Chapter 3 of Learning Champions
The Warhammer Champions TCG Buyers Guide

Learning Champions is a series of tutorial videos and blogs that teach the Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions trading card game. It offers a tactically fulfilling and richly thematic experience set in the iconic Warhammer universe – without being overly complex or off-putting. Because of its incredibly tight digital integration, in which every physical card is scanned into your digital collection, Champions may well become the new standard in modern card games.

This guide is updated continuously to provide the most current information.

Warhammer Champions Celestant Prime Banner - Copyright Games Workshop / Playfusion

We know that the wild excitement of discovering a game like this often results in immediate, sometimes-questionable purchases; especially if this is your first game or first collectible game. So before you go down that road, take a moment and read through this entire guide!

Ironically, the best way to understand exactly what products are available for the game and what is best to buy is by watching our “How to Buy” video below. In it, we explain buying strategies as we would to any customer who walks into our store, and provide a number of visual examples to help clarify the finer points.

A quick summary of the most basic point: Champions is a collectible card game, so you get cards by opening Booster Packs. Each Booster Pack contains a random allotment of cards for use in the game. Each physical card can be scanned by the app and immediately added to your digital collection. Digital cards, barring significant technological breakthroughs, cannot, similarly, be added to your physical collection…

How you buy these packs and build your collection depends on how you are planning to play the game.

Three ways to play

One of the incredible things about Warhammer Champions is that you can play the game digitally, physically, or both (the best option!). This dramatically broadens its potential audience, and more importantly, it allows one to find players at any moment – at a local venue (game store, pub, coffee shop) or online.

Digital-only is definitely an option. In the app, you can buy digital Booster Packs and earn War Chests that contain cards for use in the digital game. These digital Booster Packs are a lot more lean than their physical counterparts (only 5 cards via digital pack as compared to 13 in a “real” one) but they contain the exact same cards. You can play Champions without ever touching a physical card.

There is a caveat here, though. You do not start with any digital cards on the app. So after you install it, you cannot actually play. You can look through the entire catalog of cards, get a feel for what the different factions do, and dream about future decks – but you cannot build and you cannot play. To do that, you will need to start your collection.

Many of us do that by scanning in our physical cards, specifically the Campaign Decks (undoubtedly what the developers intended). This gets you four fully playable decks immediately, which you can then use to play games and earn rewards that you cash in for digital Booster Packs – onward and upward until you have a sizable collection. So even if you want to go digital-only, the Campaign Deck Bundle is a great buy.

You can also play through the tutorials in the app to earn starter decks, and then spend $20-$30 to get a reasonable digital collection started. The “Welcome Pack” is a great value, as it gets you 10 digital Booster Packs for $10.

Want to know an even better value, though? Free. As it turns out, you can scan cards that are on a computer screen, and PlayFusion included a Booster Share promotional card in every Warhammer Champions starter. As you scan these promotional cards, both the owner of the card and the person who scans it earns points toward Booster Packs in the app. Can you guess where this is going?

The “Booster Share” movement is now an inescapable phenomenon. You can find it on Reddit, Facebook groups, and pretty much anywhere Champions players are gathered. If you go to the former, you will find a thread dedicated to these Booster Share cards, and you can just start scanning them all from top to bottom. That will earn you Booster Packs in the app, and eventually you will have enough to start playing!

At that point, you can queue up for games, keep earning rewards, and enjoy the digital format of the game as long as you like – though you should absolutely consider making the physical dive. More on that later.

Physical-only is also an option, and it has been the traditional format for collectible card games since Magic: The Gathering released in the early 90s. It is important to note that even though Warhammer Champions has a phenomenal digital integration, it is not at all necessary to experience the full game. If you want to play Champions without messing with the technological component, you absolutely can.

If going this route, you want to start with the Campaign Deck Bundle. This gives you four fully playable decks – one for each faction – and each Campaign Deck also contains a Booster Pack. It is an incredible deal, and the BEST way to play the full game and determine whether or not you love it. Just grab a friend, let them choose a deck, and dive in.

If you do love it, which in all likelihood you will, the next step is usually buying a Booster Box or two from the most recent set. Each Booster Box contains 24 Booster Packs, so this is a nice way to start discovering cards and determining what kind of decks you might want to build. You can also trade away the cards you do not want in order to get the ones that you need. Splitting factions is a great idea here! More on that below.

In addition, you can supplement your collection by buying Singles, which are simply cards that have already been opened and are being sold ala carte.

When buying or trading for cards, pay attention to whether or not a card is claimed or unclaimed. An unclaimed card can be scanned into the digital app as normal. A claimed card is one that someone has already scanned into their app, so you will not be able to use that copy digitally. Claimed cards are cheaper for this reason, so if you have no intent of exploring the digital side of the game it is a great way to pick up cards.

Another option you should be aware of is our Champions Saga Sets. These are full, unclaimed collections of an entire set; with every card included at the max usable quantity. This is usually known as a “playset”, as it gives you access to every possible quantity of cards that you might want to use in your deck. So if you can include three copies of a card in your deck, you receive three copies in the Saga Set. If you can only play one, like a Blessing or Unique card, you receive one copy in the Saga Set. This is the ideal method for players who simply want the ability to play whatever they want without the randomness of booster packs.

But really, if you are considering physical-only, read up on the benefits of moving your collection to the digital game as well. The digital experience can be an incredible supplement to your standard local meetups, and gives you the ability to quickly implement and test new ideas.

Physical + Digital is really what Champions is built to do. You can truly get the benefits of both without sacrificing either.

What makes PlayFusion’s system unique is that it allows a perfect sync between your physical collection and digital collection. The face of every single card that you own is unique (check the dot matrix on the outside border), and you can open up the Champions app and scan them in seconds. Once scanned, you have claimed that card for your online collection, and it is immediately usable when deck building and playing in the app.

Other games might give you a digital booster pack when you buy a physical booster pack, but this actually means you have to manage two separate collections; what you have available online might be entirely different from what you have available in your physical collection. This means that the ideas you are playing and testing online cannot immediately be be utilized during your next local game night or convention meetup. Not ideal.

So, you buy physical cards, scan them into the app, and then you have your collection with you wherever you go and can build decks with it and play with them anytime. It is incredibly useful to whip up a deck concept, play it a few times in the app, refine it, and then build it physically in order to challenge your local community. It is incredibly refreshing to walk into a weekly game night with a deck that is well-tested, refined, and fun to play, instead of hoping that the idea you had a few days ago is actually feasible.

If this is the route you want to go, and you really, really should, you have to ask yourself a simple question: do you want it all, or just a particular faction?

To split or not to split

Warhammer has always been a faction-driven universe, and the game is no different. Chaos cards cannot be played with Death, Order, or Destruction cards, and vice-versa. These factions have been honed over many decades, with sub-factions that do an excellent job of hitting the sweet spot of flavor and mechanics for almost any type of player. It is perfectly reasonable to find the thing that appeals to you and only play that.

On the other hand, some players really enjoy playing every faction and experiencing the game from every possible perspective. Given the well-defined play styles that differentiate each faction, this is a very rewarding way to plumb the depths of the game.

If you want to split factions among others, the most natural way to do it is to pick a faction and find three other people who want to play the other factions. Then, you buy cards together and simply give each other the cards for their faction. For instance, we have Zach (Chaos), Steven (Order), Robert (Death), and Jonathan (Destruction) splitting factions. They are subscribed to one Booster Box.

Every time a new set releases and that Booster Box arrives, we are going to open all 24 packs and dole out the cards accordingly: Zach will get all Chaos cards, Steven will get all Order cards, etc. Then for any unaligned cards (there are like 3 of them), they are just going to do a “take one, pass” system (aka drafting).

On the other hand, we also have Bryce (Order), Ryan (Chaos), Grant (Destruction), Keira (Death) splitting a Saga Set. So they will each have an entire playset for their factions without cracking a single Booster Pack (though they will probably do that, too…) and will similarly draft the unaligned cards.

You might be able to find this kind of split among players in your local environment, even if it means you collect two factions and one other person collects the other two. Or, you can always reach out via Reddit, Facebook, or various forums to find a trustworthy person or group interested in splitting. One person will have to be trusted to mail the cards to the others, but people are actually pretty great most of the time.

This is an excellent way to collect each new set in a very economical way. If you split a Saga Set four ways, you will have everything you could possibly need for your faction for $100.

If you do a 4-way split on 5-6 Booster Boxes and lightly supplement with trades and singles, you should be close to having everything you need (and a lot of duplicate cards) for around $150.

If you do a 4-way split on 1-2 Booster Boxes, you have a perfectly suitable card pool for playing and discovering the game more casually, for less than $40 per set.

Booster Box prices above are based on our $76, free shipping subscription; other options will be higher.

If you want to play all factions then you must decide between the collect-it-all and play-it-casually philosophy! The Saga Set will be the most economical way to handle the former, as you get all of the cards for every faction at $399. Math/statistics says that you will need at least 6 Booster Boxes to have a shot at getting everything through random packs, especially if you are trading. That comes in at $456 (using our subscription prices) and will get you more duplicate cards and foils.

But remember, too, that playing all of the factions does not have to mean full collections of all of the factions. Buying the Campaign Deck Bundle and a Booster Box or two will allow you to have a phenomenal time with unique, casual decks for every faction. This can often be the most fun way to play a game like this, so do not immediately assume that you need everything; especially when you can have the “everything” experience in the app.

Summary, please

We know this is a lot to take in all at once, especially if this is your first game. It is overwhelming at first, so do not be worried about any confusion you might have. One final breakdown should help to clear things up.

Distribution – To get the cards you need to play, you buy Booster Packs. Booster Packs contain random cards – some are common, some are uncommon, and some are rare. Booster Packs can be purchased digitally or physically, with the latter generally being bought by the Booster Box (24 Booster Packs).

New sets are released a few times a year. This means that new cards are created and put into new Booster Packs. These new cards can be used with your old cards, and in this way a game like Champions is always changing/being discovered.

Digital – Champions is unique in that it has a digital component in the form of the Champions app. With this app, you can scan any physical cards that you own and play with them online, or simply buy digital booster packs directly in the app.

As long as you have an internet connection, you can play against players from all over the world – and it usually takes only a few seconds to get paired with another player once you queue up for a game.

Factions – Champions has four primary factions: Order, Chaos, Death, and Destruction. Every card in the game belongs to one of these factions or is considered unaligned. A deck can only include cards from one chosen faction and unaligned cards. A lot of players only play one faction.

Buying pathways 

We suggest that every player buy a Campaign Deck Bundle, even if you only want to play digitally. This gives you four complete decks to play immediately, both physically and online, and each bundle includes four Booster Packs.

After you have played the Campaign Decks and decided that you would like to explore Champions further, buy 1-2 Booster Boxes from the latest set. Consider splitting with others. Scan all of your cards into the app and play various decks.

If you want to do the above for every new set as soon as it releases, activate a Warhammer Champions Booster Box Subscription or pre-order from your preferred store.

If at any point you discover a particular type of deck that you want to build and are only missing a few key cards, look into trading cards (locally and online) and buying Singles to get exactly what you need.

If you want to build your entire collection up, and have a full, unhindered library, you will need to buy a total of 5-6 Booster Boxes per set, or pre-order a Champions Saga Set for every set. You can sign up for our Warhammer Champions email list to be notified when Saga Sets go up for pre-order.

Local stores will often sell individual Booster Packs at the counter as well, so you can buy a few packs if/when you want to inject some new life into your collection.

You can always buy digital Booster Packs as well, and also earn them by scanning and sharing the Booster Share cards included in your Campaign Deck Bundle. Look on Reddit and Facebook to get started.

The Accessories

If you have a physical collection of cards, there are a number of accessories that make life way better.

Card sleeves – Most card game players sleeve their cards in order to make their decks easier to shuffle and to give their cards a nicer (and more protected) presence on the table. We strongly suggest Dragon Shield Matte sleeves, and have been using Dragon Shields for many, many collective decades.

Deck boxes – It is nice to have smaller boxes for your various Champions decks. Nothing fancy needed here, which is why the basic Ultra Pro box is our go-to.

Playmats – Tables can be sticky or awkward, and having a beautiful scene to play on makes every game even better. Consider InkedGaming or similar to find a design you like or submit your own for printing.

Card storage – Having a tidy place to put your cards is necessary. You can find basic rectangular card storage boxes, or go for a more luxurious binder option. There is no end to options here if you want to go down that rabbit hole.

Start playing

At this point you should know what Warhammer Champions is, understand the basics of how to play, and be able to discern how you would like to buy into the game. Whether you are just grabbing the Campaign Decks or starting a 10x Booster Box Subscription, make it happen! You will not regret it, as Champions is a truly special game with a digital component that really takes things to the next level.

We have linked to all of our products throughout this series, but know that Booster Boxes are available elsewhere (Saga Sets and Subscriptions are unique to us, though). Consider searching out and calling any local game stores to see if they are supporting Champions, as they might be selling product and running events for the game. Games Workshop stores should be supporting the game quite heavily if you happen to have one nearby.

No matter how it all happens, we hope that you will dive into the game and follow along with us as we explore it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you have any questions, leave a comment below!

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