GW’s The Dead and the Divine Previews Roundtable

Games Workshop dropped a monster preview on us today, showing off new models and releases for games across their ranges, from 40k to Age of Sigmar to Titanicus to Warhammer Quest. Our authors sat down to discuss the new releases, what they mean, and what they’re most excited for.

The Roundtable

  • Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
  • Condit
  • Thundercloud
  • Soggy
  • Fowler
  • RagnarokAngel
  • “Primaris” Kevin Genson
  • Greg

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Give us your quick First Impressions of the Roundtable. It’s been a couple of months since the last one – was this everything you wanted?

TheChirurgeon: It was definitely more than I was expecting after the last few previews. These have been a bit up-and-down; some seem like they’re bursting with good stuff and others seem like they’re struggling to sustain the format. This one was definitely closer to the former, with multiple announcements everyone could enjoy. It feels like there’s been almost nothing actually released for Age of Sigmar since Lumineths so it’s good to see something like a pipeline finally emerging. While we still have no Hedonites update, it at least looks like we’ll be seeing a steady stream of releases this year. Plus there’s definitely some things we knew about that weren’t in the preview, like Soulblights, still coming up.

Condit: After months of waiting, it’s finally time: Adeptus Titanicus is the clear winner of this preview. The Warmaster rules, and everything else in the preview can go to hell. I guess the Loyalist Legios book is fine, too, if you’re into that. In conclusion: Play Titanicus.

Fowler: AOS Death players have a lot to look forward to. Flesh Eaters and Bonereapers are getting love in the next Broken Realms, and likely getting a pile of new toys/model refreshes in the new Warhammer Quest box. The Underworlds Vampire warband looks phenomenal as well. I’ve been hoping for a new WHQ set for a while – they are a joy both as a painting project and a pick-up-and-play game.

RagnarokAngel: As the resident Age of Sigmar author, I’m biased but I loved this preview. For a few months now Age of Sigmar has felt a bit stagnant. It seemed like Lumineth was the last big thing and while Morathi was a big event, the lack of news on new battletomes or models made it feel like they were winding down for a while. I’m glad to see just tons of AOS stuff on the horizon and it all looks incredible. 

I saw a few people disappointed we didn’t get a full preview of the Soulblight Battletome but I always feel like some people end up like Charlie Brown and the football when they assume this preview will be the one packed to the brim with earth shattering previews like the one with the 9th edition announcement, when usually they’re just setting expectations about announcements a few weeks from now. Even that one was pretty vague on the specifics.

Kevin: I completely forgot about the preview and so can only go from what was dropped on the page afterwards. I think it’s a solid, multi-spectrum reveal that shows a decent level of support across most of the GW offerings. There’s a little for some, a lot for others, and even players who didn’t get anything directly (like Necromunda) can either appreciate cool models or be inspired by the conversion opportunities of the Warhammer Quest stuff.

Thundercloud: I honestly wasn’t expecting that much from it, as most Quarter 1 releases have been announced and I know there’s a whole bunch of issues with releases right now. 

Greg: I followed my usual plan of not bothering to wake up early to watch the stream, because I don’t believe in Twitch. So judging this as a Warhammer Community article and not a 90 minute live event, yeah, I think it was fine. There’s some cool stuff in there, and I don’t really care about 4 of the 6 games they showed, but the Sororitas model and the Titanicus updates were extremely great.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

What are you most excited for from these previews?

TheChirurgeon: I am legitimately excited about how cheaply I’ll be able to acquire Necron doors and crates when everyone buys the new Kill Team set just to get Heavy Intercessors and Chronomancers.

Condit: The Warmaster. Next.

Fowler: I don’t even play Titanicus and the Warmaster might be my favorite model of the bunch.

Thundercloud: Warmaster and Titanicus getting a shot in the arm. 

The new undead things trickling out look interesting as well. I’ll definitely be getting the Underworlds box, which gives you four Vampire Lord figures great for AoS or Fantasy battle, and I’d love a more Vampire and monster based faction in AoS (and hopefully new zombies from the preview). New Warhammer Quest looks interesting, and will hopefully be complete kits that appear in battletomes rather than fire and forget characters like those in Blackstone Fortress. I’m also hoping we get kits from a range released this year (vampires plus zombies) rather than a special sprue made up of stuff from a range we’ll see in a few years (as with Blackstone and the original run of Warhammer Quest with the cultists). 

TheChirurgeon: The new Underworlds and Warhammer Quest models look amazing. I’m excited for Quest to make a return; it’s always a wonderful breeding ground for great one-off models and concepts.

RagnarokAngel: All the Age of Sigmar stuff, naturally. I play a lot of Death and have been trying to break into Lumineth, even if quarantine is making that quite difficult. I love the fox lord and there were a lot of models hidden in the background of that trailer, in addition to what we have been shown directly. Like everyone else I’m also very excited about Soulblight and while I have little confidence in the Warhammer Underworlds Warband being any good, it was a nice look at the general art direction of the upcoming army and I admit I much prefer the Gothic vampire style than the Vampirates like some were hoping for.

Kevin: The Warhammer Quest stuff is exciting, as I love the format and the new models are absolutely gorgeous. I’m also excited for the Warmaster (Condit keeps on telling me to play Adeptus Titanicus), and the Vampire models show just how strong GW’s art team is.

Greg: I was lukewarm on the Battle Sister battlesuit until everyone started trashing it, but now I think it rules and you’re all dumb as hell for not appreciating it. You goddamn philistines. Absolute cretins. I need the giant robot wife model, Games Workshop, give me it.

What does this say, if anything, about the upcoming schedule for Games Workshop in 2021?

Thundercloud: At the moment we’re seeing things that would have been Q1 2021 or even end of 2020. The release schedule last year was an absolute mess, with the factory pretty much deserted during the first UK lockdown and Brexit hitting the UK hard as an exporter and necessitating halving the release schedule for Q1 2021. GW trade have confirmed this is why, as they need to be able to guarantee product can leave Nottingham in time for it to reach stores in other countries. 

Nottingham has been the centre of a major Coronavirus outbreak and if they don’t have John Blanche going round in a Zorb with an oxygen tank if he even thinks about coming into the office then someone needs to shake their H&S officer very hard. This will not have helped, and a lot of staff are working from home instead of next to each other, as the figure and mould designers tend to. This will impact the schedule in about 2 or 3 years time, as that’s the sort of timeframe between GW designing the figures and GW selling the figures. I expect the release schedule to be a bit of a mess for the first six months of this year. The position of UK exports is difficult, and UK small imports are in a similarly difficult position, with a demand that non-UK small traders register and complete returns for VAT in the UK if they send goods here. The UK government appear to be following a policy of trade substitution, with the exhortation to buy British, fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of global trade, the fact that the UK is a net importer of things as basic as food, and that the UK market isn’t sufficient to support some cottage industries like many of those involved in gaming (getting custom transfers for example is an issue now). 

This will severely impact the hobby. 

GW are consolidating manufacturing in the UK, and may be looking to onshore printing from China (as trade troubles have led to delays in releasing both the Death Guard and Sylvaneth books). However as GW is a global business then it is physically getting these items to customers outside of England, Wales and Scotland (Northern Ireland is still part of the customs union and customs checks are in place on all goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland) that is the issue, and the various layers of export paperwork and systems that now need to be completed for every lorry load moving from the UK to other countries is becoming a huge problem. 

The end of Just in Time supply chains from the UK means the end of weekly releases for the time being. Since GW generally have rough release windows two years in advance and prior to Christmas were planning two 40k codexes/expansion books per month for the first three months of the year, then the first three months releases planned for this year may be the first six months. For instance all the Necromunda house books with at least eight or nine plastic kits were meant to be out in a 12 month period in bi monthly waves. It’s not gone great on that front. 

Demand for GW products has increased, and in December there were 25 plastic core range items that were out of stock for Space Marines, the flagship range of the company. Currently there are 14 items out of stock, including the codex. For Custodes in December you could only buy Trajann and the Allarus Terminators with every other Custodes kit out of stock, and currently you cannot get Custodian Guard, the only troop choice for the army. All GW sprays are currently out of stock. So there’s supply problems for things with printed boxes or things made by subcontractors, like paints. 

Greg: Neat. 

TheChirurgeon: I can’t say I’m extremely sad that we’re moving from two codexes per month to one for 2021; as much as we like content here and the breakneck release pace has to be good for the bottom line, it definitely also makes it feel like too much is changing too quickly. That said, it also underlines how tying your rules updates to physical book releases hamstrings game development – if we only get one book per month in 9th edition (and assuming a BT supplement in the mix somewhere to replace their Index), we’ll finish going through the current crop of codexes in August 2022, meaning that whoever’s last on that list better hope they don’t desperately need an update right now.

The current Kill Team release plan is just baffling to me, and smacks of the mess with the Impulsor. Everyone was intrigued by Impulsors when the second Marines Codex dropped in 8th edition but then it took them 3+ months to release the model, and by that point most players had just figured out how to play without them. I think they probably left a lot of money on the table with that strategy, and are risking doing the same with Heavy Intercessors.

Thundercloud: The Kill Team release makes sense if you picture it as something that would have happened by the end of January originally but may now be in March, as Dark Angels was meant to be the first weekly release of 2021 and are now the end of Jan. 

TheChirurgeon: Yeah but with that math the 40k 9th edition release was supposed to be in what, June? With a new Marine dex in July/August, which would still have put KT and Heavy Intercessors nearly 6 months later!

Thundercloud: That’s release schedule B, we’re now on release schedule C. Originally this would all have been out last year. Pray we don’t move to release schedule D. 

TheChirurgeon: Hahaha, fuck.

Kevin: I think it says that players who want Heavy Intercessors or a Gravis Captain are going to have to keep an eye on eBay. 

 

Credit: Games Workshop

40k: Are Sisters getting a new Codex this year?

TheChirurgeon: Oh yeah. When we only saw the Palatine before I’d have said that a single character released with a campaign book like Charadon was likely but with two models shown and hints of more, it feels like we’re definitely looking at a new Sisters codex in Q2 once Drukhari and Dark Angels are out or maaaybe Q3 if things got delayed. That’s pretty exciting, though I do wonder if there’s anywhere for Sisters to go but down competitively.

Thundercloud: Definitely with new units and a heavy 9th edition buff. I’d expect to see a new HQ model backing up the Palatine (totally not a lieutenant) model and the new NunDams. 

TheChirurgeon: It will be interesting to see how they go with some of these things. What I find particularly noteworthy about the newest Imperial Battlesuit that won’t get that keyword is that it looks functionally identical in size and armament to an Armiger Warglaive. So we’ve got this weird case where GW is pushing toward monofaction armies but then just putting units from soup into those factions. Sure, the multi-melta could be Assault instead of Heavy and it won’t be a Lord of War but it really just feels like you could have let Sisters take Armigers as Heavy Support choices given they’re basically the size of a Redemptor.

Thundercloud: I think it will be more like a taller but thinner Centurion warsuit. I think that’s a 50mm base, but I’ll wait for internet people to go full CSI ENHANCE MODE and measure it based on the model’s eyebrow or something.

TheChirurgeon: Yeah that’s fair, it’ll almost certainly have fewer wounds but it’s still an armament and function that another unit they have access to already covers.

 

Is the new Kill Team Box going to have value beyond the models it comes with?

TheChirurgeon: Kill Team needs a ground-up rewrite and what we got instead after almost a year of total silence was a Necron-themed Arena box that includes models everyone wanted months ago. It’s not even a good Kill Team starter product – it comes with 5 Flayed Ones, who currently clock in at 10 points each, and 5 Heavy Intercessors, who are likely to clock in around 20, giving you a box with 50 points of Necrons and 100 points of Marines. That’s terrible. Who greenlit this shit?

Greg: Absolutely not. This is going to sell a million copies because 40k players will buy multiple copies as long as it’s the only way to get Heavy Incestos and Chronomancers, and never play actual Kill Team with it. Someone at GW will look at the sales and assume that KT is a fine game that doesn’t need to be fixed or replaced. It will remain bad, and sets of 48 Necron Terrains will be languishing in game store stockrooms and the ocean water column forever. Kill Team is generally and correctly regarded as a bad game, and I don’t feel like re-litigating why that is, because we’ve done that topic to death, so just release the goddamn models separately. 

Thundercloud: I wanted to want this set but I just don’t, and I really like Kill Team and have played it competitively. But the rules are a slog now, not easily available in one place, and more of a fuss to play than standard 40k. While Arena is now out of print it seems like this will provide an Arena like experience of fighting in corridors. It seems to have the objective cards from Arena with some additions, which is interesting, but no tactics cards or model reference cards.

The force mix is completely unbalanced, and even throwing in a sprue of Necron Warriors or Immortals would have fixed it and given the Necrons a more horde-like feeling. As it is you can play a game of watching Flayed Ones get bullied by 3 wound Gravis-armoured Space Marines with even better bolters than normal. It’s not an intro product, doesn’t seem to come with the complete rules (the text is unclear on this, as it says it has the rules to use everything from the Indomitus box and implies but doesn’t state that it’s a complete game), and seems to be bundled with minis to support revisions from the Marine and Necron books but just stops there. I’m really hoping it’s £80 because if it isn’t then it’s a definite no from me. 

I would like some Heavy Intercessors for my Gravis combat patrol (which may have been screwed by the FAQ points changes) but I’m struggling to muster enthusiasm for what is likely to be the last Kill Team supplement. 

Kevin: Usually I get excited for Kill Team releases because the models are cool or there’s an opportunity to get some fun terrain. The rules are a complete non-starter; if I want a skirmish game I’ll play Necromunda, Infinity, or a 500 point game of 40k. Unfortunately in this case the terrain looks to be hyper specific and largely mediocre. As others have said this will still sell because it’s the only way GW will be offering Heavy Intercessors or the Gravis Captain for a while.

Fowler: Short version: consecutive (mostly) 2D skirmish game releases don’t exactly make me excited. If there aren’t new rules or a new edition, something new to put on a Necromunda/40k table would pull me in.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Age of Sigmar: What do you want to see from the upcoming Daughters of Khaine, Lumineth, and Soulblight releases?

Thundercloud: I want cool Vampires and new not terrible zombies and werewolves and Halloween monsters. I could not care less about what looks like a bunch of stuff that could have gone in the Lumineth Battletome from last year split out into Battletome: Elves Down Under. 

Daughters of Khaine will gain their new character, their underworlds box as a unit, and Khainite Shadowstalkers from Warcry, but it’d be nice for them to get a revision for balance as well.

Fowler: I wonder if the Warcry Death Index tipped some of the models getting a refresh: Dire Wolves, Fell Bats, and Bat Swarms. Of course I would love to see a new zombie kit and at least one baroque-as-hell vampire HQ / Mortarch. 

RagnarokAngel: Unfortunately AoS releases tend to be smaller so I want to temper my expectations a bit. I think Games Workshop was smart to limit the announcement of Soulblight, so people can continue to run wild with ideas for a few more weeks. I do third the desire to see new Legions of Nagash models, as the majority of the models in that book are old and I’d love to see new zombies, skeletons, etc.

That said I’m most excited for the Lumineth. I quite like what GW has done with the Lumineth. The original idea people seemed to want was “What if we got High Elves but AOS-ified?” and the lore worked really hard to distinguish them from that. Notably, it says how they tried to colonize Hysh but the land pushed back and so they learned to make friends with the local wildlife instead. So seeing them on the table, teaming up with these weird twists on familiar animals is a really neat direction to go with it and I am here for it. I can’t wait to see some of the other models that were obscured in the preview, as well.

 

Credit: Games Workshop

Titanicus: How does a new, even bigger titan fit into the current game?

Greg: Very carefully. 

Condit: I mean, you’re not wrong.

Soggy: Initially, the Warmaster will only be taken as a support Titan outside a maniple for some heavy firepower. I’m really interested to see if it becomes a dedicated support unit (like the Psi-Titan or the Acastus Knight) or if it will eventually fit into a traditional maniple.

Condit: A lot of it’s going to depend on the maniples that release for it – building around Warlords already results in some pretty tight lists, and that’ll only be exacerbated with this monster walking around at an even higher points cost. Shoving a Warlord in with a 3-engine Lupercal is already kinda tough, weighing in at roughly 1350 points, and you have to figure that this thing is going to cost 100 points more than a Warlord at minimum.

Soggy: As with many things the cost to field will say a lot about how often we end up seeing this on the table – it might just not be viable in games smaller than 1750 points – and that’s entirely OK. This may set a bit of a shift in the average game size up to 2000 and beyond points. 

Condit: I’m also curious to see how this plays in with the new Loyalist Legios book. There are a good number of legio traits that let you swap Titans into various maniples, but many of them are limited to particular Titan classes. They could change how those traits work to key off of scale value instead, which would open up some options and make the Warmaster a bit more likely to show up on the table – doing something like allowing Krytos to shove a 10+ scale Titan into a Myrmidon, Fortis, or Extergimus (yikes) could be cool.

Greg: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they’re introducing a new titan chassis at the same time as a book full of Legio rules. The older legio/maniple rules didn’t even account for Warbringers, let alone Warmasters, so I think they’ll be addressing that. Traitors can, as usual, die mad about this. The screams of the haters and the losers won’t reach me in my triple-Warmaster Extergimus.

Thundercloud: A 1 point stratagem to exchange a Warlord for a Warmaster in any maniple would do a lot of work. 

Soggy: A consolidated book for each alignment is definitely a great opportunity to level the playing field on some rules and great for getting new players into the game as there is a fair amount of book fatigue going on now. My only concern is how quickly these might go out of date with additions in future – similar to the Necromunda Gang War books. The existence of the Loyalist book makes me hopeful for a dedicated Blackshield book, which we were wishing in our 2020 round up.

Thundercloud: Finally we’re seeing the first of the four new titan classes talked about in the Titanicus preview with Andy Hoare from 2019 (I think). We’re also seeing a dedicated loyalist book which will likely include the new loyalist specific weapons I was told about at Games Day 2019 (coming to you in FW resin most likely). With new loyalist rules, possibly loyalist specific maniples and ‘character’ titans, and hopefully some new legios, it’ll be great to see. 

Soggy: I just got a mortgage…

Thundercloud: Similarly there’ll be a traitor book and hopefully that’ll come with a new titan as well and not just a rebox of the Warmaster with a different weapons sprue (and bear in mind the Warmaster on the cover of the book has different upper arm guns to the kit shown, raising the question of whether there are options in the box or another sprue coming). Hopefully that will include the Corrupted Titan rules mentioned in supplements like Defence of Ryza and additional Chaos weapons. 

There has been some chatter about Grey Mechanicum or ‘Blackshield’ titans, which are the fragments of legios from one side that don’t follow the flow for that legion to join Horus or the Emperor, or the legios from Forge Worlds that have been carrying on for thousands of years, the Great Crusade and Mechanicum turn up for, from their perspective, about ten minutes, and then fall into brutal civil war. There’s the possibility of a Grey Mechanicum book, and it’s something that there was interest in exploring from FW in both Titanicus and Horus Heresy, but there’d need to be a good hook (new cool maniples, etc) to move a Blackshield book since people tend to pick a side that have actively made a decision (loyalist or other loyalist, from their point of view) rather than Neutral Planet. 

Soggy: We’ve clearly got loads of Titanicus releases and content to look forward to.

Were there any disappointments or things you wanted to see, but didn’t?

TheChirurgeon: I’d have liked to have seen some kind of roadmap, really. We got a roadmap for 40k releases back in December and even though it ended up having to be revised, it was really helpful to have and plan around. Likewise the new Underworlds roadmap is very helpful. It’s cool to be able to contextualize when these releases are happening, since we’ve had other previewed stuff that still isn’t out yet, like Sigvald’s boys in AoS or Dark Angels in 40k.

Thundercloud: Kill Team to get a 2nd edition to make it less of a slog to play than a 1k game of 40k, or a couple of games of Combat Patrol. 

Kill Team is in that place where the rules are a bit of a mess, could use condensing and streamlining (even just putting them all in one place to get them would be good) and some factions are very supported (Marines will have over 20 troop types with the release of Pariah Nexus) while some factions are very low effort (Sisters with no factions but coming after Elites for example). 

People will buy the box for Heavy Intercessors, eBay the rest, and GW will see the number go up and no one play it and not be quite sure what happened. Kill Team should be a low model count intro game, but it’s actually more complicated than 9th edition 40k. 

It needs some serious design time to be what it should, and what it is at the moment is a mess, even if it is a fun mess sometimes. 

TheChirurgeon: Yeah I’m also extremely disappointed we didn’t get a second edition of Kill Team. I was hoping we’d see something more akin to Warcry that makes the game more fun and narratively focused. We’ve kind of said everything we could say about Kill Team and tactics and while I’m not sad we’ll be able to jam another 6-12 articles out of these new releases, I’m also not really excited about the game’s long-term prospects. Especially because you’re right – a 500 point game of 40k is less of a hassle.

RagnarokAngel: I’m not feeling the new Sisters Paragon Warsuit. I like the concept of what I assume will basically be Terminators but for Sisters but the design feels off. I think it’s that it’s too top heavy. Big shoulder pads yet small and shapely legs. I mean I’ll probably still get them.

Kevin: I was hoping to see some Necromunda content, and I agree with Rob about the lack of a roadmap being a bit of a downer. Then again I don’t blame them; it’s a challenge to establish a roadmap when the streets are currently exploding, along with your car, and you’re sick with some new strain of COVID that could only mutate in an environment of tea and Christmas pudding.

Fowler: I would love to hear more about the new Soulblight faction. New baroque Vampire buds when?

Greg: Please, for the love of god, stop making Kill Team. If you want a quick 1-2 hour skirmish game with 5-10 models and a tight rules set where you can (fluff) personalize your models and backstories but also (crunch) stack faction rules and stratagems based on your play style, and have a wide variety of models and extensive rules support, there’s already a perfect GW solution for you: play Titanicus.

 

That wraps up our look at this latest round of previews. Have any thoughts or feedback to share? Drop us a note in the comments below!

 

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