Alarielle’s chosen spring forth!
Greetings! Here’s the second installment of my warband review double feature. Thanks again to Games Workshop for giving me this warband early so that I could review it for you all. Now let’s take a closer look at the final Nightvault warband!
Ylthari and her guardians originally served as ambassadors for Alarielle the Everqueen, regularly parlaying with the Katophranes in Shadespire. Over this time they shared many a strong bond with the denizens of the Mirrored City and established a soulpod grove on the outskirts of Shadespire. When Nagash found this hidden place and unleashed his wrath upon it, all the Sylvaneth became trapped within the Mirrored City and all went dormant.
Upon the advent of the Necroquake, life magic has begun seeping into the dead city of Shadespire. Ylthari and her guardians were the first to work because of this. Now they scour the Mirrored City in search of more soulpods that house their sleeping kin.
Ylthari’s Guardians contains 4 plastic miniatures: Thornwych Ylthari and her 3 Revenants. While lacking in unit diversity compared to other warbands, the Guardians show the combined force of the Sylvaneth at war.
As befits the Guardians they show the usual Sylvaneth themes of life and ethereal forest spites brought together as one. While looking like Aelves, it’s important to remember that these are not Aelves but instead spirits of the forest given life to punish those who’d defy the might of nature.
The sprues come in forest green coloured plastic. It’s nice but I’m more of a darker green guy (DID YOU KNOW I LIKE GREEN??). The miniatures look fragile but are packed with detail as befits current Games Workshop practice. Ahnslaine is my favourite but each one contains so much character. Their faces are also exquisite.
Ylthari’s Guardians consist of 4 fighters. This makes them quite elite but unlike most 4 fighter warbands, this one doesn’t have as many wounds. An interesting note is that the warband has a universal inspire mechanic where a fighter inspires wherever a wound token would be removed from their fighter card, even if there is no token to remove at all. It means cards like Tainted Vitality won’t inspire fighters without wound tokens but still opens a lot of avenues to explore.
Ylthari is many things but an Aelf she is not. She is a sentient forest sprite with many vine-like tendrils. While being only 3 wounds, she does come with 2 dodge and is a level 2 wizard. The Reaping is a standard magical attack and she retains a 2 smash 2 damage range 2 attack.
What makes her unique is her own fighter card reaction. After rolling a crit (oh yes) when successfully casting a spell, remove up to 1 wound token. Basically inspire yourself when you roll a crit (yesss) and also negate the effects of magical backlash. Nice.
Inspired Ylthari simply gains +1 movement and +1, damage to the Reaping. Not bad but not amazing. The good thing is she’s still quite good uninspired and inspiring really is just an added bonus.
Ahnslaine, Revenant Archer has a very easy name to remember and type out correctly. Her Revenant Bow is a reliable range 3 attack at 2 smash. She also starts off at movement 4 too. Her reaction is very interesting. Once per round you get to make another attack action with Ahnslaine. What’s easy to miss is that you don’t need to use the bow to trigger this 😉
Inspired Ahnslaine improves the Revenant Bow to range 4, allowing even more threat range. She also gains 2 dodge over 1. Still remains at 3 wounds but is a perfect harasser.
Gallanghann of the Glade is the warband’s stoic defender with a rather large glaive (and you thought Fjul Grimnir was overcompensating). He starts off at an impressive 4 wounds with 2 block. His special reaction is doing 1 damage to the opponent after the attack action if you roll a crit (mhmm) during your defence roll.
The inspired side grants the Protector Glaive knockback 1 and also access to a whirling attack. It’s a nice addition but 2 fury 1 damage is just quite unreliable for an inspired fighter.
Skhathael puts Godsworn naming conventions to shame. This Sylvaneth fighter brings a greatblade into battle. Your second 2 smash 2 damage fighter but he only has 3 wounds and a single block so you have to be more careful with him. Skhathael’s reaction is that if you roll a crit (this warband…..it speaks to me) in the attack roll and the target survives, they take 1 additional damage. A pretty neat little boost.
Skhathlael inspired improves his attack to 3 smash with cleave. He just becomes more reliable and great at dealing with pesky block fighters.
We’re back for the card section! As usual I’ll be going through the faction cards first, starting with objectives and going all the way through to the upgrades.
Glade’s Last Hope: Having to actually remove 3 wound tokens is quite hard for 1 glory, especially when the majority of your fighters only have 3 wounds.
Glade’s Pride: If you can keep all your fighters alive then it’s fine.
Show No Mercy: For 1 glory this card is not quite worth it for the return in investment. Might have used it if it was 2 glory but you’re already up 3 by that point.
Vengeful Revenants: It’s not bad and I like the mechanic but it’s quite difficult to pull off and I dislike trading my fighters in such a way, especially considering the warband’s fragile number.
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Domain Denied: A really good objective, especially considering the rarity of players running hold objective cards.
Lithe Spirits: Making 2 reactions isn’t exactly simple but you can score this quite quickly thanks to every fighter having their own reaction.
Reclaim the Lamentiri: An amazing card. Even holding just a single objective nets you 2 glory. Becomes even better once you see more of the faction’s cards.
Song of Hatred: Great. You need to cast 2 spells but your leader comes with 1 and you’ll be loading up on some very good gambit spell cards.
Strike Swiftly: Kill someone on the charge. Simple but effective.
Faction Gambit Spells
Strength of Burgeoning: +1 damage is nice but a shame about the range restriction.
Faction Gambit Spells – Top Picks
Curse of the Dwindling: 2 channel but it’s amazing. -1 attack dice is huge. Effectively neuters Mollog as well as all 2 smash fighters. The Brair Queen won’t exactly be happy at 2 fury either. To top it all off it affects all of the fighter’s attack actions. Make Stormsire only roll 1 magic or attack dice. Wtih a 5 hex range, this spell just keeps on getting better.
Pangs of the Great Lock: While 1 focus, being able to do 1 damage within 5 hexes is amazing. Combine with Sphere of Aqshy for maximum magical blasting.
Faction Gambit Ploys
Mesmerising Gaze: This is not a bad card, in fact it is really balanced. The problem is that Transfixing Stare exists. Removing guard tokens is great as well as the option to give the enemy fighter a move token. It’s just that you have to be adjacent to do it. Transfixing Stare effectively does a better job due to having a 2 hex range.
Writhing Roots: -2 move is nice but Invisible Walls is better. This card can reduce fighters to a movement value of 0 however this is only useful against Duardin warbands and Sepulchral Guard which aren’t exactly popular currently.
Faction Gambit Ploys – Top Picks
Healing Amphora: Healing Potion with a slight restriction. Keep in mind you need Gallanghann for this to function. Still it’s a solid way to inspire a fighter.
Last Guardians: Guard tokens are great, especially when you get them for free!
Leech Power: Requires Ylthari but it’s great. Inspires her while also removing an objective. Synergises with Scorched Earth and the objective holding element of the warband.
Revenant Rage: Faction Determined Effort, what’s not to love?
Springseed Step: Basically a free move for a friendly fighter. Great for positioning without needing to sacrifice an activation to do so. Combine with charges for extra support or even push friendly fighters out of bad positions.
Cage of Thorns: Alright but I would have made it cast on channels. Currently Transfixing Stare does a better job if you’re looking for reliable move token applications.
Enraged Sprite: Should have been 3 fury, Darkdarts is the better option.
Menacing Step: Not bad but being restricted to Skhathael is not ideal. Countercharge is the better option but it’s a ploy.
Pinning Shot: A positional Helpful Whispers. Requires Ahnsaline to be adjacent which isn’t easy to do constantly.
Spiteful Thorns: 50/50 chance to do 1 damage to an enemy fighter after they’ve succeeded against your leader with a range 1 attack. Not exactly great.
Unflinching Guardian: A defence dice re-roll while Gallanghan is adjacent. I’d just run Champion’s Fortitude myself.
Vengeful Blow: A very strange weapon. It’s better the more your warband loses friendly fighters. Restricted to Skhathael too. Has the potential to become a 5 fury damage 4 weapon but you’ll probably already be in a losing position at that point.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Constant Growth: Faction Great Fortitude. Everyone loves more wounds.
Inescapable Grasp: Laugh at dodge fighters as you wrap them up in 100% vegan tentacles.
Warding Stance: Make Gallanghann 3 block. Nice.
Now it’s time for the part you’ve all been waiting for!
Bloodless Skirmish: Difficult to score for only 2 glory as it requires NO fighters out of action. Complete Victory is better.
Hold What We Have: A decent card but I just don’t enjoy the negative play experience it encourages.
Lethal Repertoire: Partially reliable but generally only scorable while you already have some glory and the appropriate weapon upgrade.
One Fate: At least it’s 2 glory.
Preserve Life: Kinda easy for the Guardians but getting those wound tokens in the first place without dying isn’t easy.
Persevere their Knowledge: 3 glory for 2 and requires at least 3 friendly fighters. A bit unreliable and difficult to pull off.
Sorcerous Duel: Not bad but dependent on how popular wizards get.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Keep Moving: Quite reliable as can be scored while charging. Combos nicely with Keep Chopping.
Magical Storm: Really good for magic heavy warbands.
Stand Firm: Amazing for 3 fighter warbands. Will generally take a minimum of 3 activations to score.
United: Unbroken Wall you have been replaced.
Universal Gambit Spells
Bolt of Inspiration: Amazing if it didn’t have the scatter effect. And work on enemy fighters too.
Entropic Curse: I like it but useless if drawn before action phase 3. Max you’ll do is 2 damage.
Sphere of Gyran: Should have been 1 channel. Would rather take Vital Surge.
Terrifying Visage: Would be more useful if it didn’t apply to only adjacent attacks.
Universal Gambit Spells – Top Picks
Magical Dampening: A fairly reasonably easy to cast spell that can reduce magical damage to 0.
Strategic Sorcery: A lot of potential. Get that easy to score objective back again for extra glory. Just gotta get past that 2 focus requirement.
Universal Gambit Ploys
Flexible Strategy: Use a ploy instead of spending an action. Still not a fan.
Noble Sacrifice: An interesting switcherooney but it’s not reliable and requires a friendly fighter adjacent to your leader.
Silence: Stops a wizard for a single power step. Kinder on yourself than No Time but still not advisable to take.
Universal Gambit Ploys – Top Picks
Lifesurge: Tainted Vitality reprint. It’s alright.
Blessing of Ignax: Spend an activation for +2 damage. Still unsure about this card as +2 damage is huge but it’s not a guarantee for the attack.
Fading Form: If you need to ignore blocked and lethal hexes then this is for you.
Quick Learner: Interesting but only really useful for Mollog.
Spinning Defence: Requires your opponent’s attack to fail for a random 2 hex push.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Duellist’s Speed: Skitter-Scurry made universal. Really strong.
Fated Blade: Random damage but I love it. The potential for 4 to 5 damage is just too tempting even if you’ll average 2 to 3 damage statistically. This attack is Rebound-proof too as Rebound is played before damage is determined.
Nullstone Arrows: Reliable 4 hex attack.
Scroll of Recall: 50/50 to recycle a gambit spell. Once again opens up a lot of avenues for magic users.
Tome of Insight: I think this is really strong, depends how much you value card knowledge.
Well of Power: Make your wizard effectively 1 level higher. Threddra rolling 4 magic dice is now a thing.
Once again I’ll be going over example decklists you can use to get started with. I’ll do a Nightvault only deck then one with all cards currently available. As always these are just something to begin with, tailor as suits your needs.
Nightvault Only Cards
Playstyle: Flex (Magic, Aggro and Hold Objective)
The main goal is overwhelming opponents with magic, offence and objective manipulation. Domain Denied and Reclaim the Lamentiri allow objective flexibility. Lithe Spirits and Song of Hatred combine the use of reactions innate to the warband along with magical offence to give you even more easy glory. Scorched Earth combos off of removing objectives and Fired Up is great due to the relatively easy inspire mechanic.
Curse of Dwindling is just an amazing spell while Pangs of the Great Lock combines with Sphere of Aqshy for repeated ranged magical damage. Abasoth’s Unmaking combos with Leech Power to score Scorched Earth as making Reclaim the Lamentiri easier to score. Springseed Step gives a reliable reaction as well as making holding objectives more efficient. Pit Trap is your extra damage.
Upgrades once again support your players. Bag of Tricks helps you carry out your combos more reliably. Inescapable Grasp is just too good for shutting down dodge fighters. Well of Power and Blessing of Vytrix boost your formidable magical prowess. Gloryseeker is your universal damage boost while the wound upgrades keep you in the game. Tome of Healing is also a nice reliable inspire card.
All Available Cards
Playstyle: Flex (Magic, Aggro and Hold Objective)
This just uses the Nightvault deck as a basis and improves it. Change of Tactics is ever reliable. Ready for Action is just amazing. Trap is better than Pit Trap. Upgrades remain unchanged dueto them being really solid already.
Ylthari’s Guardians bring the power of magic and rejuvenation to Warhammer Underworlds. This warband completely flips how Hold Objectives works via mass removal and not really needing to hold many objective tokens to score those objectives reliably. They also do magic really well, especially from afar. Despite this they are fragile but your opponent has to come to you or face being whittled to death.
Their controlled inspire mechanic is actually very good. You don’t even need Gallanghann inspired. Just remember to not blow your healing cards immediately but precision inspiration is extremely strong. They’re not exactly easy to use but have a lot of depth. Just remember your leader is quite important so she needs to stay alive.
Overall I would highly recommend buying Ylthari’s Guardians. They offer another unique way to play the game and bring a great selection of universal cards along with them. 4 fighters means you have a lot of options when it comes to setup from sitting back far away to in your opponent’s face. They’re glass cannons that can quickly dismantle the opponent with the right combinations. If you want to get your hands on a copy, then order directly from Games Workshop here.
I hope you enjoyed this in-depth review of Ylthari’s Guardians, it will be useful to you no matter your skill level with the game. That’s it for now. Nightvault is complete. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve enjoyed my first complete warband review series as I didn’t do this for Shadespire. Nightvault has really expanded on what warbands can do with new unique twists on gameplay. So thank you for joining me on this journey. What does the future hold for Warhammer Underworlds? Crits 😉