It’s time to crack on with my series of initial looks at the Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire warbands, and today it’s time to have a quick look at Garrek Gorebeard and his Reavers.
This warband is made up of, basically, a bunch of cannibalistic nasty bastards who follow the Blood God, Khorne and live to spill blood in his name.
They usually amass in great hordes and maraud across the lands of the mortal realm fighting, killing and torturing anyone and anything that gets in their way. They were once normal beings but who have turned to the Blood God and have now become the hulking great fighters looking to spill blood.
The warband of Garrek Gorebeard is comprised of 5 warriors who are all huge and brutal in their own rights. They wield great axes and swing them with precision even when in their frenzied murderous states. They don’t wear much in the way of armour as they love to feel the spatter of blood on their bare skin and so can usually be seen marauding topless.
I’m not quite sure how Garrek and his warband become lost in the Mirrored City but would assume it’s simply because they saw it and decided it would be a good place to go in order to find plenty of beings whose blood could be spilt. Although the city of Shadespire is now cursed, there are still plenty of beings within for Garrek’s Reavers to murder. Whether they be unfortunate civilians or other hardened fighting warbands, the pickings are good for Garrek and his Reavers in Shadespire.
I should really be asking my wife to do an initial write-up for the Garrek’s Reavers warband as she’s the one who’s been kicking my ass with them whilst I’ve been pissing about trying to learn how best to use the Sepulchral Guard.
A quick look at their character cards shows me that they are a quick bunch with their movement characteristic of 4. This, added to the fact that there are 5 of them, leads me instantly to believe they’re a great warband to use if you like to take the game to your opponent. This suits their fluff as they are simply in the world for the kill and the spilling of blood — screw tactics!
Another thing that Games Workshop have got right with this warband is the fact that they become inspired once 3 warriors are “out of action” (dead).
Once they are inspired they start to hit even faster and harder than they did anyway. Their movement increases by one and the usual increased number of dice to be rolled during attacks happens with them as it does with most warbands.
I particularly like how Karsus the Chained is encouraged to start swinging his axe on a chain around wildly as, when inspired, his “Savage Whirl” attack targets all adjacent enemies.
Where this warband falls down is with the skill of their attacks and ability to defend. With the attacking, it’s not surprising that 3 out of the 5 warriors hit on the Fury symbol rather than the better Smash symbol and with defence, they use the Dodge symbol instead of the Block. This is right as they go into a frenzy when on the attack and don’t wear much armour.
I see this warband as one best suited to using its good movement rate to support each other as they go around attacking the enemy. If you want to play a more objectives-grabbing deck, I think they can do that as well. Arnulf and Targor only have 2 wounds each so they, in my early impressions, would be better off sitting on objectives in the early stages of the game before joining their mates later on. They could also be used as cannon-fodder to get the others inspired as they don’t look too difficult to kill and therefore add to the total of 3 fighters out of action required to inspire Garrek and his boys. Maybe have Arnulf and Targor go off together to, hopefully, take out an enemy before they themselves are taken out meaning that’s your 3 out of action.
When I’ve played against my wife when she’s been using Garrek’s Reavers, she’s only ever used the initial pre-built deck that comes with them in the core box set. She’s very good with that deck and spots good combos to use so I dread to think how good this warband could be when she starts building her own decks (luckily for me, though, she likes the look of The Chosen Axes, phew).
I feel this warband could be one that lends itself to giving the player a longer lifespan of fun as they seem like one that is a bit of a hybrid, Jack-of-all-master-of-none, type deal.
In the early days of the game, people complained that they weren’t very good and kept getting smashed by Steelheart’s Champions. I suspect this was because they were going toe-to-toe with them and that was always going to end badly. This is one of the great things about the game of Warhammer Underworlds, with a warband like this you need to be able to adapt to your opponent as they come in many different shapes, sizes, decks and tactics.
How do you see the Garrek’s Reavers warband best employed? Foot to the floor straight in and smash ’em, or more of a use the high movement rate to go grab objectives? Let me know in the comments below.