Warcry – Hexbane’s Hunters


Before anyone gets excited, this video isn’t about a GW release for Underworlds fighters. As of this video, we’re still waiting. In the meantime, I am going to talk about how to get beautiful models like these onto the table for a game of Warcry. I’ll he looking at two different approaches.

The first is to build the profiles from the ground up, we can look at existing models to get an idea of what is appropriate, but ultimately we’re making the profile the way we think it should work.

The second approach is to go through the compendium and work out an existing profile we could use. This will require some compromises but it will be tournament legal, with approval from the TO for proxies.

The war band we’ll be looking at today is Hexbane’s Hunters. This is a group of Witch Hunters, led by Haskel Hexbane sporting the classic look with the hat and everything, Brydget Axwold packing a pistol and two hand axes, Aemos Duncarrow a massive man with a giant two handed axe, and the mysterious Quiet Pock who wields a explosive crossbow and leads two hounds Grotbiter & Ratspite

In our understanding fighters video, we had a look at some of the averages and what to expect. We’ll be using this as a bit of a baseline for the profiles we put together. The typical move for a fighter is 4 with points getting reduced if the fighter goes to the slow 3 and increased if the fighter is faster. Usually Elves are 5 move while mounted fighters are 8, 10, or 12 move. Toughness is usually 4, although for humans they’re typically 3 toughness.

Wounds follow a nice linear relationship to points, I don’t know whether the designers work out the points or the wounds first but we’ll be going for the wounds first and working out the baseline points from that. We can then make adjustments as needed.

The last aspect we have here is the average damage against toughness 4. In the understanding fighters video I suggested looking for 1 dmg for every 25 points, but that was an extremely aggressive profile on the basis that we’d be looking for the cream of the crop. Looking at the averages 1 damage per 40 points is probably reasonable.

The first model we’ll be looking at it Haskel Hexbane. 

In underworlds, the war band has a reaction after a friendly takes damage which will give the nearby units a boost, either an upgrade from hand without spending glory, or removing a move or charge token which allow the unit to move again.

So in this case I’m gonna suggest a Reaction after you take damage to allow a nearby fighter, let’s say within 6 inches, to take a free move action. It’s trading a single action for a single action so it’s not action efficiency but it will let the war band sacrifice one fighter to get another into position which feels thematic. We won’t let the puppies them though, so let’s add a not useable by beasts clause.

He’s human, so we give him 4 move and 3 toughness. Humans typically have move 4 and toughness 3 if they don’t have a shield. We should probably have less wounds than the Stormcast, who are supposed to be super humans. If we take a quick peak at the Stormcast we can see a Vindicator, the battle line troop, is 20 wounds so let’s try keep fighters under that. So let’s start with 18 wounds.

For rune marks he gets the leader rune mark and if we look through the various options, champion or destroyer probably would work well thematically for him, we’ll pick Destroyer since the Champion rune mark is very similar to Leader.

So for 18 wounds we’re talking about 150 points. We can adjust that up or down as we decide to add extra features.

For weapons, Haskel is armed with two large pistols and a bundle of stakes. So we would like to give him a short ranged attack along with a melee. Looking for a reference, I can see the company captain from the Kharadron Overlords does have a pistol, with range 8, 3 attack dice, 3 strength, 1 damage and 3 crit. That’s the same for the Cities of Sigmar Freeguild Pistolier, so it’s seems to be something GW have decided is a pistol stat line.

Since Haskel has 2 I’m going to suggest increasing the attack dice by 1 which seems to be the normal approach for double weapons. Working out the numbers, the T4 damage for this is 2.6 which is decent for a ranged attack. If he doesn’t move and attacks twice, that’s 5 damage which is pretty good.

I also wanted to give him a melee attack, in addition to the two pistols he’s also got a hammer and a chunk of stakes. For this one I’ve gone through a few revisions and struggled to find something. In the end I went for a basic melee attack and a special ability to reflect the stake. With 3 attack dice 4 strength 2/4 damage the average is 4 so a move and melee action will be worse than double ranged attack. 

I’m also going to add in an ability called  ‘Making a Point’, credit for that particular pun goes to the underworlds card designers. It’s a double so relatively easy to do and will rolls a single die with 2 to 5 doing 2 damage and 6 doing the value of the ability, hopefully a 6. That will get past a vampires high toughness and their reaction which only triggers on a melee attack. We’ll tag this to the destroyer rune mark and we’ll make sure any of the other figures with stakes get it too. 

To reflect him being a leader, we’ll give him a triple ability. “You Stand Accused!: Target an enemy fighter within 8″, for the remainder of the turn all visible friendly fighters gain +1 attack dice against that enemy fighter.” So Haskel can point out the target and the rest of the team can go to town. I’ve worded it as visible friendly fighters so he doesn’t benefit from it himself. I think this makes an interesting fighter. Haskel is primarily a ranged fighter with a support ability but also has slightly better melee damage and an ability that can only be used in melee.

I probably should up him a bit for points, maybe 160, but I’ll probably need a few games to get a better feel.

Now we have an idea of what we’d like the profile to look like, we can go through the existing profiles and see if there is something that would match. That means looking through the compendium until you find what you like, or you can take the spreadsheet and filter to try get something close to what you want.

Here we have 4 different profiles that are kinda similar to what we’re looking for. We definitely need a good range attack, we should have 4 move, 3 to 4 toughness, wounds around 18, and the leader runemark. The change caster is probably the closest to what I’m looking for, so we could make this as a Tzeentch demon war band. A quick glance at that list shows me that everything is a ranged fighter, which isn’t really what we’re going for.

We could make him a Boltboy Boss and have the war band as Kruleboyz. The dogs will be stab-grots, a little slow at 4 move but at least cheap. The other ranged fighters can be Hobgrot Slittas or Man-Skewer Boltboys. The big guy could be one of the Killabosses. All that could definitely work.

If we go Necromancer, we’re into the Souldblight Graveguard faction, which has lots of options. The dogs become Vyrkos Blood-born, 8 move. Aemos ends up a Kosargi Nightguard, chunky and with reach and good damage. We are a little limited on ranged options for Brydget and Quiet Pock though.

So while we definitely could make this work, we’re going to go with the Battlemage. He’s not quite perfect for a Witch Hunter but he ticks most of the boxes and the Cities of Sigmar war band is big enough to have the options we need.

So here we have Haskel Hexbane using the Battlemage profile. We’ll be using the normal abilities from the existing war band, but we can adjust the names to get the flavour we’re looking for.

Next up we have Brydget Axwold.

Another human so we can expect 4 move and 3 toughness. I’d ballpark her at 12 wounds. That will work out to 100 points. She does have a very cool ability that lets her improve her ranged attack for one shot only if they’re right next to her. This makes her Volley Pistol better in melee than her melee attack, but only once. Presumably she needs to reload after that. It’s a pretty cool idea, but I don’t want to get too bogged down with abilities, we’ve already got 3 so I’m just going to give her the destroyer runemark for the ‘Making a Point’ double and we’ll leave it there.

She also has a volley pistol, but just the one, so we’ll give her that normal range 8, 3 attack dice, 3 strength, 1 damage and 3 crit profile. She does have two Axes, so let’s go find an axe profile. The Pit Veteran from Spire Tyrants has a dual weapons profile, 4 attack dice, 4 strength, 2 hit damage, 4 crits.

That averages out to 5.3 which is probably a little high for 100 points, we can bring it down to 3 strength to try adjust it and turns out we’ve just made the Company Captain profile from the Arkanauts but with with +1 move for 10 more points. Let’s up her points slightly to make up for that, so now she’s 120 points and we leave it there for the stats.

Since we’ve settled on the Cities of Sigmar faction our choices are limited, but luckily the Cities of Sigmar has lots of profiles. I want a ranged attack and a decent melee attack. I also preferably don’t want the hero trait. The Elves open up a few options here, it could be interesting making her a little faster. I also quite like the better melee stat line on them.

In the end I picked the Sister of the Watch, although the Black Arc Corsairs slightly shorter range was tempting, I still wanted some punch out of her so the better damage won me over in the end. Again, this might be a case where I go back and re-evaluate after some games played with them. If this pistol shooting further than the others feels wrong, then we can adjust to the other profile.

The big guy is Aemos Duncarrow. I suspect he’s the Woodsman out of the Red Riding hood legend. From the quotes I’ve seen from him on the cards, he’s neither slow or dumb, although I am going to give him the Brute runemark along with the Destroyer one.

Although he’s human, since he’s so big I’d like to make him 4 toughness. That’s not too much of a stretch as 4 is pretty average for Warcry fighters. I’d like to have him chunky too, so maybe 18 wounds as well.

No ranged attack this time, just a solid melee attack. Let’s say 4 dice, 5 strength, 2 hit, 4 crit. A pretty typical line, average damage against T4 is 5.33. A good example is the Untamed Beasts Preytaker or the Iron Golems Signifier. The Signifier is perfect actually as it has 18 wounds already, so let’s just steal that stat line. This isn’t a super scary model, just a solid tough one.

Trying to mirror that in the Cities of Sigmar is tricky, the average rank and file fighters aren’t that chunky, so despite our best efforts we’re going to make Aemos a hero. That gives us a few options to play with. 

The Freeguild General is probably the best option especially as the destroyer abilities for the Cities of Sigmar work well, but I’m going to go with the Warden King instead. Almost the same, but with more wounds and tougher in exchange for movement 3. So he’ll be a bit lumbering. Again, this might be a case where we play with one profile to try it out an then decide whether to shift over.

Quiet Pock again has a ranged attack but this time it’s explosive! He’s also in charge of the two dogs. Let’s start him out the same as Brydget, 12 wounds, 4 move, and 3 toughness. 

He only has a dagger for his melee, so the punch is going to be with the ranged weapon. He has a crossbow that fires bolts with grenades on them. I figure high strength, 5 is probably good for killing vampires. The 2/4 damage profile is great. Let’s say 3 dice and 12 range and see what it looks like. The closest comparison is the Castigator which seems apt as they have explosive tipped crossbows. They have 15 range though, so 12 is a little weaker. They are 210 points though, so maybe we reduce damage slightly. Changing that to 1/4 brings the damage down to 3.5. Unlike the others, he doesn’t have any stakes, so no destroyer rune mark for him.

With a minimum range of 3, we give him the typical profile for a dagger as a backup, but he really wants to stay at ranged.

As with Aemos, we’re pushed into making this guy a hero, and he’ll be our last hero option if we want to keep the warband matched play legal. I’ve picked out a few profiles here from the Cities of Sigmar, but it’s worth also pointing out that this could be from any of the Order war bands. There are some options in the Lumineth war band for example that could fit the bill, or we could have the armour he’s wearing weigh him down reducing his movement to 3 and use one of the Kharadron Overlords heroes. We’re only going to have 2 options for heroes outside the warband, so it’s something we should use sparingly but it does open up lots of options which is good.

In this case, I went for the Marksman with Handgun, mostly because it means I don’t have to add extra abilities.

The last two fighters are the two hounds who will be the same.

The easy option is to make these the same as the Chaos Warhound or Dire Wolf. Fast at 8, normal dagger attack profile, only 3 toughness and a reasonable 10 wounds. They’re fast in but often die fast. The Chaos and Death thralls do have a reaction and special abilities, but this custom war band already has a reaction, so we don’t want to add extra. This does underpowered the dogs a little, but this is the sort of thing some extra play can help with. Maybe they’re fine as is, and maybe they’ll need an extra tweak down the line.

Picking a proxy profile for them is tricky. There is no dog profile in the Cities of Sigmar. So we get to pick between either Elves at 5 move or mounted fighters at 10. Due to the extra rules around mounted troops, I’ll favour picking an elf. Here we have 3 potential options. 

In the end I went for cheap and a little more damage with the Black Ark Corsair. The Bleaksword did have the damage profile I was looking for, but toughness 3 on the dogs makes more sense to me.

And that’s it.

Here we have the full custom war band with all 6 fighters. I’m sure after a few games I’ll be looking to make more tweaks, but right now we’re able to get this warband on the table which is a big step.

I’ve also put together an abilities card. For the Underworlds war bands usually you keep fit them into an existing warband. So in this case they’re part of the Cities of Sigmar warband and have access to all the normal Cities of Sigmar abilities. Alternatively, you could have them completely independent. 

Here we have the warband with Proxy cards. Each of these is a fighter from the Cities of Sigmar warband, although you will need to add some bodies to turn this into a legal warband. This is 655 points in total, and we’ve used up all the slots for heroes.

This page has all the abilities for the Cities of Sigmar, at least the ones these fighters can use. I’ve used the Tempest’s Eye ability list in this case. Each of the names have been changed to make it a little more thematic, using names from the cards from the Underworlds box.

In conclusion.

Warcry is a fantastic game. It’s quick to play and does a good job of capturing the feel for a fantasy skirmish game. This makes it partially fun for narrative campaign play, as you’re able to bang out a bundle of games quite quickly and don’t have to worry too much about balance. It’s possible to have some very unbalanced campaign games, either because one warband is better developed or because the random scenario is skewed in some way. As the game plays quick and a warband that loses will still get glory and artefacts, that’s okay.

This makes it perfect for custom games using unofficial profiles. This also lets us focus in on a particular setting. When the original game came out, it was very thematically focused on the Chaos warbands and the current season is doing similar with the Gnarlwood forest.

When we’re putting together a two player game, we can really get stuck in with some fun theme. I painted this warband with the same basing style as my Cursed City box, with the goal of using them along with the Cursed City heroes in a Witch Hunter versus Undead campaign. My next step to look at the scenery options and see what I’d need to do to make a decent city board.

If you have an underworlds warband or some custom models you’d like to play, I’d definitely recommend working out some profiles yourself. Maybe use some existing profiles as a starting point and tweak them to suit. Similarly, rather than coming up with abilities from scratch, take some of the existing ones and reskin them to suit your needs. The Warcry system really does make for a great game and it’s worth the effort.

Note: To make your own cards check out the Warcry Card Creator.

If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.

4 thoughts on “Warcry – Hexbane’s Hunters

  1. Hi, really interested in the custom cards you’ve made for Hexbane’s hunters. How have you found they played? Did you make any adjustments? If they still count as cities of sigmar, and you add others in, eg freeguild halberd, do you need to select a cities of sigmar type (eg living city) or did they all count as witch hunters?

    1. Honestly, I never got around to playing them yet. I’ve since painted up the Crimson Court with the same base style, so in the back of my head there is a plan to do a Cursed City Witch Hunters versus Undead thing. I kinda hoping we’ll see that in the next season. I just recently got back cards I ordered printed for the heroes from Cursed city in this case they’re order heroes from all over the order grand alliance (Qulathis the Exile as a High Sister, Dagnai Holdesnstock as an Arkanaut Admiral, Brutogg Corpse Eater as an Annihilator Prime with Grandhammer. and so on. So I can legally run any combination of 3 (as they’re all heroes) but no more. Once I get around to doing up their ability cards I might rename the abilities to be thematic. When it comes to the City of Sigmar, once you pick one city you lock into that, since Tempest Eye has that great movement ability I figure I’ll always use that. There’s a rule in there somewhere that says all your City of Sigmar heroes must be from the same city, so you can’t get the best of both worlds.

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