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6Sep/180

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The last of the warband supplements for Warhammer Underworlds Season 1 Shadespire in a review will be the Farstriders. We had Magore's Fiends early this week. Similar as the Fiends picked up the Khorne theme from the starter kit, the Farstriders pick up with the Stormcast Eternals from the same set.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The Farstriders are the first warband to actually cover shooting / ranged combat in Warhammer Underworlds. But they won't be the last to do so, for sure. Actually as the Farstriders are Vanguard-Hunters, the next Stormcasts that are part of the Season 2 starter set Nightvault will introduce Evocators as a warband and magic as a new component.
But let us take a look what the Vanguard-Hunters around Hunter-Prime Sanson Farstrider bring to the table. As a highly trained, elite group of warriors, it is no surprise that they are only three men strong. Priced at the usual 22.50 EUR for an Underworlds warband supplement or 20.00 EUR for the easy-to-build box without the cards. The Underworlds box covers two pre-coloured bright blue sprues, a deck of cards and an assembly leaflet.

The card deck covers 63 cards, 3 cards for the warband itself, 29 are unique cards for the Vanguard warband and 31 universal cards (split across objectives, upgrades and ploys) to be used with any Warhammer Underworlds warband.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The plastic of the two small sprues is pre-coloured in a ultramarine blue and the three miniatures are spread across those frames. The bases are boldly designed and to show that they are farstriders, have a lot of wildlife on their bases, like a whole tree trunk. The details are well casted and they made good use of the space within the sprue. Like all the other Underworlds warbands so far, this kit is push-fit too, so you will not need any glue to assembly the miniatures, you simply push them together.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The leader of the small Vanguard-Hunter pack is Sanson Farstrider, standing heroically on a tree trunk and being accompanied by a star falcon that will even fight for him once he's inspired. It was a bit tricky to align the upper body in the appropriate way, as the model is layered but all three parts interlock for the final pose. Due to him being positioned on an elevated base, standing upright and even holding his weapon high, he is among the tallest of the Underworlds miniatures so far. A very impressive character.

The condition for the Farstriders to be inspired is to complete an action phase in enemy territory. That shouldn't be too difficult for the armoured troops. And Farstriders are not just armed for ranged combat with their Boltstorm Pistol, but have a deadly Shock Handaxe as well. The damage of the ranged weapon is rather low with only one point, but the range of 3 and rolling 3 die as well, makes it effective. Being inspired gives the Farstriders an additional point of defense. Sanson benefits from being quicker than other Vanguard-Hunters and even has a movement of 4.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

Almeric Eagle-eye carries a Boltstorm Pistol as well. Very well cut model, another dynamic and impressive pose. Raised a bit above other models due to the pose and designed base. The four parts align quite well. With a Shock Handaxe, that gets loaded once Almeric is inspired, he is a deadly enemy in close combat as well. He "only" has the regular movement of the Stormcast of 3, like Elias Swiftblade.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The third hunter is Elias Swiftblade, similar in profile with Almeric, but wielding a Shock Sabre instead of an Axe he is a bit more focused on close combat, compared to the other. Elias benefits from cleave once he's inspired.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The small hunting pack of the Farstriders.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

To show you what I meant by the impressive and tall poses of the Farstrider, it is easiest to show them next to another model. In the first between a Stormcast from the AoS 1st Edition starter kit and next to Obryn from the Shadespire starter kit, and in the second next to a missile trooper from the "Old world" of Warhammer.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

The Farstriders cards can be looked up in the card library on the Underworld Community page. So far there is currently only one deck build uploaded on the page.

To be honest, I expected more of a glass cannon type of warband, when I read about the ranged combat. Usually in other games having the benefit of dealing damage without being in direct touch with the enemy or bearing less risk of a counter attack, is levelled with being fragile. Low armour values, low amount of health points. Take a look at the Daemon Hunter class of Diablo 3, or some of the ranged fighters from different MOBAs. With that in mind, it is going to be interesting to see how the magic user of the Evocaters will be in Nightvault, as wizards / mages usually have similar draw backs to even out their benefit of dealing arcane and ranged damage of some kind. So I would have expected something like Aelves rangers to cover the range combat trait within Underworlds.

But do not overestimate the damage of the ranged weapons. From how I understand, you play these similar to a regular Stormcast warband, but if an enemy model tries to flee or to sneak up on you, you give him a taste of the Boltstorm Pistol. That bit of damage might change the result of the fight to your favour. You have to combine your ranged attacks to make the damage count, so don't just cover a large area, pick one fighter and give him hell.

As the Farstriders have to move to gain their inspire benefits, your opponent has a very clear counter strategy similar to playing against the Duardin of the Chosen Axes. They will prolong the game board, make it narrow and close the gaps. You on the other hand should try to avoid getting stuck in your half of the board, bring the battle to your opponent. That aggressive first moves make the Farstriders harder to kill and upgrade their weapons, so it should be their first priority. Your deck should be build accordingly, anything that scores in enemy territory is a card that is worth looking at.

And the group shot in the photo box.

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – The Farstriders

Conclusion
As mentioned above, not what you would expect with a ranged combat warband for Shadespire / Underworlds in general. I do not expect it to be the last, as season 2 surely will cover further range combat warbands.

The Farstriders are a very well designed and impressive set of miniatures. It depends a bit how you compare the miniatures to the regular range. For the release of the 2nd Edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, they released two Easy-to-Build sets for the Stormcast Eternals that are 12 EUR each, so quite a bit cheaper than the Easy-to-Build Farstriders set at 20 EUR. On the other hand, Vanguard Hunters are 50 EUR for 10 and the poses the Farstriders deliver are more heroic that they easily trump the multipart unit champion.

The small band of Vanguard Hunters covers quite a different game play experience, but with 4 wounds each are rather forgiving, so they can appeal to both, new and more experienced players. As the reach of the ranged weapons is 3, 4 in case of Sansons Star Falcon, you have an attack range of 6 or 8 in case of the warbands leader. That makes it difficult for your opponent to actually hide from you or go around without taking any damage. Because at 3 dice per Boltstorm attack, it is rather likely that you deal your one point of damage. Especially against those warbands that do not have that much wounds on their warriors, like Reavers or the Skaven swarm, it will be an interesting part of the strategy.

The casting is really on a top level, fit was on some parts a bit sophisticated. As with push fit you have to apply pressure to really get the parts together and close that last half of a Millimetre gap, it can be difficult to do so without damaging or blunting the parts. And as the parts are cut in a more fluid way, with rounded bonding areas, dry fitting may work but not always. So I'd rather cut off the connectors and glue the model together the classic way.

Warhammer Underworlds is a brand by Games Workshop.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

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