NOTE: This article is not completed because I’ve been traveling a lot lately for work and just couldn’t fit in the time. I will finish this one, and write the Fearsome Fortress article, over the weekend to share my written thoughts. If you want to hear Zach and I review the new stuff asap, listen to our podcast here or in whatever app you prefer.
If you’d like to check out all the cards in the deck for an unfiltered, initial experience then you view the cards here:
Once you’re done with your first read through, be sure to join us back here to get some additional insight.
Also a big shout out to Games Workshop for providing us this free, preview copy.
Aman: Well, the time has finally arrived! The third warband of the Gnarlwood season, Grinkrak’s Looncourt, has arrived and with them they bring a very unique, flavorful, and fun design. This includes a brand new type of objectives denoted as Quests.
As per usual I will be tackling the entire deck, including the fighter, objective, and power cards, as well as sharing my thoughts on the warband as a whole – including how they’ll stack up in the current meta.
So without further ado, let’s take some shrooms and embark on a very kunnin’ quest!
Grinkrak the Great is the captain of this motley crew of diminutive, yet vicious, goblins. His self imposed title of “great” is rightly earned given his powerful stat-line. In line with most goblins in the game, he’s got a movement of 3 and 3 health. Being a tiny fellow tends to have some downsides. They’re not bad at all – it’s expected when dealing with the smaller green-skins. What makes him powerful though is that 2 block on defense. It’s quite a bit to chew through in the early stages of the game. His melee attack is a range 1, 2 smash, 2 damage attack which is pretty respectable. In fact for goblins, it is great.
What makes him particular important is his Dub reaction. Similar to Thundrik (Profiteers) though with a specific limitation, he is able to inspire his fellows when you score a non-Quest objective. There are 5 non-Quest objectives in the faction deck but outside of Rivals you can certainly increase that number. Regardless, this provides a backup plan when you’re having trouble scoring some of your Quest cards. See the way Quest objectives work is that you have to “equip” them to a fighter. Once that fighter completes the attached quest, that fighter inspires. Every fighter, other than Grinkrak has that inspire condition. So it is important to keep your leader alive to ensure you can at least inspire the fighters that you need to.
There is something important to note. Technically, rules as written (RAW), you cannot use reactions in the end phase. This does limit the efficacy of the Dub ability. Still, it’s great when scoring your surge objectives. Personally I think it should work in the end phase but GW will need to officially clarify that. I believe cards can introduce abilities that trump the core rules but I see the argument either way and I understand playing it on the side of caution until clarification is indeed provided.
Another cool thing to note about Quests is that if the equipped fighter is taken out of action, the Quest comes back to your hand. This means this is the only warband when you can have more than 3 objectives in your hand. They are also the only warband where you can have less than 3 objectives in your hand (because you have to equip the cards to your fighters) other than physically not having enough cards left in your objective deck.
Grinkrak inspires when 3 others fighters in his warband are inspired (either through scoring quests or dubbing). Interestingly, not much changes other than his single attack jumping to 3 smash. That dramatically increases accuracy but it isn’t a huge change. I like this a lot because there are going to be games where your warband full of 2-3 wound fighters will take heavy losses early which means sometimes he physically won’t be able to inspire. Front-loading the stats on him ensures that you don’t NEED to inspire him if things good poorly while still making him survivable enough to get use of his Dub reaction.
I’d advise you to play cautiously with him, at least at first. That being said, if you want to risk aggression early, he should survive more often than not. A lucky crit can always get him though!
Grib, da Wonky Lance is a beaut. Not only is the concept and miniature absolutely amazing, he’s arguably your best fighter. He starts with 4 move, which is great, and has a health pool of 3. While I would have liked to see 4 wounds like other mounted goblins out in the wild, I’m fine with it because his offensive output is strong. He’s got 2 attacks. The first one is a range 2, 2 fury, 2 damage attack with knockback 1. That’s a very mediocre stat-line but can be handy due to the range. His other attack, Squig Horn, is the much better of the two. He trades the range for accuracy via a range 1, 2 smash, 2 damage attack. What makes that attack great is that on a charge, he deals an extra damage. Having a fighter deal 3 damage off the bat, at range 4, is compelling and makes more a fighter who is going to do work for you. He’s also going to be a primary target for your opponent so be tactful on how you utilize him.
If he accomplishes his Quest objective, or is dubbed by his leader, he inspires to a fairly scary dude. He jumps to range 5, goes to 2 dodge, and both of his attack get an extra dice. Accurate, fast, and can hit hard – especially with upgrades. What’s not to like?
This guy is your main beater. As I mentioned earlier, he’s going to start the game with a big target on his back. If you can manage the risk versus reward, he’s going to put in a lot of work for you.
Pokin’ Snark rounds out your competent (for goblins) melee fighters. He’s got a move of 3, 1 block, and 3 wounds which isn’t too shabby. His accuracy is a bit lackluster with a range 1, 2 fury 2, damage attack. One could argue that the accuracy is balanced by his Gnashin’ reaction. On a critical hit, Snark has the ability to break one of the target’s upgrades.
From a lore perspective, I love this. Squigs are ferocious up close and if they can make it to their target, they’re going to quite literally rip them apart. Mechanically, I like how this is an option for your warband to break through any potentially defensively augmented fighters, post this attack going through. You need the crit, so it’s not reliable, but in a pinch it can help turn the tide and also reduce the offensive output. All 10 upgrades players put in their decks tend to be good ones. Removing one as an active factor in the game could be big and potentially derail their plans.
Upon inspiring, like the rest of the non-leader fighters, Snark get’s a bump in movement and accuracy. 3 fury is solid. Again, the stats are front loaded which is helpful in case you don’t draw your quests or Grinkrak goes down early. The accuracy dramatically helps, however.
As your secondary mainline fighter, Snark is someone you should feel free to take calculated risks with. He’s great being aggressive and counter-aggressive. You might have to rely the dice falling your way more often than not, but there is a lot of accuracy in the game right now so you can right-size that if need be.
Snorbo is the talented musician who is deadly when he hits those high notes. He sports a move of 3, 1 block, and 2 wounds. It’s not a very compelling stat-line but it’s goblins so we knew they’d lack constitution. What makes him mildly interesting perhaps is is range 3, 3 fury, 1 damage attack. In a pinch, you could tool him up to do some decent damage at range. He also could function well as a distraction, or chip damage piece. The stagger certainly helps for setting up a one-two punch. Worst case scenario, he’s a great weapon caddy.
Upon inspiration, Snorbo gains cleave as well but otherwise is unchanged. He’s often going to camp a feature token in the back anyways so the lack of change in stats doesn’t matter much.
Skolko and Pronk have taken goblin ingenuity to the next level and it makes for a wonderful fighter. While the 2 move is slow, the 1 block and 3 wounds are promising. The real catch is the range 3, 2 fury, 2 damage attack that can break an enemy fighter’s upgrade on a crit. While inaccurate at first, it’s still something your opponent needs to worry about. 2 damage at range is powerful and a lucky early hit, or two, could shift things in your favor.
If and when they inspire, they gain an extra block on defense and hit on 3 fury. This is huge and why you want to inspire/dub them as fast possible. Having a well defending fighter hitting for 2 damage at range reliably is scary.
It is why their attack is limited to once per round. Imagine an early score into 3-4 shots a round with Gloryseeker and Fighter’s Ferocity. Aye caramba.
Lore wise it also makes sense! That have to go retrieve the squig before shooting it off again!
If you think this warband would make an excellent addition to your collection, be sure to head on down to your local Warhammer Store or FLGS to order yourself a copy of the Gnarlwood box set. If you prefer to shop online, check them out here this Saturday (later today at time of posting).
Thank you again to Games Workshop for this free, preview copy.