Arrr, Warhammer Underworlds is currently knee deep in its fifth season, Harrowdeep, and today we take a look at the first new Warband expansion: Gorlok Blackpowder’s motley crew of Gnoblars, his trusty parrot Shreek, and even an angry looking monkey. Gather round, mateys, and check this out.
Harrowdeep changed the roadmap of Warhammer Underworlds releases. Gone is the yearly format of a core set plus 6 warband expansions, instead there’ll be only two warband releases before we’ll see another core set in Q2 2022. One of these warbands are Blackpowder’s Buccaneers, an Ogor Meaneater/pirate and his pets. He comes with a Rivals format ready deck with 32 Buccaneers cards including 5 fighter cards, as well as 20 universal cards and 12 Grand Alliance cards.
This item was provided by Games Workshop. Thoughts and opinions are our own.
Similar to Hrothgorn’s Mantrappers, the other Ogor warband from the Beastgrave season, Blackpowder’s Buccaneers are built around a beefy Ogor Maneater pirate named Gorlok Blackpowder, with 6 health, 1 defence die, and movement 3. Inspired he goes to movement 4 and his grunderbuss goes to 4 attack dice. The inspire mechanic is based around swag counters, of which you gain one at the beginning of the game. Gorlok’s pets have the Light-Fingered rule, which lets you break enemy fighter’s upgrade cards after a successful attack action and turns them into more swag counters. Spending two swag counters is the requirement for inspiring Gorlok, so while it’s a fun and thematic inspire condition, it might not be the easiest to fulfill.
The duo of gnoblars, Kagey and Peggz, and the pet parrot Shreek and monkey Mange, add more bodies for board control and mobility, especially as they can benefit from free push actions.
You can check out the all of the cards here:
As usual, the models come on two sprues in coloured plastic and are push-fit monopose models with sculpted bases. Gorlok has a strong and powerful pose, his foot placed on a giant skull, resting his right arm on an enormous cutlass, the tip buried in a bag of gold, and his “grunderbuss” blunderbuss in his other hand. He is wearing a long coat over his Ogor belly plate, has a long beard with jewellery braided into it, but sadly no pirate hat. He has a treasure chest strapped to his back though. Thanks to the belly plate, he also fits well with the rest of the Ogor Mawtribe range, though the proportions have been modernised when you compare him to the very old plastic Ogor bruisers, most noticeable on the smaller head. He comes on a 50 mm base.
I also really like the Gnoblars, especially Peggz with the wooden leg (a classic motif), but also Kagey wrapped in his grappling hook rope with his cool goatee. The monkey’s face reminds me a bit of Scylla Anfilgrimm (lol), the parrot is also sculpted well, and both pets continue the skeleton theme of Gorlok’s base on their bases.
You can also check out close-ups of the sprues in this YouTube short:
Due to the current situation, I’m currently only playing Warhammer Underworlds online, and since there are far fewer cards and warbands there, I’m afraid I can’t accurately assess how Blackpowder’s Buccaneers fit into the current meta. They don’t seem to be overpowered, but I’m sure our friend and tournament veteran John from Can You Roll a Crit has more to say about their gameplay in his review.
I really like the nautical and mystical Harrowdeep setting, and I love that Underworlds is at a point where we’re seeing some really wacky warband ideas being realised… like Pirate Ogors and Gnoblars. Warbands make fantastic little painting projects, and since they always find their way into Age of Sigmar warscrolls, you can use the models there even if you don’t play Underworlds, as generic heroes, or just for your display cabinet.
I have heard that the Harrowdeep season has received mixed reactions from Underworlds fans for a lot of reasons. New card backs that require opaque sleeves to mix old and new cards, the change to the release schedule with more emphasis on core sets (which in case of Harrowdeep have also become significantly more expensive compared to previous ones), and certain rule changes like the loss of lethal hexes.
Personally, I really like the new Rivals format, where you just play with the included faction deck or expansion decks like the new Illusory Might card set that is also on preorder today. I love collectible and living card games, and have played my fair share of them over the years, but nowadays I just don’t have the time and energy to get into deck building. Even though not every warbands’ faction deck might be on the same power level, I find it very liberating to be able to just play with a pre-built deck for a more “board game like” out of the box experience.
After the Harrowdeep Core Set was significantly more expensive than the Beastgrave Core Set, I was very curious whether the new warbands would also be more expensive, but fortunately, they stayed at the same price point as the Direchasm warbands. Nevertheless, we have already had an increase in the warbands from 17.50 pounds to 25 pounds over the years.