Khagra’s Ravagers are, in Raf’s opinion, some of the coolest models yet made for Underworlds. But how do they play? Zach is back with a faction break down and card by card rating.
The Ravagers are the first expansion warband for Direchasm. They bring a new mechanic, Desecration, and a straightforward grinder Aggro playstyle. Overall, they seem very solid, though without any sort of tricks that make them stand out in the current metagame.
Desecration is an overarching mechanic for the warband, which allows them to prevent an Objective from being held until the token has been cleared. To clear a token, an enemy fighter must be standing on it at the end of a Power Step. This is important as it prevents Objectives from being held for purposes of Surge Objectives – Temporary Victory, Bold Conquest, and Hidden Purpose all get stopped by a Desecration token – but it does nothing for End Phase Objectives like Supremacy or Dug In, and doesn’t stop scoring for things like Cryptic Companion or Cursed Keys.
Desecration Tokens are created by killing enemies that are holding Objectives, killing enemies while holding an Objective, standing on an Objective in the End Phase with your two faceless mooks, or by playing certain Gambits. It’s also worth noting that the “Kill” option for creating a token is a Reaction, and therefore prevents you from playing any other after-Activation Reactions, and can be blocked by enemy Reactions. Which… kinda sucks.
Desecration also plays into your Inspiration, as you need three Desecration Tokens on the board to inspire everyone at once. Sometimes, this will be easy – get Cragan and Razek onto Objectives and then get a kill or play a card – but often you will be hovering with 1 or 2 Tokens and struggle to get the last one. Whether you want to push for an Inspire or go for more direct combat will depend heavily on the situation at hand and who is still alive, as Khagra and Zarshia benefit a lot from Inspiration, while Cragan and Razek only get a bit of a bonus.
Currently, most of the good Surge Hold Objective cards are either fairly niche or are on the Restricted list. While the mechanic is strong, and will have powerful effects on certain warbands, it won’t always come up and isn’t something that will propel the Ravagers directly to the top of the pack. Do they have to have enough strength outside Desecration to keep up? Let’s find out.
Khagra is your leader, and she’s about as standard of a beatstick leader as you can get. Move 3 is on the slow side, but Knockback 1 helps out a lot for denying Objectives and abusing lethal hexes. Being able to start with Damage 3 makes her an early game threat, though you’ll have to be smart about positioning until she inspires for that extra point of movement. Inspiring to 2 Shield is great, but there’s always the chance she explodes to an enemy Damage 3 Fighter plus ping herself, so be careful.
Zarshia is the faction Wizard, and other than having an amazing model, she also has some interesting in-game effects. Having a baseline Spell Attack that hits on Channels gives her one of the most accurate attacks in the game, with the downside that she hurts herself on any failure at all. While this can help you score some objectives, such as Addicted To Power, it’s also quite the risk on a 3 Wound Fighter. It becomes much more worth the risk when she Inspires, as a very reliable Damage 2 Ranged Spell Action is amazing.
Your two mooks are Dour Cragan and Razek Godblessed. Neither of these dudes are particularly amazing – both have reasonable Damage 2 attacks and 4 Wounds, which makes them alright, if not particularly interesting. Their ability to Desecrate an objective at the end of the turn gives them a bit of flexibility, allowing them to contribute to Inspiration and denial even if they aren’t actively fighting things. Of the two, Razek gets a lot more from Inspiration than Cragan, but given how difficult the Inspiration is, it’s not particularly worth building around Razek in that regard.
Worth noting as a side note, none of these fighters are Hunters, which means their access to many current Aggro cards is somewhat limited.
Hurricane of Violence
On the Dark Road
Power of Chaos
Absolute Desecration – 1/5
Absolutely not. If you achieve this card, you’ve probably already won the game, and would have done so with any other Third End Phase Objective in your hand.
Brutal Desecration – 4/5
You will usually score this just by playing the game. It’s not interesting, nor is it extremely gamebreaking, it just is something that will usually passively happen while this is in your hand. Consider holding Desecration Ploys to make this more reliable.
Dark Approval – 3/5
A faction specific Victorious Duel is interesting – Khagra isn’t a bad combat leader at all, especially once Inspired and upgraded. However, it is very matchup dependent. She’s not slugging it out with Mollog, and even Morgok can be a challenge to take out. I would only consider this in a deck that is all-in on building Khagra into a murder machine and playing Aggro.
Desolate Domain – 2/5
While at first this seems like an easy card to game, it’s still bad. Your opponent can play around it quite easily, and 1 Glory isn’t nearly enough to build your gameplan around. Pass.
Fierce Conquerers – 2/5
At first this seems good – after all, it’s Conquest in any End Phase. However, Desecration is not a super reliable mechanic, low early game speed means you can’t realistically expect to get three across the border right off the bat, and if you lose two models, it becomes a dead card altogether. In theory it’s quite good, but in practice it’s not reliable enough.
Glorious Slaughter – 3/5
Very enemy and meta specific. If we get back to a more Objective based metagame, where Grymwatch, Thorns, and Beastmen are all around, this is great, but against any elite or durable warband, it’s asking a bit much.
Hurricane of Violence – 2/5
There’s too much going on in this card for me to consider it good. Two kills in a turn is very enemy specific. In enemy territory is very limiting. Attack Actions only isn’t as limiting as it used to be since a lot of ping damage rotated out, but it also means you can’t use Lethals as you like. Too many conditions to really be good.
Malevolent Exploits – 5/5
This type of card is basically always good. And since it’s Power Cards and not Gambit Cards, it’s even better than Bestial Cunning or Orruk Kunnin.
On The Dark Road – 4/5
Singled Out, Chosen Champion, and other variants have always been strong. There’s a very real possibility you are stacking power onto Khagra or Razek, so this will often be an easy passive score.
Power of Chaos – 3/5
There’s a world where you build a magic deck around Zarshia, but it currently doesn’t exist. This is a great card against swarm warbands where Zarshia can ping and blast with impunity, but you’ll really struggle to ever score this vs Krushas or Magore, especially if your Wizard dies early.
Ravagers All – 2/5
The Ravager’s inspiration effect is fairly difficult, especially early on if your opponent is trying to stop you. I’d want this to be at least 2 Glory to consider including it.
Razed Realm – 2/5
Getting 2 Tokens out there isn’t extremely difficult, so it’s not terrible. That said, the more fighters you lose, the harder this gets, and 1 Glory End Phase cards generally want to be more reliable.
Eye of the Gods
Flames of Spite
Mask of Darkness
Whispers of Chaos
Wrack the Land
Eternal Vendetta – 2/5
As far as Aggro bonuses go, this one is… fine. Reroll a dice usually isn’t as strong as +1 dice, so this is weaker than other similar Gambits, and comparable gambits like Victimise also come with additional upsides. If you’re stacking them into your deck, you might consider this as an extra one, I suppose.
Eye of the Gods – 2/5
This basically acts as a flexible Khagra-specific Upgrade without being an Upgrade. That design space is super neat, but it’s too difficult to really utilize well. She has to be alive and your opponent’s Leader has to be dead, and then you have to have this in hand with a desire to use it on her. Gambits usually want to be more flexible and have immediate impact, which makes this a hard sell for me.
Flames of Spite – 4/5
Excellent little source of ping damage. Reliance on crits isn’t great, but since it’s a Reaction with a pretty specific window, you can generally just hold it until the crits happen. Nice addition if you want more damage, especially on Cragan and Razek. Not to mention it has no range restriction, so you can surprise blast someone with Zarshia for extra damage.
Mask of Darkness – 5/5
One of the best spells currently in the game. A teleport that goes off 75% of the time and has a pretty huge variety of uses? Excellent. The only downside is how relatively squishy Zarshia is, but the card itself is amazing.
Power Reclaimed – 3/5
I really want to like this card, because it facilitates a Zarshia power build. You can play super aggressive with Khagra and then rely on this to power Zarshia up… but it’s a bit limited in draw timing and keeping Zarshia herself alive. There’s definitely a build to be had around powering up your Wizard and having this as a boost when Khagra bites it, but I’m not sure if that build is good or not.
Ravaging Advance – 3/5
This is an excellent card in Turn 1, but slowly gets worse as time goes on. There’s some added utility in getting Cragan and Razek onto Objectives to Despoil, but it’ll be a real rough draw in Turn 3 when everyone is either in enemy territory, or you’re trying to turn around and get someone who snuck past.
Ritual Desecration – 4/5
I feel that this is a card you just run for the Inspiration. Khagra and Zarshia really want to inspire, and Razek is a solid pick for inspiration as well. Not to mention is speeds up the whole warband’s Inspriation and slows down enemy scoring, so it’s nice and flexible, even if the positioning is a bit limiting.
Spurred On – 4/5
The only thing keeping this from being a 5/5 card is the restriction to your leader. The effect is so, so good. Move a fighter that’s already moved. Move a fighter onto an Objective. Move into Support during a charge. Move to make a fighter Trapped during Khagra’s attack. All sorts of amazing plays to be had, but of course it sucks as soon as Khagra dies.
Whispers of Chaos – 5/5
Turns out, both faction spells are insanely strong. 75% cast for Distraction plus one of two really good effects. Like Mask of Darkness, would probably be straight broken if Zarshia had more Wounds or a better save, as it is, it’s merely excellent.
Wrack the Land – 3/5
Worse than Ritual Desecration, though a bit more flexible on positioning. If you really want to Inspire or shut down Surges, you might run both, but overall the uses are a bit limited for the overall Aggro gameplan. Maybe it’s a good inclusion in a passive Ravagers playstyle that just looks to play disruption and doesn’t care about killing, but that seems pretty mediocre.
Bolstered by Hate
Blasphemous Cuirass – 3/5
Turn your Fighter into a Wyrmspat fighter. As far as durability cards go, passive damage reduction is solid, though this is much better on Inspired Khagra and Razek when they get that second Defence dice.
Blazing Runeshield – 2/5
There’s not enough good spells in the game for this to be worthwhile, though I could see taking it as a counter-piece to a Cursebreaker metagame if one arises.
Bolstered by Hate – 5/5
Extra Great Fortitude? Don’t mind if I do. Extra Wounds are always good, and often Restricted.
Conquerer’s Cloak – 4/5
More movement is great, and if you’re in the Aggro playstyle, you’ll usually be Charging. That said, there’s better options out there right now, but if you really feel slow, this can make all the difference.
Desecrator Gauntlets – 5/5
I think this effect is amazing. While it seems limited at first, the ability to line up a Lethal Driveback during a Charge, or create a Desecration attack, or set up Support, or push away enemy Support are all extremely impactful things that you can do with this. While it’s not a stat boost, I believe the utility is one of the better available to the faction.
Gifted Sorcerer – 3/5
This is actually quite a powerful boost to Zarshia, but at the end of the day she’s pretty ok without it, and it really will only show up in Zarshia focused decks.
Grudging Defence – 4/5
Always on guard is nice, especially with Survival Instincts being Restricted. It doesn’t make you a Quarry, but a 2 Shield Khagra going on Guard is going to make her a real monster defensively.
Hellfire Sword – 3/5
Given the Ravager’s low speed, an extra ranged attack isn’t terrible. And it’s actually a good one, and would probably be a really ubiquitous Upgrade if it was Universal. I think it makes the cut if you’re looking for some positional flexibility on Razek or play in a swarm-heavy metagame.
Ruinous Might – 5/5
Faction-specific Great Strength. Always good. In an Aggro warband? Excellent. Turns Cragan and Razek into solid fighters, especially Razek Inspired.
Unearthly Charisma – 2/5
A bit disappointing that this doesn’t affect Khagra herself, though it probably would be broken if it did. And the fact that you can’t use it to boost Zarshia or Hellfire Sword makes it kind of pathetic. It’s nice if you set up a wall in an offset board placement, but meh.
Overall, I think they’re nothing special compared to existing Aggro warbands, but they are saved by having extremely powerful Upgrades and a few solid Ploys. While their Inspire mechanic is not the most reliable by a long shot, they still perform fairly well uninspired and have a couple different build paths. I could see running these guys either all-in on Khagra with Razek as a backup (both getting 2 Shields inspired and having reasonable attacks), or with some focus into Zarshia and building around keeping her alive while the three Warriors run interference.
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