Warbands, Arena of Echoes & Champions Passes

Hey everyone, Shpelley here with a quick update on the state of the game! PlayFusion has just finished pushing out a huge update to the game with a lot of implications for the game at large so let’s take a look at each piece of this.

Warbands Is Now Live

A fresh infusion of cards have been added to the game in the form of the Warbands pack. This set of 8 cards (2 Unique Champions, 2 Unique Units, playsets of 2 Spells, playsets of 2 Abilities) are all Exclusive. Right now, you can’t craft these cards until March 25 as they attempt to incentivize physical purchases (and getting players into FLGS to order said products). I would suggest calling your local stores if you intend to get the physical cards just in case they need to special order them! You can also purchase these cards digitally. As per the website:

Warband is now available in the digital game! You can purchase the digital version of this premium product in the shop, or if you have the physical versions, scan them into the game. The Stormsires Curse Breakers and the Briar Queen’s Thorns are available for you to command. Two Warband packs are now up for sale for 500 gems each, one for Order and one for Death. Each pack will contain the full set of Warband cards for that Grand Alliance, as well as an Onslaught booster pack and TWO Champions booster packs! You will also be able to craft these cards from the 25th of March.

https://www.warhammerchampions.com/our-epic-update-is-here/

As for the cards themselves, The Briar Queen and Thorns of the Briar Queen are probably the two best cards in the pack, with Howling Vortex possibly being a really good card for a more controlling deck. Grasping Chains is our first “bounce” effect (returning a card to hand) which is something to note.

Order’s picks on the other hand are a bit less exciting. Averon Stormsire has a strong effect against Spells with his Heroic Act, but otherwise is fairly average in general. Stormsire's Cursebreakers are a good Unit, being an X/3 + Removal against non-Order, combined with Order Restart effects. The Stormsire Spell itself is solid damage with upside. Blessed Banishment is awful against everything but Death, where it is actually really effective as a “better” Removal Ability and might find play in Constructed sidedecks.

If you’d like a much more thorough breakdown, our pal Zerris has an excellent article on the subject!


Arena of Echoes – Draft is Here!

Probably my favourite part of the update: draft has arrived to the Warhammer Champions app! This draft format is similar to Hearthstone’s draft format, with obvious tweaks for Champion and Blessing picking. Having played it a few times already, so far it’s been snappy and the games have been very interesting. Opportunities to make use of lesser-known cards has proven to make for interesting games and interactions you don’t see in the Ranked queue. The first taste is free, and if you win 5 games you get another free ticket, but aside from that it is believed they can only be won as random Chest rewards, or by using Gold/Gems.

The cost of 1500 Gold (or 150 Gems) seems to be an acknowledgement of the fact that there doesn’t currently exist a good gold-sink right now, which devalues packs as a whole as you can throw Gold at packs of every new set. Between this and the fact that new physical products (including Savagery) will have a 2-week no-Crafting period (where you can only buy packs with Gold/Gems, or scan physical cards), PlayFusion appears to be trying to straighten out the economy a little.

As for rewards, the following comes from the site itself:

Those Champions who emerge victorious will win a Gold Champion Chest: this includes Booster Packs, Mighty War Chests, a Mega Chest and a slew of souls. All participants will receive at least one booster pack, so even those who fall early will still earn prizes.

https://www.warhammerchampions.com/our-epic-update-is-here/

Personally, the reward structure makes sense and allows for “going infinite” for good play but is a touch underwhelming. The Boosters you receive for Silver or Gold (2 and 3, respectively) means you end up getting more than you put in (1000 gold per pack, so 2000-3000 respectively), along with Souls and rewards from the Chests themselves. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing free “tickets” for Arena for those who win Gold, maybe Silver, and discount for those in Bronze. What do you think the Rewards should be? Comment down below!

UPDATE: That didn’t take long! Changes have been made to the reward structure (and they’ve stated it could change again based on feedback) but Souls have been replaced with a Gold reward. Presumably, this acts as a “free ticket” or at least a discount based on how much is won. How much will it be? Will update when we know!

UPDATE UPDATE: They have changed the gold currency rewards to be a free ticket for getting into the Gold/Silver “playoff” rounds as per the article here so you can now go infinite!


Champions Pass

The most controversial part of the update has been the introduction of the Champions Pass. Another concession to the fact that the game, up to this point, has been extremely generous in terms of being entirely FTP is the introduction of a tiering service. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear there is anything that I’d say are “pay-to-win”.

For the most part, those without passes will only encounter the edges of the system on two fronts. The first part is that the “free card” you get at the beginning of the day will now require you to either: a) Watch a short video ad. b) Pay 10 Gems. or c) Have a Champions Pass. For those just starting out, they will likely end up watching the ad once a day and continuing on. Those who have everything they need will likely pass on the small Soul bump from the free card, or will end up buying the Pass for other reasons.

The second front is with regards to the Weekly Campaigns. Those without Champions Passes can still complete the Campaigns as much as they want, but only the first Mighty Chest will be awarded, with the others locked behind the Pass. This feels a little bad as the Weekly Campaigns are probably the best (and almost *only*) PvE content in the game. Personally not a huge fan of this particular “cost”, but at the same time I understand the reasoning.

Everything else is genuinely just added value. Being able to ban a specific Alliance in Casual only is nice if you are tired of playing against a particularly meta deck in Casual (*cough*Skarbrand*cough*) without having an effect on the Ranked queue. Preventing playing against the last player is nice (which resets itself after each match so you can’t just “perma-ban” playing against someone), though I’m curious to see how it will play out in the shallower pools of the Diamond/Masters pools.

Various deals on crafting (-10% off), extra XP (which basically just translates to more Chests), free (first-time) re-rolls and cumulative rewards are all nice and give value to the Pass without negatively affecting non-paying users. Visual effects on the health orb are nice but otherwise just “neat.” All-in-all, seems like the asking price is reasonable for the value being added.

Source: https://www.warhammerchampions.com/our-epic-update-is-here/

Conclusion

The move towards the Champions Pass (and the Gold/Gem cost of Arena) is a concession to the fact that the economy of Warhammer Champions Digital game has been a bit too much on the generous side for the past 9 months. It has been noted by many that they are overflowing with Souls and Gold, so much so that they essentially can just craft/buy packs the moment a new set comes out without any concerns. While this sounds great on the player side of things, it’s a real issue for a fledgling game.

This economy clearly wasn’t going to be viable for PlayFusion if they wished to keep the digital game going. Personally, everything they’ve laid out here seems rather fair (though I do lament the loss of Weekly Campaign chests without purchase as my only sticking point). Ideally, this will encourage people to go out and purchase cards physically, invest in some Gems or otherwise help support the game.


What do you guys think? Is the Champions Pass reasonable, or would you have done something differently? Let us know in the comments below!

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Author: Shpelley

Shpelley is part-time tech gremlin, part-time article writer and full time Warhammer Champions evangelizer. Follow him @shpelley on Twitter or catch one his streams at https://twitch.tv/shpelley/

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