Warcry – Wyrdhollow Bladeborn

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This week the new White Dwarf came out and I’m delighted to see that they’ve included rules for all 4 of the Underworlds warbands from the recent Wyrdhollow Season. This isn’t something we take for granted. We did get rules for the Gnarlwood season, but the last one was 6 months ago so we were beginning to wonder if GW had stopped. I plan to talk about this more in another video, but right now this is great news and thanks to the White Dwarf and Warcry teams for getting this to us.

There are 4 warbands, with around 18 fighters in total. The White Dwarf article gives you all the rules you need to play these fighters including profiles, abilities, and the rules for Bladeborn fighters which can also be found in the FAQ. Unlike some of the previous releases it does not include cards which is a shame but understandable with so many fighters. Broadly, all of these fighters are well costed, so they aren’t going to massively shake up the meta and I’m not going to say they’re must haves. In ways that’s a little disappointing but it also means the the design team are doing a good job. These are great models and if you like the sculpt you now have the option to run them without needing to use them as a proxy.

Lets get stuck in.

First up we have Domitan’s Stormcoven who are a warband of 3 fighters for the Thunderstrike Stormcast. Interestingly, all of these are considered heroes. With most bladeborn warbands you’d have one hero as the leader and the rest as fighters. If you were allying in the leader, you could then take fighters from that warband as normal fighters. Not so in this case. These will always take up hero slots, so if you want run all three you have to run them in a Thunderstrike warband so you can use all 3 of the hero slots. 

All three are similar and appear to be variants of the Knight Arcanum, where they differ is in the runemark and the ability they get. The Knight-Arcanum has a Double which can do a little damage at ranged.

The first of our fighter is Sarpon who at 10 points cheaper than the Knight Arcanum his profile is the same but with an extra dice on his melee attack and an extra strength on his ranged attack. Pretty nice. Everyone in this bladeborn warband get the usual Thunderstrike abilities, notably as heros they all get the Shock and Awe double which will give them a bonus move or attack after they get a kill. They all get their own Double Aetherforce, increases their toughness by 1 and adds 2 to their move. It’s a straight upgrade from the Universal Rush which only adds 1 move and honestly is my most used ability, so this is fantastic. Then each of the fighters get their own special ability. Sarpon gets Scouring Blows which will increase his hits to 5+ for the next attack. If we do the numbers, that’s about an increase of 1.3 so against high toughness targets it will be better than the universal Onslaught which gives you an extra dice. T4 and lower though I think we stick with Onslaught. So far all looking good, his ability doesn’t support the range damage which I guess is why he’s cheaper than the knight Arcanum and that does make sense. 

Next we have Leona, who is 5 points cheaper than the Knight Arcanum with 1 extra crit damage on the ranged attack. Again we lose the mystic rune and replace it with Agile which gives access to the Triple Rushing Gales, this gives all your Domitan’s Stormcoven fighters fly when they move. It’s an interesting option, pretty situational and the timing means you have to activate Leona first. It does mean you can double it up on one of the other fighters though so Sarpon can then use a Double to Aetherforce and take two actions to fly 12 inches across the table which is pretty cool.

Last we have Domitan himself, who being the leader gets those two extra wounds. He’s still cheaper than the the Knight-Arcanum and has one extra strength for his ranged ability. Loses the mystic rune but gets the bulwark rune which gives him Electrokinetic Blast. This is an awesome ability. You pick a spot, and do damage to fighters within 3 inches of that point, since it’s not wholly within that’s actually a pretty impressive area of effect. Unfortunately, this is a Quad and as cool as the ability is when putting together a list you’re better off assuming Quads do not exist, leaving Domitan a little lacklustre.

Next up we have the Headmen’s Curse. I’ve mentioned these guys before, they make a cool little diorama of an execution. The Scriptor finds the name of the accused, the Bearer of the Block places the block where the neck of the condemned will lie, the Sharpener makes sure the blade is ready, and the Wielder delivers the final blow.

On the plot, you can see we’ve got a pretty good spread across the points ranges but none of the damage is worth writing home about. Similarly, the wounds are all around the average point of lower. These fighters are part of the Nighthaunt warband which have struggled due to the assumed requirements of being fast and having fly. Those are two things which are at a premium so fighters typically end up a bit over-costed.

We’re starting with the Leader of the warband, Wielder of the Blade. This is the exact same profile as a Lord Executioner, so the extra abilities are a bonus on this. That said, it’s not as if the Lord Executioner is appearing on the top tables, but it’s a reference point. That the attack is decent damage and only has two dice makes me wonder whether we should be running the Wielder with the Ferocity blessing, it would be 25 more points but would add an extra 2.5 to the damage.

There are two abilities that anyone in this bladeborn warband can use. The first is a double swift judgement which gives a bonus move action equal to the value of the ability. So it’s almost a free move, but without the benefit of the high speed of the Nighthaunts. You do have to move towards the closest enemy which usually isn’t a problem. There will be situations where you won’t be able to use this, either the ability value is too low or you don’t want to move towards the nearest target, but it still remains a great addition.

The second ability for this warband is a Triple Hold Them Still. It’s a guaranteed net effect, but only for targets within 1 inch. Interestingly, in addition to preventing disengage it also reduces the move of the target. This makes it a lot more useful as it means you can move in, use it, and then disengage to keep your fighter save. Alternatively, if your fighter gets killed it means the target isn’t suddenly free like occurs with similar abilities. One minor quirk with this ability is you do need to remember what the value was and track it for when the target moves next. Just a minor thing but maybe a reminder card with a dice on it could help.

As we talked about with Domitan, Quads should but ignored. We did have a recent change to the universal ability Rampage which changed the move to be based on the value of the ability. That still is the gold standard when it comes to Quads, this version lets you take the full 6 of your move but you lose out on the ability. To make up for that it gives you bonus dice. The Wielder of the Blade is high damage but low dice, which means any additional dice will have a big impact. In addition, the crit is increased. In both cases the bonus is dependent on the number of friendly fighters within 3 inches of the target. So with one other fighter the dice are doubled and the crit is increased, making this a better option than rampage. Still, it is a quad and we ignore the quads while list building, that said the double and triple are probably enough to get this guy into a list.

Next up we have two more profiles with no additional runemarks. So they do have the double bonus move and triple net but nothing extra. The Scriptor is a slightly upgraded Craventhorne Guard with a similar ranged profile although 1 less range and a slightly better melee profile with +1 strength and +1 crit for 10 points, although that goes come with 4 more wounds which definitely is a help. The bearer of the block is similar to a Myrmourn Banshee costing 15 more points for 6 more wounds. These aren’t particularly exciting but they are good value when you consider the resilience blessing is 15 points for just 4 wounds. So these are definitely improvements on the options the Nighthaunts currently have, but the question is whether it is enough.

Last up we have the Sharpener of the Blade. At 80 points it’s 5 points cheaper than the previous cheapest nighthaunt fighter the chainrasp. You lose access to the minion runemark which opens up the double Chilling Horde and this fighter has a different weapon profile. Although you lose 2 dice compared to the chainrasp, that crit values goes up to 6 which is quite interesting. We’re here for the ability however. That’s a double called Sharpen. It can only be used on the Wielder of the Blade and it adds two damage to their crits. That’s not massive, only a 0.3 damage per dice which for the Wielder would be 0.6 in total. It does scale though, so you can set the Wielder up for some serious damage. It’s a fun set overall. With a move on a double and a net on a triple I’d expect to see them played, but I doubt this is the secret sauce Nighthaunts needed to suddenly move to the top tables.

Our third warband are Skabbik’s Plaguepack which are part of the Skaven warband in the Chaos faction. This is 6 fighters in total and again we’re seeing a decent spread across the points range but nothing that really stands out for either damage or wounds.

Out first fighter is Skabbik Plagueseeker and as he has access to all of the abilities in this warband we’re going to end up spending a little time with them. The profile is similar to a plague priest but costs 10 points more. The weapon profile is the same, move and toughness the same but Skabbik does have 2 more wounds. The difference of course is with the runemarks. Skabbik does not have the Priest runemark so no access to the Triple Recite from the Book of Woes which would stop nearby enemies using abilities. More concerning, Skabbik and the rest of this plaguepack do not have the Agile runemark. That means no Scurry Away as a double for a free disengage.

Instead everyone in the warband gets a Double Disgusting Appearance. This subtracts 1 dice from attacks that target this fighter. It’s a weird one as you have to activate the fighter before they can use it to be protected and the effectiveness will very much depend on the attackers. I also have a little bit of a dislike of abilities like this that alter the dice pool as often the attacker you will and you’ll have to correct them and get them to re-roll with one less which can potentially be abused by intentionally forgetting to remind them if the attack misses.

Some like Skabbik will also have the Terrifying runemark, this opens up a very interesting Double Befoul the Land which lets them taint a nearby objective or treasure, potentially doing damage to nearby enemies at the end of the round. It’s fun, but it is just damage. Since you can’t stack them, at best you’re looking at on average 1.3 damage to all the enemies which really isn’t much.

Skabbik takes that up a level with his quads Manifestation of a Great Plague. This time instead of picking one objective you can pick up to half the value of the ability. Then assign damage equal to the dice. So best case scenario, you have a quad 6 and can pick up to 3 objectives and do 6 damage to any enemy with 3 inches of either Skabbik or those objectives. That’s pretty awesome, it is a quad but a great quad to have in the pocket for when the dice are generous to you.

Last we have Skabbik’s triple Unctuous Citations which can only be used on a target from Skabbik’s pack. This is super good. We’ve already talked about how the universal Rampage Quad is the gold standard, that gets you a move and an attack. This is a triple and gets a move – move or an attack – attack. There’s also a good amount of flexibility in how you set it up, but notably since it doesn’t say visible friendly fighter, Skabbik can pick himself. So you can double move with Skabbik, or move Skabbik then move another from his pack and the same with attacks instead.

That’s a lot packed into one rat. I think the triple is probably what makes this fighter interesting, but the others are great options to have. 

Moving on to the rest. Rabidius Kench is a Plague Censer Bearer costing 10 more points but getting a chunky 6 more wounds. He has the Berserker runemark which gives him the Poisonous Fumes Triple an aoe ability that on a 3+ will do damage equal to half the value of the ability, so not much. Again he’s lost the Agile runemark so there is a bit of a trade there.

Skritter is a giant rat but with 1 less strength and interestingly loses the Beast runemark in addition to the Agile. So this little menace can carry treasure and open doors. 

Then we have Poxlix and Rikkit. Poxlix is a plague monk with pair of blades but costs 10 more points getting 6 more wounds. Rikkit is a plague monk with woe-staff but again 10 more points for 6 wounds. Those are good deals as far as I can see. 

Last up we have Itchitt who has a ranged 8 attack and a melee attack. The ranged attack is much better than the melee, so you’re going to want to keep Itchitt out of combat. The closest comparison in the Skaven for this profile is actually the Grey Seer which is quite interesting. Itchitt is 30 points cheaper has 1 less ranged and 1 less crit on melee and 1 more range and 1 less strength on the ranged attack. The difference between 2 and 3 strength isn’t really that big since often you’ll be attacking toughness 4 or greater. You don’t get all the same runemarks which means you lose Lead from the Back and the always hilarious Consume Warpstone but it does mean you don’t take up an ally slot. Doing 3 damage at range 3 means you can do 6 average damage without moving which makes this a pretty great fighter.

I think this is the first bladeborn release we’ve seen since the new Blessings came out and I find myself often considering them, whether that’s looking at the differences from existing models or just thinking about what blessings I might take with the new fighters. That’s probably a good indication that these fighters have been well designed at that the blessings are a good addition to the game.

Last but certainly not least, we have Ephilim’s Pandaemonium. This is another Chaos warband this time the Tzeentch Daemons. Again we can see a decent spread across the points with a lot of fighters hitting the average marks. Flamespooler in particular seems pretty low on the damage but Spawnmaw could be something interesting.

First up we’re looking at the leader of this warband Ephilim the Unknowable. There isn’t a direct analogy in the warband currently, and this is now the cheapest hero the Tzeetch Daemons have which is always nice. Wounds are good for the points. The melee damage is low but the range damage is decent for a ranged attack. I’d optimistically look for 1 damage for every 25 points so at this price point we’d look for 6 damage, but that would be for melee and 4 for ranged is actually decent.

Moving to the abilities. No fly, so we’ll skip past Hypnotise for the moment.

The double Sudden-Warp Portal is a totally crazy double teleport ability. In addition to switching the location of this fighter with another from this bladeborn warband, you also get to reposition them within 3 inches of the original spot. It might be good to think ahead of time how exactly you’re going to mark this position as it’s pretty important. I’d suggest a piece of paper with the base sizes so you can move it underneath your model before you take it off. That’s because you aren’t placing Ephilim within 3 inches from the centre but instead 3 inches from the base and you don’t have to be wholly within. That ends up being a pretty big radius. And it’s just a double! And anyone in the warband can use it! Wild.

Ephilim’s special ability is a Quad, Summon Abomination. You get to pick a fighter from the bladeborn group that had already died and bring them back with no wounds. That pretty amazing. Now do remember we had an FAQ that toned down resurrection abilities a bit, notably they can’t be activated the turn they get raised. Obviously the quality of this ability will depend on the rest of the fighters and it’s still is a quad, but resurrection abilities are very powerful and worth paying attention to. 

Ephilim also has the mystic runemark, this is interesting as the mystic runemark would have opened up the double Blue Fire in the compendium. This was reprinted with the other abilities in the White Dwarf article, however in there it lacked the mystic runemark. It’s unclear if this was an error or not, but the community has decided to take it as an update in the same way we did with Crimson Court from the new starter box. So Ephilim can still use it, no change there but, it does end up being a minor bonus for the rest of the heroes in the Tzeentch daemon warband.

Only one fighter in this warband has the fly runemark for that Hypnotise double, that’s Apo’Trax the Starefysh. The profile is a brand new one that is hard to compare. Within the warband it’s similar to a Blue Horror, cheaper without the range attack, but with 2 more wounds. The weapon profile looks very different but both average out to 2, that does mean the Starefysh gets more out of a bonus dice which is interesting. Blue Horrors of course have that distinctive splitting ability, so even though some numbers are similar this is a very different beast. Oh and it has beast for some reason, I guess the lack of hands.

The key ability here is Hypnotise. A double that pulls a target towards the Starefysh. Harpoon effects like this are good, they can end up as an effective bonus move and can sometimes let you pull a target into two fighters which is even better. You can drag a target off an objective and just generally mess with your opponent. The downside is if you pull in an enemy fighter that hasn’t activated yet, you’re giving them a free move. At 3 toughness and 10 wounds the Starefysh isn’t hard to kill so you want to avoid that. Luckily the the ability moves the target up to their move characteristic, so you have a little more control over where the target ends up.

Next up we have Spawnmaw. Like the Starefysh, this fighter is only melee which is a little strange for fighters in the Tzeentch Daemon warband. Again hard to compare with anything, but if we look at the raw numbers, 5 speed is great, 3 toughness not so much. 12 wounds is good for the 105 points, we’re expecting around 3 wounds per 25 points. The damage similarly is good with 1 damage per 25 points an optimistic ask which this fighter is just slightly under. This is a good profile. In addition to being able to switch around the board like the rest of this warband, the Spawnmaw can also use the Triple Enfulging Bite which will add 2 to strength, attacks, and crits of the next attack. That’s a crazy damage increase bringing the next attack up to an average of 10 damage versus T4. So this little bitey bastard is going to get some work done. 

That Berserker Runemark also opens up an quad ability that will do aoe damage equal to the value of the ability to nearby fighters. A nice option but high quads are a rare sight indeed.

Last up we have Flamespooler and Kindlefinger. Flamespooler is similar to a Blue Horror costing 5 points more for 4 more wounds and slightly better range damage, which honesty doesn’t mean much. You do lose the split ability though so I wonder if this is worth it.

Kindlefinger is a worse version of a Brimstone Horror for 10 less points. It is an extra body, but you’re not going to do much with this fighter and it will die to a stiff wind. So I’m tempted to say skip and these two, but they do open up extra Sudden Warp-Portal options. 

And that’s the lot! Four brand new bladeborn warbands for warcry. I think you could happily play any of these warbands and have a good time. Mostly they are similar to existing fighters with a minor tweak and some cool new abilities. I’m pretty happy with all of these. I think they’re good enough to see play if you like the models but not so pushed that they’re must buys.

I can only assume that seeing these appear in White Dwarf is a result of player feedback going back all the way to Warhammer Fest when it kept popping up in the Q&A session. It’s hard for GW to know when we pick up Underworlds or Age of Sigmar models for Warcry, especially as a lot of players enjoy their games at home rather than having tournaments. We, the Warcry community have a lot of support for each other to keep enjoying games. So you can find the rules for all these warbands in this article of course, you’ll find them up on Warcrier, and I’ve got a link with all the cards I used in this video along with json files you can load into the warcry card creator to make any changes you need. Just in case I made any mistakes or if you have your own painted miniatures to use instead. That said, I would recommend picking up this White Dwarf if you can. Hopefully GW will see an increase in people picking up these lovely models and this months White Dwarf will sell well. If they can connect the dots they’ll see supporting Warcry is good for business and we’ll see more of these down the line.

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