Today in Optimal Game State we are looking at the Warhammer Underworlds models you can run in Warcry. In the most recent FAQ GW confirmed that we can keep using the old Underworlds rules from the Tome of Champions 2021 which had tons of profiles but for the previous edition. These are referred to as Bladeborn fighters and I went through the special rules to use them in an earlier video.
As these fighters are from the earlier edition, they follow a different points calculation system. So some are over-costed and better run as normal fighters, some are interesting alternatives, while a few gems are simply better versions of existing models.
So we’re going to take a run through the fighters, comparing them each time to existing models within the same warband for reference.
We start with Zarbag’s Gitz which is a massive warband of 9 fighters. These loomspite gitz cover all the classics, a wizard, archers, netter, herder with squigs, and a goblin fanatic with ball and chain.
Zarbag compares to the Fungoid Cave-Shaman, he is 20 points more expensive and has the exact same stats. He does get his own special ability, which is a double that forces an enemy to make a bonus disengage. As the Gobbos are typically quite squishy, that can be a good way to keep a friendly safe and also lets them trigger the universal reaction Strike Them Down which will do D6 damage on a 4+. In some cases that might be better damage than actually trying to hit the target.
Zarbag does not have the mystic runemark, so he misses out on the Cave-Shaman’s triple which is an aoe damage ability. It’s pretty random and for best results you want a high value triple which you cannot rely on, so it’s not a concern.
So Zarbag is a chunky increase in points and you’re only getting the ability out of it. That said it is a double, so very usable and quite an interesting ability.
Next we have Snirk Sourtongue who is a Goblin Fanatic with ball and chain. He is doing 8 damage on average versus T4 and does so with a reach of 3. For comparison I’ve got the Decimator Prime, just to show a similar weapon profile and even though the Decimator has over twice the wounds and toughness, it’s still only move 3. Snirk is insane value, definitely within the top 10 fighters in the game when it comes to damage per points. You definitely want one for your Gitz.
He does come with a Quad. You should never take a fighter for a Quad ability, but they can be nice to have the option. A high value quad and multiple targets will make Whirling Death a better option than simply Rampage, so it’s one to keep an eye out for.
Drizgit Da Squid Herder and his two Squigs Gobbaluk and Bonerakka. These all cost much more than the baseline, Drizgit is twice the cost of a Squig Herder while Gobbaluk and Bonerakka are 65 more than the normal Cave Squig. They don’t get any extra abilities and have the same runemarks. The normal Squig Herder does 2 damage on average, while Drizgit does 3 with a reach of 2. He’s an extra 6 wounds so you’re looking at twice the health and 50 extra damage along with toughness 4. I don’t think you’d be wrong taking either to be honest, two normal herders will do slightly more damage, but it’s easier to kill one.
Really, you’re taking a herder for the ability. The Agile runemark opens up a Triple that gives a Beast a bonus move. That’s quite interesting for us here because Gobbaluk and Bonerakka are upgraded versions of the Cave Squig.
The normal Squig does 3.5 damage but these biters are doing an impressive 6.67. So even though they are an expensive upgrade, you’re packing a lot of biting into that package.
The Netta has always been a classic. The Trapper runemark gives them access to a double that gives a 3+ chance to stop a target within 3 inches from moving or disengaging. If you’re taking your 55 point Stabba with Barbed Net and using it to lock down a 200 point model it’s insane value. It was so good in fact, that it got a bit of a nerf between editions.
In comes Prog da Netter who didn’t get the memo. He’s 5 points cheaper with 4 extra wounds and an extra point of strength. Amazing. Nettas are one of the go to fighters for the gitz and Prog is a big upgrade.
Moving over to our Shootas and Zarbag has 3, Stikkit, Redkap, and Dibbz. Costing 10 more points than a normal shoota each of these get +4 wounds and +1 strength on melee. It’s a decent upgrade and makes a nice option, but if you can keep your Shootas out of the action the normal Shoota can still sling the same arrows for 10 points less.
And that’s all of Zarbag’s Gitz. Really amazing fighters in there. You can also take Zarbag in any of the other Destruction factions and get access to a Netta and Snirk who are the all stars from this particular warband.
Keeping in the Gloomspite Gitz we have the insanely expensive Mollog the Mighty. This Cave Troll is one of the most expensive models in the destruction faction. Just slightly cheaper is the Tyrant who we’ll be comparing him to. This might seem a little mean, but he is a hero and unless we take him as a Leader we could just as easily take the Tyrant in that slot.
The Tyrant is one of the top damage fighters doing 13.33 damage while Mollog has a still impressive 8.33. The Tyrant has the same move and toughness but 7 more wounds and even a ranged option. So, based on the numbers alone I think I prefer the Tyrant. If I had Mollog I’d probably run him as a much cheaper Troggoth thrall instead.
One potential reason to run him though, is the change recently made to the gitz Pile on Ability, before the most recent FAQ you could use this reaction on a cheap git to move a friendly fighter. The FAQ changed that so the fighter who moves must be in the Gloomspite Gitz faction, and while the Tyrant and Troggoth Thralls are not, Mollog is.
He does have a few abilities specific to him.
- A double ability that will do some damage.
- A once per game double that will summon a Stalasquig which will do 2d6 to an enemy that moves close to it.
- He also has a once per game Triple that will setup a Spiutechroom which will reduce the attacks by 1 for enemies near it. A very cool ability that will last the rest of the game but cannot be moved.
These are actually very clever ways of using the other models that come in his warband.
Last up we have the Bat Squig, which is terrifying all by itself. For most warbands getting access to a flyer is a big deal but the Gitz already have the Squig Hopper for 200 which is very similar but move 10, -1 wound, -1 strength, and trades the detrimental Beast runemark for the Champion runemark which gives a triple Madcap Destruction. The Bat Squig does up the damage from the Hoppers 5.33 to 6.66 which his notable. So it does make for an interesting option.
Next up we have Rippa’s Snarlfangs, 3 gitz on Wolves. Or maybe 3 Wolves that have Gitz, hard to say. They have two abilities that any of them can use. The first is a Double Snarlfang’s Jaws, you roll 1 dice and on a 4-5 do 1 damage and a 6 will do the value of the ability in damage. This is nice as it ignores toughness, but you have to consider whether an Onslaught for extra attack dice would be better.
The second ability is a Quad, which is the usual charge style ability which honestly rarely is useful as a Triple, so a Quad is just right out.
The Leader if Rippa Narkbad. Here I’ve compared him to a Spider Rider Boss as the Squig Riders have fly. Notably the Spider Riders don’t count as mounted but the Snarlfang Riders do, so keep that in mind.
Rippa is 5 cheaper, 2 slower, with 2 more wounds. The Spider Riders average melee damage is 3 while Rippa ups that to 4 but does lose out on the reach and ranged attack. All in all, I really like this fighter. Even though his damage is a little better than the Spider Rider Boss, it’s probably a little low for what I’d like to see in a fighter costing this much, my overly optimistic numbers are 1 average damage per 25 points, so maybe I just love the models.
The two Fighters are Mean-Eye an Archer and Stabbit who has a Spear. If you’re a Gloomspite Gitz player these are fighters for you and any other Destruction warband can get access to them if they take Rippa Narkbad first. Just like Narkbad, these are fast at 8 move and have chunky health with their 18 exceeding the expected 3 wounds per 25 points. Although they do have a below average 3 toughness.
Mean-Eye does 1.67 damage at ranged and 1 damage in melee, so he wants to keep out of melee. His ranged option is better than the spider rider with longer range and an extra point of crit damage.
Stabbit has a much better 2.5 damage with his spear having reach 2. That’s the same as the Spider rider but losing the ranged option.
Unsurprisingly, I like Stabbit a lot more than Mean-Eye. Although I’d be quite interested to see what a warband with multiple fighters like Mean-Eye would be like. That might be something to try out with the Spider Riders although they are pretty one of the weak parts of the gloomspite lists.
Notably, while Rippa’s warband is well out of print and almost impossible to get your hands on. There was a recent release for Snarlfang Riders though, a box of 5 fantastic models. Right now they don’t have Warcry rules, although you could use either Rippa’s warband or if you wanted more proxy them for the Spider Riders.
Moving over to the Ogors we have Hrothgorns Mantrappers. We have an Ogor with giant bow, a Frost Sabre, and a bundle of Gnoblars.
Hrothgorn himself compares to an Icebrow Hunters, although he’s 20 points more. While his core stats are the same, the weapon profiles are very different. The Icebrow has 10 average melee damage and 3.33 average ranged damage. Hrothgorn has 4 melee damage and 6.67 ranged damage. So Hrothgorn is a dedicated ranged fighter, actually one of the top ones. He shares the top spot when it comes to ranged damage with the Stormcast Judicator. That said, he is paying a premium for it. That does mean he’s got an insane 40 wounds, so it’ll take a while to kill him. Although his ranged ability does have a minimum, so enemy fighters will be looking to get in close where Hrothgorn is doing less damage.
Notably, Hrothgorn does not have the Brute runemark. Unfortunately this is the Runemark that opens up all the Ogor abilities, so this really limits his access. That Scout runemark does let him use the Double Lead the Skal letting him give a nearby Beast a bonus attack action.
That beast is Thrafnir who is the exact same price as a Frost Sabre but gets a bonus 6 wounds with no down side. So if you were ever taking a Frost Sabre take Thrafnir.
Last we have some Gnoblars.
The normal Gnoblar is 45 points with a weak enough melee attack doing 2.5 damage. They have a double that forces anyone who comes near them to take impact damage. So thats a D6 with 1 doing 3 damage and 2-3 doing 1 damage.
Bushwakka has the same Trapper runemark, so gets all that for 5 points cheaper. In addition he has 2 more wounds and a once per battle ability which lets him pick a point within 3 inches and place a trap marker with the damage 2D6 instead. Definitely a straight upgrade.
At the same price we have Quiv, who also has 2 more wounds and extends his weapon reach out to 2 inches but the damage dropping to 1.66. His ability is a triple and has him hand Hrothgorn an arrow letting the big guy get an extra attack, which as we mentioned before is pretty great damage and with 9 range is likely to have a target.
Last up we have Luggit & Thwak who cost 20 points more but have twice the wounds but only slightly more damage at 2, although that does have a reach of 2 which really helps. The damage increase is a little disappointing, but they do offer a meaningful choice.
Overall some interesting options in this warband. Hrothgorn is not the fighter I was expecting and leans heavily into the ranged style. The Gnoblars are either options to or just straight up improvements on a normal Gnoblar which is nice to see.
Moving over to some Orruks we start with Hedkrakka’s Madmob. This is a warband of 4 savage orcs with a mix of ranged and melee fighters.
The leader is HedKrakka a Wrurgog Prophet but at a chunky 70 more points. He gets 4 extra wounds and the weapon profiles remain the same. His unique abilities are a triple that increase the crit values against a target by 3, not great given the rarity of crits, and a quad that does straight damage. It has the potential to do some pretty crazy numbers, so it’s actually a pretty good ability despite being a Quad where the value matters.
I think a normal Prophet is the better option in this case.
The two melee fighters get compared to the Savage Orruk Morboy and the Savage Big Stabba.
Toofdagga is 10 more points and gets 1 more wound and the damage increases from 4 to 4.67 on average. Not a massive increase, but a decent alternative option.
Wollop Da Skull is 40 points cheaper than the Big Stabba with almost half the wounds, and the damage drops from 7.5 with the Big Stabba to 5.5. This is a nice alternative. Damage wise it’s slightly more points efficient.
Last up we have Dakko Sharp-Stikka who is 5 points more than an Arrowboy with 1 more wound and melee and ranged crit damaged increased by 1. That brings the normal 1.3 ranged to 1.6, a reasonably improvement making this fighter a solid side grade.
So nothing amazing with these fighters, Hedkrakka is a non-starter but the other 3 Savage Orks all look like they could have a place.
Staying with the Orruks we have Morgok’s Krushas, 3 Ironjaw Fighters. They’re all beefy, toughness, and dangerous. They do have a special ability, but it’s only for use against Monsters. With the recent points increase we’re not expecting monsters to feature a lot, but if you do face one this is a bonus attack for a triple which is decent.
Morgok sits in a bit of a weird spot. He has the Runemarks of the Brute Boss with Boss Chopa but is closer in stats and points to the Orruk Megaboss. The Megaboss is one of the big hitters in the destruction grand alliance, doing an impressive 10 damage on average. There are a few Ogors who can do more damage, but very few. Morgok, despite costing more, does less coming in with 9.33 damage which is still impressive all the same. The Brute Boss for reference is 7.5 damage. The Megaboss has the Champion trait, but this is only for the Quad ability Mighty Waaaagh! which is an upgrade on the Triple version, all the Ironjaw leaders get access to. It’s a nice bonus, but you’re far more likely to use the Triple and the majority of the time it’ll get just as much work done.
So what do you get? Morgok has the Brute runemark which does give him access to the Triple ability You Messin’ , which could very much be game winning. The common approach to dealing with Objective missions is to have lots of fighters and this shuts that down for one objective. This means in some games, Morgok can just walk up to an objective in enemy hands and just take it. From this perspective, Morgok is a 50 point upgrade on the Brute Boss for 5 more wounds and just under 2 extra damage. Not terrible.
Ardskull and Thugg also have the Brute Runemark, so you’ll be able to cover multiple objectives with the full warband and decide where you want to use the Triple. They both cost a chunk more than their Orruk Brute counterpart, Ardskull is 15 more points and Thugg and impressive 35 more points. Both get +1 wound and a slightly different weapon profile. Unfortunately, Ardskull is a damage downgrade, taking the Gore-Choppas 7.5 average damage to a mere 5. Thugg is a little better, taking the Pair of Brute Choppas 5.33 damage up to 6. In both cases, unfortunately, you’re probably better running them as their compendium equivalents.
Still with the Ironjaws, we have Ironskulls Boyz. While the previous warband were all Orruk Brutes these are all Orruk Ardboyz. Again, 4 fighters and just the one ability that everyone has, a Double called Dead ‘Ard. This reduces all hits and crits against that fighter by 1.
The warband is lead by Gurzag Ironskuill who is 45 points more expensive than a normal Ardboy Boss and only has 6 wounds difference. He’s doing an impressive 7.33 damage, but you’re getting much more value out of the Ardboy Boss I think.
Bonekutta is similar, he’s comparable to the Orruk Ardboy with Big Choppa. For an extra 45 points, that’s over 50% extra, you get 1 wound and reach 1. Not a great deal. The reach is very cool but I think in this case I’d run the Bonekutta model as an Orruk Ardboy instead.
Similarly, Hakka and Basha compare to the Orruk Ardboy with Choppas. The Ardboy does on average 4 damage, Basha does the same, and Hakka does slightly more at 4.67. They each get 1 extra wound but cost 30 to 35 more points. And that’s the warband. The models are a nice update to the current Ardboy kit and they’ll make great options as Compendium fighters but not with their Bladeborn rules.
The Dominon box brought with it the Swamp Orruks, the Kruleboyz. This warband, Da Kunnin’ Krew are one of the newer White Dwarf Bladeborn releases and were designed with the current Warcry ruleset in mind. For Warcry the Kruleboyz don’t have a lot of options, so this warband is good to see.
The leader is Mannok Da Kunnin who is an upgraded Gutrippa Boss with Wicked Stikka. The Gutrippa boss has 4 damage and Mannok upgrades that to a healthy 6. He also adds an extra 8 health although his toughness drops by one due to the lack of Shield. He is a chunky 40 extra points, but the upgrades are worth it.
He does get an ability unique to him which is a double which prevents him from being the target of long range attacks while he’s near an obstacle. Pretty niche but an extra option.
Despite not being a boss, Torka best compares to the same fighter as before, the Gutrippa Boss with Wicked Stikka. The numbers are almost identical, but Torka loses 1 toughness and is 20 points cheaper. That’s a pretty good deal, especially when you see his ability.
For a Double, on a 2+ an enemy within 2 inches cannot move or disengage. So Torka can move right up to a target, hit it with his reach of 2 and then lock it down for a turn. That’s pretty great. He is over twice the cost of the Goblin with Net but doing a lot more damage and a lot harder to kill. I would consider him an auto-take for the Kruleboyz.
Next we have Krookgrin who is a Hobgoblin. He is identical to a normal Hobgrot Slitta but costs 70 more points. He does have an interesting Double, Gang Up. I’ve mentioned similar abilities in a few of the recent videos and I’ve really liked it when you can chain scarey fighters together but I’ve disliked it when you’re chaining weaker fighters together and are limited in the options you have. In this case, Krookgrin is the best fighter with this ability doing 3 damage on average with the remainder all Grots.
Those Grots are Gikkit and Shank. They both cost 10 more points than a normal Stab-Grot, which with fighters this cheap is a lot. Their numbers are all the same with the only difference being their runemarks. The Stab-Grots Bulwark runemark doesn’t actually do anything by itself, it’s used with the Killaboss double ability to give the Stab-Grot an extra action.
Gikkit gets access to the Kruleboyz double normally reserved for the Orruks. It takes his average damage from 2 to 3 and is slightly better than using the universal double Onslaught. Shank gets the Scout runemark which gives him the same net effect as Torka Tuffskul. For reference, he’s the exact same cost as the Gobbo with Net has all the same numbers but +1 toughness. The gobbo ability does have 3 inch range rather than 2 but only works on a 3+ so this is much much better. Another instant take for your Kruleboyz list.
I’m still not impressed by the Krrokgrin or Gikkit but Torka and Shank are fantastic and Mannok is good enough that he’s worth any Destruction warband taking to open up the other two fighters.
Last we have Blackpowder’s Buccaneers. Like Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers, this is an Ogor and a bundle of Grots. This time though, we also get a bird and a monkey.
Gorlok like most of the Ogors has a melee and a ranged option. His melee is an impressive 10 damage on average, while his ranged is clearly just backup at 2.6. I’ve compared him here to the Icebrow Hunter who is a similar cost, just 20 more, and has the same melee damage on average but with slightly better ranged damage of 3.33. The scout runemark does give the Icebrow a Double that will give a beast a bonus attack action, but Gorlok has his own set of unique abilities.
The first is a double Bird Strike, which gives the bird in this warband Shreek, a bonus action. He also has a triple that will add 3 dice to his next ranged attack action. That pistol attack is 2.6 base with 2 dice, so the extra three dice over doubles it to 6.5. So you’ll always try to get into the Reach 2 for the melee attack but you can still push out some good damage at range if you have a Triple.
There are two grotz in this warband, Peggz and Kagey. I’m comparing them to the generic Gnoblar here who is 45 points with 2 average damage and a trap ability that does impact damage.
Peggz costs 5 points more with all the same numbers getting a double ability that will give the monkey a bonus action. Whether that’s worth it or not will depend on the monkey
Kagey is 15 points more, the same core stats but the damage has dropped a little to 1.3 but is now a range 8 attack. He does have a quite cool double which presumably has him using the rope and hook to propel himself forward getting a bonus move action towards a target.
Fun additions, but I’d probably just run these as cool looking Gnoblars.
Mange is the Monkey. 10 points more than a Gnoblar and with a slightly better damage profile giving 1 more attack and 1 more strength for 2.6 damage. He does have 1 more move as well which is pretty nice. The runemark is for Peggz to use and honestly at 2.67 damage I’m not sure it’s worth it.
Shreek is over double the cost of a Gnoblar but comes with move 10 and fly, so it’s a really nice option. The damage profile is similar to the Gnoblar but with 1 extra strength. That won’t mean much against T4 or better, but helps against T3 targets. Gorlock can use a Double to give Shreek a bonus action which is pretty cool when you consider he’s move 10. Shreek makes for a nice addition to the Ogor roster. Normally the fast unit would be the Frost Sabre at 8 move for 175 points. Shreek is the first flyer. So even though you’re not getting great wounds or damage for 100 points, this fast flyer is a nice option.
And that’s it.
There is one warband I’ve skipped, which is the Looncourt that just came out in a recent White Dwarf. I’ve covered those in another article and the short version is they’re similar to existing fighters but cost 5 more and get more abilities. They’re a good warband and a nice addition to the gitz.
Summary time. There are a lot of Bladeborn warbands for Destruction, and a lot of good options.
- Zarbag’s Gitz has some amazing additions like the Netter and Fanatic, while the remainder are interesting side grades.
- Hrothgorn is a nice ranged fighter, but his Frost Sabre Thrafnir is an upgraded Frost Sabre.
- I like Morgok as an option, but most of the other Orruk options are better in the compendium, probably due to the buff the move 3 fighters got this edition.
- Da Kunnin’ Krew were a surprise success. Mannok is decent but Torka and Shank who both have nets are total stars.
- Gorlok Blackpowder is nice, but Shreek gives the Ogors something they never had before.
- The looncourt has some nice options but for me Snorbo who has a Waagh ability for the Gitz is my favourite.
All in all, pretty good for Destruction. Remember, all these Bladeborn warbands are part of a greater warband, so you can pick and choose any individual fighters. If they aren’t in your warband, you also have the option to take the leader which will then open up all the other fighters. That’s actually the bigger part. Previously only heroes were shared, so non-hero fighters were locked into their warband. That meant you couldn’t get a Gobbo Netta unless you were playing Gloomspite Gitz, but now there are a few options. This has opened up lots of interactions and really explode warband list crafting.
The only real downside, is the majority of these Underworlds models are long out of print and almost impossible to get your hands on. I live in hope that GW will do some sort of made to order for all these warbands which would give us a chance to snap them up. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to use proxy models as long as you make it clear to your opponent.
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