A Warhammer Underworlds Blog & Podcast

Warband Review: Kainan’s Reapers

The Direchasm train keeps pumping along as we’ve got out 7th warband on the season up for pre-order this coming weekend. Kainan’s Reapers are the first Ossiarch Bonereaper (OBR) warband to hit the Underworlds and they certainly do not disappoint!

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 are interested in listening to this instead, check us out over on our podcast. You can also watch us on our YouTube channel.

Time to pay the bone tithe!

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Faction Mechanics & Inspire:

Before we get into the fighter specifics, I do find it important to highlight the unique faction rules that this warband can utilize. The first one is Bone Tithe: this essentially states that whenever an enemy fighter is taken out of action, for whatever reason, you warband gains a tithe counter. If the enemy fighter had a wound characteristic of 4 or more, then your warband would gain 2 tithe counters instead. Only one fighter can use this special rule at a time. This prevents you from gaining multiple tithe counters from a single elimination. An interesting thing to note is that only 2 fighters in this warband have this rule, Mir Kainan and Binar Khenta, so if both of those fighters are out of action, you cannot collect the bone tithe (gain a counter(s)).

So what are tithe counters? Well, essentially it’s another form of resource your warband can use to do cool things during the course of the game. There are abilities and cards that directly interact with them. And of course, the warband’s inspire is directly linked to the tithe counters – when you gain 3, after a power step, everyone inspires.

Again, while the Bone Tithe special rule is helpful, if you are focusing on a less aggressive strategy – there are other ways in which you can gain tithe counters.

The next big mechanic is Nadirite which pretty much means, anytime you have support, and you roll the appropriate supporting symbols, your Morteks with the Nadirite special rule (all of them except for Hakor) can do a bit more damage. It reminds me a lot of cards like Fighter’s Ferocity in that if you roll a particular symbol, you get that boost in damage. I don’t think this is going to come up too often, or at least reliably. I find this rule to be a nice to have but not something you can necessarily build around. It’s just going to be icing on the cake when it comes up.

 

Lastly, we have Mortek Advance. This is pretty neat because you have 6 fighters but only 4 activations so you can gain so activation economy, which is always welcome. This also helps set up fighters for supporting attack actions as well so you can potentially benefit off the Nadirite special rule. Interesting thing to note, Khenta cannot use the reaction but he you can choose to move him when reacting off the other 4 Morteks when advancing. Players who pre-plan a bunch can take advantage of these movement shenanigans by ensuring they end up adjacent and on an objective, which seems pretty fun. Like Gitz, you’re probably going to need a couple practice games to get these guys down as the reactions (they use Scurry) can win games if you set the board up right.

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Mir Kainan:

Starting out with the boss man, he’s obviously a man of many talents – he’s a level 1 wizard and a big boy, rocking 6 wounds. His first attack action is a range 2, 2 smash, 3 damage attack which keeps him in line with the other bulkier fighters in the game. His second attack is a range 1, scything attack that hits on 2 smash and deals 2 damage. The 2 smash on the scything attack is gnarly. His bottom profile is 3 move and 1 block, in addition to the aforementioned wound count.

Kainan also has the Bone Tithe (covered above) and Invigorated special rules. If you spend 2 tithe counters, in his next activation he can either have +1 move, or add +1 dice or +1 damage to his Soulreaper Axe attack action. That’s pretty nifty, especially on his un-inspired side. 2 tithe counters is a lot though and I wouldn’t spend them until after the inspire.

When he inspires, he gains quite a bit. He goes to 2 block, which is huge. His range 2 attack goes to a whopping 4 damage, which is the stuff of nightmares, and his scything attack goes to 3 smash. My god…

Mir Kainan is probably one of the most dangerous fighters we have ever seen. More often that not, he’s going to be your bruiser. He’ll be tanking attack actions while dishing out loads of damage himself which is great if you are opting to play into the Mortek synergy a bit more, or just want some tithe counters. I find this warband relies a lot on his damage output so it might be feast or famine depending on how his attacks go.

One thing to keep in mind is that unlike Hrothgorn and Mollog, Kainan will not always carry your warband to success. Utilizing his supporting cast is essential to consistent victory.

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Binar Khenta:

Binar Khenta, the leader of the Morteks (referred to as Broteks from here on out), as denoted by the keyword, and is objectively the second best fighter on the squad. He’s got a range 2, 2 smash, 2 damage attack that has the Nadirite special rule. His bottom stat-line is 3 move, 1 block, and 3 wounds. He’s also got the Bone Tithe special. When he inspires, he doesn’t really gain much – just Cleave.

I find Khenta to be quite a solid fighter, great at supporting your leader when going on the offensive and potentially helping protect your backline. If Kainan does happen to go down early, you’ll probably invest your resources into him for 2 reasons: to keep the Bone Tithe going and to find the next best source of damage.

Also while unlikely to proc often, a Nadirite weapon with range 2 means you can tap into that rule more – which means he might deal 3 damage, naturally, from time to time.

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Hakor:

Hakor is the only Brotek who does not use a weapon made of Nadirite. That’s totally okay though because he’s got the best attack action when compared to the 3 other line fighters. He’s sporting a range 1, 2 smash, 2 damage attack which is pretty respectable. He’s also got 3 move, 1 block, and 2 wound. While the wounds are low, it makes sense and is balanced when you look at the warband as a whole. When he inspires, he gains Cleave. It is situationally a nice to have but nothing special.

Send him in with Kainan and Khenta and you’ve got a pretty decent posse on offense.

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Nohem:

Nohem is the first ever OBR fighter armed with a bow and arrow, pretty cool. These particular set of skills also allow him to be the only fighter in the warband to rock the Hunter keyword, in addition to the Mortek tag. He’s got a range 3, 2 smash attack that deals 1 damage with the Nadirite special rule. His bottom stat line is also 3 move, 1 block, and 2 wounds. Upon inspiring, his ranged attack hits on 3 smash which makes it pretty solid to proc the Nadirite rule, if you have supporting fighters. It rivals aelves in terms of accuracy which is neat.

He seems like the Brotek you camp on an objective.

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Senha:

Senha is your classic sword and board Brotek who’s melee attack hits on 2 smash for 1 damage. Like the rest of his fellows, he has 3 move, 1 block, and 2 wounds. Upon inspiring, Senha actually gains a lot – 2 block and a 3 fury melee attack hitting for 2 damage is awesome. The change to his attack action also makes the Nadirite special rule so much better.

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Karu:

Karu sports the same bottom stat-line as the rest of his fellow Broteks. As a fighter, he’s pretty okay. The range 1, 2 smash, 1 damage attack action isn’t much to write home about. Upon inspiring, he does become a lot better – 2 block and 2 damage with Knockback 1. Like Senha, defensively he can be annoying for your opponent because 2 block is pretty solid. There’s always a chance the Nadirite could go off but I wouldn’t count on it unless things are dire.

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Faction Objectives:

Created for War: This card is awesome, it’s a better version of Keep Chopping. Just make 4 attacks in a round or a big Scything attack and you are good to go! Plus, you have 3 fighters with range 2 or more attacks so this overcomes the slow movement.

Rating: A

Craft a New Order: Yeah not happening man. Once I get 3 tithe counters, I’m probably spending them – they are a resource after all. Also, I think 5 is just a lot.

Rating: D

Macabre Splendor: I like how this supports passive scoring in 2 different functionality. Whether VOLTRON’ing a fighter or reaping tithe counters, it works. An average card, but certainly doable.

Rating: C

Gruesome Certainty: I think this is a great card, reminds me of Headshot. Jonathan and I did the math on a one of our podcasts and we came to the conclusion that, on 2 smash, half your attacks that go through will be because of a critical success. It will happen eventually.

Rating: A

Nagash’s Will: Like many other cards like this we’ve covered in the past this is very meta and matchup dependent. I would look elsewhere for 2 glory, especially in this meta.

Rating: D

Pitiless Harvest: I think this is much better than the card above but still kind of hard to do in the current meta. I just don’t think it’s feasible to eliminate 2 Krushas, or even 2 more gnoblars, reliably especially given how slow the warband is.

Rating: C

Peerless Conquerors: This is pretty much an Annihilation style condition but actually harder to do. On top of that, it can slow down your hand. Not a fan of this at all.

Rating: D

Walking Mass Grave: This is really doable due to Mortek Advance regardless of your strategy. It is 1 glory so I might think twice, but it is certainly reliable and achievable. You can could even technically do it in 1 activation. It does feel like it could be inefficient at times – like when you have a fighter on an objective or when you just want to spam attacks with Kainan. Still, against passive builds, it could be much needed glory.

Rating: B

Tithemasters: I like this one a lot. The goal would be to be able score this over the course of the game in order to inspire. Whether it is through eliminations or gambit support, I find it solid.

Rating: B

Ranks Unbroken by Dissent: This can almost be guaranteed as Mortek Advance makes this trivial. It is heavily telegraphed which is something to consider. It’s also 1 glory and right now, 1 glory spots are pretty tight. You might need some friendly pushes as well to help counter a well timed opposing Distraction.

Rating: C

Pride of the Thorac Caste: So if you are playing the warband aggressively, leaning into the Brotek method, I think this is okay. I wouldn’t take this over Show of Force in the current meta as it is a more flexible version of this card. However if you want to invade enemy territory and stack scoring for that, and eliminations, then this could see play. Problem is, your Broteks are not very survivable, even when inspired.

Rating: C

Pride of the Emissarian Caste: Great card, super easy as long as your leader stays alive – which he should given his wound total. I like it and it works well with Swift Capture and Hidden Purpose.

Rating: A

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Faction Gambits:

Ceaseless Attacks: Strong effect that can help you advance the Broteks towards the enemy lines. At the very least, it is 1 fighter. Spending tithe counters to push your fighters is risky though if you are not inspired. I think this is a great card but one you use after you inspire.

Rating: A

Deathless Warriors: 16% chance to save some Broteks and waste an enemy attack action. While the odds of this going off are quite poor, this could come in clutch or perhaps even help you turn the tide in a game if you roll hot. Not worth the spot though as they’ll be times often in which this doesn’t work.

Rating: D

Exceptional Efficiency: This is a great accuracy card that will come in clutch for a particular Brotek of your choice. I’ve always been a fan of cards that offer your opponent tough choices and often this can be devastating for them in the right set up. More often that not, your opponent won’t give you the tithe counters so they can slow your inspire. However, if a friendly fighter is about to take out one of their key fighters, then they might cave. Either way, you are happy. And if this card is played after you’re inspired, the tithe counters can be used for Kainan or other cards.

Rating: A

Lethal Accuracy: I do think you want to be playing a Brotek aggro build to get good use out of this card. Otherwise, I wouldn’t use it unless after you’ve got the inspire because stockpiling those tithe counters is important initially – either to inspire or get re-rolls/damage with Kainan. I still don’t think it’ll make your deck but it’s something to consider.

Rating: C

Methodical Assault: This is a pretty cool card, almost makes me want to play a Brotek build. Like above, you don’t mind either outcome. If you attack again, the hope is you get an elimination, a glory, and then a tithe counter. Otherwise, getting 2 tithe counters is pretty solid and basically sets you up for an inspire very soon. Also Hakor and Khenta start off at 2 damage so this will come up often.

Rating: A

Mortal Contract: Has a pretty decent chance to go off, though everything is iffy on a level 1, and it’s a nifty spell. I think it is easily counterable if your opponent takes the latter decision as they can just avoid eliminations (especially if they don’t need them to score) or just start chipping away at Kainan.
Rating: C

Dire Ultimatum: From a design perspective, I love this card. Essentially, Kainan uses a taunt ability to disincentivize attacking your Broteks for a round. In certain situations, this could be clutch – especially if holding objectives. Half the time your opponents will be going for Kainan though so not sure how impactful this will be. Very cool tech card, though.

Rating: C

Never Falter: This is good on paper, but I’m not sure if it is worth including in your deck. Khenta needs to be on the table and then every Brotek bumps up to 4 move. I guess if you are trying to nab objectives, it could be the boost you need – especially when your opponent is hiding in the back of their board. I think Eternal Chase is better but I’ve been convinced by Tommy Conboy that you run both.

Rating: B

Never Sleep: Khenta has to be alive to use it. The effect is really good for sure but getting 2 tithe counters and spending them seems tough. If you inspire and then you play this, and some of your fighters are on 3 block, then it becomes very good. Inefficient in the early game but very strong in the late game. Worth the risk?

Rating: C

Never Yield: Again, Khenta needs to be around for this. This one seems better than its brother above because it is persists and makes it tougher to take down your Broteks. You also don’t have to spend the tithe counter unless you know you can keep a fighter on the board. So essentially, you can potentially force an opponent to hit you for harder in order for them to guarantee a takedown. Still not sure if this is worth slowing down the inspiration Maybe you use it save Khenta – still a heavy cost. Maybe in a Brotek focus build? Maybe this is better than I am giving it credit for – just not sold on it right now.

Rating: C

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Faction Upgrades:

Artificer’s Blade: No upgrade is ever worth it if all it gives you is Cleave.

Rating: D

Aura of Shyish: Decent card, especially for your leader. There’s a lot of range 2+ attacks in the game right now so this might not always hit the mark. In some matchups though, this can be quite clutch.

Rating: B

Disciplined Charge: Getting to re-roll all of your dice during a charge action is phenomenally good. If you are going for the Brotek build, this is an aut0-include. Outside of that, I can still see someone taking it. Khenta is a great backup VOLTRON candidate and this can make him insanely accurate.

Rating: B

Empowered Nadirite: This is a combination of Great Strength and Strength of Terror. Both of those cards are amazing. Don’t question it, put it in your deck.

Rating: A

Hatred of the Living: Re-rolls on hard hitting fighters is always a boon – in any warband really. The reaction piece is nice and can save your fighter in a pinch. That’s probably the only time I would ever use the reaction – to help Kainan last one turn longer if the math works out. Otherwise, just slap this on and swing away.

Rating: A

Horrifying Soultraps: At this time, Gauntlet of Dominance is probably better despite this not requiring a glory tax. Still, this can be a great control tool for you as you can bump enemy fighters away, including those attempting to hold objectives. Solid disruption tool, just make sure he gets the takedown.

Rating: B

Tithestone: If you want to play your Broteks aggressively, then this is something you are going to want to include in your deck. As long as Khenta is in enemy territory, you are pretty much always going to take a tithe counter. Very rarely, if ever, is you opponent going to discard a glory point. As the game goes on and you lose fighters, use your tithe counter spenders, and inspire this will lose value. However, the reaction is a decent backup. Worst case scenario, this funds itself.

Rating: B

Unnerving Synchrony: This reminds me of some of the cards the Reaves have access to in that when you take enemy fighters out of action, other friendly fighters can swing, too. This is telegraphed though, if you play it right before you intend to use it, so make sure your positioning is on point and you have cards that can get you back into position should you be disrupted by your opponent. Nonetheless, extra attack actions are always welcome in this game!

Rating: B

Unstoppable Juggernaut: +1 move isn’t worth an upgrade slot by itself but when you combine it with a +1 wound, it becomes a very good card. Your Broteks are slow and have low health – this slots in perfectly to minimize those cons. Ideally, I would put this on Khenta but it’s solid on anyone of them 0 maybe except Nohem.

Rating: B

Witchlight Glimmer: I don’t care for the inspire, though it is particularly nice on Senha and Karu, but I do like the re-roll. You can potentially stack a bunch of these Mortek restricted cards on Khenta or Hakor, and have a second dangerous fighter on the board to back up Kainan. I like it.

Rating: B

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Final Thoughts:

I’ve seen this warband generate a lot of hype, and in a lot of ways, it is justified. They’ve really got something for everyone. You like big boys? Check. You like aggressive play? Check. You larger warbands? Check. You like holding objectives? Check. You like using cool mechanics? Check. Really, they can do it all if you build for it. That’s rare in this game, sure there are some warbands who can behave similarly, but not like this warband. The flexibility they offer is amazing.

The design of the warband is heavily centered around the Broteks, this seems like a deliberate way to take the focus of Kainan. Despite that, I do think focusing on Kainan is your best bet. If you end up taking cards reserved for his supporting cast, I do think it is important to focus them on either Khenta or Hakor. Khenta in particular becomes very scary should you invest resources in him.

From a card perspective, they’ve got some great options. While the objectives don’t scream awesome, I like Created for War, Gruesome Certainty, and Walking Mass Grave. In terms of gambits, they’ve got some great ones to choose from. In particular, I love the ‘choose’ cards. I’d pay special attention to Ceaseless Advance, Exceptional Efficiency, and Methodical Assault. On the upgrade front, this warband has some of the most powerful suite of cards any warband has ever had. Almost all of them, bar 1, are great and can be situationally amazing. My favorites are Empowered Nadirite, Hatred of the Living, and Unstoppable Juggernaut.

Personally, I prefer beefing up Kainan and going going on the offensive with him supported by Khenta and Hakor. The other 3 can babysit objectives. That’s where I’m leaning for now. Jonathan is more interested in the Brotek build and I think that has some serious play as well. A middle of the road option will most likely end up being the best build though: score passively, tank up your brawlers, and counter-attack when necessary. Having the ability to flex them into either option will give you the best chance in competitive play.

In terms of the meta shift, I think these guys can potentially be a serious contender. While they do have a lot of strategies, some which can be misleading in terms pf power, I do think the optimal way will be figured out quite soon. A big, scary fighter plus the ability to score passively has the potential to do very well right now, especially because there is no FaR list. One thing is more sure, the tithe will be reaped.

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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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