Battletome: Lumineth Realm Lords 2022 – The Goonhammer Review

Why Play Lumineth Realm-Lords?

You like high elves, probably. Lumineth are one of the best magic armies in the game, surpassed only by Tzeentch or Seraphon and even that might be up for debate. These aren’t all just nerds though, the Lumineth are also home to expert archers and skilled blademasters which means they’re one of the armies that can meaningfully interact with every phase of the game. Their aesthetic is a unique Eastern theme, completely unlike most High Elves in other games and have some of the most beautiful models in the entire Age of Sigmar line.

Archmage Teclis and Celennar, Spirit of Hysh. Credit: Rich Nutter

Best 5 things About the Book

  • Consolidated Abilities – The previous Realm Lords book was certainly…unwieldy. Lots of stacking buffs tied to keywords made for a book that was very difficult to parse. A lot of those abilities have been dropped and integrated into the warscrolls.
  • Improved Unit Variety – Lumineth were locked into certain units due to limits on what was viable to run. Certain weaker units have been upgraded to make them more appealing.
  • Negative Play Excised – If you’re a Lumineth player tired of your opponent sighing when you take your army out then you’ll be pleased to know that most of the ‘bad feel’ abilities have been changed or removed.
  • Non-Teclis Casting – The army now has lots of access to big casting rolls without the need for their god character to force magic through.
  • Multi-phase Play – With compelling options for units that compete in every phase of the game, the tome nails the feel of the classic Warhammer elf.

Army Rules

Battle Traits

These have been massively consolidated from the previous tome. Every temple specific ability is gone, some have been integrated into the warscrolls instead. This was by far the most awkward thing about reading the book because with a book with a lot going on you don’t always have the ability to remember what every keyword does as well.

So we are left with two abilities, which return largely unchanged: Lightning Reactions and Aetherquartz ReserveLightning Reactions simply states you get to pick 2 eligible units every time to fight instead of 1. This doesn’t grant extra attacks but lets you make sure more of your army gets to go first and fight before the counter-attack hits.

Aetherquartz Reserve is a special token for every unit in your army. Once per phase you can have a unit burn their Aetherquartz to receive one of three abilities, and then for the rest of the game they are at -1 bravery. By default you only have one but one of the Great Nations grants an extra one.

  • Heightened Reflexes – When a unit is picked to be the target of an attack you can use this to give them +1 to save. Useful if you absolutely need a unit to survive the fight to hold a point. If the rend is high enough it can also stack with all out Defence and/or Mystic Shield.
  • Heightened Senses – Just like reflexes but when attacking gain +1 to hit. Frequently less useful now that all out attack exists but sometimes you can’t (or don’t want to) spend that CP on it. Can be used to hedge your bets against a unit you need to die.
  • Magical Boost – +1 to casting or unbinding, pop before making the roll. Obviously, use on your wizards for a crucial spell.

You’ll notice one is missing: Magical Insight. Games Workshop took for granted how good an extra spell is and probably isn’t a buff that should be handed out too gingerly. For the most part this means that the buffs remaining are simple but effective, and can give an edge during key moments.

Another small but key change to these battle traits is that they’re now properly keyworded to Lumineth units, so your allies don’t get to benefit from them.

Command Traits

With four tables of traits gated behind the main hero keywords this is a surprisingly lacklustre section of the book. Your Vanari heroes can take Grand Strategist for +1 to your Heroic Leadership rolls, a cute ability that is a meaningful bump in how many CP you’ll generate if you use that heroic action a lot (which you probably are anyway). Scinari get probably the best overall selection with Spellmaster granting a free use of Magical Boost without using aetherquartz once per game and Loremaster handing out 2 extra spells from the Lore of Hysh. 

Spirits of the Wind are still a strange non-hero leader so Windmages are your only Hurakan option for command traits. They can pick up Grand Windrider which extends the range of their Windleap ability from 6” all the way out to 24”. Meanwhile Stonemages can take Enduring which is a simple but unusually generous +3 wounds or the quite spicy Unyielding Toughness which lets you hand out +1 wound to a unit of Stoneguard in your hero phase. Not being able to react with that is a bit of a shame but putting your stoneguard up from 2 to 3 wounds is a fantastic durability boost and lasting until your next hero phase can help you ride out enemy double turns.

Artefacts

Again, lots of options here but actually quite a weak section overall. Your Vanari heroes probably aren’t going to end up holding an artefact at all but Syari Pommel hands out 1 extra aetherquartz and isn’t terrible on a Lord Regent who likes to keep an aetherquartz in their back pocket to power their Purest Aetherquartz ability.

If you like your Scinari to stand around holding hands then the Rune of Senthoi grants the bearer a 6” aura of +1 to unbinding and dispelling for Scinari wizards. Otherwise they could do worse than the Phoenix Stone allowing you to once per game save another Lumineth hero within 12” from death and give them back d3 wounds. 

Two of the three Windmage artefacts require your 5 wound, 5+ save wizard to be within 3” of an enemy unit when you activate them which is perhaps not an ideal situation. The Windblast Fan is at least interesting in its effect, activating in your opponents movement phase and forcing them to retreat. Whether your Windmage survives into your opponent’s movement phase is another question, but it’s a strong ability.

Stonemages can add +1 to the number of mortal wounds caused by Arcane Bolt with the Magmic Hammer, not a terrible ability but Stonemages actually have other spells you’ll want to cast now. If you’re running a Stonemage then chances are you’re doing something with Stoneguard or Spirits of the Mountain so the Molten Talisman is a nice buff piece, giving a 12” aura of +1 to wound in melee to Alarith units if the bearer hasn’t charged.

Spell Lores

The three spell lores return, gated behind the Vanari, Hurakan and Alarith keywords. As before, Teclis can take any of them.

The big headline for your Vanari wizards is that Lambent Light is simply gone, as you might have expected from the no-rerolls design of AoS3. It’s been replaced by Overwhelming Heat, a spell that halves the move characteristic on an enemy unit, with a nice wholly within 24” range that can also ping d3 mortal wounds if you roll equal to or greater than their save. The rest of the lore has been left relatively intact with just a bit of tinkering. Solar Flare doesn’t have the -2 casting/dispelling/unbinding aura for enemy wizards and Total Eclipse remains incredibly annoying but is now CV9, making it tough for non-Teclis wizards even with casting bonuses.

Both of the other lores, Winds and High Peaks, have had their spell list trimmed down to just three which is honestly for the best. Howling Gale returns for Hurakan wizards with a higher casting value, Healing Zephyr is similar to the old Calming variety but now just heals d3 wounds without affecting battleshock, and Transporting Vortex is still the teleport spell in the Lumineth arsenal with no change.

Alarith wizards might get more of a look-in now with new spell Unbreakable Stoicism handing out the well worn mortal wounds on a 5+ to hit to your Stoneguard units. Living Fissure gets to double its range for an increase in casting value and Crippling Veritgo remains a 2d6 roll vs bravery to stop an enemy moving each time it makes a normal move, run, retreat, charge or pile-in. 

Vanari Lord Regent and Wardens Credit: Joshua Saunders

Great Nations (Sub-Factions)

In keeping with the rest of the edition the Great Nation artefacts, command traits and command abilities have been removed. 

Ymetrica unlocks the Battleline battlefield role for Alarith Stoneguard and upgrades the Enduring as Rock ability for Alarith units to change rend -1 and -2 to ‘-’. This has always been the no-brainer subfaction for going Alarith-heavy and remains so, the difference being that those Alarith units are now more compelling as a baseline.

Also retaining its previous ability unchanged is Syar which simply starts each of your units with 2 aetherquartz. This is fine, but without the ability to use multiple aetherquartz per phase anymore, you might find you’ll struggle to get the value out of having this much aetherquartz across your army.

Ilithia has had a bit of a shakeup whilst keeping in theme. No longer granting a bravery bonus or play around command points, it instead lets two Vanari units use their aetherquartz in the same phase rather than just one. This is probably the more flexible and useful version of aetherquartz manipulation offered by the Great Nations.

Always the most popular Great Nation, it’s likely that we’ll see a continuation of Zaitrec dominance. Lumineth are a faction of spellcasters and a flat +1 to cast, dispel and unbind for all of your wizards is very powerful, especially when you factor in how many of the Lumineth spells have had an increase in casting value.

A big change to Alumnia makes them now quite an interesting choice. If your Vanari units are set up with each model touching the base of 2 or more models in the unit (which you’ll want to do anyway for Shining Company) then each model counts as 2 for the purpose of contesting objectives they’re standing on. As the Thondia season has worn on, we’ve seen the power in the Expert Conquerors battalion for controlling objectives. This could keep Lumieth competitive into objective play, especially if Expert Conquerors rotates out.

Helon still unlocks Battleline Hurakan Windchargers and has seen an upgrade to its Gale of Killing Shafts ability, which now grants +1 attack to missile weapons used within 6” of enemy units. This upgrades your ability to unleash hell from behind a screen, but there’s also no requirement to target the unit within 6” that’s handing you the +1 attack buff. Notable by its absence is the old command ability to retreat at the end of the combat phase so no more charging, piling 6” away and then retreating without consequence.

Grand Strategies

In keeping with the theme of Lumineth battle traits we get one for each of the major unit keywords. Alarith Aftershock might be the easiest if you’re building towards it, just requiring you to have two Alarith units contesting two objectives at the end of the battle. Also in the realms of ‘this is conceptually possible’ Hurakan Cyclone asks you to have three Hurakan units within 6” of the same enemy unit. This does mean you’ll fail your grand strategy if you table your opponent, but in most other situations Hurakan units are fast enough to achieve this in a pinch. 

Moving into less desirable territory is Scinari Illumination. Scinari are great but the requirement here to have a Scinari unit in each quarter of the battlefield is generally not how you want to play them. If you can finish each game with a little hero base perfectly in the centre of the table every time, maybe this is for you. 

Vanari Assault requires you to finish the game with four or more Vanari units alive and your opponent’s general to be dead. This would require an incredibly heavy investment into Vanari units to not be an incredible risk, as four units needing to be alive can be quite the ask in a game as lethal as Sigmar. This mostly feels like exactly the kind of win-more grand strategy that you don’t need.

Battle Tactics

Six battle tactics are available and you know what, they’re not bad. There’s no autocompletes here, but for battle tactics that require you to roll dice they’re eminently doable.

Priority Target – Pick an enemy monster and kill it with a Starshard Ballista. The ballistas do have a new anti-monster rule but unless you’re packing a serious number of guns and the enemy has something squishy like a Mindstealer Sphiranx to pick on, this is way too risky to bother with.

Conserve Aetherquartz – Pick an enemy unit and a friendly one, then kill that enemy unit without yours having spent its last aetherquartz (effectively, don’t spend your aetherquartz unless you’re Syar). Anything that requires dice rolling is going to be imperfect as a battle tactic, but you generally want to be killing enemy units anyway.

Blind the Enemy – Cast 4 or more spells with different Lumineth units (so no using Teclis to auto-complete this). If you’re investing heavily in Scinari, this is actually a surprisingly decent pick.

Elemental Supremacy – Pick an enemy hero and an aelementiri unit with an aetherquartz reserve, kill that enemy hero. No requirement to hang onto your aetherquartz here. Windchargers are aelementiri units that excel at picking up small hero units if you build towards it.

Hysh Made Manifest – Have two endless spells from your army on the battlefield at the end of the turn. If you’ve built for it, this is easy.

Ignore the Odds – Pick a Lumineth unit and an enemy unit within 1” of each other, you score this if the enemy unit is destroyed and your unit isn’t. If you have a nice chunky melee unit starting the turn in combat with an enemy unit then this will be what you want to achieve anyway, though watch that the requirement to pick this battle tactic is 1” not 3”.

Credit: Silks

Units

Due to the density of the book, and the synergy surrounding those models, it’s probably easier to break these models down into their respective keywords.

Leaders

Teclis is apparently still feeling the effects of being battered around by Nagash during the Broken Realms storyline and has had a small, but impactful, change to his warscroll. Instead of movement, the number of spells he can cast with his Archmage ability now degrades. When he’s taken 10 wounds Teclis loses his ability to autocast one spell with no opportunity to unbind. On 13 wounds suffered, he also loses the ability to autocast two spells on a 12. The affects of this are mixed, most of the time players probably were doing the 4 spells anyway but on turns where a guaranteed spellcast would be handy, you can close that option. Teclis now moves a fixed 10”, a bit slower than his old max speed but it is now consistent and does not degrade For this change, Teclis actually came down in points to a svelte 700.

It’s worth pointing out that as things stand Teclis has keyword access to all of the Lumineth spell lores but there’s currently no text granting him knowledge of all of the spells in each lore anymore. This is almost certainly a mistake as moving to just the single enhancement spell pick seems a bit of a brutal downgrade and not particularly in keeping with Teclis’ whole vibe. Hopefully this gets an immediate errata, otherwise those 700 points are looking steep.

Fans of miniatures designed by magicians will be glad to see that The Light of Eltharion now hits like a real combat hero with both swords going up to a flat 3 damage for a modest 20 point increase. The Celennari Blade now works on monsters as well as heroes but isn’t a flat damage bump, changing the damage characteristic to 2d3. Buyer beware, your damage can go down as well as up.  

Avalenor finally has a warscroll worthy of his miniature, with his Firestealer hammers going up to rend -2 and the cow himself getting 16 wounds. Somewhat surprisingly, Unshakeable Faith of the Mountains is still a command ability but can now be used a flat 3 times to give Alarith units +1 attack. It is combat phase, so locks those units out of using the all-out command abilities, but you have aetherquartz to cover that.

Vanari

The Vanari Lord Regent continues to be fine, they’re fast and but with middling stats for their points you are largely taking one for access to Greater Power of Hysh and a second bite at powering up your Vanari sunmetal weapons. With the Vanari enhancements being so underwhelming Lyrior Uthralle is a solid upgrade over the generic Lord Regent for a very modest points investment, and seems like a decent take if you’re locked into Ymetrica.

Gloriously, the Vanari Bannerblade now has a reason to exist and has had its terrible old bravery aura replaced with an 18” bubble of re-rolling charges for any Lumineth unit. At a bargain basement 100 points, this seems like a good investment for combat Lumineth. Possibly the biggest glow up in the book, with the renewed emphases on charging now that it won’t break shining company, this is a really nice bonus to have.

Scinari

All Scinari units now share the Deep Thinkers ability on their warscroll, a once per game auto-cast on a 9 for the first spell they attempt to cast that phase. This is unbindable, but a 9 is a decently hard target to beat and crucially gets you past all of those high casting values in the Lore of Hysh. If you’re not running Teclis, this is how you’re getting Total Eclipse through. Much to think about.

Anyone who has had something surprisingly big flee in terror from a Scinari Cathallar will be pleased to see that Emotional Transferance has gone and the replacement ability Absorb Despair instead triggers when you spend aetherquartz to move the bravery debuff onto an enemy unit. This isn’t the get out of jail free card it used to be, but is much more fair. The Cathallar is still a very cheap wizard and gaining Deep Thinkers on the bounce is a fine trade.

New kid on the block the Scinari Enlightener is mostly the same but caught an important change to the Rune of Enthlai – you can’t pick the same target for the second resolution of the spell. No more 56” move Windchargers.

The twins Ellania and Ellathor are exactly the same, which is to say extremely cool and with unique mechanics based around the battle round number. They were wildly overcosted before and have come down 25 points which is still overcosted for a unit that is fundamentally an 8 wound hero that moves 6”. 

For fans of the Scinari Calligrave they remain sadly forgettable, though Erasure now does 2d6 mortal wounds if you stack it so that gimmick actually does something. Finally the Scinari Loreseeker has caught a change to Lone Agent that means they now count as 10 models when set up on an objective rather than shutting off control completely. With the removal of Lambent Light, this makes the Loreseeker a much more difficult sell but does give your opponent more play around the ability.

Alarith

Just one here, the Alarith Stonemage exists to be a hyper specific buff piece for other Alarith units, and does a fine job of that with the various enhancements available. The scroll itself isn’t particularly compelling, it mostly exists to be a vessel for the moving parts of the Alarith combos.

Hurakan

The Hurakan Windmage never really got there in the old book and it looks like that’s likely set to continue. +2” move on Windchargers as a buff doesn’t really quite do enough. If the Windmage has a renaissance, it will be used as a vehicle for the Transporting Vortex spell if it transpires that Teclis really doesn’t know all the lores.

Over in nonsense town the Hurakan Spirit of the Wind and Sevireth both caught two whopping nerfs. As you might have expected, their ability to move in the shooting phase is now restricted to your own shooting phase but they’ve also lost the ability to reduce enemy pile-ins. This removes a lot of the silliness these units could do and gives your opponent a lot more play around them. You can’t just charge into units with 1” reach and remain completely safe anymore, and sitting in front of armies to move-block just won’t work either. These are changes that are good for game health, but the points cut these units have had in response is quite light which may well price them out of competition for now.

Lumineth Sentinels. Credit: Wings

Battleline

Vanari

Shining Company is now a rule on the warscroll for Vanari units and has been simplified for the better: now units where every model is touching the bases of two more models are -1 to be hit, and there’s no restriction on their ability to charge or pile-in anymore. A welcome change for usability. The benefits of this shouldn’t be understated, when GW designed this bonus they likely felt the idea was to hold your ground as long as possible and break shining company when you were ready to take the offense. Instead, it made players unwilling to ever shift and force the opponent to come to them. The increased ability to move and charge will allow them to be much more aggressive.

Vanari Auralan Wardens return essentially the same, just losing the once-per game mortal wounds flask, and each unit you take still unlocks a unit of either Dawnriders or Sentinels as Battleline. Dawnriders themselves got a very welcome 20 point drop and are identical to their previous incarnation. 

Obviously what everyone wants to know is what happened to Vanari Auralan Sentinels and whilst every internet headline will say “shooting nerfed” next to a picture of a man with a wide open mouth, they’re actually still good. The headline here is that the Scryhawk Lantern no longer lets you ignore line of sight and cover, and that Lambent Light no longer exists to let you fish for 5+ to hit mortal wounds. Otherwise though their weapon profiles are the same, as is Power of Hysh, and the new Scryhawk Lantern ability gives the Lofted profile an extra 6” of range when the unit is stood near a ballista or a second Sentinels unit. The unit is obviously worse than it was previously, but they’ve also had a price cut down to 150 points which is extremely reasonable for the ability they have to reach out and touch things. They may also be a big winner of the change to Helon, being able to sneak up to within 6” of an enemy and use the extra attack buff to blast something important.

Finally in the ‘can be battleline sometimes’ stakes we have Vanari Bladelords, the unit that sent the internet round the twist at launch and then turned out to be actually terrible. These have lost their 4+ spell ignore which is a shame, but their Swordmasters ability has seen a bit of a change up. Flurry of Blows now starts at 2 attacks base and gains extra attacks vs units with 5-9 and then 10+ models in them, which is a nice quality of life change. Perfect Strike is now just a 2+ to do a mortal wound for each attack. As an army with a fragile set of heroes, bodyguards are rarely wasted and the access to mortals makes them dangerous when fighting back, too.

Alarith

Enduring as a Rock is now on the warscroll for Alarith units, and changes incoming rend -1 attack to rend ‘-’.

Sadly, Games Workshop have not deigned to allow us the glory of Battleline cows so the Alarith temple just has to make do with Alartih Stoneguard who honestly kinda slap now. Both of their weapon options have been rolled into one profile doing the same thing, so no need to stress over which thing on a big stick you want to equip them with – it’s mortal wounds on 6s to hit all the way. On top of this, Stoneguard have picked up a 4+ ward against mortal wounds whilst contesting an objective under your control and just have a whole host of buffs available to make them a genuinely tanky melee threat now.

If you’ve been counting buffs, you can get Stoneguard on a defensive profile of 3 wounds with a 3+ save that ignores rend -2 and an offensive profile of 3 attacks each that hit and wound on 2s with each 5+ to hit doing mortal wounds. 

Hurakan

Move Like the Wind is now on the warscroll for Hurakan units, letting them pile-in any direction without having to finish closer to the nearest enemy unit and granting a 6” pile-in on the charge.

Hurakan Windchargers are your sole battleline if option here, but a good one. Windcharger arrows have kept their change to ignoring wards (though only in shooting, despite using their windcharger bows in melee as well). Those bows did lose a pip of rend in melee, but these are a huge beneficiary of the expanded range on the Helon ability, which should make their melee less of a requirement.

Artillery

The Vanari Starshard Ballista  has picked up the upgrade it desperately needed and is now a compelling inclusion in a Lumineth gunline. It shares the range-extending buff with Sentinels (or another Ballista) for a nice 36” range. That potential range is even longer because the old bonus attack from Warding Lanterns is now rolled into its profile, so it can move an improbable 6” without penalty. The starshard bolts now also hit on a 2+ and gained a flat 3 damage vs monsters.

Behemoth

Similarly to Avalenor, the Alarith Spirit of the Mountain has gained an extra two wounds. They don’t ponderously hand out free command abilities anymore, but their own command ability has been buffed to now work d3 times rather than just once. These have seen a fairly steep increase up to 380 points, and now that Avalenor matches them rend for rend and his damage doesn’t degrade, I suspect that armies with a single cow will be running the unique version. There’s diminishing returns with multi-cow armies as well, with their aura of -1 to hit not stacking.

Endless Spells and Terrain

Hyshian Twinstones are an interesting alternative to cogs for helping to force your magic through at the same cost, though with so many static bonuses available already you might prefer the reroll. Sanctum of Amyntok is a weird pop-up garrison for your wizard that might maybe do some mortal wounds, I’m struggling to see this making it into lists when so many other endless spells in its price bracket bring better utility. For a lean 40 points the Rune of Petrification isn’t terrible, providing control and mortal wound output like a mini warp lightning vortex. A casting value of 8 was off putting before, but with your deep thinking Scinari it’s more of a boon as it helps protects the spell from future enemy dispel attempts.

Last but by no means least, the Shrine Luminor remains an extremely potent piece of faction terrain. It’s a garrison for one of your unmounted, non-monster heroes and hands out a free spellcasting re-roll once per turn as well as a free command once per battle round.

Avalenor, the Stoneheart King. Credit: Rich Nutter

Bringing it all together

There’s a lot going on here! It feels like the goal for this tome was to retain as much of the flavour and feel of the old one as possible, whilst removing the parts of it that felt miserable to play against and in this I think it’s been a resounding success. The army is still chock full of combos and will reward a smart player, but the internal balance is so much better.