The Wildest of Hunts
Skaeth's Wild Hunt
Tabletop - Post HM/Wurmspat
Hello fellow Underworlds-Nerds,
I've come to share my experiences with the Wild Hunt with you. The Wild Hunt are in my opinion one of the best aggro-warbands in the metagame right now. Their no-nonsense play style make them fun to play and easy to execute. Though there are a lot of nuances to them which you need to implement into your gameplay lest you find yourself wiped out at the end of round two. So without further ado let's get into into the deck!
(you can click the image for a deck builder link)
WUOnline Deck Code (If Applicable):
deck building guide
How did this deck come to be?
At the time of creation of this deck objective play and namely the Grimwatch (GW) were clearly the top dog. So a counter to GW had to be come up with. After internal testing my playgroup and I found that the Wild Hunt (WH) actually hits pretty hard and has a proper match up into the GW and other horde warbands (Ghosts, Goblins, Sep. Guard, Despoilers) but also plays well against Profiteers, Guardians and other mid wounds warbands. So I started to really get into the WH and tried to figure out how to score consistently and win consistently. After a lot of trial and error and a couple of tournaments (German Grand Skirmish, Prague Open) I came up with this list. I actually took it to the Prague Open and placed tenth with it. Had I lost one fewer map I'd have advanced to the top eight. I took me much longer to devise this deck guide than I anticipated, so the hints and tactics in here might be a little outdated but the core of it stays the same.
After experimenting with a flex playstyle (blowing the horn more often and getting onto objectives from time to time) i realised you don't have the activations to spare with the WH and you won't outscore your opponent by it. So i opted for an all out aggro playstyle that puts your opponent under maximum pressure when executed well. Please keep in mind the metagame at the time of the creation of this deck: Post Wurmspat/Hrothgorn but GW and Thorns clearly S-Tier.
Run-Down, Brought to Bay: I actually don't like these objectives at all and they are probably the weakest cards in here but in lack of better replacements I opted for these. The current metagame makes them ok because you will face a lot of two wound fighters. I had Ritual Kill in here which might be better from time to time because you don't have to roll dice but after taking out lethal ward i was left with one fewer gambit that damages enemies on objectives so i took it out. So Run down and brought to bay restrict you in a fashion that you have to roll dice and also kill a fighter in a specific way (by a charge or in enemy territory). They are still scorable consistently though in most match ups but if something easier comes along they are probably the first to go.
Kurnoth's Snare: Awesome card! You will score it 90% of the time within a couple of activations or just immediately in the power step. Drive your opponent back into a lethal or just push him with a card to score this. Sometimes your opponent will do it for you (Thorns). Fun fact: when setting up objectives and lethals try to place your lethal in a way so that if your opponents uses Varclav to push the Chainrasps there is only one way from a specific starting hex to an Objective token so that he has to push through it, so if you draw KS in your opening hand you will immediately score it.
Gathered Momentum: Super good card! Lighaen and Skaeth can immediately score this and staring from round two everybody can do it. Lighaen is probably gonna do it for you early on because you don't want Skaeth to attack too early to keep him out of harms way longer. Also you want to score Bold Conquest and Gathered momentum simultaneously or at least draw into it and not have Skaeth charged yet. So the Cat is not good for a lot but scoring GM is its job!
Bold Conquest: As written above try to hold out with Skaeth a little as he can easily score this everytime with his javelin but you don't want him to charge too early in fear of repercussions. When Setting up objectives try to imagine already where Skaeth is coming down and count hexes from there to put down an objective in the correct spot so when you do happen to draw BC and GM in your opening hand you can sore both in one activation.
Cover Ground: This is actually the latest addition to the objective deck (Thanks to Matt from the Critdef Podcast for giving me the hint). It's easy to score with a couple of cards and basically free glory if you have Spectral Wings, Tracking or Great Strides in hand.
So looking at the surges you realize that you don't only want to kill when charging but try to score at least two glory by a kill. So be mindful of who, where and when to charge to get the most out of it.
Most of the Endphase Objectives are glory mulltipliers that reward you for playing in a specific way and i chose them for being easy or rewarding. Also here come the big gains. I tried to include as many two glory objectives as possible because you need the glory vs GW, Ghosts and all the other crazy stuff out there.
Fired Up: Trivial to score and basically free glory. In some tough games you will only have one charged fighter after round one so be mindful who that is going to be. All the other times this +1 for free.
Solid Gains: I tried Great Gains but it is not consistent enough in this deck. Also i had Opening Gambit in here for it but with Solid Gains you're less likely to completely brick your opening hand. For example drawing Fired Up, Solid Gains and Combination Strike in the Opening hand still gives you a fighting chance without having to mulligan whereas Opening Gambit in place of SG would have meant a certain loss of the game or throwing away 4 glory out of 16 which is quite bad.
Combination Strike: Probably the hardest to score because you cannot control your draw order. But the deck needs the glory and you score it more often than not. If you think you can do with opening gambit then switch it.
Hunt's End: 98 % of the time this will be scored by killing a 4 wound fighter. The other two percent are super stand-off games where you didn't draw into your move shenanigans and have to settle on controlling objectives. Killing a 4 wound fighter in the beginning can be tough so concentrate on other stuff maybe. If playing against Cursebreakers (CB), Rippa’s, Wurmspat or Condemners (heaven forbid Farstriders or Steelhearts') this will be scored at some time in the game by you doing your normal thing. Against gitz unfortunately it’s probably dead and against some other warbands you will have to wait until your opponent puts +1 wounds on somebody killable or inspires their dwarves.
Slay the Corrupted: Metacall. Really good right now against everything non CB, Rippa, Wurmspat. Even Profiteers will give you this more often than not. Quite good aggro endphase objective. Should the meta change this maybe has to go but for now its quite a good pick. I actually only put in in here after realising just how killy the WH is.
Keep Chopping: This one is tricky. In some games (GW, Thorns) you just attack four times anyway thus scoring it on the go. In other games this will goad you into attacking and charging when you shouldn’t. Figuring this out is pretty tricky. For example charging blindly into Condemners or CB might not be the correct thing to do just to score it. In this case you have to hold and maybe toss it later and hope for something easier.
The Gambits are divided in categories: Damage and accuracy, speed and disruption.
Dmg and Accuracy: Snare and pit trap are must haves because the WH lacks dmg output. Fortunately every one except Lighaen is a hunter so Snare will work often but be careful! Sometimes you actually wanna charge the cat in but it cannot use Snare!
I wanted to include at least two accuracy cards and i tried them all. There is Inspired attack, Haymaker, Sitting target, galvanised, keen avarice and determined effort that gives us more dice. All these cards are kind of bad for the WH because they have draw backs that you will only come to realize in full when you played a couple of games. Let's start with inspired attack: this card is great in rounds 2 and 3 but only an inspired fighter can use it for range 1 so Althaen can never use it unless you give her a weapon and nobody can use it round 1 so it's a dead card often.
Sitting target is great in theory but often times you need to kill that ghoul that just moved onto the objective asap or kill that rippa that just charged into your own ranks. In these cases it is just dead again. Keen avarice and galvanised also don't warrant the draw backs so i won't talk about these anymore. Haymaker is great in theory but often you need to make something happen early in the round and you cannot afford to not roll your defense dice. Losing your fighters too early is basically gg so haymaker sadly for the WH is just not good enough. I tried it a lot actually. That leaves us with determined effort and i have to say i like it the most. It's just one die but there are no draw backs so you can use it early on and without having to have the right circumstances. So in the end i opted for DE and IA. IA i'm still on the fence with though :/
Tracking, Spectral Wings:
You need these to score Cover Ground but you also need these to be able strike basically anywhere. The second point is super important. Without the speed package some opponents can just shut you out by offsetting the board or longboarding you. With speed cards you will get in there nevertheless. Sometimes the only killable fighters are in the back (Ironhail, Lighaen), in these cases you will also need a long charge with skeath and then have him throw the javelin.
Nightmare in the Shadows (NitS) and Distraction are probably the best cards in the game right now so not taking those demands a very strong reason which we just not have here. Also they combine with KS and all the other shenanigans that much better players than me already talked about in length. Mischievous Spirits (MS) is probably the best anti-objective card there is right now so I switched it in for restless prize. Restless prize can be countered whereas mischievous spirits will not give you the same game state after your opponent also plays it. Also you know that you have it in your hand at the start of the round so you can let you opponent waste a couple of activations to set up temporary victory and the like and then in the last moment play it to basically ruin his whole round. A well timed MS can be game. That leaves us with Hunt in Concert. This card is just a better sidestep and can put you into range, out of harms way, give you support, put you onto an objective/into enemy territory yadda yadda. It’s good!
The Upgrade slots are actually even more fought over than the gambit slots in my opinion and I had to make very hard decisions when cutting down to 10-10. The Upgrades are divided into offense, defense and utility.
Starting with offense:
Great Strength and Sting of the Ur-Grub give you much needed dmg so these are mandatory. You can switch for Gloryseeker to also have Althaens bow and Skaeth’s javelin hit harder sometimes but I found that I most often need to kill 3 wound fighters and Gloryseeker is dead in these instances.
Eye of Kurnoth is a very good upgrade that just multiplies in usage when used in a vicious roundhouse kick or when combined with Althaen’s Fast-shot. Speaking of Fast-shot: Don’t leave home without it. With out Fast-Shot Althaen is just plainly bad and you only play with three fighters. You can switch for another weapon to give to Althaen but I found the bow to be extremely useful for pushing enemies around without putting her in harms way. You can also push two enemies around in one activation.
Spiritbond is a late addition to the deck but it proved to be valuable. It’s offense and defense combined and is just nuts on Skaeth because when doing his roundhouse kicks you cancelling out important supports for your opponent makes you much more accurate. I dig it.
Survival instincts is crazy. Charge in early with Karthaen onto an objective token, kill a dude, put it on him and have a two 3+ defense model that cannot be driven back. Also great on Skaeth but honestly just one of the best defense upgrades in the game. Might be restricted some day.
Hale Charm made the cut because I think it is a little better than Great fortitude and can be clutch sometimes on Skaeth but also the other guys.
Trophy Belt and Tome of Offerings are must haves because you need to be able to compete with that insane glory ceiling that GW and Thorns (even gitz and despoilers) rack up. Don’t put Trophy Belt on Althaen or Lighaen. Sometimes you do crazy scything attacks with Skaeth scoring you a supremacy with each kill. At that moment it’s probably game but GW can still win.
Great Strides belongs to the speed package and found a slot because of it.
Honourable mentions go to: Potion of Rage, Spectral Armour, defensive rerolls and a lot of gambit cards, which have been in the deck at some point but didn’t make the cut. They are just too many for me to write down and talk about their pros and cons.
When putting down a board first be mindful of how your opponent will likely put his board down later. If they are playing aggro they will probably put it down wide and get into your face, if they are playing objectives or flex they might do a full offset, if they are playing mollog or hrothgorn they will probably longboard you. So try to anticipate this and put down a board that won’t likely be rotated like this that you’re shut out. For example if you don’t have any starting hexes in the top right corner of your board, your opponent will likely, when playing Thorns or smth similar, put down the molten shardpit and do a full offset. You will have to navigate through a molten battlefield with a lot of lethal hexes and without your movement cards this can prove fatal right from the get-go.
If you can choose then always take the second board, so you can put down the boards like you want (probably wide or with a little offset) and then use your objective tokes to a) disrupt their objective placement and b) control where lethal hexes will come down in your territory.
Positioning your fighters:
One of the biggest advantages of the Wild Hunt is their speed. You have 4 and 5 movement fighters right from the start so use that to your advantage. Position your fighters half aggressively, with that I mean put them down so that you cannot be charged but you can in turn charge the starting hexes and objectives in your opponent’s half. Lighaen mostly comes down first somewhere far away from lethal hexes and edge hexes but still in 5 hex range of 1-2 starting hexes of the opponent so it can score you GS. Althaen can also be quite comfortably put down basically anwhere because she can charge nearly everywhere with her tremendous range. Karthaen mostly takes the furthermost spot which is still the most back because he defends best at the start. Also in this playstyle you blow the horn rather seldom so you can afford to lose him as opposed to Sheoch or Skaeth. Speaking of those two: Skaeth is undoubtedly the strongest fighter and can hit anywhere so put him out of harms way but in range of objective tokens for BC and ideally 5 hexes away for GS. Also the objective tokens are ideally within 3 hexes of a couple of starting hexes of your opponent in order for you to score BC while throwing the javelin. Sheoch once inspired is a very accurate fighter with 3 Hammers and cleave. I have read and heard in other posts and podcasts that people put him in front and don’t mind him dying. I strongly disagree here, Sheoch is very reliable later in the game, do not waste him.
When there is one directive when playing WH it is called Charge! Ideally you will charge in 4 times in round one to inspire 4 fighters. The order of these charges is crucial though and also the positioning of your fighters after the charge. Sometimes you need to hit hard early on in order to score glory to equip your upgrades so you can score your other objectives more reliably. In other situations you need to hang back a bit and let the round develop in order to understand what your opponent is trying to achieve and how best to disrupt their endphase scoring. In these cases charging in Althaen first can be the right thing to do. You will not commit your stronger fighters too early and she can stay rather safely in the back while shooting her bow. Starting from round 2 onwards the majority of your fighters will ideally be inspired and still on the battlefield. Here is where the most glory will come your way. Try to maximize your action economy. One action should not only kill 1 enemy fighter but score you at least two glory, either through ToO/Trophy Belt, through a surge objective or through the advancement of your endphase scoring (KC/StC/HE). Skaeth can get really scary here. With Eye of Kurnoth and ToO/Trophy Belt you can score up to one supremacy per kill. Have him charge in the middle of a lot of ghouls/goblins/ghosts and watch the glory train depart the station. This is of course dice dependent as always.
After a while you should have figured out when and where to charge and how to maximize your glory per action taken.
I hope i might have insiperd your interest in this underappreciated warbands (again). They can feel very rewarding to play and i think one can learn a lot about the game itself when playing a rather squishy, unforgiving warband like the Wild Hunt.
Feel free to comment to this guide and I will answer the questions you might have.
Let the hunt begin!
If you found this guide useful, click the glory token to increase it's rating!