The Warbands of Shadespire: The Sepulchral Guard
The Sepulchral Guard are Shadespire’s most unusual warband, with a unique and varied set of mechanics that lend themselves to a range of playstyles. With the ability to come back from the dead or move multiple fighters at one, they’re a difficult warband to master, but one that can pay dividends for a smart player.
The lynchpin of the Sepulchral Guard is the Sepulchral Warden. With 4 Wounds and a powerful ranged attack (it *is* a very long spear!), the Warden would be a key fighter even without their additional abilities. Using the Warden, you can move two fighters instead of one in a single activation, allowing you to mobilise your whole warband in a single turn. Meanwhile, if you lose any, the Warden can simply bring them back, and in fact, Inspires when you do this twice!
The most powerful fighter in the Sepulchral Guard is the Champion. With Cleave even before he Inspires and a range of upgrades, they’re lethal against the Stormcast Eternals and Ironjawz warbands. Like all the other fighters in the Sepulchral Guard Warband, The Champion Inspires when he is returned to the battlefield.
The Prince is a highly technical fighter in the Sepulchral Guard. With a weak but reliable attack, you’ll want him for his ability to knock fighters back, allowing you to surround enemies with ease or negate key Supports.
The Harvester isn’t as offensively reliable as their counterparts, but is a key fighter when facing numerous warbands like Garrek’s Reavers and other Sepulchral Guard, thanks to a whirling attack that hits multiple foes at once.
The Sepulchral Guard warband features three Petitioners – hapless souls looking to pledge themselves to Nagash. These fighters are fairly feeble, but nevertheless, have a variety of uses – even when they’re dead (or dead-er).
The huge number of fighters in the Sepulchral Guard is the warband’s greatest strength as well as a huge potential liability. Play well, and you’ll be able to hold a huge amount of ground, surround your opponents and score objectives without hobbling your offensive power. Play poorly, and you could give up as many as 7 glory to your opponent for casualties alone.
Play with the Sepulchral Guard generally pans out in three phases – a long series of setup moves in the first turn, careful skirmishes in the second before an all-out assault in the third. You won’t want to tip your deck towards combat or objective holding specifically – rather, you should aim to do both, holding your home objectives with the Petitioners while aggressively pushing forward with the Sepulchral Warden, Harvester and Champion.
Upgrades are a key part of the Sepulchral Guard. Thanks to their ability to resurrect, you can freely stack upgrades on one fighter you particularly like, safe in the knowledge that you won’t lose them permanently. Cards like Grim Cleave, Lethal Lunge and Deathly Charge turn your key fighters into juggernauts capable of sweeping an unprepared enemy.
With the Sepulchral Guard, you’ll have to plan around your fighters dying – luckily, this is rarely that much of an obstacle. Indeed, objectives like Fearless in Death, The Invigorated Dead and Battle Without End can turn losses into Glory. Just be careful not to lose the Sepulchral Warden!
Meanwhile, cards like Clawing Hands allow absent fighters to contribute to your Warband’s combats – if you’re feeling smart, you can sacrifice one of your key fighters in the first turn to trigger this effect, before bringing them back Inspired and stronger than before in the second.
Mobility is the biggest obstacle to the Sepulchral Guard. You’re exceptionally unlikely to be able to get all your fighters into enemy terrain thanks to a pre-inspire move of 2 hexes. Instead, you’ll want to play largely defensively, using Danse Macabre and Frightening Speed to get key fighters into position for the next turn. Frightening Speed is particularly useful for getting a resurrected fighter back into action – with this upgrade, an Inspired member of the Sepulchral Guard will have a movement stat of 5 hexes.
Finally, you’ll want to hold onto as many objectives as possible. If you’re skilled enough and manage to claim all 5, you can score the Sepulchral Guard exclusive objective Reclaim the City!
If you’re a careful tactical planner (and don’t want trifling matters like “death” to get in your way) then you’ll love the Sepulchral Guard. Come back tomorrow, when we’ll be checking out the Ironjawz in our final Warband preview.
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