• Aman

Product Review: Ylthari's Guardians


With the impending release of the final two warbands of the Nightvault, and the second season of the game, what better way to sate your desires than to get one more look at one of the warbands! In this article, we will going over Ylthari's Guardians who are the first Sylvaneth, and aelves in general, in the Underworlds system. They are a hybrid warband consisting of four fighters. Each fighter has a clearly defined role and does it quite well. Furthermore, utilizing them together can, and often will, overwhelm your opponent via spell, blade, and arrow.


In this article you can expect a model review, warband analysis, card reviews for both the faction and universal cards, a look at the faction dice, and my thoughts on the warband as a whole.



Like the rest of Games Workshop's Underworlds line, the Ylthari's Guardians box comes packaged at a high level of quality and features faction artwork on the cover. Personally, I like the illustration and I feel it captures the warband perfectly: mysterious, alluring, and dangerous.

The models themselves come moulded in a forest green color which is quite apt for the warband, thematically. Every single model is packed with detail, especially their bases, and you can tell the design team had a grand time designing these models. Although the models do seem a bit static in some regards, they are quite beautiful. My favorite model is of course, Gallanghann. Ever since I saw the teaser, I was enamored by the model. Trust me, he looks even better in person. Also, the critters are a nice touch. Perhaps they are the reason the warband benefits from rolling crit(ters)s! 😜


In general, all the warbands are fairly easy to assemble, especially when following the assembly guides. I will say, these models were a bit more, and I use this term lightly, complicated to build. Still I had them up to par in minutes and the hold is quite tight as well. However as always, I recommend glueing your models together for a maximum hold.


Overall the models look fantastic. They really combine the regal nature of aelves and the savage nature of the wild seamlessly. Furthermore, their profiles are quite distinct compared to the other warbands released so far. Big fan!



Ylthari is the leader of this vengeful group of aelves. As befitting one of her heritage, she is quite the capable wizard and starts with a wizard level of two. She has a movement of four, defense of two dodge, and a health pool of three wounds. At first glance, she seems fairly survivable. Sure, three health isn't the best but her speed and ranged capabilities more than make up for it.


Our wizard has two attack actions on her profile. The first one, her Briar Staff, has a range of one, hits on two smash, and deals two damage. That's fairly respectable. Also, similarly to both Vortemis and Stormsire, Ylthari also has a range three magic attack that hits on focuses and deals a single point of damage.


An interesting thing to note is that this warband as a whole inspires by removing a wound token from the fighter, even if they didn't have one already. You can accomplish this via actions, reactions, gambits, and/or upgrades. Although thematically relevant, as they are warriors of the aspect of life, it seems a bit tough at times. Sure, there are plenty of cards that help you do this, but for some of the fighters, it seems a bit harder. Still, if you build your deck right, you can do it!


Ylthari in particular has a bit of an easier time doing it. She has an innate reaction that allows her to heal herself for a wound if she rolls a crit during her casting roll. Although not a rare occurrence, it is indeed a bit random. However, cards like Potion of Rage and Well of Power can offset this. If you do end up rolling multiple crits and miscast, you don't have to worry about the damage as she'll just heal herself back. Pretty neat!


Upon inspiring, Ylthari gets a bump in movement and her ranged attack deals two damage, just like some of her other magical colleagues.


Overall, she's a capable commander that is best used for keeping your aggressive enemies at bay and also finishing off wounded enemies. Keep her in the back and move her in when the proper moment arises.



Ahnslaine, the Revenant Archer is the ranged support of the group and she's pretty darn good at it too. As befitting a lightly armored ranged combatant, she has a movement of four, a defense of one dodge, three wounds, and a three range attack that hits on two smash, and deals a single point of damage. I like the fact that she hits on smashes. Aelves are expert marksmen and she is no exception.


After inspiring, the Revenant Archer gains an extra dice on defense and her bow attack goes to rage four. That is insane. Alongside Samson Farstrider and Jagathra, she has the longest threat range in the game.


Ahnslaine also has a built in reaction that allows her to make a successive attack if she is able to eliminate an enemy fighter with her initial one. One thing to note is that the attack is not limited to her Revenant Bow. If she is carrying a weapon upgrade, like the Mutating Maul for example, she can make an attack, eliminate a fighter, and swing at another fighter should there be one in range. Keep in mind that she can only do this once per round.


This fighter, like Ylthari, is best used as ranged support. Weakening your opponent's fighters with attacks and gambits is paramount as she can quickly and reliably finish them off. If things get a bit dicey, just give her a weapon and charge her in there. Her reaction, especially in melee, kind of works like a version of Ready for Action, except you don't need the upgrade in between.



Gallanghann of the Glade is not only the coolest fighter of the bunch, but he is also perhaps the best fighter as well. He is the literal embodiment of a tank as he has four wounds, two block on defense, and a movement of four. His attack is also quite powerful as his glaive has a range of two, hits on two smash, and deals two damage.


This fighter also has an innate reaction that instantly damages an attacking fighter if Gallanghann rolls a critical defensive roll. Keep in mind that he doesn't have to beat the attack and that this special rule also works on ranged attacks as well.


When inspired, Gallanghann gains a second attack option. He can whirl his glaive in an arc, hitting every adjacent enemy fighter. It has a range of one and is a bit less accurate as it rolls on two fury. Furthermore, it only does one damage.


Gallanghann is a fantastic tank. Have him stem the tide and soak attacks while your warband counter charges and picks off the enemy at range. If you need to go on the offensive, that's not a bad idea either as he can accurately deal consistent damage. Slap on a Great Strength on him and watch him mow through the opponent's warband. Remember, he is susceptible to cleave but he has enough wounds to keep out of danger for a time, should the situation become a bit dire.




Skhathael rounds out the troupe and is the second melee combatant. He has a movement of four, one block on defense, and a health pool of three wounds. His great blade hits on two smash and deals two damage.


This fighter's innate reaction allows you to deal a single point of damage should you roll a crit in the attack roll. An important thing to note is that the attack action doesn't have to succeed for you to deal the one damage. You just need to roll a crit. (Gosh, why does that sound so familiar? 🙃)


Upon inspiring, he becomes a bit more accurate and gains cleave. Skhathael can be played as an initiator and a finisher. I prefer the latter as his health pool isn't the best. Still, he can be quite the potent fighter, especially if your rolls are on the better side of things.

Faction Cards:

As per my previous articles, I'll be doing a thorough review of every faction card included with Ylthari's Guardians. We'll start with objectives, then head on to power cards, and finally finish with upgrades. I'll be using a rating system as well.


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.


Please keep in mind that these are my personal opinions. You might rate these cards differently.


Note: The format today will be slightly different in terms of appearance. Since I do not yet have the physical cards at of the time of this writing, I reached out to John Reese from 'Can You Roll a Crit' and he was kind enough to let me use the images from his blog. If you haven't had a chance to check out his site, I highly recommend you do so. His content is ace and was one of my main inspirations when launching Hexes & Warbands. You can find his blog here.

Glade's Pride: This card is fairly hard to score. Due to the majority of your warband having three health and the popularity of aggro warbands, this is fairly unlikely to score at the end of the game.

Rating: D


Glade's Last Hope: Removing three wound tokens is not common and in fact, fairly difficult to do. Sure, you'll have cards in your deck to make this happen but still, it's a lot of effort for just a single point of glory.

Rating: D


Vengeful Revenants: This is pretty tough to do. Unless you're having the game of your life, it's probably not going to happen, especially with the popularity of low model count warbands like Mollog's, Magore's, and Cursebreakers.

Rating: D


Show No Mercy: If you are playing an aggro variant and your meta is full of high model count warbands, this could happen. Again, tabling your opponent is hard, especially with the prevalence of low model count warbands.

Rating: D

Lithe Spirits: This card is pretty much an auto-include. Your fighter's all have innate reactions plus you can play cards as like Ready for Action and Rebound to aid in its scoring.

Rating: A


Domain Denied: Although somewhat controllable, if your opponent knows you run this, they can easily deny it. However, unless your opponent is focusing on grabbing objectives, there's still a decent chance.

Rating: C


Strike Swiftly: This is fairly solid. Eliminating an enemy of a charge is something we all tend to do often. Might as well get another glory token for it.

Rating: A


Song of Hatred: If you are planning to invest decently in magic, then this card is pretty good. If not, then it'll be tough even if you do take Abasoth's Unmaking/Withering and/or Sphere of Aqshy.

Rating: B


Reclaim the Lamentiri: I like this card. Unless it's not wise to place a bunch of objectives near your opponent's fighters, you can almost always score this off smart deployment alone.

Rating: B

Strength of the Burgeoning: Other than being a mouthful, this spell is fairly easy to cast. It's kind of like an extra Great Strength in the warband and for these guys, it's fairly good and even needed.

Rating: B


Pangs of the Great Lack: This card is awesome, dealing a damage via gambits is always great. You have a 50% chance to on a magic die so rolling two with Ylthari will give you a pretty decent chance to cast it.

Rating: A


Curse of the Dwindling: Although it requires a bit of support to cast effectively, this card can effectively neuter a powerful enemy fighter. Imagine Mollog rolling one dice to hit. Even with a re-roll, it's fairly easy to block.

Rating: B

Writhing Roots: This card is good for limiting your opponent's threat range. Whether they are trying to charge you or run to an objective, this is a pretty sweet tech card that can seriously put a dent in their game plan. Still, Invisible Walls is a better option.

Rating: C


Mesmerizing Gaze: An interesting card. You can either remove a block token from an adjacent enemy fighter or place a movement token on them. Although the former application does propose some interesting thought, the latter option is outshined by Transfixing Gaze. Plus, your opponent can still try to smack you if they're right next to you.

Rating: C

Last Guardians: Getting a guard token is nice, especially when you combo it with Change of Tactics. Put this on Gallanghann and he can block most attacks fairly decently.

Rating: B


Healing Amphora: If this card healed either Gallanghann or a friendly adjacent fighter for two without the roll, it'd be tremendously better. Furthermore, you are reliant on Gallanghann being alive on the board and adjacent to someone. Although that should be quite easy to do, things happen, right?

Rating: C


Springseed Step: This is effectively getting to move a second fighter for free after moving the first one. It's great for moving a fighter into a more advantageous position whether its offensively or defensively. It reminds me of Commanding Stride to a degree.

Rating: A


Revenant Rage: Giving a fighter an extra dice to hit is okay. Due to the gambit card slot being so competitive and now having more options than ever, it's tough to justify its inclusion.

Rating: C


Leech Power: Great card. You can hamper opposing objective play, inspire your leader, and score Scorched Earth. What's not to like?

Rating: B

Menacing Step: On paper, it's kind of cool. However, limiting to Skhathael is tough and I generally dislike restricted upgrades. Plus, he's probably going to be the first fighter to fall on your end more often than not.

Rating: D


Enraged Sprite: You get a ranged three attack that deals one damage and gives you cleave. If you want a more reliable way to score What Armour? it works, otherwise you have plenty of ranged capabilities with Ylthari and Ahnslaine.

Rating: C


Cage of Thorns: This is fairly interesting. You can hit from range three for one damage and if you hit, that fighter can't move. I kind of like it, but I'm not sure it'll land too often. Still, this is great anti-aggro tech.

Rating: B


Vengeful Blow: If this was on any other fighter, I would think its great. Again, Skhathael isn't survivable enough to reliably count on this. Really cool if it goes off though.

Rating: C


Unflinching Guardian: Good for Gallanghann if you are bunching up your fighters. Not a bad strategy but your opponent can easily position their fighter so that Gallanghann is not supporting their intended target.

Rating: D


Spiteful Thorns: In my opinion, if an enemy is able to get close enough to Ylthari to hit her with a melee attack, they're probably equipped enough to take her down. Plus, the roll makes it even less appealing

Rating: C


Pinning Shot: You are going to have to be a positioning master to get this off consistently. Even then, it's not great.

Rating: D

Warding Stance: This is bonkers on Gallanghann. He'll gave three defensive dice which just makes him a beast. Furthermore, he still has a chance to reliably block attacks with cleaves since his chances of rolling a crit just went up exponentially.

Rating: A


Inescapable Grasp: Cleave for dodge! This makes Ylthari a bit better at targeting warbands who rely heavily on dodge. Still, half your opponents might not even have dodging fighters.

Rating: C


Constant Growth: With Sudden Growth and Deathly Fortitude going restricted, cards that improve wounds especially without hampering other stats are great.

Rating: B

Universal Cards:

Lethal Repertoire: In order to score this, you need an upgrade in hand and a glory to spare. Too limiting for a single glory end phase card.

Rating: D


Hold What We Have: This is severely limiting and can only reliably score this if your opponent is out of range or all of their fighters are gone.

Rating: D


Bloodless Skirmish: In a game in which taking our enemy fighters is paramount, I really don't see how you can score this reliably.

Rating: D


Sorcerous Duel: Neat card that gives you some extra coin for eliminating an enemy wizard. Still, many warbands don't have wizards and when they do, they're usually tough to take out. Plus Fiends and Mollog are running rampant right now with Profiteers surely to be on their heels upon release.

Rating: C


Preserve Their Knowledge: Spreading your tomes out isn't an effective strategy especially when you'll generally have more than three when you're going for Acolyte of the Katophranes. Plus, your fighters who did get the upgrades all need to be on the board.

Rating: D


Preserve Life: This card combos well with Ylthari's Guardians but unless you have the right cards in hand at the right time and your fighter's didn't take lethal damage to begin with, you won't score this often.

Rating: C


One Fate: A card that requires an uncontrollable outcome and requires a minimum of three dice. Very unlikely.

Rating: D

Magical Storm: Four spells is tough. Sure, you can go for a magic heavy deck but relying on the right draws and even the requirement ranges for spells is tough. Plus, you could just roll poorly and squander your plans.

Rating: D


Keep Moving: You can score this while charging so this combos well with aggressive warbands like Fiends, Reavers, and the Godsworn. Still, it can force you to make plays that may not be optimal.

Rating: C


United: Bunching up your fighters can be easy in some cases, especially if you are playing a low model count warband. It's not bad but not good either.

Rating: C


Stand Firm: I don't like going on guard via an activation - I feel like its generally a waste unless you are going for Change of Tactics or Keep Them Guessing. And, if you are going for those cards, you sure as hell won't have all your fighters on guard.

Rating: C

Entropic Curse: This is pretty nifty. You can reliably score this off two dice, which most caster have, and can cause damage over time to an opponent. Since most of us don't run anti-magic tech, it's fairly reliable too.

Rating: B


Bolt of Inspiration: Requires too many successful rolls to properly inspire a fighter. It can even backfire and inspire an opposing model. Yikes!

Rating: D


Terrifying Visage: You can make your wizard a bit more survivable by limiting the number of dice their would be attacks can roll. It stays in the game too unless dispelled. Interesting but not worth the gambit card slot.

Rating: C


Sphere of Ghyran: Healing spells are nice but this requires two channels to get off which is kind of hard to do reliably unless you have upgrades or cards that help with it. Good in a magic heavy deck I suppose.

Rating: C

Strategic Sorcery: I really like the premise behind this card. All the objectives you put in your deck are going to be good or at least supportive of your game plan. However, two focus is hard to do reliably and requires a lot of help.

Rating: C


Magical Damping: You can reduce a damaging spell's lethality by one. Interesting thing to note is that is doesn't say to a minimum of one so this can effectively block a spell like Sphere of Aqshy or something. Still, it requires a 5/50 roll. Not worth it.

Rating: C


Lifesurge: This is the exact same thing as Tainted Vitality. Unless you are combo'ing with Shardgale, it's probably not gonna be particularly useful.

Rating: D

Silence: You can stop an enemy wizard for an activation. Unless used at the end of the game, it's pretty easy for you opponent to work around.

Rating: D


Noble Sacrifice: Neat card but requires an adjacent friendly fighter and a roll 50/50 to succeed. Not reliable and Soul Trap is better.

Rating: D


Flexible Strategy: Can potentially help you when towards the end of the game when you are hard pressed on activations. Still, if you build your deck right, you shouldn't need it and its not worth the gambit card slot.

Rating: D

Fading Form: Giving a fighter less restrictions when traversing over all types of hexes is neat but only when it's an innate ability.

Rating: D


Blessing of Ignax: Plus two damage is awesome but perhaps not worth spending one of your twelve standard activations for. Could combo with Ready for Action though, in theory.

Rating: C


Spinning Defense: Another card with random outcomes. You are relying on your opponent failing an attack and then it pushes your fighter two hexes randomly. Not good, especially when the rolls goes poorly and you end up in a less favorable position.

Rating: D


Quick Learner: Other than the tankiest of fighters, this card isn't going to net you much.

Rating: D

Nullstone Arrows: That range is nuts! Plus it's decently accurate too, a great addition to any warband who wants to get some attacks in from a safe distant like perhaps Reavers, Eyes, or Godsworn.

Rating: B


Fated Blade: In theory, you can score up to five damage which is pretty nuts. Either way, you're doing decent damage. It stops Rebound too due to how the card works. Awesome.

Rating: A


Duelist's Speed: Pretty strong card as you can get in and out. Even better on ranged attacks.

Rating: B


Well of Power: This is nuts! This makes wizards like Stormsire, Vortemis, and Ylthari's attacks very reliable. The latter has a higher chance of healing too. Theddra can also roll four dice which is also pretty crazy.

Rating: A


Tome of Insight: This card is very strong. You give up an action but it pretty much telegraphs how your opponent is going to play. Really useful in competitive environments.

Rating: A


Scroll of Recall: You can re-use a spell pretty reliably. Really good with burn spells like Abasoth's Withering and Sphere of Aqshy. Delays your power deck drawing though but seems like it's worth it.

Rating: B

Faction Dice:

As you are well ware by now, I love dice and I'm quite the collector - I own all the faction dice in the game. I really like the light green color on the attack dice. It feels mossy in a way. The wine colored insets are nice touch and contrast well ensuring you can read the dice quite clearly.


The black and green defensive dice are fairly neat as well. During my games, my opponent and I were able to read them clearly enough which is always important and waylaid my fears of the dice not being legible.


It'll come as no surprise that I recommend you purchase these dice. Whether you are an avid collector like me or plan on piloting another warband, they're a nice looking set.

Final Thoughts:

So, should you invest in Ylthari’s Guardians?


I'd say so.


First of all, you get to play a brand new warband that is looking like it will definitely shape up the current meta. Four fighters is awesome and gives you a nice blend of fighters and options to choose form during your games. Furthermore, every single fighter is fairly good at doing what they are intended to. Keep in mind, they are a bit fragile so be careful. However, when played right they can be devastating for your opponent. Not to mention, it can be a fairly rewarding experience for you as well.


Now if you aren't planning on playing them or even collecting the gorgeous models, I still recommend that players eventually buy all the current warbands. Every expansion, just like this one, comes with a set of universal cards that can potentially benefit any warband. This set specifically has some insane upgrades such as Fated Blade, Well of Power, Duelist's Speed, and Tome of Insight to name but a few. Cards like these can enhance any warband's play and keep you competitive.


I hope you found this format and review helpful. I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions on what I should add, or even remove, in the future.


Thanks again to John Reese from Can You Roll a Crit.


Cheers,


Aman

©2018 by Hexes and Warbands. Proudly created with Wix.com