SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 10

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.

This issue crystalized a building suspicion of mine – Imperium had more complex rules with simpler models, while Stormbringer is the other way around. A Stormcast Eternal and a Space Marine are roughly equivalent from a narrative, hobby, and gaming standpoint, but Necrons and Kruleboyz are a world apart. Rarely were models quite this fiddly in Imperium. Conversely, Age of Sigmar is a simpler game than Warhammer 40k, especially so with the version of the 40k Imperium was teaching. Maybe you came to this conclusion long ago, but seeing two fairly similar products with similar goals side by side like this put things in stark relief for me.

The Narrative Materials

Knight Incantor. Credit: Tomb King Tristan

Our first article this week is about Sigmar’s goals for the Stormcast Eternals in the Mortal Realms. Meant to accomplish what mortal soldiery cannot, they lead by example, bring order to the untamed lands, liberate its people, and defeat the horrors of Chaos and undeath. To do this they need to ride the lightning to the most hostile environments in all of the Mortal Realms as well as its underworlds. It’s all stuff we’ve probably gleaned, even this early in Stormbringer‘s run, but it’s got some cool old art I haven’t seen before so I enjoyed it.

Our next section is about Xandire’s Truthseekers, a trio of heroes (and their plucky aetherwing) who quest for Sigmar. True to their name, Calthia Xandire and her crew have assembled to investigate some mysteries in Ulgu. What are they doing here in Ghur with our armies? Well, we’ve got a Battle Record to roll on where we can find that out:

Taros soared over the immaculate scouring pad hedgerows of Garagevale, at the edges of the Ghurish farmlands of Suburbarbaria. The aetherwing was searching for something at Luxa Stormrider’s behest, but she had not shared with her compatriots her mysterious prize. As the vanguard elements of the host, Xandire’s Truthseekers had the autonomy to pursue the occasional flight of fancy. Dhoraz Giant-Fell leaned idly on his hammer while Calthia Xandire kept a watchful eye on Luxa. What was she seeking? Only time would tell.

The Hobby Materials

Stormcast Eternals Xandire’s Truthseekers. Credit: SRM

Included in this week’s issue are Xandire’s Truthseekers. So adamant are Games Workshop that you seek truth with Xandire, that they have seen fit to include them in the Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep set, the Rivals of Harrowdeep set, the Warcry: Crypt of Blood set, Warhammer Quest: Lost Relics, their own standalone kit, and now this, the 10th issue of Stormbringer. Like nearly all Warhammer Underpants Underworlds models, they are a fascinatingly engineered three dimensional puzzle of wackadoo pieces that somehow fit together into coherent, beautiful models. That process is often a handful, with several fiddly little pieces and an easily broken bowstring. I had to hold my breath while putting pressure on a few pieces because I was so worried about breaking them. They have nicely modeled bases, simple enough to frame the models well while still setting a scene. There are a few kind of grody lumps in their undercuts, and the seams on the cloaks are in really obvious places, unfortunately. The dude with a great hammer also has no butt. I don’t mean that in a Hank Hill “insufficient junk in the trunk” way, but in that his legs just end and there’s a void where a butt should be. The process of painting this group is pretty enjoyable. They’re somewhere between your rank and file Vindictors and a character model in their level of detail, and the sculpted bases they’re on lend themselves well to washes and drybrushing. The paint guide is still firmly in basecoat territory, but with blue, gold, white and silver, these are starting to look like Hammers of Sigmar.

The Gaming Materials

Xandire’s Truthseekers. Credit: Fowler

The Truthseekers get their own Warscroll here, which chiefly illustrates how units with multiple different weapons work. I kinda feel like they went a bit hard in their choice; I’d figure a squad of Liberators with a single Greathammer or whatever would probably do just as well without the bevvy of special rules and weapons this crew has. However, unit abilities like the Stormsoul Arsenal we utilized with the Vindictors last week are the central focus. We also get rules clarification for companion models (such as the Truthseekers’ own aetherwing Taros, or the Pot-Grot with the Swampcalla Shaman) as well as unit champions, standard bearers, and musicians. There are some common sense tactics laid out as well, such as keeping these models alive as long as possible. Multiple weapons and splitting attacks are the things that require the most clarification, so I’m glad they get even more attention directed towards them. If anything, I feel concepts like this are more confusing to veterans used to more restrictive targeting rules like in the versions of 40k and Fantasy I played in my youth.

I know I keep saying “We put this to the test in this week’s mission” but for real this time, I really mean it. Martial Mastery tasks us to do just that, as Xandire’s Truthseekers and a supporting Knight-Arcanum take on the Swampcalla Shaman and 10-strong mobs of Hobgrots and Gutrippaz. This band of adventurers against a wave of Orruks really feels like a D&D encounter or a snapshot of a Vermintide game. Personally I’d see how many waves of yabbos these heroes could take down before they die, then switch players and try the other way around. Maybe I’ll bug Charlie B to write a Fury of the Swarm module for this. I also realize this is basically Warhammer Quest: Lost Relics, but I haven’t had time to review that yet.

Final Verdict:

This crew normally runs you $40, but with how prevalent they are, I’m sure you could find them somewhere cheaper – like here! $1d.99 is a great deal for a trio of character models and a cool bird, but they’re pretty challenging models to put together and paint. The rules section is beefy this week, offering up a grab bag of nonetheless still important rules, while the paint section is nothing too special. I would have liked a little more to the narrative section – I still barely know anything about who Xandire is or why she seeks truth, but I don’t really know how much lore they’ve gotten beyond some flavor text in an Underworlds box. I’d say this is an okay issue overall, with some lovely models that may prove more difficult than expected.

See you next issue, warhams.

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