Warhammer Underworlds: Margwaeth’s Blade Coven Hot Take

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Morgwaeth’s Blade Coven

Overall Morgwaeth’s Blade Coven seems to be a pretty mediocre team, off the bat. I’m sure that’s not what people want to hear, but historically, squishy teams with no resurrection mechanic haven’t done too well – we’ve seen this with Eyes of the Nine, Godsworn Hunt, and Garrek’s Reavers. Gashrak’s Despoilers have performed a bit better, by way of having extremely good Objectives and slightly better fighters than the others, but even they haven’t quite cracked top tiers of play on a regular basis.

Morgwaeth herself is a pretty impressive fighter. High speed, starts on 2 Dodge, and a good health pool puts her in a good spot baseline, and then she also has a solid attack on both sides of her card. You’ll want to inspire her early with her own Blood Sacrament, just to get that 3 damage. I feel that most games, she’ll be the last fighter alive on your team, once the rest get picked off.

Kyrae is your only natural Hunter, and comes standard with an impressive Range 4 bow with Ensnare, gaining accuracy and Cleave once inspired. She starts with a pretty solid statline, and I don’t think you particularly need to Inspire her early, as 3 Swords is pretty good on her bow and she’s already on 2 dodge. Still, given the state of the other fighters, she’ll likely always be your second Blood Sacrament target.

Khamyss is your best chump, starting with a Range 2, Damage 2 weapon, and having natural drive back immunity. Being immune to Snare and Pit Trap is a good boost to a chump fighter, but 2 Wounds is still a harsh place to be in general. The Bladed Buckler combination attack is neat, but not quite worth inspiring over, so you’d really only be targeting her with Blood Sacrament for that second Dodge dice.

Kyrssa and Lethyr are your two true mooks. Kyrssa is better early with her Crit Damage boost, though Lethyr scales better with +Damage modifiers once Inspired. It’s doubtful that it will come up enough, by the time you get around to Upgrading and Inspiring Lethyr, she’s likely already dead or in a spot to die soon. Perhaps there’s a game where you Blood Sacrament Lethyr early, hit her with Great Strength, and then try to chuck her into a big target and pray for 4 damage… but overall I think Kyrssa is your more important fighter here.

The style for these ladies is likely going to be something like Flex Aggro, trying to score some passive cards early for upgrades before sending in your squishy fighters on suicide missions. They could try to play partially into a Hold Objective style, as they have high speed and five fighters, so they could potentially play around with things like Swift Capture or Hidden Purpose, especially with Kyrae sitting on an Objective and using her long range.

Raf’s Thoughts: Ugh this is a classic Raf Trap warband. I predict I’ll spend months playing with them, swearing up and down that there is some great deck or strategy that will make them top tier only to eventually admit that depending on 2 Wound fighters in this game is rough. Built in Combo is enticing, but the odds of getting more than a couple attacks in is pretty low.

I think they’re going to be a high-variance warband. There will be games where the dice gods smile and pour on the damage but there will be just as many where you can’t Dodge and these ladies shatter. Maybe there’s something to tease out with early objective play that feeds into late game bloodshed like the Grymwatch but will it be better to just play the ghouls? Naturally this means someone will win a high profile tourney shortly after I abandon them by tooling up Khamyss like some dirty Skaven.

Objectives

Blessings of Khaine: 3/5
If you’re playing very aggressively and getting kills, this is a pretty good card, but that requires your dice to go well. You can supplement it with Chatechism of Murder or even things like Regal Visions, but if you’re just relying on Blood Sacrament, it’s a pretty middling card.

Blood Rite: 4/5
I think this is a good card, but you really need to work to set it up. Often, enemies will either be on an objective or far away from them, making this harder to score, but you can Distraction them off or drive back with Kyrae and then follow up with a kill. Still, Surge for single kill is pretty solid, so I think it’s a good inclusion. Do keep in mind that Pit Trap, Snare, and Lethal Hex follow ups don’t count towards this, though.

Consecrate to Khaine: 4/5
This is basically a free score against any Objective warband, and even Aggro warbands tend to jump onto Objective Markers for scoring purposes. You can also push them onto an Objective, or use Mischevious Spirits to slip one underneath an enemy. It loses some effectiveness if the meta shifts away from Hold Objective, but I don’t think that will happen any time soon. It would be a 5/5, but as you’ll do a lot of chip damage, it will occasionally be hard to set up perfectly.

Daughters of the First Temple: 3/5
This is very matchup dependent. It’s a great one Glory card against swarm Warbands, but against anything Elite, this is basically a dead card early on, and still hard to score later.

Devoted Disciple: 5/5
This is a free score. Don’t know what else to say, even if your opponent isn’t attacking you, you can just run through a Lethal. Now, it’s not Surge like Calculated Risk, but free Glory that doesn’t require any interaction from your opponent or even much deviation from your game plan is extremely valuable, even if it’s not exciting.

Perfect Kill: 4/5
Precise Use of Force was an auto-include in Shadespire before it got Restricted. While the usefulness varies against different warbands where you can occasionally struggle to set up precise damage, extra Glory off of a kill is always good, especially without positional requirements.

Purposeful Strike: 4/5
Much like Devoted Disciple, this isn’t exciting, but it is very reliable. Just charging Kyrae onto an Objective and shooting someone scores you this, as long as you don’t get pushed off, and having two other fighters with Range 2 can make it quite reasonable as well. It’s a bit positional dependent for a perfect score, but you should still score it in a vast majority of your turns.

Ritualised Formation: 3/5
I’m not sure the Daughters are a good candidate for pure Hold Objective play. Doubling up on Supremacy isn’t always a great call, especially on a Warband that can expect to die pretty quickly like this one. Raf: Very Grymwatchy and again I wonder…will they be able to carve out a niche?

Swift Sacrifice: 5/5
Kyrae and Morgwaeth are your best fighters, and this just lets them capitalize on killing. Great, even if it might be difficult early on before Inspiration effects.

Torturous Death: 3/5
This text has previously been seen in Concerted Attack and Focus Fire, which saw pretty minimal play. While it’s likely to get scored against big enemies like Hrothgorn or Morgok, piling on is not always your game plan, so take this knowing that you might have to play differently to score it. It gains a bit of power if you use Combo attacks to get 2 attacks back to back, but Combos are pretty meh overall.

Triumphant Stance: 4/5
At first glance, this seems great. It’s like a miniature Uncontested, and as stated, all you really have to do is park Kyrae on an Objective and push the rest off. But much like Uncontested, once they realize you’re running this, your opponent will be hoarding their Fighter Push cards to try and shut it down. Still, many games this will be a nice, easy 2 Glory score, and 2 Glory is a great thing to have.

Power Cards

Bloodbane Venom: 3/5
This would be really tempting in a world where Pit Trap didn’t exist, and might gain some interest once it rotates out. As it is, it’s a risky card with big payoff, but praying for Crits isn’t always the most reliable ways to get damage.

Carve a Rune: 4/5
I think this is excellent. Hold this, fish for Crits, get free Glory. Yes, you can’t spend it to get Upgrades, but Glory is Glory, and this is more reliable than something like Daylight Robbery. I can’t rate it 5/5 since it doesn’t directly impact the board, which is a hard sell for a Gambit card, but it is a strong inclusion for tiebreaking and winning games. Raf: Legitimately love this card. There’s probably some reactions out there I’m not remembering that shut it down but it’s going to fun apologizing to your opponent as you play it since they’re probably already annoyed you rolled a crit.

Catechism of Murder: 5/5
Your fighters gain a lot from Inspiration, and this lets you get those boosts early before relying on kills. I’m not sure it’s a required take, as it loses usefulness the later you draw it (and is patently useless in Turn 3), but Inspiring Morgwaeth on top of 1 is a pretty amazing boost. Raf: I can’t see not taking this card honestly, and would probably consider a mulligan if I don’t see it.

Crimson Rejuvenation: 2/5
I think this is bad. All your chumps will generally die the first time they’re hit, but maybe you want a bit of healing for Morgwaeth and Kyrae. In that case, Heal(1) isn’t particularly great, and I’d rather have other preventative defenses in place.

Drilled to Perfection: 3/5
“Give a fighter a Guard Token” is pretty good text, as Guard infers a lot of bonuses. Playing it after charging onto an Objective makes you hard to shift off, and given that everyone has the capability of getting to 2 Defense naturally, it increases your odds of survival quite a bit. That said, you have to compare it to other cards, and it doesn’t stack up great compared to Buried Instinct, and you only have so many Gambit slots.

Fanatical Faith: 5/5
Excellent card for a squishy warband. It’ll save your chumps from basic attacks (though not Gambit damage), and keeps your big fighters around longer. Basically always run this.

Headlong Fury: 5/5
This is an excellent, flexible card. You can use it before a charge to get double your Move distance, or you can use it after an Attack to get out of dodge. The Inspiration requirement can be a bit rough for the Daughters, but when you can use it, it’s one of the best cards in their set.

Incredible Agility: 2/5
These types of cards are rarely seen in the game. Obviously this type of effect is excellent on fighters who have it naturally, but the times where you need this effect and also have this card in hand aren’t going to line up enough to make it an inclusion. Raf: I’m a little more bullish on this card, I’ll almost certainly include it in my first few decks and see how it goes.

Perfect Precision: 4/5
Rerolls are good. I’d rather this be a Reaction, as it can end up wasted, but you have enough effects that trigger off of Crits that using this before an important Charge is excellent.

Zealot’s Rage: 5/5
Reaction to redo a failed attack is always great. Your attacks are already quite reliable, getting extra reliability is just icing on the cake. Raf: Worth pointing out that you can use this to restart a combo chain if it fails at any point.

Upgrades

Crimson Shard: 4/5
Excellent upgrade, only held back by being Morgwaeth specific. She’s your best fighter, for sure, but sometimes you need to lean on other fighters as well. You’ll likely always include this in any case.

Crone Blade: 3/5
While this isn’t the strongest Weapon Upgrade in the game, it’s not a bad one by any means, and sometimes having the Heal can save your fighter. You probably don’t take it over Amberbone weapons, but it’s a neat alternative.

Death Dancer: 4/5
Duellist’s Speed is already a very good card, though this has the restriction of not being in Superactions, meaning it’s slightly worse. Still, you have Range 2 and Range 4 attacks baseline, so you should often be able to dance around quite well.

High Oracle’s Butcher: 4/5
Faction Tome of Offerings is great, and the Kyrae restriction isn’t that bad considering that she’s your best second fighter. The downside is that it requires an adjacent enemy, and her melee weapon isn’t the best. It’s still a good Upgrade, because extra Glory is always good, but it’s not as easy to utilize as similar upgrades are for other Warbands. Raf: I can’t see running this over Trophy Belt and I’m also not sure I need 2 of them plus Tome of Offerings. When Nightvault rotates out maybe I’ll make room for it.

Invigorated Attack: 4/5
Upgraded additional Dice is excellent, but the positional requirement can be awkward. That said, as the picture shows, you can always just plop Kyrae onto an Objective and shoot with a 4 Dice attack, which is nice.

Rapturous Defense: 2/5
Would be better if it was anyone but your chumps, but then it would probably be too good. This really needs to be stacked with Wound increases to make those fighters worthwhile, in my opinion, but 3 Dodge isn’t terrible once they Inspire.

Rune of Khaine: 1/5
Just bad. Sure, sometimes 1 damage will be enough to finish off the attacking enemy, but usually it’s a bit of nothing, and does nothing if you go into a Lethal Hex. And you can’t even put it on a chump.

Rune of Slaughter: 3/5
Crit fishing is very dice dependent, but extra damage is good. Many of your fighters are on 3 Swords, which is nice for Crits, but generally this is just Great Strength that has the potential to not boost your attack. If you are already running Great Strength and desperately want another copy, this is an ok option. Raf: Crits seem to be a theme for this warband. There may be something there as far as a fun gimmick deck—and you know I love those—but again, high variance.

Victor of a Thousand Duels: 2/5
There are too many restrictions. Against some enemies, this is amazing. But, it requires the enemy to be Range 1, it requires a dice roll, it requires you to not die…the only upside is that it can be used any number of times, unlike Gambits that have similar effects. Still, I think it’s not the best card for an Upgrade slot.

Whirling Whip: 2/5
This actually isn’t a bad attack, but Scything is so situational that I don’t think it’s worth the deck slot. If you expect to see a lot of swarm Warbands, consider slotting it, but do so with caution.

So there you have it. Honestly, this can be a fun warband with a few deck themes just based on the faction cards. It remains to see how competitive they are at a high level; we’ll be back in a bit when we’ve had a chance to play a few games.

If you missed our coverage of Morgok’s Krushas, go check it out now and come back 30 minutes after this post goes live to check out our review of all the new Universal cards!

Credit all images: Games Workshop

 

 

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