Darkness descends in the Direchasm as the Crimson Court appear!
Welcome to another warband review, this time of the Crimson Court. This warband is the 5th 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, constructive 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:
Thanks to the splintering nature of Shadespire within all of the mortal realms, the Crimson Court found their way into the Direchasm. Lured in by the varied quarries situated within the living mountain of the Beastgrave, they began their hunt all in the name of bloodshed. United in hungry appetite, the Crimson Court now stalk the catacombs of the Direchasm for any and all opponents. They long for the eternal stupor of being drunk on fresh blood, revelling in their vampiric might.
The Crimson Court are another 4 fighter warband, making them the 4th 4 fighter warband for the 4th season of Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm. The Crimson Court consist of: Prince Duvalle, Gorath the Enforcer, Vellas von Faine and Ennais Curse-Born. Each miniature represents varying aspects of Soulblight culture and hallmarks to the old vampires from Warhammer Fantasy, namely: Vlad, Mannfred, Isabella and Konrad Von Carstein. My favourite is easily Gorath the Enforcer. He’s big, mean and has a massive pole…arm mace. Plus, that cloak of his is great too.
The miniatures come in a blood red colour, the same as the Khorne warbands. It’s not unique but it makes sense. Blood and all that jazz. Assembly is not easy, almost very difficult. Not as bad as Myari’s Purifiers but it’s close. Duvalle himself is the most difficult to build, surprisingly. Otherwise they’re easy to paint separately from their bases, which you will likely want to do with Gorath due to his massive cloak. Remember to be careful as these are still fragile miniatures outside of Gorath with lots of fine detail that can easily snap off.
The Crimson Court are a 4 fighter warband which puts them closer towards the elite spectrum of warband size. As a 4 fighter warband, the Crimson Court occupies a great space in terms of defensive and offensive deployment while also helping you use your activations more efficiently (1 activation per fighter each round). The fighters generally all share a movement characteristic of 4, 4 wounds and defend on single block symbols. They are also all Hunters as they do always hunt for their prey.
Each fighter of the Crimson Court has 3 abilities: The Curse, The Hunger and Lurking Hunger. The Curse gives a fighter 1 Hunger counter at the start of each round. If a fighter has 3 or more Hunger counters, they become Bloodthirsted and cannot be on guard. The Hunger is a reaction which happens after this friendly fighter takes an adjacent enemy fighter out of action, you get to remove any number of Hunger counters from this fighter. Lurking Hunger only applies while a friendly fighter is inspired. If this fighter has 3 or more Hunger counters after an activation, they become un-inspired.
This all means that the Crimson Court fighters basically have 3-sided fighter cards: your un-inspired side, Bloodthirsted side and then inspired side. While Bloodthirsted, these fighters become more aggressive but lose control and thus can never be on guard. Their inspired sides have more defensive buffs as they regain their vampire-side to harness more dark power. However, Lurking Hunger can massively hurt non-Hunger builds of the Crimson Court. We’ll see which is better shortly but so far you can clearly see that the warband can either go full Hunger or aim to remove all Hunger counters.
Prince Duvalle is the leader of the Crimson Court and also a level 1 wizard. He has the Possessed Blade which is range 1, 3 smash and 2 damage. While under the effects of Bloodthirst, his Possessed Blade goes to 2 smash but has its damage increased to 3 making him a much more deadly fighter at the cost of some accuracy.
Duvalle Inspired has his Possessed Blade gain Cleave and has his defence characteristic increase to 2 block. He also gains a new spell reaction called Fiendish Lure. This triggers after taking an enemy fighter out of action. If cast on a channel, choose an enemy fighter within 4 hexes and push them up to 2 hexes closer to Duvalle. It’s okay but it would have been better if he became a level 2 wizard while inspired. Inspiration in general is okay as a defensive boost but I prefer the Bloodthirsted Duvalle.
Gorath the Enforcer
Gorath the Enforcer is also a level 1 wizard like Duvalle. He is armed with the Soulbound Mace which is range 2, 2 smash and 2 damage. While under the effects of Bloodthirst, Gorath gains +1 wound but at the cost of -1 movement, making him far more tanky at the cost of some mobility.
Gorath Inspired has his Soulbound Mace increase to 3 damage with Knockback 1. He also gets a new spell action, Vile Transference. This spell action, casted on a single channel, choses both 1 enemy and 1 friendly fighter within 4 hexes then remove 1 Hunger or wound counter from 1 of those fighters and give it to the other. This is actually pretty decent, more so if Gorath Inspired was a level 2 wizard. The extra damage while inspired is very tempting, resulting in Gorath becoming the flexible fighter for the player as they decide whether they want him to be tanky or to do more damage.
Vellas von Faine
Vellas von Faine just has her Paired Blades which are range 1, 2 smash and 2 damage. While under the effects of Bloodthirst, Vellas’ Paired Blades gain Scything which makes her quite the blender when fighter horde/swarm warbands. Zarbag’s Gitz beware!
Vellas Inspired has her Paired Blades gain Cleave and Ensare and is always on Guard. This makes her quite the character assassin if you can give her enough damage. Always being on Guard is nice too but the single defence dice of 1 block makes it a little moot. Once again I find you’ll be using Vellas as either a blender or a dedicated duellist depending on the matchup.
Ennais Curse-Born only has his Savage Assault which is range 1, 3 fury and 2 damage. While under the effects of Bloodthirst, Ennais gains +2 movement as he’s just gotta go fast! And he’s also just 1 dodge.
Ennais Inspired has his Savage Assault change to 3 smash. He can also ignore blocked and lethal hexes during a move action but must end in an empty hex as he learns how to use his wings. He also goes up to 2 dodge. Ennais Inspired is pretty weak, I’d rather have his Bloodthirsted side for that juicy movement 6 as it can score you so many objectives!
Now we’re at the card part of the review! As always faction cards then universals.
Crimson Hounds is a Surge which gives you 1 glory for attacking an enemy fighter that is adjacent to 1 or more friendly fighters. It’s okay but basically requires a lot of setup, even with Gorath and his range 2 attack.
Superlative Skill is a Surge and Hybrid objective you score when taking an enemy fighter out of action if you roll only successes or had no wound and Hunger counters. It’s just too difficult to score consistently and has a lot of hoops you need to jump through to score.
Worthy Opponents is 1 glory if your opponent has the same or more glory than you. Not a fan, especially for 1 glory. Just run Underdog instead.
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Blood Curse is a great Hybrid faction objective for Hunger builds, especially as the Crimson Court generate them so quickly. Yes, this is a 3rd end phase objective but that passive 3 glory swing is big. Even then you can score this on the kill by leaving only a single enemy fighter alive.
Courtly Hunt is basically faction Strong Start, a Surge that grants you 1 glory for taking the first fighter out of action that round which is an enemy. It’s alright but it was an elite aggro warband staple as Strong Start. If you want to go aggro Crimson Court then this is the objective for you, just remember it can brick quite commonly, especially when drawn during a round.
Death’s Domain is a solid end phase objective. Get 2 glory for holding all objectives in one or more players’ territories. Not amazing but a decent way to reliably get 2 glory and allows teching into a hold objective build for the Crimson Court.
Gravelords is a Hybrid which gives 2 glory for having 2 or more inspired friendly fighters or having 2 upgrades on each surviving fighter. I don’t rate the second condition at all but the first is pretty awesome for inspired builds of the Crimson Court. 2 glory for only getting 2 friendly fighters inspired? Yes please!
On the Chase is so easy to score! This Hybrid objective gives you 1 glory for having each friendly fighter with 1 or more Hunger counters or have a friendly fighter with a movement characteristic of 6 or more. Hello Ennais Bloodthirsted, your time is now. So easy for 1 glory which your opponent can’t really stop.
Preternatural Speed is a great Surge objective for aggro players. Score 1 glory having all your friendly fighters in enemy territory.
Recovered Poise is faction Fired Up. Once again very easy to score for dedicated inspired Crimson Court builds.
Red Ruin is another faction aggro staple. Just score 2 glory for having 3 or more enemy fighters out of action. For those Bloodthirsted aggro players.
Spirited Attempt is an amazingly improved Too Dumb to Die! Score this after an enemy fighter’s attack action that is successful but doesn’t take your friendly fighter out of action. With a warband where every fighter is 4 wounds, this is pretty much an auto-include for me.
Dark Hunger is another faction gambit spell but cast on a single focus, in a warband that basically only has level 1 wizards. It can give any fighter 2 Hunger counters and removes a caster’s single Hunger counter but it’s just not reliable enough to use even in dedicated Hunger builds.
Mighty Strike is +1 damage in the next activation for your warband but I’m more of a fan of +1 damage upgrades over inconsistent gambit ploys. It helps with the Crimson Court’s poor damage output overall however.
Faction Gambits – Top Picks
I really like Bestial Transformation. Choose a friendly fighter to make them go beast mode! They gain Cleave and Ensnare to their range 1 attack actions while making all enemy fighters a Quarry at the cost of not being able to place upgrades on that fighter. This card and its effects also end when an upgrade is equipped. I find it works really well for Bloodthirst builds, namely on Vellas or Ennais. It’s basically a free upgrade pretending to be a gambit ploy.
Blood Vial is a nice way to inspire a fighter and heal them at the same time. Basically needed for inspiration-focussed builds. Just remember it only removes up to 2 Hunger counters.
Dark Glamour is a really good faction gambit spell. It is cast on a single channel and gives a move token to an enemy fighter within 3 hexes. If the Crimson Court had more access to level 2 wizards then it would be an auto-include for me but currently it’s a good tech card for control orientated builds.
Deathly Apotheosis is another gambit ploy which is actually a free upgrade! A chosen friendly fighter gains more Hunger counters and heals 1 every time they gain a Hunger counter when Bloodthirsted or works as an Awakened Weapon while that fighter is inspired. It’s nice but do you really want to run basically 11 upgrades and 9 gambit ploys? Deathly Apotheosis is still fine, you just have to run it in very focused Crimson Court builds that want to either Bloodthirst or inspire.
Driven to Hunt is amazing. Either give 1 Hunger counter to every friendly fighter within 2 hexes of your leader (including himself) or push an enemy fighter within 2 hexes of your leader up to 1 hex. Basically another Energy Drain which can work as a more reigned-in Distraction. Amazing for Hunger builds but still good overall.
Quicksilver Advance is amazing. Either make a friendly fighter make a move action or change their charge token into a move token! Super flexible and amazing with Gorath! You could charge them move onto an objective or charge then have Gorath turn into a 2 hex zone of macey death.
Startling Competence is a reaction which is played after an enemy fighter deals damage to one of your fighters. You can then either: remove a Hunger counter, push that friendly fighter 1 hex or draw a power card. Couple with Spirited Attempt for 1 glory and then draw a card! Wouldn’t be surprised to see this in nearly every Crimson Court deck, especially for control builds.
Tenebrous Form is another neat upgrade pretending to be a gambit ploy. That fighter becomes dodge 3 but cannot make any actions, reactions, cast spells or be on guard. They also cannot hold objectives yet cannot be driven back! It persists until the end of the round or until taken out of action. I love this. Charge on to an objective with any fighter then play this to basically lock it out of the round. A really neat defensive buff that makes your fighters even more annoying for your opponent to try and kill.
I think Enforcer’s Cloak is hilarious. Become Bullseye from the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie! Teleport after being attacked to become adjacent to the attacker. The funny aspect is how this works at ANY range of enemy attack action but to compensate it is 1-use only. It interrupts a lot of reaction windows and gives some interesting mobility but only run if you plan to exploit the Enforcer’s Cloak to its maximum as it is rather useless against enemy fighters who only have range 1 attacks.
Mirror Duellist is for Vellas only and makes her always count as having 1 additional supporting fighter. It is nice as it works when attacking or defending but I would rather focus on upgrades that help the whole warband instead of just her.
Ripping Claws lets Ennais do 1 damage after his successful attack action to the target. It’s, once again, alright but like with Mirror Duellist I would rather focus on upgrades that help the whole Crimson Court.
Undying Evil is a weakened Soul Trap. Negates the damage dealt which would take this fighter out of action on the roll of a block. So it’s about a 1 in 3 chance of succeeding and then is discarded after use. It’s fine at best and would probably be too good if it worked on the roll of a crit as well. Just go for more +1 wound upgrades instead.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Blood Chalice is probably the reason why Duvalle and Gorath do not become level 2 wizards while inspired (or was made to work around that, your call). It gives either fighter +1 wizard level, removes their Hunger counters and they cannot have Hunger counters. It’s alright but mainly for inspiration-focussed builds for the Crimson Court. The +1 wizard level also opens up a lot of options too.
Deathly Majesty can only be equipped to Duvalle but makes adjacent enemy fighters -1 dice when attacking. Very strong, even if it is limited to only your leader.
Glutton for Gore has this fighter gain +1 Hunger counters when they gain any Hunger counters but then loses 1 Hunger counter whenever they lose any Hunger counters. Basically run this in Hunger builds for insane Hunger counter generation as I expect the losing of Hunger counters aspect to barely matter at all as opponents have to tech in for that.
I love Vampiric Might and you will see why! +1 damage while inspired OR +2 damage if you roll a crit while under the effects of Bloodthirst! Fish for crits while Bloodthirsted to do silly damage. I looooove it. Even then, for inspiration-focussed builds this provides some nice faction Great Strength.
Vampiric Speed is Great Speed but better! +1 move normally which increases to +2 when Bloodthirsted or inspired! Great for any build but really easy for more +2 movement at no real downside.
Von Marusi Armour is interesting as it only has effects while a fighter is either inspired or has Bloodthirst. If inspired reduce all damage dealt by 1, however, when Bloodthirsted you ignore any damage that is exactly 1. Basically, become more tanky while inspired or just ignore all ping damage and lethal hexes while under the effects of Bloodthirst (which is very good considering how many lethal hexes are in the game right now).
Now we come to the part of the review where I go over the universal cards which come within this warband expansion.
Channelled Hunger is basically only good for the Crimson Court. Score 1 glory by holding an objective if it is with a wizard that has 1 or more Hunger counters. Stormsire’s Cursebreakers can make use of this as well but not something I’d highly rate even for Hunger builds.
Disastrous Hunt is an interesting anti-Hunter objective. Score 2 glory if 2 or more enemy Hunters are out of action. Hunters aren’t that common currently but there’s some interesting usage with Hunting Season if you can kill 2 enemy fighters that round after it is played. Still, a lot of work to get that 2 glory.
Dominant Display is bold even for aggro players. Get 2 glory from this Dual by having all friendly fighters in enemy territory AND have the Primacy token too. Great for Rippa’s Snarlfangs but not sure who else as they are the only warband that can reliably score this round 1.
Fatal Underestimation is very situational as you only score this Surge by killing an enemy fighter that had 1 or more supporting fighters. This would have been easy in Beastgrave but as elite warbands are the norm currently, this is very difficult to score.
Levelling Strike is a Surge and Hybrid objective which is scored by either killing an enemy fighter with the highest wounds characteristic or killing an enemy leader. While the leader aspect is easier to score, this in general is just quite tough for 1 glory, not helped by the popularity of Mollog’s Mob and Morgok’s Krushas.
Magical Mauling. 1 glory as a Surge for doing 3 or more damage with a spell from a friendly fighter. Just pass. 2 damage would have actually made this usable.
Not So Fast, my friend! I mean, this objective is a Surge and Hybrid that gives 1 glory for taking an enemy fighter out of action with the highest movement characteristic or if they were a Quarry. Quarries aren’t that popular at the movement and most fighters generally equal in speed currently. Just too situational to use.
Skin and Bones is just really weird. A Hybrid that you score for 1 glory if an enemy fighter has a lower wounds characteristic than they have Hunger counters or there are no surviving enemy fighters with a wounds characteristics of 3 or more. All this just for 1 glory. Way too much work. The only warbands you can reliably score this against is the Godsworn Hunt and Zarbag’s Gitz, even then that takes far too much effort for 1 glory.
Supreme Confidence would be amazing if not for its scoring condition. Discarding the Primacy token for 1 glory is fine, doing it while also having to hold an objective in enemy territory is extra rough. I would have liked this better if it was holding any objective to make it more interesting for general Primacy builds. Despite being a Surge, there are just much better objectives to take. Note you can oddly score this at the end of a round. A weird, but legal, interaction thanks to the Primacy mechanics.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Season of Famine, finally, a good universal objective! Well, for Hunger builds anyway. Score 2 glory in the end phase if surviving fighters have 10 or more Hunger counters. Crimson Court, stop making faction cards universal cards! Still, really good for Hunger builds in general as it is very difficult for your opponent to stop you scoring Season of Famine.
Invincible Aspect is 2 channel that heals 2 a friendly fighter within 2 hexes and then gives you the Primacy token. Only really good in Stormsire’s Cursebreakers who can reliably cast this. Otherwise just too situation for use.
Magnificent Aspect is…not great. 2 channel to inspire a fighter. Once again Stormsire’s Cursebreakers can reliable cast this but at no benefit to themselves really except for inspiring 2 fighters at once. But they inspire so easily that it’s not even an issue. I guess…Eyes of the Nine players rejoice? If only this was a single channel.
Narrowing Passage lets your opponent choose one of their fighters and randomly discards one of their upgrades or you can choose an enemy fighter if they have the Quarry keyword. The fact it is lost at random too makes Narrowing Passage even more undesirable.
Punching Up is a fun but not really competitive card. Choose any fighter with the lowest movement or wounds characteristic and then in the next activation it becomes a Hunter with +1 dice and damage to their range 1 and 2 attacks. Grawl and Lighaen for the win? Bat Squig of doom? Fish of fury? Oh wait, wrong review…
Universal Gambits – Top Picks
Blood-Soaked Ground is pretty damn amazing! It is a reaction that triggers after an attack or gambit takes any fighter out of action. If that fighter was in on a feature token, flip it! If that fighter was also an enemy fighter then gain 1 spent glory too! Amazing for Feed the Beastgrave decks and aggro players in general. You can even use it to sacrifice your own fighters on objectives to spite hold objective players.
Bountiful Bait makes any fighters with Hunger counters a Quarry and goes on Guard until the end of the round. Really good for Hunger builds but mainly the Crimson Court. It’s an amazing way to get Guard on all your fighters at once!
Claim to Supremacy is great for hold objective warbands. At the end of the next activation, gain the Primacy token to whomever controls the most objectives! A great way to steal the Primacy token as the last activation of a round too. Very strong and gives non-aggro Primacy builds a leg to stand on.
Irresistible Hunger gives a friendly fighter 1 Hunger counter then pushes an enemy fighter within 2 hexes 1 hex closer to that fighter. If that fighter has 2 or more Hunger counters, however, Irresistible Hunger then turns into Centre of Attention and effects all enemy fighters within 2 hexes! Amazing disruption tool for aggro Hunger builds that can wreck hold objective players while always giving you extra Hunger counters.
Momentary Match is hilarious and actually good! Choose a friendly fighter and then an enemy fighter, your friendly fighter gains the enemy fighter’s movement, defence or wound characteristic until the end of the next activation. Can be used defensively to copy their defence or wounds (however if your wounds would drop to a value lower than the number of wound counters you would have, that fighter would just die at the end of the activation instead of by the attack). Stealing the movement could also be useful if you’re trying to score your own movement-based objectives and your opponent has been buffing their own move. Just run this in Zarbag’s Gitz always please. It is their destiny.
Taste for Power combines Hunger and Primacy into a single neat package. Give 1 Hunger counter to each surviving friendly fighter to the warband that has the Primacy token. Either effect is massively beneficial to any Hunger player.
Awesome Appetite is fine but just doesn’t trigger regularly. Heal 1 and gain 1 Hunger counter each time this fighter takes an adjacent enemy fighter out of action. Great if you can abuse Scything but otherwise meh.
Famished Familiar can deal 1 damage to the caster and gain 1 Hunger counter after try to cast a spell to re-roll one of the dice in the casting attempt. It’s actually a good effect but taking damage is so detrimental in Direchasm due to how many damage upgrades are floating about right now. If you don’t mind the damage, then this is great for magic builds in general. The Hunger is just a bonus.
Preybond is a situational defensive tool. The fighter becomes a Quarry and gains +1 supporting fighter for each other surviving friendly Quarry you have. Only really usable by the Dread Pageant and Starblood Stalkers, you could potentially gain full supports every time the equipped fighter is attacked depending on how you build your deck.
Preyscent makes the equipped fighter a Quarry then gives them a reaction that can trigger if the enemy fighter is within 2 hexes of this fighter or that enemy fighter has 3 or more Hunger counters, push them 1 hex towards this fighter. If you can get 3 Hunger counters on multiple enemy fighters, then this is bonkers. Otherwise you may just be taking it to block the reaction window of Rippa’s Snarlfangs Jaw reaction attack…
Starvation’s Grip makes this fighter immune to being pushed if it has 1 or more Hunger counters. Reliable to trigger with Hunger builds but you’re more likely to go for cards that give you Guard as this doesn’t really give you anything like +1 Hunger counters when equipped.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Armed to the Teeth provides an interesting stacking effect. Range 1 attacks gain Knockback 1, range 2 gain Ensnare and range 3 have Cleave. Warbands like Thundrik’s Profiteers and the Farstriders will love this. Interesting yet fun, I really like it! Even the Eyes of the Nine can make good use of this! Vortemis gains Ensnare and Cleave!
Master of Ways is great due to the mobility it offers. As an action, discard the Primacy token to place this fighter on any objective and then gain a charge token. However, you will lose the primacy token if this fighter is taken out of action. You could do interesting things like use this in the last activation to get on a 4th objective to immediately gain the Primacy token back or just secure an end phase. Difficult to use at first glance but gives lots of options for the user if playing hold objectives.
Silent Helm is a Silent Relic. It makes the equipped fighter a Quarry and when they are attacked…crits become normal successes?? Games Workshop, you’ll be hearing from my lawyers. Seriously though, this is good for tooling up a fighter who has access to lots of defence dice. Also, if this fighter has 3 or more Silent Relics, you can re-roll 1 defence dice. Multiple Silent Relics ay?
Soultooth Dagger has strong Shadeglass Dagger vibes. Range 1, 3 fury, 2 damage with +1 damage on a crit! CAN YOU ROLL A CRIT? You can also re-roll an attack dice if the target has a move or charge token and this fighter becomes a Hunter. An amazing attack action upgrade. So good at killing. Remember it’s a 42.1% chance to roll a crit without the re-roll on 3 dice!
Tremendous Maul has some tremendous effects! It’s range 2, 2 smash and 2 damage. While you have the Primacy token it also has Cleave and Knockback 2! With that you can potentially kill most enemy fighters in a single attack thanks to Knockback 2 (a 3 hex driveback) and lethal hexes.
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 Vanguard Format deck and then a deck for Championship Format.
Special thanks goes to Underworldsdb.com! As Games Workshop released all the cards during the week I now have an up-to-date deck builder to use for this. It’s a lifesaver.
The Vanguard Format deck goes for a more traditional aggro build, focusing on kills while passively generating glory with Hunger counters. The turtle build doesn’t work too well here due to the lack of universal cards and no Beastgrave cards. You simply run into the enemy while generating Hunger counters. Inspiring has no cards here, instead ignoring it entirely as you don’t really benefit from it. You could inspire Gorath from kills to get him to damage 3 base but you probably want him Bloodthirsted for the durability.
Objectives, as stated, focus on aggro or Hunger. Martial Mage is great for Duvalle and Gorath thanks to their wizard status, as well as Magical Mark and Channelled Hunger. Then you have Primacy objectives and Winged Death for glory thanks to being fast.
Gambits focus on aggro support with Hunger counter generation. Outrun Death helps with your objectives and mobility, whereas Slickrock is their to annoy the enemy. Ferocious Blow is really good on Bloodthirsted Duvalle, with damage 4 with Cleave! Quicksilver Advance also allows for surprise attacks from charged friendly fighters.
Upgrades generally buff the fighters with some slight focus to Hunger. Deathly Majesty is a really turnoff for any adjacent opponents and Proud Runner is free Primacy. Scavenged Armour is there because you will be in enemy territory and helps you secure objectives thanks to Guard. Hungry Armour gives you defensive re-rolls while Savage Visage gives you needed offensive re-rolls.
This is fast, fun and hungry. Just be aware of opponents rocking damage 4. Thankfully, Vanguard Format is very kind to this aggro build.
Playstyle: Turtle Control
Going for something different and a little more complex, the Championship Format build shies away from aggro for some turtle control Hunger. Boring? Probably but very efficient if the opponent can’t get close to you in time. The goal is to spam Hunger generation, sitting back and drawing cards. Lost Pages grant you even more glory for just existing. You put everything on Gorath. Remember, when Bloodthirsted he goes to 5 wounds but becomes movement 3. This is perfect, however, as he is only going to move onto an objective if at all.
The deck also abuses Primacy with Proud Runner and Feign Strength, combining with Surge of Aggression for getting the Primacy without attacking! Next you have Bloodthirsted Ennais to score you Cover Ground, Winged Death and Gathered Momentum. Although, any fighter can score this thanks to Spectral Wings and Proud Runner.
Your warband also scores glory for simply existing. Master of Many Paths was made for Duvalle. Plus there are multiple objectives which just reward you for having Hunger counters. Season of Famine and Blood Curse are your big Hunger end game.
For more passive turtle play, Show of Force is free glory for having upgrades, Spirited Attempt punishes your opponent for not killing your fighters in one hit and To The End combines with all your card draw. Speaking of, you have 5 cards that help you with this: Frenzied Search, Quick Search, Unnatural Truce, Startling Competence and the Crown of the Dead. Thanks to this you can run a 22 card deck while still comfortably drawing it all. This is not even factoring Duel of Wits from the Essentials Pack.
You have your standard Hunger counter generation cards but also Tenebrous Form to make a fighter an annoyance for a turn and then Beast Trail. Why Beast Trail? If an enemy comes too close to Gorath, teleport to the other side of the board! Relive the old Hidden Paths trick.
Upgrades are basically Lost Pages, 5 to be exact. That’s 5 free glory! They also provide actions to proc the Crown of the Dead repeatedly and have good defensive reactions like Iara’s Instant Shield. Then there’s Deserved Confidence and Great Fortitude for +2 wounds. Finally Formidable Defence makes you 2 block at the cost of being 1 smash on most of your fighters. It’s not like you were going to attack anyway.
Is this very lame? Yes, but it is successful. Probably the only real successful build the Crimson Court have, especially at high-level play. Remember to keep Ennais safe until Bloodthirsted to score your movement cards, so keep him deployed far back. Even if some cards get restricted, there’s enough to swap around such as with Duel of Wits to make up for that.
The Crimson Court are a durable yet low damage output warband. They can flex into aggro but do a really strong control build thanks to the uninteractive nature of the Hunger mechanic and their ability to quickly generate Hunger counters. They have decent mobility and the 4 wounds across the board is good to see, otherwise they would have folded under pressure. Duvalle and Gorath are the stars of the warband but Vellas and Ennais feel a bit useless. Bloodthirst is nice but it feels it is too easy to lose your inspired side and inspiring really doesn’t feel that great at all. The lack of any long range hurts but at least Gorath is range 2. The warband stills struggles to find damage but they do operate in a nice niche as a tanky warband, e.g. decent durability with low but consistent damage. I still feel either a super hard Bloodthirst build or going full control with Hunger is the best way to run this warband, which is a bit of shame and new players will struggle to make the most from them due to all the token management.
- Solid durability and mobility with 4 wounds each and 4 movement base
- Great Hunger Counter generation
- Can focus between Bloodthirst or inspiring
- Gorath is a beast
- Amazing models, especially to paint or convert from
- Despite their potential flexibility, feel limited by a fighter card only being 2-sided
- Inspiring doesn’t seem that great when compared to Bloodthirst
- Trying to inspire is actually very difficult and almost takes too much work to achieve, especially when trying to do it for the whole warband
- Inspires at the end of an action phase but can uninspired after an activation
- Despite having 2 wizards, magic potential is low
- Mostly a range 1 warband with only a single fighter that is range 2
- Difficult for new players due to the overload of rules and token management
- As they are tied to the Hunger mechanic, the warband could potentially become obsolete if that mechanic is rotated out of the game
- Poor selection of universal cards in their warband expansion
In summary, the Crimson Court are a complex warband to use that feels a bit lost in what they actually want to do. New players will definitely find them difficult to use and even an aggro Bloodthirst builds probably won’t be able to match the other top aggro warbands floating around at the moment in Direchasm. Although it pains me to say it, they seem to perform best as a Hunger control warband, sitting at the back of the board generating mass Hunger counters. If your opponent can’t kill you quickly enough, you’ll be able to just get glory for existing and dumping Hunger counters on fighter cards, any fighter cards that is. Friend or foe. Use Bloodthirsted Ennais to score your movement Surge objectives and then after that, he can be forgotten or survive somehow.
For an aggro build, I suggest Bloodthirsting Duvalle and inspiring Gorath. This way you get 2 fighters at 3 damage. From there, these 2 fighters can carry the warband with minimal damage upgrades so that they can both reach damage 4. You’ll need a mix of Hunger counter generation and removal to do this but it can be quite successful once this build gets rolling. Although, you’ll likely find it easier to just go down the Hunger counter spam route.
The lifespan of the warband is also a huge elephant in the room. If the Crimson Court can only play successfully with Hunger counters, what happens if that mechanic is rotated out of the game? Will they become obsolete? That’s something we will have to wait and see but getting about 2 year’s usage of a warband can be good or bad depending on who you ask. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
So, would I recommend getting the Crimson Court? I’m honestly not sure. Gameplaywise they’re a very marmite warband, you’ll either love what they do or hate it. This isn’t helped by their warband expansion containing a lot of poor universal cards (namely the universal objectives) which struggle to synergise with the warbands released so far. I want to like the warband but their optimal Hunger control build just bores me. The unfortunate thing is I’m not sure what you could do to change it, the warband just tries to do so much at once but can’t really find success in them all. Do I think the Crimson Court are bad? No. I don’t think they are amazing either though and they fall in the middle of the road for power-wise to me (excluding their turtle Hunger build). The miniatures are totally amazing work, however, so that may be what sways you to the Soulblight side.
If you want to buy the Crimson Court 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.
Now we come to the end of the Crimson Court warband review. They’re definitely a return back to a more classic turtle control warband unlike the Wurmspat who were more of an aggressive/active control warband. The Crimson Court can also spec into aggro but it will not be as successful as their Hunger control build. Their Hunger counter generation is good and they’re basically the only warband that can use the mechanic reliably. If going down the Hunger spam route, as a fun game, try and see how many you can dump on a single fighter card. I maxed out at 18, try and beat me! Remember, the key to winning is flooding a fighter card with so many Hunger counters that the user can no longer see what their fighter card says! Counter-chasm is in ascendence.
Still, they are honestly a beautiful warband. The Crimson Court will be a true joy for any painter and/or converter. The style and representation of multiple Soulblight bloodlines is great. Although we all know Gorath is our true king.
Vampires have silently stalked into the Direchasm. Despite looking like elegant warriros from afar, deep inside their bestial nature hungers for bloodshed. Will you be able to maintain your cool or submit to the dark savagery? The only way to find out is to see if you can roll a crit!