Morgwaeths Blade Coven
Shadespire had the Bloodreavers, Nightvault had the Godsworn Hunt, now it’s time for the Beastgraves take on fast but fragile aggression! I’ve been hyped for these agile and acrobatic death dealers since they were first teased, as they looked like exactly the kind of warband I enjoy playing. With high wound tough targets like the Krusha’s, Hrothgorn and Nurgle on the loose, we need a warband that can close on big targets and deal high damage even if they fall over to a stiff breeze themselves.
Let’s have a look at the fighter cards first and see what we’re dealing with!
#Quick note: we’re gonna have a little delve into the inspire condition after a run through of the fighters, there’s quite a bit to unpack!
So our Coven Captain sports a very respectable profile for a leader. A 2 range attack with cleave lends accuracy and the potential for multiple attack actions in a turn. It also makes objectives like Bold Conquest easier to score, along with some other faction specific objectives that we will talk about later on.
4 movement, 2 dodge and 4 wounds makes Morgwaeth as mobile and tanky as the Briar Queen. With her attack profile being marginally better than one of the most obnoxious leaders in the game, we’re already off to a strong start.
We also have the first inspire reaction since Thundrick. When an enemy fighter is taken out of action after an action or gambit (so moving through lethal hexes or being pushed into a lethal hex would count) you can inspire any one of your fighters. Unlike Thundrick however, killing Morgwaeth will not prevent the inevitable Turn 3 Inspire.
Speaking of inspiring, Morgwaeths inspired side boasts significant boosts in the form of an extra damage and move. This makes her more potent as a leader than models like Skritch and the Briar Queen, so expect her to be built around!
It’s worth noting there’s no Hunter or Wizard Keywords on this card, so Morgwaeth is just your average honest dice rolling powerhouse without access to the tricks those keywords provide.
Look at that tasty bow attack!
Snaky archer lady comes packing the only 4 range attack on an uninspired model in Warhammer Underworlds to date! We’ll slap a cheeky ensnare on there too just in case you were worried Dibbz might dodge out the way of your slithering sniper. Kyrae is your number two, and whilst she only packs 3 wounds, she starts at 5 move and two dodge which more than makes up for it. This lady will be scoring you Gathered Momentum, Death From Afar, and all sorts of other tasty treats from a mile away. On top of all that, she’s a hunter, so Snare is on the cards. Being the only hunter in the warband you might want to be careful about indexing too heavily into that keyword, but Kyrae definitely has the option of keeping out of harms way whilst still being useful.
There is no second attack on her uninspired side. Do not use the stabby knife attack on her uninspired side. Unless you are going for some alpha display mind games where you expose your power piece activation one just to mess with your opponent.
Do not use the stabby knife attack.
If you thought the bow was nuts when Kyrae was uninspired, boy oh boy does it get better. 3 smash and we’ll get cleave in there! The 4 range means even though the damage is low (without upgrades) you can get multiple attack actions off with ease. With that attack profile they will probably hit too! Get yourself Gloryseeker and Fighters Ferocity equipped and start launching heat seeking missiles into the oncoming hordes!
You may now consider the stabby knife attack in specific situations. Id probably stick with the death bow though.
A wild Combo attack has appeared!
Our first native combo user enters the Beastgrave, with a defense profile to rival Master Talon himself.
Let’s break it down a little bit.
Khamyss packs a 2 range 3 fury 2 damage attack uninspired. This is identical to the Briar Queens uninspired attack and so far none of our fighters have had less than two range. On top of a strong attack profile we have an inbuilt combo keyword within the attack, with a combo reaction printed on the card. The bladed buckler is a slightly calmer version of the Snarlfangs bite reaction. Being one range it means you have a choice to make when attacking with the whip, do I park myself next to my opponent to attempt a lucky hit with an innacurate buckler, or do I sit two hexes away in a slightly safer position. I reckon 7 times out of 10 the buckler attack isn’t going to be worth the risk.
Inspired Khamyss gets a more accurate and more damaging buckler attack along with a move and an extra dodge dice – a veritable cornucopia of stats. However the buckler is still only 2 swords, which is almost never odds on to hit. Given how squishy Khamyss is, you really want your attack to land as you probably wont make many.
This is the crux of Khamyss’ problem. Being 1 dodge 2 wounds means investing upgrades in powering up her combo fantasy can easily be countered by a stray attack from the opponent. As soon as Khamyss is committed she is very difficult to keep alive. You could inspire her early for an extra dodge dice, but you have two other excellent fighters you may want to inspire earlier. Equally 2 dodge is far from infallible, and your cackling combo warrior could still drop meaning you’ve wasted an inspire!
Khamyss is the wildcard of the warband, if you get a good combo upgrade like finishing blow equipped she could one shot Hrothgorn. Some games you’ll forget she’s on an edge hex and Khamyss will bite the dust in the power step. I’m super interested to see what kind of deck investment Khamyss merits and how people take advantage of what is potentially an incredibly damaging fighter.
She also can’t be driven back, so cheeky 1 damage ranged attacks will struggle to ping Khamyss in one shot from full health. What a tanky girl, just don’t introduce her to anyone that has a two damage attack and a set of functioning eyes.
Give Arnulf an extra dice on his basic attack and we have ourselves our very first danglesis. Not all fighters can be a Morgwaeth, and Kyrssa does just fine as a weaker fighter in a squishy warband. She has an almost 50% chance of hitting for 2 damage from the off and has decent movement, but will die if she falls funny on her ankle.
If she makes it to Turn 3 alive she gets an extra move and dodge dice. If you get to the point where Morgwaeths reaction is inspiring Kyrssa, you’ve either already won or I want some of whatever the hell you’re smoking.
The uninspired side of Lethyr is to Kyrssa what Targor is to Arnulf. But like our aforementioned Bloodreaver bro’s, their power levels flip once the fighters inspire. Lethyr’s inspired side hosts one of the most interesting attack action rules in the game. If two successes are rolled in the attack roll, and the attack hits, the damage is also getting done again.
Double damage baby!
Once more we have a super squishy fighter with the potential to dish out tons of damage with upgrades invested on her when inspired. Bang Great Strength on and play Haymaker, the odds are on for you doing 4 damage to any target. With your Danglesis no less!
Lethyr isn’t going to be top of your list to inspire early, but you’ll be grateful for the opportunity to get a charge off with her Turn 3.
One things for certain with these fighters. As long as someone’s left when turn three comes round, anyone can dish out the pain.
She dies first.
The Inspire Condition
The Blade Coven are packed full of unique and interesting mechanics, and their inspire condition is no exception. The Blade Coven fighters will all inspire, automatically, free of charge!
How generous of them.
All they ask in return is 2 rounds freedom from Draknar caving their skull in, Skaeth trampling their torso’s or from Hrothgorn swallowing them whole.
If you want a significant amount of this warbands power budget – you have to make it to round 3.
That in itself dictates a cautious playstyle for an aggro warband. You aren’t going to want to commit your fighters early when they are at their weakest, only for their distinct lack of any defensive ability to leave you with no one left to play with at the end of the game. You will have to score carefully and precisely. If you do your job well, you get to unleash hell in the end game.
This surgical early game is further incentivised by Morgwaeths ability. Anytime an enemy fighter is taken out of action you get to inspire someone early. This presents interesting options. Do I inspire my heavy hitters immediately and commit them, or do I inspire my weaker fighters before they die to get the most out of them. The more tanky lethal ladies stand a greater chance of being alive on Turn 3 and getting inspired automatically anyway. I suspect most games Morgwaeth and Kyrae will be inspired ASAP and get to work, but it is worth considering if an Alpha Strike with an inspired Khamyss is worth a punt every now and then.
Which fighters inspire when will certainly be a key point of skill expression for anyone wanting to play this warband well.
Blessings of Khaine
There are now multiple matchups where this might as well read: Score this in the third end phase if you have 2 surviving fighters. Even with an easy condition a 1 glory third end phase card would be trash. If you have 2 surviving inspired fighters in the second or even the first end phase then you’re probably already winning, and this isn’t a snowball card good enough to capitalise on the big lead you will have pulled out.
A score immediately for getting a kill whilst standing on an objective may sound difficult, but for this warband isn’t as bad as you’d think. It’s almost no challenge for Kyrae to make an attack action whilst on an objective, and the 2 range attacks available to Morgwaeth and Khamyss make attacking from an objective more achievable. The hardest bit is the kill itself, as the fighters attack action has to take out the opponent. This will be very scorable against hordes but against bigger targets like the Krushas and the Wurmspat it could be a struggle. Be careful not to include too many objectives that require a kill.
Consecrate to Khaine
Killing an opponent on an objective could be easier or harder than killing an opponent from an objective depending on your matchup. This objective does feel a little bit more out of the Blade Coven players control. In addition Kyrae’s bow cannot score this, which is a big downside. I’d probably take Blood Rite over this.
Daughters of the First Temple
A reasonable end phase objective that you’ll probable struggle to score against warbands like Nurgle and the Orruks. There’s the additional draw back that the Daughters of Khaine want to do the majority of their killing in Round 3. Depending on your playstyle this is usable, like a budget Chosen Warriors/Slay the Corrupted/Bloodshed, but I think there are better options.
An end phase objective to combo perfectly with Calculated Risk. Lethal hexes are abundant in the Beastgrave, allowing you to wound your fighters for this very reliable 1 glory reward.
A copy of Precise Use of Force which was restricted for a good reason. This one’s definitely worth taking.
Also if you can work out why Morgwaeth looks like an amputee wielding a spear grown from her knee in this picture, please let me know.
Proof of Devotion
I like the idea of Hybrid third end phase cards that give you multiple methods for putting away some solid glory at the end of the game. Unfortunately neither of the options on this card are consistently achievable. It would be ambitious to expect to fulfil either of this cards requirements in your average game. There may be some opportunity to hold all the objectives in enemy territory if there is an increase in objective destruction, but I still don’t think it’s worth taking this card. Third end phase cards have been steadily dropping out of fashion ever since Superior Tactician disappeared, and I don’t expect this card to bring them back.
This combos well with Blood Rite, Path to Victory and Bold Conquest, just make sure you make your charge toward the end of the round to reduce the risk of getting attacked and knocked off. The number of ranged attacks you have in your warband (Kyrae especially) do make it relatively easy to charge onto an objective. Its just staying there that’s the problem. Double Distraction and cards like Restless Prize may still ruin your day, but at least you made your opponent burn a card to deny you.
Thorns and Grymwatch can struggle to score this. If you want to build around scoring Supremacy pick a warband with some faction gambit pushes and more fighters. Don’t pick a faction with 5 fighters, 3 only having 1 dodge defense and 2 wounds. They also only haveohave faction gambit push and that requires your fighter be inspired.
Even Temporary Victory would be tricky for this warband with the amount of pushes flying around.
Chances are you’re scoring this with Morgwaeth. Without an accuracy buff or an inspired Kyrae you don’t want to go near her stabby knife attack. Her power is in the bow, and an objective that (yet again) prevents you from taking advantage of that is a pain. Still, you are going to want to be killing enemy fighters with Morgwaeth if you want to have a shot at winning, and this surge rewards you for it. Think of the Kyrae part as a backup score condition.
This is potentially scorable soley by Kyrae if she’s in a good position, but again is dependent on the warband youre playing into. This objective is actually much easier against the slower, hulking warbands. The difficulty will come against warbands like The Grymwatch who could die before you get an opportunity for a third attack.
For me this card dictates too much to be worth taking. It can force suboptimal plays just for one surge glory. It does combo well with cards like Jealous defense that allow out of action attacks though.
Initially I wasn’t sold at all on this card, however this is actually a diet version of Uncontested which might not be that bad. As long as you have one fighter on an objective and enough pushes to disrupt your opponent you get 2 glory. Against aggro this is free. You struggle to score this into more objective focused bands, but I think those bands are the ones the Daughters of Khaine naturally perform better into anyway. This may be worth considering.
Do not forget that this objective directly opposes Uncontested, Path to Victory and any other card that requires you to hold more than one objective.
You can only hold one.
This means if you try and hold two in case your opponent pushes one fighter off and they don’t, you don’t score the card.
Eh actually I was right to start with, maybe I’m not sold on this one.
This reaction requires a successful attack action, and has a 42% chance of adding a damage to that attack action. It has a 6% chance of adding more than one damage to it.
Are you feeling lucky?
Carve a Rune
This is a super interesting card that depending on your deck build could be viable. If you roll a crit for any attack action apart from Kyraes bow (seriously I just want to score something with the bow) you can react for a spent glory. Given the abundance of 3 die attacks in this warband and the probable inclusion of lots of dice buffs in your deck, this isn’t an unreasonable requirement to fill. If you can make the space in your Gambit deck this reaction may well be worth taking. Just make sure you don’t expose your fighters too soon in the hope of getting glory. If you don’t roll a crit, you could be down a glory and in a bad position.
Catechism of Murder
Inspiration Strikes for this warband seems pretty tasty, especially since one inspired fighter early usually begets another. This card has the unusual drawback of being useless Turn 3 though. It also requires Morgwaeth to be alive, although I think that might just be a requirement for the warband to succeed anyway.
I’ll need to test this one out, it’s possible the acceleration this card gives you would allow you to inspire some of your weaker one shot fighters like Lethyr for a crazy combo without worrying that you didn’t inspire Morgwaeth or Kyrae.
Let me get back to you on this one, but my gut says this is a card with high highs and low lows (turn 3), depending on what your hand allows you to do with your newly inspired fighter.
Healing gambits are few and far between currently. When compared with other healing options this card is definitely one of the most powerful healing effects we have seen. With no dice rolls you can heal everyone within two hexes of your leader (which does include your leader). This can help with the amount of ping damage floating around – especially when against Nurgle. It can also help heal up a fighter that has already scored you Calculated Risk or Devoted Disciple.
This is not strictly in line with what you would normally include in an aggressive power deck, which normally prioritises speed, damage and accuracy. A more flex Daughters of Khaine deck may find use for this effect, but the low wound count across your warband means most fighter will be getting one shot before the opportunity to heal comes around. You could consider this, but I doubt this gambit will make the cut for most decks.
Interesting Gambit, but not really the warband to take advantage of it.
Drilled to Perfection
Until you have two dodge dice going on guard isn’t a huge buff for the witch elves. The gambit slot could definitely be put to better use. Best case scenario is you get Morgwaeth and Kyrae on guard which saves their lives from an incoming charge, but even then an opponent could easily stack their dice with Haymaker, Potion of Rage and Prized Vendetta, making your guard token and gambit choices seem a little irrelevant.
This gambit combos well with what Daughters of Khaine want to do, especially turn 1 and turn 2. You want cautious calculated charges toward the end of your turn, utilising your mobility and range to pick away at key fighters. If your opponent ever gets a turn to counter attack, this card can stop that in its tracks.
A very powerful effect gated by requiring an inspired fighter. The ability to reposition a fighter 5 hexes without gaining a token is huge, especially when the inspired fighter may be Morgwaeth. Getting multiple attack actions on priority fighters and forcing your opponent to respect that threat is a powerful effect. Equally this card can be used following a charge to get a key fighter out of harms way.
On the other hand, getting an inspired fighter early is no mean feat into some match-ups. When playing into 4 wound fighters this card could be dead in your hand round 1, and even round 2. Similar effects are achieved with Commanding Stride and Desperate Flight, however neither effect is as strong as Headlong Fury.
I expect to see this card used, how often will depend on the relative power of the warband in any given meta. If the Coven struggle to get kills in a particular meta, they will struggle to inspire and therefore struggle to take advantage of the very powerful effect on this card. That may not necessarily be the cards fault though. The effect is good.
The fact Catechism of Murder exists helps this a lot, if you can draw both you can turn on a fighter and fling them into position in the power step. Just don’t miss your attack.
Why would the dice betray you, of course the opponent won’t double crit defend.
I would’ve loved a gambit that played upon the acrobatic lethality of the Daughters of Khaine. Maybe a +1 damage if you use this gambit and move through an enemy fighter in the next activation would’ve been playable. As is stands this effect is too weak to include in any serious deck. It also once again ostracises Kyrae, as many of the Blade Covens cards are want to do.
A dice re-roll on an attack action is a worthy effect and may see play in decks that want to fill up on accuracy buffs. I would probably be taking cards like Haymaker, Sitting Target and Victimise first though. Even Determined Effort is a better option.
Everyone loves a second chance at a dice roll, and gambits which allow a second attempt at a failed attack have always been high priority. This effect combos well with objectives like Tortuous Death, and other cards that require multiple attack actions.
Take this every time. Thorns take Endless Malice even though they aren’t primarily aggro, and you are primarily aggro.
Awakened weapon was one of the first cards to be restricted, because any permanent accuracy boosts on an aggro warband is incredibly strong. This upgrade has the disadvantage of being restricted to Morgwaeth. Whilst she is definitely a top choice for this upgrade, the fact that an early death can make this card dead in your hand is a definite drawback. Currently universal accuracy boosts that aren’t one shots are thin on the ground so this will probably see play, at least until better options come along.
An average attack profile which allows you to heal on an attack action. The same problems exist with this card that did for Crimson Rejuvination, you have 3 2 wound fighters who will probably bet dead before they get a single wound counter on them. The fighters that have enough wounds to benefit from this upgrade have attack profiles on their cards that you would be better served buffing and using. Cards like Amberbone or Nullstone Sword or Amberbone Mace would be included in my deck before this one.
A clone of Duelist’s Speed, this effect is definitely a strong one on fighters with range. Both Morgwaeth and Kyrae can make use of this. Kyrae especially will enjoy being able to shoot someone four hexes away, knock them back and then move away herself – creating a 5 hex space between her and her target.
High Oracles Butcher
A Tome of Offerings effect which is restricted to Kyrae and also restricted to adjacent enemy fighters taken out of action. Forcing yourself to close with Kyrae and lose her biggest advantage seems incredibly counter intuitive. The bow attack can still get you a glory if you kill someone with a point blank shot, but it doesn’t feel worth risking the cornerstone of your warband to achieve. Another card that goes against what Kyrae wants to do as part of this warband.
Finally!! A card for Kyrae! We have one boys and girls.
Park her on an objective and roll 4 dice per attack at anyone who comes close. Equip Fighters Ferocity and Gloryseeker and ping for 1-3 damage every attack, which post inspiration will be (almost) impossible to miss*. Use Jealous Defense for some rapid fire action too!
Even if Kyrae is dead, the range of Morgwaeth and Khamyss mean this upgrade is very usable on other fighters in the warband.
Best Upgrade so far.
*Disclaimer: Steel City cannot be held responsible when you still manage to miss
YAY a +1 defense upg…Oh its restricted to the danglesisters.
Take Spectral Armour.
Rune of Khaine
A copy of Mirror of Spite (a card that was never played anyway) that’s actually worse because its restricted to a fighter you definitely don’t want to die.
The definition of a filler card this one. You’d have to take Mirror of Spite AND still want more death bomb effects to take this.
In an age of strong faction specific cards its a shame to have a card that is worse than a bad universal.
Rune of Slaughter
Equipping this is the definition of an alpha move. Make your opponent fear your crits.
Here we have +1 damage FOR EVERY CRIT ROLLED, but unlike Fighters Ferocity this one is range restricted. Given the amount of dice the blade coven will roll this isn’t a bad effect, it depends if you want to gamble on rolling multiple crits to make this card worth taking over Gloryseeker, Great Strength, and maybe even Sting of The Ur-grub. You might still take Fighters Ferocity because you can buff Kyraes ranged attack. The more dice you roll regularly, the better this card becomes.
Its a shame the amount of crits you roll is inversely proportional to the amount of dice you roll*.
Give me Concealed Weapon back.
*Based on actual heartbreaking anecdotal evidence/salt.
2.5 ( a cop out decimal point)
Victor of 1000 Duels
Extra attack actions are exceptionally hard to come by since the days of Ready for Action left us. This card is similar to a Steelhearts card, Fatal Riposte. It allows you a chance at a counterattack following range 1 attacks that miss you. This upgrade will increase in effectiveness the more you tool up the fighter it’s equipped too. If Morgwaeth gets Spectral Armour and Survival Instincts equipped you have a fighter that the enemy can’t ignore, but equally can punish failed attack actions heavily. You will still have games though where the 50/50 doesn’t go your way and this Upgrade ends up doing nothing.
This is a swingy card, and including one or two high risk high reward cards in a deck isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This card can be very powerful with a little bit of luck on your side.
Any Upgrade card restricted to a 2 wound one dodge fighter is going to have to be incredible to make me consider it. This isn’t. You lose the combo and range benefit of her initial attack and gain scything. You also have to spend a glory for the privilege.
I’ve touched on what i percieve to be the optimal general playstule when discussing the cards. You want to play a surgical flex aggro deck, picking off key fighters in turns on and two using card combos before unleashing hell in turn three with upgrades piled on that combo with the warbands interesting innate abilities.
The hardest part is scoring glory early. You could flex into Path to Victory and Uncontested and run push cards, but then your gambit deck is diluted and your aggro play is less consistent. This might actually not be an issue however, provided your upgrades are purely aggressive. You can then tool up your fighters with your glory gained from holding objectives and fly in towards the back end of the game with your tooled up and soon to be inspired fighters.
This flex style runs into the common issue of a bad objective draw. If you draw you aggro objectives early, you may be forced to engage before you have the glory to do it reliably.
I’m honestly not sure exactly how i want to build the deck. I want it to be primarily aggro with some flex, but I’m gonna have a play around and see what works. This section will be updated when I have a deck build which has killed Mikes Mollog deck.
Check back soon for a fully tested Morgwaeth deck build. Apologies to everyone i play regularly with, you well be seeing a lot of Morgy and the gals.
I will become a Devoted Disciple.
Very cool writing!
(Just think that Lethyr inspired rules doesn’t work like stated. It’s not an auto success if 2+ successes are rolled. In fact there are 2 conditions : at least 2 successes on the dice, and the attack has to succeed.)
Absolutely right! I’ve changed it up now so its actually correct 😛
So…ah….it’s been awhile. How about that updated Playstyle section?
Also alot of the cards mention in this article are (soon to be) not in standard anymore (Calc. risk, Gloryeeker, Fighter’s Ferocity etc.), what are your thoughts on deckbuilding for the coven at the start of Direchasm?