SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 05

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.

Another week, another trip to the Warhammer mines! Will we find Sigmarite, Squig iron, or just a lump of Coelia? Read on to find out!

The Narrative Materials

Knight-Relictor. Credit: SRM

Our first article this week is on Reforging, the process by which Stormcast live, die, and live again in service to Sigmar. When a Stormcast Eternal dies, they’re yeeted back to Azyr in a bolt of lightning, (usually) taking their arms and armor with them. After an exceptionally painful and trying process, they’re put back together again and are ready to be hurled back to the ground in a bolt of lightning. How much of themselves they lose each time this happens isn’t really touched upon here, but seeing how that’s the crux of most Stormcast stories (and every one about Neave Blacktalon) I’d say that’s kind of an important detail to leave out. I’m also wondering if, given how difficult it supposedly is, Stormcast ever fail to be reforged. I get that space is limited, and this functional immortality is written to be as much a blessing as it is a curse, but I find the flaws of Reforging bear repeating as they give our characters some stakes.

Things stay lofty here, as we find our way towards the History of the Realms. History, myth, and cosmology are nearly synonymous in Age of Sigmar, and this article gravitates towards the myth side of things – specifically the age of it. The Age of Myth is a period where Sigmar was doing the Thor thing by way of David Carradine in Kung Fu, wandering around and beating up monsters, saving humanity, and all the other good hero stuff. During this period, Sigmar taught humankind the ways of civilization and united a number of gods into the Pantheon of Order. Unfortunately, Nagash, Gorkamorka, and literally any combination of Elf/Aelf/Eldar/Aeldari deity ever aren’t going to make for stable alliances, then the Chaos gods showed up to party and the whole thing fell apart. This is all long, long before Dawnbringer Crusades, Stormcast Eternals, or anything that would be considered “present day” in your tabletop games of Age of Sigmar. We’re lastly given the short version of what each of the Chaos gods are about – Khorne is blood and war, Tzeentch is magic and change, Nurgle is plagues, Slaanesh is excess, and The Great Horned Rat is the god of… rats? I guess? I still feel like Skaven were kinda tacked on to the whole Chaos thing, even if the Pestilens stuff feels like Nurgle by another name.

In a move that I found cute as hell, the illustration of a Stormcast lady who introduces various tips and tricks in Stormbringer is the very Praetor-Prime included in this issue! Let’s meet our new friend, and see what she’s all about with the aid of some tables:

Davin Graveborn was propped up on one elbow, his body beaten and blade shattered. The Knight-Questor would be returning to Sigmar, his quest unfulfilled, as the hulking Orruk drew towards him, green tongue licking greener lips. The Orruk brought their hacka down in a killing blow, only for it to be blocked by the halberd of Praetor-Prime Katarine Baltazar. The Stormcast had fought and died for Davin so many times that she couldn’t even remember who she once was, but it didn’t matter. Let her future define her, if it must – her soul-bound connection to her commander must remain unbroken, and she would stop at nothing to preserve his life.

Lastly, we have a centerfold showing a bunch of Stormcast and a bunch of Orruks. The Stormcast are defenders of civilization, the Orruks want to kick the whole thing over for a laugh. It’s telling us information we’ve largely gleaned before in Stormbringer, and is mostly a photo showcase of how cool both of these ranges are. For what it’s worth, I think they’re both pretty neat.

The Hobby Materials

Stormcast Eternals Praetor-Prime. Credit: SRM

This week’s model is a lone Stormcast Praetor-Prime, exclusive to Stormbringer. Putting her together is a simple affair; I had her from sprue to model in just a few minutes. There are no options in the kit, but a hobbyist with some experience and bits leftover could do a headswap with a bit of carving. I really dig her at-ease pose and like her more than the stock Praetor-Prime, so I guess that gal is out of a job. There are some visible seams running down the sides of the cloak here, but not quite as bad as the ones on my existing squad of Praetors. I’ve also never been buckwild about the giant script in the Stormcast scrollwork, but my few misgivings aside I think this is a lovely miniature.

The painting guide they have here has a helpful visual guide for thinning paints on a palette, along with some general brush care while you work. I hope further down the line they’ll expand on this and introduce color mixing, as that’s one of the more satisfying techniques I’ve found while painting. Fittingly, that’s what I did on my Praetor-Prime for her cloak, skin, and leather details. She was a figure I can only describe as “comfy” to paint – not overloaded with detail, with an accessible pose and just enough texture variety to keep things interesting.

The Gaming Materials

Kruleboyz Killaboss w/ Stab-Grot. Credit: Colin Ward

This week’s mission seems to be all about taking the Praetor-Prime out back and beating them up behind a dumpster. She’s matched up against 10 Kruleboyz Gutrippaz, while 5 Stormcast Vindictors take on the Killaboss and Stab-Grot. What this week’s mission is all about is teaching attack sequencing. Figuring out which units should attack first is one of the most important strategies in Age of Sigmar, as you weigh the survival of your own units against how much damage they can do. If the Kruleboyz player doesn’t sic their Gutrippaz on the Praetor-Prime first, she might be able to cut a few down, but if the Killaboss swings first, he might be able to clear out a bunch of the Vindictors and survive the round. What we’ve been covering these last five weeks is the Combat Phase: making attacks, saving throws, and removing casualties. The previous flowcharts have been training wheels and are in the process of being removed as we move towards learning other phases of the game. I’m looking forward to this, as Age of Sigmar is a game all about mobility and maneuvering. Having dudes hit each other is only part of the equation.

Final Verdict:

Praetors cost $55 for a trio, and some quick napkin math puts them at $18.33 a pop. Against Stormbringer’s $13.95 cover price, we’re already coming out ahead. However, how useful a single Praetor-Prime will be to you is up in the air. We’ll receive more Praetors later on, but in a unit of only 3 or 6 dudes, a 4th wheel might seem superfluous. It’s a solid sculpt though, and could easily be counted as any given Stormcast Knight-Detestor or whatever. The paint guide is still super basic, and the game rules are as well. Narrative material this week lends context to the Stormcast Eternals and the setting at large, while also giving us a preview of some of the cool models we’ll be getting later in this series. It’s a middle of the road issue, but one with a unique model, which definitely bumps it up a notch.

See you next issue, warhams.

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