New Kings of War: A massive book, Orcs, Ogres, and even an App!

G’day Goonhammer readers! In the last week Mantic has revealed a huge range of upcoming releases for Kings of War, from a new book to models and even an app! We summarize all that is known, sprinkling a little of our own opinions on the top.

The Big Red Book

It would be right around this time of year that the next Clash of Kings update would be upon us. Yet instead of just getting another small book to add to the growing collection of tomes, Mantic has decided to consolidate all the rules and updates into a single big book. This includes FAQs, errata, the new Clash of Kings 2023 updates, and all the army lists from the core rule book, Uncharted Empires and the two new armies, the Halflings and Riftforged Orcs. 

The Big Red Ultimate Super Tome of Extraordinary Kings of War Knowledge

As if that wasn’t enough, rules for Siege scenarios will be added for the first time since 2019. On top of this, rules for playing small games (Ambush) and very large games (Legendary Battles) will be released, expanding the ways to play Kings of War yet further.

To keep the book from becoming a weightlifting exercise, the sections on army lore and background will be omitted. These will instead be published online for all to enjoy for free.

This book will be just rules, and lots of them.

Clash of Kings 2023

There’s been a bit of a wait for these updates. Some of the factions got a bit too much love in the previous years “no nerf” Clash of Kings book. We’re looking at you, Nightstalkers! So there’ll be a toning down a few of their more powerful options, bringing them back into line. No need to go too far the other way, having a few viable builds for each faction should be the aim, so hopefully we see a few extra buffs to the weaker factions as well. It’s important to state that the game is so balanced at this point, the aforementioned nerfs and buffs are usually quite subtle, so don’t expect any armies to be invalidated.

New Modes of Play – Siege, Ambush and Legendary Battles 

There’s not been Siege Rules in the game while the two of us have been playing, so it’ll be exciting to see how they turn out. We know from general discussion that the Siege Rules of 2nd Edition Kings of War were warmly received, but just didn’t get much time in the sun given recent events. Chances are we are in for a treat.

At less than 1000 points, Ambush battles will be a great way to introduce people to the game, and hopefully get them to enjoy it before you start building an army. Unlike Warhammer 40,000, there’s no “paint 9 Adeptus Custodes and you’re good to go” in Kings of War. There is a hefty time investment to get up a full army that can be a significant roadblock to new players, and especially to those with no background in the hobby. Ambush helps reduce that hurdle. 

Starter Sets are perfect ways to have instant Ambush-ready armies.

To make the smaller game sizes work there will be tweaks to army building for Ambush. Just enough to ensure that these smaller games can’t be dominated by certain army builds. This includes the fact that troops unlock, and legions and hordes are banned. For each troop and regiment, a single hero, monster, titan, war engine or other irregular unit can be included. The catch is no more than 200 points can be spent on a single unit. This changes the composition of armies considerably and really cements Ambush as its own micro-Kings of War.

Legendary Battles, on the other hand, are for the veteran hobbyists with significant collections, streamlining games of 3000 points or more. While we don’t know the exact details, there will be a ‘build-your-own-super-titan’ option, where you can literally build the profile of a truly crazy model you might have and get some semi-accurate points to cost it. 

Finally these epic scenes will be possible with Legendary Battles.

Given these new scales for game size, it’s a great opportunity for narrative campaigns and even tournaments. Imagine playing through the different game sizes across an event, or even sticking to Ambush and getting 6 games in a day!

Hibernation of the Twilight Kin

The Twilight Kin present a unique opportunity for Mantic to truly do their own take on the idea of wayward elves. Many moons ago these ‘evil elves’ once had their own line of metal upgrade bits from Mantic, but these were discontinued because no one enjoys gluing little metal bits onto little plastic bits. Since then the army has bounced through various iterations that always harkened back to their original inspiration (from a certain company).

Now Mantic is keen to make them anew.

Evil Elves but different

So the Twilight Kin are not included in this book, just to make sure no one starts making a whole new army (sorry to all the people that may have started one month before this). This is because the whole army list will change along with a whole new line of models and some Mantic-ified lore and background. 

Thus far, we don’t know what anything will look like, just that it’ll come with a much clearer, all new aesthetic. All basic soldiers will be rendered in hard plastic, while heroes and monsters will be in the usual high quality resin Mantic is known for. 

One hint as to the design can be found in the recently released Twilight Kin ships from Kings of War Armada. Notice the heavy influence of the Nightstalkers on ship design, and the lack of Abyssal connotations. Chances are the Twilight Kin are going to come back a bit more different than their goody-cousins.

A Twilight Kin Butcher from Kings of War Armada is very Nightstalker-y

In this new army, existing Twilight Kin players will (probably) be able to continue to use current models, even if the unit itself no longer exists. There will be some kind of infantry units and some kind of large infantry, which is always to the plus to Kings of War when it comes down to unit size rather than individual model profiles. Until then, the current rules will remain on Easy Army and the Mantic app (more on that later) until April 2023.

But wait, more Empire of Dust

The latest releases of Empire of Dust have been phenomenal but many will know that there remained units without models. Some forgotten units are still outstanding such as the Soul Snare and Scavengers, but soon they will be all that’s missing thanks to these upcoming releases.

Dead-eye Crossbows & Revenants

The current Skeleton infantry kit for the Empire of Dust can be used to make a few different types of units, but now Mantic is releasing two new kits using the infantry sprue with resin upgrade parts. The Dead-eye Crossbows and Revenants will be just this, new units using an upgrade kit.

Empire of Dust Dead-eye Crossbows

For the Revenants, it looks like the kit includes new heads that appear more mask-like (think Immortals from Zack Snyder’s “300”) and some wicked looking two-handed glaives. The Dead-eye Crossbows unsurprisingly get a crossbow with a tasteful amount of balefire added to the tip of the bolt. This will help both these units stand out, because up until now most players would arbitrarily elect some horde of skeletons to be Revenants without the skeletons in question looking any more polished or formidable.

Empire of Dust Revenants

These are already available for pre-order.

Sandborne Wyrmriders

A unit that is rarely seen in Empire of Dust armies for two reasons; there were no models for them (beyond the out-of-production Warhammer Fantasy models), and the unit itself just wasn’t punchy enough. Given the new models Mantic has in mind, this will likely change. If Clash of Kings 2023 is kind to these units and they get some boost to their stats, then expect to see them in nearly every Empire of Dust army because they are truly unique.

Mantic’s designs for the Empire of Dust Sandborne Wyrmriders.

Ogres Go Hard Plastic

Ogres are an example of a Mantic range that has a clear design aesthetic that they have almost-completely honed to perfection. We say almost because with this new release the only major gripe will be remedied. But what is that gripe?

The Ogres of Pannithor are well-muscled hulking warriors, with impossibly broad shoulders and comparatively slim waistlines (especially compared to other companies’ Ogres). The classic weak point in their design was their legs. Like an amateur bodybuilder, the Ogres of Pannithor did appear to have skipped leg day. Not only did this look detract from their otherwise imposing stature, but the legs were literally a weak point for metal models; Hunters in particular were known to snap at the ankles.

No longer!

T-pose Ogre Warrior, featuring some suitably sturdy lower limbs for supporting their massive frame.

All that was a mix of PVC plastic and metal will now be fully realised in plastic kits. For some special units, resin upgrade kits like those for the new Revenants will be available. Most importantly, these new plastic kits will have some suitable chunky legs. Finally the squat rack is getting some use.

Warriors and Boomers

The most exciting of the new hard plastic kits will be the Warriors/Boomers kit. From this kit the Warriors with either hand weapon and shield or two-handed weapons can be made, or the cannon-wielding Boomers. Considering these are the bulk (heh) of Ogre armies, having these in glorious hard plastic will increase the appeal of this already popular army. For those that want some longer ranged firepower, the Shooters are to be a resin upgrade kit, much like the current Siegebreaker upgrade kit for Warriors.

Ogre Chariots

The current chariots look good, but their limitation is that they are a mix of metal and PVC parts, making them unpleasant to assemble and maintain. New hard plastic chariots will renew interest in this comparatively overlooked unit. We have yet to see what the new models will look like, but are excited for what this means for other chariots (see below).

Ogre Mega Army & Army

Obviously, when more than half the range of units get upgraded to new kits, the army boxes need to be updated. We don’t know the contents, but be sure there will be plenty of plastic sprues in there to make the whole thing bursting with content (a typical Mantic approach to value).

Ogres vs Empire of Dust Starter Set

Kings of War is coming into a new age of 3rd edition. There’s a big new book containing everything one needs, there’s two refreshed armies full of delectable hard plastic models. Hence it comes as no surprise that this calls for a new Kings of War 2 Army Starter Set (like War in the Holds or Storm in the Shires). A perfect means to get into Kings of War with a friend, or just start two new armies by yourself.

Ogres versus Empire of Dust. Most likely the upcoming box art. Always love some cool battle artwork!

Riftforged Orcs Finishing Touches

The Riftforged Orcs have been steadily marching off the production lines at Mantic since their initial release in December last year. Adding to this thunderous onslaught are the Storm Giant and Stormbringer on Winged Slasher. This leaves only Riftwalkers without models, which it seems most players have chosen to paint some Orcs ‘ghostly’. Definitely a good sign for armies to come if Mantic can finish off ranges.

Storm Giant

The Storm Giant is the standard Mantic Giant with a resin upgrade kit to make stormy. In this case the resin parts appear to include an armoured head (including a lovely set of teeth) and a pair of armoured arms. If it’s anything like the Shadowhulk or Frost Giant kits, these resin pieces will fit seamlessly.

Riftforged Orcs Storm Giant. Smile!

The Storm Giant itself is an epic looking model, with armour matching the likeness seen in the Riftforged Orcs and Stormslayer. The right arm has a grinning abyssal head as a bracer, while the left bears the scaled armoured sleeves reminiscent of Bucky from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The head has a twisted quality to it, showing the impact of reforging a Giant and how Garkan has ‘enhanced’ them like the Orcs before them.

Stormbringer on Winged Slasher

Stormbringers are the warchiefs of the Riftforged Legions, and it is only fitting that they can ride the draconic Winged Slashers into battle like their lesser unforged predecessors. While the Winged Slasher is the same fantastic resin model as seen before, the Stormbringer and his saddle are entirely new.

Riftforged Orcs Stormbringer on Winged Slasher. Witness me!

The best part about this model is the iconic helmet of the Stormbringer; a mix of Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road and a Predator’s helmet. Positively imposing and demonic.

Even More Releases by December!

Ramshackle Chariots for All!

The Ogre Chariot is hinted to be the scaffold upon which a range of new chariots will be released. Orc Chariots are still made of PVC plastic, so a new hard plastic Orc Chariot (and thus Fight Wagon?) will be a breath of fresh air into the old range. Contrastingly, Goblins currently do not have Mantic chariots, and this would quite possibly complete their entire range from Mantic.

Clan Lord on Fire Drake and Ghekkotah Slasher

Revealed last year, the Clan Lord on Fire Drake and the Ghekkotah Slasher are finally on their way before the end of 2022.

Salamanders Clan Lord on Fire Drake. It’s finally here!

Images from back then show a Winged Slasher model with flame filled jaws. The Clan Lord atop the beast has the savage but regal look Mantic Salamanders appear to be going for, and the pose is actually quite dynamic for a beast-riding model.

Salamanders Ghekkotah Slasher.

With a similar base body, the Ghekkotah Slasher is much like the Goblin Slasher, just with a slightly more professionally built mounted bolt thrower on the back. This can also be used to make the Rakawas, the Pale Rider, which is a unique wingless Fire Drake that many Salamander lists now feature.

The Mantic App

Let’s get moving into the 21st century! Mantic have also announced the creation of a new app.

It’s still under development, with more information coming soon, but it’ll be a big deal when it gets here.

Thus far, we know it’ll include a more immersive army builder (come on custom characters and RPG elements!), all the rules and updated FAQs for not just Kings of War but Mantic’s other games as well. It also sounds like there’ll be space for Mantic’s novels, and all the lore you could want (such as all the lore removed from the rule book).  

Who knows where it could end up as it expands, we’ll be following along closely for more development news. Join us in keeping an eye out, over at Mantic’s news blog: 

That’s it, for now

With so much to be released in the next few months, it’s hard to imagine anything else could possibly fit. What is certain is that now is a great time to be in Kings of War, but an even better time to start. The books are all being consolidated, the Mantic army ranges will be as complete as they have ever been, and more and more models are making their way to hard plastic. There’s sure to be more news about all the things only touched on, so we will attempt to keep you all updated.

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