G’day Goonhammer readers! It was more than six months ago that the Twilight Kin disappeared from Kings of War (at least from the current rulebook). This was done to allow Mantic Games to launch a whole new reimagining of the Twilight Kin army, complete with a new army list and model range. In the last month a number of models and art have been revealed for the range, and it’s looking quite sinister indeed.
History of the Twilight Kin
The Twilight Kin have been through a number of iterations already in Kings of War. They started off as the classic evil Elves prevalent in most fantasy universes, back when Kings of War was more a provider of alternative fantasy miniatures for other games (early 2010s). The range was a mix of the plastic Elves and Twilight Kin metal upgrade bits, which you can imagine was about as pleasant as it sounds to assemble and maintain.
This hybrid range of metal and plastic was discontinued, and the Twilight Kin were abandoned for a moment. This was until a certain Old World self-destructed. Players were suddenly bereft of a supported rank and flank style fantasy wargame. All Mantic had to do was make some army rules that these players could use in what was then the second edition Kings of War. The Twilight Kin returned, with the aim to be as similar to the Dark Elves as copyright laws would allow.
The Dark Elf-esque Twilight Kin continued into third edition Kings of War, but they started to change. The idea that Dark Elves call on evil creatures was nothing new, and they already included Forces of the Abyss units such as Gargoyles, Abyssal Horsemen and the Archfiend. However, the new Nightstalkers were also being “recruited” by the Twilight Kin, and it was at this point that the concept of the new Twilight Kin range began to form.
By 2022, Mantic Games knew they wanted to produce their own Twilight Kin range, and to create a faction that was more unique and less dependent on common fantasy tropes.
The idea was that the entire army could change completely – no unit was safe. Therefore, to prevent anyone making a Twilight Kin army only for it to be invalidated, they pulled the rules from the Kings of War rulebook (2022 edition), and recently from the web app list builder.
Now, finally, we are seeing the fruits of their labours.
Dark denizens of the Void
The fully-funded Kickstarter campaign for Dungeon Saga Origins brought us our first glimpse of the new Twilight Kin range, and they are looking good!
as well as some new Nightstalker pets thrown in! Already we can see the fusion of Elf and Nightstalker in every sculpt, and some new Nightstalker Reapers are a nice surprise, too.
That’s a lot to take in, and the initial Dungeon Saga Origins info was very light on details regarding the units included. Thankfully Mantic released an article recently with artwork and renders of the individual units, giving a brief explanation at least of the design process. With these two resources we wanted to dive deep into the units and their aesthetic, sprinkling in some healthy speculation just for fun.
The Blade Dancer Neophytes of the old Twilight Kin were the budget Witch Elf equivalents; lightly (or scantily) armoured Elves flinging themselves into combat with only daggers and attitude. The new iteration of Neophytes are dressed a bit more appropriately for battle, but also represent the least Void-touched of Twilight Kin society.
Exposure to the Void is a mark of status among these twisted elves, as the Void is a direct source of power. Neophytes are keen to prove themselves worthy of joining raiding parties into that strange realm, yet for now are the least deadly of the Twilight Kin forces. They appear as the most Elvish of the new range, with the least amount of Nightstalker influence. Not much more to say here because this elf is all elf, just with some cool piercings.
Now things start to get interesting! The Twilight Gladestalkers (if they are still called that, we don’t know) first started to get their own identity in Clash of Kings 2022, gaining rules that truly differentiated them from Gladestalkers of the standard Elves. Now they have the models to match!
The armour and bow are standard evil yet elegant elves, but we can all agree that the headgear (is it a helmet?) absolutely reinforces the otherworldly nature of these archers. The eyes are covered, and instead a single bulbous eyeball sits in a crest. This implies a neural link between whatever the eye is and the Gladestalker. The sub-dermal piercing-like bumps along the arms are a nice touch, definitely getting under the skin (budum-tiss).
The Teeth-faced Glaive-wielders have not yet had their name revealed, but we reckon we’re onto something. The double-bladed glaive brings to mind Darth Maul, and we hope there are some more dynamic poses that harken to the martial requirements of such exotic weapons.
The creepy headgear is not unlike a giant piranha being halfway through its lunch (the elf’s head). Again the level of Nightstalker intermixing is increasing, and the look is definitely something disturbing yet unique.
The biggest glow-up of all the infantry, the Impalers were a staple unit of the old Twilight Kin, being reasonably lethal elvish spearmen in their previous incarnation. Now they have been fully infused with the Nightstalkers of the Void, and it shows!
The armour is becoming more organic and carapace-like, the shield is a wall of sharp-toorthed maws, and the faceplate hides what must only be a truly hideous sight (if the helmet can come off at all…). Perhaps what’s not immediately obvious is the size; Impalers are larger than the standard elf. Like the Nightstalkers themselves, the Void makes all things monstrous, and the Impalers look like they’ve taken a big swig of the Void juice. We expect the statline for these to be even nastier than they used to be, and so it should be!
The warlords of the Twilight Kin, Soulbanes are vaguely reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s Sauron; this guy is here to kickass and take names. Everything about this model wants to kill, from the claws extending from the cape, to the pointed ends of his armoured boots (for aforementioned ass-kicking).
The Soulbane pictured here is mounted on a 50mm base for Dungeon Saga Origins. If that base size carries over to Kings of War, the Soulbane will be getting a “promotion” to a Monstrous Infantry Hero. This means three things; the Soulbane becomes tougher, stronger and perhaps most importantly, will have some precious Unit Strength. The blending of the Nightstalkers and Elves is at peak corruption; the Soulbane has an extra creepy hand-helmet, along with teeth on its loincloth, and nasty needle-fanged pauldrons. And, of course, a ton of skulls. A monster ready to show up in your nightmares!
The new models are looking great, and we can really see the Nightstalker influences in them. From the Shadowhound-faced helmets (or is that their true face?) to Banshee inspired robes. Even the Mindscreech’s eye appears as a common motif throughout these new releases.
Mantic have done a great job so far in really capturing the otherworldliness and cementing the new Mantic mini lines as no longer the cheap alternative to other mini manufacturers, but a producer of high quality, detailed sculpts themselves. We continue to look forward to the rest of the range, and to see what else is coming this year.
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