Warhammer Underworlds Malevolent Masks Rivals Deck Review – A Fun Way To Shake Up Your Warband

Alongside any major Warband release a new Rivals Deck is also released with Warhammer Underworlds. Accompanying Warhammer Underworlds Deathgorge Daggok’s Stab-Ladz you can also pick up the Malevolent Masks Rivals Deck.

The Malevolent Masks story card reveals the tale of six ‘daemon-haunted masks that lend terrible power to their wearers.” These masks, one of the recovered relics hidden within the Deathgorge, are now in the questionable hands of a Warband of your choice.

Six Mask Upgrades function to alter each of your Warband fighters; The Eternal Smile, The Frostbitten Veil, The Howling Hood, Envy’s Shroud, The Echoguise, and Vytrix’s Eye.

With six masks to go around you each game has the chance to be very different

Each fighter can have one Mask equipped at a time and each have their own individual ability. A Fighter with The Eternal Smile will get a new action called the Rictus of Carnage, but Envy’s Shroud just adds a +1 wounds.

Using the masks as equipment is an interesting and unique way to let a Rivals Deck more directly alter the Warband that they’re paired with. Even among the same Warband depending on where you put the mask the end result can be a wildly different strategy to run.

I’m also appreciative of the fact that there are a large number of masks. For a smaller Warband this can mean replacing Masks to alter strategy in the middle of the game. Having so many Masks also means it’s less likely that you’ll end up in a situation where you can’t be using their abilities.

The rest of the deck is filled with cards that will have two different effects based on whether a character is wearing a mask or not. These upgrades could just be incremental bonuses like being able to push a fighter two hexes instead of one, or could cause totally different effects.

Images of ploy cards that have different effects based on the masks
The use of masks in their own way powers up effects, even if it’s not a best fit it’s still worth getting them equipped

The Posessive Crouch Gambit card lets you give one of your fighters a Guard token, but if they have a Mask then all fighters adjacent to the chosen fighter also get staggered. There’s a lot of incentive to mask up your fighters asap.

A large number of the objective cards are also dependent on friendly fighters wearing masks. With conditions that include “fighter with a mask upgrade holds an objective…” or “score […] immediately after a power step if one or more surviving Inspired friendly fighters have a Mask upgrade”

Much like the different gambit abilities you can also find harder conditions to meet, but they don’t require a Masked fighter to be the trigger.

Warhammer Underworlds Deathgorge Malevolent Masks Rivals Deck Review | Final Thoughts

When playing with previous Rivals Deck it’s clear to see how the gameplay of the deck will alter a Warband, but the Warband still feels like their own thing. There’s still a level of separation there.

With the Malevolent Masks however, that line of separation is more blurred than ever. With Masks having such a direct influence on the Warband it makes setting up with your favorite warband even more enjoyable as it’s familiarity, but a random element with each new game played.

The copy of Warhammer Underworlds Deathgorge Malevolent Masks Rivals Deck used to produce this review was provided by the Publisher. All photos were taken by the reviewer over the course of the review.