Well, they say when it rains it pours and that is certainly very true with Warhammer Underworlds. While most of us were expecting the final warband of the Harrowdeep season, we ended up getting a lot more than that. This article is part of a bunch of articles going live on the website today including the reviews of Nethermaze (including the universals included), Skittershank’s Clawpack, and The Shadeborn.
It’s been a hectic week for content! Zach and I have recorded 5 podcast episodes this week, I’ve written 4 articles (including this one), and made 4 YouTube videos. Sheeeesh.
In today’s article I’ll be covering everything you need to know about The Exiled Dead. This includes the lore, fighter cards, 32 faction specific cards, and the miniatures themselves.
A special thank you to Games Workshop for providing me with this review copy ahead of time for free.
So without further ado, “It’s alive!”
Deintalos the Exile is a vampire who has decided to dedicated his un-life to insidious art of necromancy. I find it hilariously creepy that he was practicing a form of necromancy that even Nagash didn’t approve of. He utilities this concept called the ‘Force Dynamic’ which allows him to reinvigorate the dead with a combination of necromancy and technological art. He also has the Conductive keyword but more on that later.
In addition to rocking the leader icon, he is also a level 2 wizard. He’s got 4 wounds, 1 block, and 3 move which seems a bit slow. His attack action is a range 3, 1 damage attack that hits on channels. If you manage to land the hit, it staggers the enemy fighter. If you need a refreshed on stagger, the mechanic allows your fighters to re-roll 1 attack dice when targeting staggered fighters. While he’s not doing much damage, he’s more accurate than most other wizards with only Fecula and Zarshia enjoying that same level of accuracy.
When he inspires, his ranged attack also gains cleave. He also gains a second attack action – a range 2, 3 smash, 2 damage attack that also staggers. It’s a great attack profile and reminds us that he is indeed a Vampire.
The most important part about Deintalos is that he has an action titled ‘Danse Dynamic.’ Essentially, Deintalos can select all conductive fighters (there are 5 including himself) and elect on whether he wants all of them t make a move action or all them to make an attack action. Keep in mind, fighters can be moved or make attacks even if they’ve charged or moved previously. That’s an incredible action, probably the most economic action we’ve ever seen. To add icing on the top, he can also bring back a conductive minion that is out of action and place them adjacent to him. You just have to make sure they are at least 2 hexes away from each enemy fighter.
Again, I have to reiterate that in 1 action he can move 5 fighters. Or, he can make 5 attacks at once. It’s powerful and really demonstrates that zombie horde feeling of being overwhelmed by a horde of shambling horrors.
Without going into the conductive fighters too much, there are benefits of him potentially dropping a stagger token on the target you are intending to gang up on so. Since you get to choose the order of your attacks, I suggest starting with our necromantic leader.
Deintalos is the lynchpin of your warband. Keep him protected so that he can augment your warband to play as intended: gang up and overwhelm their foes through sheer weight of fighters and attack dice.
Prentice Marcov is Deintalos’ right hand man and has fully dedicated his life to be his faithful assistant. I’m Marcov thinks he does a great job but if you read the flavor text on the faction cards, you’ll see the relationship is quite one sided. That being said, he’s a level 1 wizard with 3 wounds, 2 dodge, and 3 move – not too bad. His melee attack hits on 2 smash and deals a measly 1 damage but it can spike due to grievous. Upon inspiring, the only change is that his attack bumps up to 2 damage base.
But that’s not what is important about him. You see, Marcov’s utility and strength as a fighter is highly reliant on optimizing his relationship with his undead bodyguard, Regulus. This is done through the Puppeteer action which allows Marcov and Regulus to both make an action. If Regulus happens to be out of action when this takes place, he is placed in an empty hex within two of the assistant. This is a powerful ability and mimics what his master, Deintalos, can do albeit on smaller scale. Being able to double charge a single enemy fighter, deny objectives, or split up and do both offers a lot of utility. It’s a cool mechanic that is going to be quite impactful.
That being said, there is a loophole with the current wording right now. I am sure this wasn’t the design as intended, it’s just an unfortunate lack of specificity in the word choice. Technically, Marcov can just to use his puppeteer action as his action when he does the puppeteer action. This can lead to an endless loop in which he can keep puppeteering while Regulus can keep swinging away until his target, or two, are out of action. Again, I don’t think this was intended but I’d be remiss not to point it out. I won’t be abusing this rule and I think every gaming community, offline and online, should announce that no can either.
Marcov is intrinsically tied to Regulus and is your source of early aggression should you need it. Be smart with them while you allow Deintalos and his horde to power up. Essentially, Marcov and Regulus are the early game power. The mid to end game should come from Deintalos and the other 4 minions.
One of the coolest parts about this warband is that the minions all start the game inspired. This is to demonstrate the fact that they are channeling the Force Dynamic. This is an unholy union of necromancy and technology that powers the undead automatons. All of the minions in this warband have the beast icon on their card. This means they cannot use attack action upgrades nor can they hold objectives. This is good for a number of reasons, but primarily awesome because it reinforces the idea that this warband wants to be aggressive and swarm you. No sitting on feature tokens for these guys!
With that out of the way, let’s focus on the bruiser of the group, Regulus. As mentioned above, using both he and Marcov efficiently is going to help you in the early game. They are a great source of damage and threat. The bodyguard himself has a great stat-line as he starts inspired. 3 move, 1 block, and 3 wounds is okay but it’s the attack profile that gets me excited. A range 2, 2 smash, 2 damage attack is pretty tasty. Especially if you can do it multiple times thanks to the puppeteer action.
When Regulus goes down, he can come back to the board. He will gain a raise counter when that happens which will force him to un-inspire unless it is cleared, if possible. When that does happen, his attack becomes significantly less accurate (depends on who you talk to as Gristlewel seems to always hit with his 2 fury attack).
He’s your early game threat. Use him wisely!
Now we get to the true stars of the show, the conductive minions: Ione, Bault, Coyl, and Vlash! Like Regulus they are beasts and minions. And like their master Deintalos, they bear the conductive keyword as well. Keep in mind they start the game inspired.
Looking at their inspired sides collectively, we see that they the attacks aren’t anything to write home about. They all have 2 fury attacks with the overload ability. Overlord means that if the target is staggered, they get +1 damage on their attacks. Now we know why both of Deintalos’ attacks are trying to stagger the opponent. While they each have something that makes them unique (some of them have keywords), the one that I believe to be the best is Coyl because he starts at 2 damage. It’s probably because he has an orc arm stitched onto his frame…
If these fighters are taken out of action and come back, they’ll most likely gain a raise counter. In that eventuality, they’ll shortly un-inspire which means they lose the overload ability. Instead however they all gain the Crackling Arcs attack which is range 1, 2 fury, 1 damage. The attack also has the scything and the arc special rule – it gives them +1 dice for each conductive fighter adjacent to the fighter making the attack action.
I think it’s a neat trick personally. Obviously there is more synergy with Deintalos when the Force Dynamic is in full effect. When un-inspired, they revert to more of a primal, traditional zombie-like demeanor. Plus the arcs attack demonstrate the lightning empowering them is leaking from their broken parts. It’s thematic and tactfully stimulating.
Truly, they got the swarm vibe down quite well. They feel different from Kainan’s Reapers while still potentially having the same damage output. With clever positioning you can punish your opponent through sheer weight of dice and attacks.
Note: As per our 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.
Alternating Strikes: This is a pretty good card. You have puppeteer and Danse Dyamic to help you score this. You can also force it via a double charge puppeteer play. It’s an auto-include.
Appalling End: This warband is designed around getting the most of your minions who are in turn designed to take down opposing fighters. Regulus, or even Coyl, will probably score this a lot for you. That being said, this could be meta dependent as going into a lot of high wound warbands will make this difficult. Plus nowadays most aggro is played with cards that don’t necessarily needs kills. I think it’s a good card nonetheless, just not necessarily something that will always make the cut.
Direct Strike: I rather like this card. You have Coyl who can do this with overload coming into play. Deintalos and Regulus can also score this for you. With the amount of damage upgrades you’re probably going to take, plus gambits like Punching Up, I think this is a solid surge. Plus the attacks in theory should be accurate enough to land due to the supports you are going to setup.
Dread Puppetry: Cards that score off a specific fighter are always interesting. In some cases, you can keep Marcov in the back so that when Regulus goes down you can swiftly bring him back. That being said, if people can ignore Rippa half the time to avoid triggering the inspire for the other 2, I can easily see canny enemy opponents ignoring Regulus as well. Especially in a best 2/3. Plus Marcov could die. That being said, Partial Resurrection could get around this. You can either bring back Regulus or bring back Marcov, who can then bring back Regulus through puppeteer.
Dynamic Chain: This is pretty interesting and thematic in terms of how lightning work. Essentially, you need all of your conductive fighters to be adjacent to at least one other fighter. Think about how [Scrum] was scored. This can be easily achieved through the Danse Dynamic action. You can also cleverly raise a fighter in the perfect spot to keep the chain going via the aforementioned action. It’s probably easier early game but if the game plan is to shamble up the board as a horde, it’s quite doable. Also, [Centre of Attention] is a card.
Forbidden Lore: This is also pretty easy to score. You can effectively do it in just 2 activations due to Danse Dynamic and Pupeeteer. I think it’s a great inclusion if you’re looking for an easy 1 glory. In fact it gets easier as you lose more fighters. If Deintalos dies early though, it’ll be hard to score. That being said, you’ll probably lose the game if your leader goes down early with these guys.
Force Dynamic: Again, this is super simple and quite attainable due to the many mass move actions included in this warband. The good thing is, you can keep moving with Danse Dynamic even if your fighters have move/charge tokens. The only downside to this, in terms of action economy, it does kind of force you into potentially using Danse Dynamic inefficiently because usually the second time you use it, it’s for attacking and not moving. But if you want to score it, you will.
Meat Locker: I think it’s interesting. It certainly makes sense thematically but I think it’s a very hard card to score in the current meta. Most warbands are trying to invade your territory. This is going to be a hard sell, even with that 3 glory sticker. It’s essentially [Denial] and [Conquest] at the same time without the third end phase stipulation. No thanks!
Mobile Resistors: Keep in mind they don’t have to be in 1 big group, they can be in separate smaller groupings when fulfilling this condition. This is another card that is probably going to be easy to score over the course of the game. That being said, we’re seeing a lot of “easy” 1 glory end phase cards and when you start comparing this to the other ones, I’m not too keen on it. That being said, this can be scored if you want to score it. Not a bad card by any means.
Stench of Dynamism: It is no secret I love wizards and magic in this game. One thing to think about is that Deintalos (level 2 wizard) has a magical attack action and he’s conductive. That means you can spam Danse Dynamic and potentially score this card because you have 4 attempts in an ideal round. To make it more reliable, you’re going to have to take spells in your gambit deck (at least 2) just for security. You also have redundancy with Marcov being a worse case scenario backup if your leader goes down. Candidly, I want to make this card work. I’m just not sure I will make it work. But it being the only 2 glory card in the faction deck certainly makes you think twice about. I think it could be easier than I’m thinking hence the optimistic rating.
Strict Tutor: I am going to have a hard time relying on a level 1 wizard, without an innate spell on their fighter card, to cast a spell reliably every game. Not feeling it.
The Dead Unbound: This is another card that feels like it has a great chance of occurring over the course of a game. Like I can’t imagine a game without your opponent taking down at least one of your conductive minions. Also you auto-resurrect though the Danse Dynamic action. It’s pretty darn good if your leader stays alive long enough.
Channeled Dynamism: Starting off with a spell and we all know single channels are awesome. This is essentially a spell form of [Eternal Chase], which I think is a better card overall. I don’t know if this is the best spell you’d take for this warband, but if you are doing stuff with spells for scoring or are hungry for a lot of movement, then you could take it.
Corpselight Globe: Another spell! This time it’s on a single focus but it doesn’t bother me because Deintalos is a level 2 wizard. It’s a really tempting one because it makes your likelihood of getting an attack through significantly higher. Even if your target already has a stagger token, this allows you to get another re-roll. 2 fury attacks, with supports, become a heck of a lot better when you get 2 re-rolls. It’s an augment card that I think could be worth it if you really want to annihilate an enemy fighter. There’s also no range limitation so you could still target a fighter far away from Deintalos.
Danse of Deintalos: This is an extra aggressive Danse Dynamic that can happen in the power step. Essentially it can give you an extra attack action (numerous really due to the mechanics). Awesome, right? Oh wait, it’s on 2 channels. Nevermind!
Dynamic Cage: Ping damage is always good, especially in a warband that isn’t really bursting down their foes. It’s going to be pretty reliable too because of the faction mechanics and push cards you’re going to take. It might not go in every deck because you might favor utility, but it’s a pretty good card and can help you finish off a fighter, especially after a lackluster Danse Dynamic action.
Necrotic Curse: I like ping damage and I want to like this. However, I don’t feel comfortable taking a damage on my leader, especially since the whole warband literally revolves around him. I guess you could cast this with Marcov but he’s only got a 60% chance to cast. Plus dropping him to 2 wounds isn’t conducive to keeping him alive. The drop from 3 to 2 is huge.
Reassert Control: With the changes to Nethermaze, you can use this to heal a minion as long as they have a single wound counter. That being said, Danse Dynamic and Puppeteer will also just always bring your minions back. I do like this on Regulus to help him go back to 2 smash but it’s not necessary since you’re setting up so many supports throughout the game.
Scorching Surge: I like it. It can really make an attack go through when you need it to and you don’t care about the damage from the crit. Also, since you choose the attacking order during a Danse Dynamic, you can hit with Deintalos first and land the stagger. Then when your conductive minion swings, they get the damage from overload and an extra dice. It’s solid and probably an auto-include in a multi-attack, swarm build.
Sparking Shuffle: These kind of cards are auto-includes in every faction. Take it and enjoy the absurd of ground you can cover, especially in the early game.
Sudden Lurch: It’s thematic and probably okay. I’m not sure I’d want to run this unless your game plan might rely on Marcov. I’m not sure on how it would work and I think the card itself suffers from too many requirements to work.
Terrible Dynamism: Essentially it is a double resurrection card. I think because Danse Dynamic is so powerful and going to be used so often that you actually don’t need this card. I guess you could pop to fighters back up in a perfect spot for them to attack in the next Danse Dynamic. I like it for it’s utility. For example, you can pop them back to help Deintalos get some defensive support. Still, I don’t think it makes the cut though in a championship deck. Time will tell.
Convert’s Zeal: I don’t hate it because +1 wounds are great. Marcov being more accurate is also nice. I’m just not a fan of specific fighter card restrictions, especially when it’s not your leader or your beat-stick. He also stats on 2 dodge so he quite survivable in cover. Maybe if you want to get super aggressive with him, this could be a good fit. What happens when he dies before you draw it though? Maybe another reason you need Partial Resurrection?
Crackling Field: If you stick this on an arc-walker, I’d probably just ignore that minion. If you stick this on Deintalos, I think it’s worth the damage to kill him. I don’t think this is very good.
Dynamic Bolt: This makes Deintalos’ attack more in line with the traditional wizard attack profile. That being said, I think [Gloryseeker] is just better. Now of course, you can take both and try to spam 3 damage on every multi-attack action you take. It can become quite nasty. He does lose a bit of accuracy though.
Dynamic Enhancer: I think this card is a great force multiplier. Sure, Deintalos might be a bit closer to his opponent than required when un-inspired. When inspired, it lines up his staff attack and more importantly allows you to unleash an incredible amount of burst damage every attack. It also helps to score Direct Strike.
Dynamic Stabilizer: Because your zombies are 2 wounds, they can be taken down by most fighters in the game quite easily. However, when you reduce the amount of damage they can take by 1, it makes them incredibly more survivable. Getting this early is going to be huge! Combine this with Dynamic Enhancer and you have a mob of arc-walkers who are effectively 3 wounds and get +1 dice when attacking. Deintalos becomes a batter for absurd lethality. It’s beautiful really.
Powered Command: This is a reaction resurrect and that can be pretty powerful. It blocks opposing reactions and set up a better Danse Dynamic in the next round. I dig it.
Prison of Grief: Sticking this on Deintalos, especially if he’s acting as a power battery with Dynamic Stabilizer and Dynamic Enhancer makes this for an amazing and terrifying combo. It makes your fighters more accurate and it’s essentially free if you keep him surrounding by his shambling homies. Also helps score Stench of Dynamism.
Spark of Life: Not a big fan of this because your fighters can come back so often. It could be a good card for Regulus as an aggro upgrade. That being said, I think there are better cards out there for him.
Unfaltering Guard: If you park him next to Deintalos, this can be pretty crazy. And if he dies, Marcov can bring him back to force the bodyguard shenanigans to continue. Combine this with [Countercharge] and it can ruin an opponents attack action for a round.
Unfeeling Fortitude: I like it, it helps keeping your minions alive – probably either Regulus or Coyl. [Great Fortitude] is obviously better. This in conjunction with Dynamic Stabilizer can make Coyl effectively 4 wounds which is a pretty big deal. I would definitely consider this if you are going for the horde/swarm style of play.
I think this probably the most thematic warband GW have released to date. The warband is so unique and interesting that it makes me want to play them. The cogs are turning in my mind!
From an objective perspective I think they might struggle a bit. They’ve got some great cards but that glory count is low – the deck has a total of 14. That raises some questions for me in Rivals and Rivals+ formats. And with the reliance universal 2 glory end phase cards, I think they might rely more on the current card pool than most warbands.
Gambit wise, I like them. We’ve got 4 spells and 2 of them are good. There’s a lot of great stuff in here and very thematic. It’s powerful in the sense that it offers the warband utility and sustainability to keep with the game plan. Upgrade wise, I am excited by how much of a force multiplier Deintalos can be. There’s some great stuff in there to augment your zombie horde and do some wild stuff!
Overall, they seem like a lot of fun and can be played in a couple of different ways. I think the most obvious method would be to just shamble up the board and swarm enemy fighters – which sounds like a blast. I’m positive on these guys and I’m excited that they offer something quite unique. There’s going to be a high skill level with them but I think if you stay committed to them, you’ll be able to make some amazing plays.
I’m excited to see how players innovate with them!
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 Exiled Dead. If you prefer to shop online, check this out here this Saturday.
As always, best of luck on YOUR [Path to Glory]!