Friday, January 29, 2021

Warhammer Underworlds: Morgwaeth's Blade-Coven

Morgwaeth's Blade-Coven is a Daughters of Khaine warband for Warhammer underworlds - released as an expansion for Beastgrave - the third iteration (season? They seem to be referred to as seasons..?) of Warhammer Underworlds - and second setting. The first two Warhammer Underworlds games (Shadespire and Nightvault) were set in the city of Shadespire - or, rather, the ruins of the city of Shadespire - in the realm of Shyish. The third and fourth are set in the caverns beneath Beastgrave, a living mountain in the realm of Ghur. 

I actually originally picked these up last month when I picked up the Shadow & Pain boxed set, thinking I'd just add these to the general collection for use with Warcry and Age of Sigmar, and, if ever there was an opportunity to try out Warhammer Underworlds - I'd have my OWN warband to play with (though I'm not sure how useful the warband would be with just the cards that come with it!?).  But then as I got painting these (and the Skaven and Fyreslayer warbands for my friend John), I started thinking maybe Warhammer Underworlds might be fun to play here with the family. Then I began contemplating picking up Beastgrave or Direchasm. 

These took for-EVAR to paint (well.... a little over a month... while I was painting other things...). Most of that was tormenting myself over colour schemes... Go with the way GW paints and illustrates them? Use my own scheme? A lot of that is due to the fact that I have a PILE more to paint - in the aforementioned Shadow & Pain box I also picked up on Boxing Week. I guess I could have just painted these like the GW examples and figured out my own scheme later and just painted the rest how I like and not used these WITH them if I was THAT concerned... but the whole initial POINT of getting these was to add extras to the collection I was beginning!? 

The short version of an absurdly long story - recounting the rollercoaster ideas process - I settled on grey skin and white hair for the Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter and decided to continue the colour of the snake scales up the rest of the body for the Melusai... for now... 

Morgwaeth's Blade-coven

I have been reading the Direchasm anthology of short stories that ties in with the most recent iterations of the Warhammer Underworlds sets. It's been fun and adds some more depth and background to the warbands involved. Coincidentally, The first three stories were about the two warbands included in the Direchasm box (which I'll be finishing up next), Morgwaeth's Blade-Coven, and Spiteclaw's Swarm, which I'd just painted! In the story it suggests (as is confirmed on the card included with the miniatures) that Morgwaeth and her warband were sent to Beastgrave on a fool's errand to recover the shards of Khaine because Morgwaeth had challenged or questioned or doubted Morathi, the Grand Matriarch/High Oracle of Khaine (turned Goddess herself!) of the cult to which the Blade-Coven belongs. Having searched for sometime, her own sisters start to question her worthiness to lead and a power struggle ensues with a climactic slap-down. 

Morgwaeth The Bloodied - Hag Queen of the Hagg Nar Temple.

Kyrae a cruel, cold-hearted Melusai Blood Stalker. 

Handmaiden Khamyss of the Sisters of Slaughter. 

Kyrssa - Witch Aelf

Lethyr - another Witch Aelf - In the book she is described as "young and eager to impress her Hag Queen".

Because I was thinking this might be MY warband and that I might not actually buy the base game at the time I picked these up, I also bought a set of my own dice for them (yeah, they sell coloured dice for each of the warbands... and warband specific card sleeves... it could get a little out of hand, if you were REALLY into it ALL!?) 

The miniatures certainly are interesting and dynamic. The slightness and delicacy that lends to that dynamism, however, also means that they are a little on the fragile side. I actually broke (and LOST!) one of the Witch Aleves blades just taking int off of the sprue! I'm amazed the Hag Queen's pole arm or the Sister of Slaughter's whip weren't broken during the same process. I don't have a lot of faith that either will survive, unbroken, for too long, given what a lunk I am!? At least with the very light plastic, it in't TOO much trouble to re-glue bits back in to place... usually... sometimes... 

I am loathe to actually try and transport these anywhere. I'm not sure what I was thinking, given that I was considering this would be MY warband that I'd use if ever I went over to my friend John's or anywhere else I might find others playing the game...? It would suck to have these break in transport and have to play through a game (or gameS!)  with broken models!? I should have been looking for more solid CHUNKY minis for any warband I'm going to transport and play with outside of my house. Is there an Ogor warband...? 

As for Morgwaeth's Blood-Coven's use in other games... 

These aren't enough to make a Warcry Warband on their own. In total they come to about 520 points. When I get to the Shadow & Pain Box, I will be able to add a few of the Melusai and/or Khinerai to make a full Warcry Warband. Should be fun and interesting, with a bit of diversity. 

As for Age of Sigmar, which I'd also initially considered adding these to larger units, it turns out that adding one or two extras to a unit doesn't really work in competitive games. Beyond the skirmish game, where miniatures aren't in units and move around individually (just like Warcry... but on a larger scale...) units are fielded in standard sizes (10, 20, 30, etc) for a set number of points. BUT, as it turns out, Morgwaeth's Blade Coven can simply be added to an army as it's own special unit of mixed types!? 

While I was working on these, I also tried out the paint scheme on an older metal Witch Elf/Aelf (I mean, it was a Witch ELF when they were made... but now called Witch AELF...). I have a handful of these that I recently stripped to repaint and use as a Warcry Warband... Not sure I actually have enough of them for a complete 1000 point warband...? I think I need three more. I DO have enough to field them as a full unit of Witch Aelves in Age of Sigmar, though... Well... Once they're all painted... 

I'm not going to add these metal Witch Aelves to Morgwaeth's group to make a Warcry warband. I don't know... I'm just not keen on mixing metal and plastic figures in a warband. It's an aesthetic thing... or hang-up...?

I was really hoping I'd have gotten both the Warbands from Direchasm done this week so I could try them out today and/or over the weekend... Didn't really happen... I guess I could try and finish up ONE of them today and play them against Morgwaeth and her sisters... I'd though I should start with the Warbands in the box as they come with pre-constructed, playable deck, and I wasn't sure that was the case with Morgwaeth's, but looking through the cards it DOES have 12 Objective Cards and 20 Power (Upgrade and Ploy) cards, so... maybe I could give it a try... 


  1. They look great! The red skinned snake lady is particularly interesting, and the yellow patterns stand out nicely on the snakey bits.

    I actually really enjoyed following the painting guide from GW for the beastgrave figures, and it really convinced me that it would be useful to have more GW made paints. That it would cost $300 to get a comprehensive set quickly put me off of that idea, but they are good paints, and it does make things easier if you follow their guides.

    1. Thanks!

      I was going for a Milk Snake sort of look. When I get to painting the others, I thought each unit might have a different snake pattern. Ideally, vibrant colourful ones!

      Ha! Yeah, it's crazy when you add up all the paints. I have mostly vallejo paints now. I used cheap craft paints from Michaels for years (decades?) and have slowly been replacing them with Vallejo paints over the last five or six years. When I look at all the paints I've aquried in that time and start doing mental math - yeah, it's hundreds of dollars just for the paints!? No way I'm going to replace them with GW paints at this point (though I HAVE started using GW washes and contrast paints for a few things...)

    2. I have a real mix of stuff myself, although since I paint about 5% of what you do at best, I mostly have them dry up, which is really annoying.

      The GW base paints have been really useful recently, and since I have trouble color matching, reading their names helps too.

    3. For the longest time I thought craft paints were such a better deal because you got, like, 10 times as much for the same price as those little vallejo bottles... but, honestly, even when I was painting more than I am now, I NEVER used a whole bottle of craft paint (unless I was using it for terrain)- they always either dried up or went rancid (because lower quality ingredients used in some) waaaaaaaaay before I'd even get halfway through a bottle!

      I have a friend who is totally colour blind but he totally paints AMAZING models - does it all by reading the labels and following the citadel painting guides! Once a label wore off a bottle but he thought he knew what it was and he ended up painting an entire unit with a totally wrong colour - didn't even realize until someone pointed it out - it might have even been when he showed up to play a game with them (I never saw those, just heard about it)

  2. I really like the grey skinned colour scheme on those!

    1. Thanks so much! I was back and forth about different skin colours for the longest time - at one point I was even considering purple and another time blue!? When I first started the grey I was thinking I'd regret it... but I've warmed up to it myself.

  3. Tim,
    Great job on the miniatures. I might have to try WH Underworld.

    1. Thanks! I'm hoping to get in a game... soon...? Maybe Sunday...? There will be a game report with my impressions shortly thereafter!

  4. I like the colour scheme you've gone with: the red really pops as a contrast to the grey skin.

    1. Thanks! I'm still trying to decide, fluff-wise, if that's their natural skin colour or if they use body paint to mimic the colour of their lower-snake-parts for some sort of striking dramatic/aesthetic effect...?