Kainan’s Reapers | Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm Warband Review
Nagash has been having some issues with Chaos, so our Kainan’s Reapers arrived a little late!
Time to delve into more minis and cards, as we take a look at the latest Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm warband, Kainan’s Reapers!
Hailing from the Ossiarch Bonereapers faction, this warband comprises of 6 models, so on the larger end of warband size.
Breaking down the group composition further, we have leading the Bonereapers a new character, Mir Kainan. We also have 5 Mortek, one of which also has the Hunter keyword (Bonereaper with a bow).
As with all Direchasm releases, you get two sets of cards. One is a pre-made deck to get you playing right away, whilst the second features new cards you could use to make your own deck, or even use with other decks and warbands.
I’m going to go through the warband itself, before picking out some of the cards, before wrapping up with my summary of this latest Death release.
The models for Direchasm have been, without doubt, some of the best looking warbands we’ve seen for the game, and this set is no different.
The sprues are in a bone colour, and as always are all push fit pieces. They include really nice bases (would love some of these for the rest of my Bonereaper army!).
This army has a few mechanics, which I will discuss as we proceed through the cards, however I will pull out one of those now.
You can collect Bone Tithe tokens when you take an enemy model out of action. However, from looking at the cards this can only be achieved by some of the models in your warband.
Each of the fighters has a movement characteristic of 3. To inspire you need at least 3 Bone Tithe counters following a power step. Finally, whilst the big guy Kainan has 6 wounds, everyone else has just 2.
Mir Kainan is your main guy, and he is a hefty size model. Armed with a two handed axe, he makes for a fantastic stand out mini and leader.
His card reflects his status. His Soulreaper Axe has a 2 hex reach, uses two attack dice looking for hammers, and deals a very impressive 3 damage. Alternatively the ace has a second profile, Reaping Swing, which has 1 less reach, same number of attack dice, and one less damage. You do however get the Scything keyword to make up for it.
He has an ability of which if you wish to discard two Bone Tithe tokens you gain your choice of buff for this model until the end of the activation. The choice is between +1 move, damage or number of attack dice for the Soulreaper Axe.
He also has the Bone Tithe ability mentioned earlier.
When inspired, he becomes even more of a beast. His Axe does flat 4 damage, whilst the Reaping Swing gains an additional attack dice and point of damage, going up to 2.
Worth noting before we move onto the next character that he has 6 wounds, and requires shields for saving throws, of which he gets one defence dice (when inspired becomes 2).
Nohem is the first Bonereaper we’ve seen armed with a bow, and I think it’s a safe bet that eventually we’ll have a unit of bowmen for the army.
He has a range of 3 with his bow requiring successes on two dice, dealing 1 damage. His weapon however has the Nadirite ability, which adds 1 to the damage should you have a model in support and roll a support icon during the attack.
He doesn’t get the Bone Tithe special rules, and instead gets one called Mortek Advance, which allows you to pick another Mortek model that has not yet moved, and allow you to move them out of sequence. They must however, end the move adjacent to the original model who’s activation it is.
When inspired he gets an extra attack dice.
Next up is Hakor, a Mortek armed with a great blade. He has a little more punch, with his blade doing 2 damage.
He has the Mortek Advance ability, but not the Bone Tithe or Nadirite ones.
He gains Cleave on his great blade, but his stats stay the same.
Karu is armed with a Nadirite Club, and gets the Nadirite ability, as well as the Mortek Advance ability. He has a basic stat line, with two attack dice dealing 1 damage.
When he inspires his club attack gains Knockback 1.
Senha is a sword and board fighter, and has a very basic statline too. He’s practically the same as Karu, only when he inspires he gains an extra dice roll instead of Cleave.
At this point during the review I spotted I was actually missing a card! It appears I don’t have the fighter card for Binar Khenta. Luckily Games Workshop have great customer service, so if this ever happens to you make sure you drop them an email and they’ll help out!
Like Kainan, he too has the Bone Tithe ability, as well as Nadirite. He’s got a 2 hex reach with his spear, dealing flat 2 damage, which can never be sniffed at. Once inspired, his spear gains Cleave.
Pre-Made Deck Cards
Time to check out some of my favourite cards from the already assembled deck!
The key to winning games is objectives!
A number of these play off Bone Tithe points, which basically means you need to kill enemy fighters to achieve.
Craft a New Order for example gains you a Glory Point for gaining 5 or more Bone Tithe points. Straight forward enough!
Most of the warband have only 2 hit points, so you may find your warband goes down fairly quickly if your not careful. One positive however, Nagash’s Will can be scored in the end phase if three or more enemy fighters are taken out of action. Nets you 2 Glory Points!
At the end of the third end phase, if you find you have more tithe points than the number of fighters out of action you can score 3 Glory Points with Peerless Conquerors. Depending on who your up against this could be quite easy to achieve. Smaller, elite enemies though will be much more of a challenge.
Played at the right time, a power card can change the course of a combat. Some great choices for the Bonereapers to help you do just that.
Take Exception Efficiency for example. When you play the card you pick one of your opponents (just in case you are playing 3-4 player game). That opponent then has a choice to make. He can let you have two Bone Tithe points, or alternatively, you can re-roll any or all attack dice for your Mortek units in the next activation.
Got plenty of Bone Tithe points? You can use Lethal Accuracy. For every Bone Tithe point you can gain a extra attack dice for a Mortek unit.
There is one spell card that Kainan can use in this deck, called Mortal Contract. It’s a Gambit Card, and once cast you can pick one enemy fighter with 3 hexes. That fighters player has another choice to make. Either they allow you to have a bonus Bone Tithe or each time an enemy fighter is taken out of action you deal 1 damage to the chosen fighter. That’s pretty cool!
The final component for the pre-made deck are the upgrade cards. You can spend Glory Points as always to upgrade your fighters.
Aura of Shyish was the first to jump out at me. Any adjacent enemies to the fighter who has this equipped has -1 attack dice to a minimum of 1. This will help to cancel out those attacks.
Have a combat where you’ve got support? Unnerving Synchrony can be played when a friendly fighter adjacent to this model with the upgrade attacks. The upgraded fighter than also gets to attack, giving you a free extra combat.
Finally, and exclusive to Mortek units, we have Witchlight Glimmer. This upgrade immediately inspires that fighter if not already, and that fighter cannot be in-inspired. As a bonus, you can re-roll one attack dice.
Once you’ve got used to the pre-made deck, or if your an experienced Underworlds player wanting to expand this deck or any others, you’ve got a raft of new cards usable by all.
There are some really good picks in here which could be beneficially to most decks, but for this review I’m picking out a couple of my favourites.
Untapped Resources is a great card to play. It’s a power card you can play once you are holding two or more objectives. You can spend one Glory Point, and gain the Primacy token or if you have the Primacy token you can discard it and draw three power cards.
The Leaders of your warband are normally the most formidable, so why not make them even better? Driven by Envy, an upgrade card, gives your fighter +1 attack dice AND, if you’ve picked your Leader, they gain Cleave.
Soundless Step is a basic, but handy card to have in your deck. This upgrade allows you to push your fighter 1 hex following the fighters activation. This is particular good if your pushing onto an objective or trying to move up the board with a slower warband.
Proud Commander is an objective card that rewards bold leaders. It gains you two Glory Points should you either have scored seven or more objectives by the end of the third end phase or your leader is in enemy territory.
Scant Resources is a sneaky one. You can score this in an end phase should every objective be held. Could be a challenging one, however you can also score this if all players have unspent glory points. A good early game choice that nets you 2 Glory Points.
First things first, the models are fantastic, especially Kainan himself. He’s really imposing, and alone wants me to pay the points cost and add him and his Mortek into a Age of Sigmar army.
I really like the Bonereapers mechanic. Being able to obtain and spend Bone Tithe points gives you another handy resource to use.
One thing that does bother me however, is the amount of abilities on display here, and I’m not sure why I’m noticing it more here than in my previous review of Khagra’s Ravagers. Some fighters have the Mortek Advance rule, others Nadirite, others both whilst most cannot score Tithe. A number of the fighter cards asks you to read another fighter card to read what the ability does.
Now you will get used to what these abilities do the more you play with them, and they are all in keeping with the Bonereapers lore and abilities in AoS, but I’m worried that Underworlds could be getting too heavy on abilities on fighters cards. This is my opinion of course, I love options and abilities, but it’s causing space issues on the fighters cards.
This box includes some powerful and fun cards, many of which are exclusive for this warband. A significant number of them play of the new mechanics introduced for Direchasm/Beastgrave, such as Hunger and Primacy.
Now this could be because COVID and lockdowns have prevented me from playing an awful lot of Underworlds, but in the same breath as multiple abilities causing me to ponder, so do all of these extra mechanics. I loved Underworlds when it was really simple, before all of the extra counters and points.
Regardless of my minor concern on the number of keywords and abilities being introduced as each wave of Underworlds comes out, don’t get me wrong, Warhammer Underworlds is still a fantastic game, and Kainan’s Reapers appear to be a very fun and thematic warband to play with. I full intend to get these guys painted and have a few games with them. I’m more of a fan of the Bone Tithe mechanic in this over the Desolation mechanic for Khagra’s Ravagers.
Underworlds fans will want this box for the extra tricks found within the additional power, upgrade and objective cards, whilst hobbyists will enjoy painting these bone constructs.
You can pick up a copy of Kainan’s Reapers from Element Games, netting a saving over the GW webstore and helping to support us! Our thanks to Games Workshop for providing this box for us to review.