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AoS: Nightvault – Thorns of the Briar Queen Preview

5 Minute Read
Sep 17 2018

Warhammer Underworlds is getting a new expansion with two brand new Warbands that are being added to the game. We’re getting a preview of the Ghostly Guardians of the Nightvault – The Thorns of the Briar Queen!

The Thorns of the Briar Queen are coming to Warhammer Underworlds with the new Nightvault boxed set. Not only are they the first Nighthaunt warband, they are also going to bring magic into the game as well. They have some pretty mean tricks and today we’re getting a preview of what they can do on the tabletop.

via Warhammer Community

Featured in the Core Set, this is Warhammer Underworlds’ first Nighthaunt warband, made up of a pack of sinister Chainrasps and their evil commanders – the Briar Queen herself and Varclav the Cruel.

Numbers And Speed

There are two big advantages you’ll need to lean into if you want to be successful with the Thorns: Strength of Numbers and Speed. The first one is pretty obvious – there are seven members in this warband which puts them on equal footing with the other undead warband. Apparently the dead are plentiful in a place called “Warhammer: Underworlds” – go figure.

Home Field Advantage? Something like that… 

The other advantage is a less obvious as it’s not as overt when you look at their cards. But the Thorns can do one thing no one else can: They can ignore lethal hexes, fighters, and blocked hexes when they move. That’s pretty huge! For a game that is heavily reliant on positioning, that’s a pretty big deal. On top of that there are a few abilities they have access to that will allow for even more movement shenanigans. A wise warband leader will take note of these and utilize them to keep up the pressure on their foes.

The Rise of Magic

The Nightvault expansion also brings another new element of the game to master – Magic! Spells are being introduced and the Thorns of the Briar Queen have access to two spells that are both pretty devious. In order to cast spells your warband must have a wizard (more on that later). But the mechanics of casting are pretty simple:


“To cast one, you roll a number of magic dice equal to the level of the wizard casting them. This means that more powerful wizards have an easier time casting the same spell as a weaker wizard.”

The magic dice feature 1 Critical Success symbol, 2 Focus symbols (the swirls), and 3 Channel symbols (the lightning bolts). If you get a matching symbol for the Gambit Spell, then you cast it.

Spells do appear to be cards that are going to be added to your deck which poses some interesting deck-building dilemmas.  Do you go for cards that don’t need a require roll or do you opt for these powerful, yet risky cards? Howling Vortex allows you to push enemies around which means they can get shoved out of position (off objectives for example).

Curse of Unbinding is another magic spell that is an upgrade card that uses the magic die. It is currently the only defensive card we’ve seen that can stop magic from going off. It’s going to be interesting to see how the new magical abilities and spells impact the game moving forward. Are the old warbands just going to be worse off or will the meta ignore magic? Time will tell.

Bring On The Ghosts

So now that you know about the magic, hopefully the warband cards will start to make more sense. Particularly our first preview of the Briar Queen:


The “2” next to her name is her Wizard Level. That’s how many dice she gets to use when casting. At Level 2 she’s actually a pretty decent wizard. You can see the rest of her stats and while she doesn’t have any thing that is over-the-top, she’s also very well rounded. A good ranged attack from the Briar Whip, a good move speed (especially with the ghostly movement), and 2 dodge with 4 wounds – that’s a solid leader right there.

Varclav The Chained is going to be her second-in-command. And he’s one of those members that is going to get activated quite a bit:

Varclav allows you to Push all friendly Chainrasps up to 2 hexes. That bumps their average move of 3 (or 4) up to 5 (or 6) hexes! That is no joke. That ability is going to win folks games on the objective front. If you activate him later in the round you can use it to snatch objectives. If you use him early in the round you can keep the pressure on. To top it off, he’s also got a solid attack and defense stats, too.

The Ever-hanged is your lone “bruiser” type – he’s just a beefier Chainrasp so we use the term “bruiser” loosely.

He moves quick and packs a decent punch. Using the Ever-hanged as a finisher is probably your best bet.

The Chainrasps aren’t exactly the deadliest bunch of killer in the game – but they can swarm a target to get the advantage.


Remember their Inspire condition isn’t exactly tricky to pull off. Especially with the movement tricks from above. You could use Varclav to move them into position so when you do activate they become inspired. Or you could use the Briar Queen’s magic to move an enemy into position to get the same benefit.

The Thorns of the Briar Queen are going to be an interesting warband when they take the field. They have a unique mix of numbers and speed that will give folks a run for their money.


What do you think of The Thorns? Let us know in the comments below.

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