Since the release of the new expansions, The Godsworn Hunt and Mollog’s Mob, I’ve been experimenting with the latest representatives that chaos brings to the table. The Darkoath certainly haven’t caused the same stir the troggoth has, however they do have some unique mechanics and play-styles to explore. I’m going to have a talk through the pro’s and con’s of this warband, pick out my favourite faction specific cards, and then go through the play-styles before finishing up with a deck-build for you guys to try out and adapt. So what do we like about our second canine touting team? (hint: we don’t like the canine)
Darkoaths and Dismal Promises
- SPEED: The Darkoath have instant access to 4 move, allowing them to dictate engagements against more sluggish opponents. You are able to deploy slightly further back on your board, staying out of opponents charge range but maintaining threat to their frontline. Alternatively, you can place a model (Grundann) right at the front, if you plan for an insta-inspire dive into the backline. I think Grundann would like that. The nippy fighters are also well-equipped to make a last minute dash onto the enemy board, if that happens to be something you’d promised your opponent you would do.
- INSPIRE CONDITION: The Darkoath inspire by doing something you wanted to do anyway, no matter what your playstyle! This is excellent as it means choosing a certain way of playing the game doesn’t interfere with your warband getting stronger. It also means when you play an upgrade, its stats galore for that fighter as they inspire as well!
- DAMAGE (once inspired): The Godsworn Hunt have access to two 3 damage attacks with 4 and 5 threat range respectively. They have a 2 damage cleave attack and also have the only uninspired fighter to boast a 2 damage 3 range attack in the game. Nothing like harpooning Dibbz up against the wall in the first activation without putting anyone in range of follow up. Speaking of which…
- RANGED ATTACKS: On top of the 2 damage javelin (unfortunately a one use only attack), the Darkoath have a 3 swords 3 range 1 damage cleave attack on Ollo. This is incredibly useful for setting up the big boys, and for poking Mollog whilst staying outside of his range.
- DICE DICE BABY!: With Path to Glory and Challenge Seeker, its not unreasonable (to be loved by anyone) to be rolling 5 dice without having to guzzle an angry drink. This not only makes the warband accurate, it also makes Concealed Weapon look a lot more tasty, further upping the warbands damage output.
- SQUISHY: Half the warband sit at 2 wounds, and the other half mercifully manage to pull an extra wound out of somewhere. Even the Bloodreavers manage a 4 wound model. It seems the Darkoath swapped that wound for Grawl. Yay. On top of this, the defence stats for your leader and your heaviest hitter (Grundann) don’t progress past 1 dodge dice. Its hard to justify investing deck space on upgrades that are only useful on specific fighters, when a stiff breeze could bowl them over and suddenly your deck has dead cards in it. Its a bloody good job you have the speed to stay out of range of most warbands (fear The Briar Queen)
- NO MOVEMENT SHENANIGANS: This seems to be the accepted term encompassing actions such as Varclavs push and Scurry for Zarbags Gitz. Essentially you have 6, low health, poorly armoured warriors, but nothing to help you get around the board should you want to play objectives. You probably shouldn’t want to play objectives (more on this later).
- THE MAGIC: This ones controversial, so I’m going to talk more about this in playstyles.
- GRAWL: This ones not controversial. Grawl scores martyred. I view this as a huge win if Grawl manages to break even for me in the Glory he contributes to the game. I miss Riptooth…
Faction Specific Cards
My Favourite Three
OATH OF CONQUEST: This is the one Oath that gives your opponent almost zero advantage for having seen it. Oh you want to get on my side of the board, I guess I’ll try to kill everyone then? Short of a heroic and unexpected Shardfall combo’d with a wall of Gitz, the opponents counter play doesn’t really stretch beyond kill the Godsworn Hunt so theres no one left to be on my board. The only exception is if enemy fighters have access to knockback and your sat perilously close to the edge of their board. Be careful your not sent careening back home by The Prince of Dust.
To score this, make sure you are considering it on Turn 2, move fighters up the board so they can make significant headway into enemy territory later on. If you are playing aggro anyway this shouldn’t require much adaptation, you just might have to spend an activation on Grawl if he hasn’t already been put out of his misery.
It is debatable whether you should take two third end phase objectives (I take Superior Tactician and Oath of Conquest) however so far the combination has helped me far more than it has hindered me. The worst case scenario is you discard an opening objective hand Turn 1 then draw them both. If you build the rest of your objective deck accordingly however, you won’t have a hand without the end phase cards that you have to ditch.
PATH TO GLORY: Far less to say about this one. It gives you a wound (thank the lord) and an extra dice on all your attack actions! This should be in every Godsworn deck. The restriction of requiring an upgrade already can be annoying but is certainly not enough to leave this card out.
A WORTHY DEED: Almost all warbands have a 4 wound fighter and those that don’t will either be running wound upgrades or have balls the size of watermelons. Watermelon warriors aside you will essentially be running a score immediately card for getting a kill. This can be trickier against Thorns and Sepulchural Guard as the tend to look after their leaders until the opportune moment to strike, but your speed will help you reach these fighters more reliably than other warbands.
MAGICAL APOTHEOSIS: Apotheosis – the highest point in the development of something; a culmination or climax. If you’re going for a more magical approach this card is a nice score immediately for cast a two channel spell. If you’re including two focus spells in your deck you’re a braver man than I. To be honest, if you’re running this at all you’re a braver man than I. I’ve not bought into the Theddra magic hype just yet, and I’m going to hold off explaining myself until the relevant section because I require order in my posts.
OATH OF MURDER: A reasonable card to show your opponent without making it impossible to score. This is also the best Oath to play mind games with your opponent with. I haven’t tried yet, but it would be fun to show this card to a Mollog player to attempt to convince them you have one shot potential. (Disclaimer: Use this strategy at your own risk, Mollog players may not buy into this bluff. You could get hurt.)
DARK DESTINY: Being a squishy warband its nice to have access to a slightly worse version of Last Chance. You also can’t be pushed back if you save yourself with this card which sets you up nicely for a counter attack. It’s still a 50/50 though, and the more of these you put in your deck the more chance you have of a dreaded game when nothing works. These cards will win you games, but they won’t win entire tournaments without substantially over the odds dice rolling. Are you feeling lucky?
ENSORCELLED JAVELIN: I really want to put this card in my deck, but Jagratha has 2 wounds and I have other fighters I want to upgrade. I opted for Nullstone Spear as a halfway house. Sorry Jagratha, bulk up and come back when you find a third wound, or even just an extra bloody defence dice.
SEIZED TROPHY: This card is a free inspire, and an upgrade which costs no glory which can rack up the Escalation tally pretty quickly. Unfortunately you have to be adjacent to the fighter you took out in order to equip this. The most common situation you will find yourself able to equip this is post-charge in enemy territory. I just don’t think its worth the upgrade slot to paint a target on an activated fighters back. You could always charge with the final activation and equip this, but I’d rather have a different upgrade personally.
No Apotheosing for Me: Magic is too Unreliable
First off, lets establish why we want to include Gambit Spells in our deck.
- We have magic-oriented objectives
- Magic helps us score other objectives
- Magic helps deny the opponents objectives
That’s it, if power cards aren’t going to help you get glory then they don’t go in. Gambit spells come with inherent risk, therefore they have to be able to get you closer to your glory than a ploy would. Two channel gambit spells get us very close to Magical Apotheosis, so this seems like a good shout. We also want to get killing, and cards like Abasoths Withering and Unfocused Blast help with that. Additionally faction specific cards like Enfeeble and Ensnare could help deny our opponents. Whats not to love??
Theddra starts as a level 1 wizard. Without an upgrade your two channel spells are dead cards in an opening hand. Dead cards that you can’t even bin as you will be rendering your Score Immediately card useless. You are forced to commit early glory to get Theddra to level 2 just to make your Gambit spells accessible. Even after Theddra is inspired, you still have a less than 50% chance of successfully casting a 2 channel spell. Naturally you’ll want some innate channel upgrades in your deck, and if we’re lucky, we’ll draw them early. We can spend that early glory we managed to get on Theddra and have a good chance of casting the 2 channel spell we also managed to draw and then scoring the objective we have also happened to draw. It’s not very reliable so we make drawing this combo more reliable with Bag of Tricks, we can also put more 2 channel spells in the deck so we draw them. We’ll put more Magic objectives in the deck so it’s worth this investment.
Theddra has 3 wounds and one dodge dice.
*Riptooth salivating in the distance*
I just don’t think it’s worth going down that rabbit hole. I don’t think the payoff is enough. Sure everything works alright if you draw exactly what you need turn one to get Theddra rolling, but even the best case scenario isn’t mind blowing. The more common case is dead cards in your hand or a dead Theddra as soon as your opponent cottons on to the fact that a squishy model is the focus of your deck.
As an aside Theddra is also one of your 3 damage fighters. Taking advantage of how hard she hits is difficult when you have to hold her back because half your deck is build around her.
I might be wrong, I have certain preconceptions about how the game should be played that could be completely false, but that’s my view on magical Godsworn. It’s too unreliable, the payoff isn’t big enough.
KEEP CHOPPING ITS AGGRO TIME
It will come as a huge shock that I have chosen to play this warband in the style God intended. #AggroLyf
In all honesty I actually built this deck initially a lot more hybrid. The deck morphed into aggro because of the objectives that the Godsworn can easily score (and also possibly due to how I play, I may have to rein it in a bit for these boys). These are the objectives I mean.
- What Armour: They have 2 fighters with Cleave once inspired
- Change of Tactics: The Darkoath are fast and have 2 ranged attacks
- Keep Chopping: The Darkoath have two ranged attacks, which means making an attack action in 4 activations is much more reliable, as two fighters will almost always be in range of something
- Oath of Conquest: If your aiming for the enemies board, might as well be killing them
- Escalation: I want glory in the action phase and I want to equip it early to power up the warband. Action phase glory comes from killing and score immediately objectives.
Already we have the beginnings of an aggressive deck. On top of that the warband needs glory fast to inspire and become threatening. The fastest way to get glory is to gouge big holes in your enemies.
Path to Glory and Challenge Seeker are amazing upgrades for the Godsworn hunt that further encourage any players aggro tendencies. Dice everywhere, damage everywhere, speed everywhere, how can you not charge in?!
I will add the slight disclaimer that all aggression in Warhammer Underworlds should be measured aggression. Lives should not be thrown away and playing safe when your passive glory comes into your objective hand is the smart thing to do. The idea is to score your glory with as little risk as possible, whilst cutting down some non-believers.
Objective Play: Don’t give up the Initiative
The Godsworn Hunt’s biggest strength is hitting hard and fast. Objective play requires you to – over at least 3 activations – position models on or in push range of objectives. Your models with 2-3 wounds. Your models with for the most part one defence dice. Assuming your opponent cant reach you and cant push you off an objective your in the clear. This will occur in games when you lose the board roll off, draw supremacy turn one, and your opponents has drawn 0 movement or push cards and/or misses with the attacks he/she does manage to pull off. This feels great when it happens but the far more common scenario will be you either get pushed off an objective, you get beaten to a pulp once you move close to one, or you win the board roll off and can’t safely make it to a third objective in the first place.
If you want to play objectives, Zarbags Gits and Thorns of the Briar Queen do it much better. Sepulchural Guard are also strong contenders for objective play. They all do it better than the Godsworn Hunt, so there’s very little incentive to push these chaos worshippers into sitting on glowy rock things.
This is the deck I took to The Forge in Manchester to test out the Godsworn Hunt. I managed a 2-1 against Sepulchural Guard, 2-0 against The Godsworn Hunt, and a painful 0-2 against Mollog’s Mob. There are a couple of changes I’d consider making, however I think my losses can all be put down to playstyle errors, which makes the deck more difficult to evaluate (I did not play correctly against Mollog, but everyday’s a school day, especially when your entire warband is turned into paste by an angry troggoth).
I split these into aggro, snowball and passive. Some kind of fit in two categories.
- Change of Tactics (also a little passive as i have ranged attacks)
- What Armour? (as above)
- A Worthy Deed
- Oath of Conquest
- Keep Chopping
- Solid Gains
- Master of War
- Superior Tactician
- Shining Example
- Extreme Flank
- Martyred – (I passively let Grawl enter the void)
Of these objectives, 4 are score immediately’s and two are third end phase objectives – I certainly wouldn’t include any more than two.
The reliability of What Armour? and Change of Tactics is brilliant for generating glory and beginning the inspirations. Martyred turn 1 is a godsend as you generally don’t want to fight before upgrades are coming down. Extreme Flank is nice Turn 1 but difficult afterwards – this is probably going. Overall I’ve tried to balance the deck so that i can get enough glory to kit out my fighters before having to commit to getting kills (only one objective requires actually taking a fighter out of action).
My Gambit deck is fairly generic and could probably be worked on. I’ve split the Gambits into 4 groups, a few fit into two categories.
- Hidden Paths
- Ready for Action
- Spoils of Battle – Via inspiration
- Abasoths Withering
- Ready for Action – due to an extra attack
- Spoils of Battle – Via inspiration
- Ready for Action – due to an extra attack
- Fuelled by Fury
- Last Chance
- Transfixing Stare
Sidestep and Distraction are very versatile ploy which allow re-positioning to score objectives, set up charges and deny opponents.
Last Chance is almost mandatory in any dodge warband as it allows you to burn an opponents charge and turns your measly odds of rolling a defensive success on its head.
I exclusively crit my Last Chance rolls. Woe is me.
Abasoths Withering is an easy to cast spell which brings enemies into kill range and cannot be healed back up. Trap will probably go out for Twist the Knife considering Mollog exists and runs Aggressive Defence.
Fuelled by Fury is categorically better than Haymaker once you start rolling three dice, and I plan to be rolling bucket-loads.
Transfixing Stare is incredible. Charge in, gut an enemy and look menacingly at his battle-brother to ensure he doesn’t move an inch to avenge his comrade.
My upgrades are a little too diverse to split up, but for the most part I want to increase the threat and survivability of my models. Deathly Fortitude and Path to Glory are the only upgrades with Defensive components, the rest are more tailored to killing.
The boon of being so squishy is that Challenge Seeker procs almost constantly when you are engaging enemies. Just be careful about combo-ing this card with Path to Glory, as the extra wound can sometimes render Challenge Seeker useless.
Concealed weapon makes an appearance due to the sheer amount of dice that can appear from your attack actions. I’m tempted however to try Fighters Ferocity, so in certain match-ups I can power up my ranged contingent.
Bag of Tricks did not make an appearance, as I don’t run My Turn or Aggressive Defence and I do run Keep Chopping. Using Bag of Tricks can block Keep Chopping. In addition I often want to upgrade my fighter to inspire them and send them in, Bag of Tricks isn’t and upgrade you want to fling into combat, and so it is a little jarring to play with the Darkoath. Having said that the card is very strong and I may well try running it in a more restrained Godsworn deck.
The Godsworn Hunt: Jack of all Trades, Master of None
The Godsworn Hunt are incredibly versatile, with the potential to be built around multiple playstyles. This in itself is an advantage as opponents won’t be sure how to play into you in game 1 of a set. However you choose to play them though, there is another warband you can point to and say, “why don’t you just do play that way with these guy’s instead?” The Godsworn Hunt leave little margin for error, and so practice is required to make full use of the barbarians!
I am still trying to find the niche for the Darkoath, at the minute I’m sitting somewhere in a space I would describe as controlled Bloodreavering. Slightly more passive glory, slightly more scaling into Turn 3, and a bigger glory payout at the end. The Godsworn also spew dice from every orifice, so I’m tempted to lean even more heavily into a crit fishing deck build. I’m keen to hear how everyone else is playing them, as I’m acutely aware that my perception is coloured by the khornate warbands I’ve spent so much time with in this past.
Regardless of the relative strength of The Godsworn Hunt versus other warbands, the group really does fulfil the fantasy of levelling a lowly barbarian up into a true chaos marauder, cleaving faces in the name of all the Dark Gods (seriously commit to just one guys). I hope this has helped people understand my take on the new warband, and maybe inspired some people to see what they can come up with!
Finally got another article out, wasn’t that A Worthy Deed?!
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