This Saturday the Warcry: Blood Hunt set goes up for preorder. The set includes 2 warbands that can also be used in Age of Sigmar, one for the Soulblight Gravelords, the feral Askurgan Trueblades and the (also) feral Claws of Karanak for Blades of Khorne.
Warhammer Community released the rules for these guys for use in Age of Sigmar ahead of the release, which can be found here. The big question of course is, are these guys worth it?
While Underworlds Warbands have almost universally been pretty bad (with a few diamonds in the rough, particularly in the past few months) Warcry warbands have been more hit or miss. Some are trash but a few really shine. While previous limited just to Slaves to Darkness we’re starting to see them expand to other armies, which makes them an exciting prospect for those looking for new units to field.
These guys are an odd duck. I don’t hate them, but they are a bit of an oddity in how they work.
Their basic attack is 16 3+/3+ Rend -1 and Damage 1 attacks. The leader technically has a different weapon, but it’s really just the same attack doubled up, saving you some time. This is a pretty boilerplate profile, not punchy enough to do enough damage nor really enough mass attacks to try and overwhelm your opponent with saves. The big feral guy, the Curseblood, gets 5 attacks with Rend -2, but the hit is 4+ and it’s still only damage 1. Probably could have given this guy Damage 2.
As for their abilities, they’re interesting but probably just a bit too niche for their own good. They steal The Hunger from their Vampire Lord leaders, which lets them heal wounds after killing a model. This can help a little, since these are 2 wound models (4 wounds on the Curseblood) but not likely to be a game changer. Creed of the Beast was clearly meant to be the big thing to tie this unit together, and if you make it work it genuinely could be helpful. -1 to be hit and wounded against enemy monsters could really save their butts, and they gain an extra attack (per model!) and 3″ of movement each time they kill a Monster for the rest of the battle, and it does stack. If you get into a situation this could be used, it’s definitely powerful but you likely aren’t going to encounter many Monsters that this unit can kill. Cycling back to that pretty mediocre attack profile, they’d have to get pretty lucky or have some help, picking off a wounded Monster with only a handful of wounds left for this to really work out.
About the one thing that does possibly save this is the Gut-Wrenching Howl which forces Fight-Last on a 4+ after a charge. The 50/50 is pretty dicey, but if you send them in alongside something stronger and it goes off, you’ll probably appreciate their appearance. If you don’t get it off, there’s a good chance most of the unit will get crushed in the ensuing counter attack.
Overall it’s a utility piece that requires just a bit too much to go in luck’s favor to pay off. It does fulfill a niche that Soulblight Players have wanted, which is Vampire infantry units. They may have some appeal on that fact alone, and they aren’t unsalvageable if used to support a much stronger unit with their Strike-Last ability. At 180 points it’s a bit pricey, but a unique support unit.
Claws of Karanak
The Claws of Karanak don’t have many tricks up their sleeve, but they’re pretty ok bruisers. The base profile is 17 4+/4+ Rend -1 attacks which is definitely not good. They do get a +1 to hit from being within 8″ of Flesh Hounds (Karanak also counts, natch), which helps a bit but that 4+ to wound hurts. The Hound of Wrath fares a bit better, getting 4 3+/3+ Rend -2 Damage 1 attacks (again, becoming a 2+ when near Flesh Hounds). Since you probably are including Flesh Hounds anyway, if not Karanak himself, the bonus is pretty easy to come by. Stack a few attack buffs on these guys and they could do some work, most Khorne units are designed to start mediocre and improve when synergies are stacked on them. The nice little cherry on top is The Scent of Blood which gives them a free move before the game, which is a cool 6″.
What makes me like these guys a bit more than the trueblades is that they come in at only 100 points and they’re battleline. This makes them a good alternative for a unit of Flesh hounds (As long as you keep one unit in to buff them, of course) and with the rend will probably do quite a bit more damage than the hounds do. They may not have anything fancy but they do the job.
I walk away with these with a bit of a shrug. They’re not bad, I can see both being used, but I don’t think they’ll wow people all that much either. Trueblades could use a bit of a price but otherwise they’re perfectly fine. Not everything needs to shake the foundations of the game, sometimes it’s ok to be Just Fine.
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