Broken Realms: Morathi was a landmark book for Age of Sigmar. Shocking myself, and many others, it had some solid rules for the factions contained within and the conflict described within did not end in a stalemate. The fall of one of the cities of Sigmar and the ascension of Morathi as a goddess were no small
After the events of Morathi shattered the fragile allegiance of the Elven gods, the story shifts over to the campaign currently in progress by Teclis. Nagash has continued his invasion of the mortal realms, securing ground in almost all the realms. Outside of Azyr, Sigmar’s domain closed off to all but his faithful, one realm remains outside of his grasp: Hysh, the realm of the Lumineth Realmlords. Tired of being stuck on the defensive, Teclis musters the forces of the Lumineth for an offensive push into Shyish, Nagash’s domain, and when the two strong wizards of the mortal realms clash, nothing will be the same.
We can’t go too much into the conclusion of the conflict here, but rest assured the conclusion meets or even outdoes Morathi in the scale of its content. The implications moving forward are huge and it’s encouraging that Games Workshop continues to allow its authors room to move the plot forward.
There are a couple of new rules for Matched Play and Narrative players alike. Cities of Death makes a return, a popular narrative format in Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar that lets players replicate the fighting in tight city blocks, clawing for every inch. There are also 3 new realms of battle representing key battles in the lore of the book. The three areas are Praetoris in Shyish, Invidia in Ghyran and Ymetrica in Hysh. Like other realms, these have unique spells, command traits, command abilites and realm traits. They did at least show some creativity here, as they do not piggyback off their “home” realm like some published realms do. None of it is particularly groundbreaking but if your opponent is up for some new realms to mix it up, they’re a solid addition for choices.
When Broken Realms: Teclis and the second Lumineth battletome were announced together, there was a negative reaction that Games Workshop was double dipping its consumers. The first tome came out in September of last year, not 6 months prior, with a soft launch in June. So even in the best of circumstances, Games Workshop assured players that you could buy either the new battletome or Teclis, and be caught up. This did raise skepticism from some, because a similar promise was made with the second 8th edition Chaos Space Marine codex and Vigilus Ablaze (this did not end up being true).
I’m happy to say that the promise appears to hold this time. As far as I can tell, all of the new stuff in Battletome: Teclis is in this books. As a result I’m going to direct you to our battletome review to see a deep dive on the new rules, which should be up tomorrow. If you can only pick up one book, and care about any of the other factions in the book, then you can safely just pick this up. None of the rules, warscrolls, battalions or points changed from the original book, so there is zero risk in picking this up standalone, other than needing to carrying two books around. While I still think it’s a bit ridiculous to release a new battletome less than a year out, and potentially could have a negative impact on consumer confidence, at least this promise held true.
Maggotkin of Nurgle
Every campaign book tends to have an “and they were there too!” faction. The faction not really interested in the main conflict but is there to disrupt both sides, and Nurgle’s chosen are this book’s. The actual rules are pretty sparse but I think will be valuable for Maggotkin players. While there are no legion traits or subfactions (sadly you will have to go back to Wrath of the Everchosen, or hope for a new battletome for those) the book includes a pretty strong battalion and updates to the warscrolls of 3 underused units: Sloppity Bilepiper, Spoilpox Scrivener and the Beasts of Nurgle.
The two characters have been given powerful abilities to buff their allies. Scrivener can grant a boon to Plaguebringers, either +1 attack, rend or saves each round, giving plague bringers a much needed leg up. This is especially true when combined with Bilepiper, who now has 3 songs he can play, and benefit all Nurgle units within 14″. He can either grand them a bonus attack, grand a mortal wound on a 6 or prevent pile-ins from your opponent. Bilepiper might be the biggest glow up and is likely going to see a lot of play in Maggotkin lists going forward, his buffs are incredibly strong and benefit the whole army. Combined with Scrivener, plague bringers might be a real threat. Beasts of Nurgle see an update to their stat line, gaining 3 extra attacks, a bonus wound, rend and D2 on their main weapon. They also got a neat ability to Fly when falling back, preventing an opponent from trying to block their progress. This definitely makes them play more like I would expect them to, tanky monsters who can operate semi autonomously. All 3 saw a points hike with these upgrades, but I think they’re well worth it.
Finally we have a battalion utilizing the 2 characters and some plaguebringers, the Invidian Plaguehost. The first time one of the plaguebringers is wiped out, a new squad of 10 can come in. Sloppity Bilepiper becomes a named character, mandating a command trait granting 1 bravery to Nurgle daemons within 14″ of Sloppity Bilepiper. Bit of an odd buff, given daemon’s 10 bravery, but could be useful given you can take plaguebringers in rather large squads. It’s not a terrible battalion and all of the buffs give Plaguebringers a serious leg up, as they’ve always been looked down a bit compared to their counterparts in the 41st millennium.
Sadly, the Flesh-Eater courts have to settle for just a battalion with no other rules updates. Mortevell’s Hellcourt requires you be Hollowmourne, which isn’t so bad, and includes a squad of crypt horrors, crypt ghouls and an arch regent, which are all things you’ll likely take anyway. The only benefit you get is not having to roll battleshock tests, which is a frankly bizzare bonus for flesh eater courts and their 10 bravery. Still, if you max out the squad of ghouls, it might save you. This also makes the Arch-Regent a named character, forcing a command trait on him that lets him use his Warscroll Command Ability for free once per turn, which is actually really good.
Ossiarch Bonereapers see the same fate as Flesh-Eater Courts, only getting a new battalion. The Horrek’s Dreadlance is locked to Stalliarch Lords which would have been a death sentence a year ago but now it isn’t so bad. Requiring a Liege Kavalos (who of course becomes a named character), and 2 Kavalos Deathriders the battalion lets you use the legion’s Rally Back command ability for free on a 4+. If the Liege-Kavalos is your general he must take the legions artefact and command trait, which are less than stellar. Overall while the ability is good, and the units are all stuff you’d take in Stalliarch Lords anyway, you probably want to weasel out of him being your General.
Cities of Sigmar
Saved for last. Not counting the Lumineth, as they got a whole new book, Cities of Sigmar got the most attention in this book with a brand new subfaction! The first City of Sigmar to be in neither Aqshy or Ghyran, Settler’s Gain is an outpost in Hysh occupied by Sigmar’s loyal human followers with the permission of the local Lumineth. As a result, the locals are a bit more magically attuned, and the powers are aimed at supporting Freeguild and Collegiate Arcane units. Lumineth Tutors lets you pick an additional artefact, as well as granting +1 to Collegiate Arcane Heroes. Warriors of the High Districts lets you replace one in four units with a Lumineth, and this is in addition to the Stormcast rule shared by all Cities of Sigmar, allowing you to have a very eclectic force of half Cities of Sigmar, quarter Stormcast and quarter Lumineth! You’ll want to take them, too since the command ability Aelven Training lets you choose a Lumineth Hero, giving them a fearless bubble within 18″. Given the generally mediocre to bad bravery in Stormcast and Freeguild Units, this can be a lifesaver.
Alongside this come the usual smatters of 3 command traits, 6 artefacts and 3 spells. The command traits are all interesting, ranging from the ability to fly, a free CP on a 4+ and the amusing Raging Outburst, described as a a General cracking under the Lumineth’s constant scrutiny and high and mighty-ness, add 1 to hit and wound rolls but subtracting one from saves. A free CP is too much to pass up, but they’re all quite good. The artefacts jive well with the subfactions strengths, some of note include the Silver plated wand, letting Wizards cast an extra spell, the Talisman of Dispellation allowing one the bearer to dispel one endless spell per turn without using up one of their dispels, and the Amulet of Haste, letting the bearer run and charge on a 2+. Sadly all the command traits are locked to collegiate arcane, which is a shame as some of these would be great on a Freeguild general. Finally, the 3 spells are a bit disappointing, given the magical bent of this subfaction, but they make up for it in power. Drain Magic subtracts 2 from casting, unbinding and dispel rolls within 12″, notably it does not discriminate against friend or foe, creating a tactical dillema of saving it for last, or casting it early to hinder your opponent’s attempts to unbind you. Shield of Light grants a 6+ feel no pain for mortals, and Illuminate grants +1 to hit for ranged attacks against a designated target. A serious boon to the Freeguild Pistoliers and Handgunners you definitely brought.
The included Battalion Xintil War-Magi utilizes the oft underused Battlemage, Luminark of Hysh and Celestial Hurricanum with Celestial Battlemage. This battalion focuses entirely on the Luminark, letting you reroll their damage abilities and boosts the built in Feel No Pain save by 1. Overall it’s not bad, and I love these models despite their age, so I’d like to see them more.
Overall I feel Settler’s Gain actually comes surprisingly close to an original “Empire” faction from Warhammer Fantasy. There has been some mild gnashing of teeth that Cities of Sigmar throws Dwarves and Elves into the same pot as Empire, and while you could just not use those, there’s also no real benefit to handicapping yourself. This faction almost exclusively benefits Freeguild and Collegiate Arcanite units, aka the humans, though you probably still want a Lumineth Hero around to take advantage of Aelven Training.
Much like Morathi your mileage is going to come down to whether or not you care about the factions contained within or the greater lore of Age of Sigmar. I think compared to Morathi the faction rules are a bit of a disappointment, unless you are into Cities of Sigmar or Lumineth. Morathi gave everyone in the story some new faction ability, or subfaction to play around. Even the Slaves to Darkness who showed up for 5 seconds got a new subfaction, even if it was broken. Here, the Flesh -Eater Courts and Ossiarch Bonereapers get saddled with battalions only one subfaction can use, and Nurgle can mostly be summed up through warscroll updates that are published for free anyway. The new Lumineth rules are extensive, but you can just buy the new Battletome for those, leaving Cities of Sigmar as the only real value buy here. At least the lore continues to have major implications on the future of the Mortal Realms. If you thought they may have jumped the gun with Morathi and its effect on the future of the Mortal Realms, rest assured they outdid themselves in this one. The only real question is where they can even go from here. We know the next book in the Broken Realms campaign is Be’lakor, alongside a very kicking rad model, and the mysterious Krangos after that. So far the books have been 2 for 2 and it’s very exciting to see where the story goes next.
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