Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave is the starter box for the 3rd season of Warhammer Underworlds (Shadespire being the 1st and Nightvault the 2nd). Warhammer Underworlds is a hybrid game that mixes a miniatures wargame, with a living card game (LCG) and plays out of the box on a small hex board like a board game. Players pick a warband from the pre-set warbands available, of which each season has 8 (2 out of the starting box and 6 released as expansions later). They then create 2 decks, an Action and Objective deck from the universal cards, which are available to every warband, and the cards unique to their faction.
To learn more about Warhammer Underworlds and how it plays, check out our coverage of Shadespire and Nightvault. In this article, we’re going to focus on what Beastgrave is as a product and how it changes up Warhammer Underworlds.
The Beastgrave Core Set contains:
- 6 push-fit Grashrak’s Despoilers fighters
- 5 push-fit Skaeth’s Wild Hunt fighters
- 8-page Learn to Play booklet
- 40-page rulebook
- 2 double-sided game boards
- 11 fighter cards (6 for the Grashrak’s Despoilers, 5 for Skaeth’s Wild Hunt)
- 102 upgrade, ploy and objective cards
- 126 tokens
- 11 Warhammer Underworlds dice
Beastgrave has added some streamlined rules processes and additional rules into Warhammer Underworlds. Objective Tokens are now double-sided Feature Tokens with one side showing a numbered objective and the other a Lethal Hex. These tokens can be flipped during the game, which means standing on them for too long could be risky. Players can also add a Lethal Hex during game set-up, after players have placed Feature Tokens to change up the battlefield.
There is also a new and handy Combat Flowchart, just to keep combat running smoothly. The rules for the Guard action have also been changed. With the inclusion and more focus on Lethal Hexes, having a guard token on your fighters now also stops them from being driven back, even if they are defeated in combat. This means that defensive lines are now possible, with fighters holding hexes against pushing enemies.
There have also been some wording changes to streamline and futureproof the game, such as objectives being renamed, keywords being added and a superaction category being added.
For those interested in learning the full rules for Warhammer Underworlds, Warhammer TV have a full video featuring Becca Scott that takes you through everything.
Beastgrave includes 2 brand new factions to play with, Skaeth’s Wild Hunt and Grashrak’s Despoilers and it includes the miniatures for both, along with their faction-specific action and objective cards.
Skaeth’s Wild Hunt
Skaeth’s warband are elves who workship a fallen god of the hunt. They are nature’s spiritual avatars.
The members of the warband are all fast and lightly armored and all inspire when they have a charge token. They have a mixture of fighters with ranged attacks and close-range fighters. 4 out of the 5 have the Hunter keyword and one is a horn-blower than can build-up counters that can be used for re-rolls.
Skaeth’s Wild Hunt have access to some very thematic faction cards, our favorite of which are:
- Hunt’s End – A hybrid objective that can be used to gain 2 glory at the end of a round if an enemy 4 wound+ fighter is out of action or if you hold 3 objectives. Great for playing both styles and giving you options if one isn’t possible.
- Run Down – A 1 glory score immediately objective when you take an enemy out as part of a charge action. Aim for a low wound fighter and this is an easy glory.
- Fleet of Foot – A free move for a fighter with no move or charge token. Incredible for ranged or adjacent placement for multiple attacks.
- Song of Swiftness – +1 move to the entire warband for the rest of the round. Has to be used by Karthaen, but when combined with his Hunting Horn action, it can set up some devastating charges.
- Eye of Kurnoth – An attack dice upgrade restricted to Hunters, but plays nicely into the Quarry keyword as well for an additional bonus.
The Despoilers are beastmen led by a Bray-Shaman. They all have average movement, low wounds, and defense. They have a mixture of ranged fighters and close combat fighters with average attacks, but they all inspire when 2 enemy fighters are taken out. When inspired they either get a boost in attack dice or cleave on their attack. Ushkor gains ensnare on their ranged attack, which hampers the defense of their target.
Grashrak gains ritual counters whenever enemies are taken out of action, which can be used before an attack roll to give the option of rerolling an attack dice to make sure those killer blows land.
Their average fighters are made up by having access to some great faction cards, our favorite of which are:
- Despoilers – A score immediately objective card for holding 3 objectives, gaining 2 glory. Great for early glory gains just for positioning.
- Stampede – A 1 glory score immediately objective for charging 3 fighters, very easy to achieve.
- Blood Taunt – It grants a guard token and +2 dice in the next attack for 1 damage, not a bad trade-off.
- Vile Invaders – Lets you push 2 Hunters (4 of the 6 of the Despoilers) 2 hexes. Great for pre-charge positioning, or simply getting in close to attack twice.
- Tophy Taker – An upgrade for Draknar, granting them 1 extra glory when they take a fighter out of action. Draknar is the highest damage dealer of the warband and rolls 3 dice when inspired,so it can be a handy glory earner.
Warhammer Underworlds Season 3
With the release of Season 3 of Warhammer Underworlds, as with any competitive card game, some cards have been rotated out for tournament play. This means that the Season 1 (Shadespire) universal cards are no longer allowed for use in Warhammer Underworlds Organised Play and Tournament games. This coupled with the banned and restricted list details what cards you can and can’t use in these games.
For open play, you are still able to use any of the cards you like, but as most players enjoy the competitive nature of Warhammer Underworlds, most will rotate these cards out.
Players can still use the Shadespire warbands, and the action and objective cards of those warbands.
The reason rotation happens in card games is for balance and control. Having a huge available card pool makes it extremely difficult for the developers to balance cards across the many possible deck combinations. But it also helps new players.
Because each warband expansion for Warhammer Underworlds has universal cards for all factions, most players will need to purchase all warbands to get access to the full range, even if they don’t necessarily plan on using that warband (although the beauty of Warhammer Underworlds is that you don’t have to just collect 1 army and can play them all). This meant that the minimum buy-in for Warhammer Underworlds was a core set (either Shadespire, Nightvault or Beastgrave) and then 14 warband expansion packs, plus a couple of the additional card packs that have been released. This buy-in would only increase if there was no rotation.
Now players only ever need to buy is the last season’s warbands and it creates a perfect jumping-in point for players when a new Season begins, as with Beastgrave. If they want to play any of the older warbands, they can simply by purchasing that pack, without having to buy an entire season’s worth of expansions.
Competitive games thrive on the player base, and growing a community requires new players. Rotating seasons will help to encourage new players, giving them an easier way in and not pricing out players from the market.
New players can buy Beastgrave, and if they like it, can either buy all the last seasons warbands, or, because all of the cards are available to see online, find the cards they want for their decks and buy the warband expansions that contain those cards as required to build their collection.
Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave is another great WU starter set. A great introduction to the 3rd Season and a solid entry point for new players. It contains 2 interesting warbands and the updated and additional rules are welcome.
Are you interested in joining this new season of Warhammer Underworlds? Do you play already? Which is your favorite of the 2 beastgrave factions? Let us know in the comments below.
This copy of Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave was provided by Warhammer Community.