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Warband Review: The Wurmspat

Games Workshop revealed the cards for The Wurmspat 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: The Wurmspat

Do you like Cursebreakers but hate being overpowered, and always kind of thought they smelled too fresh? The Wurmspat might be for you!


Overview:


The Wurmspat are the game’s 6th three fighter warband and what I would consider the 5th “stormcast equivalent,” with 4 wounds, 3 move (Sanson Farstrider and Brodus Blightbane being small exceptions to this rule), and solid defensive stats. What separates the Wurmspat from these other warbands in their increased durability via their special rule, a bit more of a focus on objectives, and having a single wizard. Notably, they are the first Beastgrave warband to include no Hunters.


I consider this warband’s primary playstyle to be control/aggro flex, with some magic and hold objective capabilities available.


Some of their strengths are:

  • Good Durability

  • Unlikely to give up much glory from kills

  • They usually win the roll to go first or second in the first round.

  • Magic capabilities

  • Excellent inspired stats.

Some of their weaknesses are:

  • Slow Move characteristics

  • An all or nothing inspire condition that is weaker against smaller warbands

  • Typically low glory ceiling, reliance on glory denial strategies

  • The Fighters:

  • The Wurmspat fighters all have a few things in common:


Inspire Condition:

On a scale of “why?” to “wow!”, I consider this inspire condition to be “okay.”


The upside of this inspire condition is that it is fairly reliable by the second round, and all of the fighters inspire at once when it happens. Power cards can also speed this process up immensely, and there are a number of good options for them to take between pushes (for lethal hexes) and plink damage. It also makes most warbands think twice about scoring Calculated Risk, as that only helps you get closer to inspiration.


The downside of this inspire condition is that it can be difficult to achieve in the first round without the right power cards, and you’ve usually activated your fighters by then. It also heavily incentives you to take a number of plink damage cards, which can limit deck building in some ways.


Inspiring is important for this warband, because the stats of all fighters increase very significantly, especially the durability of Septimus and Ghulgoch, so it should always be apart of this warband’s game plan.


Damage Reduction:


All of the fighters in this warband have the innate, uninspired ability to reduce incoming damage if they roll a Block result on their defense rolls.

Some important rules interactions to keep in mind:

  • This ability is not a reaction, so it cannot be blocked.

  • It does not require the Block results to be successes, so cleave does not shut this ability off.

  • It reduces the amount of damage dealt, so it still works against Larval Lance and any other weapons whose characteristic cannot be modified.

  • This ability stacks with other damage reduction abilities such as Eldritch Ward and Potion of Constitution, down to the minimum of 1.

  • It only works vs attack actions, so damage from Lethals, Gambit spells, Lightning Whip, Gambits like Snare, Inspired Snirk’s Action, the Bushwakka’s Trap, etc cannot be reduced.

How good is this? Here is some math on this ability:


The chance to be eligible to reduce damage by: Exactly 1 / Exactly 2 / At least 1

  • 1 Defence Dice: 33% / N/A / 33%

  • 1 Defence Dice with a re-roll: 55% / N/A / 55%

  • 2 Defence Dice: 44% / 11% / 55%

  • 2 Defence Dice with a re-roll: 44% / 26% / 70%

It’s worth noting that the above chances are just how often a Block will be rolled, making you eligible for the damage reduction. Many times when this happens, the attack will fail and do no damage, or the or the attack may only do one damage in the first place, so it is not quite as simple as saying they have a flat 33% damage deduction. The more likely the attack it to hit, though, the close these numbers get to exact, meaning this ability is the most valuable against accuracy stacking attacks that make a successful defence roll unlikely.


With one defence dice, I would not call this ability reliable, but it is a nice bonus, and should save your fighters from death now and then.


With 2 defence dice, this ability becomes more reliable, and along with how many attacks simply fail against two Block, makes the fighters very durable.


Re-rolls also increase the chances significantly, so may be worth taking in your decks.

More than anything else, this ability is great because it forces your opponent to plan for it. Even if it is only a 33% chance to roll a Block on one dice, opponents will either need to plan on doing one extra damage in order to get the kill, or gamble not only on their attack landing, but on this ability not triggering. This can force opponents to waste damage buffs like inspired attack or delay their charges until they have the damage upgrades to overkill your fighters.


The Fighters:


Fecula Flyblown:

Fecula uninspired side is very reminiscent of Stormsire and Vortimus, with 4 Wounds, 1 Block, and a Range 3, 1 Damage, 2 Focus Spell Attack action. Unlike the other two casters, her melee attack is only Range 1, but is also 2 Smash and 2 Damage.


Her inspired side is very interesting in that she has a very accurate melee attack with 3 Smash 2 Damage, lower than average durability with only 1 Block, and the most accurate Spell Attack action so far on a fighter card, hitting on Channels instead of Focus, but only dealing 1 Damage.


In general, this makes her a fairly solid fighter with important magic capabilities, but much less likely to be a super killing machine than Stormsire or Vortimus might, needing more upgrades to reach the same power levels, and lacking a +1 Spell damage upgrade.


Because she is the easier of your fighters to kill, and the Warband’s only wizard, you will want to be careful how much magic you include in the deck, and use the other two fighters to protect her. On the flip side, because she is more suited to a support role compared to some of the other wizards, she may be a lower priority for your opponent, and may be able to last long enough to make use of any spells you do include.


Septimus, Plaguesworn

If you like Ammis, you are going to love Septimus.


Uninspired, a Range 2, 2 Smash 2 Damage attack is nothing to sneeze at, but his inspired profile is where Septimus really shines (stinks?).


Inspired, his Range 2, 2 Smash attack increases to 3 Damage, and he gains a Range 1, 3 Fury 2 damage attack with Scything, making him a real danger to both the smaller high wound warbands and the larger lower wound warbands. He also gains another defence dice, making the damage reduction ability much more reliable, turning him into one of the best fighters in the game and making inspiring him a priority.


Ghulgoch The Butcher

The Rastus of the group, Ghulgoch is a decent fighter with a very accurate Range 1, 3 Smash 2 Damage attack action, making him the most accurate of the fighters while uninspired.

Inspired, he gains cleave on his attack action, and another valuable defence dice, making him much harder to kill and solidly better against Block fighters, but he isn’t nearly as scary as Septimus.


These stats mean Ghulgoch is the early game bully of the warband. His very accurate attack makes him very likely to kill or wound a fighter on his first charge, which is very important for the inspiration of the warband. In an ideal scenario in some match-ups, Ghulgoch can kill or wound a fighter, and then you will have the ploys to damage two more fighters in the next power step to inspire your warband. This allows Septimus and Fecula to utilize their inspired profiles, and increases Ghurgoch’s durability after diving in.


Faction Cards:


The Wurmspat have, in my opinion, the least powerful set of faction cards that we’ve had so far in Beastgrave, but perhaps the most consistent in quality. Most of the cards are “okay” but very few are terrible, so I don’t know how many will see much play if they are competing with universals, but most could still work in a pinch, and there are a few very good cards in there.


Below I will rate the cards from 1-4 with the following thoughts behind each rating:

  1. I can’t think of a good reason to ever include this card in a deck.

  2. I think this card may see play in a very specific deck, but won’t be common.

  3. This card will be common, but might not be in every deck.

  4. 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!


Objectives:

Blessed Endurance - 3 - Due to how much damage is usually needed to take this warband out of action, and the number of 3 damage attacks in the meta, this is a solid surge objective. It’s worth noting that this card looks at the damage characteristic of the attack, so it works even if the damage is reduced. It’s also worth noting that it seems like you should be able to score this card if you are killed by a lethal hex, pit trap, or snare, since the attack action itself did not take the fighter out of action, but the FAQ for Too Dumb To Die seems to indicate otherwise.

Blessings Three - 2 - Not a terrible card for this Warband due to how few fighters you have, and how durable they are, but sort of unlikely to score in the first round, and probably not worth the end phase slot in most decks.

Chosen Warriors - 2 - Against larger warbands that are popular at the moment, this is a very solid 2 glory end phase card, but is difficult to score against the smaller warbands.


Cycle of Decay - 2 - I only like a few of the Cycle cards, but you did take a lot of them, this might be okay. As it is, I think there are better cards.

Faithful Reward - 4 - An easy end phase that you should be able to score in the first round, since a lot of your general strategy should be focused on inspiring anyway. Goes great with Fired Up.

Fell the Faithless - 2 - Unfortunately probably not enough of a reward to make into one of the 6 coveted Surge slots.

Nurgle’s Garden Grows - 2 - If this card was for any end phase, I would love it. As it is, it’s just not enough of a reward for holding the whole game.

Rotbringers - 3 - If you are taking 2-3 spells, this should be reasonably doable.

Sacred Tri-Lobe - 1 - I can’t see taking 1 supremacy in this warband, so there is no reason to take two, either.

Seeping Rot - 3 - Effectively a copy of Steadfast Defender, this card is pretty decent once your fighters inspire, especially if you have cards to put them on guard.

Spread His Blessings - 2 - This card is fairly scorable if you are playing aggressively, since it’s usually a good idea to stand on objectives for blocking purposes, and having some range on two of your fighters helps as well. There are just probably better cards.

Strength of the Devoted - 2 - It might be possible to build a deck around this, but would be very hard to do in most matchups, and I have a hard time seeing how you would score much other glory.


Gambit Spells:


The Wurmspat have three spells of decent utility.

Blades of Putrefaction - 2 - A 75% chance to cast for a level 2 wizard, this is a solid damage buff if used early in the round if you like fishing for crits.

Gift of Contagion - 2 - A 75% chance to cast for a level 2 wizard, this is a nice spell in many match-ups, as this can make it very difficult for warbands that rely on a single fighter to kill your fighters, and notably works on all attack actions including ranged and spell attacks. The main downside is that it only lasts for one round.

Rancid Visitations - 2 - A decent effect, but probably not something you’d take unless you also have Innate channels and a generally spell focused deck.


Ploys:


The Wurmspat have their own special type of ploy card with the keyword Cycle. Most of these effects persist, but you can only have one Cycle card active at a time. This is a cool mechanic, unfortunately I don’t feel like most of them will see much play. Their other ploys are fairly solid, but not too many of them really stand out as being above average to me.

Blessing of Rust - 2 - Useful in games against block warbands, but situational based on the matchup, and somewhat hard countered by Survival Instincts and guard in general.

Fecund Vigour - 1 - Our first Cycle card. Unfortunately a single re-roll is worse than just having another dice, so this card is fairly weak and you might as well just take Determined Effort and play it right before your Attack action, since playing this card will cancel any other persisting Cycle cards.

Nauseous Revulsion - 3 - Our second cycle card, and it’s a great one against any warband attacking you with range 1 attacks.

Rampant Disease - 1 - Another Cycle card, and it stinks worse than Septimus. It’s a generally bad card, but the fact that it also shuts off other Cycle cards makes it a “never take this” card.

Steady Advance - 4 - Pushes are great, and this is effectively Two Steps Forward with no step back.

The Burgeoning - 2 - Another Cycle card with a very interesting effect. It effectively shuts off lethal hexes for your warband until you touch one, and could be used to help avoid losing a fighters since they are generally weak against lethals. It can also just be used to heal 1, which isn’t great, but could be useful. I don’t feel like I will take this in most decks, but it’s a cool card to exist.

Unnatural Vitality - 3 - Our last Cycle card, this is a nice mobility boost to your whole warband, the only downside being that it does turn off if you play Nauseous Revulsion.


Upgrades:

Fly Swarm - 2 - Great vs ranged attacks, but situational.

Foetid Shroud - 2 - Re-rolls are great for this warband, but I don’t like it being restricted to Fecula, and there is a universal, un-restrictive version available with Champion’s Fortitude.

Hulking Physique - 2 - Tons of value in this upgrade, but limited to one already slow fighter. I might still take it in a more aggressive deck, though, because +1 Damage and +1 Wounds is pretty amazing.

Living Plague - 2 - A nice card for this warband because they are likely to survive attacks, and therefore may do some damage back.

Pestilent Deliverer - 2 - A situational card based on the matchup. If Block warbands are meta, it’s a good one.

Putrid Vomit - 2 - Ranged attacks are nice to have sometimes, but this isn’t anything special. A nice option to have, I guess.

Stolid Bulk - 2 - A decent way to become immune to drive back, but not as good as Survival Instincts, and I’m not sure you take both of them.

Unstoppable Tread - 3 - A better version of Duellist’s Speed, and great on Septimus once he gets stuck in.

Virulent Blade - 3 - Very nice for either fighter, especially Septimus.

Retchling - 2 - A good card if you plan on taking a lot of spells, I am just not sure you should.


Ultimately, I think the Wurmspat are a welcome addition to the Underworlds roster and the current meta.


I do sort of wish they were a little stronger in the faction card department, and am not sure how they will play into the current objective meta, but I believe they will find their place with the help of universal cards, and would likely do well in a more aggro focused 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 by article on that here.


If you liked this post, great!


If I made any mistakes, missed anything, or could something better next, let me know!

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