What on Earth is going on?
Its spoiler season again for Warhammer Underworlds. With the two new expansions coming up (Ylthari’s Guardians and Thundrik’s Profiteers) there is a lot of new material to cover. Steel City will be doing our usual job of over analysing every last bit of info that GW gives us right up until we get the big reveal of all the cards included, and then we will rate every single card with our now (in)famous card review articles. For the warbands themselves we will be doing two initial impressions articles – like this one – based on the details that we get in in the early preview articles and then in a couple of weeks, once all cards have been revealed and our opinions have settled a bit, we will do a more in depth look at each of the new warbands.
So strap yourselves in, its hype time.
Note – all the images and useful information in this article is taken from this Warhammer Community article – if you want to get your info from the horses mouth or are less interested in our own analysis then you really should just use that.
Shout out time
In yesterdays article I asked our readers to explain to my simple brain how Skhathael’s ability would interact with cards like Last Chance and Soul Trap. After reading many words from people far more intelligent then I, I believe that I have come to understand the exact way it would all play out.
If Skhathael’s crits on the attack and the damage from his crit is what would finish a fighter off then Last Chance/Soul Trap cannot be triggered as it wasn’t a ploy or an attack (technically) so they are useless. If a fighter would die to the normal attack damage then Last Chance/Soul Trap can be triggered/played however if a crit was rolled then that damage would occur AFTER the attack and still damage the defender, which could potentially kill it if it was on 1 wound left.
Shout out to reader ‘wrtlbrmpft’ for his/her comment on the article in question.
To David A Smee for his comment on the Warhammer Underworlds Facebook group.
To Daniel Michel Pethjen and Henry Clark for their comments on The Warhammer Underworlds Community Facebook group – totally different to that other group.
To ‘Mcrat’ on the secret discord server for his insights.
You can blame these people if I got anything wrong 😉
A word on ‘Power Creep’
I have seen some negative reactions to the two new warbands, mostly coming from people who are worried that their old warbands are becoming obsolete with all the new shiny hotness. It’s very easy to look at the assortment of tools that these new Warbands have and to compare them to something like Ironskullz Boyz and worry that there is no point in taking Gurzag and crew to a competitive tournament. Something that I only mentioned in passing in yesterday’s article are the very specific weakness these new warbands also have. Ylthari’s Guardians have no 3 damage attack in the entire warband and present a tough deck building challenge wherein the fighters all do something slightly different AND you have to shove some healing cards in as well to inspire them. Ironskullz Boyz start with a Gurzag, 5 wounds and 3 damage uninspired is still absolutely insane and you have more deck space to take cards like Spectral Wings or Haymaker to make up for less inherent accuracy and base move speed. GW are legitimately doing a great job at making all of these warbands have different weaknesses that need to be built around.
For this article I will do a section towards the end talking about the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Sky Dwarves (wait a minute). Still like a kid at Christmas I might get a tad excited when I start talking about the fighters, speaking of which…
Sorry but I can’t help but think of naughty words when I try to read Bjorgen Thundrik’s name out loud.
I am an adult.
Stats wise Bjorgen is a beast, his inspired side sports 5 wounds with 2 shield defence and a pretty accurate 3 hex attack that deals 2 damage. The obvious weakness is his movement speed sitting at a paltry 3. His uninspired side takes quite a large hit, 1 less wound, 1 less defence, 1 less move, 1 less damage on his ranged attack and it loses cleave. Yikes. Outside of Mollog, Bjorgen seems to be the fighter that gains the most from inspiring in the entire game. Unless you have an extremely good reason not to then you want to be inspiring your leader as soon as possible.
Thunder… -‘rik’ also carries his entire warbands inspire condition on his shoulders, the bonus to this is that you have more control over inspiring your fighters then most other warbands, the absolutely massive downside is that if he dies then you lose your entire inspire condition. Opponents who are built to assassinate leaders early will be gunning for the big thunder daddy so you will want to place him as far towards the back as you can, praying to god that your opponent doesn’t have a Hidden Paths in hand. As for the other reaction, it looks nice, certainly a tasty bonus that makes it hurt to attack him but its unlikely to turn the course of a game, at best it will net 1 damage on one enemy fighter just before they kill you. Note Hidden Paths can actually get around this as you don’t move into the hex you instead place the fighter into the hex.
Another 3 range attack that hits on 2 smash. I spoke yesterday about how I prefer 2 smash to 3 fury and all of those reasons work for Lund as well. Inspiring to deal an extra damage on the attack and gaining cleave is very nice. Oh and he gains 1 wound and 1 move speed. It seems like this whole warband is going to be very inspire dependent, 2 move speed at the start is really nasty though, if your opponent is playing defensive then despite your long range guns you are just not getting to them.
Oh Lund also has another job, he scores What Armour?
Enrik Ironhail looks like a slightly weaker version of Lund, a slightly weaker attack and one less wound certainly leave him on the worse end of the stats trade. One nice unique feature Enrik has is his ability to roll a bucket of dice, 4 dice when inspired makes upgrades like Fighter’s Ferocity a lot more attractive, alongside a certain objective that I will talk about later. The Knockback is nice, especially being on a 1 damage attack means that you can legitimately take Get Thee Hence for a solid score immediately objective. It also worth noting that with Enrik’s inclusion the hovering squats (he’s doing it again) have to worry about having a 2 wound fighter early in the game, Enrik will die to a gust of wind when uninspired, Jagathra is very excited at the prospect of making a dwarf kebab.
Khazgan breaks the mold from the typical air shorties (this is getting stupid) with a stupendous 4 move speed off the bat and a focus on his short range attack. When inspired he can hit for a hefty 3 damage, making him the most damaging fighter in the entire warband. The ability to ignore lethal hexes and to move through obstructed hexes is nice, again nothing that on its own will win a battle but a small edge that you can gain an advantage with. The pistol… is an option…. I really wouldn’t recommend spending activation’s on shooting with a 2 fury attack, the odds are just not in your favour, unless you spend upgrades on this guy at which point why are you not upgrading the fighters with a better ranged attack?
Khazgan is a nice addition to the warband that lets you contest for objective tokens (if you are interested in that sort of thing) or even makes scoring Cover Ground a more reliable possibility (take Spectral Wings with Faneway Crystal and you have 2 triggers).
He is the true dangle-bro of the floating short people (we stray further from gods light every day) and like Enrick he will die to pretty much anything. In fact an Inspired Bat Squig is odds on to kill his uninspired side.
That said, if you do manage to inspire Garodd he becomes pretty decent, his range 3 attack is your basic Farstrider fair which we all know is a solid option and he packs an average close range attack if things get to hairy.
“Promotion: Each time you score an objective, if this fighter is on the battlefield, you can choose a friendly fighter. The fighter becomes inspired.”
For a warband that gains so many stats from inspiring, the ease or difficulty with which you inspire is going to be of extreme importance. As already mentioned you inspire condition is intrinsically tied to your leader, if he dies then that’s it, your only method of inspiring people at that point becomes through the use of cards like Inspiration Strikes or Regal Vision and that’s if you have used the space on them in your deck. That said if the stars align perfectly in your favour and you score 2 objectives within turn 1(via 2 score imediatelies) and then 3 objectives at the end of turn you can inspire your entire warband with two turns of the game left. Realistically you should expect 2/3 of your fighters to be inspired at the end of turn 1 and then if your leader stays alive more over the course of the game, you should also place more focus then usual on easy to score early game objectives that make this easier to achieve.
Also as a note on how the condition mechanically works – it is not written as a reaction so from my understanding it can trigger off end of turn objectives and do so for each separate one. This is something that I am sure many people will argue the toss over until we get an FAQ entry but to me its very clear.
I think that Inspiration Strikes is probably mandatory for the Balloon Bears (Tom may have had a hand in this) , yes it will be a dead card if you draw it on turn 3 but for turns 1/2 it makes so much difference to the power of your fighters and if you run Bag of Tricks then you have good odds of getting it early enough to matter.
We have only a small peak at the full range of faction cards that the Thunder Teddies (honestly at this point I think Tom is just better at this then me) will get but its worth mentioning what we have seen.
I hinted at a nice objective that Enrik Ironhail could score when I talked about his fighter stats. Well here we go, Headshot has reasonable odds of triggering off of every ranged attack his inspired side makes even before you give him upgrades. Oh and you can upgrade him with a specific upgrade to get a free extra attack each turn.
Focus Fire is very meh, its not straight up rubbish but I would avoid it unless you really know what you are doing.
Time Charge and Protect the Boss both seem like the kind of generic weak cards that we get to pad out most expansions although they certainly both have some niche use cases.
Toxic gas is pretty nice and if it was a neutral card then I would include it in some of my decks. Both effects are very strong so your opponent is in a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation but they do get to pick the least annoying option. If you are picking boards with lethal hexes then this becomes a reliable way of dealing 1 damage no matter what, pretty solid.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- God damn those inspired stats are glorious
- A bucket load of 3 range attacks
- A nice array of abilities and stats that allow you to score some of the best objectives in the game – What Armour?/Get Thee Hence/Cover Ground
- If the leader dies early then nothing inspires and you are a sad Aerial Achondroplastic (I’ve changed my opinion, Tom is dead to me)
- The inspire condition means that you take time to ‘power up’, opponents with a large threat range can start killing you early and taking advantage of your weak uninspired stats
- Limited access to high damage attacks – you have one guy who can hit for 3 damage and that’s only when inspired.
- Lack of mobility – even when inspired you only move at 3 hexes and uninspired you are slower then a drunk Orruk. For those wanting to play an objective style of deck this is a major obstacle in your way.
- No access to magic, this certainly limits the cards that you can take but its not the biggest deal ever, there are still plenty to choose from.
Mikes Juicy Deck
If you want to play around with this deck then pop here
The missing objective is for Headshot
EDIT – I’m an idiot and forgot to put Inspiration Strikes in the deck – replace Shardgale with it – you probably don’t want to knock some of your fighters down to 1 wound anyway.
This is my first attempt at making a deck for the Aerial Babies (if I blame this one on Tom can I skip the hate?) but you can see the gist of how it works. A lot of those score immediately cards are absolutely trivial to score as long as your opponent is in range of your guns and if not then you have Spectral Wings and Hidden Paths to close the distance. Commanding Stride,Distraction and Sidestep give you some unexpected movement in the power step to confound your opponents with and then we have a bunch of ‘free damage’ cards like Shardgale/Encroaching Shadow/Lethal Ward to combine with your ranged attacks for easier kills. The upgrades mostly exist to allow you to do what you do better, Total Offence is a nice blast from the past but make sure to read the errata so that you know how it works now.
My usual disclaimer of ‘I made this deck in 30 minutes’ applies, if you are taking this to tournament then I wish you a lot of luck.
Words that come at the end
I may have mentioned consistently that Ylthari’s Guardians article came out yesterday, it seems that having a day off work has enabled my madness to flourish and that I have delivered both in one day.
I’m starting to see Warhammer Underworld cards when I close my eyes….
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