Warhammer Underworlds is a competitive skirmish wargame that combines board and card game elements. Set in Games Workshop's fantasy Warhammer Age of Sigmar setting, it's now entering its fifth season, launching with a brand new starter set, Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep. In this article, we'll take a look at what's in the Harrowdeep box, the two new warbands, their cards, and discuss any new rules.
For those new to Warhammer Underworlds, rather than players building their army from a list of available warriors, Warhammer Underworlds has fixed rosters of fighters to choose from, known as warbands. Players then create decks to work with their chosen warband from a set of warband specific cards, cards from their warband's grand alliance, and neutral cards available to everyone. Player's create two decks, the first, the power deck, includes ploys that can be played during your turn, and upgrades that are played to boost your fighters, the other deck is a set of objective cards that are scored throughout the game.
Both of these decks allow you to create variations in warbands so that even if you and your opponent are playing the same warband, the way you play might be entirely different. The objective deck can be built around scoring objectives, eliminating enemy fighters, or even your fighters avoiding damage. The power deck can be built around offsetting the weaknesses of your warband, capitalizing on its strengths, or a mixture of both.
Warhammer Underworlds also includes other interesting elements, like custom dice for attack and defense and a hex board to keep movement simple. Both of these make it extremely beginner-friendly, but the huge competitive scene makes it challenging to master. It's also very fast to play, with entire games taking place over three rounds, with each player getting four actions each per turn to score as many glory points as possible to win the game. This makes it easy to play tournaments, or get a best of three in during your lunch break.
What's a Warhammer Underworlds Season?
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep is the start of Season 5 for Warhammer Underworlds. What that means is that some cards from Season 1 (Shadespire), Season 2 (Nightvault), and Season 3 (Beastgrave) have rotated out of competitive play, but will still be available in friendly games. All previous warbands and their faction-specific cards are still legal to use in competitive, just not the neutral cards from Seasons 1, 2, and 3. This happens for two reasons. The first is balance and control. Limiting the card pool allows the developers to maintain balance in the game. The second reason is to keep it entry friendly for new players. Having to buy all previous packs to be competitive to a huge buy-in, but with the rotation, it means that you're only ever one season behind the current. New players can pick up the new sets are they release, any previous season they need for decks, and any warbands before that if they want to play that particular warband, but there's no requirement to buy older warbands they don't want to play.
This makes Harrowdeep the perfect time to start playing Warhammer Underworlds, it contains everything you need for two players to play, as we'll discuss below in the box contents, but it also kicks off the new season.
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep contains:
- Warhammer Underworlds rulebook
- Two full warbands (Xandire’s Truthseekers and Da Kunnin’ Krew)
- Two starter decks for both warbands, plus extra cards to expand
- Two double-sided game boards
- Eleven custom dice
- Objective and lethal hex tokens
- Wound, glory points, status, activation, and gloom tokens
Both included warbands are push-fit, which means no glue is required. They simply need cutting from the sprue and then slotting together in order for them to be ready for use.
Harrowdeep contains everything for two players to play Warhammer Underworlds, and afterward, the only purchases you need to make are the warbands you want to play. Players looking to get into Warhammer Underworlds competitively, will want their own set of Harrowdeep, rather than sharing, and will want to pick up the future expansion for the season.
The new Rivals format of Warhammer Underworlds makes getting into competitive play extremely easy, as warbands used fixed decks from their sets, which means you don't need to worry about picking up any previous expansions to get access to cards, if you only want to use specific warbands in the Rivals format.
This new starter set adds a few new rules and changes into Warhammer Underworlds. The first noticeable change is the card backs for the objective and power cards are different from all previous seasons, this means that if you want to use cards from older sets, you will need to pick up a set of opaque card sleeves, so that the card backs can't be seen.
Grand Alliance cards have also been added for Order, Chaos, Death, and Destruction. These can be added to decks for any warband under that grand alliance, where previously, players could only use their warband cards and neutral cards.
Another new addition to the rules are cover hexes and gloom tokens. Cover hexes give support to a fighter, allowing them to include the dual support symbol as a success in their rolls. Gloom tokens are the reverse side of the objective tokens and provide cover for any fighter on it. Objective tokens can be flipped during the game, turning an objective token into a gloom hex or vice versa.
The Truthseekers are a group of Stormcast Eternals investigating the Harrowdeep on instructions from Sigmar Himself. They're an interesting warband of three Stormcast and their winged companion. They're a very aggressive warband, with a focus on taking out enemy fighters. They inspire if one of their numbers is taken out of action and they all have a unique reaction that activates when they are taken out of action, so don't be afraid to push them forward.
Our favorite cards from their set are:
- Advance As One - This ploy lets you push all friendly fighters one hex towards the nearest enemy, awesome for helping you get stuck in quicker.
- Meteoric Blow - This ploy lets you flip an objective or gloom token after a successful attack. I love the thematic nature of the powerful attack having an in-game effect like lighting up the gloom.
- Grip Of Serenity - This new illusionary upgrade includes a few new rules. Vulnerable means that your fighter has only one wound remaining, and placing this upgrade on them at the cost of no glory points, boosts their attack dice and damage and also puts them on guard for a round. It's broken when they take damage or are the target of a gambit card, which means the card is discarded.
- Raptor's Eye - This upgrade boosts Taros' move, and also gives Stormrider support if Taros has line of sight to an enemy fighter.
- Unquestionable Might - I love the audacity of this objective for this warband. Three glory points for all enemy fighters out of action, or four enemies out of action for only one friendly fighter.
Da Kunnin’ Krew
The Krew are a group of Orruks from the newly released Krule Boyz Orruk faction. They like to gang up on their opponents and inspire when three or more enemy fighters are out of action, or when they're supported or support a friendly fighter. Their leader Mannok can push adjacent friendly fighters after another fighter takes a move action, which is great for keeping your fighters on the move and together in a pack. Three out of the five fighters also have a range two or above attack, which helps keep them out of the fight, while still being able to attack.
Our favorite cards from their set are:
- Creeping Doubt - This ploy lets you move a friendly fighter one hex towards an enemy, and if they end up adjacent, then the enemy fighter gets a stagger token, which takes them off guard, and allows you to reroll a dice in attacks against them.
- Firebomb - A scattering range three bomb that deals damage to fighters in the target hex and adjacent hexes, throw it past your target, and hope it scatters back.
- Kunnin' Waaagh! - This ploys lets you draw power cards equal to the charge tokens you have, which if timed right, can really pay off.
- Morkrow - An upgrade that gives Mannok a range four krow attack, use it to deal with that pesky Taros.
- Outmanoover - This one glory objective is scored in an end phase when you have two friendly fighters in range of the same enemy. Easy.
New Universal and Grand Alliance Cards
Our favorite cards from the new universal and grand alliance cards are:
- Elimination Order - This Order card is a score immediately objective, when you take an enemy leader out of action, before any other enemy fighters, or if a friendly assassin takes the target out of action. It looks like we might see new assassin fighters, or have the keyword added to existing fighters.
- Shattering Blow - This Destruction ploy lets you break an enemy fighter's upgrade after a successful range 1 attack. Waaagh!
- Reborn In Darkness - This death ploy allows you to place a fighter in any cover hex (including Gloom hexes) when you raise them. Watch the shadows.
- All Too Real - This Chaos objective is scored immediately if a friendly fighter's upgrade attack action takes a target out of action, or after a successful Illusion attack action. Illusion upgrades don't cost glory and are broken when conditions are met, like the Truthseekers Grip Of Serenity upgrade above.
- Penumbral Falls - This ploy is a Waypoint, which means it sticks around until another waypoint is played. It deals one damage to all fighters on edge hexes at the end of the action phase.
- Dark Insight - This upgrade allows you to look at the top card of your objective deck as an action when the fighter is in a cover hex, and they can then draw and discard an objective card, or put the card on the bottom of their deck. I like the thematic play of visions while in the gloom.
- In Cold Blood - This score immediately objective happens when you take an enemy fighter out of action, with an attack with a fighter that has no wound counters or is an assassin.
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep is the perfect place for new players to start playing Warhammer Underworlds. Veteran players will find 2 very interesting warbands with some unique effects, and the new rules and effects add some great dynamics to the game.
This copy of Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep was provided by Games Workshop.