Today we’re going to look at the new big box for Warcry. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve moved into a new format with these boxes. Heart of Ghur had two warbands along with the core rulebook, a campaign book, dice, tokens, fighter cards, battleplan cards, a board, and enough scenery to fill that board. Subsequent boxes were similar but lacked the rulebook, tokens, and had fewer battleplan cards.
In this new format we just get the two warbands, campaign book, and fighter cards. We do also get a signature terrain piece, so not enough for a board but something cool you can stick in the middle.
This change has pros and cons. If you’ve been collecting Warcry since the start, you already have tons of scenery with a lot of Gnarlwood meat trees. It definitely was a concern in the previous season although for the Killteam crowd it was much worse as they went through several boxes of almost identical terrain. So this format, where you don’t have to pay for the extra terrain. is great especially as the season continues and we end up with more and more.
That said, if you’re new to the game or just want to expand your collection, you now have to buy the additional Scales of Talaxis box which interestingly does have tokens making it slightly better than the previous terrain box Gnarlwood Watchcamp. That amounts to a whopping 30% markup when compared to combined boxes with similar content. If you can’t find the Heart of Ghur, these two boxes are probably the best way to get into the game right now. Add the core rulebook and some dice and you have everything you need, but it is expensive.
Alright, enough about the new format, lets look at the fighters. There are 16 fighters in total in this box, 5 massive Gorgors which are Ogors that have gone feral and 11 Wildercorp Hunters who have the new Cities of Sigmar aesthetic. With so few fighters, the Gorgors are going to be a super elite team chewing their way through the enemy while the Wildercorp with their numbers are more likely to be focusing on scoring points.
Looking at the Gorgor Mawpack first, we have 3 fighter types. The Gorgor in the middle with the weird head thing is the Clawback who serves as the leader. The back left if the Cave Howler and the remaining three are Gorgors with no weapons, club, or great club.
Looking at the plot, these are all pretty competitive numbers. They’re all sitting pretty high in the plots for average damage and wounds. Although it’s worth noting that from about 125 points to 200 points average damage is pretty level. So while the Gorgors are near the top of the 180 point section there are fighters around 130 doing similar damage.
There are 3 abilities any of these fighters can use. The first is their reaction Rending Bite. This is very similar to the universal ability Counter where misses would do 1 damage to the attacker with rolls of 1 doing 2 damage. With Rending Bite, if no die gets a 6, then the attacker takes 6 damage. So the fewer dice the attacker is rolling the better the chance of this ability working. Pretty cool. With 4 dice on the attack its got about a 50% chance of working, 3 dice is around 60%, 2 70%, and 1 die is roughly 80% chance of not rolling a 6.
As we saw from the plot earlier, all of these fighters are doing more than 6 damage on average and to work out the average damage of the ability you need to multiple the 6 damage by the chance of it working. So often it’s not going to be worthwhile trading an action to use it. Situations where it might be good would be when the Gorgor is likely to die anyway or where that 6 damage might kill the attacker preventing them from making a second attack. So situational, which is probably a good spot for an ability.
The next ability to look at it Bounding Leaps, a double for a free move towards the closest enemy but it can only be used if they are within 6 inches. Which is perfect as these fighters are move 5 so this ability will let them get into melee. Expect to see this used a lot so the Gorgors can bring their big damage to bear quickly.
Last up we have the Quad Starving Rampage. There’s a bunch of stuff about the Beast runemark which can matter, but is really just flavour. The effect is you get to attack every enemy within 1 inch. The obvious comparison is again Rampage where you would get a bonus move and then bonus attack. If you’re already in melee and have at least 2 targets then this is better.
The first fighter we have is leader, the Clawback. The profile is very similar to the Orruk Megaboss, especially when you consider the Bounding Leaps ability is the same as the Orruk’s Charge. Although the values are different, the attack profiles average out to similar numbers so the big difference is the Clawback switches the Megaboss movement and toughness. So for 10 points more you’re 5 movement and 3 toughness instead of 3 movement and 5 toughness. I think that’s a pretty good deal.
The ability special to the Clawback is Unnatural Force, which adds 1 to the damage from each hit and crit. That takes the average damage from 10 to 12.6 which is nice, but using Onslaught would take it from 10 to 12.5. So yes, Unnatural Force is better but it’s a shame it’s just a minor increase on a universal.
The next fighter I want to look at is the unarmed Gorgor. Again, move 5 with tons of wounds and damage. As we’ll see for the remainder of the fighters in the warband, the Gorgor does have the Beast Runemark and a double to remove the runemark for a turn. As a reminder, fighters with the Beast runemark cannot carry treasure and cannot move through closed doors. I think it’s pretty rare for closed doors to appear on a board, so treasure is the real challenge. If you can get away with just your leader carrying the treasure then you’re good, otherwise you kill whatever you can and maybe this double will let you hold onto enough treasure at a key moment.
In some ways, this fighter is similar to the Fellwater Troggoth, who is 5 points cheaper 1 move slower, again with a different attack profile that roughly averages out to the same. The big difference really is access to the Leaping Bounds ability.
If we give the Gorgor a club, damage goes up slightly as we lose an attack but gain a point of strength. It’s actually 5 points cheaper. The normal Gorgor can actually do more damage against T3 which might be the reasoning, but I’m much happier with the club option. Nothing else changes, so not much more to say.
Next option is the Great Club which lowers the damage from the club but does give reach. As these fighters have 30 wounds, I’m not too worried about getting them into melee so the reach is probably a luxury. Notably, this attack profile has 2 attack dice, so you’re going to get a little more out of a Onslaught than you are with the Club. I suspect we’ll be using those doubles to leap around the board though, so there might not be any spare for Onslaughts.
This does add the Destroyer runemark which opens up access to the Maddened Blows triple. That means you crit on a 5 as well as a 6. That would up the average damage from 6.7 to 8, but you could just use the universal double Onslaught to add an extra die to bring it to 10 so I”m not sure when you’d ever use Maddened Blows.
Last up, we have the Cave Howler who is the second most expensive option in this warband. Damage is similar to the leader but with less wounds and of course the Beast Runemark. The Cave Howler also has the Berserker runemark which opens up the triple Agonising Roar. This effects any enemy fighter within 6 inches of this fighter, for each one you roll a die and on a 4+ they cannot disengage until the end of the battle round. Net effects are always worth checking out, and although it is random being able to lock enemy fighters into combat is nice. I’m a little conflicted on this ability, as the Cavehowler is doing such fantastic damage I’m tempted to just pump movement and damage abilities into it for even more kill. Damage per points the Cavehowler is probably best of the bunch, so I don’t necessarily have to decide based on the ability.
And that’s it. A relatively straight forward warband that might be fun for someone new to play. Not much too think about, just leap about and smash and kill.
It looks like you get one Clawpack leader, one Cave Howler, and then the Gorgors can all be built as unarmed or 1 with great club and the other two with clubs. I did say I think the club profile is slightly better than unarmed, and I do think unarmed is slightly better than great club. The differences are minor enough though, so you should build whatever you think looks cool. Building one of each gives you a 995 point warband, and you can go with any combination of the build options and still be within 1k.
As we talked about with the Monsta-Huntaz, when looking at destruction allies you have tons of options for elite heroes, but not so many for the cheap ones. Typically you end up looking at the gobbos like a Brewgit. There are also the Bladeborn options like Zarbag’s where you pay for a hero and get access to some cheap fighters than can try work on objectives while your Gorgors go to down. That would get you access to Drizgit who has a Triple to give a Beast a bonus move, but the Gorgors are fast enough anyway that it might be wasted.
Overall, I think the Gorgors do what they’re intended to do. Big scary things running around smashing things. Probably not great for tournaments and will suck when you randomly draw into the wrong kind of treasure mission. In the context of this box though, I think they look like they’d be good fun to play would make a great starter warband.
Moving on, we have the Wildercorp Hunters. This is a human warband of scouts and doggos which clearly makes it the best warband. I’m a big fan of the new style for Cities of Sigmar and have been working through my army box which unfortunately does not get fancy rules like this warband will. In AoS this is a pretty good unit that can move ahead of the army after deployment and screen your units. So it should be pretty popular with AoS players starting a Cities of Sigmar army.
Looking at the plot we’re not seeing a ton of damage and most of the fighters are under 100 points. The Arbalester is the most expensive and does some decent damage when you realise it’s ranged damage, but when it comes to wounds he’s probably the worst at that point range.
As the crossbow is a big focus of this warband we can expect a lot of the attacks to be ranged. The reference point for this I think is the Arkanaut Company Privateer who is going 1.3 average damage at range 8 for 50 points. The Privateer does have move 3 which is poor but also has 12 wounds which is amazing for the points. Looking again at the plot, I don’t think we’re going to see much of that, but maybe we’ll be surprised.
There are 3 abilities that are essentially warband wide as the Warrior runemark for the Double and Quad are on everyone except the Doggos.
The first ability is their reaction Smart Step Backwards which lets them disengage after they take some damage. This is the exact same as the Hunters of Huanchi Slippery reaction. For clarity, the fighter does still take the damage but they are now out of melee in case there would be another attack. The skinks are able to use this to their advantage to minimise damage they take and keep at range to use their blowpipes. Alas for the skinks, those blowpipes don’t do much. Hopefully these Hunters can do a little better.
The double is Hunting Pack. This is pretty cool. You pick a friendly within 2 inches and they can make a bonus attack action against an enemy within 2 inches of the original fighter. First up, a double for a bonus attack is massive, really great. The setup for it is a little weird. Best case scenario, you move your best fighter into range and attack. Then you take a second fighter who moves in, attacks, and uses Hunting Pack to give a bonus attack to the first fighter. Keep doing this till you run out of room or doubles.
Now, this is just extra damage. The classic double for damage is Onslaught. Onslaught is a scaling ability, the more damage the fighter is able to do per dice the more damage you get out of the ability. Hunting Pack, will also scale based on the fighter that gets the extra attack but it is limited to fighters in this warband, spoiler, that caps out at 4 average damage. So this is a fantastic ability, but in this warband it’s not as good as it could be in a different warband.
Then we have the Quad, Regroup! Each visible friendly fighter within 6 inches can make a bonus move or disengage action. Unfortunately it doesn’t give the fighter using the ability a bonus move, but it does have the potential to be a lot of bonus actions. This does make a nice alternative to the move attack of Rampage and depending on the situation could be a lot better especially when working towards victory conditions.
Our first fighter is the Warden who has three different profiles; Axe, Crossbow, or Grizzled Warhound. The model shows this by changing the left hand with Axe, Crossbow, or pointing. There are also a few options with the Wardens head which is nice. Looking at just the damage profile I’m tempted to say go with the Axe. The crossbow damage is very low and the Axe beats out the hound slightly, but we should also consider runemarks as they do differ slightly.
The Axe and the Crossbow have the Champion runemark which opens up the Double Hunter’s Eye. This increase hits and crits by 1. That does work for the crossbow which is nice, but with the melee options you’re better off using Onslaught.
The other option is the Grizzled Trailhound which has the Sentience runemark and gives the Triple Kill! This is a weird one. It’s flat fixed damage, so you set up for the ability and then trigger it. For each doggo you get within 3 inches of the target, the ability will do 3 damage. The box has 4 doggos, unfortunately the one on the Warden’s base doesn’t count. So out of the box this ability can do a flat 12 damage which is pretty cool. Personally, I think I’ll build the Axe model and will run it as either the Axe or the Hound depending on how I feel about things. It will essentially depend on how many hounds I run in the list, so there is reason to go with either.
The next fighter and weirdly the most expensive in the warband is the Arbalester. This is a range 20 attack with 5.3 average damage. That’s pretty wild. For a reference, the Gunnery Sergeant from KO is 10 less points but only 4 average damage. The Stormcast Castigator is 210 points so 35 more points but the Castigator is still doing slightly less damage at 5. So this is a very efficient long range damage platform.
Unfortunately, it is not very survivable. Only 12 wounds and 3 toughness, at this point cost you’d expect 21 wounds. In addition, the minimum range is 6 so if you manage to close with the Arbalest they’re pretty useless. A Warden and 5 Arbalests would be 990 points which might be an interesting list. Those 5 Arbalests are doing 25 damage on average each turn if they have to move, if they don’t they can do 50 damage on average. That would certainly be a thing.
I do feel like one Arbalest is a liability, it’s definitely a nice target to go after. A few of them though do sound scary.
Moving on to the generic fighters. First we have the Leatherhide with spear. This is a pretty decent profile. Move and toughness are as you’d expect for a human. Wounds are bang on the points and damage just hits the baseline of what I’d consider good. That this has reach makes it an excellent profile as far as I’m concerned. We have the champion ability again, this time however Hunter’s Eye brings the damage to 6.6 rather than Onslaughts 5.3. So it is a minor increase. The reach works well with the Smart Step Backwards reaction.
The Leatherhide can also be build with a crossbow. Unsurprisingly the damage gets significantly reduced for the range 15. The Hunter’s Eye double is nice replacement for ranged attacks where you can’t use Onslaught, bringing it up to 2 per action. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this fighter. I suspect the damage is a little too low for my liking but I understand that a ranged 15 attack is going to be at a premium.
Dropping down to 90 points we have the Trailblazer which can be build with Sabre and Crossbow or two Crossbows. The first version is almost a combination of the two leatherhide profiles, no reach on the melee and 8 range on the crossbow rather than 15 but the damage matches. Then the double crossbow just have the ranged damage but it’s doubled.
The ability is another straight damage increase that will work for your ranged attacks. It’s not too much of an increase though, the sabre goes from 4 to 5.3, the crossbow 1.3 to 2, and twin crossbows from 2.6 to 4. So it’s not massive for a triple, but it is an option.
Then we have the Scouts, which come with two options Crossbow or Axes. The crossbow is the exact same damage profile as the Leatherhide but 25 wounds cheaper with 10 wounds instead of 12. They also don’t have the Champion runemark so they don’t get access to the Double Hunter’s Eye.
The alternative is the Scout with Axes which doubles the melee damage but at the cost of reducing the range on the ranged attack from 15 to 8. I’m tempted to go with Crossbows for the Scouts and build all the Leatherhides with Spears as that seems to be the best option for both.
Alright, this is what we’ve all been waiting for. The Doggos.
For 60 points we’re getting 6 movement, 3 toughness and 6 wounds. Fine. Damage is 1.67 in melee which again is a little lower than I’d hope for. The closest comparison I could find with the Gor with Pair of Blades. Also 60 points, 1 less move, 2 average damage, and 4 extra wounds. So as fun as these Doggos are I suspect a big list of all Doggos isn’t going to be great.
Their special ability is a Double called Death Grip. If they manage to get a hit in the next melee attack roll then the target loses an action, if they can’t do 3 damage. The trailhounds have strength 3 so against T4 or more they need a 5 to hit, alas crits do not count. So that’s roughly a 30% chance of working. If the target is T3 you hit on 4 and 5 which would be around 42%. Removing an action is pretty big, but I wonder if you could be better off using the double on something a little more reliable.
That said, they are doggos. Here are some fun looking Doggo miniatures from Archon studios to pad out the collection so you can run the dream Warden and 14 Trailhound list.
Okay, so what do we have with this box. There is one Warden with a few options, one Arbalester, and one Trailblazer with sabre and crossbow or double crossbow. Two Leatherhides than can have spear or crossbow and two scouts which seem to have axes or crossbows as options. Then 4 hounds, not including the one already on the Wardens base. Personally I would build the Warden with Axe but use him as a hound option when I wanted. The Leatherhides would be Spears, the Scouts Crossbows, and the Trailblazer double crossbow. That’s 970 leaving just enough room for a divine blessing if we wanted. I’d probably double Fortitude it to give my Warden and Arbalester a little more survivability.
I do love the look of this warband and would almost certainly sub in Hexbane’s Hunters as some proxies. The Warden is relatively cheap and most of the fighters are under 100 points so we have some options here. It might be worthwhile looking at something with more kill potential to help out. A Kurnothi Huntermaster might be a good option here, semi-thematic with the woods element. Maybe one of the Questor Soulsworn or Calthia and Dhoraz.
Once we push beyond a single box we do have a few different wants to go. If we wanted to go for a pure ranged option we could mix Arbalesters and Scouts which I think would give you the biggest bang for your buck. You could also go a different direction and just look at Leatherhides with Spears and Doggos. I didn’t mention the Trailblazers but they could go in either option. So this might make for a good basis for an Order warband with Heroes and Bladeborn used to round out the warband.
In retrospect, the design of this warband struggles with the same issue of the Gorgers, it’s trying to make narrative sense. Where the Gorgors are all big mindless killing machines, the Wildercorps Hunters need to fit into the template for the generic human and work with that. Within those confines I think the designers have done a great job.
The last thing to mention is the Mawpit which is a chunky piece of plastic all by itself. Obviously it’s going to be a little more thematic for the Gorgors but it makes for a fun peice of terrain and it does have some special rules. If anything actually lands in the maw it’s considered killed. Gobbled up. There is also a triple that anyone can use called Get in the Pit which lets you try push a target into the pit. It’s a little specific, it has to be lower wounds they have to stray next to the pit and you have to beast 8 on a d6 plus your strength. It’s still a nice bit of flavour and an extra element to add into the game. I have to admit, normally there are enough moving parts for me that I ignore special scenery rules but it’s always good to have more options.
So what to do we have? These are two very cool looking Warbands which will play very differently. I doubt they’re going to be appearing in the top of tournaments anytime soon but I do think you could take them to a tournament and have a good time. I do think, if you put the games in with one of these warbands and spent some time tweaking the list that you definitely could win an event at your local game store and feel good about yourself. That said, they’ll also make great warbands for friendly games against new players.
As I mentioned at the start, if you’re looking to get into the game this box plus the Scales of Talaxis scenery box that just came should give you months of hobby and a fun campaign to play through.
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