Gyselle’s Arenai and Beastbound Assault Unboxing and Review – Warhammer Underworlds Gnarlwood
Lithe, deadly gladiators from Har Kuron dart beneath the Gnarlwood as Gyselle’s Arenai come to Warhammer Underworlds. Each a veteran of countless duels to the death, the Arenai are a whirlwind of carnage in an offering to their bloody god!
Up for pre order today is the latest warband for Warhammer Underworlds Gnarlwood, Gyselle’s Arenai a vicious gladiatorial band of Daughters of Khaine. In this unboxing and review we will be taking a look at the miniatures in the set, both on the sprue and painted up, along with checking out how the warband fights on the tabletop, check out the cards included and also taking a look at the Beastbound Assault deck that is also up for pre order today.
Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a free review copy to check out a little ahead of time. 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 like to watch this in video form rather than read you can check that out just below or over on YouTube
So gather together your warband as we head once more into the Gnarlwood.
While Warhammer Underworlds is predominantly a card game, we can’t ignore the models in the box! I have to say that when I first saw this warband I was a little disappointed in how vanilla it seemed. Where are the Melusai and Khenari? Is this just a fancy group of Sisters of Slaughter? But having built and painted the models I have warmed to them.
These really are gorgeous models, each with a distinct silhouette – something that is very useful in games of Warhammer Underworlds in order to differentiate between the different fighters. I really enjoyed painting up the figures and like all Underworlds warbands they make a nice little pallate cleanser in between other projects, or can act as a nice taster if you fancy making a Daughters of Khaine army of your own.
I also want to give a quick shout out to the packaging as it is now all fully cardboard, removing the plastic insert that was used in order Underworlds warbands while still being just as sturdy.
So that’s what the models look like, but what are they like in the game? Let’s take a look!
Unsurprisingly these are a quick and hard hitting warband, but what I didn’t expect them to be more resilient than I thought with an interesting damage mitigation mechanic.
Each of the fighters has the Acrobatic ability which reduces incoming damage for each dodge that they roll. You won’t be able to take many hits, with most of your fighters only having two wounds, but you can reduce damage from the first hit they take to make sure they are not taken out in a single combat. This is a pretty cool mechanic, but you are still a glass cannon so you can’t be too reckless.
Each of the fighters automatically inspires in the 3rd round, but each have a different condition in order to inspire earlier. There’s also a nice range of different abilities across the fighters, from having Fly when making a charge, to making a damage dealing shield bash to a nearby target when you roll a crit, there’s fun stuff to do each each of the fighters.
They start fast with movements characteristics of 4 or 5, but each of them get faster still when they inspire making this a great warband for getting to where they need to on the board.
We get a nice mix of objectives in the set, a lot of them being low scoring but easy to score such as Acrobatic Assault that is basically free glory if Retaria makes a charge, or blood on the sands which just requires you to be within a hex of a wounded enemy not in your territory. Likewise we get lots of cards just needing everyone to charge, attack, be inspired or be in enemy territory. What’s good about these is that lots are scoreable even when your numbers are massively thinned. The only 3 Glory card In Praise of Khaine is a little harder to score as it requires all fighters (friend and foe) to have a charge or wound token, but it could be an easy 3 glory against another aggro deck.
In the gambits we get a new mechanic in Flourishes – these basically give you a positive effect that persists until the end of the phase or a successful attack at the cost of a negative effect. For example Fatal Flourish increases your damage at the cost of taking damage whenever you fail an attack. Gory Reward combos well with these as it refunds spent glory if you manage a successful attack under the influence of one.
We also get cards to increase movement, heal or inspire fighters after an attack. Leaning into keeping your fighters kicking is also Unquenchable Fervour which reduces incoming damage by 2.
We get some cool upgrades here that give each of the fighters secondary attack that triggers off combo (Most of your fighters have the combo keyword on their weapons) There’s also more stuff here that builds on the resilience of the warband such as making a fighter have guard whenever they are next to a wounded enemy, another way of reducing incoming damage and a way of making your flourishes persist for the entire game and return triggered ones back to your hand
Also releasing alongside the warband is the separate Beastbound Assault Rivals deck. For those new to Warhammer Underworlds, Rivals Decks are universal decks that can be used with any warband for quick and easy play, or combined with a faction deck to create your own custom decks. These tend to have a different theme and unique mechanics that lend to a new play style.
For Beastbound Assault this deck is build around Denizen Upgrades. These represent the strange beasts, creatures and fiends that live in the Gnarlwood and can be bound to your warband
What’s really nice about these decks is that they breathe new life into older warbands who maybe are not as competitive any more. The majority of the objectives revolve around having more models with denizen upgrades, positioning around the board and controlling objective tokens.
Playing the deck revolves around getting as many denizen upgrades on your fighters as you can while taking advantage of the ploys that trigger off denizens.
This looks a fun warband to play, especially for warbands that have beasts, companions and minions as there are cards in here that trigger off them too.
The current season of Warhammer Underworlds is coming to an end, but it has been closed out by a fun and quick warband who manage to be a little less fragile than you would expect due to some ace damage mitigation abilities. Hitting fast and hard these should be powerful in skilled hands.
We also get a fun and unique rivals deck for those who gotta catch em all with critters and creatures to give to your warband!
While I still think that seasons for Underworlds are turning around a little quickly, I am interested to see what we get in the next 6 months of the game.
Gryselle’s Arenai and Beastbound Assault are both up for pre order today and are released on Saturday 11th March
Games Workshop sent Sprues & Brews free copies for review purposes.
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