The Ylthari’s Guardians Expansion was provided for review by Games Workshop Ltd. I’d like to take a moment to thank the entire team for affording us the opportunity to review these Aelves!
Ylthari’s Guardians Backstory
Ylthari and her Guardians grew from a soulpod grove in the Jade Embassy, which long ago stood on the verdant outskirts of Shadespire. The Sylvaneth of this enclave were envoys who spoke to the Katophranes on behalf of Alarielle, Queen of the Radiant Wood. They formed strong bonds with those who dwelt in and travelled through Shadespire, but all was sundered when Nagash cursed the city. In that instant, the Sylvaneth were cut down like wheat before the reaper’s scythe, and the soulpods that housed their spirits were imprisoned withing the Mirrored City. With the advent of the Necroquake, the Life magic of Alarielle has been able to seep through cracks in reality back into Shadespire. Some of the Sylvaneth trapped there have stirred once more, with Ylthari and her Guardians being the first to awaken. Imbued with bountiful vigour and wrath, the seek the lost soulpods of their fallen kin.
Ylthari’s Guardians Miniatures
Ylthari’s Guardians contain four fighters joining Magore’s Fiends and Mollog’s Mob as an elite warband. Four fighters provides you with an option for every activation, though you’ll likely want to make multiple activations with a key piece like Ahnslaine.
Assembling the miniatures was simple and the green colour is easily identifiable from the Orruks. My favourite miniature of the bunch is Gallanghann, they just look so imposing. Though if you’re a clumsy bugger like myself exercise extreme patience when building these models as there are many small leaves and twigs that can easily break off.
Ylthari – As leaders go Ylthari will not be going toe-to-toe with the opponent preferring to attack from range instead, they remind me a little of Stormsire but with a Dodge characteristic. Whilst poor Vortemis weeps in the corner at being slower and less conscious of his own safety, he can summon a friend and has an extra wound, so he’s got that going for him still.
Ylthari can be called upon to finish off an enemy fighter when needed to, with Movement 4/5 and a reasonably accurate set of attacks. Their accuracy can be boosted substantially with upgrades like Challenge Seeker and Well of Power providing a Range 3 -Focus 4 – DMG 2 attack, and you don’t need to worry about hitting that double Crit as they’ll heal it back up with their on card reaction.
As a level 2 caster Ylthari has access to all the Gambit spells from the off, and with some tasty in-faction spells like Curse of the Binding they can easily control the most deadly of fighters. Mollog, Magore and Grimnir may need to consider Revoke if this faction turns out to be popular!
Gallanghann – The tank of the warband. This aelf is a tough nut to crack. With a whopping 4 Wounds and 2 Block from the get go you’ll be hard pressed to bring them down without Cleave or a handy upgrade. In essence they’re as tough as an Inspired Stormcast, and we’ve all dealt with that at some point! To add insult to injury if they roll a crit in their defence roll you’ll be taking a damage just for trying to attack them!
Gallanghann poses an interesting dilemma to foes of Ylthari’s Guardians. With Movement 4 and a Range 2 attack they are the perfect vanguard fighter to initiate a fight and will likely be the only option to make attacks against in the first turn. Their Inspired card doesn’t present much to be desired, an AoE attack and knockback are nice but you could quite happily not Inspire this aelf.
Skhathael – Okay. This is getting interesting now! Skhathael is the aelf you WANT inspired in turn one! Be sure to run Healing Potionor Healing Amphora to get this fighter their third Attack dice and Cleave! I love the idea of upgrading them with Concealed Weapon to provide a potential 5DMG attack.
3 Health leaves the option for Challenge Seeker open (this seems like a theme, no surprise it has one of Ylthari’s Guardians on the artwork!), and any dice boosting effect will be greatly sought after to ensure they land their attacks before being removed from the battlefield.
With 4 Movement we’re seeing that this Warband can hit hard, take a punch and will likely be making the initial engagement. I’m not certain how they deal with an aggressive Skritch early in Turn One but with their controlling cards it shouldn’t be too hard to manage.
Ahnslaine – Okay. I’m in. Range three hitting on hammers is fantastic, especially when coupled with anything that gives additional dice. When you get this aelf inspired that increases to a whopping Range 4! Equipping this fighter with Upgrades before committing them is vital in unlocking their full potential.
Challenge Seeker, Gloryseeker, and Fighter’s Ferocity are all worthy mentions. However, I love the idea of using a reliable weapon upgrade such as the Shadeglass Dagger. Their reaction is not restricted to their Revenant Bow, so utilising a powerful attack to Charge and kill someone, which will trigger the reaction to make an Attack action. Then use the bow and you’ve completed three of the four requirements for Keep Them Guessing.
The bit we’ve all been waiting for, and what you’ve probably skipped back to after checking out the Universal cards!
Giblin’s Top Pick
Strike Swiftly – Score Immediately when you kill with a Charge Action. Good, solid objective not more to say really.
Song of Hatred – Score Immediately for successfully casting a second or subsequent spell in this phase. I like it – on card spell from Ylthari and some tasty new spells in the Universal pool make it likely to come off whilst building into your main game plan!
Lithe Spirits – Score immediately for making a second or subsequent reaction. Well, they all have Reactions on their Fighter cards but triggering this from Potions and Gambits certainly seems the way to go! Ready for Action & Potion of Rage/Grace are a dream combo for this card!
Reclaim the Lamentiri – Make use of Abasoth’s Unmaking and Leech Power to ensure you get an easy two glory!
Show No Mercy – Not totally reliable to score in Turn One so I’m not a huge fan, but if you’re building a hyper-aggro deck it may be something to consider.
Glade’s Pride – A Third End phase card with three glory is pretty common but keeping all these Sylvaneth alive will be a tough ask!
Glade’s Last Hope – This isn’t as difficult as it looks. If one of your fighters die you will score this as when a fighter is taken out you remove their wound tokens. Or you can try to ACTUALLY heal but that seems like a lot of effort for one Glory.
Vengeful Revenants – Not a terrible card, but a bit too situational for my liking and difficult to pull off versus Mollog/Stormsire. Two glory is a nice uplift though…
Domain Denied – I wouldn’t trust my opponent to not sit on an objective at some point in the game as I have minimal control over it.
Giblin’s Top Pick
Last Guardians – This is a personal preference – I love ‘Guard Cards’ as they build into Change of Tactics and keep your fighters fresh.
Pangs of the Great Lack – 75% chance to cause one damage to a fighter upto five hexes away, and builds into Song of Hatred.
Healing Amphora – Inspiration Strikes Plus, it helps inspire your fighters and has the added benefit of being able to heal if you need it to!
Writhing Roots – A nice option to build into control, though Invisible Walls would be the first choice.
Curse of the Dwindling – I love it honestly, it shuts down any big hitter who relies on two dice Smash. Played in Turn One this can cripple an aggro warband for the entire game.
Springspeed Step – It’s a reaction and gives some nice mobility but with the requirement of ending up adjacent to the model that moved I’m not overly keen – though can see use to pull a fighter out of harm with the Archer during a Charge or to pull in support.
Leech Power – Nice to score Scorched Earth and Inspire Ylthari. I can see this getting played in a control deck.
Mesmerising Gaze – Removing a Guard Token feels minimal and if you’re placing a Move Token you’d be better served with Transfixing Stare to benefit from the increased range.
Strength of the Burgeoning – An easily cast gambit spell helps with Song of Anger and can catch an opponent off guard when Skathael is suddenly striking for 3 DMG and on a crit reaches 4.
Revenant Rage – +1 Dice is a common benefit. Fuelled by Fury and Haymaker are the go to choices before this one.
Giblin’s Top Pick
Constant Growth – Who doesn’t like more Wounds?
Pinning Shot – If you’re grouping up your fighters then Pinning shot provides support where you may not normally have it. This pairs beautifully with Ylthari to keep her rolling effectively shields and both can attack from range!
Warding Stance – Three Block Defence. Nuff said. Cry when Riptooth or Skirtch roll a Crit.
Unflinching Guardian – Okay, lots of small font here so for your benefit:
“Reaction: During an enemy fighter’s Attack action that targets a friendly fighter supported by this fighter, after the defence roll but before the Attack action succeeds or fails, you can re-roll one defence dice.”
I’m not overly sold but could combo well with Springspeed Step, Countercharge etc.
Menacing Step – Like Countercharge but with less Push, however it is an upgrade rather than a Gambit so might see some play!
Cage of Thorns – A new spell for Ylthari. Useful for locking down big targets with lots of wounds that might not like having Move Tokens place on them…
Spiteful Thorns – It’s Blessing of Argentine but with a random roll included.
Inescapable Grasp – Dodge Cleave for not your spells. I’m not a huge fan as I don’t feel Ylthari wants to be up close and personal.
Enrage Sprite – A cute upgrade that is functionally the same as Dark Darts but less accurate.
Vengeful Blow – An attack action that scales with how many of your fighters are out of action. An interesting bit of design space but to get it’s best value then you need to be a pretty dire position though a 5 Fury 4 DMG attack is pretty baller.
Giblin’s Top Pick
Lethal Repertoire – Score in an end phase when you equip an attack upgrade and make that attack action in the same phase! If you’re building for it then this is very doable!
Magical Storm – Cast four spells. Get two Glory. Cursebreakers rejoice!
Preserve their Knowledge – Knowledge is better shared than hoarded. Scored in any phase for having all surviving friendly fighters with tomes.
Remaining Universal Objectives
Keep Moving – Make four move actions in activations in the action phase. Charges count so maybe it’s not terrible for Godsworn Hunt and Ylthari’s Guardians.
One Fate – Roll three of the same dice face in an attack roll. I’ll leave this to Call it Shadespire to dissect, but it’s a real gamblers card.
Stand Firm – Put everyone on Guard for one Glory. Doesn’t seem worth it – though difficult to disrupt so might see play from some warbands.
Bloodless Skirmish – Third End Phase. Two Glory. Nobody is out of action. No thanks.
United – Bunch everything up so everyone is close by. This feels like Well Guarded but harder to score. You’re also at major risk of being a victim to Cry of Thunder.
Hold What We Have – It’s an unrestricted Perfect Planning.
Sorcerous Duel – Kill a wizard with a wizard. If Stormsires become even more popular this may be a consideration but probably a bit out there for the moment.
Preserve Life – Remove two wounds from surviving fighters. I quite like this one but getting wounded and not dying can be a bit difficult unless you like playing in Lethal Hexes.
Giblin’s Top Pick
Bolt of Inspiration – Get Stormsire Inspired and hopefully Ammis/Rastus too! I don’t see a reason to use it to Inspire an enemy fighter…but you could! Maybe because you have Cleave and they have dodge but that becomes Block when Inspired?
Entropic Curse – Cast this onto a fighter and watch them take damage at the start of each turn. This is great in turn one and useless in turn 3.
Noble Sacrifice – If you’re a large warband with bodies to spare then you can throw someone less valuable than the leader in the way to take the hit.
Remaining Universal Gambits
Felxible Strategy – Saves you an activation to dig your objective deck. Could be useful for Thundrik’s Profiteers to ensure they are promoted.
Lifesurge – It’s the same as Tainted Vitality.
Magical Damping – It’s a reaction spell (good for Sorcerous Riposte) that you cast during another spell that, if successful, reduces damage by 1 and not to a minimum of 1.
Which poses the interesting question: If an Attack succeeds but damage is reduced to zero and no damage is dealt. Is the Attack successful?
Terrifying Visage – It’s the same effect as Horrifying Armour but without the negative wounds. I think this has some major play for magic heavy Cursebreakers.
Strategic Sorcery – Double Focus but if you pull it off you can pull a discarded objective back into your hand. Keep in mind you can’t have more than three so you’ll have to discard an objective if you pull something back to a full hand.
Sphere of Ghyran – Double Channel to remove a single wound token. Vital Surge is a better choice if you’re going down this route.
Silence – …
Giblin’s Top Pick
Tome of Insight – Great for more Tomes on the Blue Horror but if you can spare the activation learning all your opponent’s power hand could be amazing if you’ve loaded up with counter play cards.
Scroll of Recall – Did you just cast Sphere of Aqshy or Abasoth’s Withering and want to do it again in the next power setp? On a 4+ you can do just that!
Nullstone Arrows – Range 4 is just solid for scoring some of those hard to come by objectives and lets you make funky charges. With Gloryseeker and a Trap/Pit Trap this gives you a commanding presence.
Remaining Universal Upgrades
Blessing of Ignax – I don’t know who or what an Ignax is but I want their blessing! +2 Damage to the next Range 1 or 2 attack action is stellar! Can you hear it? That sounds like Mollog shaking in his boots.
Duellist’s Speed – From a successful career piloting Spiteclaw’s Swarm I can tell you that pushes to and from combat are handy!
Fading Form – Ignore blocked/lethal/fighters but can’t end in an occupied or blocked hex. I’ve never found great use for these abilities.
Well of Power – Stormsire & Ylthari’s favourite new card. Votermis can sit and cry elsewhere. An additional magic die to their Spell Attacks is so-so good.
Spinning Defence – Reaction to a failed attack. No drive back but scatter 2 and determine a final position… okay.
Quick Learner – Enemy hurt you? Draw a card. I love this for Mollog!
Fated Blade – What a card! Decent Accuracy but totally unknown damage value it could be 5! It could be 0! It’s likely two!
However…that interesting question is back again: If an Attack succeeds but no damage is dealt. Is the Attack successful?
Ylthari’s Guardians Decklist
This deck allows for you to score a lot of passive glory Score Immediately Glory without really putting yourself in harms way but also building into a lot of end of phase glory. I imagine this will be a ‘long board’ or ‘diagonal’ deployment on the Amber Forbidden Chamber board.
Thanks for taking the time to read through – please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and how you’ll be building your deck for Ylthari’s Guardians.