Morathi’s exiled daughters enter the Beastgrave!
Welcome to another warband review, this time of Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven. This warband makes up the final 2 teams for Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave. As always thanks to Games Workshop for providing these to review for free. Still, I always aim to be impartial and honest. With that all out-of-the-way, back to the article at hand.
Morgwaeth and her Blade-Coven search the Beastgrave for a lost shard of their murder god Khaine, ordered to do so by their leader Morathi. Feeling their goal was near upon entering the Beastgrave due to the constant visions of battle and sound of violence that intensified the closer they got to their destination, little were Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven aware that is was all a ruse by Morthai. Khaine was long dead, made a mock puppet by Morthai for her to siphon power from. Instead, Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven were sent out as punishment and never to return due to Morgwaeth speaking out and publicly criticising Morathi. However the Beastgrave is perfect for Aelves obsessed with murder, such as the Blade-Coven, and their constant letting of blood may soon see them find salvation from eternal life within the Beastgrave.
Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven is a 5 fighter warband that consists of: Morgwaeth the Bloodied, Kyrae, Khamyss, Kyrssa, and Lethyr. Each miniature is a highly detailed Daughter of Khaine warrior equipped with the standard lethal bladed weaponry they’re known for along with hardly any armour at all which befits their agile nature. They’re also Warhammer Underworlds’ first fully female warband with a snake-aelf! My favourite miniature from the warband has to be Morgwaeth. She looks great and really stands out from the normal Hag Queen with her raised chalice and lengthy spear. I just love how everything is flowing in the same direction while she stands triumphantly a top some ruins. The ‘Eavy Metal team has really pushed the ball out of the park with their paintjob, truly beautiful work.
The miniatures come in a very unique pink-coloured plastic. They are very fragile but go together surprisingly well. Kyrae is a bit fiddly with some minor gaps in her snake torso but otherwise all the miniatures are fairly straightforward to build. It’s still impressive how much detail can be packed into only 2 small plastic frames.
Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven are a 5 fighter warband which puts them in the middle of not having too many fighters but also not have too few. 4 is still the perfect number in my books but 5 fighter warbands usually end up having at least 1 fighter exposed to early charges from the start of the game. Like most warbands, Morgwaeth’s Blade coven (generally) share a movement value of 4 uninspired while all defending with dodges. The whole warband also inspires when it is the 3rd round of a game. This has downsides but it makes them the only warband with a truly guaranteed inspiration mechanic no matter what happens during a game.
Morgwaeth the Bloodied
Morgwaeth the Bloodied is the leader of the Blade-Coven. She’s armed with the Glaive of Khaine which has a range of 2, 2 smash and 2 damage with Cleave. She has a movement characteristic of 4 with a defence characteristic of 2 dodge base. Her key ability is Sacrament of Blood which allows you to choose a friendly fighter after an enemy fighter has been taken out of action after an action or gambit and then inspire the chosen fighter. This is a nice way to inspire faster but also makes Morgwaeth even more crucial for your games.
Morgwaeth Inspired goes up to damage 3 with her Glaive of Khaine and gets her movement characteristic boosted to 5. With this she becomes a boosted Skritch Spiteclaw thanks to her permanent Cleave. She retains her Sacrament of Blood ability while inspired too. You basically want her inspired as early as possible for that 3 base damage unless you have glory to make her do more damage or are fighting weaker opponents.
Kyrae is a Blood Stalker Krone and armed with her Heartseeker Bow. This has a massive range of 4, 3 fury, 1 damage and has Ensnare too! She also has a Sacrificial Knife which is range 1, 2 fury and 1 damage. Unlike her other Bladecoven, Kyrae starts with a movement characteristic of 5 and has a wounds characteristic of 3 as well as having a dodge characteristic of 2. This all makes her fast and durable which synergises well with what the warband wants to do in terms of objectives and weakening enemy fighters from afar for easier kills.
Kyrae Inspired has her Heartseeker Bow go to 3 smash while also gaining Cleave on top of Ensnare! Her Sacrificial Knife goes to 3 fury and damage increases to 2 which makes her more formidable in close combat. Inspiring Kyrae is a great option if done via Morgwaeth’s Sacrament of Blood ability as Kyrae Inspired is a menace at ranged combat while still being a threat up-close due to her improved Sacrificial Knife.
Khamyss is a Sister of Slaughter armed with her Barbed Whip which is range 2, 3 fury, 2 damage and has the Combo keyword. She is also armed with her Bladed Buckler which is range 1, 1 smash and damage 1. She can’t be driven back and she also explains what Combo does, being the only fighter to start with the Combo keyword. After Khamyss’ Barbed Whip attack action you can then make the Bladed Buckler attack action. Unlike other Combo attack upgrades, this doesn’t need to be successful but you take the risk of missing with only 1 smash. Still it’s a nice way for Khamyss to potentially do 3 damage from a single attack action. You could also use the Bladed Buckler to attack a different enemy fighter as well if you’re feeling bold too.
Khamyss Inspired sees her Bladed Buckler go to 2 fury and 2 damage while her movement characteristic increases to 5 and her dodge characteristic increases to 2. She becomes more mobile, slightly better defensively as well as being able to potentially do 4 damage to a single enemy fighter or 2 damage to 2 different enemy fighters. She gains more functionality from being inspired and thus makes her a worthy choice for early inspiration if against horde warbands who she can easily dispatch while inspired with some attack dice buffing cards.
Kyrssa is 1 of 2 Witch Aelves for Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven. She’s armed with Sacrificial Knives that are range 1, 3 fury and 1 damage but do an additional damage if you score a critical hit. She’s like Arnulf but slightly better!
Upon inspiring Kyrssa gains a movement characteristic of 5 and a dodge characteristic of 2. Nothing else changes meaning she’s not a priority to inspire and a fighter I would deploy furthest away from friendly fighters, aka the fighter you deploy which you can’t really keep safe. If she can score some early damage with crits, that’s great. Otherwise don’t expect her to do too much.
Lethyr is our next Witch Aelf. She has the exact same profile as Kyrssa except does no additional damage. Nothing too big to write about until we get to her inspired side.
Lethyr Inspired gains the standard movement characteristic of 5 and dodge characteristic of 2 while inspired. However, her Sacrificial Knives now have a special ability. When an attack role includes 2 or more successes, you resolve the damage step TWICE! This may seem unimpressive at first but put an upgrade like Great Strength on her and suddenly Lethyr can dispatch even 4 wounds fighters with a single swipe. You’re relying on the dice, of course, but get her some supports for more reliability too. It’s risky and relies on her being inspired but this is a nice sneaky ability for her Sacrificial Knives that can see Lethyr punch well above her weight.
Now we’re at the card part of the review! As always faction cards then universals.
Blessings of Khaine is too hard and situational to score for 1 glory.
Proof of Devotion is interesting. Let down by being a 3rd end phase objective but helpful for players going for the hold objective and aggro build.
Ritualised Formation is just bad for this warband. It should have been faction Temporary Victory. With 3 out of 5 fighters having only 2 wounds and 1 dodge uninspired, having the fighters alive in the end phase to score this is incredibly unlikely. Just pass, such a shame as it would have helped balance the fragility of the warband while it builds towards upgrades for improved chances of killing enemy fighters.
Torturous Death is faction Concerted Attack. It’s…okay. 3 activations for 1 glory Surge. Up to you if you think it’s worth investing activations in. The good thing is you could just have a single fighter attack the same fighter multiple times like Kyrae, it’s just not efficient.
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Blood Rite is a great faction objective that can easily be scored by Morgwaeth or Kyrae. Synergises well with the warband’s overall goal for winning.
Consecrate to Khaine with how common objective play at the moment, this is another great objective. Unfortunately Kyrae basically can’t score it for you but that’s the only main downside.
Daughters of the First Temple is a simple 1 glory end phase objective. You’ll usually be killing in general and it’s effectively a 3 glory swing (1 for the objective, 2 for the 2 enemy fighters out of action).
Devoted Disciple is another exceptionally reliable 1 glory end phase objective that you can easily score with some simple planning. Goes well with Calculated Risk and the abundance of lethal hexes.
Perfect Kill is faction Precise Use of Force. Perfect.
Purposeful Strike is once again another very reliable 1 glory end phase objective. Your range 2 and 3 fighters can score this for you with ease.
Sweet Sacrifice is a great Surge aggro objective which Morgweath’s Bladecoven have in abundance. Basically have Morgwaeth kill someone. Kyrae can score it too, just not with her Heartseeker Bow which adds some nice redundancy in case Morgwaeth dies early.
Triumphant Stance is a great Dual objective. Almost a faction Uncontested. Amazing against aggro opponents but still not too hard to achieve.
Bloodbane Venom is amazing if you’re me. You have a 42.1% chance of doing at least 1 damage to opponent. For the brave or crit-empowered. It’s also a Poison card though which is a nice addition.
Crimson Rejuvenation is a really nice healing aura card…on a warband with an average wounds characteristic of 2.
Incredible Agility. Shame it doesn’t work on Kyrae but she is movement 5. Still just very situational and you get more use out of mobility cards like Spectral Wings.
Faction Gambits – Top Picks
Carve a Rune is a reaction card that I really like. It can end up being a dead card but it only triggers if you make a successful range 1 or 2 attack action with one or more crits for some juicy extra spent glory. It’s a win more card but it allows you access to extra glory to keep up or stay ahead of the opponent. Can you roll a crit?
Catechism of Murder is faction Inspiration Strikes. I don’t actually think it’s needed if you play Morgwaeth’s Bladecoven correctly but it’s still a useful tool in their arsenal.
Drilled to Perfection is a really good way to get guard tokens on your fighters. Guard is so good right now and is especially strong when you could theoretically give 2 of your fighters a guard token at once. Just think of giving an extra friendly fighter a guard tokens as a bonus, not something you always have to do.
Fanatical Faith is like Insensate but technically worse, albeit with correct wording. Just hope none of your fighters are near lethal hexes when you play this card and that your opponent isn’t running damage gambits like Pit Trap and Snare. Still it’s a very strong card overall, just that your opponent can play around it by tagging your 2 wound fighters next to lethal hexes.
Headlong Fury is an amazing mobility card. While it only works with inspired fighters, it helps for covering ground as well as grabbing objectives in a final power step. Kill someone, inspire, then move onto an objective. Really strong when played correctly.
Perfect Precision is a gambit Awakened Weapon. Not as strong as Fuelled by Fury but still a great aggro faction card to have access to.
Zealot’s Rage is a faction Tireless Assault. Attack again if your first attack action fails. Amazing and essential.
Crone Blade is a decent attack action upgrade but there are better universal weapon upgrades out there.
High Oracle’s Butcher is faction Tome of Offerings for Kyrae but only against adjacent enemy fighters. It’s balanced but not something I would rely on taking unless I was running a lot of attack action upgrades.
Rapturous Defence is great if you really, really, really value Kyrssa and Lethyr and desperately need them alive.
Rune of Khaine is reliable damage for losing Morgwaeth but just not something I’d take regularly.
Victor of a Thousand Duels would have been amazing if it wasn’t a 50/50 chance to work. Too situational by relying on range 1 enemy attacks and then gambling on the dice going your way.
Whirling Whip gives you access to Scything for Khamyss. Not bad but just quite situational and relies on Khamyss being alive.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Crimson Shard is faction Awakened Weapon but for Morgwaeth only. Limited but essential for her.
Death Dancer is faction Duellist’s Speed. Amazing. Synergises with objective grabbing as well as relentless attacking with Morgwaeth or Kyrae.
Invigorated Attack is an amazing way for near-permanent +1 dice to attack actions. Obviously Kyrae benefits the most from it with her Heartseeker Bow but even Morgwaeth can use it efficiently as well.
Rune of Slaughter is something I really like, especially for your 3 attack dice fighters who aren’t Kyrae. +1 damage for each crit is what makes it amazing. Sure you could do no extra damage but you could also do 2 to 3 extra damage depending on the fighter and your dice.
Now we move onto the universal card aspect of the warband review where I look at and rate the universal cards that come with Morgwaeth’s Bladecoven.
Absolute Stillness is quite difficult to pull off if you’re not Thorns of the Briar Queen. Still, if you can invest in the push cards and run a lot of Quarry cards it’s very tasty for 2 glory as an end phase objective.
Abundance of Caution is great if you like going on guard. Fairly decent but only for elite warbands.
Master of Hazards is a good but balanced Surge objective. It’s very card dependent and flipping 2 or more feature tokens in a single phase isn’t easy or reliable.
No One is Safe is a nice 1 glory Surge objective but is basically limited to magic users. The issue is the objective is tied to what power cards you have in-hand and can brick fairly easily.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Ahead of the Hunt is a pretty reliable 1 end phase glory due to the common occurrence of Quarry cards being run currently.
Hidden Purpose makes Temporary Victory look weak. This is such a strong objective that virtually every warband can run san Mollog’s Mob. Restricted? Most likely. Aggro warbands will love it but it’s another jewel to the pile for hold objective warbands.
Set the Tempo. PUSH THE TEMPO. *ahem* It’s a more balanced version of Superior Tactician. Takes more work to achieve with a reliance on deck construction but I think it’s worth it for 3 glory. Also: https://youtu.be/JEq10L7u3SM?t=44
Test of Courage. How fare would you go for 2 glory? Amazing objective. Can score this with no damage taken if you flip feature tokens friendly fighters are standing on. Either way, it’s a great way for some reliable end phase 2 glory.
The Hunter Hunted. Do you hate Hrothgorn? Genuinely though I think this is very viable now with all the Beastgrave cards available now and due to how many Quarry cards people are taking. It’s still very matchup/deck dependent but that 3 glory swing is very tasty.
Euphoric Dust is another poison card but too short-acting and just really situational. Most enemy fighters have only 1 defence and it just takes a lot of work to setup.
Universal Gambits – Top Picks
Glorious Triumph is another amazing reaction gambit. Grants you an extra objective held after killing an enemy fighter. Quickly turns the disadvantage of having only 2 objectives it to an even-ground. Just essential for hold objective players and even some aggro players. Play in the final activation if you’re going last for essentially an unstoppable objective you hold. Works amazingly well with Dug In too. Just remember your friendly fighter needs to stay alive so you may not want to play it immediately. It also helps score any Surge hold objectives like Temporary Victory etc as long as you meet the requirements for said cards.
Honest Scrap is very situational but I like it as it really scuppers very defensive players investing in a lot of re-rolls. This hurts you too but I always like cards that enforce and even playing field.
Hunt as a Pack maximises your supports. Great for aggro players but also really good for swarm warbands that can easily get supports into position.
Hunting Bolt is a balanced Sphere of Aqshy. Less range and cast on a focus but does do 2 damage to a Quarry. Another great card for magic users.
Malkyn Grace a slightly worse Spectral Wings but it allows you to double-up on both cards and the effects last until the end of the round. Great for players seeking the most mobility possible.
Quick Search. You’re holding an object. Now draw 2 cards. Keep in-mind your positioning but this is still a good draw card.
Spiteful Dart is a counter Trap. Blocks your opponent while punishing them for trying to kill you with reaction gambits after attack actions. Remember your friendly fighter has to survive the driveback for you to play this.
Victimise gives you +1 dice and grants you full re-rolls against Quarry fighters. Essential for Hrothgorn players but even standard aggro players can use this to a decent effect that becomes better when you run into an enemy Quarry.
Greedy Gauntlet is the card Mollog and Ironskull’s Boyz have been waiting for. Everyone else will most likely pass.
Keila’s Choking Coil is another Lost Page that is a decent attack action upgrade that’s kinda like Shadeglass Darts. Still you’re most likely taking it because it’s a Lost Page if you do include it in your power deck.
Shadeglass Band allows you the ability to harness the power of crits. Amazing for me. Not so much for everyone else. Potentially advantageous to mass ranged fighters like Thundrik’s Profiteers but still quite a niche use.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Amberbone Mace. The one mace to rule them all. 2 smash with re-rolls for both attack dice. Amazing. In case you’re interested: Amberbone Mace vs Amberbone Sword, chance of success against a single shield defence: Sword 69.3% to hit Mace 79.8% to hit. Thanks to my good friend David – the Chancellor of Reading.
Bloody Axe is a decent attack action upgrade that becomes deadly with fighters who can take 2 wounds. That 3 fury 4 damage is nothing to laugh at. Even then being 3 fury and 2 damage base makes this upgrade very reliable.
Hunter’s Talisman grants you a flat +1 dice if you’re a Hunter. Against a Quarry you can re-roll an attack dice too! An auto-include for Hunters of all varieties. Especially Hrothgorn.
Predator’s Trinket. Become a Quarry. Gain Cleave. Amazing. Only range 1 and 2 attack actions but still soooo good.
Stealthy Blade. Hate Rebound? This is your card! It’s basically reliable 2 damage that your opponent can’t use reactions during the attack action to get around (like Buried Instinct).
Vortex Stone allows for extra objective disruption or setting up of supporting attacks. One use only but incredibly strong when used correctly.
Now to the deck section! Once again these are sample decks to get you going and build off of. They’re not super competitive but designed to be optimal and fun. First I’ll do a deck with only Beastgrave cards and then a deck for Championship Format.
Decks will be made available once Underworldsdb.com is updated so for now deck links are blank. Once again though, thanks to all the amazing work Underworlds DB does!
Beastgrave Only Cards
This deck is about hitting fast and hard while getting control of objectives. The plan is you get early glory via your hold objective Surge objectives then go in for the kill. You use your gambit cards and attacks to keep opponents off objectives to help you score Uncontested along with Triumphant Stance. It’s still tough to play but it’s hard to beat once the Blade-Coven get rolling. Cryptic Companion helps provide some reliable non-aggro glory while the rest of your upgrades pump out a lot of damage.
Building off of the Beastgrave deck, the Championship Format decks adds more universal cards to make the deck far more efficient at what it wants to do: you to kill and to control the objectives. Fated Blade helps with random burst damage (RIP Krushas when you roll 5 damage) while Spectral Wings, Distraction and Mischievous Spirits all help solidify the gameplan. Not only that but Pit Trap and Distraction help with extra damage and lethal hexes to get those early kills. What Armour? is just always scored with Morgwaeth and you don’t even have to kill.
Ah Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven. They have problems, lots of problems. The main issue is the fairly tough (but thematic) inspire mechanic, general fragility and low damage output. They’re much more difficult to play compared to most warbands and require a very methodical and planned-out playstyle which generally involves of sitting back collecting glory early then going in for kill during rounds 2 and 3. The warband excels at taking on horde warbands but really suffers against elite warbands, most notably Morgok’s Krushas. While Temporary Victory is a very strong card, I feel it would have been fine here instead of faction Supremacy with Ritualised Formation as trying to stay on 3 objectives when the majority of your warband is made up of 2 wounds 1 dodge fighters is not great or reliable.
Even then Morgwaeth is a monster of a fighter who you’ll always want to inspire first plus Kyrae is an excellent long-range harasser and Khamyss can do surprising amounts of burst damage. Even Lethyr inspired can 1-shot 4 wound fighters with a single +1 damage card. The warband has a lot of tricks and feels very thematic, as I said they just require a lot of planning in advance which new players may struggle with getting their head around. Like the murderous and sneaky Aelves of Morathi that they are, Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven need to wait for the right time to pounce and maul the enemy. They also are a really beautiful warband and easily have the best paint job that the ‘Eavy Metal team has done for Warhammer Underworlds so far.
So would I recommend Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven? Not if you’re a new player. If you’re more experienced with Warhammer Underworlds you’ll still find Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven difficult but rewarding to pilot when you plays work out. If you’re just interested in universal cards? These are a must buy for Hidden Purpose, Victimise, Amberbone Mace and so many more. This warband expansion comes with some really amazingly strong universal cards, especially for aggro players.
If you want to buy Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven you can get them via the direct link to Games Workshop here or via my affiliate link to Element Games here which will net you a minimum 15% discount while helping to support my content, all at no additional cost to you.
So there you have it. All of Warhammer Underworlds’ warbands and cards. Finally, after such a long and understandable delay. Time will tell how Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven and Morgok’s Krushas shall effect the game as whole, especially with all the universal cards they come with. Overall I feel they’re both fun editions to the game even if they’re both very polarising, mainly due to being paired together. I hope you enjoyed this early review and check back again at the weekend for the full review along with some other surprises!
So until next time, sharpen those dice for some killer crits as the Blade-Coven have stealthily made their way into the Beastgrave…