Ride the tides of the ethersea with Elathain’s Soulraid!
Welcome to the final Warhammer Underworlds Direchasm warband review, this time of Elathain’s Soulraid. This is dropping early thanks to Warcom previewing all the cards and rules early but once I get my review copy, 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:
The Idoneth Deepkin are a cursed race of Aelves, forced to harvest the souls of other living creatures in order to survive. Drawn to the Beastgrave, Eltathain’s Soulraid now stalk the depths of the Direchasm for an endless bounty of souls they can harvest for the rest of their race. Getting out alive with their bounty, however, is another question entirely.
Elathain’s Soulraid are a 5 fighter warband, the first of its kind for Direchasm. Elathain’s Soulraid consists of: Elathain Ill-Fated, Fuirann, Tammael, Duinclaw and Spinefin. Each miniature represents the many different people that make up the Idoneth Deepkin. You have their very underwater-looking armour along with many sea-based items such as shells, fauna and wrecks. My favourite fighter is Duinclaw. It was the only choice. He’s literally a massive crab! He has a really big left claw too. And he’s a CRAB.
The miniatures come in a baby blue-coloured plastic, which is similar to Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers. It’s still a nice colour although I would have liked something paler.
Elathain’s Soulraid are a 5 fighter warband, but they don’t play or deploy like one (Which I’ll get to soon). They actually operate more like an elite warband but all have fairly low wound characteristics compared to how tough elite warbands usually are. All the Aelven fighters have a movement characteristic of 4 (5 when inspired), 1 defence and 3 wounds. Duinclaw and Spinefin are unique cases and will be covered individually.
The warband shares a few abilities. Firstly, they all inspire during the 2nd round of the game. Then with Ebb Tide, each fighter becomes un-inspired at the start of round 3. This is good and bad. Guaranteed inspiration which disappears during the final round. It will be very match dependent but you will win and lose games based off of this. It is very thematic though.
Flood Tide is an ability which is active while fighters are not inspired. This allows a fighter with this ability to make a move or charge action if they have 1 or fewer move tokens. This means you have more mobility while uninspired and cannot be easily pinned by cards that apply move tokens. It is not amazing but it is nice.
The Idoneth fighters (e.g. the non-animal fighters) have the Idoneth keyword. This ties to faction cards but is another thing to note.
Elathain Ill-Fated is the leader of the warband. He is also a Hunter. He is armed with his Talunsickle which is range 1, 3 smash and 2 damage with Soul-Harvest. He also has a Soulnet which is range 3, 2 fury and 1 damage while also having Soul-Harvest too. Soul-Harvest is a reaction which triggers after an attack action that takes an enemy fighter out of action. If Tammael is out of action, you can then place him on the battlefield on any starting hex in your territory. This is some nice aggro resurrection but not something to rely on against elite warbands. Elathain also is 1 block with 4 wounds.
Elathain Inspired has his Talunsickle change to 3 smash while also gaining the Cleave and Ensnare keywords. His Soulnet increases to 3 fury while gaining Ensnare too. That’s pretty much it. He becomes a reliable combat attacker for an action phase. That 2 damage base still hurts a lot.
Fuirann is a Hunter. She is armed with her Helsabre which is range 1, 3 fury and 2 damage. She also has 2 dodge.
Furiann Inspired has her Helsabre change to 3 smash and her defence characteristic changes to 2 block. While inspired, Furiann is more survivable and and accurate. If she’ll live to get to her action phase 2 inspired side is another matter entirely.
Tammael is also a Hunter. He is armed with a Riptide Harpoon which has 2 profiles. The melee profile is range 2, 2 smash and 2 damage with Riptide. The thrown profile is range 3, 3 fury and 1 damage with Riptide as well as Impact. Riptide allows an attack action with this keyword to push the target during the driveback step instead of driving back the target like with Hadzu and his Arrows of Desire. Impact gives an attack action +1 damage when made during a charge action, basically making Tammael a constant 2 damage threat. Truly terrifying. Also he is only 1 dodge.
Tammael Inspired has both his Riptide Harpoon profiles just gain Ensnare. He also goes to 2 dodge. That’s all. Not amazing but a slight buff. His main power comes from being able to be brought back alive via Elathain but it doesn’t make Tammael amazing.
Duinclaw is a giant crab. It is armed with a Crushing Claw which is range 1, 2 fury and 2 damage. Duinclaw also has the Beast keyword. This means Duinclaw cannot hold objectives or be given attack action upgrades. It also has the Skuttle reaction which, after your activation of a different friendly fighter, you can push Duinclaw 1 hex towards that fighter.
Duinclaw Inspired has its Crushing Claw increase to 3 fury and gain Cleave. Other than that, it gains nothing else, just more accuracy. Duinclaw operates as a great positional piece, basically providing protection and support to Elathain as well as the rest of the warband.
Spinefin is…a fish. It has no attack action profile, is movement 0, 1 dodge and 1 wound. It does, however, have a bunch of keywords! First is Small Fry which allows you to not setup this fighter during deployment. This helps reduce the drops for the warband during deployment to potentially go down to a 4 drop warband. Small Fry also means this fighter cannot: hold objectives, make actions or be given upgrades. In addition, when the Spinefin would be taken out of action, it is instead removed while clearing all tokens and persisting effects from the fighter.
Finally there is Shoal. This is a reaction that triggers after an opponent’s power step. You can either remove any friendly Shoal tokens from the battlefield and place a Shoal token in an empty hex OR place the Spinefin in an empty hex that contains a Shoal token then remove said token. You can make the Shoal reaction even when the Spinefin is not on the battlefield. This basically allows continually redeployment of the Spinefine to setup the Spinefin next to enemy fighters for supports or to block off objectives. Your opponent still has time to react to this but it can be used to apply a lot of pressure to the opponent while not sacrificing any glory to the opponent either.
Spinefin Inspired gains nothing outside of becoming 2 dodge. Basically, the Spinefin remains its frustrating self. Note it never counts as being out of action and won’t count as going out of action. This means stuff like Tithe Counters or other similar abilities that depend on fighters going out of action will not trigger. Always remember that this fighter is removed instead.
Now we’re at the card part of the review! As always faction cards then universals.
Cold-Eyed Killers grants 2 glory for taking 2 or more enemy fighters out of action during the preceding action phase. Exceedingly situational and with the warband’s low damage output, it’s not something I could recommend running.
Dead or Doomed is a final end phase objective that gives you 3 glory for having all enemy fighters out of action or if they are all adjacent to 1 or more friendly fighters. The first condition is just terrible for Elathain’s Soulraid but the second condition is more doable. If you haven’t been wiped out. Still too situational to run.
Smothered Memories is weird. This Surge gives you 1 glory when your opponent discards a card during the action phase without playing it or scoring it. This is generally unscorable unless running most of the faction gambits which then makes Smothered Memories okay. Yet this card is just far too situational to be good.
Unseen Menace would have been reliable if the Spinefin and Duinclaw could help you score it. 1 glory for having 2 or more friendly fighters within 2 hexes of the same enemy fighter. That 2 hex range makes Unseen Menace easier to score but limiting it to Idoneth fighters is way too rough for 1 glory.
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Guardians of the Deep grants you 1 glory if no enemy fighters are in your territory. It’s not amazing but for 1 glory it is still pretty good. More likely to be scored during rounds 2 or 3, however, unless playing against turtle control opponents
Merciless Raiders is Advancing Strike with some more conditions. It is a Surge objective that gives you 1 glory for killing an enemy fighter in enemy territory during a charge action. Merciless Raiders has a lot of steps and sucks vs fast aggro opponents but it is still a good pick here.
Soul Raiders is a decent aggro objective. 1 glory for having 2 or more enemy fighters out of action. Simple but effective.
Speed of the Flood Tide is a Surge which gives you 1 glory when 3 or more friendly fighters are in enemy territory. Your typical fast aggro card. The main issue is having friendly fighters survive in enemy territory long enough to score Speed of the Flood but it is still nice, especially when you consider that the Spinefin helps score this.
Surging Tide is amazing for Elathain’s Soulraid. 1 glory as a Surge for having a friendly fighter making their 2nd or subsequent move action in a phase. Actually not scorable during round 2 unless Tammael is brought back to life but still an essential objective for the warband.
Taker of Souls is weird. It’s honestly not that good but only here for the sake of legacy support once rotation kicks in for Direchasm universal cards. This is 1 glory as a Surge for using your leader’s range 1 attack action to take an enemy fighter out of action. Taking of Souls is fine but run Savage Exemplar until it gets rotated if you are dead-set on aggro Elathain’s Soulraid.
Tides of Death is decent a decent objective for 1 glory. Scored in the end phase for having 3 or more friendly fighters with charge tokens. Once again, having surviving fighters to score this is the main issue but Tides of Death is still reliable in my books.
Utter Isolation is Alone in the Darkness. This Dual objective gives you 2 glory if you have 1 or more surviving friendly fighters and no fighter is within 1 hex of any other fighter. Loses power in a best of 3 and if you lack lots of push cards but it does force your opponent to bunch up. Situational but I still like it.
Brain Barnacles is okay. Choose an enemy fighter within 3 hexes of an Idoneth fighter and reduce their movement by 1 to a minimum of 0. If used when within 1 hex, that enemy fighter has their attack actions change to fury. Persists until the end of the round or when the chosen fighter is out of action. Too situational and not that great. If it persisted until the fighter was out of action instead, this would be much better.
Chill Mist is more of a narrative card. Fighters in the next activation are -1 move and can’t make range 3 attack actions. Thundrik’s Profiteers are terrified. Shame this doesn’t persist for the round.
Crushing Pressure is…strange. Choose an enemy fighter then the controller either discards 1 power card or that fighter has -2 move (to a minimum of 0) and -2 dice to attacking (to a minimum of 1). Crushing Pressure just needs a lot of prediction and only performs well against elite warbands. It’s not bad but just takes a lot of effort to use well.
Faction Gambits – Top Picks
Cloud of Midnight is very situational but gives some amazing protection. Choose a friendly fighter and until the end of the next activation, they cannot be the target of attacks, be chosen or damaged by gambits and cannot be pushed. Amazing when played just before your opponent’s final activation to save a key fighter or when they are buffing up a key enemy fighter to target one of your own key fighters.
Forgotten Nightmares is interesting and sneaky. When an enemy fighter attacks, pick another eligible target instead. Your opponent has to attack your chosen fighter unless they discard a power card AND this card persists until the end of the round! Becomes even better when the Spinefin is in range. Forgotten Nightmares gets even better thanks to the plentiful number of range 2 and 3 attack actions as well.
Fury of the Storm is an essential power card for Elathain’s Soulraid. Play this only in the 3rd round, each surviving friendly fighter is inspired! Unless your opponent discards 2 power cards. And they likely will thanks to how much that shuts you down and how much unrestricted draw tech we have currently in Direchasm. Still, take but expect it to not really go off a lot of the time.
Phantasmal Forms is some great defensive tech. In the next activation, friendly fighters have 3 dodge. Combine with going on guard for some amazing defense.
Shifting Currents makes you remove any friendly Shoal tokens and then place a Shoal token in any empty hex. Basically, this allows fast redeployment of Spinefin. Or you can instead pick an objective token in an empty hex and push it 1 hex unless that is into a lethal hex or a hex with a feature token. Always take for the faster Spinefin redeployment.
Spinefin Toxin is amazing! This Poison card lets you choose 1 enemy fighter adjacent to Spinefin. Deal 1 damage to that fighter and, for the round, they cannot hold objectives, be on Guard and cannot make range 3+ attack actions. Make that Spinefin even more annoying. The removal of Guard is huge as well while the 1 point of damage is icing on the cake.
Terrornight Venom is another awesome Poison card. Choose an enemy fighter adjacent to a friendly fighter. For the rest of the round or until the enemy fighter is out of action, friendly fighters can re-roll 1 attack dice when attacking that fighter. An amazing accuracy buff. Go full Shawn of the Dead on a single enemy fighter!
Ethersea Predator is for Duinclaw and gives it Ensnare. Also, as a reaction during an enemy fighter’s move action, roll a dice and on a Smash you end their move action when they enter a hex adjacent to Duinclaw. Just too situational to be useful and you want +1 dice over Ensnare.
Lurelight is a situational Tome of Offerings. When taking out an adjacent enemy fighter with your leader, your opponent choses to: either let you gain 1 glory or they discard a power card. Just…way too situational and needs to be an adjacent attack too.
Martial Excellence is only for Furiann and makes her on Guard while she has 1 or more charge tokens. It’s actually pretty good but the issue is if she will live long enough to use it and the upgrade is limited to her. I would have much rather had Martial Excellence just always made Furiann on Guard.
Soulbond is situational but I kinda like it. Can only be equipped to Tammael and when he attacks while Elathain is within 3 hexes, that fighter is considered to be supporting for Tammael. If you really like Tammael then run this but I prefer general upgrades that just give +1 dice instead.
Voltane Eel is only for Elathain. It is range 3, 3 fury and damage 1. You can react if this attack had a critical hit to give the target a move token. I would much rather that this effect triggered if the attack action was successful instead. As it is, just don’t run Voltane Eel.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Armour of the Cythai gives -1 dice to adjacent fighters that target this fighter to a minimum of 1. It can only be equipped to Idoneth fighters but is still an awesome take. Pretty much essential due to how fragile all your fighters are.
Born From Agony is a better Great Fortitude. +1 wounds and ignore lethal hexes! Only for Idoneth fighters but still always take.
Hunter of Souls is an interesting Great Strength. +1 damage to attack actions against a fighter with 1 or more wound counters. Once again only for Idoneth fighters but this has no range restriction! Flexible but just remember that wounded requirement.
Sanguine Pearl can only be equipped to Idoneth fighters and reduces damage dealt from adjacent enemy fighters by 1. It is situational but I’ll take anything in a warband like this with such low wound characteristics.
Unstoppable Fury is Awakened Weapon that only works during a charge action. Just always take, more reliable accuracy buffs are always nice to have.
Now we come to the part of the review where I go over the universal cards which come within this warband expansion.
Inedible Prize is odd. This Hybrid gives you 1 glory if 1 or more enemy fighters with Hunger counters is holding an objective or if an enemy fighter with 2 or more upgrades is out of action. Just way too situational to use and for only 1 glory. Unless you are always playing against the Crimson Court.
Nearing Hunt’s End is another Hybrid that gives you a single glory point for either having 2 or more friendly Hunters and at least 1 enemy Quarry in the same territory OR an enemy fighter has 3 or more wound tokens. I could possibly understand this objective if it was 2 glory but as it is, Nearing Hunt’s End suffers from being far too situational to use.
Primal Escalation doesn’t live up to its Shadespire predecessor. This is a Dual objective gives you 1 glory for having a fighter with 3 or more upgrades AND while you have the Primacy token. Probably broken if it was 2 glory but for 1, just too much effort.
Prize Beyond Measure is another balanced Surge objective. Score 1 glory for holding an objective with a friendly fighter while each having 3 or more upgrades. Balanced but an objective you score in rounds 2 or 3 once you’ve already gotten your glory train rolling. Remember, if you had 2 fighters holding objectives and only 1 of them had 3+ upgrades, this objective would not score.
Silver Lining is hilarious. I love it but it’s not really that good, only in decks that have lots of card draw. Score 1 glory as a Surge for having 4 or more upgrades in your hand. You must show ALL your hand when you score this objective, making it a little fairer. I just love it because Silver Lining is almost like a reverse Exodia.
Universal Objectives – Top Picks
Avatar of Famine is a Crimson Court objective. 2 glory for having 1 or more friendly fighters with 5 or more Hunger counters. Un-interactive and needs lots of counters, your standard Hunger card! Boring but good.
Everything to Prove is hilarious and good. This Surge and Hybrid is scored after an activation if your opponent has the Primacy token or you have a surviving Quarry and have the Primacy token. Amazing for any horde/swarm warband due to the power of Primacy. The Starblood Stalkers can also make use of the second scoring condition quite easily.
Hunger for Supremacy is alright. It is a Dual you score for 1 glory if 2 or more friendly fighters are holding objectives and they each have 1 or more Hunger Counters. It’s here just for the Crimson Court. More easy un-interactive glory for them.
Silent Sentinel is just here for people stacking the Silent Relics. Score 1 glory for having a friendly fighter with 2 or more Silent Relics. Simple and rewards you even more for stacking all those upgrades.
Unassailable Primacy is amazing for Primacy focussed decks. You can’t score this during round 1 but this Dual objective gives you 2 glory for if you have the Primacy token and had the Primacy token during the previous end phase. Slightly risky but I like the 2 glory payoff, very easy for Hedkrakka’s Madmob too.
Hunger Pangs is another weird Hunger card. Choose an enemy fighter with 1 or more move/charge tokens. Deal 1 damage to that fighter and then remove all their Hunger counters if that fighter had any Hunger counters to begin with. Otherwise, give that enemy fighter a Hunger counter. If you are always playing against the Crimson Court, run this.
Lifeblood Draught is more aggro healing. It is a reaction that you play after friendly fighter takes an adjacent enemy fighter out of action. Heal 1 or Heal 2 if that enemy fighter was a wizard/leader. Ferocious Resistance exists and even then, there’s better healing out there.
Silence Descends gives move counters to each fighter in no man’s land. Situational unless somehow everyone starts chilling in no man’s land.
Souljaws is another Trap card. This reaction triggers after an enemy fighter’s move action. Roll a magic dice, on the roll of a channel the enemy fighter is un-inspired and cannot be inspired until the end of the round. However, when this effect ends, that fighter becomes inspired. Bizarre 50/50 inspire messing which can end up helping your opponent more than hindering. Just don’t run.
Universal Gambits – Top Picks
Desperate Caution is great. Choose a friendly fighter and give them a Guard token. If that fighter is a Quarry, push them up to 1 hex as well! Pretty damn good regardless of whether or not you’re using Quarry stuff too.
Endurance Hunter is some more nice Hunter tech. Choose a friendly fighter and push them 1 hex towards the closest enemy fighter, or up to 2 hexes if that closest enemy fighter is a Quarry. The second effect may not be used if enemy fighters are bunched up together, but more push tech is always great.
Hunter’s Helper is some more aggro Hunter tech. This reaction is played after a friendly Hunter’s attack action if there are 1 or more adjacent enemy fighters other than the target of the attack action. Choose 1 of those other fighters and Deal 1 damage to them. Amazing for weaker Hunter warbands like Skaeth’s Wild Hunt and can be busted after a Scything attack action.
More Muscle is another great way to gain the Primacy token. When played, the player with the most friendly fighters adjacent to enemy fighters gains the Primacy token. Amazing for horde/swarm warbands trying to use Primacy or just to steal it back.
Puffed Up. Puffed Up Gitz! Friendly fighters have +1 wound if you have the Primacy token but discard the Primacy token if a friendly fighter’s attack action fails. Persists until the end of the round. Crazy on horde/swarm warbands but also really good for Hedkrakka’s Madmob who love the option of either being at +1 wound or having an easy way to lose the Primacy token so they can regain it quickly to inspire.
Whetted Hunger is some interesting flip tech. Play this reaction after a fighter is taken out of action by a lethal hex, friend or foe. Then you can pick a feature token and flip it. If there is a fighter in that hex, deal 1 damage to that fighter. Situational but you can trigger it yourself and it’s just a nice way to get more flip tech for Feed the Beastgrave decks.
Experienced Eye is just not as good as Savage Visage. The equipped fighter becomes a Hunter and can re-roll 1 attack dice against a target for every instance that the target has the Quarry keyword on their fighter card and upgrades. Just really situational and Savage Visage is more reliable.
Master Commander is interesting. As an action, discard the Primacy token to push each friendly fighter up to 1 hex. Also, discard the Primacy token when this fighter is taken out of action. Good for Hold Objective Primacy players but it’s still debatable if it’s really good at such a cost. Not bad but just situational.
Rampaging Killer is for Beyblade fans. This fighter becomes a Hunter and a Quarry and their range 1 attack actions gain Scything. However, after every superaction, deal 2 damage to this fighter. I would basically just run Mighty Swing instead. This card is very well balanced, just difficult to justify that 2 damage cost.
Universal Upgrades – Top Picks
Bottomless Appetite is amazing Hunger counter generation. When this fighter is activated, give them a Hunger counter. However, if this fighter then has a number of Hunger counters equal to or greater than their wound characteristic, deal 1 damage to them. Amazing in any Hunger counter build but a bit insane with the Crimson Court.
Impressive Bulk is more +1 wounds at the “downside” of becoming a Quarry. Just take if you already have Great Fortitude and want to double-up or want an easy way to get Quarry with no real downside. Sure you are also at -1 movement but that’s not a big downside in my book.
Mask of the Silent People is a Silent Relic which makes this fighter a Quarry and all enemy fighters a Quarry. Really good if you want to abuse the Hunter/Quarry mechanic but oddly not really wanted in a Silent Relic spam deck.
Master Duellist is insane. Discard the Primacy token as an action to make a range 1 or 2 attack action with the equipped fighter at +2 dice. If the fighter is taken out of action, discard the Primacy token. Potion of Rage but better. Practically broken with Hedkrakka’s Madmob. Insanely good.
Savage Hunger makes the equipped fighter a Hunter. If this fighter has 1 or more Hunger counters, its range 1 attack actions gain Ensnare. Pretty good for the Crimson Court.
I like Silent Bracers. This Silent Relic makes the equipped fighter a Quarry and allows them to ignore blocked and occupied hexes when moving but still must end in an empty hex. When starting your move in no man’s land, gain +2 move as well! The fighter has +1 move if it has 2 or more Silent Relics. Not busted like some of the other Silent Relics but I really like the mobility this card offers.
Soultooth Darts is our last Soultooth weapon. It is range 3, 3 fury and 1 damage with Ensnare. The equipped fighter is a Hunter and you get the standard re-roll of 1 attack dice against fighters with move and/or charge tokens. Pretty good at sniping off pesky 2 wound dodge fighters.
Now to the deck section! Once again these are sample decks to get you going and build off of. They’re not super competitive, especially with this warband, but are designed to be optimal and fun. First I’ll do a deck for Vagnuard Format 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.
This Vanguard Format deck focuses on being aggressive. There is some control in there but not enough to consider this a flex deck. Oddly, it’s also a kind of “anti-Primacy” deck in regard to having objectives that score when your opponent has the Primacy token with Underdog and Everything to Prove. It’s not like Elathain’s Soulraid can utilise Primacy anyway. Utter Isolation is a little difficult to score but it is 2 glory. Savage Exemplar is just a better version of Taking of Souls. Moment of Glory is odd but you score it during round 2, making it technically an easy Surge objective to score. Remember the Spinefin helps for all your objectives requiring friendly fighters in enemy territory.
Gambits build off of the solid faction selection to give you more defensive and sneaky tools to get kills. Spinefin Toxin is essential and Terrornight Venom is as well. I really like Beast Trail because your Idoneth fighters can use it as a free redeploy while un-inspired. Hidden Sting is only here because you need more extra damage and I like rolling crits. You could switch it for Ferocious Blow but Hidden Sting is surprise damage your opponent won’t see coming. Hypnotic Buzz is to help with Utter Isolation.
Upgrades pack of mostly faction cards to help with damage negation, durability and damage. Impressive Bulk gives you even more wounds and Augmented Limbs basically effects all your friendly fighters with so many range 1 attack actions. Scavenged Armour is once again for more durability and Savage Strength is just for Elathain. Spiteglass is there…because you need another reason to make attacking your fighters annoying for the opponent.
The Championship Format deck builds off of the Vanguard Format deck. Mostly just a refinement with cards like Show of Force and Nightmare in the Shadows. Great Strength and Gloryseeker are better damage modification cards without any real downsides. Not going to lie, the deck still struggles but it was the best I could come up with.
AVATAR OF THE GIANT CRAB FORMAT
This is my crown jewel. This Championship Format deck is all about the crab! You have objectives which the warband in-general scores but everything else is geared for Duinclaw, especially the upgrades. You must keep Duinclaw alive so it can become AVATAR DUINCLAW, THE GREATEST OF ALL CRABS. 4 CLAWS, 4 MANDIBLES AND WITH A TAIL! Nothing can beat this monster! Give it Augmented Limbs so Duinclaw has 6 CLAWS! Is this ridiculous? Yes? Is it a lot of fun? YES! Remember, the key thing to remember is to shout “GET CRAB’D!” when Duinclaw kills an enemy fighter. As long as you’ve killed an enemy fighter with Duinclaw, you’ve won in my book!
Also listen to this continuously as you play the crab deck:
Elathain’s Soulraid are a difficult warband to categorise. They have 5 fighters but can deploy like a 4 fighter warband. Despite being a pseudo elite warband, they don’t have the durability, defences or damage output to represent that. They’re sadly a warband let down by having a giant crab and a fish with all their fighters mostly being 3 wounds and mostly range 1. They have a lot of reactions, abilities and tricks to try and combat this but I still feel it doesn’t help them. It’s a lot of rules bloat to remember and will overwhelm a lot of players. It looks like the developers were doing their best with a bad hand but I just can’t see how Elathain’s Warband can compete competitively. To win with this warband, you need to be constantly abusing the Spinefin and faction cards, aiming to overwhelm the opponent during round 2. If that fails, it will likely be game over.
- You have a giant crab
- A 5 fighter warband that can deploy as a 4 fighter warband
- The Spinefin doesn’t offer glory to the opponent nor counts as being out of action
- Interesting faction cards
- Reliable inspire condition
- Tammael can be brought back to life
- Really nice card art
- 10/10 meme potential
- Low durability and defences
- Lots of reactions and abilities, really easy to lose track of everything and get overwhelmed
- Lots of bookkeeping with Shoal counters
- Poor damage output with mostly range 1 attack actions
- Discard effect is weak and underutilised
- Elathain must be kept alive for the warband to function
- This a warband that can potentially be wiped out by an inspired Skritch
In summary, Elathain’s Soulraid are a strange mix of aggro and control that rewards the player for exceptional positioning and ability stacking to try and overwhelm the opponent during round 2. Every game will be a struggle and you may not win a lot. The warband struggles in current Championship Format for Direchasm but performs alright in Vanguard Format. You’ll need to practice a lot with the Spinefin and Shoal counters so you can maximise their usage as well as remembering when they trigger each time. You need to also ensure Elathain is protected as if he gets killed early, it is pretty much game over for you.
For Shoal counters, think of them as a way to apply continual pressure to the opponent. Yes your opponent can shut them down by moving/pushing onto them but the key for their use is predicting where your opponent wants to go and try to get them going their earlier than wanted, such as on an objective. Personally I find the best useage of the shoal counter by placing it next to charged fighters or 2 or more adjacent fighters. Your opponent always has an activation to react but it’s a great steady way to get pressure applied. Just remember you need to actually have a use for the Spinefin in that situation such as for a charge support or card effect.
I personally enjoyed the warband most when just going crazy with Duinclaw. Is it silly? Yes. Does it work most of the time? No. I just like enjoying Avatar of the Ur-Grub Duinclaw before rotation hits it. I personally find this warband too difficult to make work consistently. They’re a nice change of pace for pick-up games and casual games but I wouldn’t advise trying to use them to win tournaments. Think of them like Beastgrave’s Morgwaeth’s Blade-Coven.
So would I recommend getting Elathain’s Soulraid? No. Only buy this warband if you really like the aesthetics and DUINCLAW! Or if you just want to complete your universal card collection for Direchasm. Elathain’s Soulraid are just really draining to play and require constant bookkeeping to keep track of everything as small mistakes or forgetting key abilities can cost you a game. The crab build is lots of fun, however, even if you don’t win. Just remember to shout “GET CRAB’D!” every time Duinclaw takes an enemy fighter out of action.
If you want to buy Elathain’s Soulraid you can get them via the direct link, from Saturday on pre-order day, to Games Workshop here or via my affiliate link to Element Games 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.
So now we come to the end of this warband review for Elathain’s Soulraid. Direchasm closes out with an interesting Aelven take. I feel they push Warhammer Underworlds design space to the limit, in a good way, even if the end result isn’t amazingly strong. They’re a highly technical warband with a steep learning curve. Plus, a giant crab. The best of crabs. If you want to try and win, remember it is round 2 when you need to do the most damage so try the best to setup and survive during action phase 1.
Elathain’s Soulraid are reaping their way through the Direchasm in an endless hunt for souls. Beware their ethersea and pray they don’t claim your soul. Only crits will keep you safe!