The Hunters of Huanchi are the second non-Chaos warband released for Warcry and the first of the new season set in Ghur. While nominally belonging to the Seraphon army (lizardmen riding dinosaurs), they are their own warband with their own rules and brand new fighters.
Background and Lore of the Hunters of Huanchi Warband
When the Eye of Chotec, one of Seraphon temple-ships, crashed in Ghur, the Realm of Beasts, the Realmsphere Engines within were immediately activated to reshape the land around creating an impenetrable jungle. The spawning pools in the ship quarters were rapidly activated to breed the would-be protectors of the extremely powerful (and dangerous in the wrong hands) technology stored in the shipwrecked “spaceship”.
But the bestial trait, that links all Ghur inhabitants, mutated all Saurus and Skinks produced this way to be more feral than their counterparts starborne or from other realms.
Huanchi, the Unseen One, was one of the mystical Old Ones, the gods that created the Seraphon in the World-that-Was and since disappeared without a trace. The Chameleon Skinks created to honour Huanchi are embedded with Ulgu magic (realm of shadow) to empower them in their ambushing skills.
The Hunters of Huanchi are, indeed, masters of lurking in the shadows and ensure no one violates the depths of the Gnarlwood where the Eye of Chotec, or Talaxis as it’s known to the other races, lays. They wait in complete invisibility at the margin of the protected territory to then ambush the trespassers, assassinating chaos followers or other invaders, and temporarily debilitating allies that strayed from the right road.
They venerate a statue dedicated to Lord Motzlpota, the Slann that once commanded the ship and long dead, with some still swearing that they can hear the voice or their lost chief.
But how do they jump in action from the shadows? Let’s find out.
Fighters in the Hunters of Huanchi Warband
Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn.
If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on.
So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing
The Hunters of Huanchi warband is made of 8 different fighters, of which 2 are leaders.
Chameleon Skink Alpha
- Chameleon Skink Alpha with Dartpipe: 90 points
- Chameleon Skink Alpha with Moonstone Club: 90 points
The Chameleon Skink Alpha is the leader of this warband and comes with 2 profiles, one ranged and one melee. The ranged profile (with Dartpipe) has an extremely weak attack (Strength 1 for 1/2 damage) but a 6″ range, the melee one (with Moonstone Club) is better, with Strength 3 and 1/3 damage, but Toughness 3 and 12 wounds would mean early death if not accurately protected.
To compensate their fragility, Hunters of Huanchi (except the Terrawing) have a reaction that allows them (for the cost of one action, so they need to have at least one still available) to disengage after a melee attack from an enemy. They can decide to activate it after seeing the result from the enemy’s attack, giving greater flexibility. This can be really annoying for certain slow warbands that would need to chase you around the battlefield potentially wasting their second action.
For a Double, Hunters can ignore any vertical distance when climbing or add 1 to the damage inflicted in the next attack action. This works for both missile and melee weapons, and both hits and critical hits. However with Strength 1 (the default Strength of the Dartpipe) it means 2 damage on a 5 and 3 damage on a 6…
The last ability Skink Alphas share with the rest of the warband it’s their Quad. This technically gives 2 extra actions but in a convoluted and forced way. If you are engaged with the enemy and you are a ranged fighter, you can disengage, then attack 3 times. If you are engaged and you are a melee fighter, you first attack (up to 2 times) then disengage and then move away to another objective or to engage another fighter if you killed your enemy and have an available attack left. Sequencing is important, and extra actions are always good but without any buff, they may result in little damage.
The last ability of this group is available only to the Alpha armed with Moonstone Club: the Triple Hurled Bolas. This is an interesting ability that allows to reduce the number of actions available to an enemy within 8″. You roll as many dice as the ability’s value and if you get at least a 6, then the enemy forfeits one action for this round. If you have 2 Triples and 2 fighters with this ability (the basic Chameleon Skink has it as well) then you can prevent an enemy from acting at all that turn (you still need to roll at least a 6 each time).
Overall the Skink Alphas are weak leaders that require a lot of support to be useful. The idea is that you dance around the enemy committing only after they acted, or swarming them with cheap Skinks. Your Alphas, as leaders, can be important, therefore the Dartpipe, despite the extremely low damage output and Toughness 2, is probably better.
The lack of leader abilities that would make them essential, means that you just need one because rules say so, but if you need a good hero, you can try to ally some Saurus from the Seraphon roster, or even a Skink Priest, or any other Grand Alliance Order hero.
Chameleon Skink Hornblower
- Chameleon Skink Hornblower with Dartpipe: 75 points
- Chameleon Skink Hornblower with Moonstone Club: 70 points
The Chameleon Skink Hornblower shares many traits with the Alpha, including having a melee profile (with Moonstone Club) and a ranged one (with Dartpipe). Those are identical to the Alpha (the melee one has one attack less 3 instead of 4) and the same low resilience (Toughness 2 and 8 wounds).
The reason you take them is because they have access to the Triple Call of the Hunt, that introduces as to the Terrawing, a smaller version of the flying Pterodactyls that distinguishes Seraphon armies. The call allows a Terrawing in range to perform a bonus move and then do impact damage equal to the ability’s value (up to 6). Considering their high mobility, this is a great way to have a Terrawing engaged on Turn 1 ready to fight.
Apart from this, they share the same generic abilities with the rest of the warband, while the Moonstone Club does not have access to the ability Hurled Bolas.
Chameleon Skink with Dartpipe: 70 points
The basic fighter profile for this army is once again shared between missile and melee profile. The ranged one is the Chameleon Skink with Dartpipe. Apart the 6″ range, their profile is extremely weak (2 attacks at Strength 1 for 1/2 damage). Damage can be increased for a Double, but you still need to do at least one 5+ on 2 dice to see 1 more damage going through.
Their role is not to deal damage, but to steal the objectives from the enemy, dance around them, and occasionally pop a wound or two on them. To achieve that, they can use their 6″ movement combined with the ability (for a Double) to climb scenery without counting the vertical distance.
Chameleon Skink with Moonstone Club: 70 points
The Chameleon Skink with Moonstone Club is your go-to basic infantry. His profile is in line with his cost: 3 attacks at Strength 3 for 1/3 damage, Toughness 3, 8 Wounds and 6″ Movement.
Normally this would be your cheap profile, the one you use to swarm your opponent, while your elite closes in. However, in this warband, this is also your elite profile…
You’ll need plenty of them to fill the gaps. The best trait is their Hurled Bolas ability that can reduce the number of available actions to an enemy (discussed above in the Chameleon Skink Alpha section).
Huanchi’s Claw: 75 points
The Huanchi’s Claw is the debuffer of the warband. His javelins allow him also to shoot 8″, that is the longest range in the warband and with a critical hit of 4, he beats also the record for the highest damage in the warband. Damage that can be further increased with the Double Envenomed Weapons, to pump the 2 attacks at Strength 3.
However, it is not for his damage output that you take one or two Claws in your warband: it is for his ability to reduce by 1 the movement and damage (to a minimum of 1) to a single enemy within 6″ range. No other conditions: you just need a Triple and use Bellow of the Carnosaur to a target in range and their movement and damage is squashed really hampering those elite warbands usually slower but with higher damage.
Terrawing: 90 points
The Terrawing is identical to a Chameleon Skink with Moonstone Club except for his 10″ flying movement. It is much more expensive because of its increased mobility but its best trait is that Hornblowers allow it a bonus move with impact damage (as much as the ability’s value to an enemy within 1″ when they end their bonus move). However, they don’t have access to any other warband ability.
Being a Beast, they are locked out from few actions like opening doors and carrying treasure.
The combination of these factors probably does not justify its price, but you don’t have many alternatives.
Abilities for the Hunters of Huanchi Warband
- Agile Climbers (Double, Everyone except Terrawing): Ignore vertical distance when climbing.
- Envenomed Weapons (Double, Everyone except Terrawing): Add 1 to all damage for the next attack action.
- Hurled Bolas (Triple, Chameleon Skink Alpha and Chameleon Skink with Moonstone Club): Roll as many as 6 dice and if you score at least a 6, the target in range performs one action less this turn.
- Bellow of the Carnosaur (Triple, Huanchi’s Claw): Reduce by 1 movement and damage inflicted by the target enemy fighter.
- Call of the Hunt (Triple, all Chameleon Skink Hornblowers): Enable a Terrawing in range to perform a bonus move and inflict up to 6 damage to an engaged enemy.
- Hit and Run (Quad, Everyone except Terrawing): Perform a bonus move or disengage, then a bonus attack or move.
Reaction for the Hunters of Huanchi Warband
Introduced in the new season of Warcry, Reactions are things that can be done in certain circumstances, but always during the enemy turn. They cost one action, so they can be used only by fighters that have not activated yet or are waiting. There are 3 universal reactions and one specific to each warband:
Slippery (Everyone except Terrawing)
- When: After being allocated damage on a melee attack.
- What: Perform a disengage action.
Strategy and Tactics for the Hunters of Huanchi Warband
Hunters of Huanchi are a tough warband for beginners. Their overall fragility and lack of synergies within themselves means that they are hard to master but satisfying once you succeed.
Out of the box the warband allows to field 13 fighters, that is a good number in Warcry as more fighters means more activations and more actions, but also more bodies on objectives. The fun ends when they start taking casualties, as low Toughness and generally low wounds means they cannot withstand prolonged engagements.
To compensate for their fragility, they have many abilities that help. First of all, all Skinks can use the warband reaction, Slippery, to disengage from an enemy after receiving damage. While it is not guaranteed they are going to survive the first engagement, it will force your enemy to think who to attack or activate. Do they choose the fighter engaged with a healthy Skink that has not activated yet, risking he disengages if they can’t finish it in one single attack action or do they choose to chase another Skink that already activated risking the former can do some damage?
If there’s someone scary enough that could do some serious damage to them, both the Skink Alpha and the basic Skink armed with Moonstone Club can use Hurled Bolas for a Triple to reduce by 1 the actions available to an enemy fighter within 8″. You need to score at least one 6 and you throw as many dice as the ability’s value, but at 8″ range could be an extremely powerful ability.
Meanwhile, the Huanchi’s Claw Triple can reduce movement and damage on an enemy within 6″ without rolling any dice. This is another powerful ability especially when considering slow fighters that normally have higher damage output. Reducing a 3″ movement fighter to 2″ can basically achieve the same result as the Hurled Bolas letting him waste 2 actions just to move.
Finally, these slippery Skinks can use their Quad, Hit and Run, to distance a bit from the enemy after attacking. It needs a bit of study, as there’s a sequence of actions that need to be performed, but you are free to perform whichever you prefer before and after resolving the Quad.
To all of this, we need to consider the 6″ movement of the Skinks and the 10″ of flying movement of the Terrawing that makes the warband extremely mobile.
Where the warband will struggle is to damage enemies. The maximum Strength in the warband is 3, with the Dartpipe missile attacks being left with Strength 1. Even the number of attacks is low, between 2 and 3 with 4 reached only by the Skink Alpha with Moonstone Club. While the damage can be increased by 1, both for hits and critical hits, at the cost of a simple Double (Envenomed Weapons), the chances to hit are not that high and cannot be raised further.
This means the warband will rely on chipping away damage slowly, with common attack actions that perform no damage. While they have the numeric advantage, this can eventually cause a problem to the enemy, but in later turns when the casualties will be considerable, the incapability to do decent damage will heavy on them. They need to position themselves on the objectives early on and dance around the enemy, taking advantage also of the 6″ range of the Dartpipe and the 8″ range of the Huanchi’s Claw javelins.
Another factor that this warband lacks is synergies between fighters. The only one is characterised by the Hornblowers being able to move a Terrawing for free at the cost of a Triple. The Terrawing will then do impact damage (up to the ability’s value if ending the movement within 1″ of an enemy) and be ready to attack the next round. Their 10″ of flying movement means that they can get anywhere they want (they can even threaten an abandoned objective) and a free move is always good, so Hornblowers can be useful and they have the same profile as a basic Skink, without their bolas and with lower Toughness. But the difference between Toughness 2 and 3 often is irrelevant.
If you are good on converting, introducing allies to strengthen up the warband, and/or not limited to a single box, then you can think to ignore Terrawings (and therefore Hornblowers) to add more Huanchi’s Claws.
Finally the Skink Alpha is the leader of the warband, but in line with the rest of the warband, is neither tough, high damage or synergetic with the rest. Protecting him or not will depend on the scenario but losing him will not be the end of the world (you still need one Alpha to lead your warband and some scenarios reward who kills the enemy leader). The one armed with Dartpipe has higher chances to survive keeping the distance with his 6″ attack, but the one with Moonstone Club with 4 attacks and Toughness 3 is a bit better as it can fight back if engaged.
This warband may really benefit from an Ally, like a Saurus hero for some punch, or if you want to remain on the Skink theme, you can pick from the priestly caste or even some other flying Skinks. You can read more about potential allies in our Seraphon warband review.
Overall it’s great models, an interesting playstyle, but not for the fainted of heart (or beginners).
Pros and Cons of the Hunters of Huanchi Warband
+ Great models, something Seraphon badly needed
+ Many bodies
+ Great mobility
– Lack of synergies
– Extremely fragile
Some thematic warbands for the Hunters of Huanchi
Just for fun here we present few thematic warbands, meant more for fun or narrative context than for competitive play. Note that in narrative play you need to complete a quest that allows you to recruit a Hero before being able to add him to your roster.
Out of the box: Chameleon Skink Alpha with Moonstone Club, Chamaleon Skink Hornblower with Dartpipe, Huanchi’s Claw, 4 Chamaleon Skink with Moonstone Club, 3 Chamaleon Skink with Dartpipe and 3 Terrawing.
How to buy a Hunters of Huanchi Warband
The warband was originally released in the Sundered Fate set but has now its own separate box.
The sprues allow you to build:
- Either Chameleon Skink Alpha, but only one
- Either Chameleon Skink Hornblower, but only one
- 1 Huanchi’s Claw
- 3 Chameleon Skink with Dartpipe
- 4 Chameleon Skink with Moonstone Club or with Dartpipe
- 3 Terrawing
If you want Age of Sigmar compliant units and a little bit of variation in your Warcry warband, you’ll need 2 boxes to have one unit with Alpha, Hornblower, 2 Huanchi’s Claw and 6 Skinks with Moonstone Clubs, and one unit with Alpha, Hornblower and 8 Skinks with Dartpipe (plus a unit of 6 Terrawing or 2 units of 3).
Tips on painting a Hunters of Huanchi Warband for Warcry
As Hunters of Huanchi belong to the Seraphon army, there is plenty of videos online on how to paint Skinks, starting from Warhammer Community base videos (called battle ready) using the classic or the contrast method to more advanced tutorials like Juan Hidalgo’s.
If you want something more specific to this warband, Warhammer Community has a full tutorial that should allow you to field this warband in no time.