Since its release about four years ago, Warhammer Underworlds has become one of Games Workshops most successful specialist games. Not only does it have a loyal fan base who always seem to get excited for the next warband to be released, but it is perfectly suited for competitive tournament play. We have seen four seasons, numerous warbands, and even a PC port of the game (which I’m very much looking forward to trying out, thank you White Dwarf Steam key). But as we come to the end of season four, the question on everyone’s mind is “what happens next?”.
Sure, the obvious answer is season five and a whole sway of new warbands for us to try our hands at. But as more and more warbands are released, the number of factions that have yet to be shown some love gets smaller and smaller. That poses an interesting questions. Just how much longer will Underworlds last? Can Games Workshop keep up the pace of eight warbands a season? Just how many different sets can be made before we run out of ideas? Today we are going to look at those exact questions, seeing what could be instore for Underworlds moving forward by looking at each of the Grand Alliances and see what factions/sub-factions we have yet to see represented.
First things first, I think it is fair to assume that Idoneth Deepkin will be the last warband of season four, based on the preview image we have seen on the road map. That gives us a warband for nearly each major faction, including a whooping five for the Stormcast Eternals. Notice I said ‘nearly’ every faction. There is one notable exception. The Cities of Sigmar.
Comprising mostly of the old range of models from the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle range, there is a whole wealth of models to inspire any number of potential warbands. Games Workshop could easily split the various races into their own bands of adventures, with Freeguild soldiers, Aelf Wanderers and Duardin treasure hunters being just a few of the potential ideas. Or they could mix them up the different races and make a warband that more resembles a rag tag party of adventures seeking glory in whatever realm the future seasons take place.
Anyone else think some new Freeguild miniatures would be sweet?
However, Games Workshop may instead decide to explore more niche ideas and make warbands that don’t easily fall into any of the current order factions. Maybe we could see the witch hunters of the Agents of Azyr, or maybe a gang of cutthroats/pirates if the setting would allow. Then again, they could always just release anyone three or four Stormcast warbands.*
When it comes to the forces of Chaos, we have already seen each of the major gods represented at least one (with Khorne getting two warbands in season one). We have also seen two warbands for Slaves to Darkness, as well as representatives for both Beasts of Chaos and the Skaven. As for where we could go moving forward, we have a few options.
Firstly, we could bring up the rest of the gods to an even footing with Khorne by giving them an addition warband each. These could focus more on the daemonic forces of those gods, with Plaguebearers, Daemonettes and Flamers each getting a chance to shine. The same could be said for the Beasts of Chaos and Slaves to Darkness, with the wealth of units on offer to both factions providing lots of inspiration for any number of warbands.
I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen any other Skaven warbands since season one.
But it’s with the often-overlooked Skaven that I feel we have the most possibilities for future sets. Given the many different and varied clans of the ratmen, Games Workshop have so many different warbands they could produce. Maybe a Clan Moulder set in the vein of Mollog, with a single rat ogre and some horrid mutations been commanded by a Master Moulder. Or perhaps Clan Pestilens with their Plague Monks seeking to spread their plagues to the mortal realms. I could go on and on, but let’s move on for now.
The residents of the realm of the dead have had their fair share of awesome kits from Warhammer Underworlds’ many seasons, with each of the major factions all been represented at least once. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a new ground to be covered. After all, the ranks of the dead are quite literally endless.
With the new miniatures from Cursed City and the Soulblight, it wouldn’t be to surprising to see some more Undead in season five.
First up, while most forms of undeath have been covered, we have still yet to see any zombies turn up in either Shadespire or Beast Grave. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen and necromancers either. Well, that’s an easy one to go for right of the bat. A necromancer as the leader, and bunch of Deadwalker Zombies for objective holding, and maybe a zombie ogor of dire wolf for some heavy hitting. Alternatively, maybe we could see Games Workshop look more into to Wights and Wraiths of the Legions of Nagash, possible as a more elite undead warband. Personally, I would love to see a mad scientist and a bunch of flesh golems, like a Warhammer version of Viktor Frankenstein and his monster. Hey, a man can dream right.
Finally, we come to the wild warriors and clans of the grand alliance of destruction. Currently we have three warbands from the Orruk Warclans, three from the Gloomspite Gitz and a single entry from the Ogor Mawtribes. Sadly, we don’t have, nor are we likely to see an official Sons of Behemat warband (so I guess you will have to stick to specialist scenario for that kind of action).
Please GW. Give us some plastic Fimir.
So where do we go from here. Well, while we could easily see some addition Warclans and Gitz warbands in future sets, such as a Spider Clan for example, I think there are more than a few other more interesting angles we could see explored. Firstly, I would love to see the Fimir receive some love in plastic since Forge World seems to have abandoned them. Or perhaps GW could use Underworlds to preview a previously unseen faction such as they did with Skaeth’s Wild Hunt. After all, adding more variety to the forces of destruction would be a great way to round out what has been up until know a fairly straight forward alliance.
So, taking everything we have looked at today, I reckon we have at least enough material for maybe one or two more seasons if Games Workshop keeps up the pace of eight warband per year. After that I fear they will start to become too repetitive without introducing new factions every couple of years. However, there is also another option. One that could breathe new life into Underworlds and keep it going for many years to come.
For those of you who only know about Games Workshops product lines, it may surprise you to learn that there are many popular wargames produced by a variety of different companies (please hold your shock). One such company, Privateer Press, have found a novel way of representing their named heroes in their games. You see, as they advance their narrative the different protagonists gain new skills and experience, and as a result they receive new rules and miniatures to represent them on the battlefield. These ‘Epic’ versions of these characters don’t override the previous ones, but instead give players the option to use the version they prefer for their games.
This I believe, could be a way to revamp older warbands such as the Steelheart’s Champions and Chosen Axes, showing them as the progress in the narrative. These wouldn’t replace the previous warbands, but rather allow GW to show how the curse of Shadespire affects these heroes and villains while giving them new cards and models for us to try out. It’s probably a long shot, but I think it would be cool to see.
Well, that is about all the time I have for today, but there were still so many different ideas I could have discussed. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the future of this great game. Let us know what you think we can expect from Warhammer Underworlds in the comments below, or if you prefer you can let me know over on Twitter @TenguPlaysGames or on the Master of Magics Facebook page.
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* Kidding. At least I hope so.