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[Warhammer AoS] Warcry: Sixteen Warbands want glory, one wants bottles

Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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Age of Sigmar: Warcry is the new skirmish wargame from Games Workshop, set in the chaos wastelands of the Eightpoints, where eight new Chaos factions quest for the glory of the esteem of the Everchosen.

And eight more factions with models you already own raid the shattered lands for forgotten artifacts and arcane secrets.

And the faction you actually want to play, the Gloomspite Gitz, loot the place for bottles.

What makes it worth talking about on rpg.net?

Mission Variety and Narrative Focus



While using the now familiar "three ways to play", including Matched Play/tournament modes, by default WarCry leans pretty hard into variety and Narrative play.

In Open/Narrative battleplans are generated by drawing a card from four decks - terrain setup, deployment points, victory conditions and finally a twist card for a special rule affecting the battle (or rolling on tables in the corebook if you don't have the cards). Furthermore your warband is divided into three contingents, with the deployment card determining when different contingents will arrive in the battle. This routinely generates imbalanced scenarios, but with quick games (bit longer than Underworlds, bit shorter than Kill Team), you'll have the winds of Chaos blow for and against you in rapid succession.

Narrative play has an interesting async campaign mode, where your warband are on their own quest (for precious bottles, if you have the good sense to play the Gloomspite), and progression only requires opponents who also are playing through their warbands' quest - you don't need to be organised together into the same campaign, only that your opponent is up for the game you're playing to be a campaign game, whoever they are and wherever you're playing. Each campaign quest has three pivotal battles known as convergences with pre-set battle plans, and each gives a greater artifact for your warband or a power for your leader. Devotees of really deep campaign games are definitely not going to find the crunch in advancement or customisation that they're used to here, but the focus on the warband's quest should compare favourably to Kill Team's XP system and suit a fast play game where different players could get radically different numbers of matches in.


Good Excuse to Play a Ton of Factions

If Games Workshop saw Kill Team as an opportunity to transition players into 40K and get them buying full armies, it did not achieve its aim. But it has lead to a lot of players going wide across the ranger rather than deep, picking up 5-20 minis for lots of factions and taking advantage of faster games to play them all.

Warcry has every chance of doing that again for Age of Sigmar, but leaning much harder into spinning up new skirmish sized factions:




as well as getting you into AoS factions you've been curious about but didn't want to go full army with, or upgrading Underworlds teams you already have:






The new factions are a warband in a box, all close to the 1000 point standard game size and playable as-is; but if you want to double (or triple or whatever) up on a particular kind of fighter, or to have roster depth for your campaign, you'll need to double up on their box or wait for expansions. Existing AoS factions will almost all require you to buy more than one box to field a warband, but you'll end up with a full roster as a result.


It's Good Fun




Warcry is its own beast, even more different from AoS than Kill Team is from 40K. One of the more interesting aspects is initiative - at the start of each round, each player rolls six dice, and pulls out any sets (doubles, triples, quads etc). The player with the most singles remaining has initiative, and will activate a model first (after which players alternate). The sets are used to activate "Abilities" - a set of basic but useful powers available to all factions (up your move, attacks, take extra actions etc.) as well as faction specific ones that tend to be stronger but only in specific circumstances (see the ability cards in the AoS faction shots above).

Each turn you get a wild die, which you can add as a single to try to get initiative, turn a single into a double, a double into a triple etc. You can bank wild dice, allowing you to spend in multiple dice on a subsequent turn. In alternating activations, having initiative isn't always an advantage so you may wish to deliberately give up initiative by converting multiple singles to doubles (and get more ability use to boot); other times it will be vital (grabbing the McGuffin on the last turn) and you may need to give up the chance to get multiple sets in order to preserve that first activation.

It's a lightweight resource system but poses some interesting decisions (as well as making it advantageous to remember what your opponent's faction's quad does before it ruins your plans).



Fighters are mechanically streamlined versus AoS/40K/Kill Team.

Attacks are resolved purely on Strength vs Toughness, skipping to hit, armour saves etc. Fighters tend to have more attacks and many, many more wounds (the Drillmaster there has 15 wounds), while attack rolls of 6 are crits that do extra damage (she has a damage profile of 2/4 on her mace, so she does 2 damage on a normal hit, 4 on a crit). Models are relatively resilient - the Drillmaster is very unlikely to kill a mirror version of herself in a turn without abilities and some crit luck. While your big models can still melt from focused attacks, smart ability use or hot dice from your opponent, you should not find yourself getting tabled.

Fighters don't have customisation or special rules on their cards; instead the runemark icons link them to the faction-level Abilities they can use, and each meaningful variation of a model type is a fighter card in her own right.



I mentioned this earlier but the division of your warband into three groups that deploy in different places and times really keeps you on your toes. The divisions of Dagger, Shield and Hammer are largely arbitrary (though I feel like my Hammer always has to hoof it further, 3" move on Ironjawz is pain), but it's critical to balance them and think carefully about who groups with who. You make this division before seeing the deployment card, and before seeing if the groups are relevant to the objectives. You don't get missions to wipe the opponent out, but you might get one to destroy one of the subgroups, so if you put a lone grot into Dagger and then it comes up as the mission target AND your stacked squig hopper cavalry Hammer doesn't even deploy till turn 3 you're in a world of hurt. This matches the lore of chaotic skirmishes in the Eightpoints, but also obliges you to create a flexible warband that can pursue any mission even if only a third of it starts on the table.


So who's in lots of fast, objective-based skirmish and the quest for precious, precious bottles?
 
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mole

Registered User
Validated User
Awesome effort post, dude. Yeah I'm well keen for this game. Took a while for it to hit me that this is the spiritual successor to the generated warbands from the old Realms of Chaos books back in the day., which were always my favourite part of the WFB setting. And I love the styles of the various warbands in Warcry, how they've managed not to make them variations on the themes of the Big Four gods but instead feel like organic developments from Chaos touching the various AoS Realms. In terms of raw aesthetics I gotta go with the Iron Golem, very keen to get those painted up. Everything I've seen about the rules has me feeling like this is the best skirmish game GW have yet released. Also, I intend to corral multiple warbands into Cultist squads for my Word Bearers...
 

Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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OK so I put off making this thread because I wanted to give it a nice OP. That sort of ended up with the OP a bit more in the tank for the game than a normal discussion post would be, but I'm OK with that; I played the game eight times on launch day and I really like it.

I lost five of those eight games, but they were fast and good fun. Most importantly they were all really different, and while a few of them were really tough for my faction (kill a specific Untamed Beast and pick up their loot...with Stormcast...on a Twist that cut all ranges to 6"), others I could definitely see how smarter play would have swung things my way.

Ironjawz were my surprise MVPs for the day. They just did not lose fights (even against heavy hitters like the FEC) and while their 3" move is just awful garbage, especially with the heavy emphasis on objective play, their abilities can see them really rocket around and surprise people. I won two games with them, lost one where the objectives just looked too far away and the good fight in front of me looked like more fun (it was, lost the battle, won the fight, which Orruks would definitely see as an absolute win).

Stormcast have scary shooting, but it seems tough to massacre opponents in large numbers, so I think they'll struggle a bit with objectives. The birds actually help counteract that with their massive movement but are crazy fragile, they will definitely be a threat any time a McGuffin needs to be picked up but I think I'll want to field 3 just to make sure one is alive. My one win with Stormcast was actually down to a Gryph-hound, they look middling to me but their triple (bonus attack + bonus disengage) is gold.

Nighthaunts I thought would be my best bet but I struggled a bit with them. They're tough but even the Spirit Hosts can be focused down (I thought I was safe in a "kill the Dagger' mission when mine included a Spirit Host, squig hoppers taught me the error of my ways). The low Strength is an issue. I think I might need to use more chainrasps, but you can't really play the horde game the way Nagash can, there'll be a more optimal balance but it's not obvious to me yet.

I only played against Gloomspite Gitz once, but I'm really excited to get my own warband together; just need Squig Hoppers. They remind me a lot of Tyranids in Kill Team, really good options for both horde and elites. Nets are super annoying, squig hoppers are scary.
 

Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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Everything I've seen about the rules has me feeling like this is the best skirmish game GW have yet released.
I'm only really familiar with the recent stuff, but it's definitely got some good things going for it.

I love Kill Team but using 40K profiles and then adding injury and morale rules to change their context (while very clever) has some odd consequences, like just how much better a 2 damage weapon is than a 1 damage weapon and making Synapse OP. Weak fighters need a lot of luck to do anything to an elite (and can be a straight morale liability), but if they do luck out the elite is probably dead.

I love Underworlds but activations are so precious there that a successful 1 damage attack feels like an opportunity cost. You just need to do so much on each activation if you're fighting a tuned deck.

Warcry probably does favour hordes a bit with objectives and activation shenanigans, but their damage in/out is in a healthier place. There is no way your mook is going to take down that 35 health Brute Boss, and they are very likely to go down when he deigns to allocate an attack action to them, but they'll do *some* damage and the opportunity cost of the attack that wipes them out is real.

Also, I intend to corral multiple warbands into Cultist squads for my Word Bearers...
That is a really good idea.
 

Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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What's the most inexpensive way to get into Warcry?
Rulebook + one of the new faction boxes (or possibly an Orruk troop box + their Warcry cards).

There are various ways to put together a Nighthaunt warband cheaply because they are in the various AoS starter boxes. These will get you Stormcast as well, but not the exact right models. If you're comfortable with proxying then this is probably the strictly cheapest way that still uses AoS minis.

If you already have Gitz, Farstriders, Ironjawz, Briar Queen or Skellies for Underworlds you can upgun them to a warband with +1 box.

The core box is good value since you'll get rules, two teams, and scenery that matches the terrain cards (I intend to mostly approximate that scenery with the Kill Team stuff I already own, but if I wasn't moving countries in a few weeks I would probably have gotten the boxset). It isn't the cheapest though.
 

Montegris

Mostly lurking
Validated User
Hard pass for me as it's age of Sigmar and I still don't care for the setting, but I really like what they want to do with Warcry, I think that exploring this side of Chaos is very interesting (and could easily be adapted as "stuff that happens in the Realms of Chaos" in the Old World) and there's a decent chance I'll get to find a use for some of the models as a conversion for my WFB Chaos army, so all in all, I hope this game does well for GW.
 

Morsla

I mostly paint things
Validated User
Cheapest faction outside of the Chaos warbands would be a box of Bonesplitterz (Savage Orks) and their card pack - that gives you enough models and weapons to cover every possible option for that faction :)
 

Anopheles

I draw bugs
Validated User
Picked up the Gloomspite cards. I’ve had all the models I need for a long time now, so going to hit the table asap. They look very fragile, but dangerous with some sneaky tricks and sudden Squig attacks. So as you’d expect.

I’ll try out the Ironjawz at some point. Plenty of boyz for that warband too.
 
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