Usher into the Era of the Beast with the new edition of Warcry and our review of Heart of Ghur, the new starter set that relocates the game’s setting from the Eightpoints to the Gnarlwood in the Realm of Beasts. There are two brand new warbands to discover, a board full of new terrain, and slightly revised rules, so find out more in this review.
Warcry Heart of Ghur, the starter set for the 2nd Edition/season of Warcry, will be available for preorder starting Saturday, July 30 2022, and goes on sale one week after. The box will be only available while stocks last, with separate releases of the components soon after.
Included are two new warbands, the Rottmire Creed and Horns of Hashut, a thick cardboard gaming board with a complete set of Gnarlwood terrain, a new core book, a warband tome with fighter and ability cards covering both warbands, 96 battleplan cards, plus, tokens, rulers, and 18 coloured 16 mm dice with a Warcry icon on the sixes. It’s a massive box that has even more depth than the Horus Heresy Age of Darkness box.
In this review, we’ll cover all the miniatures, the Gnarlwood terrain, and the new rule books, so let’s start with…
The new Warcry Core Book
The starter set contains two books: the new Core Book, which contains the background, core rules and open, matched and narrative play rules, and the thinner Warband Tome “Rot and Ruin”, containing background and rules for the Rottmire Creed and Horns of Hashut.
The softcover Core Book clocks in at just over 160 pages. We have over 50 pages of lore with lots of exciting new artwork and miniature photographs, expanding the new setting and providing an overview of the motivations of each of the four grand alliances’ warbands.
The Core Rules take up just under 30 pages, and it is noticeable that the rules have only been subtly refined – which I like, as the Warcry rules have been one of the most streamlined and elegant rulesets from Games Workshop yet. Some of the more complex rules have been tidied up, such as the formation of battle groups during set-up, or cover rules that have been clarified. Allies and monster rules from the 1st Edition’s expansion books have been rolled into the core rules, which is welcome.
The greatest innovation is certainly the reactions, a mechanic Games Workshop seems to be very fond of lately, inspired by the 3rd edition of Age of Sigmar and the 2nd edition of The Horus Heresy. On the opponent’s turn, you can execute one of three core reactions if you sacrifice an action for it, and each warband also brings its own specific reaction (which is why older warbands require the new Warcry Compendium).
While open and matched play stayed about the same (but with new battleplans and battleplan cards of course), campaign rules in narrative play have been completely overhauled. New mechanics like exploring and warband encampments add more depth to the aftermath sequence, and the new quest system allows you to gain heroic traits and artefacts. There are universal quests, which can be as simple as taking out more enemy fighters for more glory, as well as quests for each Grand Alliance, where you have to reach a certain progress score to unlock a specific battleplan and encampment. In addition to quests, there are also a few campaign arcs, which are similar in structure to the campaigns from the Tome of Champions books and add a narrative framework for three to five linked battles.
Rot and Ruin Warband tome
If you’re familiar with the Kill Team expansion books, you’ll know what to expect here. This 60-something pages softcover book has about 35 pages of background and miniature showcases for the Rottmire Creed and Horns of Hashut, plus complete rules and profiles for both warbands, rules for Gnarlwoord terrain, quests for both warbands, and two campaign arcs, one for two players, and one for four to six players. Last but not least, we have two pages of background tables and name generators.
The Rottmire Creed
The Rottmire Creed are a group of former alchemists cast out into the swamps of the Gnarlwoods. They worship the plague god Lord Leech, and their goal is to poison the geomantic engines of the crashed Seraphon voidship to turn the entire land into a poisoned swampland.
The two medium-sized sprues contain 10 models. As usual with Warcry, the models are monopose, but there are some alternative building options. We have a leader on a 32mm base, the Witherlord. There is also a Bloated One, also on a 32mm base, which can be built with either raker-claw and hooked net, or with dual raker-claws. The two Carrion Catchers come on 28mm bases and can be built with either snatcher-hooks or impalers. The remaining 6 models are Mirefolk Outcast, each model stands on a 25mm base and can be built with either dual bilewood weapons or a single weapon and shield.
The design of the models is excellent and thematic. Although Lord Leech must clearly be an aspect of the chaos god Nurgle, the models are not bloated but gaunt and slender, giving them a look all their own. With their equipment made of bamboo and bone, they fit perfectly into the new Realm of Beasts setting. Since every model except the Witherlord can be built with alternative armament, it will be quite feasible to buy a second box for expansion later on. However, as usual with Warcry, further personalisation options or alternative posing possibilities are not to be found.
The Horns of Hashut
The Horns of Hashut form the vanguard of the chaos-worshipping Duardin legions, flattening the land to erect daemon-forges and dark armouries for their tyrannical master. These merciless and cruel war-thralls want to use the crashed Seraphon voidship to turn the whole Gnarlwood into a barren wasteland to please their dark god Hashut.
We also have two medium-sized sprues for the ten Horns of Hashut, but the building options are also somewhat more limited than with the Rottmire Creed. We have the warband’s ruthless leader, the Ruinator Alpha on a 32mm base, with the options for a war bident or heavy flail for his left hand, an ash bomb or clenched fist for his right hand, and a choice of two pair of horns for his helmet. His second in command, the Ruinator, comes on a 32mm base as well and has the choice between two crushing weapons or a bident and small flail, but for some reason, the rules don’t reflect this as the Ruinator has just a single profile. Next, you can build five Demolishers, the elite warriors of Hashut, all on 28mm bases. These models don’t have any build options, three are armed with dual crushing weapons, one has a flamehurler, while the fifth model has a crushing weapon and shield. Finally, we have three of the low-level Shatterers on 25mm bases. There are two masculine bodies and a feminine one, and per the assembly guide each model has a choice of two heads and two tips for their weapons, though, in practice, all weapon tips and all male heads are interchangeable.
In a troll move beyond compare, the Horns of Hashut comprise only human fighters, so we’re still waiting for proper Chaos duardin models in the Age of Sigmar setting. In terms of design, the sculptors have once again managed to create yet another unique tribal style and culture, which clearly stands out from, for example, the Iron Golems. Horned “hashutaar” helmets with bovine faces are the embodiments of Hashut, while flamethrowers and bombs are a nod to their evil duardin lords. Yet, the lack of options sting a little bit, so if you want to buy a second box you’ll end up with a lot of duplicate fighters.
Warcry Heart of Ghur terrain review
Heart of Ghur contains 6 large sprues of terrain. Of the 6 sprues, the one with the bridges and scatter terrain pieces is included twice.
The new edition of Warcry is set in Gurr, the Realm of Beasts, more precisely, in the Gnarlwood, a living forest in western Thondia. The scenery comprises several Gnarloaks, predatory trees with whip-like branches whose bark is shaped like sinewy muscles. Bamboo platforms create vantage points connected with modular bamboo bridges, adding a third dimension to gameplay. There are remnants of a Seraphon voidship, and, of course, the bony remains of enormous beasts. The terrain pieces are very detailed, and while the assembly can sometimes be a bit tricky, careful design work went into the trees as most of the branches are interchangeable for more variation.
Some people complained that the amount of terrain might seem lower than in the first Warcry starter box. And while it’s true that there are only six sprues of terrain compared to the seven sprues in Warcry: Red Harvest and the original starter set, we can assure you that the new terrain is massive and fills the board nicely. Garfy has already built the complete set, and as you can see, the Gnarloaks and the skull watchtower are gigantic in comparison:
With an RRP of £140 / 180 €, the new Warcry: Heart of Ghur starter set sees yet another minor price increase over the final big box of the first edition, Warcry: Red Harvest, which was priced at £135 / 175 € (originally £130 / 160 € before the price increase). For this, we also lose a sprue of terrain, as both Red Harvest and the original Warcry starter set had seven sprues of terrain instead of six. Meh.
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It will be interesting to see how this edition of Warcry will unfold. It was announced on Warhammer Community that the release model will become similar to the current edition of Kill Team – that is, a quarterly stream of large boxes with two warbands, terrain, a game board, and a supplementary book. Games Workshop loves big boxes… and even though it’s a strain on the wallet, it’s more efficient than buying the components individually, especially because the thin Kill Team expansion books are quite expensive for what they are.