SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 01

Stormbringer is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks introducing players to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium US subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes. If you want to follow along at home, US Customers can check out Stormbringer here.

We’re cracking open the Stormvault and unleashing a new weekly review series on Stormbringer, an Age of Sigmar partworks magazine. Longtime readers may recognize the byline here, and to them I say: welcome back, how ya been? This series will take much the same format as my Imperium reviews, also from Hachette Partworks. Each week I’ll discuss that issue’s narrative material (lore, naming tables, and so on), hobby materials (models, paints, painting guides), gaming materials (rules and missions), and lastly, a final verdict (monetary value and an overall assessment of quality). One may wonder why Goonhammer is only reviewing this magazine now when it’s been available in the UK and Ireland for a while, but here is where I must state that I am afflicted by the terrible affliction of being American, and we got it later. I’ve also been a bit sleepy.

The Narrative Materials

Black man with white beard in golden armour leading other armoured soldiers into battle across a stone ruin.
Bastian Carthallos leading the Stormcast Eternals into battle. Credit: PrinceofBielTan

It’s hard to sum up 3 editions of background in just a couple pages, but we’re given the Cliffsnotes of the Cliffsnotes here. We are in the Age of Sigmar, named for the storm god who dragged the people of the Mortal Realms out of the muck and towards civilization. This age of gods, monsters, war, and more besides is a hostile one, and Sigmar’s armies are the only thing keeping civilization safe. Forefront among these armies are the Stormcast Eternals, heroes snatched from the brink of death by Sigmar and reforged into supernaturally powerful warriors. They arrive in combat on bolts of lightning, striking decisively wherever they’re needed. When they die, their souls return to Azyr to be reforged again and again. It’s likely outside the scope of this magazine (and definitely this introductory issue) but I wonder if anything out there explores how Stormcasts feel about being snatched away from their mortal lives. I can only imagine a fair few wanted the peace of death and harbor some resentment towards their god for taking them against their will, and that feels like a rich vein to tap. As I mentioned, there’s a lot to sum up here (we don’t even know who this Sigmar guy is yet) but it does so admirably, with some great artwork accompanying it.

Next is a brief section on the Kruleboyz, the primary antagonists of Stormbringer. These orruks dwell in swamps and bogs, raiding and returning to their dank domains with all the loot they can carry. These mobs of ambushers and poisoners dwell in swamp fortresses where the swamp itself is a weapon they can rely on to deter their enemies. This is all pretty typical brutal but kunnin’ orc/ork/orruk behavior, but they fall more on the “kunnin” side of things. I can’t say I’m an expert on this faction, having mostly picked up their general vibe from playing Realms of Ruin and Age of Sigmar proper, but it all scans with what I know.

Imperium readers will recognize (and hopefully look forward to) this next part, where we are introduced to the models this issue contains. These were called Battle Records in that publication, and I’ll keep referring to them as such until proven incorrect. These involve rolling on a number of tables to determine what your unit’s name and background are, with the new spot to record Great Deeds. These are like video game achievements, so you can tick off the “Arcane Wrath” Deed when you roll a 12 to cast a spell with your Knight-Arcanum. It’s a cute little bonus feature, and ideally encourages some fun decisions on the battlefield. Anyway, I’ll roll those Battle Records up now:

Sabinus Stormsoul lowered her staff in a challenge to the orruk in front of her. In her old life, she was a warrior monk, her order burdened with terrible secrets yet serene all the same. Her hours of meditation taught patience, and she would not leap into combat until the moment was right.
Bogdurr stood across from her, poised to run. He’d run back to the swamp, the Stormgit would follow, and he’d give em the old jump n’ krump once they were proper lost. Snik-Snik was at Bogdurr’s side, already cackling at this plan. Bogdurr would give the grot a good thwack for giving up da plan if it didn’t mean letting his guard down.

Beyond this we also get a collector’s guide for every unit we’ll be receiving in Stormbringer, with spaces to write in their names and checkboxes for building, painting, and playing with them. Seeing the entirety of this collection laid out on these pages is daunting, representing most of the modern Stormcast and orruk ranges, with some extra Order and Destruction forces thrown in there. There’s also a poster with Thomas Elliot’s art of Yndrasta, the Celestial Spear. I like this piece enough that I have a framed print of it. The other side is essentially a 22.5″x34.5″ advert for the magazine I’m already reading. There’s what could be a Big Brothers Big Sisters photo of a kid and a nebulously aged person rolling dice in Warhammer World, and some space detailing all the subscriber gifts and so on. We’ll be getting a lot of stuff with this subscription, and most of it is pretty dang cool.

Credit: Kaiser and Games Workshop

Last but certainly not least, there is a charming little Stormcast Praetor who pops up here and there throughout the magazine with helpful tips and tricks. I recognized the art style immediately as Sarah Kaiser’s, who we interviewed back in 2018 on the Badcast. I ran into her once when we both lived in the Boston area after attending a heavy metal yoga class in Somerville. She gave me some Necromunda stuff and showed me a makerspace I never took advantage of. It was nice.

The Hobby Materials

Killaboss with Stab Grot
Killaboss with Stab Grot. That Gobbo

This week’s issue, much like the first of Imperiumcontains a leader for each of the main armies in this series. On the Kruleboyz side, as you can see above, is a Killaboss and his attendant Stab-Grot. I still find the Kruleboy proportions odd, but over the past couple years they’ve grown on me a lot. These models, the boss especially, have some dangling and/or spindly bits that might be tricky for newer hobbyists to work with, and the jaw has a pretty small peg to fit into the mouth. Fortunately, the shield can be easily left off if you wanted to work in subassemblies, and while there’s a flail you could arm him with instead, the instructions want you to use the shield. The Stab-Grot is simpler, and both models do a good job of hiding their moldlines with their makeshift armor. Opposite them is a Knight-Arcanum, a wizard for the Stormcast Eternals. She too might be tricky, with her flowing robes and fairly fragile staff. When I built mine, I messed up the join on her sleeve and was able to fill it with green stuff. All of these models can be push fit, but I would always recommend trimming the pegs a smidge and gluing them together.

Following this is an article introducing the concepts of painting with a helpful guide showing the difference between basecoats, shades, and highlights. It’s encouraging to new painters, and will be using a keyword system not dissimilar from Age of Sigmar’s own rules. I like the parity between the hobby and rules there, it’s clever.


Gutrippa Boss Haggok. Credit: Warhammer Community

Early subscribers will be getting a Gutrippa Boss, who was a store anniversary model back in 2021. He has a cool bird, which automatically puts him head and slumped shoulders above your average Kruleboy. He isn’t in this issue, but he’s only available while supplies last, so if you want him, you’ll probably want to get in on the action early. UK folks seemed to get him around the 21 week mark, but I’ll review him once he and his very cool bird are in my mailbox.

The Gaming Materials

Knight Arcanum. Credit: SRM

This week is our first game: Duel of Champions. This mission is dead simple, but is largely here to teach players about rolling dice, hit rolls, and wound rolls. Measurements are for a later issue, and players simply move their heroes into marked circles on a playmat. Once there, they take turns bashing each other until one model runs out of wounds. There’s no real strategy to it and the models are presented with identical rules (hit on 3+, wound on 4+, 6 wounds a piece) so it’s more or less a game of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em RobotsIt’s not very compelling in and of itself, but it teaches the concept of hitting and wounding, and is presented well. I’m also pretty sure these are the exact same dice that have been in every box set since at least 2nd edition 40k/5th edition Warhammer Fantasy. Nothing wrong with em – they’re like old, tiny, hexahedron friends – but my first roll was a trio of 5s and a trio of 1s and that seems statistically unlikely. We review every part of the animal here, folks.

Final Verdict

This issue’s cover price is $6.99. Not to paraphrase your typical finance ghoul, but if you cut out your 16oz oat milk latte for the day, you can grab this instead. Neither will effect your chances of buying a house.

These models are only available in the Warrior starter set and Dominion launch set, both of which are easy to find. However, it’s pretty much impossible to beat the value of 7 bucks for a Stab-Grot, and those other 2 heroes are just icing on the cake. Beyond the models, this issue sells the gist of Age of Sigmar effectively, and every inch is packed with art, writing, and graphic design flourishes that make it a pleasure to read through.

See you next issue, warhams.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at