The stars align to summon the Starblood Stalkers!
Welcome to another warband review, this time of the Starblood Stalkers. This warband is the 4th released for Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm. 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.
As an aside, if you prefer video format, I’ve done a YouTube version of the review which you can watch below:
Sent by their Slann Starmasters over the fearful effects of the corrupting Chaos followers within the Beastgrave, which would turn the living mountain into a chaotic demigod that would desolate the realm of Ghur and beyond. To prevent this catastrophe, Kixi-Taka with the mighty Klaq-Trok to bolster its leadership and ferocity are sent in with the monumental task of killing the Beastgrave. In order to achieve this task, Kixi-Taka has been gifted a special orb which can do the job when placed directly at the centre of the Beastgrave, deep within the Direchasm. To do so, the Starblood Stalkers must fight their way through the warriors within and the chaos champions in their way to the depths of the living mountain.
The Starblood Stalkers are a 6 fighter warband from Direchasm, making them the 3rd warband of such size after the Godsworn Hunt and Grashrak’s Despoilers. The Starblood Stalkers consist of: Kixi-Taka the Diviner, Klaq-Trok, Huachi, Xepic, Tok and Otapatl. Each miniature features the hallmarks of Seraphon design with a nice Age of Sigmar update. The miniatures look perfectly animalistic along with their Aztek-like weaponry. As for my favourite fighter, they’re actually tied! Klaq-Trok and Otaptl are just perfect for me. Klaq-Trok, the Saurus Oldblood, looks justly fearsome while Otaptl is a great update of the Chameleon Skink design. Plus it’s the best fighter in the game, to which you’ll see later.
The miniatures come in an awesome teal colour for their plastic. The best unique colour so far for a Warhammer Underworlds warband. For assembly, the miniatures are not as straightforward compared to other warbands, although not as bad as Myari’s Purifiers. Annoyingly, once again there is a big error in the construction guidelines for Klaq-Trok like with Gristlewell from the Grymwatch. DO NOT glue his arms on (part 27) before glues his 2 sides together, otherwise you will need to clip off the peg for part 27 for it to slot it and fit. Klaq-Trok overall is very solid but care needs to be taken with the Skinks due to their fragility.
Also, I got a random extra Kixi-Taka fighter card in Italian as well as lots of miss-printed fighter and faction cards. Hopefully that’s just an issue on my end but yeah, something to be aware of.
The Starblood Stalkers are a 6 fighter warband, making them a horde/swarm warband basically. At 6 fighters, they become more difficult to protect as well as giving potentially at least 6 glory to the opponent from kills alone. This warband size is more suited to hold objective play in general due to the ability to have lots of bodies for the objective tokens. All the Skinks share a movement characteristic of 4 (increasing to 5 upon inspiring), and generally a dodge defence characteristic with a wounds characteristic of 2. The Skinks inspire after an activation if your warband holds 3 or more objectives.
The normal Skinks also have a unique reaction called Skittish. This ability triggers after an opponent’s power step to push 1 fighter with that rule 1 hex away from an enemy fighter within 2 hexes. A common mistake would be triggering Skittish for each Skink that has met the requirements but, remember, only 1 reaction can be taken per window. It’s fine and shouldn’t block any windows such as after an activation reaction, Skittish is just situational but gives room for some interesting plays when setup correctly via bunching Skinks together.
As for their inspire mechanic, it’s tough and very board roll dependent. However with the general speed of the warband, reaching objectives shouldn’t be too hard, as long as they are vacant of course.
Finally there is their Asterism faction gambits. These cards work like the Wurmspat’s Cycle gambits, having effects that persist for the round until another Cycle card is played. Asterism is the same except for ending if any other Asterism card is played. E.g., your opponent can shut your buffs down in the mirror-match. A small thing to remember but still important. Otherwise they’re both functionally the same.
Kixi-Taka, the Diviner
Kixi-Taka is the leader of the warband as well as being a Skink and a priest. It is armed with a Star-Stone Staff which is range 2, 2 smash and 2 damage. It also has Starbolt, which is range 3, 2 smash and 1 damage. Kixi-Taka has a unique action which lets you pick 1 feature token within 3 hexes of this fighter, then you either flip it or Deal 1 damage to an enemy fighter within 1 hex of it. You can also only do this action once per round. This action is difficult to use and takes at least 2 activations to setup. It is fine but not something I’d base my game around. Kixi-Taka also has a base defence characteristic of 2 dodge and 3 wounds, so its fairly durable in a way.
Kixi-Taka Inspired has its Starbolt go to 3 smash. That’s it really. Kixi-Taka basically starts inspired.
Klaq-Trok! Klaq-Trok! Klaq-Trok! The best fighter name of all! Chant every time you activate Klaq-Trok! This Saurus Oldblood is armed with Celestite Warmaul which is range 1, 2 smash and 3 damage. It also has Powerful Jaws which are range 1, 1 fury and 1 damage. Klaq-Trok has a unique reaction which mirrors the Snarlfang’s Jaws reaction which allows Klaq-Trok to make the Powerful Jaws attack action after this fighter’s activation. It also can’t be modified. Klaq-Trok also inspires after making a successful attack action. Coupled with the Powerful Jaws, Klaq-Trok has the high potential to inspire as well as killing a 4 wound fighter in a single activation.
Klaq-Trok Inspired has its Powerful Jaws go to 2 fury and has its defence characteristic increase to 2 block along with movement going up to 4. Inspiration is kinda pretty important for Klaq-Trok, it helps boost survivability and reach. Thankfully, you basically inspire while attacking. However, if you miss with its 2 attack actions continually, it can be quite draining to experience.
Huachi is a Skink Alpha armed with a Meteoric Javelin which has 2 profiles. The Thrown profile is range 3, 2 fury and 1 damage. It also seemingly magically returns to Huachi after being thrown, Jagathra and other javelins eat your heart out. The Melee profile is range 1, 2 smash, 2 damage. Huachi also defends on 1 block. It is still only 2 wounds but can attack from afar behind a wall of brave and honourable Skinks. It is also a Hunter which is nice.
Huachi inspired has the Thrown Meteoric Javelin increasing to 3 fury with Knockback 1. Once again that’s all making inspiring not really necessary, just a nice bonus.
Xepic is a Skink Hunter armed with a Moonstone Club which is range 1, 2 fury and 1 damage. Xepic also defends on a block, due to being blessed with a mighty shield.
Xepic Inspired has its Moonstone Club go to 3 fury and 2 damage which makes it quite the damage dealer in melee. Unfortunately it still stays at 1 block while inspired but the combat buff is juicy.
Tok is amazing. However where is Tik? They called me mad for demanding a fighter called Tik. Tik and Tok would have been an internet sensation. I COULD HAVE EVEN USED THIS SONG!
Anyway, Tok is another Skink Hunter armed with a Boltspitter which is range 3, 2 fury and 1 damage. It also has a Moonstone club which is range 1, 2 fury and 1 damage. The ranged threat is alright, especially if you can get supports.
Tok Inspired doesn’t get Tik but just has its Moonstone Club go to 3 fury. I would have liked the Boltspitter to go to 3 fury as well but at least Tok gets 2 dodge which is probably the main reason why you want it inspired.
Here is Otapatl, the best fighter in Warhammer Underworlds. It’s just so green. Otapatl is armed with a Dartpipe that is range 3, 3 wait, what is…this?? 3…C-Crit? It hits on Crits? CRITS?? CAN YOU ROLL A CRIT? BEST FIGHTER EVER. THIS IS THE REVIEW. THANK YOU GAMES WORKSHOP, MY JOB IS COMPLETE. Oh, the attack action also is 1 damage with Cleave and Ensnare. But I know you only care about the crits. It has a 42.1% chance to ROLL A CRIT (ignore that you rely on hitting with supports for this). The Dartpipe has a special ability too, you cannot drive back with it but you give the target a move token instead! So flexible but basically shuts down enemy aggro fighters. Otaptl is also a Hunter and Quarry with 2 dodge base. Having those 2 Keywords from the start opens up so much utility for this fighter and the warband.
Otapatl Inspired has its Dartpipe increase to 2 damage, muahaha. Otapatl also goes to 3 dodge as well. Such a beast. Fear the ranged crits of doom!
Now we’re at the card part of the review! As always faction cards then universals.
Children of Azyr is a Dual objective that gives you 2 glory for having every surviving friendly fighter inspired AND that surviving friendly fighters have 3 or more upgrades. I don’t think all friendly fighters need 3 upgrades each but still, that’s really hard to achieve for 2 glory. I’d just pass for something less tough to achieve.
Perfect Warrior is alright. It is a Dual objective but it requires Klaq-Troq to be alive while all enemy leaders are out of action, making it pretty bad for multiplayer games. Still, it’s alright but can be fairly difficult to score consistently, especially in a best of 3 game as sniping Klaq-Troq early will neuter the objective even if you’ve already taken out all enemy leaders.
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Astromatrix Alignment is a Surge which gives you 1 glory for flipping an objective in enemy territory. Can score it reliably with Kixi-Taka but allows more of a reward for going with a general build aiming towards objective flipping.
Balance the Cosmic Equation is a Hybrid objective that grants you 1 glory for either holding the most objectives or for having 2+ enemy fighters out of action. It is only 1 glory but it is a great 1 glory objective. Against elite warbands? Go for the objective holding part. Swarm/Horde warbands? Killing is your way.
Formidable Focus is a Surge which you score 1 glory after an activation if 3 or more friendly fighters are in enemy territory. Great as a passive aggro objective and your fighters are generally fast enough to score it quickly. Surviving in enemy territory to score this is another question entirely but that’s the only technical downside to this objective.
Heralds of Annihilation is an easier Victorious Duel. Only 1 glory but you score it after any friendly fighter takes an enemy leader out of action with an attack action. Klaq-Troq for the win! Just hope you don’t run into Mollog.
Instinctive Tactics will be familiar to Ylthari’s Guardians players. 1 Surge glory for resolving your 2nd or subsequent reaction. Pretty easy thanks to the Skittish and Powerful Jaws abilities. Just remember to load-up on some reaction cards in your power deck to help boost consistency.
Seeking the Heart makes it into my top picks solely for its first scoring requirement. This Hybrid objective is basically an easier to score Conquest. Score in any end phase for having all surviving friendly fighters in enemy territory or holding all objectives in enemy territory. The first part makes it pretty reliable from round 2 and onwards. The latter scoring condition actually allows a cheeky round 1 score for those of a bold nature. Seeking the Heart is also complimented well by Formidable Focus too.
Sotek’s Hunters is faction Death From Afar. Kill an enemy fighter with a range 3+ attack action. Kixi-Taka scores this reliably but the warband is full of range 3 attack action fighters so you don’t have to rely on a single model for this objective.
The Great Plan is AMAZING. It’s like a faction Superior Tactician. This Dual objective needs you to have scored 6 objectives with you also needing to score at least 1 Surge, Dual and Hybrid objective each within that 6. You can also score this objective in ANY end phase! For 3 glory! The Great Plan still requires some careful objective deck construction, but it should be fairly straightforward to do for most players and playstyles.
Vengeance of the Heavens is great for players aiming to run the Starblood Stalkers as an aggro warband. 2 glory for having more enemy fighters out of action than are surviving. Simple but sweet.
Will of the Slann is basically Swift Capture but not as a Surge objective. 2 glory for holding at least 1 objective in each players’ territories. Great for when on the push while being aggressive. Combine with Dominant Position and Swift Capture for a 5-glory swing. Never leave home without Confusion!
Invisible Hunter is alright and solely dependent on Otapatl. Basically remove Otapatl and return it to the game board in any empty hex not adjacent to any enemy fighters at the end of the round which is after scoring is done. It also can’t be played in the 3rd round, probably because Otapatl would never return if it could. It seems like a strange card at first but you can do sneaky things with it such as charge Otaptal then teleport it to safety and setup the return for rounds 2 or 3 plays. Still, I rate it only as okay because it needs a lot of skill to use well and being tied to Otapatl as well as being unable to use it in round 3 can make it a very limiting card if Otapatl is killed before drawing or you draw the card in round 3.
Light of the Stars is a situational reaction gambit which would have been amazing in Beastgrave. Negate any damage dealt by a gambit. Magic users would be depressed if they weren’t already starved of magic cards and consistency already.
Tepok’s Mystery is weird. You make an opponent place 1 of their objectives back into the deck, shuffle it and then draw a new objective. This leads into the situation of an opponent shuffling a bad objective out of their hand and/or drawing the same objective they just shuffled into their deck. It’s a mystery as to why you would run this.
The Bulwark Celestial is the first of the Starblood Stalker’s Asterism cards. This card prevents friendly fighters being driven back until the end of the round or until another Asterism card is played. If this warband had more 3+ wound fighters, then this would be pretty tempting. Otherwise I would just pass. The warband is too fragile to benefit from its use.
Faction Gambits – Top Picks
Burst from the Shadows is a boosted Sidestep. Only works on Hunters which are basically just your Skinks sans Kixi-Taka. An essential card for objective play and even aggro users.
Huanchi’s Device is a complicated to read but strong faction gambit. You either use it like a faction Distraction or force your opponent to push 3 of their own fighters (or how many are left alive if there are less than 3). Screw over a hold objective player if they have only 4 fighters with 3 of them on objectives. Huanchi’s Device is just so flexible.
Lords of Space and Time lets you teleport a friendly fighter on to an empty objective token in enemy territory that is not adjacent to any enemy fighters. A little situational and balanced but super strong as you can play it on friendly fighters who have already moved and charged to use almost like a saving re-deploy. You gain a move token after using it but it allows so much synergy, especially with Kixi-Taka’s ability to flip feature tokens as well as inspiring the warband.
Sotek’s Venom is another great faction reaction gambit. Play after the deal damage step of ANY attack action from a friendly fighter to give the target a move token! Then drive back if they only have range 1 attack actions. Considering the multitude of range 3+ attack actions in the Starblood Stalkers, it becomes very versatile via having a lowly Skink lock an enemy fighter out of a round with a blowdart. Also it is a Poison card for those users interested in running Master of Poisons and Poison gambits in general. Double-up on Otapatl’s Dartpipe effect.
The Great Drake is pretty damn awesome. You get +1 dice to friendly range 1 attack actions for the round with this Asterism card. Klaq-Trok loves this as well as your Skinks. Combine with range 1 attack actions for some juicy combinations. 3 dice Amberbone Mace anybody?
The Hunter’s Steed may seem unnecessary for the +1 movement for the round but once again Klaq-Trok loves this. Even then, early access to movement 5 with this Asterism card allows for quicker inspiring when trying to reach enemy objectives.
I love Adapative Camouflage, I do. It’s just that it is limited to Otapatl who already has great defensive bonuses as it is. -1 dice to enemy attack actions who aren’t adjacent is so strong but only run if you plan to have Otapatl as the keystone to your strategy. Are you a bad enough dude to run Avatar of the Ur-Grub Otapatl?
Cloak of Feathers lets Kixi-Taka FLYYYY like an eagle. The +2 movement bonus is nice as well as the ability to basically ignore blocked and lethal hexes. I would just run Unhesitating instead to get the benefit for the whole warband rather than just your leader.
Selfless Sacrifice allows a Skink to make an attack action before being taken out of action. It’s a reaction at least but I’d rather run a generic attack action upgrade instead as your Skinks don’t do that much damage up-close anyway.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Astrolith Igniter unleashes the true power of the golden ball in Kixi-Taka’s hand. Spend a glory, as a reaction, before the attack roll to give a range 1 or 2 attack action Cleave. Once again Klaq-Trok loves this but so does any range 1 or 2 attack action. Flexible, powerful, unlimited range and helps score Instinctive Tactics. Just remember you need Kixi-Taka alive for it to work.
Heaven-Blessed Weapon gives +1 dice and Knockback 1 to a fighter’s range 1 attack action. Hello, Klaq-Trok calling. Joking aside, this is flexible and can work on all of your Skinks too. Just very good overall.
Herald of the Old Ones is another interesting buff aura effect for Warhammer Underworlds. Friendly Skinks within 3 hexes of Kixi-Taka (including itself) can re-roll 1 defence dice in their defence rolls. Basically a much stronger Champion’s Fortitude. Run it just to boost the survivability of Kixi-Taka but the Skink bubble effect is awesome when combined with inspired Skinks and especially Otapatl.
Spawning Bond is a great faction upgrade. It is a reaction that occurs after a friendly Skink is pushed from a hex within 3 hexes of this equipped Skink, push the fighter 1 hex. This crazy chain has so many possibilities. Push my Skink off an objective? Well I’ll just push this adjacent Skink back on! Or a quick 2-chain combo to score Instinctive Tactics. The extra mobility it offers is huge. While you get a lot out of Spawning Bond with Kixi-Taka, I generally put it on Otapatl.
Jealous of Hrothgorn’s Quarry effect? Well let Klaq-Trok do the same with Supreme Predator! It also becomes a Hunter AND gets 1 re-roll if attacking a Quarry, so anyone basically. Only makes enemy fighters a Quarry but you’d probably run it for the re-roll effect alone. The Quarry stuff just opens up a lot more tactical possibilities with the Starblood Stalkers.
Unfeeling Resilience reduces all damage dealt by 1 to a minimum of 1. It can also go on any friendly fighter! While Klaq-Trok is probably the main recipient of this upgrade, Kixi-Taka and Otapatl also love it.
Unhesitating. +1 move for Klaq-Trok, +2 move for all your Skinks! Who needs Great Speed? Savage Speed? We’re more refined than that. Flexible and fast.
Now we come to the part of the review where I go over the universal cards which are released within this warband expansion.
Bristling with Weapons is alright. It is a Hybrid objective that you score if 1 or more Hunters has 3 or more upgrades OR 2 or more attack action upgrades. It’s alright but not great. Better for a crazy Hunter Combo deck but not that great in-general.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Bold Deeds is a Dual objective which rewards you with 2 glory for having 2 or more enemy fighters out of action while also having all your surviving friendly fighters in enemy territory. A little difficult to achieve for non-elite warbands but this is another good aggro end phase objective. Risky during round 1 but pretty reliable from round 2 and onwards.
Clean Kills is amazing. Score 2 glory as a Dual objective for having an enemy fighter(s) with a combined wounds characteristic 6 or more out of action while no enemy fighter has any wound tokens. So, as I read it, this triggers with enemy fighters stacking their wounds characteristics together (e.g. 2 fighters with a wounds characteristic of 3 each out of action). Combine with Primacy and this is great. Can be massively played around in a best of 3 by the opponent wounding their own fighters with lethal hexes but also forces you to go for only Clean Kills yourself. I really like it.
Growing Hunger is a Hunger card which may not seem great now, but it looks like to be an essential card for Hunger decks. It is a Hybrid that gives 1 glory if all surviving enemy or friendly fighters have at least 1 Hunger token. If a warband could generate Hunger counters for free for each fighter, then this would be an essential card for them indeed…
Hunger for Power is another Hunger objective which is also a Hybrid but with a twist. Score it if 1 or more friendly wizards have 2 or more Hunger counters or with 2 or more upgrades. Basically 1 glory for Stormsire’s Cursebreakers, letting them do an interesting tech into a Hunger build.
Are you a combat wizard? Do you play Stormsire’s Cursebreakers? Then you’ll love Martial Mage! This Surge objective gives you 1 glory for killing an enemy fighter with a wizard with a range 1 or 2 attack action. Yes basically any wizard can score this but lets be real, only Stormsire’s Cursebreakers will.
Prized Kill is another solid card for Hunter aggro. Just kill an enemy leader with a friendly Hunter for 1 glory. Not so great with Mollog in dominance currently but really strong in Vanguard Format (for now) as well as when the Troggoth recedes in popularity.
Punctured Pride is a Surge and Hybrid which grants you 1 glory for killing an enemy fighter who’s owner has the Primacy token or you kill an enemy leader with a lethal hex or with a fighter. The anti-Primacy card basically while giving you Primacy. Just always take this if you’re playing aggro Primacy. So easy to score.
Swelling Pride may sound confusing at first but this is another great Primacy card. Score this as a Surge if you meet the requirements for the Primacy token while already controlling it. For example, killing an enemy fighter with no wounds while already having Primacy. Amazing against Horde/Swarm warbands as well as if you have multiple ways to gain Primacy.
The Greater Hunt gives you 1 glory if you have more surviving Hunters than the opponent. 1 glory but surprisingly simple for Hunter warbands in general, such as if your opponent is running no Hunters or Hunter cards themselves. Just remember Hunting Season Exists.
Delcious Morsel heals a friendly fighter for 1 then for 1 more if they remove 2/all of their Hunger counters. It’s nice but Ferocious Resistance completely invalidates it. This card is good but completely dwarfed by its starter set counterpart.
Pride Before a Fall is interesting. Deal 1 damage after the drive back step of a friendly attack action to an enemy fighter with the Primacy token. I guess Zarbag’s Gitz will love it but also weaker warbands such as Skaeth’s Wild Hunt and Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven.
Starvation Snare is a Trap. It also gives an enemy fighter either 3 Hunger counters or removes up to 3. A very anti-Hunger card basically but useful for dunking lots of Hunger to your opponent. Just a bit situational, only for the most dedicated of Hunger decks.
The Trap is Sprung is a Trap that triggers after you play a Trap. Trap. After that, give a friendly fighter adjacent to enemy fighters a guard token or push a friendly fighter up to 2 hexes if they have no enemy fighters within 2 hexes. Just too situational for my liking and can only be played after you have triggered one of your own Trap cards.
Universal Gambits – Top Picks
Abasoth’s Smothering proves why Abasoth is such an amazing wizard. Cast on a focus but changes all dice characteristics (for attacking and defending) to 1 for the next activation. Basically a defensive spell. Look I know I’m saying them again but what can you do when 1 warband warps magic so much? Yes, Stormsire’s Cursebreakers! This spell would be applied before +1 dice modifiers but still is quite a debuff. Even then, Abasoth’s Smothering is a fairly easy to cast spell with no range needed.
Compelling Hunger lets you push a fighter with 1 Hunger counter 1 hex then give them another Hunger counter. Only good with Hunger builds but the flexibility in the additional push AND Hunger generation is great for that kind of build.
Living Land either flips an objective with the same number as the round or push an objective token in your territory 1 hex. Amazing for hold objective players and a balanced Restless Prize! Even then, the flipping part is great for Feed the Beastgrave decks too.
Lost in Reflection is an amazing shutdown control card. Basically choose an opponent, they have to choose one of their fighters and then that fighter cannot be activated in the next activation. Opponent setting up a fighter with buffs? Nope. Your opponent only has 1 fighter and is saving their last activation to do something? Double nope. You have to time it right but Lost in Reflection can be devastating when played correctly.
Outrun Death is another Spectral Wings that lasts the whole round for a single fighter while also giving them the Quarry keyword. Arguably better than Spectral Wings depending on if you have a lot of Quarry-dependent objectives.
Predatory Form is cast on a focus and gives the wizard Ensnare. Say it together with me now: Stormsire’s Cursebreakers! The good thing is this works on any range of attack action so even range 3 bolts can laugh at dodges.
Colossal Fist is fun but not essential. It is a range 1 focus spell attack action with 2 damage for wizards. I CAST FIST! Funnily enough this works with Great Strength and so on.
Flight Before Food removes all your Hunger counters and prevents you having more, all for gaining the Quarry keyword and +1 move. I mean, I like the name. It’s just alright. A nice way to get the Quarry keyword.
Hungering Harpoon is range 3, 1 fury and 2 damage. When equipped, give that fighter 1 Hunger counter. Get +2 dice to the attack action if you have 3 or more Hunger counters. Alright but there are better ways to get Hunger and having a 3 fury, 2 damage attack is not that appealing, even at range 3.
Labyrinth Boots is a convoluted Faneway Crystal. Damn, reading this card just hurts. Basically, teleport to objective 1 (if it is the lowest in the chain) or if you are on an objective already, place yourself on the next one in the chain (if you’re on 3, go to 4). It is resolved as a move action so you’ll still gain a move token. The card is kinda clear but, man, just so hard to read and make sense of. Too situational regardless. Feels like a nerfed Faneway Crystal.
Voidsphere is a range 3, 3 fury, 1 damage attack action that does +1 damage on a crit! After making this attack action, you discard it. You can also use it as an action to end all persisting gambits. The ending of persisting effects is what makes it a tempting take but it is just a very situational tech card.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Eagle-Eye, yes, like the Fighter. Give Eagle Eye Eagle-Eye. You become a Hunter and re-roll 1 dice for range 3+ attack actions. Mass ranged warbands and even wizards will love this. As will Eagle Eye.
Haughty Resistance is hilariously good. Survive an attack action? Gain the Primacy. If you have the Primacy token? Discard it to reduce damage dealt by 1. Put this on Mollog and laugh. Even then, it can basically keep the equipped fighter somewhat safe if the opponent is trying to get Primacy themselves, like with equipping this to your leader, while allowing you to run Primacy yourself.
Keen Hunger lets you spend 1 Hunger counter per attack action to get 1 re-roll. Pretty amazing for an Awakened Weapon effect and works at any range too.
Proud Runner. Gain the Primacy token for moving 5 or more hexes away from the starting point with +1 movement too, score Gathered Momentum while you’re at it! Lose the Primacy token at the end of the action phase is the equipped fighter has no move or charge tokens. Hilariously easy to score Primacy with considering most warbands have fighters with 4 or more movement. Always take if you can. It’s Great Speed on turbo.
Savage Visage makes you a Hunter and gives the equipped fighter a re-roll for each of its upgrades that have the Hunter keyword. Put on your main beater and laugh as you drown in re-rolls. Mollog with double re-rolls or more? Why not.
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 Direchasm cards and then a deck for Championship Format.
Special thanks goes to Underworlds DB for quickly getting the official cards up so I can now use them for the review to make it easier for you all to build decks. The best deckbuilder around!
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro and Hold Objectives)
This Vanguard deck focuses around being fast and quickly slaughtering the opponent. In Vanguard Format this is pretty reliable, especially with the current spread of warbands. Sotek’s Hunters and Winged Death double-up on the abundance of range 3 attacks with the latter also giving a more passive way to score glory thanks to Outrun Death and Unhesitating for the Skinks. Heralds of Annihilation is actually quite easy to score with Lords of Space and Time as well as Beast Trail, with these 2 gambits also helping you inspire depending on the placement of objectives. Will of the Slann and Dominant Position reinforce your inspire mechanic but more importantly offer solid end phase glory. The rest of the objectives focus on aggro and tearing down those who oppose you.
Gambits contain mostly faction cards. Burst from the Shadows is your super Sidestep whereas Huanchi’s Device can act as a mass Distraction. Lords of Space and Time is great for getting objectives in enemy territory, inspiring and positioning Kixi-Taka to do a feature token flip in the following activation. Sotek’s Venom is a great reaction and shutdown tool, coupling with Energy Drain (thanks Aman) to apply move tokens freely to your opponent’s fighters. Shocking Ferocity is a nice reaction which also deals damage to the opponent for your troubles. Then there is Slickrock, working as a reaction and to keep an objective you want free.
Upgrades contain mostly faction cards too. Astrolith Igniter is a reaction that offers unlimited Cleave for a cost. Heaven-Blessed Weapons buff any of your range 1 fighters while Herald of the Old Ones and Spawning Bond can basically make any Skink (namely Kixi-Taka) a great buff-piece for your other Skinks. Unfeeling Resilience just gives added survivability. Feral Symbiote is nice +1 damage at the risk of some damage, Scavanged Armour bolsters your offence with +1 wound and Soultooth Spear gives extra damage to your Skinks.
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro and Hold Objectives)
The Championship Format deck builds off of the Vanguard Format deck to be more consistent. Gathered Momentum is more reliable than Winged Death, whereas Swift Capture synergises more with Will of the Slann. Bold Conquest is easy with Kixi-Taka and helps score The Great Plan. Finally Supremacy and Hidden Purpose just back-up your general incentives to hold objectives.
Buried Instinct rises up as a better reaction to just go on guard, with Confusion helping for sneaky objective grabbing. Glorious Triumph is another reaction which will also speed up inspiring with a simple kill. Then Distraction to maximise your pushing power and Restless Prize to make objective grabbing even easier than it was before.
Upgrades don’t add much except for Great Strength instead of Feral Symbiote to make it less damaging to yourself. Great Fortitude adds needed durability and finally Amberbone Sword takes the spot as a very reliable attack action upgrade which can also be popped on a kill for more glory.
The Starblood Stalkers are an interesting mix of hold objective and aggro. They want to hold objectives but are geared to do so when barging into the opponent’s territory. This is somewhat setoff by their fragility and draw parallels with Grashrak’s Despoilers, who are also a 6 fighter warband. Klaq-Trok helps keep the aggro going with its solid damage and 4 wounds. General durability is still not ideal but the warband plays off this with great faction cards and general abilities. Skittish isn’t great as a reaction ability but it is fairly easy to trigger allowing interesting objective capturing options but also a very reliable way to score Instinctive Tactics. Your Skinks sadly don’t do much, even inspired Huachi and Xepic are let down by still being 1 block when inspired compared to (Tik) Tok who gets 2 dodge. They basically act as chaff, setting up plays for Otapatl and Klaq-Trok. Kixi-Taka, while not being too strong on its own, can operate exceedingly well as a reliable buff-piece with only a few upgrades. The Starblood Stalkers will be tough for new players but I can see veteran players being able to get the most out of the warband.
- Great starting speed, generally going all to 5 movement when inspired
- Really good faction cards, especially with the objectives
- Lots of range 2 and 3 attacks
- Klaq-Trok has a reliable inspire mechanic, allowing it to work separately from the goals of your warband with minimal investment
- Klaq-Trok can potentially 1-shot 4 wound fighters while uninspired
- Kixi-Taka works really well as a support-piece for the warband
- Otapatl is amazing, even ignoring the hit on crits only, having so many good qualities such as being both a Hunter and a Quarry from the get-go
- Beautiful models, great to see some new Age of Sigmar sculpts for Seraphon
- Inspire mechanic is situational, while not a necessity to get it can fluctuate between easy to hard depending on whether you win board placement or not
- Generally low warband wounds characteristic with minimal defence even when inspired
- Difficult to play with for new players, not very forgiving
- Lack of single actions for activating multiple fighters in a 6 fighter warband
In summary, the Starblood Stalkers are a more complex warband to play with. If you’re new to the game, you may find them a struggle to play with until you’ve gotten some solid experience with the Starblood Stalkers. Once you get the hang of them, they can be quite strong and score a lot of glory with the right deck. Klaq-Troq is a great missile to send into the opponent, especially when your Skinks have already swarmed a target to farm supports from. They’re alright at hold objectives but their real strength comes from pressuring the opponent and not being able to guess what you want to do as the Starblood Stalkers will generally have a lot of options at their disposal. Their great mobility and threat range means no one will be able to hide from them, so you can almost choose most of your engagements. Inspiring isn’t necessary for the Starblood Stalkers but you would generally aim to inspire to get more use out of your Skinks.
So, would I recommend getting the Starblood Stalkers? If you can regularly play Warhammer Underworlds where you are in the world right now, then 100%. The warband will be tough to learn but once you master them you can see how strong they really are. The Starblood Stalkers are generally quite fragile but have the ability to pump out a lot of reliable damage from close and afar. They also have a lot of in-built synergies for you to expand upon with the right choice of faction and universal cards, making them very flexible in what you want them to do. Even then, the Starblood Stalkers are also an amazing warband to paint thanks to their awesome miniatures.
If you want to buy the Starblood Stalkers 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 (20% during pre-order week) while helping to support my content, all at no additional cost to you.
We’re at the end of this warband review for the Starblood Stalkers. They occupy the historic slot of “1st wave warbands” post release of a new season of Warhammer Underworlds by being generally a little bit more difficult to play, requiring skill and practice to get the most out of them compared to their starter set warbands that preceded them. Their repeatedly highlighted fragility is a downside but they have many ways to quickly engage the opponent and the Skinks still make excellent attack action upgrade caddies for speedy attacks. They’re an interesting take on a horde/swarm warband that wants to hold objectives but also engage the opponent aggressively.
So, until the Crimson Court descends upon us from the shadows of the Direchasm, remember to always look to the stars and aim for those celestial crits!