"The Umbers may seem simple, but they are not without a certain low cunning."
Bannermen! This week we have something special for you.
It seems so long ago, but during the final post of the Kickstarter we showcased some images of three additional units, and have been revealing them steadily over time. We first had the House Bolton Blackguards revealed in our New Years Update, then, back in April, the Lannister Pyromancers made their debut, leaving only one unit left.
Well, we decided today would be the day we talk about them, so without further teasing, let's take an in depth look at the House Umber Greataxes!
Per usual, the Umber Greataxes box contains 4 sculpts, including bannerman, and a total of 12 models plus Unit Card and movement tray.
Clocking in at 7 points, the House Umber Greataxes aren't the cheapest Combat Unit option - but such is the price to pay for their raw combat potential. Unlike other units, the Greataxes don't have any fancy Orders, movement shenanigans, or defensive tricks - they just kill stuff really well (a trademark of House Umber, actually).
No, instead we trade all that for two devastating attack options: The first is the Defense-annihilating Executioner's Fury attack. While it requires some set-up (the unit has to have begun their turn engaged) it outright bypasses any Defense the enemy has, and hitting on a 2+ doesn't hurt either. This attack is specifically made to punish enemies who Charge into the Greataxes, as well as give a potent option to dealing with any unit that has an obnoxiously high Defense Save (such as Lannister Guards or House Bolton Flayed Men).
In addition to this, the attack also carries the trademark Stark theme of gaining an additional power boost when the unit is near death, in this case the addition of Critical Blow, which effectively means every roll of 6 is outright killing two models (multi-Wound enemies notwithstanding) - it's never smart to leave a Stark just mostly dead, and the Umbers are no exception to that rule.
Next, we see the Greataxes have a second Melee Attack in the form of Mighty Cleave. Unlike Executioner's Fury, which is super handy for getting rid of high Defense targets, Mighty Cleave should be your attack when focusing on units with a poor Defense value, as you stand to deal more damage overall by exploiting that value. This effectively means that the Greataxes have a method to deal with most any threat they come across- just a matter of using the proper tool at the proper time.
Defense-wise they have a respectable 4+, and while that's an average value they combine this with an above-average Morale Stat of 6+, which is another Stark trademark. The only real negative to the unit is they are slow, boasting a mere 4 Speed stat. While this may not seem like much of a big deal when the average is 5, those inches matter: All of a sudden an average March of 10" turns into 8", and in later rounds that Charge comes up short by 1-2" that you wish you had. Just something you'll need to be aware of and play around.
Finally, this unit also makes House Umber army lists that much more viable. An army led by Greatjon Umber gains additional benefits from his Tactics Cards when they target House Umber units, and now you have multiple options between the House Umber Greataxes, Berserkers, ad Greatjon's own Affiliation: House Umber Ability (which bestows the House Umber keyword to any unit he joins). Between the three you gain an entirely new sub-set in the Stark army to play with, for those who really want to push the "Fiercest When Near Death" theme to its absolute limits.
And that is going to conclude our look at the House Umber Greataxes, loyal bannermen. August will soon be upon us, and with it the arrival of the Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game proper. What will your first battle be comprised of? Going to have Robb square off against Jaime? Perhaps a clash of might between the Greatjon and the Mountain? What are your plans?