The Jade Obelisk are a human cult from the Realm of Beast venerating a mysterious entity trapped in a jade crystal with clear connections with Tzeentch. They willingly embraced Chaos and now roam the lands defacing every other monument that is not dedicated to the Speaker in the Stone.
If you have the inclination of a sculptor, then the Speaker in the Stone can tempt you in its ventures?
Background and Lore of the Jade Obelisk Warband
Before the Age of Chaos, in the realm of Ghur, there were great sculptors known in the whole Mortal Realms. Deep within the cavern-cities of Vexothskol there is still today the jade citadel of Nephricar, that was the only one to survive the onslaught of Chaos forces.
When besieged by all sides, ready to succumb, they heard a voice coming from a giant obelisk of jade. The stone demanded sacrifices in its name in exchange for the power to resist the daemonic forces. An aviarch being came out of it as herald of the Speaker in the Stone.
Nephricar’s population abided and once the stone was full of blood, a powerful energy transformed everyone’s skin in stone giving them the ability to fight back and destroy the besieging forces. However, willingly surrender to Chaos comes at a price: the skin would soon start to shatter, bones to crack and the lifespan of those transformed would be really small if they were not ready to further satisfy the entity’s desires.
It was this way that the proud sculptors of Nephricar became a force to be reckoned with, now defacing and destroying any other monument so that only replications of the jade obelisk they venerate stand proud in the places they conquered.
It is said that once enough sacrifices have been made, the entity within the stone may be able to come out, but for now its interest is in destroying the Seraphon void-ship in the Gnarlwood: the Eye of Chotec. For this cause, the Jade Obelisk collected their greatest warriors, shards of the original obelisk and set forth to Talaxis.
But how do they chisel away their enemies on a Warcry battlefield? Let’s find out.
Fighters in the Jade Obelisk 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 Jade Obelisk warband is made of 7 different fighters, of which 1 is the leader.
Nephrite Priestess: 105 points
The Nephrite Priestess is the leader of the Jade Obelisk. She is not particularly versed in fighting, but with 4 attacks for 1/4 damage and 20 wounds she will survive few rounds. With 4″ movement she is one of the fastest in the warband, but do not push too much or she will be quickly surrounded.
Jade Obelisk survivability is guaranteed by few abilities, starting from the warband reaction, The Curse of Jade, that is useful against beefy opponents that do more than 1 damage per hit, so that you can reduce the amount by 1 for each hit and critical hit.
The warband generic Double, Stonewarp, allows to heal back wounds but it needs to have an Obelisk Bearer within 9″ to heal up to 3 wounds, or a Nephrite Priestess within 6″, as well, to heal up to 6 wounds (the full ability’s value). This is where the warband leader becomes important as she is needed to fully maximise this ability.
The same is to be said of the Obelisk Bearer’s Quad, that we are going to see below. While the Priestess own ability, Bloody Tribute, allows an Obelisk Bearer to make a bonus move if the Priestess took down an enemy in the same activation. It costs a Triple and may be often irrelevant; it’s strange it is both expensive and difficult to achieve for an extremely targeted outcome. If you need the Bearer in position to perform other abilities, spending a Triple before the others may be counterintuitive…
Overall the Priestess may not be your top offensive character, but she can work her way through. However, being synergetic with few abilities, keeping her alive should be your first concern.
Idolarc: 105 points
The Idolarc is the little bird-pet of the warband. Its attacks are not that scary, with 1/3 damage, and is not even too resilient, with 8 wounds on Toughness 3, but its main advantage is the 8″ flying movement, that is double the next faster fighter in the warband.
Its use will then be to chase the weakened enemy fighters, snatch objectives, or use its Triple Gaze of the Idolarc, that can greatly reduce (to a minimum of 1) the Movement or the Toughness of an enemy within 9″. With an average Strength 4/5 in the warband, Toughness may not be your first concern, but reducing by up to 3″ (half the ability’s value) the movement of fast enemy fighters can be extremely important to catch up. Or even better, reduce to 1″ the movement of slower but heavier opponents, so that they waste a round getting in position.
As a beast, he cannot achieve certain things, like opening doors or carrying treasures, but since he flies, he can ignore most of those limitations.
Obelisk Bearer: 110 points
The Obelisk Bearer is a strong fighter with a good melee profile (4 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage) and good defence as well (Toughness 4 for 20 wounds).
But the main reason why you take him (or even a couple) is because half of the warband abilities require his presence to work, including the generic Double available to everyone. For Stonewarp to work, he has to be within 9″ of the fighter that needs healing, while his Quad, Might of the Speaker, gives 2 bonus actions to a fighter within up to 9″ from him.
The Quad is another interesting ability that benefits from the Priestess existence (anywhere on the battlefield) to increase the range by 3″ that normally would be up to the ability’s value (so that it can reach 9″ max). While the Priestess is not essential but beneficial for some of these abilities, the Obelisk has to be in range for them to work, so he will be the top target of your opponent.
The last ability involving the Obelisk Bearer is the Priestess’ Triple that provides him a bonus movement to get in better position so the others can use him for other abilities. Or, since is a decent fighter, to get dirty in melee.
- Desecrator with Statue-smasher Hammer: 100 points
- Desecrator with Iconoclast Picker: 100 points
The Desecrator is the elite fighter of this warband with strong attacks (Strength 5) and great damage potential. There are two different profiles: the Statue-smasher Hammer has 3 attacks for 3/5 damage, while the Iconoclast Picker 4 attacks for 2/5 damage.
Statistically they are similar, but more attacks means also more chances to score a critical hit. In addition, both have access to the Double Rock-shattering Blow that adds 1 to the Strength and to the damage on hit and critical hit of the next melee attack action. Going to Strength 6 in most cases is redundant, but the extra damage on each hit is great especially for the Picker and his 4 attacks.
Overall, the Desecrator is your elite fighter and you’ll need a few in the warband, but careful about the 3″ movement that can really limit how effective they can be. Which weapon to choose will depend on personal preferences, but 2 Pickers and 1 Hammer seems balanced.
Defacer with Stonecutter Tools: 95 points
The Defacers are the basic fighters of the warband and are divided in two profiles, the Stonecutter Tools representing the melee one. To be basic fighters they are both pricey and damaging, being just a little behind the Desecrator with Picker. Their Strength is reduced from 5 to 4 and the damage on critical hit from 5 to 3, but keep all other interesting aspects like the 4 attacks or the 2 damage on normal hit.
In addition, for a Double they can explode their damage potential up to 5/6 as long as they have first damaged the same opponent in that activation. While it is more restrictive than the Defacers’ Double, Hammering Strikes has the potential to do much more damage so which one to use will strongly depend on the situation on the battlefield and the range, as the Defacers can move 4″.
Defacer with Antithete Bow: 95 points
The last fighter in this warband is actually an archer, to compensate the lack of overall range in the warband. And 15″ range attacks for 1/3 damage are not game-changing but definitely useful to start chipping wounds while remaining in a strategic position.
Adding Toughness 4 and 10 wounds on what would otherwise be a basic fighter and you have a good profile at a relatively low cost. What it does lack it’s any ability except the generic one, but if used correctly, he should not require the use of any.
Abilities for the Jade Obelisk Warband
- Stonewarp (Double, Everyone): Heal as much as 3 wounds if in range of an Obelisk Bearer or 6 wounds if in range of a Nephrite Priestess.
- Hammering Strikes (Double, Defacer with Stonecutter Tools): After damaging an enemy in melee, add up to 3 to the damage of the next melee attack targeting the same enemy.
- Rock-shattering Blow (Double, both Desecrators): Add 1 to Strength and damage for the next melee attack action.
- Bloody Tribute (Triple, Nephrite Priestess): After the Priestess takes down an enemy, an Obelisk Bearer in range can perform a bonus move.
- Gaze of the Idolarc (Triple, Idolarc): Subtract up to 3 to the Move or Toughness characteristic of the enemy in range.
- Might of the Speaker (Quad, Obelisk Bearer): A friendly fighter up to 9″ away can perform 2 bonus actions (move, attack or disengage in any combination).
Reaction for the Jade Obelisk 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:
The Curse of Jade (Everyone)
- When: When targeted by a melee attack but before the hit rolls.
- What: Subtract 1 to the damage received by each hit and critical hit (to a minimum of 1).
Strategy and Tactics for the Jade Obelisk Warband
Jade Obelisk is a warband all-round. They do not excel in movement, with the only fast option being the 8″ of the flying Idolarc, but they have everything else.
They have strong melee combatants: the Desecrators for a Double can become for a single attack action 4/6 or 3/6 damage at Strength 6, while the Defacers with Stonecutting Tools 5/6 at Strength 4. But even without buffs they have decent profiles, the weakest being only the Idolarc, whose role is to use its speed to threaten abandoned objectives or to debuff, and the Priestess, whose role is to be a conduit for buffs and occasionally get in melee.
They even have a good shooting support from the Defacers with Bows and their 15″ range that, while not being extremely damaging, is enough to pose a threat and enable to attack while keeping a safe distance.
The weakest point of the warband is the Obelisk Bearer. While being a good profile, slowed down only by his 3″ movement, half of the warband abilities require him in a way or another. In particular the generic Double that allows healing, requires his presence within range of the activating fighter. Once you lost the last of them, you lose access to all those abilities.
While the Priestess is also required for some abilities, she is more of an incentive to increase the ability’s efficacy (she doubles the healing amount of Stonewarp and adds 3″ range to Might of the Speaker) than a strict requirement. She is also more fragile with Toughness 3.
All of this makes the Jade Obelisk a polarised warband with 2 profiles that require protection (Priestess and Bearer) and the other profiles being the hammers with 2 more outliers like the Idolarc for snatching objectives and the Defacer with Bows for harassing actions.
The Obelisk Bearer has access to the only Quad of the warband that allows a friendly fighter in range 2 bonus actions (move, attack or disengage in any order). You can’t buff those actions further, but at the same time extra actions is always a welcome boon.
When comparing the Defacers with Stonecutting Tools with the Desecrators, we have 2 profiles really close in points but different for some details. The Defacers with 4″ movement are faster (do not underestimate the difference between 3″ and 4″ movement), have 2 wounds less and their Double ability works only if they can dedicate the entire activation (2 consecutive attack actions) to an enemy. Assuming the enemy is strong enough to require the excessive force used in the second buffed attack, that is the best way to use the Defacers.
On the other side the Desecrators have 2 similar profiles: one favouring attacks and one favouring minimum damage (damage on normal hit), but their ability can make their Strength jump to 6 that will equal any high Toughness in the game. Actually it may be even too much, but the extra point of damage on normal and critical hit is the reason why you use this Double.
Defensively speaking, Toughness 4 and good wounds on most of the warband classifies them in the above average range, but in addition you have to consider their reaction that allows to avoid one point of damage per hit (but you need to use it before the hits are rolled, so it’s a gamble) and the generic Double that allows healing up to 6 points per turn with the only condition being in range of the Obelisk Bearer (normally these abilities require to not be engaged with an enemy).
Finally, if there’s an enemy opponent that particularly troubles them, the Idolarc can be used with its Triple ability, Gaze of the Idolarc, to reduce the enemy’s Toughness or Movement for half the value of the ability. For comparison, any elite fighter in this warband would become Movement 1″ with a Triple 3 or greater… And if you need to really bring down a tough opponent already engaged, reducing his Toughness to allow your Strength 4 attacks to hit on a 3+ it’s also another great move.
Overall this warband is complete, easy to use and beginner-friendly.
Pros and Cons of the Jade Obelisk Warband
+ Complete warband with elite and basic fighters, ranged potential and healing
+ Highly synergetic warband
+ Good damage potential
– Half abilities depend on a single profile staying alive
Some thematic warbands for the Jade Obelisk
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: 1 Naphrite Priestess, 1 Idolarc, 1 Obelisk Bearer, 1 Desecrator with Hammer, 2 Desecrators with Warpicks, 2 Defacers with Tools, 2 Defacers with Bows.
How to buy a Jade Obelisk Warband
The warband was first released in the Sundered Fate box set, but is now available in its own separate box.
The sprues allow you to build:
- 1 Nephrite Priestess
- 1 Obelisk Bearer
- 3 Desecrators with either weapon profile
- 1 Idolarc
- 4 Defacers with either weapon profile
Tips on painting a Jade Obelisk Warband for Warcry
The Jade Obelisk warband is a Tzeentchian warband so you can search inspiration from the many videos related to the god of tricks. For what concerns this specific warband, Warhammer Community released a tutorial that allows you to complete the project in no time. If you need suggestions about the jade elements, including the obelisk of the Bearer, then Duncan can help you out.