Who watches the Grymwatch?
Welcome to another warband review! This time I’m looking at the 3rd Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave warband: The Grymwatch. Thanks to Games Workshop for giving me this warband to review early for free. Now let’s delve deeper into the horrors of the Beastgrave and the madness of the Grymwatch!
Ghouls suffer from a mass delusion that depicts them as noble and brave warriors of honour, despite the fact that they’re murdering cannibals. This loyal band of merry Ghouls marches forth under the command of their heroic Duke Crakmarrow, a hideously feral beast. They head deep into the Beastgrave to kill the beast that lurks at the mountain’s heart in order to protect their nearby territory and loyal subjects from the slavering beast.
The Grymwatch consist of 7 plastic miniatures, 6 Ghouls and a pack of Giant Bats. First you have Duke Crakmarrow himself, his loyal Gristlewel, Valreek the stealthy tracker, his 3 attendant Ghouls and his pack of Harriers. Each model is packed with the gruesome trophies of the Grymwatch. Numerous bones protrude through skin with woven-in hooks and various dismembered bodily parts. My favourite miniature is Valreek. She is a great depiction of a female Ghoul and perfectly depicts and undead stalker.
The warband comes in a cold green coloured plastic that stands out from the previous green plastic warbands. The miniatures go together fairly easily, just beware that they are fragile. Most importantly of all, there’s an error in the building process. When building Gristlewell glue on the head AFTER you glue together the body (parts 12 and 13) otherwise you won’t be able to glue the body together.
The Grymwatch all share a movement of 4 and averaging out at 2 to 3 wounds. They’re fast but fragile, especially as they’re all at 1 dodge from the start. The warband inspires when there are less than 2 enemy fighters in your territory at the end of a round. This is very matchup dependent but exceedingly reliable with the right board deployment and now Hidden Paths has been cycled out. It’s great against people who sit back in their territory as having inspire and becoming movement 5 plus other buffs is something your opponent doesn’t want.
Duke Crakmarrow is your gloriously insane leader. He’s movement 4 with 4 wounds which makes him the toughest fighter in the warband. His Halberd is 2 smash at range 2 with 2 damage for a threat range of 5.
Crakmarrow’s real power comes from his Ghoul Call action. This unique ability happens at the start of each round allowing you to summon an out of action Crypt Ghoul (making it useless at the start of the game). It’s random, to an extent, but allows Crypt Ghoul placement from anywhere on the board. Remember the furthest hex that you place your Crypt Ghoul has to be an empty hex. Very strong. Here’s an example of how it works using the Shrine of the Silent People for example:
S is the scatter token. If you rolled a smash on the attack dice a Crypt Ghoul would end up in hex 1. Roll a fury, single support or crit and end up in the appropriate hex 2. Roll a double support and end up all the way in hex 3 as that’s the furthest empty hex.
For added accuracy point the Scatter token in a hex with the Smash symbol so you’re more likely to get your desired hex.
Crakmarrow is also a Hunter.
When inspired Crakmarrow goes to movement 5 with 2 dodge. Not only that but his Halberd goes to 3 damage with cleave!
Honourable champion of the warband, Gristelwel is 3 wounds and 1 dodge. He wields a massive Bone Club that is 2 fury and 3 damage making him inaccurate but hard-hitting.
Gristlewel inspired goes to movement 5 while his Bone Club goes to 3 fury.
Valreek the Tracker
Valreek is the first ever plastic female Ghoul! She wields a Bone Knife which is 2 fury and 2 damage. She mirrors Gristlewel by being 3 wounds. She’s also a Hunter.
Valreek inspired goes to movement 5 with 2 dodge. Her Bone Knife also goes up to 3 fury.
This is your first of 3 Crypt Ghoul fighters. He comes in at 2 wounds with Strangler’s Claws at 2 fury and 1 damage. He is also a Hunter.
Herald inspired has his Strangler’s Claws go to 3 fury. He goes to 5 movement and gains a unique ability where adjacent enemy fighters have their attack actions reduced by -1 dice.
Your next Crypt Ghoul, the Butcher is armed with his Hooks at 2 fury and 1 damage. He also likes hooks, really likes hooks. His favourite film is Hook. He’s also a
Butcher inspired has his Butcher’s Hooks jump to 4 fury AND ensnare! A 51.8% chance to crit! Give him Great Strength and watch him rip through swarm warbands.
Master Talon is your standard Crypt Ghoul Hunter with a 2 fury 1 damage attack. He beLIEves he’s a master of hawks. Join in with his delusions and ca-caw as you charge in with him for extra authenticity.
Talon inspired has a minor boost where his Teeth and Claws go to 3 fury. He gains a nifty reaction too. Whenever adjacent enemy fighters are taken out of action he gains a Feast counter which increases his wounds characteristic by 1 for each Feast counter on his fighter card. Play against Zarbag’s Gitz to reach a mighty 11 wounds or a warband that resurrects fighters continually for a 14 wound Talon. Omnomnom.
The Duke’s Harriers are pretty decent. They start off with a 3 fury damage 1 attack and have movement 5 with a respectable 3 wounds. They also ignore lethal and blocked hexes for movement but cannot be given weapons or hold objectives. Fun fact, the warband envisions these guys as loyal hunting hounds.
Harriers inspired go up to movement 6 (!) with 2 dodge while the Fangs gain Ensare. What a good pair of giant vampiric bats.
First I’ll be going over the Grymwatch faction cards found within this expansion, going from okay cards to my top picks. Then I’ll do the same for all the universal cards.
Charnel House is a mix of Denial and Conquest. It’s fine, basically allows you to score whichever is more applicable at the cost of Denial’s 3 glory. Still a solid Hybrid objective.
Glory of the Court rewards you for getting everyone inspired. Decent but very difficult to score against aggro players.
Mouths to Feed is for you glorious aggro players. Punish opponents who think they can stand-up to the fabulous madness of the Grymwatch!
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Bravely Done is a surge objective that rewards positioning. It seems hard at first but is very achievable thanks to the faction gambits. Can still be scored against a charged enemy fighter in the open too.
Conquering Heroes is a solid end phase objective which is easily achievable thanks to the Grymwatch’s great mobility.
Defending the Hearth is Defensive Strike. Very good as the opponent will have to come to you in order to prevent you inspiring and controlling objectives.
Ghoul Pack rewards you for swarming the foe. Appears difficult at first but once again very reliable with the faction gambit cards.
In the Name of the King is just amazing. Grab that 2 Surge glory, just remember you score it after an activation.
Incomprehensible Scheme is once again another solid 1 glory end phase objective.
Mordant Triumph. You like Surge objectives, everyone does! Get 2 glory for doing so. More difficult in Championship format due to the 6 Surge limit but still very doable.
Pervasive Delusion rewards you for playing 3 or more gambit cards in a single round. Surge makes this awesome.
Shifting Madness is one of my favourite cards in Beastgrave. Thematic and strong. Opponents have to really worry about where objectives 1, 2 and 3 end up on the boards.
Horrifying Spectacle allows those who want more immediate inspires. Fine but position dependent.
Faction Gambits – Top Picks
Appalling Visage is a twisted Distraction. Push an adjacent enemy fighter 2 hexes away from an adjacent friendly fighter. Push someone all the way out of your territory or deep into it instead!
Combat Drill helps get easy supports, synergises with objectives, improves killing efficiency and can be used to grab objectives. Very versatile.
Double Time is Sprint but better. No objective token is safe.
Pack, Advance! Speed of madness. Push 1 to 3 of your Crypt Ghouls up to 2 hexes. Just amazing.
Recycled Riches is my favourite Grymwatch gambit. Amazing early in the game (say like when you only have Pack, Advance! in your discard pile) that gets slightly worse as the game goes on. Remember you have a chance to get faction upgrades from this so beware early do-overs.
Scrabbling Claws is amazing. Make the controlling player discard an equipped upgrade. Extra juicy when said target only has a single upgrade.
Shattering Impact brings yet more upgrade destruction. Discard your own upgrade to then do the same to an adjacent target’s upgrade. Love it.
Stench of Victory mainly helps with scoring objectives related to supporting fighters but can also be used for sneaky objective grabbing.
Strident Summons lets Crakmarrow make his Ghoul Call action for free! Swarm the field with creeping madness.
Right-Hand Ghoul makes Gristlewel a personal bodyguard to Crakmarrow. It’s fine.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Aura of Command turns Crakmarrow into the Warden. Sepulchral Guard are already contacting their lawyers.
Drawn to Weakness makes those Harriers a surprisingly mobile threat. All those free pushes.
Grip of Madness makes you stay on an objective until you’re killed basically. Combine with Quickening Greaves to have 2 different fighters that will always hold objectives and have no fear from push cards.
Heroic Visions is free +1 dice to attack actions. 5 fury Butcher inspired is great. Also 3 smash Crakmarrow.
Hunter’s Nose is a really good tech card. It makes ALL enemy fighters a Quarry. Valreek just gets +1 dice against Quarries but the first effect really opens up options for people trying to maximise the Hunter and Quarry mechanics.
Impervious Delusion makes your fighters surprisingly tough. Save for you fighters with 3 or more wounds. Mollog? Pft.
Seized Weapon is amazing for the free 1 damage. Combine with Shattering Impact for extra hilarity.
Severed Trophy is Tome of Offerings for Crakmarrow. Remember this only applies to adjacent enemy fighters taken out of action.
Well Motivated. NOW I’M MOTIVATED. Faction Great Strength. I love it.
Now it’s time for our first look at more Beastgrave universal cards!
Coveted Spoils is interesting. It seems mad at first. 3 glory for holding 5 objectives, then you realise it says all objectives. That means anywhere from 5 to 1. Something to watch on for now with flipping feature tokens and removing objectives. Another important part is that the card says if all objectives are held. By anyone. Either you and/or your opponent.
The Great Hunt is great for all you Hunter players. Good but situational. Being Hybrid makes it far easier to do.
To the End is basically and 3rd end phase objective. Not bad for 2 glory but you’ll always have to do-over your power hand and/or regularly draw cards.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Dug In is a really strong Dual objective. You can’t score it during the first round but it’s basically super Supremacy. Mid-game 4 glory is huge.
Fateful Strike punishes all those commonly seen multi-defence fighters. Situational at times but still rather easy to score.
Path to Victory is a really great Dual objective. Kill an enemy fighter and hold 2 or more objectives for 2 glory. Very reliable.
Scrum is actually very easy for aggro warbands and swarm warbands to score. All you need is any 4 fighters adjacent to each other in a line or bunch. Pile into the opponent or advance up in unison for an easy 1 glory Surge.
Swift Capture is the first universal Surge hold objective! It’s also a Dual too. Hold an objective in each territory for 1 glory. Fantastic.
The Beast is Slain is an amazing objective for Hunters. Kill a leader or a Quarry to score 1 glory. Flexible and rather easy to boot. Love Hybrid objectives.
Cloaked in Shadow is very situational. Become a Quarry for an activation and be immune to being chosen and damages by gambits. Flexible as you can use it on any fighter but Marked is better in that regard.
Fate’s Decree allows you to interfere with dice effect for a card EXCEPT during attack actions. Alright but too situational.
Frenzied Search. I may get hate for this but I’m not a fan, especially of draw cards in general. You may go “but you get 3 cards!!” and that’s true but in terms of actual card economy this is only a +1 draw. This is because you’re using Frenzied Search (-1 card) and sacrificing a power card in your hand (-1 card), not to mention needing to hold an objective for up to 3 cards (+3 cards) in return. Sure you have drawn 3 cards but at the cost of 2 for a 1 card gain. It’s alright but it’d rather just spend an activation drawing a card.
Universal Gambits – Top Picks
Desperate Flight lets you become Snirk inspired too! A somewhat reliable 3 hex push that you ca abruptly end with sneaky blocked/occupied hex usage. Just watch out for Mirror Move.
Exhaustion is a mind games card. Play before an opponent’s activation and then choose a fighter at the end of that activation which made 2 or more actions (e.g. charging or another superaction) then take 1 damage. Punish your opponent for charging you!
Madness Dart is a Poison card which effects an adjacent enemy fighter. That fighter’s Attack Actions (not Spell Attack Actions, thanks Keywords!) change to fury instead and Persists till the end of the game! Mollog with only 2 fury for his main attack you say?
Mass Upheaval is our first gambit spell. It is cast on 2 focus but then flips all feature tokens within the caster’s territory on a channel roll. It seems situational but can potentially shut down a hold objective player with the right rolls.
Restless Prize is somewhat like Distraction in a way. Push an objective token up to 2 hexes, either closer to your fighters or from beneath the feet of another’s. We all crawl down here.
Sitting Target, the anti-Snirk card. +1 dice and Ensnare to the 1st attack action against a fighter with no move or charge tokens. Works at any range too and even if your opponent is on blocks to defend you still get +1 dice.
Bloodthief is a reliable 2 smash 2 damage attack with an optional reaction to Heal the equipped fighter by 2 then discard the upgrade. Alright but if you’re taking it for the healing effect then you are probably playing Mollog.
Hunter’s Reflexes makes your equipped fighter a Hunter. Gain a reaction to push yourself 1 hex towards an enemy Quarry. Great for Quarry decks but situational.
Mazzig’s Many Legs is a Lost Page and a spell action. It’s 1 channel and lets you push another friendly fighter within 2 hexes up to 2 hexes. Alright but not worth the use of an action.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Amberbone Axe is our first Amberbone weapon! When taking an enemy fighter out of action with the range 1 attack action, discard the upgrade for 1 extra glory. Can also be thrown but then is lost and does not benefit from the Amberbone bonus.
Larval Lance may probably be my favourite card in the game. I just like how it interacts. It cannot be modified but the dice and damage characteristics are dependent on the round number. Not great in round 1 but amazing in round 3.
Sooth Companion provides reliable healing for fighters not making attack actions during their activations. The Warden will never fear edge hexes again!
Stoneform turns you into a rock Quarry (HAHAHA). The equipped fighter is at -1 move (to minimum 0) but in return you cannot be pushed. Great for holding objectives.
Survival Instincts also makes you into a Quarry. While a Quarry you are always on guard. Amazing. Skritch is pleased.
Trophy Belt is restricted to a Hunter but rewards you with a spent glory token upon killing an adjacent enemy fighter out of action. It becomes unspent instead if the target was a Quarry. Amazing.
Big deck energy time! Here are 2 example decks I’ve built for you to use if you so desire. First will be a Beastgrave only card deck while the second will be a Championship format deck. Both are limited to 6 Surge objectives but provide you with a solid basis to build off of if you so desire.
Beastgrave Only Cards
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro and Hold Objectives)
This deck primarily uses Grymwatch faction cards as they’re just amazing. They provide you with reliable fast glory and the option to benefit off of kills. Swift Capture and Path to Victory compliment the deck well while Dug In is basically your end game. Larval Lance provides reliable damage and Great Strength helps boost killing power.
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro and Hold Objectives)
Using the Beastgrave deck as a basis, this has just been slightly tweaked. Bravely Done! has been dropped for Calculated Risk and Keep Them Guessing has replaced Conquering Heroes as the Grymwatch can reliably score it. Severed Trophy has been replaced by Tome of Offerings as the latter is easier to gain glory from while keeping Drakmarrow safe.
Games Workshop also sent me the Grymwatch card sleeves and dice too.
The sleeves come in the new standard 70 pack: 10 clear sleeves, 20 objective card sleeves and 40 power card sleeves. They share the same universal Beastgrave red with the appropriate deck symbols. I still haven’t had enough time to test the durability of these new sleeves so once again I can’t give a full recommendation yet.
The warband dice are simply amazing. I love green and these speak to me. I love all green dice (except the Ylthari dice). Really like the marbled effect. Can’t wait for more green dice! Definitely worth buying if you love green and/or the Grymwatch.
The Grymwatch are a fun and powerful warband to play. They have very strong faction cards and some of the best objectives in all of Warhammer Underworlds. They are still fragile and lack the durability and defences most swarm warbands usually benefit from. They’re still quite easy to play but can be almost overwhelming if played in the right way by racking up glory then charging in, ripping opponents apart and destroying their upgrades.
Once again the Grymwatch are a warband I’d highly recommend people buy. They’re fun, strong and give you a great warband to mess around with which are strong yet also forgiving to play (to an extent). I also really like their narrative but it depends how much you want to make Bretonnia players cry. If you want to get the Grymwatch you can pre-order/buy them here.
Sharpen your fangs and ready your noble bone weapons, the Grymwatch are here and ready to slay the vile delinquents of the Beastgrave. Save everybody from themselves with maddening crits!
14 thoughts on “The Grymwatch”
In your opinion do you think the warband is leaning towards power creep? My gut reaction is that it looks really easy to just sit back and collect glory. If the grymwatch player gets 3 objectives they can easily just play the waiting game. If the opponent comes at them they can counter attack well. If they don’t come at them they inspire and then they can attack more easily.
New players especially would have a hard time with that inspire condition. Especially since they gain so much from inspiring
Nah, the Grymwatch still struggle with constant pressure. Struggle vs aggro but destroy control.
Kill Gristlewel early and stop them from inspiring means the warband finds it super difficult to deal with opponents.
Hi! Long time follower of the blog here, greetings from Spain 🙂 Regarding the new cards, are you sure that Madness Dart effects are not applied to Spell Attack Actions? I know in the glossary of the rulebook they appear as two different sets of keywords, but in the explanation of Attack actions, they include spell attacks actions as one of them. These keywords are going to be a bit tricky, because by using the same logic, you could not charge with Vortemis and use bolt of change, as the charge is defined as a superaction consisting of a Move Action and an Attack Action (Spell attack actions are not mentioned). This same interaction would also mean that archer’s focus wouldn’t apply to spells either (this might be slightly different because we are talking about a pre-keyword age card). Depending on what GW says about this, we might be witnessing Beastgrave’s first banned card 😀
Hi! I’m siding on the use of keywords for now to be safe. I’ll wait for GW clarification but I personally still wouldn’t play it as effecting Spell Attack Actions. Even if it does I doubt it’ll get banned as then you’d have to ban Soothing Companion as well.
Hi Jonh, you know if GW already make clarification about Madness Dart??
Not yet I’m afraid dude
Big deck energy 😂
Looking forward to the Grymwatch, primarily for the universal cards whilst I play catch up painting my other warbands!
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Grymwatch are really fun! The universal cards in there give a nice boost too. I’m on the paint train too tho haha
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Maybe I missed this, but I’m assuming the fighters out of action also inspire also when the condition is met? Also does this warband seem like a better or just very slightly different version of spiteclaws or do they play different enough? I really just play casual with friends and don’t want much redundancy as I already have spiteclaws.
Currently I’d say no. When a fighter is out of action it no longer plays any part in the game.
Ah thanks. So something like There Are Always More works to inspire skaven because it specifically targets the fighter or no? Couldn’t find any errata on it but everyone seems to say that inspires spiteclaws.
Would you say this warband plays differently enough from spiteclaw’s to warrant a casual player having both?
Yeah it specifically targets.
It does. Spiteclaw’s Swarm are more consistent and not dependent on the opponent.
Nice, thanks again!