“One Cut, One Kill”
The Splintered Fang is an aggressive, high-risk Chaos warband for Age of Sigmar: Warcry.
They are centred around their worship and imitation of snakes, and they fight dirty with poisoned blades and swift tactics that pin enemies down and then swarm them with a storm of blades.
If you like ignoring your opponent’s armor, putting your faith in the dice gods and, well, having snakes all over the place, the Splintered Fang warband might just be the right warband for you.
What changed in the new edition for the Splintered Fang Warband?
As all warbands, Splintered Fang saw some point adjustment, notably the Serpents went up to 90 points but lost 2 wounds (6). The Serpent Caller became cheaper and got a better ranged attack.
Some abilities changed, so please read the article carefully to see new take on this warband.
Background and Lore of the Splintered Fang Warband
The Splintered Fang warband hail from the Invidia jungles in Ghyran, the Realm of Life, where they worship the Coiled Ones, divine snakes that speak through their shamans, the Serpent Callers.
The embodiment of Chaos they believe in is Nagendra, an ancient serpentine God-Beast that they try to find and revive.
The Splintered Fang has no honor code and fight as dirty as they can. Their poisoned blades let them kill the enemy with even small cuts, and they don’t praise individual heroics.
Every member of the Splintered Fang warband is part of it not because of her own merits, but because she has been deemed worthy by the Coiled Ones.
The ritual to achieve this is described in The Eight-Tailed Naga, a shorty story in the Warcry Anthology from Black Library.
In this story, we meet the tribesman Marik, who is thrown in a pit full of snakes with his wife Jarissa.
Jarissa dies from the venomous bites of the snakes, but Marik, who was otherwise never the strongest of the two, survives the venom and starts having prophetic visions of a mythical snake-beast.
The Splintered Fang warband that threw him in the pit sees this as a sign that he has been chosen by the Coiled Ones, and he quickly rises through the ranks of the warband, slowly building up an immunity to all the poison he is exposed to, until at the end, his own blood can poison an enemy fighter.
A Splintered Fang warband is built around a Trueblood leader and a Serpent Caller shaman, surrounded by a host of fighters with poison-tipped blades.
They are not the most durable, nor the fastest, but they attack swiftly and their poisons can take down even the most heavily armored fighters.
Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Splintered Fang 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
Trueblood: 170 points
The Trueblood is the Leader of the Splintered Fang warband. She has 4 attacks that do 2 damage or 5 critical damage, so she is not one of the top damage-dealers among the Chaos warband leaders.
However, she is one of the more tactically useful leaders. Her unique ability, the Double Ensnaring Net, lets her pick an enemy fighter within 3″, who is then unable to make move actions or disengage actions for the rest of the battle round.
This is useful in 2 ways:
- It allows the Trueblood to take full advantage of having a 2″ range on her melee attacks. She can move into 2″ range of an enemy who has a 1″ range, make a melee attack, and then use Ensnaring Net to ensure that the enemy is unable to fight back.
- The ability also lets her pin down an enemy in a vulnerable position so the rest of the warband can swarm him. Since Ensnaring Net is only a Double, there is a good chance you would be able to afford another Double to improve one of the fighters swarming in on the ensnared target (more on that below), which means that the Trueblood’s ability, if used well, can be a good way to set up a combo that takes out your enemy Leader or champion, for example.
Serpent Caller: 145 points
The Serpent Caller is one of the best fighters of the Splintered Fang warband. He has a 4 attacks on a 2″ range weapon and 2 on a 8″ range profile, both for 2/4 damage at Strength 4.
These are decent attack, and, in addition, his unique ability, Snake Charmer allows him to let a friendly fighter with the Beast runemark, which in his case mostly means a Serpents fighter (described below), make a bonus attack action.
This means that a Serpent Caller should always be played in pair with a Serpents fighter. Think of them as something akin to a Ranger from a role-playing game, with the Serpent Caller advancing behind the Serpents with his ranged attacks, buffing the Serpents while they keep him out of harm’s way, at least for a battle round or two.
The Serpent Caller’s long range attack can be used in tandem with the Quad ability Paralysing Venom which adds the value of the Quad as damage to critical hits and, more importantly, allows you to block the target of the attack from moving or disengaging on a dice roll of 5 or 6.
This is a pretty expensive ability to use for this attack, but if you really need an enemy to stay where they are, such as an Iron Golem Ogor Breacher, Paralysing Venom on a Serpent Caller gives you a chance to achieve this at a much longer range than what you get from the Trueblood’s Ensnaring Net.
Most of the time, though, you’ll have better uses for a Quad, so only use this tactic for emergencies.
Serpents: 90 points
The Serpents fighter doesn’t look like much. Visually it is literally a bunch of snakes on a base, but it is one of the more interesting fighters among the Chaos warbands.
It only has 6 wounds and a ridiculous 2 in toughness, so it will go down easily, but it has 5 attacks that do only 1/4 damage and 6″ Movement.
While it has the potential to do 20 damage, most of the time, you won’t do as much damage with it, but if you are lucky enough to have it in melee range at the beginning of its activation, you can attack twice for 10 shots at rolling a critical roll, which makes it likely that you will do enough damage to more than justify the points cost of the fighter.
If, on top of that, you have your Serpent Caller within 4″ of the Serpents, he can use Snake Charmer to give the Serpents another attack for even more chances at rolling sixes.
How successful all of this works out for you is of course very dependent on your favor with the dice gods..
One important thing to remember is that your Double ability Poisoned Weapon, which let’s you ignore the Toughness characteristic of your opponent, shouldn’t be wasted on a Serpents fighter.
When attacking with Serpents, it’s all about rolling for critical hits, and Strength vs Toughness checks don’t apply for those anyway. This also means that you should send the Serpents after enemies with high Toughness. And considering the high amount of attacks, you could consider using Paralysing Venom.
It does cost much more than at launch, and now has to compete with other roles in the warband like the Venombloods, but, if you have bought several boxes of the Splintered Fang warband, or if you can find stuff that looks like a bunch of snakes and glue it to a couple of bases, you can make a fun “never tell me the odds!” warband with 2, 3 or even more Serpents fighters that can swarm enemies and either do very little damage or score a ton of critical hits.
It’s cheap, fun high-stakes snake fighting!
Pureblood: 115 points
The Pureblood is a simple, but effective fighter. He is on the better end of average in every way, with 4 in both Strength and Toughness, and with decent damage and critical damage for his points.
His unique ability, the Triple Relentless Assault, allows him to make a bonus move and a bonus attack action after taking down an enemy fighter in the same activation.
This means that the ideal use of the Pureblood is to get him into a brawl with weaker enemies, take them out and then redirect his efforts against a tougher opponent within the 4″ Movement range.
Another use of the Pureblood is through the Quad Paralysing Venom, that would allow him to increase his damage on critical hits.
This allows for some really thematically satisfying moments where the Pureblood works as the lethal pit fighter his model portrays, entering the fray with short swords stabbing in every direction.
Venomblood with Barbed Whip: 105 points
The Venomblood with Barbed Whip is one of several options for building a Venomblood, the mid-tier Splintered Fang fighter.
Despite his 3″ range weapon, he has access to the Double ability Barbed Buckler, which deals damage at a 1″ range, suggesting that this model is best used in close quarters combat. However, his strength is in damaging without being retaliated and 4 attacks at Strength 4 are bound to do some damage. If you add Paralysing Venom on top of that you could have an extremely damaging round.
Toughness 5 will ensure that even if he is engaged, he can survive some hits.
Venomblood with Spear and Shield: 105 points
The Venomblood with Spear and Shield is the alternate build option for the Venomblood with Barbed Whip, and it’s more balanced in its stats and abilities.
Instead of the whip, it carries a spear that has one inch less in range, but a minimum damage of 2 (2/4).
Since this version of the Venomblood can deal solid melee damage, its 5 Toughness and the Double ability Barbed Buckler, which lets you pick an enemy fighter within 1″ and do 3 damage on a dice roll of 3+ makes much more sense.
The Venomblood with Spear and Shield is the Splintered Fang warband’s best defensive option, and it is great for balancing out a warband that is otherwise relatively vulnerable to sustained melee attacks.
Venomblood with Duelling Blades: 95 points
The Venomblood with Duelling Blades functions like a cheaper version of the Pureblood: it has 4 attacks with 2/4 damage, which is good for its cost, but it only has 3 in Strength.
The best way to improve the damage output of the Venomblood with Duelling Blades is to spend a Double on the always useful general Splintered Fang ability Poisoned Weapon, which allows you to treat the Strength of a fighter as always higher than the enemy’s Toughness for one activation, so you hit on 3+, even against heavily armoured fighters.
Poisoned Weapon is generally one of the best things about the Splintered Fang warband, and the Venomblood with Duelling Blades is able to punch well above his points cost when using it.
As a small bonus, this Venomblood also has a move of 5″ to compensate with his Toughness of 4, as it represents the fleet-footed Aelves corrupted by Chaos.
You can see how I painted this fighter at the bottom of the article – he is a wonderfully dynamic model.
Venomblood with Blade and Barbed Whip: 95 points
The Venomblood with Blade and Barbed Whip is an alternative build option for the Venomblood with Duelling Blades, and if you want some flexibility in your tactical options, it’s not a bad choice.
He loses one if his swords to wield the whip, meaning one less attack in melee, but gaining a 3″ range extra profile in return.
The whip weapon is comparable to the other Venomblood, but with 1 less Strength for a cheaper profile. This version is also more fragile (Toughness 4) but quicker (Movement 5″).
One way to maximize the damage of the whip is to use the Quad ability Paralysing Venom, unless the Serpent Caller is in a better position.
Clearblood: 65 points
The Clearblood is the most basic fighter of the Splintered Fang warband, and it’s really not remarkable in any way: Strength, Toughness and critical damage don’t go higher than 3.
It can do pretty decent damage on a double attack action if you use Poisoned Weapon to make it hit on 3+, since it’s best feature is to have 4 attacks, which is above average.
One box builds three of the standard Clearblood, and they are useful for the same tactics as the basic fighters of other warbands: pinning down or swarming stronger enemies. And they are invaluable for taking over objectives since numbers are what counts to control them.
If you are in a situation where an enemy has to die at all costs, and all you have is a Clearblood, the Quad ability Paralysing Venom can be used even by these basic fighters, allowing you to deal up to 9 damage per critical hit for one activation. It’s expensive, but it can turn the tide when you’re at a disadvantage. If they dice roll your way.
Clearblood with Shield: 65 points
The Clearblood with Shield trades 1 attack less (3) for a higher Toughness (4), meaning it could last a bit more while holding objectives.
On top of that, it gets access to Fanged Buckler like the shielded Venombloods, which is a strong ability for a basic fighter!
As it is not an alternative build option for a regular Clearblood, you don’t lose out on any melee attacks from including it in you warband if you’re only building from one box of the Splintered Fang Warband.
Abilities for the Splintered Fang Warband
- Poisoned Weapon (Double, everyone): For one activation, treat the Strength characteristic of a fighter as always higher than an enemy fighter’s Toughness (= you hit on 3+ against anything).
- Ensnaring Net (Double, Trueblood only): Pick an enemy fighter within 3″, who can then make no move or disengages actions for the rest of the battle round.
- Fanged Buckler (Double, Venomblood with Spear and Shield, Venomblood with Barbed Whip and Clearblood with Shield): A good chance to do 3 damage to an engaged fighter.
- Snake Charmer (Triple, Serpent Caller): Allow a nearby Beast (e.g. Serpents) to perform a bonus attack action.
- Relentless Assault (Triple, Pureblood): After taking down an enemy, you can perform a bonus move followed by a bonus attack action.
- Paralysing Venom (Quad, Everyone): Up to 6 more damage on critical hits. In addition for each attack action, on a 5+ prevent the target from moving or disengaging.
Reaction for the Splintered Fang 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:
Vicious Riposte (Everyone)
- When: During an enemy melee attack action but before hit rolls.
- What: 2 damage to the attacking fighter for each 1 and 2 rolled.
Strategy and Tactics for the Splintered Fang
To play the Splintered Fang well, there at primarily 3 things to focus on:
- Poisoned Weapon lets you ignore an enemy’s Toughness. This ability really can’t be underestimated since it removes the advantages of something your opponent has probably paid solid points to include in his warband, such as a heavily armoured champions. It’s available to everyone in your warband, and it costs only a Double.
- Both Ensnaring Net and Paralysing Venom let you turn an enemy fighter immobile. You have several ways of exploiting this: weapons with more than 1″ range so the target can’t counterattack, cheap fighters that can swarm the target and so on. Pick your prey, lock it down and charge it with everything you have.
Your fighters generally don’t do great standard damage or have a lot of wounds to withstand damage, but they have loads of attacks and do on average a good critical damage, so whenever you can get a double attack in, it is often worth the risk of losing that fighter to a counterattack – if you roll a lot of critical hits, he might not be alive to retaliate.
As such, the Splintered Fang warband should be played aggressively and with a solid stomach for high-risk gambits.
If your tactics pay off, they are one of the most rewarding warbands to play, and this is probably why they have recently ranged pretty high in surveys on forums and social media about which warband is the best among the Chaos warbands.
In addition the Splintered Fang have access to the Reaction Vicious Riposte that is an “improved” Counter (universal reaction). Both have the same pre-conditions (need to be attacked and need to decide before seeing the hit roll of your opponent) but while Vicious Riposte guarantees 2 damage on every 1 and 2, Counter can be used on higher Toughness fighters meaning that the opponent can take damage also on 3s and maybe even 4s.
Overall Counter seems a better reaction, but as always you need to consider what that fighter could be doing with that action instead, so your top fighters may be able to do more damage by simply attacking during their turn. Unless you don’t think they will survive that engagement, in that case it could be a way to punish your opponent before kicking the bucket.
Pros and Cons of the Splintered Fang
+ good damage on critical hits overall
+ strong general abilities that negate enemy advantages
+ fighters tend to have many attacks
+ good options for immobilizing enemies
– the synergy with Serpents now became much more expensive
Different build options and how to buy the Splintered Fang Warband
One box of the Splintered Fang builds:
- 1 Trueblood
- 1 Serpent Caller
- 1 Serpents
- 1 Pureblood
- 1 Venomblood with either Barbed Whip or Spear and Shield
- 1 Venomblood (the aelf) with either Dueling Blades or Blade and Barbed Whip
- 3 Clearblood
- 1 Clearblood with Shield
Most of the models are easy enough to build, but play close attention to the instructions for assembling the Serpent Caller, and make sure to dry fit the snakes before you glue them. It’s an intricate model, but it looks great if you get it right.
Beware that the Barbed Whips are not only a worse than average weapon choice in many situations, but also a build option that makes your Venombloods much harder to fit in a storage case and much more likely to break.
They are very thin and protrude far out over the base of the model. The one on the aelf is a bit less fragile than the one on the human Venomblood due to the way it’s sculpted.
The choices you have to make is what weapons the two Venomblood should have. The whip and shield seems like a weird, from a game mechanic, combo so I would go with the Spear and Shield on that one.
The Blade and Barbed whip has some uses, but wether you take that or the Dueling Blades comes down to your play style. Range is powerful, but so is stabbing a fighter many times.
You also have the option of buying a box with double the normal amount of models in the warband.
This will only be relevant if you want to play a Warcry campaign where you grow your warband larger or if you are really keen on taking the most optimal Splintered Fang warband you can.
Tips on painting the Splintered Fang
Do you have some sweet looking Splintered Fang painted up?
I would very much like to display them right here on this page.
All you have to do is send my some files. You can read more about how to make that happen here.
The Splintered Fang warband are, without a doubt, one of the more complex Chaos warbands to paint. Most of the models feature such diverse textures as skin, hair, metal, scales, cloth, leather and glass, and their dynamic poses create many hard to reach areas such as the inside of a cloak, eyes behind the visor of a helmet and so on.
That being said, they are a lot of fun to paint, and feature some pretty outstanding models such as the Serpent Caller, the Pureblood and the aelf Venomblood.
When I first saw them, I wasn’t a fan, but as I received the box and started clipping bits off the sprues, I realized that my aversion the warband was caused by my fear of painting the color green. I just can’t get it to work well.
The moral of this story is:
Pick your “poison” color for you Splintered Fangs as the first thing. It should be a color you like painting, and one you know how to paint on hair, cloth – and as a glaze for showing off the venom on the tip of the weapons of your fighters.
This can be done with almost any color, so use one you like.
This allowed me to paint the snakes on the Serpent Caller a bright orange, but that’s a story for another day.
On the Venomblood, I contrasted the poison blue with a bronze-ish gold on the armor, achieved by glazing the Contrast Darkoath Flesh over Retributor Armor, then a wash of Seraphim Sepia in the recesses and a highlight of Runefang Steel.
I went with the pale Rakarth Flesh/Reikland Fleshshade/Flayed one Flesh/Pallid Wych Flesh combo for the skin to emphasize the idea that the Splintered Fang are half-overdosed poison junkies, painted the leathers black and the blades Ironbreaker.
The blades were then washed with Nuln Oil to look like regular steel, but with a gradually thinner layers of Drakenhof Nightshades from the tip to the middle of the blade to show the poison applied to it.
You could really paint the Splintered Fang in any combination of high-contrast color schemes, but I would encourage anyone to paint them slightly less dirty than the (otherwise awesomely executed) box art.
The Splintered Fang are modeled as gladiators and look great if there’s a bit more showbiz to their outfits.
You don’t have to look like you never wash just because you worship Chaos – just look at the more recent Slaanesh or Tzeentch miniatures and you’ll know what I mean.