The new season of Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow is among us. Having spent time battling it out among the trees, the Warbands have descended further to find a new labyrinth of danger below in the Wyrdhollow.
Warhammer Underworlds is a skirmish game where players fight one another across a hexagonal board. Underworld has a number of expansions, at the start of each season a new setting will be announced such as the Gnarlwood or the Nethermaze. While there will be additional releases during the season introducing new Rival Decks or Warbands to add to your available options.
What's in the Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow box?
Included in the Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow box you'll find the following items:
- Warhammer Underworlds rulebook
- Two full warbands (Domitan's Stormcoven and Ephilim's Pandaemonium)
- Two starter decks for both warbands, plus two extra sets of Rivals Decks
- Two double-sided game boards
- Eleven custom dice
- Feature Tokens
- Glory, activation, wound/counter, raise, status, and hex tokens
Each of the Warbands, Domitan's Stormcoven and Ephilim's Pandaemonium, have their own starter deck that will uniquely fit with them while there are also two more Rival Decks included in the box. These additional decks are the Toxic Terrors Rival Deck and Seismic Shock Rivals Deck.
As always the first step I took was removing the two plastic sprues and snap together the three members of Domitan's Stormcoven and Ephilim's Pandaemonium. Compared to the original Gnarlwood miniatures that I put together there was a lot of added complexity. It wasn't just about matching the front and back of a heavily armored body and then plugging arms into the sides.
Some of Ephilim's Pandaemonium, due to their odd shapes and multitude of limbs, would have me plucking out a piece that was a head connected to an arm. I then had to loosely lay it in a chest cavity while adding further pieces to hold it in place while hoping it didn't rotate incorrectly. There seemed to be some level of consistency with these unnatural pieces that the purpose was to separate out skin from the outfit which would result in the minis being easier to paint, but it definitely didn't do building them any favors.
What is the Wyrdhollow?
The Wyrdhollow is a connection of tunnels located underneath the Gnarlwood. If Warbands were crazy enough to make their way to the Gnarlwood then they were insane to want to delve into its depths and arrive at the Wyrdhollow. There is more to the Wyrdhollow than just glory and combat (which is all the reason the Gnarlspirit Pack had traveled there), instead the Wyrdhollow is said to house Talaxis, The Ravening Ruin. A location that is said to hold incredible techno-arcane items more powerful than others seen in this day and age. In reality, this is the Eye of Chotec, a vessel of Seraphon crafted by the Old Ones.
This quest for arcane power or understanding of the strange entities within the Wyrdhollow is what brings the Knights-Arcanum as well as the strange abominations that follow Ephilim the Unknowable to the Wyrdhollow.
Warhammer Underworld Wyrdhollow Domitan's Stormcoven Warband Analysis
Domitan's Stormcoven is a small Warband of just three members; Leona Stratoshi, Sarpon The Cyclone, and Domitan Eye of the Storm. An extremely unique mechanic of Domitan's Stormcoven is that there is no set leader, but the leadership can be rotated among all members. After a different friendly fighter's activation, you're able to inspire one of your Stormcoven but that also uninspires your other characters.
When inspired each of these Warbands gains different abilities such as flight, a move to stagger opponents, or a way to push them away. This adds a really fun level of coordination needed as you run through a turn activating and deactivating Inspiration to maximize the kinds of damage you can deal.
This can also leave you in an advantageous position where Stratosi has two shields while inspired. There is also the case where if one member of the Warband is the last alive that it will become Inspired automatically so you'll never be left in a situation where you can't go Inspired.
My favorite cards from Domitan's Stormcoven are:
- Knights Triumphant - This Objective Card is the perfect card not only to show off the strength of the Warband but also their ability to inspire throughout a round. It does a good job of teaching new players what an important mechanic of the Warband is.
- Tempest's Fury - This is a simple objective that rewards diversifying efforts among the members of your warband. As all march forward it's an easy quest to get early to start building up glory
- Howling Gales - Deep in the Storm theme of wind and lightning this card allows you to not only displace one enemy but two, not only can you use it to take an enemy off an objective but can also manage to stagger not just one but two fighters.
- Charged Weapons and Blades of Azyr - While they're both similar it does show how you can alter your Warband, emphasizing ranger or melee proficiency. As you play multiple times with this Warband you'll be able to create different strategies of your base ability set.
Warhammer Underworld Wyrdhollow Ephilim's Pandaemonium Warband Analysis
This deck is absolute chaos. Ephilim's Pandaemonium is made up of Ephilim the Unknowable and four abominations who are all Changers. These creatures are Apo'trax the Starefysh, Kindlefinger, Flamespooler, and Spawnmaw. The format on the cards themselves might seem quite normal but where this deck's main mechanic comes from is from the Pandaemonium plot card.
At the beginning of each round, the player with this plot will have to make a number of decisions regarding their Changers. Each of these four effects must be applied on a different Changer so it can lead you to a situation where certain members of your Warband are stronger or weaker depending on the turn. In order you're able to inspire a changer, stagger a changer, grant a changer a guard token, and push a changer 1 hex. By guarding a changer who is close to danger, or inspiring a changer next to a hurt enemy fighter you could immediately throw your opponent off guard.
The ability to inspire is also important as Ephilim's inspiration comes from two fighters being inspired, and your last changer will inspire once all the others have. As long as you continue to inspire different changers it gives you a steady ramp of inspired progression. I really like that even though there are a lot of mechanics available to you that there's still some level of steady upskilling in this Inspiration mechanic.
My favorite cards from Ephilim's Pandaemonium are:
- Nine Fates - This is just a unique card in that you're required to have Warband on objectives that add up to 9 and with 5 pieces at your disposal this could be very easy if 5 and 4 are in your territory or a real pain trying to work your characters around the map.
- Closing The Circle - This also shows how the 5-man (monster?) warband is being used to not just huddle up but make it all across the map. The Pandaemonium plot of moving characters a hex can also help you make small and inconspicuous moves.
- Sudden Warp-portal - This is not only a great defensive but offensive ability to have. Spawnmaw with a movement of 5 can get in before swapping out for an Inspired hard-hitter. Also if someone is in danger and you'd rather even out the damage than sacrifice a member of your warband you can sub someone in.
- Aura of Mutability - This one is simple but effective allowing you to boost up Ephilim in order to create a more powerful set of Changers around them
- Spiteful Mouths - Everyone loves a bit of mutually assured destruction and a creature that has a chance to deal damage back when taking it is a powerful ability, especially if they have the health to share.
Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow Toxic Terrors Rival Deck Analysis
The Toxic Terrors Rival Deck is actually one that's quite simple to understand. This deck is filled with poison Gambit cards that you're able to apply to an enemy or apply to a friendly creature. When applied to an enemy it will have some kind of damaging or debilitating effect, whereas when applied to a friendly unit it will power up their attacks or allow them additional effects such as Grievous.
My favorite cards from Toxic Terrors are:
- Capable Poisoners - This objective is great at illustrating not just the need to get enemies poisoned, but that by using attacks in tandem with regular attacks you're going to get your best effect.
- Carve a Path - This is a fun one as it not only relies on your Leader getting out into the middle of the fray but also moving and attacking multiple times. The extra benefit to the successful attacks and being in enemy territory also can speed up the early game as you build up your Warband's strength
- Choking Venom - A great example of how poison can be used to power up your party. While it's only temporary, being removed on a successful hit, with Objectives that rely on a certain number of fighters having Poison gambits on the field by not attacking you can boost your chance to clear Objectives.
- Blighted Touch - A very powerful upgrade when it manages to work, however, you'll be wanting to ensure as many warbands are poisoned as possible so that you can protect a fighter from so many negative effects
- Poisonmaster - Another powerful card and incentive to keep everyone in the poisoned state. Getting to draw 2 power cards on a hit against a poisoned enemy also gives you more chances to poison others allowing you to keep cycling.
Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow Seismic Shock Rival Deck Analysis
The Seismic Shock Rival Deck is all about creating opportunities to boost your abilities while on special hexs such as the objective, feature, or hazard hex. Of all of the Rival Decks I've seen so far this seems the most disjointed. A lot of the features of these cards seem to have initial effects, but I'm not seeing much synergy between the cards creating opportunities for one another.
My favorite cards from Seismic Shock are:
- Powering Up - A key aspect of this deck is a lot of Wizard-relevant cards, it's important that whatever Warband you pick is one that has Wizards to make full use of the deck. This card shows you should get your wizard in place and hold firm.
- Spark of Creation - This is another spell-specific card whereby being on a hazard or feature hex you're able to quickly clear an objective.
- Iara's Repelling Shield - For a deck so set on having your warband taking up a post in a specific hex the removal of being driven back will allow you to complete objectives such as 'Powering Up' easier
- Celestial Surge - This Gambit allows you to give a wizard a powered-up attack if they're on an objective. You'll likely end up with a somewhat spread-out Warband if you're trying to capitalize on all of these hex-related cards but the high damage might be worth the payoff
- Localised Quake - When you don't have an objective but you want one the Localised Quake will allow you to throw someone off one. If you only have the movement to get to one, but a friend who is on one could make it to another in 3 it also gives you an opportunity to somewhat leapfrog from having one objective taken to two.
What are our final thoughts on Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow?
I am a huge fan of the Warbands included in Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow. Both introduce a bit of randomness or unique planning that needs to go into each of your turns. Domitan's Stormcoven lets you shift the tide of battle as fighters are Inspired and uninspired literally turn by turn, and the Changers of Ephilim's Pandaemonium getting to power up and down obtaining different boons gives a lot of flexibility on the board.
The Rival Decks are a bit harder to land on, the poison-focused Toxic Terrors looks to be a good all-around deck for any Warband, but the situations where Seismic Shock would be truly powerful seem to be very specific.
Should you buy Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow?
For players who are interested in a few Warbands that have added versatility from turn to turn these are a great purchase option. The added flexibility does mean you've got to be a lot more strategic, positioning fighters where they can be most effective, but if something does come along to ruin your plan each is also able to pivot very quickly whether it's that they inspire or suddenly end up with a shield token. The Rival Decks included are also interesting, but to be paired with such unique Warbands does do them a bit of a disservice.
The copy of Warhammer Underworlds Wyrdhollow used to produce this review was provided by the Publisher. All photos were taken by the reviewer over the course of the review.