The Grymwatch Expansion for Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave was sent for review by Games Workshop.
Initial Reaction: WOW! WHAT A FACTION! JUST WOW! 7 fighters that I actually want to put onto the table top and don’t feel like they’re just gonna get washed away!
The Grymwatch’s Backstory
The Ghouls of the Flesh-Eater Courts suffer from the shared delusion that, far from being monstrous corpse-cannibals, they are in fact noble knights and their dedicated men-at-arms. So it is with the Grymwatch, who ‘ride’ out at the command of the degenerate beast whom they perceive to be the heroic Duke Crakmarrow. Hailing from a blasted and ruined kingdom far to the north, the Grymwatch have come questing to slay the monstrous entity that they believe lurks at the Beastgrave’s heart. After all, they can’t risk letting this terrible creature threaten their ‘crops’ or menace the ‘peasant folk’. Now, slavering, grunting and snarling, the Ghouls of the Grymwatch scramble through the tunnels, noble hunters in search of their monstrous prey.
The Flesh-Eater Courts are basically old Brettonian Nobles who are under a shared delusion. Read more on Bell of Lost Souls and check out the comic strip from Roll Models below for a perfect example of how it appears in the Mortal Realms. Poor Johan...
The Grymwatch Fighters
Duke Crakmarrow: Leader, Hunter, Better Skritch
Lets start things off with saying well done to the design team for creating Muster. Not needing an action to bring back a Crypt Ghoul and simply having them arrive on the battlefield at the start of an activation is simply great, and allowing it to be used as an action is nice for Keep Them Guessing.
The Duke’s Halberd is nothing short of spectacular! Uninspired it is a good attack action whilse when inspired it is everything Skritch ever dreamed off, and is a solid option to try and score What Armour by.
The Inspiration condition can be a bit tricky and is present on all fighters of the Grymwatch. If you can stall your opponent in Turn One from entering your own territory then you will all Inspire and life will be great…perhaps you’re sacrificing a turn to get the Lady’s blessing…hmmm?
Finally, as a Hunter Duke Crakmarrow can benefit from the flurry of cards that are coming their way and I think the Grymwatch are going to prove extremely popular. I’m certainly chomping at the bit to get them on the table already!
Duke’s Harriers: Giver of Support and not much else
The trend of bringing your pets to work continues with the Grymwatch! The Harriers are super fast once inspired and make a great accompaniment for your fighters when you want some support in a fight; you’ll want to take a look at Combat Drill later on for such an example!
As for their combat potential I don’t think you’ll ever really be doing, well, anything with these bats other than grabbing them for support and hoping they don’t die.
Gristlewel, Greatsword: Great ‘Sword’, Guided Missile
Gristlewel believes himself to be a debonair champion to the Duke wielding a mighty ‘greatsword’ that carves through his liege’s enemies.
On the tabletop he wields a great club with barely any accuracy, but may the Lady help you if he makes contact! A whopping 3 dmg is attached to his 2 fury attack, which ups to 3 fury once inspired.
It gives you a good guided missile once you’ve got some dice manipulation – Challenge Seeker is a great pairing to go with Gristlewel’s meagre 3 health.
Valreek the Tracker: Hunter, Objective Holder
As an uninspired Fighter Valreek doesn’t bring much to the Grymwatch other than a health pool of three and movement four. I foresee her being used to stand on an objective closer to the enemy than the Crypt Ghouls would prefer.
However, when Valreek inspires we see her gain an additional Fury dice, an additional pip of movement and a second Dodge dice. Making her even more suited to grabbing an Objective, or if you’re in dire straits as a fighter who can finish off someone already wounded by the Duke.
Crypt Ghouls: Hunters, Basically Fast Petitioners Until Inspired
Uninspired this trio of ghouls provide the fodder for the Grymwatch. Whilst their stats are completely trash these ‘men-at-arms’ can be resurrected into a random corner of the board by the Duke which gives them a modicum of unpredictability and the ability to grab far flung objectives.
The Ghouls are identical until they inspire, they all gain an additional pip of movement and at least an additional Fury dice…
Master Talon – Once inspired Talon gains a reaction that allows him to gain a Feast Token when an adjacent enemy fighter is taken out of action. These Feast Tokens increase his wound stat…I think it’s a neat ability but the actual use in game seems minimal as he does not return to the game with these tokens. I foresee Talon remaining away from the action as much as possible.
Royal Butcher – The Royal Butcher’s attack boosts to four Fury dice and gains ensare, but still only does a single damage. Whilst the attack is accurate the action efficiency of making that attack just isn’t there, however if we ever see a ‘What Armour?’ for Ensare then this opinion may change.
Night’s Herald – My favourite of the ghouls. The Night’s Herald reduces adjacent attackers dice by 1 to a minimum of one! Which is a glorious ability and with a defence boost and guard makes him a NIGHTmare to shift off objectives!
The Grymwatch Objectives
Rather than go into HUGE detail about each card as you can read them and make your own opinion about them. I’ll be giving each card a rating out of five fleur-de-lis and a short comment on the card.
- Bravely Done – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Requires some combo play to set up, but with their in-faction cards should be doable.
- Charnel House – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – I love this as Third End Phase it’s Denial OR Conquest.
- Conquering Heroes – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – On it’s own this is not great, however there is the potential to combo this card with other objectives.
- Defending the Hearth – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️- Defensive Strike is back!!
- Ghoul Pack – ⚜️⚜️ – Hard to set up.
- Glory of the Court – ⚜️⚜️- Either everyone is Inspired after Turn One or they’re probably not going to inspire at all.
- In the Name of the King – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Two Glory Surge for holding objectives is juicy.
- Incomprehensible Scheme – ⚜️⚜️ – Unless you come up against Skeletons, Grots or the Briar Queen then you’re probably gonna score this.
- Mordant Triumph – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – So this is great in turn 2 or 3 but you need to load up on easily scored Surge cards, now this is very achievable but I’d be worried about this bricking your opening hand. One to consider now we’re capped at six surge cards.
- Mouths to Feed – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Kill over 50% of the enemy warband is quite a big ask of the Duke but with the right upgrades he’s more than capable.
- Shifting Madness – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – I like the design space and these ghouls are fast!! Easily scorable surge card.
- Pervasive Delusion – ⚜️⚜️ – Theoretically I love this card. However I’ve always struggled with dumping gambits into a turn – sometimes you don’t just want to burn cards for the sake of a glory.
The Grymwatch Gambits
Once again we’ll be using the Fleur-de-lis ranking system to determine our thoughts on the card.
- Appalling Viasge – ⚜️ – A bit too situational for my liking, though could be good if you draw it turn one to ensure your Inspire condition is met.
- Combat Drill – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Bring along the Batswarm as support during a charge! If you’re using this with the Duke and want to attack from range 2 then you’ll need to have your warrior end adjacent to both fighters to benefit!
- Double Time – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Better than Sprint was and scores you Burst of Speed or Longstrider in a single activation. Can also be comboed with Combat Drill to get some unexpected movement!
- Horrifying Spectacle -⚜️ – If you’re killing then you’re probably already inspired this seems like a bit of a redundant ability.
- Pack, Advance! – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Push up to three models two hexes each! Great for grabbing objectives and heightening their manoeuvrability.
- Recycled Riches – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – If you’ve taken only a few of their great cards then this will duplicate their effect!
- Scrabbling Claws – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – I can see a definite use for this to just rip away a strong upgrade! Especially since you’ll have so many fighters around the place.
- Shattering Impact – ⚜️ – I’d just take scrabbling claws, it’s basically the same ability without the massive negative.
- Stench of Victory – ⚜️⚜️ – More movement shenanigans, a bit too situational for my liking but still a contender.
- Strident Summons – 🍖🍖 – Until I get them on the table I’m unsure of the benefit of a bonus Ghoul Call actions due to the random nature of their arrival – it saves an action so I’ve rated it better than 1 Fleur-de-lis.
The Grymwatch Upgrades
Well that was odd. My fleur-de-lis suddenly looked like meat on a bone! Anyway, the fleur-de-lis is DEFINITELY back this time as we discover the Grymwatch faction upgrades.
- Aura of Command – ⚜️⚜️ – Turn Crakmarrow into the Warden!
- Drawn to Weakness – ⚜️ – Don’t bother wasting an upgrade slot on just the bats!
- Grip of Madness – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Not terrible for the objective holding playstyle. Combine it with the Shard of Binding for an immovable block.
- Heroic Vision – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Additional dice are always great, and giving Crakmarrow a 3 Hammer attack is just brutal!
- Hunter’s Nose – ⚜️ – Valreek isn’t great so locking +1 dice onto this model isn’t worthwhile in my opinion.
- Impervious Delusion – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – I have ummed and aahhed on this card and for Crakmarrow this esnures that he will never be one-shot until later in the game. Throw in a few wound upgrades and you’re laughing all the way to the grave.
- Right-hand Ghoul – ⚜️⚜️ – Crakmarrow can bring along a friend for the fight, essentially giving him a support and making him more accurate.
- Seized Weapon – ⚜️⚜️ – Free damage to an adjacent enemy. Probably too situational.
- Severed Trophy – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – MMMmmm more aggro Glory for Crakmarrow!
- Well Motivated – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – An in-faction Great Strength is nothing to pass up on lightly.
- Coveted Spoils – ⚜️ – So, your opponent can help you hold objectives to score this, but I’ll be intrigued how popular Hold Objective becomes for this to actually work.
- Dug In – ⚜️⚜️ – 4 glory is a lot of glory, holding three objectives in two consecutive turns is no easy task. It doesn’t have to be the same objectives mind you, and once you’re on them you tend to just stay on them.
- Fateful Strike – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Everyone and their mother has two defence dice these days. I think this will make a regular appearance in decks.
- Path to Victory – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – I like this for the Grymwatch, it feels very achievable.
- Scrum – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – High model count warbands will love this, group up away from the fight and score glory.
- Swift Capture – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Okay, more great objective holding score immediately cards. I think the cogs are well and truly turning now.
- The Beast is Slain – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – If you have access to a good Hunter this may be the aggro card for you!
- The Great Hunt – ⚜️ – Needs too many hunters to have too many upgrades for the low return on Glory.
- To the End – ⚜️⚜️ – This is basically a turn three card but if you find you are throwing cards willy nilly then you can definitely grab this objective.
- Cloaked in Shadow – ⚜️⚜️ – This could be a great way to defend yourself versus push tech if you’re playing a Hold Objective playstyle.
- Desperate Flight – ⚜️⚜️ – Live Snirk’s Life. A nice, albeit unpredictable, threat extension.
- Exhaustion – ⚜️ – Great concept, difficult to use well.
- Fate’s Decree – ⚜️ – A bit too situational for my liking, would have been great a few months ago to counter Rebound and Last Chance.
- Frenzied Search – ⚜️⚜️ – I don’t think I’ll use this card but I love the idea of it, and I think the Steel City chaps will make good use of it.
- Madness Dart (poison) – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Declaw your opponent by making their Attack actions have the Fury symbol. Sorry Stormsire, you need to roll Fury on your magic dice now.
- Mass Upheaval – ⚜️ – Extremely difficult to cast. Shuts down the Hold Objective playstyle in it’s entirety.
- Restless Prize – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Moving Objective hexes around the board is a great concept! I love it.
- Sitting Target – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Bonus dice and ensare is a great asset to have in your deck if you’re going on an Aggro binge.
- Amberbone Axe – ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Okay here we go. Amberbone weapon’s folks! Bonus Glory for killing. Pretty good!!!
- Bloodthief – ⚜️⚜️ – A decent attack action that can heal you for two is nothing to sniff your nose at, especially for some of those aggro heavy warbands.
- Hunter’s Reflexes – ⚜️⚜️ – Turning a fighter into a hunter is great for using the other cards. however the effect is a bit situational.
- Trophy Belt – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – I applaud the design space and would definitely consider this if there weren’t an in-faction card.
- Survival Instincts – ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Become vulnerable to Hunters but always be on guard. Can’t be knocked back. Could be good for Hold Objective warbands.
- Stoneform – ⚜️⚜️ – See above for the exact same reasoning.
- Soothing Companion – ⚜️(+⚜️ for Ylthari) – Healing one is a bit moot in my opinion as the game is very binary in that you’re either fighting well or dead. I don’t think this will see play
- Mazzig’s Many Legs (Lost Page) – ⚜️⚜️ – WHAT DOES LOST PAGE MEAN! The effect of this is pretty good but it’s a shame you have to spend an action to do it. Good for Stormsire to pump out some in-turn spells for a defensive magic build though.
- Larval Lance – ⚜️ or ⚜️⚜️ or ⚜️⚜️⚜️ – Depending on the Turn Number this is great or rubbish!
The Grymwatch Decklists
So, I’ve taken my first stab at writing a Grymwatch Deck – the focus is mainly on putting the Crypt Ghouls on objective hexes and having the Duke go crack some skulls.
- In the Name of the King (Surge) – 2 Glory
- Scrum (Surge) – 1 Glory
- Calculated Risk (Surge, Restricted) – 1 Glory
- Swift Capture (Surge, Dual) – 1 Glory
- Defending the Hearth (Surge) – 1 Glory
- Martyred (Surge) – 1 Glory
- Loner (Restricted) – 1 Glory
- Keep Them Guessing – 2 Glory
- Supremacy – 3 Glory
- Opening Gambit – 1 Glory
- Solid Gains – 1 Glory
- Charnel House (Hybrid, Third Turn) – 2 Glory
The aim here is to get some quick easy early glory from the Surge cards before settling in to score Hold Objective cards whilst the Duke goes and makes a nuisance of himself. I’m not overly keen on Keep Them Guessing but until we get some more Neutral objectives it’s think pickings for non-magic warbands.
- Restless Prize
- Commanding Stride
- Centre of Attention
- Transfixing Stare
- Pack, Advance!
- Combat Drill
- Madness Dart
This has a nice mix of push cards and aggro cards that should allow me to score my objective deck whilst also asserting some control over my opponent through Madness Dart and Transfixing Stare.
- Bag of Tricks
- Faneway Crystal
- Potion of Rage
- Crown of Avarice
- Duellist’s Speed
- Great Fortitude
- Well Motivated
- Severed Trophy
- Impervious Delusion
- Heroic Vision
Plenty of health and aggro upgrades to turn the Duke into an absolute unit whilst also providing some of the usual tricks to getting bonus glory.