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Cardiology: Potion of Constitution

Decision: Should You Play Potion of Constitution?


Are you already playing Great Fortitude?  And Tome of Vitality?  And any +1 wound upgrade available to your warband?  Still looking to make your dudes tougher?  If so, feel free to throw in Potion of Constitution as well (or consider Sudden Growth/Deathly Fortitude).

Ylthari's Guardians may actually want to consider Potion over some of the other options for a couple of reasons: they like reactions (for Lithe Spirits), and they are best positioned of the warbands to make use of Potion's ability to skate under the Gloryseeker radar. 

Alternate Path: Great Fortitude

We are going be changing up the format a little for this article, because it really only makes sense to assess Potion of Constitution in the context of other options that do similar things.  Nobody is going to disagree that extra wounds (or effective extra wounds, in the case of Potion) are good; the question is whether or not Potion of Constitution is going to give you the most bang for your buck.  For that reason, today we'll be looking at Potion almost exclusively in comparison to it's older, simpler brother: Great Fortitude.

Factor: Gloryseeker

The primary argument that we see proffered in favor of Potion of Constitution over Great Fortitude is that Potion can effectively give your model an extra wound without triggering your opponent's Gloryseeker (which would effectively negate the extra wound in the first hit).  This is definitely a factor you should consider when choosing between the two, but it's not quite as simple as it sounds.

Potion only conveys this benefit to models with 3 wounds.  Models with 4 wounds already trigger Gloryseeker, and models with 2 wounds wouldn't trigger Gloryseeker with either Potion or Fortitude.  Of the currently available warbands, six of them have no 3-wound models.  Both Dwarf warbands have 3-wound models who inspire into a 4th wound, and Profiteers have 2-wound models that inspire into a 3rd - making them only gain this benefit on one side of their character card.  Furthermore, Skaven, Thorns, and Eyes each only have a single 3-wound model.  For these warbands, Potion of Constitution's potential to avoid extra damage from Gloryseeker probably isn't worth it.

Of the remaining warbands, only Godsworn and Elves can reap this benefit on half or more of their models.  Even in those cases, this benefit of Potion immediately disappears if you begin to stack wound-increasing upgrades on your 3-wound model (a common tactic when trying to protect a particular model for something like Acolyte of the Katophranes).

Finally, in order to gain this particular benefit of playing Potion over Fortitude, your opponent must be playing Gloryseeker.  While Gloryseeker is quite a popular option, there are competitive decks out there that don't play it: the 4th place (undefeated in swiss) deck from UKGE and 6th place deck from Warhammer Fest both eschewed Gloryseeker.  (It's worth noting that both of these decks are Mollog decks, so if you're already struggling to beat the big troll, Potion of Constitution probably isn't going to do a lot for you.)  Even if your opponent is playing Gloryseeker, they still have to target your 3-wound model that has Potion of Constitution/Great Fortitude attached and hit them with an attack that does more than 1 damage for this factor to matter in any way.

Factor: Other Benefits of Potion

There are a few other situations in which Potion of Constitution is better than Great Fortitude.  It's action is a reaction (which, bafflingly, doesn't seem to share a trigger with any other reaction), so it can help you score objectives like Treacherous Foe or Lithe Spirits.

Second, Potion can make it harder for your opponent to score a few specific objectives.  Massive Assault and Giant-Slayer can both be hindered by playing Potion over Fortitude.  There are also some warband-specific objectives, like Seeking Promotion, that fall into this category as well, but we're going to focus on universal cards for this article.

Finally, like Gloryseeker, Challenge Seeker triggers off the wounds of enemy models.  In some cases, Potion may allow you to buff up your models without triggering your opponent's Challenge Seeker - though Challenge Seeker is significantly less common than Gloryseeker.

While we make no claims to this list being exhaustive, there appear to only be a few cases in which Potion of Constitution conveys a greater benefit than Great Fortitude.

Factor: One Damage

One significant failing of Potion of Constitution is that it cannot protect you from attacks and gambits that deal exactly 1 damage.  To begin with, there are 80 base attacks on fighters that deal 1 damage;  Potion of Constitution does nothing to make these attacks more survivable.  Effectively, if your fighter with Potion is struck by a 1 damage effect, it might as well not have any upgrade.

In addition to the base attacks, there are 16 universal ploys that do one damage, and several others (such as Rebound) that might only do one damage.  Additionally, there are 6 universal spells that do a single damage, or that do multiple points of damage in 1-point increments.  Finally, there are 10 universal upgrades that provide attack actions that do 1 damage (plus Fated Blade, which will occasionally do 1 damage).

In all of these cases, Great Fortitude will provide extra survivability to your model (that's why you play it, right?), while Potion of Constitution will not.

Factor: Other Considerations

Without delving into warband-specific cards, there are some other situations in which Great Fortitude is superior to Potion of Constitution.

There are several classes of damage that Potion of Constitution simply cannot react to.  To begin with, there are currently 12 boards that you and your opponent can choose to play on - six of which contain lethal hexes (14 total hexes).  In addition, there are a few effects roaming around that create lethal hexes.  With the rising popularity of Calculated Risk (another card that works better with Fortitude than Potion), you're likely to see quite a few lethal hexes in your games.  Potion can't protect you from those; Fortitude can.

Additionally, Potion provides no protection from damage caused by directly Upgrades, whether your opponent's (Tome of Diseases, Blessing of Argentine) or your own (Daemonic Weapon).  Potion also doesn't provide any actual wounds, which can be problematic if you or your opponent play cards that reduce your wound total (Cursed Artefact, Abasoth's Withering).  If you are going all out to protect your models, Potion's effect may also interact poorly with other damage-reducing effects like Look Out or Arcane Shield.

Another issue Potion is that it interacts poorly with any effect that has the potential to heal more than 1 point.  This includes all of the "Regeneration" type effects, as well as Healing Potion, Blessed Armour, and Ylthari's innate reaction.  In these cases, a model with Potion of Constitution may "waste" healing effects because they have no more wounds to heal, whereas the same model - if equipped with Fortitude instead -would have an additional wound to remove, resulting in an overall larger amount of damage that can be taken before the model is killed.

There are also some instances where playing Fortitude over Potion will make it harder for your opponent to score certain Objectives.  These include objectives that require you to take out a model with a 1-damage attack (The Bigger They Are, Finish Them), those that are based off the number of wounds a model has as it relates to damage done (Massive Overkill, Crushing Force), and those that trigger off healing multiple wounds (Charmed Life).  Finally, Fortitude will effectively negate the damage you take when you score Calculated Risk, while Potion will not.


It should be apparent that there are situations where Potion of Constitution is better than Great Fortitude.  However, in the vast majority of situations, Great Fortitude will either be as good or better than Potion.  In total, there are 80 base attacks, 14 lethal hexes, and 64 universal power cards that create situations handled better by Fortitude than Constitution.  There are only 5 universal power cards that do the reverse.  While these lists may not be completely exhaustive, it's unlikely that we missed enough situations to recommend Potion over Fortitude except in some rare cases.


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