It’s finally here! After 2 months and a few delays we finally get our hands on the first battletomes of 3.0, thanks to Games Workshop sending us review copies. A lot of excitement has been brewing as new (and returning) players wish to see Battletomes to properly support their Dominion/Starter Set armies and other players want an insight about what sort of things we can expect from other Battletomes going forward.
These tomes set quite a precedent going forward. There’s the expected subfactions, artefacts, command traits etc. but also new Grand Strategies, Battle Tactics and Command Abilities. New Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics have debuted in White Dwarf but codifying these into Battletomes implies this is going to be a pattern going forward. New Command Abilities are detached from factions and give further customization for tactics. There’s a lot to look at!
As a bonus note, to my knowledge Games Workshop hasn’t announced this but the battletome has a code for redeeming the book in the Age of Sigmar App when it launches (hopefully in a few weeks) like the 40k books do. Great news for those who want a digital copy close at hand.
Guardians of the Heavens and Shields of the Mortal Realms
Broken Realms: Morathi added an alternative to Stormcast Eternals core battle trait where they could add in Cities of Sigmar auxiliaries and grant a +1 to Bravery for all units near Liberators. It was too niche of a buff to be useful so was discarded.
They took another crack at it and gave you two options, the first is Scions of the Storm, which returning players will recognise, and functions like their traditional battle trait – half your units can go into deep strike, but are no longer -1 to hit when deployed (this can be basically be regained via a Command Trait). The other is Stormkeep which grants Watchful Guardians which lets you take Cities of Sigmar Auxiliaries as a Coalition army and Shield of Civilization lets Redeemer (which is all your melee based stock Battleline) units count as 3 models for each model for purposes of capturing objectives in their own deployment zone on the first 2 turns, and any objective starting turn 3. As a nice bonus they also do D3 mortals to anyone who charges them on a 3+.
I think the decision on which is better is far more difficult to choose now. Deploying mid-game anywhere on the table (more than 9” away of course) with half your army is still going to be core to Stormcast Eternals, always has been. Most of them aren’t very fast and a large part of their value is being able to come in from anywhere. Watchful Guardians on the other hand is a bit of a slow burn. Its effect only counts for battleline but late game when there’s fewer models on the field counting as three times your size is going to make an impact and potentially hand you the victory.
The decision is likely going to rely on how many Battleline units you want to bring, more battleline centric lists may like Shield of the Mortal Realms while others will stick with Guardians of the Heavens.
Blaze of Glory
We saw this in the Dominion and Starter Boxes and it’s the same here. When a model dies, roll a die equal to that model’s wounds characteristic (+1 on Thunderstrike units, basically everything new) and on a 6 deal a mortal to a target within 1”. Not much to say that hasn’t been said but interestingly the two dragon brothers are Thunderstrike, meaning they get to roll a cool 18 dice when they die.
So one of the pleasant surprises in this Battletome is that while subfactions still exist, they no longer carry the millstone around their neck in the form of a mandatory artefact and command traits. There isn’t a unique command ability either but I consider that a fair tradeoff for further flexibility. As a result of the change, more subfactions feel viable than before. As before, you may take named characters of different subfactions, they just don’t get any faction traits.
It’s hard to pick a best but if I had to pick, it might just be the Hammers of Sigmar. They get Dracothian Guard as battleline, a ton of unique characters and their new trait is great! 6+ Ward when within 12” of an objective. While the use of this is going to fluctuate a little depending on the game mode, and how many objectives are on the field, taking objectives is still the name of the game. Certainly better than the +1 to bravery they had before.
Hallowed Knights have a deceptively good trait. They don’t get any unique battleline but Redeemer units (Which consist of all the “Stock” melee battleline options) get a 4+ attack again when they die. This does stack with Blaze of Glory potentially making Battleline spam (Vindictors especially) very nasty when they get a final strike in and then follow it up with a lightning strike.
Celestial Vindicators get exploding 6s on the charge. A jack of all trades option for melee focused lists, though a bit risky. There’s no extra battleline here so it is a bit of a dud.
The most interesting is definitely Anvils of the Heldenhammer, which has you rolling 2D6 for each enemy unit within 1” of a friendly unit at the end of the charge phase, aiming to roll over the enemy unit’s Bravery. If you succeed you get to ignore the first 2 wounds of that unit for the phase. Probably too unreliable to be useful unless you know who you’re going up against. If you face daemons or undead you’re dead in the water but I give them credit for something original and fun.
Knights Excelsior are for those of you who like your units large and in-charge. Annihilators, Decimators, Protectors, and Retributors all become battleline, letting you have an elite but tanky force. As you can see by the faction trait, it augments your smaller forces with better hit and wound. I’m not sure if it makes up Paladins being on the more mediocre side but it definitely will scratch an itch.
Finally, in Astral Templars Vanguard-Palladors and Vanguard-Hunters become battleline. Their ability is very powerful, saving you from needing to use a Hunters of the Heartland battalion and focus those forces on other things. You can even have your Heroes and Monsters benefit, who usually can’t. While a “Monster Hunter” subfaction used to be dicey, in the new Monster heavy meta there is some value here.
Traditionally the most neglected section of a battletome now has relevance since you get to pick one! Games Workshop has also finally accepted that nobody is rolling for traits anymore and doesn’t try and and push having 6 of them. There’s only 4 but they’re all at least interesting, far more than the traditional “+1 to hit” or “+1 to rend” often littering these entries. In theory this is nice, but there are some problems.
Shock and Awe returns the -1 to hit for Deep Strike that Scions of the Storm used to have before. No aura, it’s army wide. Staunch Defender lets a Stormkeep army reroll the number of mortal wounds that a Redeemer unit gets to roll within 12”. Envoy of the Heavens is a really nice one, when a model dies in a unit that unit gets +1 to saves for the rest of the phase. Remember though, you do still have to resolve all attacks so it won’t help you against the same attack unit, only when ganged up on. Master of the Celestial Managerie is JoeK’s favorite. If this general is a Monster and is on the table, subtract 1 from all wound rolls of melee weapons that target friendly Stormcast Eternal MonstersWould be nice if also shooting but, we can’t have everything.
Overall my problem is that while they are unique, they don’t really quite hit it as “great”. They’re super niche, two are dependent on which battle trait you’re running (meaning you only get 3 options). I like the idea of fewer, more interesting traits but when they’re not great it means that the power of a good Hero is reduced a lot. Big issue in a book where almost half of the roster is Heroes.
There are 9 artefacts, 3 of each divided into 3 categories of Weapon, Armor and Artefacts. Nothing locked behind particular Keywords this time, which has a bit of a dual effect. The smaller pool of artefacts that can be widely used means they are more useful across the board but don’t fill the niches they might have before. Whether or not this change is positive is going to be chalked up a lot to how creative they can get.
Blade of Heroes is a super simple weapon: pick one of their melee weapons and re-roll all hits against Monsters and Heroes. Effective in the Monster and God heavy meta right now, nothing is worse than rocking up to Archaon the Everchosen and just missing with all of your attacks from a bad roll but Fang of Dracothian is the most interesting in my opinion of the weapon choices, if you deal a wound to an enemy unit with the weapon then at the end of each turn it suffers a Mortal wound. Remembering that this means it will trigger at the end of each player’s turn, this could equate to 8-9 additional wounds across a game if your Hero is able to get into a fight early on. Hitting a hero for this to effectively cancel out some of the Heroic Recovery they’re likely to be attempting can be big.
All three armor options are solid and reliable and which you take is going to matter a lot based on your meta. Drakescale Armor allows the bearer to reroll saves against weapons with Damage 2 or more. This feels like it’s going to be an easy choice on heroes mounted on dragons since multi-damage weapons will be the most common attacks to counter them. Would be nice to know if D3 and D6 damage constituted equal to or more than Damage 2 for this, expect it to be in the FAQ to be sure but I think it would count. Mirrorshield will be a great pick when writing up lists for events, making the bearer almost immune to ranged weapons. Missile weapons can’t target the bearer unless the firing unit is within 9”! Lumineth Sentinels, Fyreslayer Aurics, and a few Orruks units will want to be shooting your Hero on dragon, and now they just can’t from any substantial distance! Finally Amulet of the Silvered Sigmarite will be overshadowed by the others, this does not allow any incoming hits against the bearer to be re-rolled. Also quite strange because many abilities that had allowed re-roll hits have changed to be +1 to hit instead this edition, so feels a little disjointed.
Rounding off the artefacts is a couple of one use items. Quicksilver Draught allows the bearer to gain Fight First in the combat phase. What’s nice is that this is activated at the end of the charge phase, so you don’t have to try and time it right by using it in the hero phase and then fail a charge later on. The Luckstone will sound familiar to Old Warhammer Fantasy fans. Before making a hit, wound, save, run, or charge roll then you can instead simply choose the result. For 1D6 rolls you pick a number 1-6 and for 2D6 rolls you pick a result 2-12. It’s kind of funny just how specific it is, but is good I suppose so it can’t be gamed somehow and need an FAQ later! Definitely useful, however will be overlooked unless you have some way of taking many enhancements. Finally, the Obsidian amulet is a solid choice as a one use item, being able to completely ignore all effects of any spells or endless spells that are effecting or would effect the bearer until your next Hero phae. This has some great edge cases such as being able to charge near Shackles, or ignoring suffering mortal wounds and any negative modifiers. It would be nice if this is also ignored the effects of Invocations though, and as a once per game ability wouldn’t be out of the realms of reason either.
All of these spells are 12” range for most wizards, but if the caster is a Lord or Draconith then goes up to 18”. A nice way to be able to show how these more senior/powerful wizards are better at magic than their counterparts. It’s got a good mix of Damage and Debuffs, and one buff for good measure.
Two damage spells, Lightning Blast and Chain Lightning. Both deal D3 mortals but Lightning Blast only hits the closest target while Chain Lightning lets you pick anyone in range and potentially jump to nearby enemy units. Other than being slightly harder to cast the Chain Lightning just feels better in every way, making Lightning Blast feel a bit wasted here.
Half your spells are taken up with debuffs and they’re pretty nasty! Thundershock causes a -1 to wound for enemy units clustered around a point of your choice, which can be absolutely devastating. Wound buffs are rare in many armies, and that makes wound debuffs even more unpleasant. Azyrite Halo is Another way to punish your enemies for simply trying to hit you, casts on a friendly unit and for each 6 to save that unit rolls against melee weapons, the attacking unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Great to cast when surrounded by mobs of Orruks, Skeletons, or anything else pushing out a large number of low damage attacks. Starfall has me scratching my head just a little, situationally quite good. Choose a point on the table, rolling a dice for each enemy within 3” of that point; until end of turn (not until next hero phase as you may expect) that unit cannot make pile in moves. Most effective against units with 6” pile in moves, or in edge cases to be able to charge into a unit and deny them the ability to pile in to get more models onto an objective. Denying Pilei-ns is a lot better than it sounds on paper, especially if your opponent’s unit is piled up in a weird way, or larger base units need to position themselves in a certain way to maximize damage.
Your lone buff spell Celestial Blades allows you to add 1 to wound rolls of a unit of your choice. Great way to add some more reliable punch to your unit’s attacks. It’s simple but Wound rolls are a welcome one.
As with the spells, if the chanter is a Knight there’s a shorter range, and if the chanter is a Lord then it has a longer range. I really like this approach to differentiate the two.
Divine Light is very simple, pick an enemy unit in range and your army of Stormcast get to re-roll 1’s against that unit until your next hero phase. Not an auto-pick over the generic Curse scripture, however if doubling up on Priests might be worth looking at. Translocation is definitely a powerful ability, pick a friendly unit, pick it up off the table and set it up again more than 9” from any enemy models. The only range restriction is from the chanter and the unit before it’s picked up, so being able to move Annihilators with their short move from place is fantastic, on top of being able to teleport onto objectives or towards back-line enemy units. This also all happens during the Hero phase, which means you can even move the unit that was translocated in the same turn too. Do expect this to be FAQ’d to not allow movement after. Finally Bless Weapons gives a friendly Stormcast unit chosen within range deals 2 hits per 6 rolled to hit instead of just 1. This works on both melee and missile weapons, so has a wide range of use.
Overall nothing too new but Translocation could be big. Stormcast rely on deep strike and teleports to augment their pokey speed and anything to add to the toolkit for that is a welcome add.
6 to go around, potentially for any Hero on a mount. We mark them when they’re limited to a specific type of mount. We’ll talk about some interesting ones.
Aetheric Swiftness For Dracoths, Dracolines, and Gryph-Chargers. Allows the rider eligible to fight and pile in 6” instead of the normal 3” range. Incredible for mini counter-charges and for larger threat zones for your Hero, but also to be able to pile in nearer the end of a round of combat without fear of being attacked before doing so. While not quite as easy to position as a hoarde of zombies doing the same trick might be, it gives the ability to block certain routes through the map as your opponent will need to heavily consider where to stop moving to not give you a free pile-in without even charging. Light of the Young Stars is Stardrakes only can use this ability. It gains a new Monstrous Rampage to grant -1 to hit rolls until end of turn on a 3+. Fantastic in a monster-heavy army where you’ll be using Stomps and Roars elsewhere. Scintillating Trail is for Stormcast Wizards only and within 12” of this model cast a spell, enemy wizards suffer a -1 to their unbinding rolls against that cast. Fantastic on a Mount with a wizard on top, to make your own spells all the more reliable. Thunderous Presence Basically gives you a second Roar. This is great for 2 reasons, it allows you to Roar one unit and use this on a second unit but also and more importantly this works on units that are otherwise immune to Monstrous Rampages (such as units in a Hunters of the Heartlands battalion).
Since Stormhost no longer hand out a bonus Command Trait you are actually given one of 5 to choose from to augment your options. These are command abilities that you can then use once per game. They are specified as a unique enhancement, so you can take multiple if you spend additional enhancements to do so. Most of these can only be used by Knights, or Draconith for expanded range, with the exception of Call for Aid.
Call for Aid Is the only one that can be issued by a unit that is not a Knight. It allows a Redeemer unit of 5 models or less to replace a unit. Only 5 models is tough but an understandable compromise. I think this might play well in Hallowed Knights as they rely on Redeemer units to fight again when they die. So they can come back and do it again, not bad. Steadfast March grants a run and charge which is going to pay dividends in a Dragon rider centric army which needs to ping pong around the field as much as possible or get that first turn charge. The most interesting to me is Final Thunderstrike which lets you add one to the rolls for a Blaze of Glory, effectively dealing mortals on a 5+. Save this bad boy for if one of the big Dragons eats it (That’s right, they are Thunderstrike) and really watch the fireworks go off!
The other 2 aren’t as exciting to talk about. The limiting factor is the once per battle on all of them, which is fine but it means you need to go big and I’m not sure if all these quite get there. Except Final Thunderstrike, ouch!
Well with this I think we got some confirmation about some future design decisions. Included in this book (And Orruk Warclans) is some new faction-exclusive Grand Strategies, Battle Tactics and Core Battalions. We saw some of these for Sons of Behemat and Slaves to Darkness in White Dwarf but now we know this is going to become a consistent thing. I will preface that I don’t think anything here is going to break the game but let’s explore each in depth.
Draconith Defiance and Pillars of Victory require the only Heroes left alive to be Draconith and the only battleline left alive to be Redeemers, respectively. Without knowing your match up do you really know if you can pull a full wipe of enemy heroes or even their battleline? You might as well pick Hold the Line or similar and simply keep them alive, without needing to worry about dispatching the enemy’s.
The other one, Sacred Charge is…written oddly. It requires 2 Cities of Sigmar units to be left alive on the battlefield. Doesn’t say yours though. So if you get matched with a Cities of Sigmar or another Stormhold player this feels like a shoe-in. That’s probably asking too much luck and unless the CoS units are particularly tanky I think you’re asking for your opponent to beeline and wipe your CoS units as quickly as possible just to mess with you. Again, why not just take Hold the Line?
The problem with the Grand Strategies here is they require some very specific requirements to pull off that are far too complicated compared to the core ones (Which mostly consist of keeping a specific unit type alive).
Six, count em six new Battle Tactics which you can choose in addition to the ones in the General’s Handbook. I will confess I have some concerns about these because I’ve seen what they do to 40k. They’re a great idea in theory to encourage players to try and adopt an intended strategy or just add some fluffy options beyond the generic. In reality these are really difficult to keep thinking up new ones and keep them balanced, which leads us to the Haves and Have Nots we were trying to avoid in the move from Second to Third edition. How do these look? Not bad.
Like most Battle Tactics their use is what you face and if the arrangement comes up. Hammer Strike Assault and No Challenge Too Great are nice, broad options asking you to kill off a Hero. The former needs 10 wounds but can be killed by anything, while the later requires you use a Redeemer Unit but can have any number of wounds. Draconith Destruction and A Matter of Honour are for your Dragon armies, giving a victory point for killing a unit of 10 or more models or a a Monster, respectively.
The last two are going to be rare to pull off. Pioneers of the Realm requires Cities of Sigmar units to capture objectives wholly within your opponent’s deployment, which of course is going to heavily rely on getting there and if the map has objectives in deployment zones at all. Lightning-shattered Morale requires you to make a model in a unit of Bravery 10 run. Possible if fighting undead or daemons, just depends which.
Overall, not too bad. More niche than the general purpose ones but since you can simply wait and see if the opportunity presents itself then use them or fall back on the others. More options isn’t bad and none are so good they’re likely to dominate the table. At least yet.
There’s been a lot of concern about Core Battalions in supplements as the idea seemed to stop books from having broken options. As seen in White Dwarf already, all these really do is shuffle around the roles a bit while still granting the same options. I’m a fan of the Redemption Brotherhood which lets you have a battle regiment with 3-6 troops without being saddled with a commander requirement. Not feeling the others, which only grant Strategists (eh) and Slayers (ick) with much stricter structure. 1 out of 3 ain’t bad.
Stormcast have a lot of units especially in the Leader department. We can’t hope to cover all of them (yet, look out for an updated Start Competing in a few weeks) so we will focus on what’s new and what has changed radically. There are two general trends I noticed: First, Rend has gotten more plentiful. Games Workshop seems to anticipate All out Defense + Mystic Shield + Finest Hour might make things a bit too tanky so we start seeing a lot more Rend -1 where there was none, and Rend -2 where -1 was. So if I don’t mention your favorite unit they may have more rend. Second, everything got more expensive, which is a tough one since Stormcast were not exactly cheap to start with. Don’t worry though, a lot of these units will make their points and this doesn’t put them at much of a disadvantage.
A new Hero, the Lord-Commander. Basically a “Chapter Master” of Stormcast and boy does he have the warscroll to back up such a title. He is locked behind Hammers of Sigmar, but we might see others for other Stormhost down the line. His tricks include picking a unit in your Hero Phase anywhere on the field and rolling dice equal to their Wounds and on each 6 deal a Mortal. He can reposition D3 Hammers of Sigmar units before the game starts and issue an order once per turn at any range.
He hits like an absolute truck with 4 Rend -2 Damage 4 attacks. 8 wounds might not seem like a lot but he has a 4+ ward and if he killed any models in a phase he immediately returns to full health. If you come at the King you better not miss.
This guy has not changed too drastically, same stat line as before with 8 wounds, 3+ save, and a solid melee weapon at rend -3 and 3 damage. The changes here are that he no longer gives a bubble of +1 Bravery (which is absolutely fine) and the sceptre attack is now a flat 3” blast instead of D6” blast.
Oh, and he’s got a 4+ ward now. So he might actually survive a whole turn of combat to fight again.
This guy is the new heraldic dragon character knight: these bad bois are nuts, and synergize super well with their new dragon battleline variants. All the new dragons breath weapons deal mortal wounds, even giving 1 MW on a roll of 1. Each of these dragons also have a 4+ spell ignore…yikes. Plus, once per battle you pick 1 Stormdrake Guard if they are wholly within 12”, that unit can shoot their mortal wound breath.
Knight-Judicator With Gryph Hounds
Well we didn’t have a Judicator hero yet so why not. He’s pretty great, especially if you wanna bring the new Vigilors as battleline. His bow hits like a truck, 2 hits of Rend -3 3 Damage from 30″ away. That’ll nick something real good. Once per game he can also pick a point on the field and deal D3 Mortals to all enemy units within 6″ on a 4+. Good for hitting that castle early.
He gets two gryph hounds, which are more useful than ever with the aura of their Warning Cry expanded a bit. Definitely an auto include in a ranged army.
I think this guy might be too niche to use. A priest himself, he can block Prayers and Invocations on a 4+. Outside of stopping the occasional Curse I’m not sure he’d add much value. Perhaps against Daughters of Khaine or Fyreslayers if you’re expecting some, but many of those are defensive buffs.
First of the two new named Dragons in the book which we saw a few months back, both of these come in at a hefty 600 points as Leader/Behemoths and it’s easy to see why! Krondys is a 2 cast wizard with +3 to cast before he starts taking wounds (but no bonus to deny which he can do twice). I was hoping he would know all the spells in the Stormcast lore but doesn’t, so you’ll need to choose one. However, his own Warscroll spell isn’t bad just needs a 9 to cast at 24” range with 1 of 4 different effects which you choose after casting. You can subtract 1 from the targets hit rolls with all attacks, worsen the rend of that unit’s attacks, subtract 1 from the attacks characteristic of missile weapons, or subtract 1 from save rolls. Generally you’ll be picking the one to worsen rend or subtract from save rolls but it’s a great toolbox to work with when you need the others.
Just because he’s the wizard of the two doesn’t mean he’s a slough in combat though, able to hold his own with multiple multi-damage attacks with easy hit and wound rolls, the one that stands out here is the damage 2 tail attack. The attack characteristic of the tail is equal to the number of enemy models within 3” but you don’t need to be putting all those attacks into the horde unit in front of you, so long as you’re in range you can pile them all into a character that’s hanging out too close.
The other of the two new named dragons, and this one is not a wizard instead focusing on simply killing in combat. First off, all melee weapons targeting him subtract 1 from their Attacks characteristic (to a minimum of 1 of course) making him that much harder to kill. With the same tail attack as the other, Karazai fights with more Jaw attacks at Rend -3 (1 better than Krondys) and then some talon attacks to tidy up whatever was unfortunate enough to survive to this point.
His ability which was shown off by Warhammer Community before seems really good, when he kills an enemy unit then apply an effect depending on what that unit was. If it was a Monster or Hero then +1 attack on all weapons the rest of the game, if a unit with 3+ wounds gain +1 to run and charge rolls, and chaff units with 2 or less wounds simply heal 1 wound. These are fine, but is something that sounds better than it will be in practice.
The Lord Celestant version has seen a change on his weapons, losing the special abilities but gaining reliability with better rend on the hammer, and more attacks with better wound rolls on the blade (however dripping to damage 1). The Drakesworn Templar however retains most of the weapon abilities aside from the Skyboly Bow which is now has no extra effect, just a couple long range shots. However the Drakesworn has dropped to a 4+ save base since he doesn’t have a shield; this is fine since you can still stack saves easily within the army.
Rain of Stars (the Stardrake’s ranged attack) has seen an overhaul, now working as a 4 attack ranger weapon ar 30” range with Rend -3 and Damage, it’s not mortal wounds but Rend -3 is hard to come by and is always welcome!
Going up two additional wounds to 18 is solid as well, since when it dies now you’ll be dealing an average 3 extra mortal wounds back.
Your battleline, as mentioned above, can vary a lot depending on your chosen Stormhost or who your General is, so let’s just talk about the stock battleline for a moment. Everything in here has the Redeemer keyword except for the Judicators which procs some very important abilities.
Stock Battleline now, and broken off into two entries based on whether you have Skybolt Bows or Boltstorm Crossbows (which is a good call, as those make the units operate so radically different). Skybolts seem to be the winners here, getting 6s to hit as mortals while Boltstorm Crossbows explode on 6s. Skybolts have a pretty standard profile now instead of the weird thing it did before, with no rend. Not great!
The humble liberator saw a total rewrite, streamlining its weapon options to either a weapon and shield, dual weapons or 1 in 5 getting a grandweapon. Everythings -1 to Rend now, letting them keep up with their Redeemer Siblings. Their Lay Low the Tyrants ability is totally different, dealing D3 Mortals if within 6″ of an objective instead of a rather dull +1 to hit against 5 wounds or more. They’re cheap as hell and I think can now reliably compete with other Battleline options with all the buffs Redeemers get. It’s a tough call but I might generally give it to Vindictors still, as the point gap is only 15 points.
Bringing attention to their new Redemption Cache ability which instead of dealing Mortals to Chaos and Death units, makes it so units within 3″ cannot bring back models from the dead. This means no Rally of course but Death players and Daemon-centric Chaos lists are going to hate this. Makes an anti Death and Chaos power way more interesting and useful than it was before.
The new Redeemer unit on the block. Delicate, with a 4+ save and unlike Liberators they can’t improve it innately however they get 3 attacks per model with 5 models and four with 10 or more. Holy moley. They may die easier but they get to rally back on a 5+ instead of 6+. I think these might actually be good glass cannons, and not too pricey either.
Only adding these guys to say they’re a huge disappointment now. They got a price hike and no longer get the movement shenanigans they’re so (in)famous for. Now they just grant a +1 to hit for targets within 12″ for Raptors. Yuck. They’re still mostly cheap so you might include them if you bring Raptors and got some points left over but their days of terrorizing monsters and murder heroes are definitely over.
Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers
The Annihilators in the Dominion box are a bit of a dud. Sure a 2+ save is scary but with 3 models and no ward what are you going to do? You can’t hold points so an opponent can simply ignore you or hit you with mortals. These are not these guys.
These guys get the same Mortal Wounds on a charge but hit like a truck. 3 3+ to hit, 2+ to wound, Rend -2 Damage 3 hammers. All they traded for the better wound, rend and damage was +1 to save. Big deal, can’t hit you if they’re dead. I am concerned they might cost a bit too much at 240 but the 3+ save is still respectable, meaning they will likely at least survive a normal volley of attacks. Definitely a huge improvement over the shield guys.
The new Stormdrake Guard have had a lot of hype with the promise that they could become battleline if a Draconis or Stardrake is the general, opening options for a an all dragon army. The good news? It’s good!
Their profile is 12” move, 9 wounds, 3+ save. 4+ spell ignore, the same dragon breath shooting attack, and the same dragon claws as the Leader version. These ones have a weapon choice but unfortunately not nearly as impressive. This unit is allowed a 3” coherency, which goes a long way to alleviate the woes that a 6 rider unit could cause when it comes to cohesion.
This unit also shares another rule with the hero Knight: after this unit has attacked, your opponent picks 1 model within the unit, and you roll a dice. If the roll is greater than the wounds characteristic the model they picked in that unit is slain.
Another big deal: once per battle, in your hero phase, this unit can make a move. After that, roll a dice and on a 2+ they can charge. The perfect unit to hunt foxes in the current Lumineth Meta.
The Knight Hero buffs these guys in such awesome ways, they’re pretty solid at 285 points for 2.
New Chariot launching with the tome. This things…pretty decent. Has impact wounds, -1 to be hit when charging and can put out a solid 8 Rend -2 hits. At 165 points its about right in cost. I don’t have a ton to say just that if you think it looks cool you’ll probably have fun with it.
The new Archers. Battleline if your General is a Knight-Judicator. These guys are basically Judicators with Skybolt bows with worse range, but they can mark a target they hit giving +1 to hit it, both melee and ranged. Probably a nice inclusion for many lists, and not too costly.
JoeK: So, the army looks like it is pretty solid all around. I for one am strictly excited the dragons seem playable, and are pretty awesome. And honestly, the only thing i want to talk about, for the detriment to everyone around me. There are other good tactics and this army has enough warscrolls and mortal wound potential to be good for a long long time. But… none of those other things are dragons so. Do “I” care? No. cuz there are dragons. Armies of dragons. Did I mention there are dragons?
RagnarokAngel: Overall I feel pretty good about the book. I think it’s a solid progression of the army, even if splitting up Warscrolls just further adds to the mess. Stormcast don’t feel radically new but they don’t need to. They appeal to people who want to wear big suits of armor and hit things and they can do that even better than before. End of story.
As always there remains a lot of versatility in play, you want ranged? You got it. You want to run the tankiest guys you can as Battleline? That’s there. The addition of Dragons adds a new dimension with both two powerful Leader-Behemoths and Zippy riders who can just ruin someone’s day. If you like Stormcast as they were I think you’ll be very happy with this book. If you didn’t, and don’t care about Dragons perhaps our next review is more your speed. Orruk Warclans will be live shortly!
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