A Warhammer Underworlds Blog & Podcast

Warband Review: Hedkrakka’s Madmob

WAAAGH! Welcome to the meanest and bestest warband review out there! Seriously though, in today’s article I’ll be reviewing the brand new mean and green warband to hit the Direchasm: Hedkrakka’s Madmob. I’ll be covering the fighter cards and rate all the faction specific objectives, gambits, and upgrades. If you are interested in hearing our take on the Universal cards that come in this expansion, check out the site tomorrow. Thank you to Games Workshop for providing me a preview copy to review. While I can’t get into the physical contents just yet, I can go over all the cards previewed over at Warhammer Community.

Note: As per my previous articles, I’ll be using the following rating system.

  • A score of “A” means that the card is very powerful and should almost always be included in your deck builds.
  • “B” means that the card is strong and will usually be included, but not always.
  • A score of “C” means that card can be good in certain situations but will usually require extra support.
  • Lastly, a score of “D” means the card is on the weaker side of things. It doesn’t mean that it is inherently bad but perhaps can be considered hard to use or counter intuitive to your game plan.

 

If you prefer to listen to this review instead, check out our 48th episode on Path to Glory. We’ll have our Youtube review up as well later today on our channel.

Time to unleash that BIG WAAAGH! ENERGY!!!

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Warband Mechanics:

As you can see from the preview over on Warhammer Community, and the handful of articles that came before it, this warband lives and breathes off the Primacy Token. Unlike most of the warbands in this game, the warband’s inspiration condition is firmly rooted with your leader, Hedkrakka, via the Primal Portent rule. If he is on the table, whenever you gain the Primacy Token, you can elect a fighter and inspire them. That’s pretty huge and means that he is essential to getting things going on your end. Keep him alive.

The second mechanic to keep in mind of is Primal Surge. Traditionally, the only way to gain the Primacy Token, outside of cards, is to either one-shot an enemy fighter, hold 4 objectives, and/or eliminate the enemy leader via an attack action. One thing to note off the bat is that this special rule allows you to gain the Primacy Token is to just eliminate an opposing fighter, regardless of how many wounds tokens they have. That’s huge! Keep in mind that the only fighter who does not have this special rule is Dakko.

Taking advantage of these special rules are essential when piloting this warband. Gaining the Primacy Token often will be helpful and these guys have the tools to do it.

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Fighters:

Hedkrakka, Gob of Gork:

It’s nice to see another Destruction based Wizard, specifically an Orruk caster. Hedkrakka is the leader of this fearsome foursome and a level 2 Wizard to boot! Like many of the magic wielding denizens in the Underworlds, this fighter has a ranged spell attack action and a staff attack action. Jumping into his melee attack, it’s a range 2, 2 fury, 2 damage – not the most accurate attack in the world but good enough for an un-inspired side. His magical attack is particularly cool, it is a range 3, hits on focus, and deals 1 damage however, if you are adjacent to your target, it hits for 2 damage. Magical ‘eadbutt incoming! His bottom stat-line is 3 move, 2 dodge, and 4 wounds. The movement 3 isn’t the best but it makes sense given that you are piloting a melee centric warband. I love the 2 dodge, it’s actually a fantastic defensive characteristic which makes him quite survivable early on. In fact, defensively, he is just like Lady Harrow – which we all know how tanky she can be.

On the inspired side, not much changes. Hedkrakka’s jump to a much needed 4 move and his Bone Krusha spell attack action jumps to 3 damage when targeting adjacent enemy fighters. That’s actually a pretty big deal because if you can inspire him quickly, he can deal some serious damage off the bat. Oh, and his staff goes to 3 fury which interestingly makes him the most accurate, statistically, staff wielder in the game.

As mentioned earlier, your goal is to keep Hedkrakka safe so that you can inspire the rest his compatriots, similarly to Thundrik and Morgwaeth. His ability to ramp up your warband will be key to victory in most of your games. Also love his snake familiar, Mr. Fangs, that’s just so freaking cool. Interestingly, your leader is the only fighter who is not a Hunter so keep that in mind with deck building.

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Toofdagga:

First off, let’s just get the Wolverine comparison out of the way. My man here is taking cosplay to the next level. Toofdagga is a Hunter and has a melee attack that hits for 3 fury and deals 2 damage. His bottom stat-line is 3 move, 1 dodge, and 4 wounds. Fairly respectable. One of the most important parts about this fighter is his Tireless Trackers rule. This allows your to push two other friendly fighters (Wollop and Dakko) 1 hex towards an enemy leader. This rule is amazing and it can help overcome poor board setups. Towards the enemy leader, while it can be counter-played, essentially means you can move your fighters forward which is pretty good for them.

Upon inspiring, he gains an additional move and a die on defense. That 2 doge is amazing as it dramatically improves his survivability. His melee attack also jumps up to ludicrous levels of accuracy as 4 fury is amazing. He also gets a special rule on this attack which gives him +1 damage when you roll a critical hit.

I really like this fighter, he’s going to be someone who you want to inspire quickly as your opponent will probably target him first.

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Wollop Da Skull:

Wollop Da Skull is the bruiser of the group and is sporting a range 1, 2 smash, 2 damage attack with a special rule called Leveller. Essentially, this is a built in Gloryseeker – he can deal an extra point of damage when targeting an enemy with 4 wounds or more. His bottom stat-line is identical to Toofdagga – 3 move, 1 dodge, and 4 wounds. He’s a Hunter, too.

One inspired, his attack action gains cleave and he jumps to 4 movement. He also gains the Lucky Warpaint special rule which allows him to re-roll one dice in his defense rolls. If you’ve played Skaeth’s Wildhunt then you’ll be quite familiar with this special rule. While it doesn’t help him against multiple enemy attack successes, the re-roll can come clutch from time to time.

Interestingly, I find Wollop to be low on the inspire totem pole. He doesn’t really gain much as he starts the game with the innate +1 damage when targeting larger fighters. You will definitely prioritize Toofdagga first and then either Hedkrakka or Dakko. Still, I’m looking forward to getting him to high levels of damage output when the situation arises.

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Dakko Sharp-Stikka:

The final orruk of the bunch is Dakko Sharp-Stikka, a keen-eyed archer, well as keen-eyed as orruks can be, who hits the gym every day of the week. As the ranged fighter of the group, he’s got a range 3, 2 fury, 1 damage attack. This attack profile does come with a built in reaction, Lotsa Arrers, which allows him to shoot twice as long as he has no move or charge tokens. If you do decide to use this reaction, he gets hit with a charge token so use it wisely. If you set the board up right, after his push from Toofdagga, he can probably get 2 back-to-back shots at the start of the game should you want to do that. Just like the other Hunters in the group, he starts with 3 move, 1 dodge, and 4 wounds as well.

While he doesn’t have the best attack in the game, he does have a cool rule called Primal Tracker. If Dakko ends a move action on an objective in enemy territory, and there are no enemy fighters within 2 hexes of him, you will gain the Primacy Token. It’s a nifty special rule which makes him quite useful in the early game. Getting the token early means you get a free inspire and then benefit from the myriad ways the warband can via their mechanics and cards.

When inspired, he becomes decently accurate as his bow attack jumps to 3 fury. He also goes to 4 move and gains the Lucky Warpaint special rule which is nice. If you stick Fighter’s Ferocity and Gloryseeker on him, he can potentially do 6 damage to an enemy fighter with 4 or more wounds. While unlikely, if it does happen it’s going to feel great. Worst case scenario, he makes for an excellent weapon caddie.

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Faction Objectives:

Biggest and Meanest: We’ve seen this before in other warbands and while it is good with warbands who sport larger wound totals, I find it difficult to consistently get this off in most games. Most warbands in this season, and other seasons really, have at least 1 fighter with 4 or more wounds. Additionally, you need a wound granting upgrade as well. It’s playable but I’ll be passing on this one.

Rating: C

Bring it On: This reminds me of cards like Steadfast Defender in that your opponent dictates when you’ll score it. For me, I dislike cards like these because if your opponent doesn’t do what you want them to do, this can clog up your hand which can lead to inefficient glory scoring of the course of a game. If you do decide to go for this card, your fighters are fairly survivable (if the attack even ands as you can score this even if they charge and miss) so you should score this more often than not.

Rating: C

Dead Sneaky: The only fighter to have an innate reaction is Dakko so if you do decide to take this card, keep him alive until this is scored. Obviously you can use cards as well to support in the scoring of this so if you notice you have a bunch of reactions in your deck, this could be worth including.

Rating: C

‘Ere We Go!: I like this card as it has a lot of synergy with some of the more popular end phase cards in the meta right now – think Bold Deeds, Show of Force, and Dominant Display. If your plan is to swarm into enemy territory, this will slot in nicely. The second condition is a nice backup as well as you’ll most likely be charging four times as well. You can also score this even if you have 1 friendly fighter left on the board, too.

Rating: B

Eye of Gorkmorka: The assumption is that when playing this warband you should have the Primacy Token more often than not. Assuming you do have it, holding an objective with your leader is doable. It is fairly telegraphed if your opponent is familiar with the warband so keep that in mind. I think the best way to do it is to charge with Hedkrakka to blanket the play as much as possible. I do like that it is a Dual so it does mix well with Set the Tempo. With that being said, it isn’t high on my list but certainly something that could work.

Rating: C

Great Hunters: Again, you will most likely have the fighter token and have every friendly fighter in enemy territory. For a third end phase card, it is quite reliable. Additionally, if your fighters are camping out in enemy territory, you in theory should be taking out enemy fighters as well. Keep in mind there will be times where your opponent will steal the Primacy Token away from you which could stop the 3 glory score. Is it better than Set the Tempo or The Avatar Risen? I’m not sure as those can be scored prior to the third end phase. Furthermore, this could clog up your hand as well if you draw it early. I think if you build for it, it works but otherwise it is a risky prospect.

Rating: C

Green Fury: Now this is an interesting card. You could technically charge through a lethal hex and then hope to hit your opponent. That is probably the most reliable way to score this card. Aside from that, you could score this throughout the course of the game. The attack has to land though which makes it not as reliable as I’d have liked. Still, it’s definitely doable albeit not efficient. One cool thing about this is that it denies Primacy for your opponent.

Rating: C

Heralds of the Waaagh!:  The best part about this card is that it says surviving friendly fighters so you can score this with 1 fighter. With that being said, it isn’t that attractive since this is 1 glory. I think you can find better options out there in the universal pool. Also if your leader meets an early end, this is a dead card.

Rating: D

Hunt the World Spirit: So off the bat, you’ll almost never score this via the second condition. I don’t think that it is too hard to hold 2 objectives with a 4 fighter warband. However, half the time your opponent will be seeking to hold more objectives so you’ll often get knocked off. It is difficult and telegraphed outside of Dakko holding an objective. The passive scoring is nice though and this becomes considerably easier if you run it with Glorious Triumph. I do think it suits the warband better to focus on aggressive play.

Rating: C

Smash ‘Em: Often your game plan will rely on eliminating enemy fighters so you can gain the Primacy Token through the myriad of ways this warband can. Obviously this is easier when facing larger warbands. If you face an elite, high wound warband then this becomes tough. I do think it is one of their more attractive cards, at least at first glance, and the 2 glory is nice. Primal Surge does it make it easier to gain that Primacy Token as well even when fighting more elite fighters which counters Morgok’s Krushas natural strengths to deny Primacy. I like that this card is here though I am not sure if it is better than some of the universal options out there.

Rating: C

Stab! Stab! Stab!: So this card is very specific in how you score it which means that it can be quite limiting in application. The only fighter with innate Cleave is Wollop when inspired. This makes it tied to how well you can keep him alive. Furthermore, targeting a blocking fighter can be difficult given the widespread warband pool. While I ultimately love the design of this card, I think this card is hard to score – unless you are stacking Cleave. Which candidly may not be the most efficient strategy.

Rating: D

Weird Omens: Again, a very specific scoring condition. The no one’s territory does through me off quite a bit. I think this is definitely doable, especially because you’ll have the Primacy Token more often than not. I do think you’ll want your warband to be in enemy territory more often than not so this does become a complicated score in the mid to late game. Ironically, you probably have the highest chance to score this in the first round. Still, I find it to be counterintuitive with the universal pool.

Rating: C

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Faction Gambits:

Brutal Beast Spirits: Interesting thing to note, if a warband has a wizard, there are always at least 2 gambit spells in their faction deck. A focus on two dice is fairly respectable but there is a larger risk of failing to cast this (at least for me, I never roll focus). The +1 dice and move can be clutch in some instances though. I think if this was a gambit, this would be more appealing which is why it isn’t. I think if you are looking for accuracy then you start with Victimize and then go from there. I’d maybe rate this higher if you didn’t have a chance for it to not go off. Another thing to consider is that they have no incentive for taking spells because they don’t actually score anything in their faction kit for magic. I suppose you can tech into for universal support but I’m not convinced.

Rating: C

Da Big Waaagh!: I love the design space behind this card and it is something you would consider. Playing it without Primacy is decent enough. However, if you can get this more than 2 times in a round, the compounding effect is very powerful. You can also cheat the Primacy Token over to you should you take particular gambits.

Rating: B

Da Great Stomp: This is excellent, especially if you are seeking to score by being in enemy territory as well. This can get you onto objectives, into attacking range, and/or line up for a future charge. Thee is also no limitation on where your fighters are when pushed by this card. I’m a fan. You probably are too.

Rating: A

Kunnin’ Beast Spirits: The second spell and this time on a Channel – which I do appreciate. An extra die on defense for the next activation can be situational handy. I dislike how it only last for the next activation and even then sticking this on Dakko or Wollop for 2 dodge isn’t spectacular. There is also a chance this could fail. Unlikely, sure but there’s always a chance.

Rating: D

Never Tiring: I think in general this is a pretty good card but I do think Spectral Wing and Outrun Death are just better.

Rating: B

Primal Brutality: Great card, I like the flexibility. Essentially this reads inspire or fighter or make an out of action attack action – oh and score Surge of Aggression. You could play Feign Strength, inspire someone, spend the token via this card, and then go to town.

Rating: A

Primal Kunnin’: So this is essentially a Sidestep or a less limiting Commanding Stride. More often than not you will place this by discarding the Primacy Token with the intention of getting it right back via an attack action. Big fan of the Primacy shenanigans that are starting to come together.

Rating: B

Strange Portents: Very interesting card – it is a great accuracy boost when used in a best case scenario which would be you going from fury to smash and your opponent going block to dodge. This jumps your accuracy through the roof for everyone in the warband except Wollop. Even Hedkrakka going from focus to channel is very, very good. This could be used defensively as well but it’s not quite as good there. The applications this present are very enticing.

Rating: B

Unhinged Ferocity: This helps you score Dead Sneaky first and foremost. Essentially, discard the Primacy Token to get a redo on an attack or, just inspire a fighter. Seems great to me in either scenario. I do prefer the first option. Again, still good options both around. Ideally, you spend the token, get the kill, get it back and then inspire someone else / score some cards.

Rating: A

Warpaint Ward: Similar feel to Rebound in a way. 50/50 to reduce an attack to at least 1 and an 16% to not take any damage at all. Not a very efficient card and if you do take it, you’re probably relying on a critical success. I guess 16% of the time, this could potentially win you a game or help you score a lot in a round.

Rating: C

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Faction Upgrades:

Berserk Might: I don’t think you care for the Knockback at all. You really take this card for the damage but not in this meta. There are a plethora of strength inducing in the universal pool right now that are just objectively better. If you do consider this, keep some cards handy that help you cheat over the Primacy Token over to you.

Rating: C

Green God’s Glare: A re-roll for Dakko and Hedkrakka which isn’t a bad option. I think if you do take this, this is most likely strictly a re-roll for Hedkrakka’s attack, especially when striking an opponent adjacent to him. I don’t think this will ultimately make the final cut but options are nice and could pan out with a greater card pool. You would take this if you are building towards the Dakko double ping for 6+ damage though.

Rating: C

Killa Instinkt: This is pretty good for Toofdagga as it makes it to where your opponent has a 16% to successfully defend per each dice. I do think this hits a point of diminishing returns for me. When he is inspired, he hits for 4 fury which is pretty damn accurate. Do you need an upgrade restricted just to him to make your most accurate fighter even more accurate? Probably not. If you want accuracy, take something everyone can use.

Rating: C

Lucky Bone: Crazy good card, I really like this card. While telegraphed, there is nothing your opponent can really do anything about it. Crucially, you get to re-roll after you see your result which makes it tremendously better than some of it’s competitors.

Rating: A

Morkish Familiar: Makes your leader much better at spells which can be useful – think Lost Pages. Outside of that strategy, which is subpar, I don’t think you take this. Green God’s Glare is just better.

Rating: D

Power of the Beast: Take this over Great Fortitude if you have to take at least 1 wound upgrading card. Of course, we make the assumption that you have the Primacy Token but even if you don’t it’s still good. +1 wound or +2 wounds is magnificent for an aggressive warband. Keep in mind, if you lose the Primacy Token and your wound count hits 0, your fighter will be taken out of action. It is still an amazing card. Take it, enjoy it.

Rating: A

Spirit of Gorkamorka: Man lot’s of accuracy built into this warband, I am loving it! This is another fantastic card to take with this warband, essentially it is an auto-include.

Rating: A

Spirit of the Beast: Very cool card, lots to unpack here. If you just have the Primacy Token, it’s a free inspire. If you know you are going to get it, like a power card, you inspire this fighter and inspire another one for just getting the Primacy Token. Additionally, taking this card to put on either Toofdagga or Hedkrakka on Guard is worth it alone, assuming you have the Primacy Token. Being able to inspire the equipped fighter and another is insane. Take the pressure off keeping Hedkrakka alive as well since you literally inspire half your warband. Very cool card and worth it in all individual parts, tremendously so when combined.

Rating: A

Stamina Reserves: Worst case scenario, this is a Potion of Grace. Best case scenario, this is like Second Wind via an upgrade. It is super telegraphed and I do think it is probably better to use this as a double move. As such, I don’t think it is better than Savage Speed or Spectral Wings, but the potentially to swing after a charge is neat. Granted that is if your opponent has no pushes – which Hedkrakka gets around via his range 2 attack. Could be good in a pinch though, if you have less fighter than activations left. I want to like this card more, I really do but I don’t think this makes the cut.

Rating: C

Thick Hide: I think this could be useful in strategies in which you really need a particular fighter to stay alive. In the current meta, there aren’t very many warbands that are pushing out a plethora of 1 damage attacks. Ignoring lethal damage, or ping damage, is nice but most likely not worth an upgrade slot on its on.

Rating: D

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Final Thoughts:

Overall, I really like this warband. I’m ecstatic that we got our first orruk spell-slinger, it was a long time coming. Additionally having 3 fighters that are Hunters keeps this warband relevant in regards to the meta’s current mechanics. When you throw the Primacy synergy into the mix, this warband has a lot of options which is what we love to see.

Speaking of Primacy, being able to tap into those tokens as a resource, more so than you can right now, is a very neat mechanic. It reminds me a lot of the Grashrak’s Despoilers and their Ritual Counters. That resource management that comes with the warband really scratches that cerebral itch; you can do some really neat things with the cards supplement this warband, even if you are charging more often than not. Gaining the Primacy Token, spending it, getting it back, inspiring another fighter, gaining benefits for having the token, among others things is simply a ton of fun.

In a way, they remind me of melee Profiteers which tickles me in ways in which I didn’t even think was possible. The warband has a ton of flavor!

In terms of their faction cards, they’ve got some great options. Every card is playable, which is very cool and important to me. Highlighting their objectives, I find them to be the weakest of the bunch but that doesn’t mean they don’ have some good options. ‘Ere We Go!, Hunt the World Spirit, and Smash ‘Em are cards definitely worth considering. I do think you’ll end up relying on the universe pool a lot for this warband but in this meta, they are good hands. I do wonder how they’ll feel in future seasons. But, for now, they are looking great if you want to be aggressive and invade enemy territory.

Looking at their faction gambits, again every single card can see play. We do see an overall better value per card in this section which feels good. Some standouts for me are Da Big Waaagh!, Da Big Stomp, Primal Brutality, Primal Kunnin’, and Unhinged Ferocity. I can see players taking all 5 of those cards which speaks volumes in terms of quality within a faction set. Rounding things off with the upgrades, this is where we see some of the most powerful cards that this warband has access to. There’s a bunch of accuracy here as well as Primacy shenanigan enablers as well. My favorites are Lucky Trinket, Power of the Beast, Spirit of Gorkamorka, and Spirit of the Beast.

As I’ve been not so subtly hinting at throughout the course of this article, I do think the optimal way to play this warband, at least at first glance, is by getting aggressive and scoring of eliminations, being in enemy territory, and Primacy. I am particular interested in how players will take full advantage of Primacy as a resource as the risk and reward associated with this warband is perhaps the highlight for me. The warband does have access to hold objective strategies and Lost Pages as well so there are many ways you can run them if you don’t fancy aggro. I am pretty excited to unlock all of the Primacy stuff as the rest of the seasons rolls out. I feel like you’ll find something new, or neat, every game.

In terms of meta impact, this warband does kind of play like some of the other familiar strategies right now so I don’t think they’ll shift things up too much. The Primacy Token stuff is the ‘x-factor’ but other than that, I don’t think things will shift too much outside of a FaR. From a miniature perspective, these are perhaps one of my favorite warbands – each fighter is brimming with personality and orky charisma. I am looking forward to playing with these guys!

WAAAGH!

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If you think this warband would make an excellent addition to your collection (they will), be sure to head on down to your local Warhammer Store or FLGS to order yourself a set. If you prefer to shop online, check this out here on Saturday. I hope you enjoy your getting some games in with this warband. 

As always, best of luck on YOUR Path to Glory.

Aman

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Aman

Blogger, Podcast Host

Competitive player who loves to attend events and theory craft. Always chasing the next piece of shade glass. 

Favorite Warband: skaeth's WIld Hunt

Jonathan

Blogger, Podcast Host

Loves to discuss all aspects of the game, especially events. Enjoys the data behind the game and is also competitively focused.

Favorite Warband: Spiteclaw's Swarm

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