Shadespire Tournament

My Thoughts on My First Shadespire Grand Clash (Tournament)

This past Saturday was a Shadespire tournament at the LGS I play at. One of the cool things with these Shadespire tournaments is that Games Workshop is backing them, so there was official prize support. Actually, Games Workshop calls these Grand Clashes. I can’t recall the exact breakdown, but top 8 got some goodies (we only had 8 of us, so we all got it), then maybe top 5, and of course 1st place.

Note: I just stumbled on the article they did covering Grand Clashes, which also shows the prizes.

The Setup

I have only participated in 40K tournaments, so the setup for Shadespire wasn’t something I was familiar with. The way it works is that you play a person in the best of 3 games. You have 1.5 hours per-round. Pairings continue until there’s an undefeated player.

It’s simple and makes perfect sense. As with any game, there’s an element of randomness to it, so going best of 3 games should help eliminate that from the equation.

In our case, with 8 players, we had 3 rounds, so potentially 9 games to play.

My Games

I won’t even try to recap my games beyond the basics.

In my first game I blew out my Stormcast opponent with my Bloodreavers. Then, for the final 2 games, we had ties – unbelievable. This let me win the round with 1 win, 2 ties.

Second round was similar in that I blew out my opponent in the first game; he was playing Fyreslayers. In the second game he came back and defeated me soundly with about 6 glory over me.

This left us to play a third round, but my opponent (Dave), also works at the shop and had to attend customers. This left us with 4 minutes to play our final game, and of course that ended in a draw of 0-0. However, I had the most glory points overall, needing to break the tie of 1-1-1, so I took the round.

Much to my surprise, I was in the final around for first place. My opponent was playing Farstriders, which I believe was my first time against them with Bloodreavers.

The first game I blew out the Farstriders (a trend of the day). The second game he returned the favor and destroyed me. Final game came down to the absolute final turn and point tally. My opponent defeated me by 1 glory point and took 1st place for the day.


I was very pleased with how the day went. Not only how I did, but just how Shadespire plays out in a tournament setting. I can easily see why this game has really caught on in a competitive setting. It’s easily the best game GW has put out to be played competitively.

I’m not saying best game overall, just in a competitive setting where they clearly intended the game to be, unlike say 40K or Age of Sigmar.

And that’s the thing, I loved playing a game that was meant to be played competitively. I’ve played 40K since 2006, and I’ve seen that game’s ups and downs, but it’s never really been a truly competitive game in terms of balance.

I love 40K, I enjoy tournaments for it, but tournaments is not what 40K was made for. Shadespire though, you know it was the intent from the start and the game thrives in the setting.

That aside, it’s also nice to play some quick games. It would be ideal to play best of 3 in 40K against each opponent, but we all know that’s just not feasible. Instead you get one chance against everyone, so there’s no room for errors.

With quick games, 1,5 hours per-round for Shadespire (averaging 30 minutes a game), you get to play a lot of games, not be pressed for time, and come out with a clear winner. I played 9 games of Shadespire in 4.5 hours, where with 40K I play 3 games in 7.5 hours. I got to play three times the games of Shadespire than I do 40K, and I got to do it in nearly half the time.


I had a great time playing in the tournament and I’m glad I was able to go. If anyone reading this is considering it, definitely get yourself to a tournament and have some fun. Odds are you’ll get some goodies, and you get to play a lot of games in a short time period.

Anyone else try a Shadespire tournament yet?

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Paul Graham
Paul Graham

Would love to see more Shadespire articles on here! Not attended a tournament myself, waiting for a local one to happen, but considering travelling to warhammer world for a grand clash at some point! Been playing with my seven year old (albeit with open cards so far) and we’ve both really enjoyed it!


I’m hoping to get more articles up here now that I’m feeling more confident with the game. It’s tough to write about something when you still feel like an newbie at it.

I know lots of other folks playing with their kids and having fun. It’s pretty awesome to see kids pick it up so easily.

Being in the US, I envy you folks who can travel to Warhammer World. Some day I’ll get there…


I went to one a month or two ago, and had a blast. The same TO is running another on June 16th, and I can’t wait for it. I love being able to get so many games in so quickly, there’s no strain on my back like 40K causes, and it really is the best competitive Rules set GW has ever done.


You’re so right on the lack of strain; didn’t even think of that. I don’t have issues with standing, but it does wear on you regardless. It was indeed nice to sit the entire time and not end up with a sore back and feet from 8+ hours of being on them.

I love Blood Bowl, and I feel the rules are clear and competitive. However, anyone who plays knows that not all teams are even; which does seem to be by design. Shadespire has it all wrapped up nicely from warbands to cards to rules. I agree, best competitive ruleset.


Blood Bowl is a very close second, and arguably better overall when you factor in the extra possibilities it has for casual play.

I think it’s really the shorter play time that pushes Shadespire over the top for competitive play. Being able to go best 2 out of 3 helps substantially to mitigate the randomness inherent in these games and weight them more toward skill than luck.



Rory (Stepping Between Games)

Strong play by you. Glad you enjoyed yourself. Tournaments have never been a real draw for me, maybe as they weren’t around really when I started 40K.
Were many of the warbands painted?


Pretty sure it was us Americans that turned 40K into a competitive game, for better or worse. We kind of do that to things. I’ve been doing 40K tournaments since I got into the game in 2006, so it’s just par for the course here.

I’m afraid not many were warbands were painted. Mine were the only ones I recall, maybe one other guy but I didn’t play him and he bailed after round #1. It’s too bad considering how little work is required to paint the 3-4 guys you use.

Dave Weston

I do like the idea of Shadespire, only a few figures to paint and quick games, not to mention the relatively cheap entry.

What’s stopping me is canibalising my current hobby spends on another game when there are 40k units I want and the fact it’s already a struggle to get my mates to play Blood Bowl and Deathwatch Overkill. Granted those games are a little more involved than Shadespire but even so, compared to 40k they’re quick to pick up and go.

Maybe one day I’ll get into it, your article makes it sound fun and I love it when folk make the 3D versions of the cardboard terrain tiles.


I really can’t say enough how fun the game is. At $60 for the starter set with 2 warbands, it’s super cheap. Each warband is $30 after. Oh right, you’re in the UK, so £40 for the starter and £17.50 each warband.

I hear you on the struggle though. It could be that the fast nature of the game, and only needing to paint a few models, might prove to be a motivator for your friends. Maybe not, but definitely try it out some time.


It’s also really easy to have two forces done up for demo games to give people a taste for it. Far easier than, say, getting a second 40K Army ready to go, or even a second Blood Bowl Team.


Absolutely. I’m almost done (god damned orange) painting my Orruks and then I’ll finally have two painted warbands. Eventually I’ll have quite a few warbands painted to choose from and the great part is they take so little room. So, it’s easy to drag along 4 warbands to a buddy’s place and let him/her pick which he/she wants to try out.


Yep, the ease of transportation is great, too. I’ve currently got 7 of the 8 Warbands in a single case that wouldn’t even hold one 40K Army, and if I’m just bringing two, I can fit them in this tiny little case I got that almost fits in a pocket of my jacket.


Really enjoyed this article, and well done almost winning your 1st tournament! I’m just getting into Shadespire myself, so I second wanting more articles here ;)



If there’s something particular you’re after then please let me know. I’m not quite sure what people are interested in with Shadespire yet other than deck builds. I mean, that’s about all I’ve searched for at least ;)


I mostly got into it for the models. The warband size offers a nice little painting project without the stress of a full on army. But I’m also very intrigued by the tight & fast gameplay; I’m in that stage of life with little kids where I rarely have the stretch of time required for a game of 40k, so 30 min games sounds right up my alley!
I’d be interested in any coverage of the game really; event recaps like this, game strategies / deck building, and of course your painted warbands!


The small model count of the game suits me because, honestly, I’m just tired of painting up tons of models for 40K. I don’t have kids, so I could churn out constant 10-man squads for 40K, but I just don’t want to. I’m tired of it and I want to focus on quality these days, not quantity.

The quick game play is awesome. I routinely play at a shop, and being able to play 3-4 games in a night, against various opponents, is just fantastic. I’m enjoying that over one very long game of 40K these days.

Good to know and thanks for the feedback!