Welcome to this episode of Optimal Game State. In this video we’re looking at the Chaos Bladeborn warbands, these are the Underworlds models that also have rules for Warcry. In an earlier video I looked at the rules on how to use this fighters in your Warcry warband, so if you want to know more about that check that video.
That said, lets get stuck in.
This warband is a mix of the classics for the beast of chaos, it’s a Bray-Shaman leading a Bestigor and some Ungors.
Grashnak compares poorly to a Great Bray-Shaman, he’s 60 points more expensive for 5 more wounds and +1 hit damage to his melee which makes it about on par with the ranged damage. The Bray-Shaman’s most interesting ability is it’s [Double] Devolve which pulls a nearby target over, so having more health is good, but hardly 60 points good.
He does have a pretty amazing quad though, it that will do damage equal to the quad value and on a 2+ will stop a target from activating, but it is a [Quad] so you can’t rely on it.
Draknar is a Bestigor, for 35 more points you get 6 wounds, +1 crit damage. Not great, but it’s nice to have the option to spend a little to make him harder to kill. The Warrior runemark gives him access to a pretty typical charge like effect, not something you look for but handy to have when you happen to have exactly enough damage to kill a target.
Korsh and Murghoth are both Ungors with spears, the normal profile has a shield as well, so you pay 5 more points for Korsh or Murghoth but lose 1 toughness and gain 1 attack. That’s an upgrade from 1.6 damage to 2.5 which is pretty good.
Ushkor and Gnarl are both Ungor raiders with bows, they cost 10 cheaper, have 2 more wounds and the only downside is their bow strength is 3 rather than 4. So they’re definitely worth having especially in a Beast of Chaos warband where you don’t need to take Grashnak if you dont want to.
Overall, this bladeborn warband is a good addition to the roster for the Beasts of Chaos warband. Grashrak is probably the weakest of them as it’s so expensive but all the others give good options if you’re able to take them as fighters without Grashrak.
This warband has 3 Khorne Blood Warrios and a Flesh Hound with just two new abilities.
Magore himself is an over-costed Aspiring Deathbringer. 15 points more and you get +1 wound and -1 toughness. That said, his [Double] Daemonic Maw ability is very very good against high target fighters, it’s like a max strength melee attack doing 1/3 damage with attack dice equal to the value of the ability. With a double 6 that’s an average of 7 damage completely ignoring the target’s toughness. I think that option is probably worth the extra cost.
Zharkus and Ghartok are both Blood Warriors with Goreaxe and Gorefist, but 15 points more for +1 wound and -1 strength, better to run these guys as normal Blood Warriors. Interestingly, the Tome of Champions have the names and pictures reversed to how the Underworlds cards have it. I assuming underworlds version that I’ve used here is correct. That skull wrack screams flayskull.
Riptooth is a Fleshhound, but better. Same price but 2 extra wounds. His triple lets him give nearby Magore’s Fiends a bonus move action and that does include himself. So if you were to just take Magore and Riptooth you could use the Triple for a two bonus move actions which is pretty good value.
I really like this pair, they both average around 5.3 damage versus T4 targets so they’re doing good numbers. Riptooth is a great fast option for a chaos warband and is much toughter than Chaos Warhound, although at over twice the price you’d kind of hope he was. Magore’s ability doubles really well with the Blood for the Blood God ability which is a bonus action on a [Double] after you kill a target. So either you kill and use that, or don’t and get your extra burst damage from the Daemonic Maw.
Next up we have Garrek’s Reavers who are based on the Bloodreaver fighters who are less armoured versions of the Blood Warriors. They are notable due to the 5 move which is pretty nippy.
The warband has 4 extra abilities, with the double and quad available to everyone. Ever advancing is only going to be a little movement push but is very handy to have. The Quad is pretty meh, it’s hard to compete with the bonus move and attack of Rampage.
Garrek is a Blood Reaver champion, but 65 points more getting 7 more wounds and +1 toughness. Not a great deal. His unique ability is a double that will increase his crit damage for the next attack action, not great but he has the attacks to use it at least. Like so many of the bladeborn fighters we’ll see, he’s a chunky extra cost in this case about an extra 50 percent of the original for some increase survivability. That extra cost can be hard to swallow but can have it’s place.
Karsus and Saek are like Blood Reaver champions without the hero runemark, +1 toughness, less wounds and with very different weapon profiles.
Saek gets +1 strength, hit, and crit, but loses an attack dice which unfortunately is a net loss.
Karsus is one less attack dice but gets reach of 3 out of it, along with an aoe triple ability.
Targor and Arnulf are closer to the Bloodreaver stat line but cost 15 more but only get 2 wounds for that.
So only really Karsus and Saek are worth it I think. They offer a tougher statl-ine over the Bloodreavers without having to use a leader slot.
This list is a mix of the Tzeentch Arcanite and Daemons lists and sneaks a blue horror into the Arcanite base options which is interesting.
Their leader is Vortemis who is comparable to a Magister. He’s 40 points more for 2 wounds and his max range is 10 rather than the magisters 15. So you’re actually looking at a downgrade. Although the ability isn’t unique to him, as he’s the only one with a blast weapon, Empowered Bolts is Vortemis only. Since he doesn’t have to move, it is an upgraded version of Rampage due to the attack and strength boost, so it’s a nice option to have. Not worth the 40 points though.
K’Charik is Tzangor with greatblade, but 30 points more expensive for 1 wound and 1 toughness. He does get a triple to boost his damage, but you’ll probably use your triples elsewhere.
Turosh and Narvia are the same, both Kairic Acolytes with Blade and Shield. They both cost 15 more and their range attack loses 5 range from 15 to 10, so definitely pass on these.
So far not looking great.
The Blue Horror isn’t normally in the Arcanites Warband, so this is an interesting addition. They compare to the Blue Horror from the Daemons of Tzeentch list with the exact same stats but 5 cheaper. Where the normal Blue Horrors have a reaction, the Eyes of the Nine Blue Horrors have a double as they’re from a time before reactions. This lets them change into a Brimstone Horror if they have taken any damage. The Brimstone Horrors can not be taken in your list, and only come from this ability. They have 1 less crit, 2 less wounds but everything else is the same. The double is arguably a little better than the reaction, it does cost you ability dice but you can get some work done with the Blue Horror and then at the end of their activation, pop them for a Brimstone Horror which can then activate later in the turn.
After all of that though, maybe you would be better off just getting a fighter with more wounds?
All in all, not a great set of options for the Eyes of the Nine. Might be better to run them as they’re compendium equivalents instead.
This is a Nurgle Rotbringer warband. So we’re expecting hard to kill and we’re already seeing some chunky health pools.
Fecula is a Rotbringer sorcerer with 1 more toughness, 1 more strength, 6 more wounds, but nearly doubles the price being 80 more points. She does have a once per game double to get an extra ranged attack, but that’s certainly not worth the 80 points.
Sepsimus is a Putrid Blightking with Sonorous Tocsin but costs 10 more for 1 more wound, 1 extra crit damage, and 1 less attack dice. That is a downgrade but he doesn’t take up a hero slot.
Ghuloch is a Putrid Blightking with Blighted Weapon at 30 more points, for 1 wound, 1 extra attack dice, and for some reason the Beast runemark
All 3 better run as compendium fighters instead, and a clear example of how move 3 fighters were buffed in the current edition.
This Slaaneshi warband is fast though, so maybe we’ll get some value out of it. Everyone is move 5 along with some reach and ranged weapons. Their warband ability is a quad, if you don’t need the move it’s a boosted Rampage which is a nice option to have.
Vasiliac is a new fighter. His runemarks would make him a Myrmidesh Painmaster but he’s 1 move fast and his spear is more like a Lord of Pain’s weapon. For 50 more points you’re getting, 6 wounds, reach of 2, and 1 extra crit damage. Importantly, you’re also getting +1 move which is pretty big. He’s almost a mid way between the two options and seems like a decent addition to the roster.
Slakeslash is a Slaangor Fiendblood but for 20 points more, you gain 2 wounds and trade the reach of 2 for an extra point of hit and crit damage. It’s a decent jump, moving from the Fiendbloods 6 average damage to Slakelashs 8.
Hadzu is a Blissbarb archer, for 15 extra points she gets +1 attack and +1 crit for the bow and 4 extra wounds. A pretty good for the points taking the range attack from 1.3 to 2.5.
Glissette is brand new, same core stats as the Blissbarb with with Spear instead. A little cheaper than Hadzu trading the bow’s range for just 2 reach but more damage at 4.6 making hir the most damage efficient fighter for Slaanesh.
So all four of the Dread Pageant are worth trying out. Glissette is definitely the stand out while Hadzu is a great upgrade. Slakelash is actually a bit of a monster, fast and deadly while Vasiliac isn’t too far behind.
Next up, a fan favourite and with good reason. The Skaven model range definitely need an upgrade. These are one of two Skaven underworlds warbands and have a great new style.
They are led by Skritch who is the greatest, yes-yes. This is a Clawlord, but 50 points cheaper losing 1 toughness, 1 attack, 1 strength, bring average damage down from 6 to 3.5 but gaining reach of 2. Alternatively you can think of him as a Clawleader with 6 extra wounds, 1 less toughness, and a tiny less damage.
He’s now the joint cheapest Skaven hero along with Clawleader, Master Moulder, and Nightleader. If you’re not using Master Moulder for Beasts, then Skritch is probably your go to if you want a cheap Skaven ally. Normally you’d do that to get access to Lead from the Back but in the recent FAQ that was changed to only +1 attack rather than half the ability value. Skritch is still a great option and as a Bladeborn leader brings you the rest of his swarm as fighter options.
His ability is a resurrection ability, so it’s been hit by the FAQ but Skaven and Chaos in general didn’t have access to a resurrection ability before so even with the change it’s a bonus for the entire grand alliance. It will only work on Spiteclaw Swarm fighters with the minion runemark, which are the Hungering, Lurking, and Festering Skaven.
Hungering Skaven is a Clanrat with 2 extra wounds for 15 points. So you’re paying extra so Skritch can use his ability.
Lurking Skaven is a Plague monk with 1 extra attack, but 1 less crit which seems to even out, with both doing 3.33 damage and extra 2 wounds for 10 points. Again, this is for the ability.
The Festering Skaven is actually just a straight Plague Monk with 2 extra wounds for the same price. So good value.
All of those can be brought back with Skritch’s triple which actually gives them a lot of value for their small point increases. This is impacted by the recent rules update which means they can’t be activated immediately after, but it’s still an impressive ability.
That leaves Krrk who doesn’t have the Minion runemark to get raised, he has the same stats as a Plague Censer Bearer but without the Runemark for the triple but at a bargain of 20 less points. Worth reminding at this point that we’re comparing to current profiles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that profile is seeing play at the moment. That said, I think Krrk is looking pretty good although he’s not someone you can bring back.
This warband is long out of print, but if you do have them these are some great options for a Skaven or Chaos warband. The whole warband comes to 465 points and you get 5 bodies. That’s something you can do a lot of work with. I do like Spiteclaw by himself as a Skaven ally but you’re probably best off taking at least 2 others probably the Festering and Lurking Skaven to utilise his ability.
This warband is one of my personal favourites. They have the classic Chaos Warrior style along with a Sorceror to back them up. Dour Cragan in particular is rocking the Slambo stance with both weapons.
Khagra is an Aspiring Champion with 1 extra crit and 4 extra wounds for 50 points. Not a great deal, but as she’s the leader if you’re outside Slaves of Darkness she opens up access to the warband.
Zarshia is a Sorceror with 1 less toughness, 2 less wounds, 1 less ranged crit but for 10 less points. Importantly, she’s not a hero so she doesn’t take up a hero slot. This does mean she misses out on the generic Slaves to Darkness ability of Daemonic Power but she gets her own options. She has a double that does straight damage on average equal to half of the ability value. She also has a very interesting teleport ability for a Triple. So she can pick any Khagra Ravagers fighter within 12” and set them up with 6” of herself. That can either be used to put a fighter into base to base contact, or could be used to sling them across the board. A turn one Zarshia double moving her 6 will be able to take someone from her battle group and sling them forward an effect 12 inches which is pretty impressive.
Razek and Dour are both variations on Chaos Warriors costing 20 to 35 more but only getting +1 wound each. That does open up them as a target for Zarshia, but that’s a lot.
Obviously out of this group Zarshia is the stand out, but she does work better if she has someone else to use her ability on. If it’s a Slaves to Darkness warband that means you can use Dour Cragan as a budget version but if you’re any other Chaos Warband then you’ll need to tak Khagra with the pair costing 340 but bringing something pretty rare to see.
Next up, Godsworn Hunt
This warband of 6 is quite like the Darkoath Savagers, but is actually part of the Slaves to Darkness, they get all the fun. One magic user leader, 2 fighters with big weapons, 1 with a spear, 1 with a bow, and a doggy.
Theddra is another Sorceror equivalent, but this time varies a lot. For a start she doesn’t have the mystic runemark so she doesn’t have access to the Sorceror’s buff ability but she does have her own debuff ability which will reduce the toughness of a target. Her attacks are the same, but she’s 4 less wounds and costs 30 more points. Enfeeble can be better than Daemonic power, because multiple fighter can benefit from the reduced toughness of the target, but Daemonic Power as a double increasing strength and attacks will typically win out.
The rest of the warband are pretty much variations on the Chaos Marauder with Flail or the Axe and Shield stat-line. That flail is super popular due to it’s cheap 65 cost. Shond and Grundann do have better damage profiles but that’s at nearly double the cost. For 5 points more you can get the Chaos Warrior which has 5 more wounds and toughness 6 along with a similar weapon.
Jagathra is 10 more but gets +1 wounds and +1 crit damage, and +1 speed. Actually a really good option for a Slaves to Darkness warband to upgrade their Marauder with flail if they have the points.
Grawl is quite interesting, he compares to the Chaos Warhound but is 10 cheaper losing 2 speed and 2 wounds. His attack profile is a lot better, although it’s a shame to lose the Warhounds reaction. Instead Grawl gets the Slaves to Darkness reaction which can heal up 3 damage if he’s about to get hit. When I play the Warhounds I often find they go down fast, although Grawl only have 6 wounds, this reaction could keep him in the game a lot longer. When he’s not getting targeted he has the option of the Slaves to Darkness double which would increases his strength by the value for the remainder of the turn. That could do some serious work.
Ollo doesn’t really have a direct comparison. However you look at it, he’s pretty expensive. He has a double which gives Grawl an extra move, unfortunately he can’t use it on a Chaos Warhound but it’s a pretty good ability.
Overall, I can see Grawl making it into Slave to Darkness lists because he’s a ver good boy. Jagathra is a small cost increase for some benefits and is a nice option along with the flail. Theddra might be an alternative to the Sorceror, being able to pull a targets toughness down to 1 could be big if you can get 2 or more targets on them.
Last up for Chaos we have the Gnarlspirit pack who we went into detail with in their preview video. The highlights are that Blackwing can fly which is unusual, Gorl is great damage for his points, while the Lupan and Crimson Kheira are notably for their move 5 which is faster than usual. This warband is from the new edition so they would have been costed with the current design approach.
Two Chaos Warbands have not yet received rules, these are two fantastic sets of models so hopefully we see rules for them soon enough.
Okay summary. Almost all of these Bladeborn warbands have a place. The ones that don’t have great stats, do make great models for the generic models. A lot of the time the profiles are slightly more expensive variants that are a little tougher which can be nice to have as an option. For me there are a few stand outs.
Magore and Riptooth are a very cool combo. The Dread Pagent are all good and Vassilac and Slakeslash are fast with great damage while the other two are just good. Obviously Skritch is the greatest, yes yes, and gets you the resurrection ability into chaos. Zarshia saves the Ravagers and her teleport is good enough to pay premium for Khagra. The Godworn hunt don’t offer a lot but Grawl is welceome in any Slaves to Darkness warband.
Looking forward to getting this models on the table, and I’ll be watching ebay for the warbands I’m missing.
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