Warcry Bloodhunt Review and Unboxing – Warhammer Age of Sigmar
The Gnarlwood is a dangerous place filled with savage beasts and bloodthirsty creatures, were the very forest itself wants to feed upon those foolish enough to be trekking through it’s dense terrain. Some particularly vicious and skillful fighters even make rudimentary camps and structures among the trees, taking advantage of the glory that can be gained within the forest – however these warbands always have to be aware that other forces may be hunting them…
In Warcry Bloodhunt, up for pre order today, we see the monastic vampires of the Askugan Trueblades take on the Claws of Karanak, a cult who worship Flesh Hounds! In this full review we will be unboxing the Bloodhunt set, checking out the miniatures, taking a look at the Predator and Prey supplement and seeing how each of the warbands fight.
Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a free early review copy of Bloodhunt! If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself 20% too?
If you would rather watch this review than read it then we also have a full unboxing video down below or over on YouTube
Still with us? Then get ready for the horrors of the Bloodhunt as we once again head into the Gnarlwood.
Warcry Bloodhunt Unboxing and Review
The latest edition of Warcry kicked off last year with the awesome Gnarlwood box, and with it came a new idea for how the expansions would be released. Rather than unconnected boxes being released, Games Workshop instead have created a series of themed quarterly expansions that would contain two warbands, a collection of terrain and all the rules needed to play with them, all set in a different area of the Gnarlwood – a terrifying forest filled with flesh eating trees and crash site of a fallen Seraphon void ship. For those that don’t want to go all-in with the big expansion boxes, then the individual components are then released seperately alongside a future expansion (For example today, the Hunters of Huanchi and the Jade Obelisk are available as stand alone boxes)
Now on the 3rd Warcry box of the season, we come to Bloodhunt, themed around a Khorne warband of Flesh Hound worshipers and a force of Vampire Monks! From a scenery point of view, we start to see some of the rudimentary structures that are built within the Gnarlwood, with some basic shelters and walls taking the majority of the new scenery.
Like with previous sets, we get a core frame of barricades and rope bridges, plus 2 of the Gnarloaks reused from the original box – Like with the previous expansion however these are then combined with new sprues in order to create structures that have been built around the trees – compared to a lot of the terrain we have seen in the season so far, these are large line of sight blocking pieces and each have ladders that allow fighters to get on top of the structure. What’s nice about these is the fact that they would make decent pieces to use in games of Age of Sigmar to add some nice blocks of LOS breaking terrain compared to the standard gnarlwood trees, that while gorgeous do not block much sight across the battlefield. The additional sprues also build a couple of smaller platforms that are used alongside the rope bridges to add some multi level fun to the board.
Like with the other boxes, Bloodhunt contains a warcry playing surface out of hard cardstock and cards used to generate deployment maps, victory conditions, twists and terrain layouts. What’s nice about these cards is that in addition for cards for the contents of just this box, there’s also some cards using terrain pieces out of the previous sets too. One thing I would like to see added to this in the future is a key for each terrain piece – this has been used in Kill Team and makes it really easy to locate the correct pieces by simply writing this key on the bottom of the terrain piece – as often in Warcry you are squinting a little at the card to work out which piece is which, especially as we now have a few variants of similar trees.
Like with the previous boxes, the real starts of the show are the new models – and the first warband we come to are the Claws of Karanak. These are a cult that worship Flesh Hounds and in particular Karanak the hound of vengeance. Unsurprisingly for a bunch of nutcases who really really like Khorne dogs, there are a lot of overtly Flesh Houndish influences. We get masks in the style of a Flesh Hounds face and even a member of the warband, the Hound of Wrath, who is dressed up as a Flesh Hound and is running along on all fours! It takes all sorts in the Mortal Realms I suppose!
The models are really nice, and while they are probably the most obviously aligned to a chaos god from the warbands we’ve seen this season, they are still really nice and I’m very much looking forward to seeing their rules in Age of Sigmar, as this adds some more flavour to the Khorne mortals.
From a rules point of view these guys are aggressive as you would imagine.
Their unique reaction “Bay for a Coward’s Blood” can be used when an enemy fighter makes a disengage action, and gives you +1 attack to all melee attacks made by friendly fighters against that target – this really makes your opponent think twice about disengaging, as you are very likely going to get a LOT of attacks heading your way in retaliation!
Their abilities tie into their aggressive nature:
Blood for the Blood God is a double that allows you to make a move action or a fight action after you have taken another fighter out of action, potentially allowing you to chain some kills with a fighter thrown into multiple enemies
Flaming Breath is a little unreliable, but has potential for doing splash damage to nearby enemies. You roll a dice for each enemy within 1″ and on a 4+ you deal 3 damage
Pack Hunters is a nice double that allows your Blood Whelps and Hound to activate after each other which is pretty cool
Horrifying Trophies is a decent triple that stops enemy fighters from using their abilities for the rest of the battle round after you take down an enemy fighter, this can be very powerful in the hands of a good player!
Scent of Weakness is another good triple that gives friendly fighters plus 1 attack when you take someone down
Finally Savage Mauling allows you to pick a target within an inch, move them to anywhere within an inch of the attacker, and then make a bonus attack against them, potentially moving them off an objective or into range of other fighters.
Profiles are pretty good with Packlord in particular hitting with 5 strength 5 attacks that can crit for 5 damage – and that’s before adding the multiple ways of generating more dice with your abilities too!
The other warband in the box are the Askurgan Trueblades – these are a faction of Vampire Monks who hunt the creatures out in the Gnarlwood to ritually drink the blood of! They are a really nice unique design that I would love to see expanded into a new subfaction of the Soulblight Gravelords. While the previous wave of Gravelords was very wolfy, these guys have an awesome oriental theme and a regal pose to them. I’d love to see these be a battleline option to give players more ways of doing a pure Vampire army – as personally I think that is very very cool!
I’ve started painting up these guys and the flashes of orange in the official scheme really makes them stand out from other things in the army, and I’m even tempted to include this as a spot colour across my entire army.
In my existing Gravelords army I’ve used purple skin for my vampires, and wanted to continue that here on these pieces! Once they are all painted I’ll get this article updated!
These guys are another strong warband with multiple fighters having strengths of 5 or 6 and some high damage spikes such as the Exemplar having 3 attacks at S6 and dealing 4/6 damage (which can be made to activate crits on a 5+ using a triple). Even the basic 90 point sword armed acolyte has S5 and crits of 5 damage making them pretty dangerous to face
Their reaction adds an element of protection in given them an extra pip of toughness, which is needed when the warband is made up of T3 and 4 models – given them a little more survivability in a pinch, though obviously as a reaction you can’t always count on this.
The vampires have a double, Moment of Savagery, that just like the Khorne team allows a move or atack after a kill
Beast Familiar is a nice double that can be used on the Pariah that stops a target from disengaging
In a similar way, Terrifying Howl is a double for the Curseblood that stops nearby units from making reactions – very good an neutering some of the more powerful ones available
Magisterial Poise can help you maximise on your high damage and high strength by giving fighters within 8″ of your leader +1 attack – and again this combos quite well with some of the other abilities
Perfect Strike is an excellent triple that allows your hard hitters to crit on a 5+, again giving you more chance of getting those damage 5 and 6 strikes through
Finally Worth Foes is a quad that gives your vamps a very good chance of one shotting most targets, giving your target fighter +2 movement and attacks – potentially allowing your Exemplar to hit with 5 S6 4/6 attacks, enough to ruin anyone’s day!
Both of the warbands feel fun and aggressive and should have an epic fight between each other!
Predator and Prey
Like with the previous boxes, the set also includes the full Warband Tome for the two forces in the box – this is essentially a duel warband battletome that contains lore, rules and gaming content.
From a narrative point of view we learn about the two warbands, and both are really interesting. The Claws of Karanak see cowardice and taking shelter as an affront to their idle Karanak, and so will dish out their judgement to anyone they see as a coward. Khorne are pretty overt as far as factions go, but I do like the Flesh Hound worship element here and hopefully we see more of this kind of stuff if Blades of Khorne get a new battletome this year.
The Trueblades are a very different faction however – trained in martial skills they practice their art in monasteries while trying to master the beast within and focus those energies into taking on the most dangerous targets – they head into the Gnarlwood and hunt the biggest most dangerous monsters ritually drink the blood as an analogy of defeating their inner monster. I really like this and would love to see more of this expanded in the future. I just have visions of vampire monks in long flowing orange robes only arising from their meditation to go out into the dangers of Ghur to hunt the most deadly things they can find!
In addition to the lore and the full rules for the warbands and scenery (Along with all of the twists, maps and victory conditions – these are reprinted in the book as well as being included as cards) we also get new rules for fortifications. This allows you to play scenarios where one side has a fortified outpost they have to try and defend, while the other side can try and assault it (they can even bring ladders to make it easier to besiege the fortification). This is a really fun optional ruleset, and is used to great effect in the included campaigns too!
Speaking of campaigns, like with the other books we get quests for both factions and 2 campaign arcs – the first of which is designed for the two factions in the box with 3 games played out of a potential 6 missions due to the branching nature of the campaign. The second campaign is for 4 players, and resolves around each player’s faction being attacked twice by various warbands and culminates in the winning faction constructing a stronghold and having to defend it against the other 3 warbands allied together to take them down! This is great fun and makes use of the aforementioned fortification rules, after all a mighty battle over a fortress makes a fitting conclusion to a Warcry arc!
Warcry Bloodhunt is another excellent addition to the current Gnarlwood season of Warcry! From two visually and thematically interesting warbands with fantastic models and fun rules, to some really cool additions to the game in the form of fortifications this is well worth adding to your collection!
Not everyone will like the chunky line of sight blocking terrain, but based around the fortification rules and the theme of this box it makes narrative sense, and these are decent pieces for Age of Sigmar too! My only disappointment from the terrain is that I’d have liked to see the last couple of boxes introduce more ruins of the Seraphon ship – though we still have one more box this season to see how that plays out. I have a theory that this story will not play out over just a single season, and that perhaps next year the warbands reach the ship itself and start to venture deeper into it, perhaps as a re-imagining of Catacombs using some Kill Team Gallowdark style scenery to give us a different type of environment to fight over.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season, and I can’t wait to see what we get in the final box!
Warcry Bloodhunt is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 18th February
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy for review purposes
Leave a Reply