Dawnbringers: Book V – Shadow of the Crone Roundtable

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The Dawnbringer Saga continues as the Twin-Tailed Crusade fights through challenges in Aqsha and Ghyran to establish the cities of Embergard and Verdigris. The followers of Morai-Heg, led by the Croneseer, arrive in mortal realms to provide another path for the Daughters of Khaine while the Saviours of Cinderfall (Callis, Toll and friends) fight to protect Hammerhal Aqsha.

We would like to thank Games Workshop for providing a copy of Dawnbringers: Book V – Shadow of the Crone for review.

SRM, Bair, and Marchettus have reviewed the lore, the matched play rules, and narrative play. Additionally, we’re joined by our new contributor, AOS Coach, who has posted two videos channel. The first is a conversation with Dale Johnson on the Croneseer and Daughters of Khaine and the second discusses Callis and Toll with Kyle Calip.

What are your overall impressions of the book?

  • Coach: Dawnbringers V is another fun progression of the Age of Sigmar narrative that players will appreciate, exploring Ghyran & Aqshy while begging to get out of Ghur. This book isn’t the silver bullet to your next 5-0 tournament performance but it adds a nice layer to Daughters of Khaine, another tool within Cities, and various layers to your path to glory or alternative approach to matched play.
  • SRM: Pretty positive, I’d say. The maps of the Mortal Realms are notably changed by the end, and for every story thread finished another one has opened up. The rules seem fun, and I’m stoked to see the Daughters of Khaine get more faction diversity, as well as models based on Callis and Toll. Time was, you’d only ever see Black Library characters represented in limited edition pewter dioramas.
  • Marchettus – This is a lore heavy book and that’s not the part of the game that I engage with the most. I really like the Strongpoints rules in regards to destroying terrain. Previously units had to have a Monster or Monster-like ability to smash rubble; now, by giving some terrain wounds and a save, you let all sorts different models pillage the battlefield. On the positive side, I think all of the rules that are released are competent and the models will see some use in the short term. 
  • Bair: This, as with the others, adds more cool stuff to Age of Sigmar and other ways of playing the game that…I just will not be able to actually get onto the table. Siege things are cool and they’re great for anyone that does get to use these rules, but my games of AoS are so driven by tourney prep locally that it won’t happen. It adds another Army of Renown which is something I’m just not a fan of existing in the first place so take that at face value. 

What was the first thing you turned to when you got the book and why?

  • Coach: I play both Daughters of Khaine and Cities of Sigmar, so I went straight to the rules. Cities has been doing well on the tournament scene so I was more intrigued by what was coming to help lift DoK’s win rate and what the Croneseer brought to the party. 
  • SRM: Even though I was delving deep in the lore mines, I wanted to see what Callis and Toll would bring to a Cities of Sigmar army. The answer is: another expensive and strange utility unit that’s chockablock full of special rules and abilities! I wanted to learn more about this RPG adventuring party and what their whole steez was.
  • Marchettus: I had to see what the army of renown was for Daughters of Khaine. Every few months I have to resist the call to buy into an army before painting the minis I have and Daughters have some very evocative models and a great centerpiece in Morathi. However, I don’t think that the Army of Renown plays differently enough to make me jump in and start painting doomfire warlocks.
  • Bair: Definitely the new character and what it means for Daughters of Khaine. Spoiler alert to my review: I think she adds a new way of playing the army very aggressively and most importantly without needing Morathi. 

Daughters of Khaine army in dark/pale and red colour scheme
Chris’ prize-winning Daughters of Khaine army from Brotherhood 2022 – credit Chris Thursten

We had a few weeks to look things over and digest everything. What is something you overlooked initially that you want to highlight for those picking up Dawnbringers V?

  • Coach: I don’t know if this is intentional, but you can rally Callis & Toll as it’s a two-model unit. 
  • SRM: The settlement/siege rules are wild, and seem like a fun way to play some games. I have no idea how games of this type will ever be played worldwide, but it feels funny to have this whole new way to play just jammed into the fifth book in a series. Hopefully the terrain kits it needs will actually be available again, because at time of writing you can only get 2/7 of the sets it’s asking for.
  • Marchettus: I love that a team event is getting a mission pack even if I don’t like that the coolest rules won’t get to be played by everyone. The pack is a nice middle ground between using the missions from the GHB and a fully bespoke narrative event.
  • Bair: Really just how cheap the Crone is for Daughters. The more I look at that Warscroll and how it can fit into army lists you get so much. 

How does this book compare to the other four Dawnbringers releases? 

  • Coach: Depends on what you are looking for from the Dawnbringer series. If you are a lore seeker, this book is right up your alley. If you are getting bored of the current GHB, there is a new battle pack for you to play with your mates. If you wanted more matched play rules, you won’t find it as impactful as Reign of the Brute which was packed full of new units and alternative ways to play. 
  • SRM: I only got really into the series with IV, but I think I enjoyed the lore in that book a bit more. The split story there felt more intentional while this felt like a tangentially connected short story collection. I feel that this book also doesn’t sync up with any major release quite as well as IV did with the Flesh Eater Courts, but it’s not like there’s a shortage of recent releases this ties into.
  • Marchettus: I think that The Mad King is a perfect expansion book. It had a ton of rules for a specific grand alliance and hit just as other releases and points changes were shaking up how those armies played so anything afterward is going to feel a little slight. I understand you can’t knock down walls until you build them but I have to imagine a few team events would have included the Strongpoint rules if they had come out earlier.
  • Bair: Really just as above. Do you like Lore? Then get the book! Do you happen to play Daughters of Khaine? Get the book! Do you want to play cool Siege Battles? Get the book! Otherwise you really don’t need it. 

Two sets of models have been released with Dawnbringers V, The Croneseer herself and Callis & Toll & Friends. Are they bumping anything off your painting table? If so, what’s getting shelved?

  • Coach: Games Workshop sent me the Croneseer which I immediately painted. I really enjoyed painting her, though I recommend sub-assembly to help you get behind the hair. Callis & Toll look fun but I’ve got a massive Cities backlog that I should work on first.
  • SRM: The moment I get Callis & Toll they’re going to the top of the paint queue. That whole gaggle of models is so damn expressive, characterful, and beautifully detailed. I’ve barely read about them outside of this book, but I’m instantly a fan based on style alone.
  • Marchettus: I’m still painting through Trugg and don’t play DoK or Cities. If I did have an order army, I would likely push off everything to get Callis & Toll & Friends to make sure the Regiment of Renown was ready to go into a list.
  • Bair: Neither; desk currently full of squigs, tomb kings, geonosians, and Burrows and Badgers. 

Cities of Sigmar. Credit – Soggy

If you could commune with Morai-Heg, what is something you would want to know more about in Dawnbringers V? 

  • Coach: When should I set up an appointment with my bank so I can throw all the cash towards Hellabron & Malarions crafted Aelves? Give me a sign, Shadow King!
  • SRM: Coach beat me to it; I’m really curious if we’re going to see more from Morai-Heg’s followers or some further division from Morathi’s Khainite forces. Also I’m wondering if that tease about the Chaos hordes led by a daemon-blooded empress was Valkia the Bloody! Khorgos Khul got namedropped briefly in 4, so I’m hoping Khorne gets some much needed post-2015 love. 
  • Marchettus: Two things. First, I’d like a retelling of the entire story though the eyes of the Sons of Behemat. Second, I would love to see how order factions try to deprogram The Cult of the Wheel after the crusade. I’m sure the Kharadron Overlords, Fyreslayers, and Seraphon would take very different approaches to explaining, “You don’t have to like the wheel, but moving a cart is much easier with it.” 

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