to make room for in other decks, and that is what makes her different from Kaiten or Sigurdur.

There are steeds in the deck (a few griffons, a verdatha for the big lady), but it's mainly actions that get people into place, with Bokos and One More Time making double use of some of them for greater efficiency than a simple horsie would allow.

I'm undecided as to whether I prefer her to Kaiten. She's hot, but Kaiten has the eye-patch... Oh, yeah, and there are playstyle considerations as well, I'm sure. The Deverenians last that little bit longer with their steed-given stat boosts, but damn if the NoThRoG don't kick out a lot of hurt with their frenzied flailings. If I'm honest, I think that Kaiten's initiative boost may just tip him to being a little better, but don't tell Set'rokh I said that...


Just one faction left now, those newbies calling 'emselves The Chosen. And just two days until the tournament itself. I probably should have paced these posts a little better...

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Mercenaries are a real faction, and the recent printing of Bosun Blacknose has ensured that I keep my current supply at three decks, maximising my starting copies of the little scamp.

KEREBRUS, being a fighter-cleric, is just my kind of warlord. Not quite Lord Netheryn, but close. Also one for running to the front personally, and if you've been reading the last few entries here, that's a playstyle I'm rather given to fondness for.

Most of the times I hear about him in 4th Edition, he's being run as a 'six-man', with no other characters outside the starters (and perhaps Judge Aeacus). That's not for me, however, and so my deck is weighed down by numerous level 3 and 4 fighters eager to share in the killing, splitting up the available movement and meaning that Kerebrus has been beaten more times than he's won, to date.

Starting Brine Fiends may have something to do with it, as well.


QUEEN YAHIA is old-school wizard zapping, all the way, with all the familiar mercenary characters running in to attack as fast as possible. The big plus she has over Yavlo (besides better hair) is her built in ability that she can use even if she's drawn no spells for a turn. It's endlessly amusing to remind an opponent to 'stop hitting yourself' as his underlings proceed to cut each other and their warlord apart. There's no real insight to gibe in this case, other than it's fairly simple to pilot, as well.


SHAH'SYSS is disappointing. He's finally a sutek(h) warlord, and a frontline fighter to boot. It's just a shame that his ability to grab monsters and boost them has limited effect at present. He hasn't got many friends to play with, and the deck I have constructed is very half-hearted.

He's an ugly lizard and his name isn't nearly as funny as SS-SAURTH's. He's just not the same...

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The Free Kingdoms

They're the faction that gets a banner at the bottom of my Temple of Lore forum signature, so the FreeKs should really be the natural choice for deck to take to Manchester. Yet I'm feeling distinctly ambivalent toward them.

Take my LOGAN EBONWOULFE deck, for example. It's half and half trying for melee and ranged strike kills, which while adaptable does lessen its focus toward both objectives. Barrett and Graham are pulling Logan in two different directions, and it's to his credit that he does as well as he does with the tools I've given him. 'Optimised'. That's the word I'm looking for. He could be optimised better, but I like to have options available when playing, y'know?

Anyway,probably not tournament-worthy.


NIOBE throws forward all those big, nasty high-level characters that the FreeKs have access to. Yes, I mean Barrett. She's also a front-line cleric, which I have a fondness for. Again though, this leads to the deck being slightly schizophrenic, torn between rushing Niobe to the front and also keeping the ranks stable enough to bring characters in in rank 4. One collapse early on and it's all over, and the deck often helps defeat itself.

It's also nerve-racking having Niobe spend as soon as possible each turn and hoping that her boosted AC is enough to survive my opponent's worst while the lesser FreeKs try to do some damage back.


CAPTAIN ALERA has the pirate trait, and plays very similarly to that old favourite, Kara Wadreth. There're no mixed messages here; just like Brymin, Alera runs up front to smash people down personally. It's very fun, and works better with her than the Deverenians, if only because the FreeK support characters (Aida, Dreiga, Corten Lye, Kiras Yscar, etc.) are so much better than their evil red opposite numbers.

She wins big or she loses big, but either way games don't drag on too long. With a little fine-tuning, she may be up for the challenge...

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Elves. Meh.

They've served me well in the past, but I only have two elf decks assembled for 4th Edition, and even that's stretching the definition of 'assembled'.

RACLESIS has enough cards to be playable, but since it was put together using the plan of throwing in every card with the word POISON on it, it may not hold together too well. It needs a little tuning, and the effort probably won't be worth the poor results, but I'm determined to do something to make the supposed worst warlord playable. It's also refreshing to have access to an Elven cleric warlord that isn't broken.


MORGHEN THE UNLIVING is the other deck. Swarms of undead are always fun, and no-one does that better than the only necromancer warlord in the format. Characters enter play, attack straightaway thereafter, and come back for more thanks to Ayaaba and the other necromancer support characters, while Morghen tosses magical death from the safety of the second rank. It's everything a necromancer deck should've been through past formats yet never quite managed to measure up to without being either lame or over-powered.

But it suffers badly against certain match-ups, where a wall of corpsesis no impediment to a barrage of ranged strikes directly into the lich's face. The counter-strategy for this is Morghen hiding in the third rank and acting through his subordinate proxies, but that's not as fun.

Morghen definitely makes my shortlist for decks to take to the conquest event - he's fun.

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DWARVES!!! I suppose...

They're still not a favourite of mine, but in 4th Edition I find myself hating dwarven decks less and less. They're not quite the healing stall-midgets they once were.

My KING ALARIC deck illustrates this perfectly. It's very similar to the Brymin deck I mentioned yesterday, in that it stars a front-rank warlord and their low-level support.

Alaric is slightly more dependent on his minions than the duchess, as his stats are directly tied to them, and they help him out with healing (Atone) and readying (Mentor). His action advantage in getting to lay down a dwarf in reaction to another being killed is great, but also doesn't directly begin to compare with Brymin's card draw. That's one reason why this is one of my few decks to utilise Meet at the Inn!

The other reason is that Alaric is a semi-uber deck. There are a few actions in there (Thrust and Bear's Soul beside MATI, for example), but unlike Brymin he depends on a solid drawing of well-crafted dwarven weaponry to enhance his relatively meagre abilities. He's ever-so-slightly not as fast as her. But then, he is a dwarf.


THEKK ROCKBENDER is more of a classical dwarf deck in design, with a cleric sitting at the back to alternately heal and ready his underlings and grind his enemy to paste very freakin' slowly. I never truly grasped the concept in the past (because it offends my delicate quick-play senses), and I still haven't.

Partly I think that I've still not worked how whether he's meant to rush forward to stand amongst his brethren and use his abilities, or hide at the back like a coward. The deck is a painful mixture of the two that doesn't quite gel, and I seriously doubt that I'd risk myself using it in a tournament.


SIGURDUR is more my speed. He supports like a cleric, but since he's a fighter he's not afraid to run up and hit things when a job needs doing. Admittedly, that desperate last gasp strategy hasn't paid off in the past,but it exists as an option.

The deck possibly packs even more steeds than Kaiten's. Not becuase the warlord gives extra bonuses along with them, but because his fighters don't need much else. The warlord can create weapons for them, so there's no reason not to pack the deck with enough movement to allow them to use 'em.

With the large number of dwarves that came out in Shattered Empires with abilities playing off spending, destroying or retrieving weapons, the character base for the base pretty much assembled itself. Vex Duntan was all the extra needed.

It's essentially a variation on Deverenian cavalry with dwarves, and that alone makes it the dwarven deck I'm least unlikely to use. The fact that I can't correctly pronounce the warlord's name is enough of a black mark to forever keep me from playing it, though.


Next time, I'm onto elves. They've been my reliable tournament first pick in the past, but at the present time I only have two elven decks assembled, fewer than any other faction - including DWARVES.

What's the cause of this great upheaval? You'll just have to wait.

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Looking through my box, I see that I've currently got four 4E Deverenian decks assembled, more than any other individual faction. That alone must make them favourites to give up the selected deck for next week's UK Conquest event.

They're hogging quite a few good rares, as well.

COMMANDER KAITEN has been assembled using the prudent method of simply throwing in every rare Deverenian paladin I could find, and a stable-load of steeds to properly outfit them - nothing wrong with noble knights charging forwards on sharks as much as verdatha, says I.

Of course, there are also cleric tricks like Kor's Patience (I like to think of it as THE STORM'S patience) and Final Blessing, the By Your Word-lite Ardent and even a minor combo with Sir Edgard and Scimitar (more of a nombo, really).

A little testing last week did show that it chain together a healthy stream of attacks before taking the first action of a turn, but a starting line-up featuring Caleb the Shifter and Inquisitor Slayne may not be for the best. A little experimentation may be needed still.

The biggest point in this deck's favour is that the warlord wears an eyepatch, automatically making him cooler than Maxt Stormcrow on ice.


BRYMIN OF THE MARCHES suffers from having her bigger character options pre-poached by the two Deverenian cavalry decks, but that's really more of an opportunity for her to dip a toe in the shallower end of the character pool. That's right; Dev blitz!

With exceptions made for Mother Deiane and Cardinal Scelus (the church often wangles free passes denied to the gentry), everyone is here to run up and smash the enemy pretty quickly, allowing the duchess to do her thing - draw cards and take names. The simple joy of a Squire Arrigan switch-start is one that I've missed for too long, and the other Deverenians don't really have the room to accomodate her.

Of course, the ugly 4E art for Brymin has been replaced by a photoshop of her original I-can't-believe-William-o'Conner-painted-something-so-good portrait. Wouldn't feel right, otherwise.


INQUISITOR DMITIR is the other cavalry deck that I mentioned, looking similar to Commander Eye-patch's. Only difference being, the fighter got first dibs on paladins, leaving the Inquisition to make use of Mariah Blackthorn and a false claim that the deck is designed purposefully around level 3 characters.

Still, the deck balances fewer steeds with more healing, a much better Initiative bonus and the ability for the warlord tolive vicariously through his minions with Speed of the Falcon. The times where it manages to lose initiative and not get a heads-up on the terrible hands forthcoming would be a minor impediment, but any warlord that can 'take 10' on a die roll is OK by me. Unless it happened to be a dwarf.


YAVLO THE KINDLED has all my Incinerates. He denies them to my other wizard decks with feeble excuses about bonuses to Fire spells. It's kept him alive (sleeved and part of a deck) for the time being, but he'salso been aided by the fact that his character base is composed of wizards, whom my other Devs want nothing to do with. If it can't ride a Griffon, it's not worth playing.

To be fair, Yavlo is a fun deck to play, if nothing special. There areother blasty wizards (that I'll get to in later posts) that are just waiting for him to fall in favour so that they can pry the Incinerate scrolls from his finally cold and dead hands...


Of these four decks,I may be erring towards Kaiten, if only due to the thrillof the new and the promise of an eye-patch. Dmitir covers much the same ground, and Brymin's front-rank antics are too risky to reliably win. Yavlo is nothing terribly special over sorcerers of other factions.

Another minor prompt for me to play a Deverenian deck is the current malaise that has settled over the Temple of Lore, with the Dev players complaining about how they're the weakest faction. Not that I'm a good enough player to truly prove 'em wrong, but I'm tempted to give it a shot...

Next time, I'll take a deep breath and seriously consider Dwarfs. Eeg.

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Not Quite ManCon, but Close

It's been difficult, trying to get back into the 'competitive' mindset for the forthcoming UK Conquest event in Manchester (27th-28th June, folks!). What with having missed out on getting to the last KoHIT, it's been quite some time since I was last in a tournament environment.

My chances of building a decent deck are consequently pretty slim.

Chances are, I'll just look through my deck boxes and select whichever oneis the least likely to lose. As cool as Shah'syss is, he does manage to get shot in the face an awful lot.

I'll attempt to share my insights here over the next few days.

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