This week the new Warcry Box, Sundered Fate, went up for pre-order, and as previews came out we got to see the details for the two new Warbands! Like last time, I wasn’t lucky enough to get any free stuff, so I’ve used the Warcry Card Creator so we can talk through the new details.
This is the second of the quarterly releases with the remaining two for the series ominously called called Bloodhunt and Nightmare Quest. In Sundered Fate, we’ve made it to the outskirts of the crashed Seraphon voidship at the centre of the Gnarlwood. This box has two warbands, lots of scenery, a special campaign for the two warbands, and it seems to have some extra cards not just the terrain cards you’d expect but possibly some new deployment, victory, and twist cards as the box has 6 of each.
We get to see two new Warbands, the Jade Obelisk looking to destroy the voidship and the Hunters of Huanchi, Chameleon Skinks, who are the outer scouts defending the ship. The two warbands have very different play styles and this box almost feels like a showcase, pitching the slow but high damage Jade Obelisk versus the fast but low damage Hunters of Huanchi. It looks like it makes for a very interesting box.
The Jade Obelisk come from a city where the people have made a pact with a mysterious entity known as the Speak in the Stone, giving them great power and resilience, but slowly turning their bodies to stone. They’re looking to destroy the monuments and faces of their opponents with their hammers and picks and then cut out their hearts to sacrifice them to their patron.
Like we’ve done before we’ll take a quick look through the abilities, then we’ll go into detail with the fighters where we’ll consider how the abilities actually come into play.
The Reaction ability for the Jade Obelisk [The Curse of Jade] will reduce damage points allocated to a minimum of one. We’ve seen this ability before and it’s fine, noting amazing but it does let your fighter tank up to try survive when they’re close to death. Annoying, in this particular box it’s not great as the Hunters are doing very low damage already so the minimum of 1 will kick in.
The second ability [Stonewarp] is a heal for a double which is great, and shows us a key aspect of this Warband, you have to be within 9 inches of the Obelisk Bearer to use it, and if you’re also within 6 inches of the Priestess then you get to heal equal to the ability rather than half the ability as normal. We’ll see this theme of being close to the Obelisk appear with later abilities.
The next two doubles [Hammering Strike] and [Rock-Shattering Blow] are both damage buffs but for two different rune marks, Warrior and Destroyer respectively. Both can buff the next attack, and [Hammering Strike] is even more limited and can only be used if you’ve already done damage to the target this turn, so you’ll have to start in combat with them.
There are two triples, the first [Bloody Tribute] can only be used by the Priestess after she has killed an enemy fighter. Very flavourful, she rips out someones heart and sacrifices it to the Obelisk. The effect is a bonus move action for a friendly fighter near the obelisk, which is great but that’s a lot of setup for it.
The second Triple [Gaze of the Idolarc] requires the beast runemark, so it can only be used by that weird bird thing. You get to pick someone within 9 inches and remove half the value of the triple from their movement or toughness. This is a very cool ability, maybe a little tricky to use as you can’t always rely on good dice, but being able to drop a targets movement to 1 is almost as good as a net effect and being able to drop an enemies toughness can be a big boost for any friendly fighters attacking them. The combination is very flexible and it’s likely you’ll have a use for this ability most turns.
The last ability is a Quad might of the Speaker and can only be used by the Obelisk Bearer. It targets a friendly within dice value of the Obelisk, as it’s a quad that can be tricky but having the Priestess on the battlefield increases the range by 3 which really helps. As it targets a visible friendly, you cannot target the Obelisk Bearer. You get 2 of any combination of disengage, move, and attack with the big play here being two extra attacks.
Here we have the three special fighters for the warband.
The Leader is the Nephirite Priestess who at 105 is one of the cheaper chaos leaders. Baseline move of 4, slightly low toughness of 3, but a fantastic 20 wounds. Her damage profile isn’t great, pretty average for her points, which is a shame as her triple [Bloody Tribute] requires her to kill someone. Interestingly, there aren’t any Leader only abilities for her to use, but lots of abilities are boosted by her being near.
Next we have the Obelisk Bearer who is 110 points, slow at 3 move, 4 toughness, and again those chunky 20 wounds. The damage profile is great, 5.33 against T4 is going to get a lot of work done. He cannot use the [Stonewarp] heal ability as he’s not visible to himself, the quad unique to him targets a visible friendly fighter, so while he can use it the extra actions have to go to someone else. All the other abilities require rune marks, locking him out. He does remain the focus of the warband though, so you’ll want to try get him into the centre of things for range and your opponent would do well to try take him out.
Last in the special characters we have the Idolarc, again just over 100 points at 105 and super fast at 8 move with fly but easy to kill with 3 toughness and only 8 wounds. The damage profile is pretty weak and with the Beast Runemark you’re not able to carry treasure which is a little annoying. So you’ll mostly want to try keep this fighter safe to use the Triple ability to slow or weaken a target.
None of these fighters are unique, if you picked up two boxes you could run multiple Obelisks Bearers and Idolarc and a second Priestess could come as a hero rather than a leader. Something to consider.
There are two mainline fighters in this warband. The first are the Desecrators. These are slow but hit like a ton of bricks. For pure damage efficiency per point, the Desecrator with Iconoclast Warpick is second only to the Graveguard with Wightblade in the entire game.
The Graveguard features in some of the top meta lists, so this is a good sign, but it’s notable that the Graveguard do get resurrected if they fall which makes a big difference. The Desecrators have access to the Rock-shattering blow ability as a double which will increase strength by 1 and hits and crits by 1. This will up the warpicks damage to 10 against T4 which is crazy. As they’re the same cost I’d go with the pick every time, since it’s doing more base damage and with the extra attack dice gets a better bonus from the ability.
The trick here of course is getting this move 3 fighter into position. The only movement ability in the warband is very conditional requiring the Priestess to get a kill so it might be worth looking at Chaos heroes outside the warband that can help. The Slaugherpriest has a nice harpoon ability while Sloppity Bilepiper’s double will give nearby friendlies plus 1 move for a turn.
Next up we have the Defacers, who come with either Bows or Stonecutter tools, both for the same price making list building that bit easier. Movement is 4 here with 4 toughness and 10 wounds which is good for the points, I might have been greedy and asked for 12 health as a baseline, but 10 is fine. If you go for the bow you get an amazing range of 15 but damage is lukewarm, that’s only 2 dice you’re rolling and doing 1 on hits and 3 on crits. Even doubling that mentally since you won’t have to move to attack and you only get 2.6 damage.
Going for the Stonecutter tools instead gets you a healthy 4.67 average damage. If you remember the video working out the baseline numbers, we’re looking for 1 damage per 25 points, so this exceeds that. So I think it’s fair to call this a slightly above average fighter.
Where Defacers shine is in the ability [Hammering Strikes], to use it you must have already done damage to the target, so to use this you’ll need to have started the activation next to the target and will be using the double as your second attack. If you have a double 3, this ability brings the average damage to 10.67, a double 6 (not unreasonable brings) it up to 16.67! That’s insane. Dice being what they are, you certainly could whiff everything but regardless this is super big.
Putting together the list from the box is simple enough as everything adds up to one thousand no matter how you build it. As mentioned before I’d probably look at the Warpick and Stonecutter tools as my preferred options, from the reviews so far it looks like you can build them that way.
For Allys, any of the Tzeentch stuff will make a very flavourful addition. The Mindstealer Sphyrinx in particular would look great with this warband. Mechanically, I think Sloppity Bilepiper will help, he’s 130 points but the extra +1 move could really help your Desecrators.
The Hunters of Huanchi are the exact opposite of the Jade Obelisks. Rather than coming to try destroy the downed Seraphon void ship at the centre of the Gnarlwood, they are here to protect it. They are fast and tricky to pin down, but if you do they’re much easier to kill. Where the Jade Obelisk had 10 fighters, the Hunters of Huanchi have 11 Chameleon Skinks and 3 Terrawings.
Lots of these abilities have the Agile runemark, this means the Skinks can use the ability, but the Terrawings cannot.
Their reaction is [Slippery] which can only be used after they take damage, but then allows them to immediately disengage. This will be incredibly frustrating for an opponent who constantly has to move up and then attack, never able to get two attacks against a single target. The Terrawings do not have the Agile runemark needed for this though, so they might be easier to catch.
The first double is [Agile Climbers] which lets them ignore vertical distance. Mostly thematic but could be great with the scenery in the box.
The second double is [Envenomed Weapons] which adds 1 to the hits and crits of the next attack. All the Skinks have this so it will be pretty influential in the warband, we’ll have a look at it in more detail once we get into the fighters themselves, but typically when these abilities only last one action they’re underwhelming.
The first triple is [Hurled Bolas] and requires the Trapper trait which the melee Skinks have access to. You get to roll dice equal to the ability value and if you get 6 then the target loses an action. Very interesting denial ability but with a triple it might be a little too unreliable for what it does and even when rolling 6 dice you still have 1 in 3 chance of the ability not doing anything.
The second triple [Bellow of the Carnosaur] is a far more reliable triple and lets you reduce a targets move and damage by 1. That might not seem like a lot but depending on the fighter it could have a big impact. It’s more of a nice to have than an auto use. This ability requires the Icon Bearer runemark which the Huanchi’s Claw fighter has.
The last triple [Cal of the Hunt] can only be used by your Hornblower who has the Scout Runemark. This gives a nearby Terrawing a free move action and if it ends up next to an enemy, then you can do the ability value as damage to the enemy, like a charge ability. Triple values aren’t always reliably, but this is a free move and reliable damage, making this a great ability.
Last we have the Quad [Hit and Run] which can be used by any of your Skinks giving them a bonus move or disengage and then an attack or move. The universal [Rampage] already gives you move and attack, so Hit and Run really gives you Disengage and Move, Move and Move, or a niche Disengage and Ranged attack although that seems a little redundant. Still, the extra flexibility is nice to have.
Getting stuck into the fighter cards, the first decision we have to make is whether the Leader is built with melee and shield or ranged weapons. Indeed, it seems every skink in the kit can be build either melee or ranged. At 6 move these guys are super fast, but with 2 toughness and even 3 when they have shield, they’re petty squishy. That said, this Alpha leader has 12 wounds which is good for the points. Honestly, the leader runemark on this fighter doesn’t really matter as it doesn’t come into play for warbands abilities and unlike with the Jade Obelisk you don’t lose much if the leader is killed.
Both the melee and ranged options are pretty weak. The damage for both is well below what I’d like to see for the points cost. Presumably this is due to the Envenomed Weapons ability, but even that’s not doing too much. For the melee ability that brings one attack, and only one attack, from 2.67 to 4 average damage versus T4 while the Ranged attack goes from 1 to 1.67. You’re going to need a lot of doubles to kill anything unfortunately.
The melee option does have the Trapper runemark which opens up the Hurled Bolas ability, but as someone who likes consistency, that’s an ability I’ll be avoiding anyway.
Next up we have the 3 Terrawings and the Hornblower, of which there is one in the box which can be built either melee or ranged.
The Terrawings are speedy 10 move fliers, like the Idolarc they do have the beast runemark which among other things means no Treasure carrying which is a bit of a shame as I was looking forward to them snatching treasure in their claws and flying away. Move and Fly is costly and with all that they’re cheap at 90 points, but that does come with only 8 wounds and a paltry 2 damage.
The horn blower is similar is stats to the Alpha but with only 8 wounds and gets the Scout runemark which opens up the Call of the Hunt ability. This gives the Terrawings a free move and does damage equal to the triple ability to whoever they end up next to. You just get one horn blower in the box, but as it’s a triple that’s probably enough. Since you’ll be using this in the horn blowers turn, you’ll want to move the Terrawing into melee with a target who has already acted so they don’t get to take advantage of the move themselves and double attack agains the Terrawing.
Last up we have the generic fighters and the Huanchi’s Claw icon bearer. The generic chameleon skinks are familiar with the stats, weapons, and rune marks we’ve seen before. They’re super fast, but easy to kill, and aren’t doing much damage. I think the best comparison is with the Arkanauts. The chameleon skinks with blowpipes are some of the cheapest ranged fighters in the game at 70 points, but the Arkanauts beat them at 50, they get an average 2 damage in melee as well as 1.33 damage at ranged, and unlike the chameleon skinks they don’t have to choose, they just get both options. The trade here of course is Arkanauts having only 3 move compared to the Chameleon skinks 6 move.
Weirdly, Huanchi’s claw at just 5 more points gets you that damage increase you’re looking for, but you only get one in the box! If I could field these as my baseline troop I think I might, indeed I wouldn’t be upset of my opponent used this fighter card for all their blowpipes.
I might sound a little down on this warband, but we’re not quite done yet. Let’s have a look at some lists.
This is how I would build the warband straight out of the box. Just pack everything with blowpipes and dance around the opponent as much as you can. I might build maybe 2 or 3 with melee weapons just for the variety. The blowpipes aren’t doing a massive amount of damage but there are a ton of them and the speed of this warband is crazy. This would definitely make for a fun game with the Jade Obelisk where they’re slowly trying to catch you while you’re constantly trying to keep outside of threat range.
Outside of the box, what we really want to do is add some punch. Here we’ve taken out two of the Terrawings and two of the Chameleon Skinks and added in a Kharibdyss instead. Order is a little limited on options when it comes to monsters and it was this or the War Hydra. Alternatively, you could take muscle from one of the other warbands like the Evocator-Prime on Dracoline for 320 points or even two Kurnoth Hunt Masters for a combined 430.
The only thing these little green guys are missing is damage, and you can easily fix that with some heroes. With a cheap leader and cheap fighters, the Hunters of Huanchi form a fantastic support team and unlike the Kharadron overlords who are often used to do similar, you’re not stuck with move 3 and instead have one of the fastest warbands in the game.
I’m also quite optimistic, that when we go deeper into the Gnarlwood we’re going to see more and more Seraphon options, that Age of Sigmar will see a Seraphon update and Warcry will see a new Seraphon monster which would be perfect for this warband.
Just before we finish, it does look like there is some extra campaign options in this box.
There is a section called Forest Tactics which looks like it gives a few pre-game options especially for fighters with the Trapper and Scout rune marks. There is also all the warband specific campaign options you’d normally expect, as well as a two player campaign taking the two warbands against each other in a series of games. There is also a new campaign arc variant where all the warbands involved split into either Trail Blazers destroying their way through the forest or Preservers trying to leave the forest intact. It’s a pretty cool spin on things and ends in a bit multiple player game which sounds fun.
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