On Wednesday Games Workshop dropped 4 brand new Warcry warbands, along with (for the first time) an alternative terrain piece for the Ogor Mawtribes. The Warscrolls have been published here if you’d like to read along. Otherwise, check out our hot takes below!
(Commentary by our resident Fyreslayer expert, Bair)
Fyreslayers were one of the first purely Age of Sigmar armies coming out during the first edition of the game back in 2016 and in that time has had 3 units and now a dozen or so characters, depending on how you count them. That’s right, just 3 units. Technically Vulkite Berzerkers are now 2 different warscrolls, but I’m not counting them separately from each other. That makes this the 4th unit for the Fyreslayer army and the first non-hero release since the army’s launch 6 years ago. It’s even become a bit of an in-joke with Fyreslayer players (not even just just them really) that Fyreslayers only get individual heroes, to the point that I half expected this box set to be at least one hero if not just…8 individual heroes plus a pet baby droth.
Fortunately that’s not the case and it’s a real unit! And that is right where the good news ends. This is a very bad unit. It’s past being bad, it’s downright useless in a Fyreslayer army. “But these are just Warcry warbands, they’re not really for AoS” I already hear the comments saying. It doesn’t matter, many Warcry warbands have solid rules, fill a gap in the army, and even see competitive play. These are none of those things.
At a glance they might seem ok, they’re only 140 points for the unit of 9 (including a baby magamdroth) which is 18 wounds with a 5+ save and…no ward. You get 3 attacks per model (only 1 on the baby-droth) with no rend and damage 1; this is with 2” range so they will all get to attack most times, at least. They’re beast tamers and do…nothing for magmadroths. Instead enemy monsters within 3” can’t make monstrous rampages. That range is far too short that a savvy opponent can just ignore it entirely. There are maybe some niche cases where you could set up a Fyrewall to force a certain charge so that your Hearthguard Berzerkers can’t be Roared at so that they can Strike First with a command. Very niche, costs you more points, and controls how many of your own models can fight in the first place. If that was a 6” range then this unit would be actually usable, sitting behind some berzerkers to guarantee they can’t be Roared at.
The real problem is that they can’t replace anything in your list without making your list worse than it is right now. Fyreslayers, for all the jokes, are a hero-hammer army. You’re using up those 6 Leader slots almost every game (unless you’re playing Oops All Droths Lofnir) and then padding out your points with large blocks of Hearthguard Berzerkers and a unit or two of Vulkite Berzerkers to pad out Battleline. This new unit is Battleline but only in a Lofnir army…the one sub faction that’s being filled out with Runeson on Magmadroth battleline because you need to lean into that build for Lofnir so actually aren’t useful there at all.
That’s all without even mentioning that they don’t actually synergise with the army either. Auric Flamkeepers (that’s a foot hero, yes it’s confusing how similarly named these are) can buff up infantry units of Fyreslayers with abilities like fight on death, or an extra point of damage, or counter charging! But since that ability was written before this unit was out and wasn’t future-proofed in any way it only works on Vulkite Berzerkers, Hearthguard Berzerkers, and Auric Hearthguard. Not this unit. Similarly the army’s allegiance abilities includes a command ability to strike first with a unit when it gets charged, that’s pretty good on a unit with 3 attacks per model! Well, it’s not, because again it only works on the other infantry units specifically, not this unit.
It’s a bad unit. I’ll still get a set to paint and maybe play some Warcry with but I can’t see these going into my Fyreslayer army, ever.
A solid scout unit, free pre-game 5” move will never go unappreciated. They also cannot be shot at outside of 12” or in cover, with an 18” shooting range that makes them just dangerous enough to be difficult to ignore. As an 11 man unit they can out number most MSUs on the point, completing their ability to tactically stand on circles.
There isn’t a ton to say because their role is pretty straightforward, but it is a solid unit that integrates well into many lists, especially if they have a few points left over.
This is…an odd one. As you’d expect, Gorgers are a bruiser unit, in a faction filled with them. Their interesting tricks are that they can deep strike, in an army where that is a bit of a spotty ability, and on a 5+ block command abilities. Not super reliable, but just enough to be concerning to the enemy.
This is largely only going to see play in Gutbusters lists, a mere subset of lists in a faction that hasn’t been doing so hot so Beastclaw players are understandably going to be a bit disappointed. That said if you do play Gutbusters, these seem like a solid addition to add a tactical deep strike that can actually punch.
Alongside the Gorger Mawpack, the first army to get a second terrain piece to pick from. Instead of the Mawpot you can take the Mawpit. This feels like it’s experimenting with a few new ideas. In addition to being the first second terrain piece in the game, an easy to miss feature of it is that you can deploy it outside your territory. It has to be wholly outside enemy territory, but if theres a no man’s land you can set it up there. Which is crucial for how it works.
At the end of each charge phase, the player who’s turn it is has to roll for each unit within 12” (18” if you garrison a butcher inside) that is not in combat. On a 3+, they take D3 mortal wounds. It does not affect Gutbusters units, which definitely leans it more toward foot lists. A shame, because it was Beastclaw Raiders that needed a terrain piece.
In addition, if you garrison a Butcher inside you can remove a model within 18” with a D6 roll (if you roll double or more than their wounds characteristic. Remove 3 models if you roll more than 3 times!). A solid way to remove chaff who wander too close, and is not bound by the same “not in combat” limit of the previous ability.
Finally, a nice little perk is if a Monster tries to destroy it, they take 3D6 mortals if they fail to do so. Not the best odds, but probably enough to make them think twice about it.
Is it better than the Mawpot? Probably…not. +1 to casting rolls is really good and hard to undersell, I’d argue it’d be better for lists that eschew casters but you really need to garrison a Butcher inside to get the most out of it. If you put it too far up, you might run the risk of putting your Butcher in danger. It can also be difficult to use, since units can be safe from most of its effects by getting into combat, so you tend to want to target units further away.
An anti-Monster unit, but it definitely has some legs to stand on. The Kruleboyz do lack a lot of important niches on their own, and have a serious lack of non-leaders.
The Monsta-Killaz do 2 things when within 6” of a Monster. First, they can inflict Strike-Last on a 3+ (2+ if its wounded). Second, on a 2+ they can block Monstrous Rampages, though on a subsequent die roll you risk losing the grot on a 1 and are unable to do it again going forward. That said, it’s certainly worth the risk to block Roar from going off. It doesn’t even need to actually get into combat to help, and can sit in the back providing support.
Even if your opponent doesn’t have a Monster, it’s still a very solid attack profile at 21 4+/3+ Rend -1 D1 attacks in an army that doesn’t really have a ton of great combat options. It’s not great but it’s not terrible either.
At only 135 pts, thumbs up on this one. Definitely worth considering in Kruleboyz, and possibly even Big WAAAGH!.
Other than one pretty big misstep (C’mon, it’s not like it would have been hard to find a niche that Fyreslayers badly needed) the collection of new Warcry warbands came out pretty well! Games Workshop has come a long way in making the units more distinct from other units, which has done wonders for expanding more limited books. The Kruleboyz warband in particular hits a very nice niche in an army begging for more units.
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