Games Workshop revealed the cards for Hrothgorn;s Mantrappers a few days ago, as well as sending me a preview copy, so here is my review of the warband! Most of the images used for this article are from the Warhammer Underworlds Facebook page. The rest I took myself.
If you'd like to read my product review of the box contents themselves, you can read it here.
WiggleFish Warband Review: Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers
Do you like Mollog, but hate the Squigs? Do you want a better version of Thundrik with a pet dog and crowd of weirdos? Then Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers might be the warband for you.
Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers are the best Hunter/Quarry warband so far, and are a very flexible warband capable of using a number of different strategies.
As a 5 fighter warband, one of which is extremely durable, they are able to flex into aggro, control, and hold objective as desired. Hrothgorn himself is a monster of a fighter and tends to most of the heavy lifting, but the rest of the warband also has a few tricks, and once inspired or equipped with the right upgrades can contribute as well.
Some of their strengths are:
Hrothgorn is terrifying once inspired and upgraded.
Bushwakka’s Trap is amazing.
Lots of flexibility in deck building options.
All of the Hunter/Quarry cards work for this warband.
Some of their weaknesses are:
The smaller fighters are easy to kill and can give up glory.
If Hrothgorn does die, it can be very difficult to come back from.
The warband consists of 5 fighters: Hrothgorn the Ogre, his trusty Sabretooth, and his four Gnoblar companions (two of which combine to make up one fighter).
Hrothgorn is one of the single most powerful fighters in the game. He is also such a good hunter that he makes all enemy fighters gain the Quarry keyword as long as he is alive! This opens up a number of options for this warband that are not available even to the other hunter warbands.
His inspire condition is simple, and shared with the rest of the warband: If an enemy fighter is taken out of action, the whole warband inspires. This means the other player really does not want to get close to him.
Inspiring isn’t too difficult for Hrothgorn, since his uninspired side is very solid. 4 Move makes him very difficult to avoid, 6 wounds and 1 block makes him fairly beefy, and his range 1, 2 smash, 3 damage attack action is nothing to sneeze at. His ranged attack is also unique with range 2, 2 fury, 2 damage, making it the highest damage range 3 attack in the game so far that is not a javelin. It also has a nifty push ability that can bring an enemy fighter close (you can also hit them, drive them back out of a lethal, and then pull them back into it!). It is important when to decide to charge with him because unlike Mollog he can only do it once, but if he kills his target the reward is quite large.
Once inspired, Hrothgorn gets MUCH scarier. His melee attack goes to 3 smash, and his ranged attack goes to 3 Fury, making him a very accurate fighter. He also gains another defence dice, which makes him much harder to kill. Finally, his reaction push increases to 2 hexes, meaning he can grab you from 3 hexes away.
Thrafnir joins the Underworlds pets club, and probably ranks somewhere below Riptooth and above Grawl. He is very fast with 5 Move, has a solid attack action, 2 Dodge defence, but only 3 Wounds. Once inspired he gains Cleave and a dice re-roll, making him very accurate and perhaps worth upgrading with +1 Damage upgrades and used as a missile if Hrothgorn has already charged or been taken out of action.
Quiv provides nice re-rolls for Hrothgorn and can be an objective holder or weapon caddy as needed. He dies easy, but keeping him near Hrothgorn can act as bait or deter enemy fighters from doing after him. He gets a little faster once inspired, as well as becoming fairly accurate with his attack action.
Like the other Gnoblars, Bushwakka is pretty terrible stat wise, but his trap is Amazing. Dropping in next to an enemy fighter and then using a push card to deal 2 damage (or 3 if you drop it on a lethal hex) is a very powerful combo that is hard to avoid. You can also use it to block objectives the enemy might be trying to hold.
Luggit and Thwak
Luggit and Thwak is a bit more durable than the rest of the Gnoblars, but otherwise about as useful. The special push rule of the club is interesting because you will almost always at least be able to push your target, and interestingly can also push an on guard fighter if your attack fails, and can push them in any direction. I would generally keep this guy in the back, and either use him as an objective holder or weapon caddy.
The Mantrappers have a number of amazing cards, most notable those that can be used to tool up Hrothgorn himself and turn him into a terrifying unkillable monster.
Below I will rate the cards from 1-4 with the following thoughts behind each rating:
I can’t think of a good reason to ever include this card in a deck
I think this card may see play in a very specific deck, but won’t be common.
This card will be common, but might not be in every deck.
This card should be in every deck for this warband
Of course these are just my personal thoughts on these cards. If you think I got a rating drastically incorrect, or misunderstood a card in some way, please let me know why!
Hrothgorn's Mantrappers have a number of solid objectives, although strangely eight of them are surges, meaning you can't actually make a legal faction card only deck.
Unexpected Cunning - 4 - This card is incredibly good, since it works on upgrades and gambits. It can also be scored in the end phase if you equip three upgrades!
Top of the Food Chain - 2 - This card isn’t really enough of a reward for what it needs you need to do.
Surprising Competence - 1 - This is unlikely to happen without weapon upgrades and is not reliable. Great card art, though!
Momentarily Sated - 2 - Pretty difficult to do in general, like all Annihilation clones.
Hunter’s Feast - 3 - A great reward for killing 2 fighters, but difficult to do in some match-ups.
Flush Them Out - 3 - A good card made easier depending on how many pushes you have (and you should have a lot!)
Extra Crunchy - 2 - A great reward, but hard to score early game.
Dinner Time - 2 - A bit too situational, and dead if Bushwakka dies.
Butchering - 3 - A pretty good end phase for rounds 2-3.
Boxed In - 1 - Not something you really want to happen.
Arm of the Everwinter - 3 - A better version of Scorched Earth, worth it if you are removing tokens.
Always Moving - 2 - A lot of warbands would love an end phase denial, but I think this warbands likes hiding it’s smaller fighters in the back.
There are a number useful gambits for this warband:
Ravenous Fury - 4 - An AMAZING card for this warband, especially when you need to inspire.
Quick Snack - 2 - A decent healing card, but probably won’t make the cut.
Near Miss - 2 - Nice insurance if you need to push a fighter off an objective or something, but probably not worth the slot.
More Traps - 1 - Flipping is nice, but it restricted to one weak fighter, so there are better options.
Icy Breath - 3 - Basically a non-magic sphere of Aqshy, though it doesn't count as your leader casting it like spells. Pretty solid.
Gotcha! - 2 - Nice utility, but not amazing.
Gnoblar Scramble - 3 - A great push card and the reason this warband can try to play objectives if it wants to.
Frozen Earth - 3 - A very nice objective removal card.
Driven Onwards - 3 - Very nice for re-positioning Hrothgorn and still being able to charge.
Carnivore's Senses - 2 - Ensnare is pretty good, so this could be useful now and then, but Sitting Target might be more useful in general.
The warband has a number of solid upgrades, thought most of them are best used on Hrothgorn.
Veteran Hunter - 2 - Probably not worth an upgrade spot.
Toughened Hide - 4 - An AMAZING upgrade for Hrothgorn.
Scion of the Everwinter - 1 - Not worth an upgrade and an action.
Savage Instinct - 3 - Pretty good since ensnare is good in the current meta.
Plucky Pair - 1 - Not worth an upgrade spot.
Massive Bulk - 4 - His own version of Sudden Growth. Very good. Expect 10 wounds, -1 damage Hrothgorns.
Living Avalanche - 2 - Nice to have, but I’d probably just take the normal Great Strength and Sting of the Ur-Grub if i needed damage.
Hunting Beast - 1 - Neat, because you can use it after a drive back, but still probably not worth taking.
Famed Hunter - 4 - An incredible accuracy upgrade for Hrothgorn.
Desperate Parry - 1 - Very cool, but not worth the slot.
Generally, Mantrappers are an aggro warband with the ability to flex into other styles. Inspiring the warband is an early game priority, and then you just increase Hrothgorn’s durability and offensive ability as much as you can.
Although I believe they excel most with a control aggro style, they could flex into objectives due to having four fighters capable of holding objectives and a great push card in the form of Gnoblar Scramble, so they could consider cards like Path to Victory or even Temporary Victory. They are also quite good at removing objectives, so could consider using that as a part of their control strategy as well.
In conclusion, Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers are a very strong warband and should have a large effect on the upcoming meta.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to see how I would play this warband in the current meta, check out my initial deck guide for them here.
To see my review of the universals in this set, and my thoughts on how they will affect the meta, you can read my article on that here.
If you liked this post, great!
If I made any mistakes, missed anything, or could something better next time, let me know!