Goonhammer Review: Battletome: Lumineth Realm-Lords 2021

An article by , and    Age of Sigmar Books Gaming Reviews        0

Is it time for a new Realm-Lord Battletome already?! The original Realm-Lords launched in September of 2020, with a soft launch in June with a battlebox. This means if you’re feeling generous, it’s been 9 months since the first battletome, and 6 months if you’re less so inclined. No matter how you hash it that’s not really good. On top of that, it’s releasing side-by-side with Broken Realms: Teclis with new rules for the Lumineth. Games Workshop assured players that you would only need to pick one book, but did that hold true? We’ll be looking at what’s changed since the original and if you should grab this.

Battletome: Lumineth Realm-Lords vs. Broken Realms: Teclis

First, let’s get this out of the way: you only need one of these books. Most of this codex remains unchanged from the original, the units that were in the original codex are still here, reprinted as they were, and points did not change for anything that was in the first codex. Games Workshop’s promise held true and if you own the original battletome, all the new stuff is in Broken Realms: Teclis and this battletome, and there’s no advantage to picking one over the other, other than convenience. In short:

  • Pick up Battletome: Lumineth Realm-Lords if:
    • You do not own the first battletome.
    • You only care about the new Lumineth rules and don’t want to carry around 2 books
  • Pick up Broken Realms: Teclis if you own the original battletome, care about more than one army in that book, and don’t mind needing two books.

As for the morality of releasing a new battletome so shortly after release, I sympathize. I think this was a real blunder by Games Workshop and risks shaking consumer confidence in them for a while. It’s obvious that COVID-19 and Brexit has created a difficult situation for them, and I suspect they intended to release more of these units together at the same time. At some point in development they had to cut the release in half, but also felt waiting too long might turn people off to the army. There is a lot of new content here, and I think they worked really hard to make it feel worth its value without ticking people off. Still, I think it could have been released as a free supplement, or at least at a discount from the normal price tag, with the option to buy a “complete” battletome still offered. I don’t think it will become a norm, and hope it’s not, a harbinger of things to come because if it persists it risks turning a lot of people off to the game.

What’s New?

A fair bit, in fact. One subfaction of units (The Hurakan), new command traits and artefacts for Vanari and Hurakan Heroes, new battalions, two new nations, a whole new spell lore (usable by the new Windmage and Teclis himself, naturally) and a buttload of new warscrolls, alongside the original content. Due to the unique situation this battletome is in, we’re going to do something a bit different.  Rather than agonize over everything, or give a broad overview of the book, we’re gonna meet you in the middle and cover the new material. We will attempt to examine how they integrate into the book and what impact that could have on older material going forward.

Allegiance Abilities

Many of the new units that just came out have the Hurakan keyword like Sevireth and the Hurakan Windmage and like their Vanari and Scinari cousins they get a new battle trait shared among them. Move Like the Wind is an incredible powerful trait, which allows all Hurakan units to ignore the usual rules of the pile-in phase if they charged that turn. They don’t need to move closer to an enemy unit, and if they charged that turn, they can pile-in an additional 3″! This means you have much more control in letting models toward the back move into combat as necessary, or even fall back entirely from melee. It will require cunning guile but I think it might be one of the more powerful new traits in the hands of a skilled player, who can manipulate the exact layout of melee combat to their needs.

The Scinari we’re given a bit of a leg up as well, with a new trait Deep Thinkers which lets them cast their first spell on a 9 instead of rolling. I feel like I’d probably just do this most of the time! It’s high enough to pass any spell requirements, and is just high enough to be difficult to unbind.

Command Traits

In addition to the new units, Vanari units got some new command traits as well. While not a new keyword, there were no Vanari Heroes in the original release, something rather clearly lacking due to there being no martial orientated Hero who wasn’t named (that being Eltharion) so these fill an important niche. Grand Strategist gives a free command point at the start of the game, not great but appreciated. Consumate Warrior lets you reroll one hit, wound or save per turn, which could possibly be clutch on the right hero and finally Astute Commander lets you refund a CP on a 6. As CP is harder to come by in Age of Sigmar than Warhammer 40k, you won’t get as many chances to roll but when it works it’s going to matter. Whether you take a chance on this one or take the freebie from Grand Strategist is going to be a tough call.

Of course, the new Hurakan Hero the Hurakan Wind Mage (the Spirit of the Wind doesn’t get to lead an army apparently?) get access to their own command traits as well. Grand Windrider grants Windcharger units within 24″ 16 speed and gain the fly ability (normally this is only wholly within 6″), Swift adds 3″ to the general’s movement and Loremaster gives them an extra spell from the Lore of Winds. It’s a pretty competitive list of options, with Grand Windrider feeling better if you use a lot of the new Windcharger units, or Swift otherwise.

Artefacts

Echoing the command traits, Vanari and Hurakan Wind Mage got 3 new artefacts to compliment them. Vanari Heroes get the Syari Pommel which gives the holder a bonus Aetherquartz, the Senlui Amulet which allows the bearer to run and charge and the Sun Stone which allows them to unbind and dispel like a wizard (Or +1 to unbind rolls if they already can). The Amulet is probably the best option in general, as the more martial nature of these Heroes means they want to get into combat as soon as possible, but an extra Aetherquartz is not nothing. the Sun Stone feels a bit wasted here, as you are not exactly lacking in wizards to handle unbinding for you.

The Wind Mage’s artefacts include the Windblast Fan which Warhammer Community already showed off, forces an enemy unit within 3″ to fall back. The Wind Stone deals D6 Mortal Wounds once per game and Buffering Aspiragillum grants a 5+ Feel No Pain. All of these feel pretty useful with the Wind Mage, I’d probably like the the Feel No Pain as a security check, but the ability to push enemies away if an unfortunate combat situation happens is nice, as are mortal wounds, even if I don’t much care for one shot artefacts.

Credit: Silks

Spell Lore: Lore of the Winds

The new Hurakan Wind Mage (boy they get it all don’t they?) and of course Teclis get access to 6 brand new spells from the Lore of the Winds. And there’s some real winners here.

Freezing Squall prevents one enemy within 12″ from running this turn. Howling Gale shuts down Command Abilities, making a target unit both unable to use or benefit from Command Abilities. Either target a Hero to keep them from using a Command Ability, or leave a unit vulnerable, unable to be buffed. Guiding Flurries is a buff to your ranged units, letting you either add 6″ to a ranged unit, or add +1 to attack rolls. This is a terrifying prospect on  Sentinels, letting you either keep them a full 3 feet away from the enemy, or hit on 2+s! Calming Zephyr heals D3 wounds, but also stops that unit from taking battleshock tests for the turn. While Battleshock is rarely an issue for the Lumineth, the spell is cheap and easy to cast. Burning Simoom is a pretty standard “roll a die for each model in a unit, deal a mortal wound on a 6” spell aimed at dispatching Hordes, but with a slight twist. On a 10+ you deal mortal wounds on a 5+ instead, meaning you can do some serious damage to large groups. Finally, Transporting Vortex is the spell guaranteed to piss every one off, a teleport spell following the usualk repositioning rules (More than 9″ from the enemy).

This spell lore is…great! Lot of extremely good stuff here that’s going to make it hard to pick. Of course, with Teclis, you don’t have to, as he now rocks eighteen spells not counting everything else he can get access to, like Realm Spells or Endless Spells. Some of the standouts of the new lore are Howling Gale, as many armies rely on powerful command abilities to buff their units or shut down yours, and of course Transporting Vortex. Did Teclis need a teleport spell? He did not, but he does now.

Battalions

We’re only looking at the new ones here today, and there’s 3 new ones making full use of the brand new units on display today: Hurakan Temple, Starshard Battery and Bladelord Host.

The Hurakan Temple requires a Spirit of the Wind (or the named version, Severith), a Hurakan Windmage and 1-3 Windcharger units. This grants every unit in the battalion the ability to benefit from charging even if they didn’t, as long as they remain within 12″ of a Hero. The primary benefit is to let units move 6″ in the pile-in phase, even if they were charged, or are stuck in a protracted melee that might destroy them. Decently powerful and worth considering if you bring all the units involved.

Second, the Starshard Battery mandates a Calligrave and 3-5 Ballistas. All units within gain a 5+ Feel No Pain, not bad for such delicate units.

Finally, the Bladelord Host. This requires a Vanari or Scinari Hero plus 2-3 units of Bladelords, units that charged that turn to re-roll hits of 1. It has some niche utility, because Bladelords can make “Precise Strikes” that don’t require a hit roll. This can have some use in dispatching hordes, when you use the Flurry of Blows stance instead.

Overall, not bad. I can see the utility in all of these, even if they’re not great.

Nations

We actually get two new nations here: Alumnia and Helon. So far we’ve been focused on the nations being controlled under Teclis, and this gives us a glimpse into those under the control of his more martial brother, Tyrion.

Alumnia is focused toward improving the older units in the book, Scinari and Vanari units. Claim the Field lets these up to 3 of these units make a free normal move before the start of the game, getting them into a stronger position early. The mandatory command trait Burning Gaze deals one mortal wound to a unit within 3″ of the General on a 2+. It’s not great, but an almost guaranteed mortal wound might help tap out an Enemy Hero that you just fell short of finishing off. The Command Trait Seize the Moment lets a unit run and charge in the same turn, but notably it allows you to use it in the charge phase, letting you have more freedom of when you use it, rather than needing to decide before you run with a unit. Finally the mandatory artefact the Waystone is incredibly powerful, once per game the bearer can pick a point up to 12″ away and as long as they are more than 3″ from enemy units, can warp there immediately. Normally one use artefacts can be a bit of a wash but an instant teleport behind enemy lines to charge at an unprotected enemy Hero is huge. Alumnia seems like a very powerful melee focused Nation, with general all around picks and I can see them getting a lot of use.

In contrast to Alumnia’s melee Scinari and Vanari focus, the Helon are a ranged focused nation. The Battle Trait Gale of Killing Shafts grants ranged units locked in melee a bonus attack on missle weapons, making them more deadly if your Ballistas or Sentinels get locked into unfortunate combat. The command trait Skyrace Grand Champion lets the General reroll one run, one charge and one casting roll once per game, which is pretty decent on a Wind Mage. The Command Trait Gone Like the Wind within 12″ of a Hero make a normal move at the end of the combat phase. Given its ranged focus, it can help a unit back out of combat when they really shouldn’t be there, or let a melee unit like the Windchargers fall back and charge again, if needed. The mandated artefact Metalith Dust is a once per game power that subtracts 1 from hit and wound rolls from an enemy unit within 3″ for the turn. Timed right, this can make a huge difference, especially against a large horde. Overall, Helon isn’t bad, it feels less focused but none of it’s bonuses are bad. I can see some use, though it likely won’t be the most competitive option of the bunch.

Scenery: Shrine Luminor

The new Shrine Luminor is gorgeous and is a powerful aid to spellcasters, as if Lumineth needed any more help with that. In order to get the most out of it, you need to Garrison a Hero inside, who is not a Monster and does not have a mount. The Shrine lets you reroll one casting, unbinding or dispelling roll per turn for a Hero within 12″, or 24″ if there is a Guardian inside! In addition, the garrisoned Hero can use their Command Ability once per turn for free! like all Scenery, it’s free so it’s unlikely you will not take one of these. It’s a powerful boon to any backline Heroes, especially Wizards. Lumineth Wizards are already frustrating and I think it’s only going to get worse.

Credit: Silks

New Units

At this point I’m handing it over to my other Mortal Realms correspondents, Ellarr and JoeK to give their roundtable analysis of the new units. They have some pretty contrasting takes on these new elves (and non-elves) to help give a bit of diversity to the opinions on display here.

Hurakan Wind Spirits/Sevireth

Ellar: The new fox spirit makes up for in raw power with finesse – unparalleled movement combined with it’s warscroll abilities means that the Lumineth now have access to one of the most potent skirmishing units in the game. One of the things that stands out to me is the post-shooting phase movement on the enemy’s turn – with it’s big base size it can move into enemy territory aggressively, cutting off enemy movement lanes and blocking off access to key objectives and spaces, then retreating away 12” once they’ve done their movement to ensure it’s safe from charges. It’s fairly resilient but will die to dedicated shooting units or potent magical mortal wound output, but I see Sevireth in it’s current state being an easy inclusion in many Lumineth lists to come for its surgical strikes and space control.

JoeK: “Just shoot the heroes” is finally a possibility. Nothing can hide from this Kurama/9 tallied fox/Lord Beerus boi. x4 rend THREE (-3) damage d3 that hits on 2’s range 18 bow (with MOVEMENT 24”!). Can be speed of Hysh’d to move 48″, and then move another 12” at the end of every shooting phase? Like…what? Potential mortal wound output 2-4 times a battle round? 10 wounds, with a 5+ DPR, all for 300 points. If you can catch him, he can fall over, but if you don’t swing first he will just leave combat so… good luck. Also each wind spirit within 3” you get -2” to your pile-ins(to a minimum of 1”) . Slaanesh has to roll for it and only on daemon heroes and only a 3+or 4+. Did I mention he gets to shut down faction scenery?! A+

The generic version is the same as Sevireth, except they don’t have an ability to break faction terrain. They have 8 wounds instead of 10 (same DPR tho) and otherwise identical.

 Oh also, these aren’t heroes or behemoths… yeah, this is fine.. A for the Generic, A+ for Sevireth

Hurakan Windchargers

Ellar: These guys are solid additions but lack real damage output for their cost, nor do they provide staying power. They are harassers and skirmishers that will be at their best in the combat phase where their 6” pilein/pileaway shenanigans means that they can help control space, control enemy pileins and generally make the combat phase a huge nuisance for your opponent. I think that some lists that want a mobile element will forego these guys for more wardens or sentinels, but the dedicated Roo oriented great nation will like these guys as battleline to really lean into the mobile lifestyle.

JoeK: The Roos, the Kangaroo Jacks, the Warriors of Virtue themselves. Battleline, move 14″, or flying move 16” if the windmage is nearby, with a Pile-in’n’out ability built in? As my mate Rob from The Honest Wargamer said: “They could have zero attacks and I’d still take them.”  they have literally single handedly fixed the issue Lumineth had, which was movement. And they come with all these other toys to play with? Haha. I welcome our new Roo Overlords. Players who know how to use movement to their advantage will literally be a choreography of doom with this army. A

Scinari Loreseeker

Ellar: Easily the most exciting new unit that’s been added to Lumineth in my opinion, as it breaks new ground in the way the unit works and suggests that as the designers spend more time in their ruleset they’re going to keep pushing the envelope. This guy asks listbuilders how much value they place on establishing an early points lead in matchups. At 160 he’s fairly pricey, but in some battleplans it could mean as much as a 4 point victory swing which could be huge considering how often Lumineth are late bloomers, falling behind in points early due to their limited mobility and then coming on strong late game with Speed of Hysh charges and movement once the enemy’s army has been crippled by the factions backbreaking ranged output. I think the Loreseeker, much like many of the new additions, is a finesse unit, which will flourish or flounder based on how aggressive the player is with it and judging how much danger to expose them to. I could write whole articles about the tactical applications of this guy and give GW a huge gold star for this guy, love him.

JoeK: Lumineths bigger and better Changeling. Though, instead of stealing movement and spells he steals yo girls’ objectives, and doesn’t give them back unless you kill him. 1 of these will probably be in every list. He also needs a FAQ because as is, if you cast the teleport spell, he can steal an objective that way too, as the warscroll does not state with his first “set up” it applies to “whenever he is set up”… A+

Ellania and Ellathor

Ellar: These guys are great, but cost a fair amount in a faction that’s already paying a premium for its units. If you can prevent them from being killed in a single round, they are likely to redeploy and heal up, and can really clean up late game when the game descends into fractured skirmishes on key objectives. I actually think these guys will excel more in other Order armies, where their skillset (including two unbinds at +1!) can help shore up the weaknesses of the faction and provide some bonus CP over the course of the game. 

JoeK: For the points, this pack of heroes is probably better in another Order army who’s starved for command points. The spell they have is nice and if they don’t get killed early the combat can be scary. And they teleport if they fought. They do make Bladelords battleline though. B (but probably not in a Lumineth army)

Vanari Starshard Ballista

Ellar: At 100 points, they represent an interesting alternative to Sentinels, that trade bodies on objectives for being arguably sturdier with utility in the dazzling shots and high rend at long range. Sentinels are so good that I doubt many will spam these guys over the bowmen, but they will fit in some lists that the Sentinels wont, and providing *alternative* options and sidegrades is great for an army that had power, but limited variety.

JoeK:100 point artillery that’s range 30”, rend 2, damage D3, 2 shots a piece, and has a 6+ DPR (5+ if you take their battalion). Once per game I can make an opponent’s unit -1 to hit? Cheaper than all other artillery? Nice. B – B+

Scinari Calligrave

Ellar: A foot support hero (and thus competing with the Cathallar), I think the Calligrave is a cheap alternative when points are tight that can provide buffs to spellcasting, a long range mortal wound spell and situational battleshock immunity. I think the Cathallar is outright better in most circumstances, but this guy’s an interesting budget option.

JoeK:This baby in Ziatrec? And with the twinstones, granting a +3 to cast to every unit’s first spell within a decent sized bubble… and that’s not including spending an Aetherquartz for another +1. Tzeentch is like: “am i joke to you?” and… yes. Yes is the answer. Rating is list dependent. 

Bannerblade

Ellar: Another foot support hero which this time I think is outright bad. A marginal buff to bravery which doesn’t matter too much when the Cathallar exists, and a mortal wound bomb that only becomes even remotely reliable in round 3, where most games will have been decided by then. Great model though!

JoeK: Concurred, probably just ignore this guy.

Windmage

Ellar: Providing neither a potent support ability (it has some but they’re… marginal) nor combat potency, the Windmage is a cool model that will likely only be taken for the exceptional new spell lore when points are tight and Teclis isn’t an option.

JoeK: Fits in a battalion with the Fox spirits and Windchargers. Gives the windchargers +2 move and fly. Static -1 to hit from missile weapons and if missile weapons do hit him, his unmodified save rolls of 6+ reflect mortal wounds at 9”. Also? his spell lore is pretty incredible. AND the battalion he’s the “tax” for means all your flying bois dont have to actually charge to “count as charging” for their “pile in’n”out” 6” in the combat phase ability.  But he probably is bad right? for 120 points especially. B+ (on a bad day i bet)

Vanari Bladelords

Ellar: Not having access to the Sunmetal weapons mortal wound ability makes them largely worse than Wardens in the combat phase, so you’ll want to take these guys as a bodyguard for a Cathallar unit as a 5 of, similar to Temple Guard for Seraphon lists. If these guys get hotfixed to give them the Sunmetal weapon ability than I think they jump to be quite potent in their own right, but they’re competing for Wardens in lists and most of the time I think they’re just outright worse. No spellcasting, fewer bodies and they’re only situationally battleline (and don’t unlock Sentinels as battleline either).

JoeK: Becomes Battleline when you have a Scinari hero in the army… and now that there are 4-5 of them? They are additional battleline choices in a meta that has multiple missions that benefit or require them to score, that also fulfil the roll of Temple Guard for the important cathilar or Loreseeker. And they have a 4+ spell ignore? Seems fine to me. Especially if you aren’t running teclis, as they don’t “temple guard” teclis, just scinari characters. And I imagine they will be Erratad to have Sunmetal mortal wound output..30 points more than chaos warriors and more offensive… nice. List dependant but definitely fine. Even better if they get faqd.

Vanari Lord Regent / Lyrior Uthralle

Ellar: I love these guys as mobile support pieces that can provide contingency plans when you fail to get the Sunmetal weapon buff spell off on a blob of Sentinels or Wardens in a key situation. They’re not combat monsters in their own right, but they are fairly durable and can act as a late game chaff clearer or character assassin that could swing a game which I think might be worth 150 points for the generic version if you know a tourney will be using 1 or more battleplans that give bonus scoring for Leaders.

JoeK:Mobile combat hero that also is a Sunmetal battery, ready to empower 3 units worth of Sunmetal weapons that you weren’t able to cast for earlier in the turn. Packs a 3+ armor base with 6 wounds and 14″ Movement. If you’re running majority Sunmetal weapons, he will probably find his way into your list. Especially for only 150… is Slaanesh a joke to GW? probably. I’d just ignore the named version, personally. B – B+

Overall thoughts

Ellar: It’s been interesting to follow the online discourse surrounding the second wave of Lumineth Realm-Lord releases, because I feel like people forget about context when evaluating new units for a faction. Most of the new units are solid units that are fine/good, but they don’t necessarily make the faction much better than they were before. The reason for this is simple – a typical list is not just a conglomerate of all of its units, it’s a combination of units chosen for a specific purpose and plan. In order to bring a Loreseeker, you have to cut from elsewhere in the list, and the truth is that the existing core of Sentinels, Wardens and Cathallars is already very potent, and there aren’t many new units that I feel are necessarily worth more than just rolling with what LRL already have.

Ultimately it’s a good thing, because while the improvement of the faction is there (Hello new spell lore on Teclis!), it’s mainly provided greater variety to list building and allowed for more competitive lists to flourish. I’ve tested a game with proxies against a Hurakan-oriented list and it felt like I was playing something very distinct from 1.0 LRL – very mobile, very surgical. LRL got better in the sense that a list can be better tailored to fit a specific purpose, but many of the units are at best sidegrades to the core power the book already had.

That said, there are a few standouts that are worth discussing. Sevireth is a brutally good warscroll for its cost, providing a board presence and tricks that some armies flat out do not have a good response for. My gut feeling tells me that being able to fly in your opponent’s shooting phase was unintended, but we shall see when the FAQ gets released in the near future.

The new spell lore is exceptional, with several key spells that will become a staple of Teclis’ spellcasting in the future – granting LRL a teleport is easily the best buff they gave the faction, as it slides into existing Teclis lists with 0 changes and suddenly allows a unit of wardens to redeploy at great distance without breaking shining company.

Finally the Loreseeker is an interesting unit that is any indication of future design space (i.e. trying stuff that’s truly new and different) means that every faction can look forward to some truly unique warscrolls in the future.

RagnarokAngel: I think the best was done with the situation. We may never know exactly what led to the faction being cut down, and then hastily finished 9 months later. I’m hoping it’s not a sign of things to come, but I don’t think they’ll pull this again. Overall, the book is quite strong, the Lumineth already had a lot going on and they really didn’t have a lot more “up” to go. The thing Lumineth sorely lacked was variety, as a lot of the non-battleline or Hero units were pretty mediocre, and so you ended up seeing the same Battleline filled lists over and over. The new additions fill some badly needed niches, like Vanari Heroes, and the new Lore is a very welcome addition. I like many of the new units, and the subfactions are great adds. Whether you choose to pick up this book or Teclis, I think Lumineth players will be very happy with the additions to their army.

JoeK has a Patreon at Titan Wargaming if you’re looking for list building and playing coaching. Any questions or comments? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.