Warcry – Callis & Toll

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A few months back we got rules for the Blacktalons box which contained 5 unique characters from the Warhammer+ cartoon and numerous books. We’ve just seen a preview of a Darkoath group from the Hammer and Bolter episode Monsters, and we’ve just got rules for the Callis & Toll models also from Hammer and Bolter. This time though we’ve got the rules for Warcry before the models came out.

Callis and Toll are both members of the Order of Azyr, the witch hunters of the Age of Sigmar setting. To be fair, Toll seems to fit the classic witch hunter style a little more with the hat and the stakes. Callis instead is ex-city guard with some good armour and wields two pistols. He seems to get dragged into these things by Toll and eventually does join the Order himself.

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They both appear in the Warhammer+ show Hammer and Bolter in the episode Undercity. I have watched and enjoyed it, it was pretty light and straight forward but had a nice AoS feel to it. It definitely has me interested in checking out more about the two lads.

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There are a couple of short stories and 3 books where Callis and Toll appear. The first is City of Secrets which was a relatively early release for Age of Sigmar coming out in 2017 and is based in Excelsis in the Realm of Ghur. By all reports it’s a pretty good view of Age of Sigmar from the streets rather than all the super hero stormcast content that’s out there. Unfortunately it’s not available on Audible which is where I get most my Warhammer books. The second book The Silver Shard is there, again it’s back to saving Excelsis this time with a maguffin hunt into the jungles. The third book is just called Callis & Toll but we’ve yet to see what the story is.

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This box has 6 models, Callis & Toll of course. Valius is a Stormcast is a Lord Castellant from Hammerhal, along with his Gryph hound Balthis. Lyssa is a thief while Varentia is a weaver of secrets.  Lyssa has a skull on her belt which in the show we saw her summon a ghost out of who looked like a banshee and helped her out. Varentia has a weird mask and glove with a glowing crystal which seem to let her see through the eyes of her pets. If you look close you can see her cat has a similar crystal around it’s neck. Tom Hugues apparently sculpted all but the Valius and Balthis and did a great job.

Rather than being a bespoke warband, these continue the grey area we’ve seen with the Blacktalons. These are all unique characters so you can only have one of them, but they don’t have the full bladeborn rules so you could run these in a campaign and have them advance, get injured, or die as a normal fighter would. They are all part of the Order of Azyr warband which they share with the Hexbane’s Hunters bladeborn warband. So you can mix any of the fighters between those two warbands with one or both of the two heroes Toll and Hexbane.

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Heading over to the plot we’ve got some positive numbers. Valius is a real beast, he’s at a similar point on the plot to a Kurnoth Huntmaster which is a good place to be. He doesn’t top the damage numbers for Order but at 9.3 he’s not far off.

Balthis looks to be good damage for cheap but not great on wounds. Toll seems solid with above average damage and wounds while Callis looks a little underwhelming until you release that the damage is ranged. Lyssa and Verentia are looking a bit less impressive so hopefully they’re abilities will make up for it. The unmarked dots are the rest of the Order of Azyr including the doggos at the bottom left.

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The Order of Azyr have 3 generic abilities. A reaction, a triple, and a quad. The triple and the quad don’t actually appear on the pdf for the Saviours, instead that’s from the Hexbane’s Hunters white dwarf. The assumption here is that it was accidentily missed from the Saviours version and should be used as they’re both from the Order of Azyr and the Saviours do have the runemarks to use them. 

The reaction and the quad both use the Warrior runemark which previously was everyone apart from the doggos, but we now have a few non-warrior humans in this warband.. 

The reaction is Grim Resolve which lets you remove D3 wounds after you get targeted but before you get attacked. Reactions are always a tricky one as often losing an action means it’s not worth it. Broadly there are two reactions that are worth using, ones where the ability is great and ones where the ability will save a fighter from dying. Grim Resolve is the second. If you think your fighter is going to die and you still have actions left, you might as well react to remove D3 wounds in the hope you can hang on a little longer. If they die you were going to lose the actions anyway, so there’s no harm. So this is a solid if not amazing ability. You don’t really want to use it, but you’ll have happy to have it when you do.

The triple ability is Brand of Righteousness, this is for the hero only. So that’s going to be Hexbane or Toll. This increases the damage of the crits for the fighter until the end of the activation. So a triple 6 will be great if you get a bunch of crits but useless if you don’t manage to. We’ll look at Toll in a second to work out when we should use it.

The Quad is Hallowed Vengeance. You can only use this if a friendly was killed by an enemy fighter in the previous activation. This quad will give the friendly fighters with the Warrior runemark a bonus action to target the fighter who did the killing. This was a pretty nice ability with Hexbane’s Hunters as the solid ranged abilities they have meant they were often in range to get the free attack. As we’ll see, Callis & Toll both have ranged abilities and the Warrior runemark so they can now help out with that. This does make it a very competitive option with Rampage.

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The first profile we have to look at is Hanniver Toll himself. He’s very similar to Haskel Hexbane but trades 1 toughess for 1 extra crit. Wounds are great for the points, melee damage is better than you’d expect, and he also has a good ranged attack. The weapon profiles are at that nice point where two ranged shots are slightly better than a move and attack, but you’d still prefer to start your activation in melee. 

The ability unique to him is the triple Right Tool for the Job which will let Toll crit on 5s as well as 6s. As he has an impressive melee crit that’s pretty nice. We also have Brand of Righteousness as an option which will increase crit damage. So lets compare. First for a baseline, Onslaught is a double that adds 1 dice, that will bring melee damage from 4.6 to 5.8. If instead we use Right Tool for the Job the damage against T4 pushes up to 6.6. Finally using Brand of Righteousness will increase the average damage by .6 for each dice value. So a 2 value is similar to Onslaught and a 4 value is better than Brand. That tops out at 8.2 with a triple 6. So there are options. If you have double Onslaught, if you have a triple with 4 or better use Brand of Righteousness, if you have a triple of 3 or lower use Right Tool for the Job. Unfortunately these are all melee boosts so they don’t help the range attack but they’re all good options.

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The next fighter is Armand Callis. Again the raw stats are fantastic. Wounds over what you would expect for the points. The melee attack isn’t great, but the ranged attack is doing 3.5 average damage, so two shots are 7! That’s crazy good. This is similar to the first fang from the untamed beasts but Callis trades a little of the melee damage for some extra wounds. He has the Warrior runemark so he can use the reaction and he can trigger the quad. His unique ability is a triple which gives him an extra range attack and also doubles the range, so that’s 16 inches. A bonus attack for a triple is solid and that the ability effectively  gets you 8 inches closer to the target, if you squint your eyes a little it’s kind of like a Rampage.

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While the other two had good wounds, Valius is a tank. With 30 wounds he’s actually under the curve but at a certain point extra wounds don’t matter. He’s 6 toughness so it’s going to be hard to hit him and his ability, another triple, will reduce damage he receives for the rest of the turn. His damage is top tier for Order, the highest damage fighters for order like Neave Blacktalon or the Kurnoth Huntmaster do 10 damage on average so 9.3 isn’t too far off. Valius isn’t slow with his 4 move, but he’s not fast either. You could spend 65 more to get Neave as an ally with 7 move, but Valius is a lot more affordable. In addition to doing great damage he’s also a road block, if he’s facing off against your opponent’s big guy it will take a lot for Valius to go down, especially if you have a triple or two to give him. I like him a lot.

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Balthus is the loyal companion of Valius. This is a cheaper version of the normal Gryph hound profile losing 4 wounds to save 20 points. He doesn’t have the Warrior runemark so he doesn’t get any abilities for the faction. It’s also worth pointing out that there are two doggos in the Order of Azyr faction. Grotbiter and Ratspike are 55 points each, same speed, 2 less wounds, 1 less toughness and only to 1.6 damage compared to the 4 of Balthus. Both doggos will cost 110 points and get you more actions and can be more places. Don’t write off Balthus completely though, he’s the second most efficient damage within the faction after Aemos Duncarrow so there is some merit to him although I would be worried about that low health.

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Mistress Verentia again has good health for her points but her damage profiles are a little lacklustre. You’d hope for 4 average damage on melee for 100 points. Her range attack is probably a little more attractive, against T4 you’re hitting on 4s and 5s doing 3 damage with a roll of 6 doing 6. A little unreliable but not terrible as an attack. She does not have Warrior so no reaction or quad.

She’s really here for her ability though. It’s a triple called ‘Secrets from the Shadows’. You pick a double, triple, or quad set of dice your opponent has. You then  roll a single dice and add the value of your own triple, and if you get a total of 7 or more your opponent has to discard their dice unused. Best case of course is a triple 6 in which case even rolling a 1 is going to succeed. If you have a triple 6 and your opponent has a Quad, this is a no-brainer. You’re trading up and getting value. If you’re trading a triple to get rid of one of your opponent’s double’s maybe that’s not so obvious. It can still be a great option, if you know your opponent needs to spend the double to get an extra movement to get to an objective and win the game then denying them that could win you the game. I suspect Mistress Verentia is something a highly skilled player will be able to use amazingly, but an average player always runs risk of making a poor trade or even worse using the ability with a low value and it having no effect. 

On an more abstract level, she might be a little feels bad. I certainly wouldn’t play her against a new player. Having your opponent remove your quad before you get to use it could really suck.

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Last out of the Saviours we have the thief Lyssa Revenya. It’s easy to miss from the model, but she can fly! Presumably she’s flinging that grappling hook, leaping around, and running along walls. Again her wounds are above average. The weapon is relatively poor but it is range 3 which is nice to have. She is not a Warrior though, so no reaction. Like the Mistress, she’s here for here ability. Again it’s another triple, Tangle Them Up. This is range 3 which works well with her attack. You get to remove 2 dice from the melee attack actions of a target for the turn. That’s pretty brutal. Obviously you’re going to want to use this against the enemy big guy, you get to say just outside their reach with that 3 inches and neutralise their damage. It’s actually close to a reverse brewgit. The brewgit views a friendly +3 dice for their next attack. If the target is going to attack dice, Lyssa is removing 4 dice from that. Pretty nice. Obviously, the challenge here is we’ve now got a ton of cool triples to use, but a limited number of dice to power them.

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Lyssa was the last of the Saviours, but don’t forget we also have Hexbane’s Hunters. Hexbane and Pock have been seeing a lot of play as a pair. As this bladeborn warband is in faction for the Order of Azyr which is the same faction that all the Saviours are from, we can take Pock without Hexbane if we want. Indeed any of these fighters can be mixed in. If you’re interested in Callis & Toll, then you should probably pick up Hexbane’s Hunters as well. Combined they will give you a decent number of options to flex between. For more info on the Hunter’s check out my video linked in the description.

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Okay, so what do we have here. Honestly, everything here is awesome. Callis & Toll and just solid all round fighters. Valius should be un-killable, while Lyssa and Verentia have super interesting abilities that let you control how your opponent plays the game. Balthus isn’t super exciting, but he’s fast and does good damage for his points. You do get to mix and pick with Hexbane’s Hunters which are a pretty good warband. I suspect that these fighters are all a little more powerful than they would have been if they were normal fighters. That’s because each of these fighters can only be taken once, so even if one is over-tuned it’s not like you can spam it. That said, when you have numerous models all over-tuned you’re probably on to a good thing.

In total the box comes to 745 points leaving you a 255 to play around with. Hexbane’s Hunters come to 585 points and between the two boxes you have a decent number of options to play with. As only Toll and Hexbane are heroes, you will have hero slots free for some allies. If you check on the channel you will find a review of the all the order warbands, or for something a little more up to date check out Off Meta Musings recent video. Highlights include Naeve BlackTalon, Calthia Xandire, and maybe one of the dwarves either from Kharadron overlords for fighter for profit or the dispossessed for their over my dead body ability.

The Saviours of Cinderfall are due out for preorder this weekend. They will be expensive, probably more expensive than a full Warcry warband. They do look good though and I’ll definitely be trying to get my hands on them. In addition to Warcry rules, they also have some pretty good Age of Sigmar rules and did get a rules so you can use them as heroes in Cursed City. I do still see copies of the Blacktalons floating around, so hopefully GW will keep this box in print, but I will be hammering refresh on the website of my local store just in case.


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