SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 15

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 time last year I was putting the final touches on my gameplan for Adepticon, where I would play entirely too many games and not do particularly well at any of them. One of the events I played in was the Age of Sigmar Dawnbringers tournament, a 1000 point event aimed at newcomers to Age of Sigmar and the tournament scene at large. If you’ve been following this series (or are even Stormbringer’s intended audience!) I’d honestly recommend giving it a shot. Competitive play is much less scary than you think, and low buy-in events like this 1000 point tournament are a great first step. Anyway, that’s it for my monthly “tournaments are actually p chill” quota, onto the review!

The Narrative Materials

Cities of Sigmar Freeguild Steelhelms. Credit: SRM

Our first article this week is concerning those formerly out of place Old World refugees, the Cities of Sigmar. It is accompanied by the art from the old Cities of Sigmar battletome cover, back in that that weird 2nd edition period where Empire Greatswords were hanging out with Stormcast Retributors. It’s not quite a chocolate and peanut butter situation aesthetically, even if the artist responsible deserves a firm handshake and a large check for making it work. The Cities themselves are described both as “bulwarks of hope” and “bastions of hope” in this article, and as a fellow user: game recognize game. These walled fortress-cities are candles in the dark, cosmopolitan and (relatively) civilized places in a buckwild high fantasy universe. We get some more art and narratives about a few of these cities and how they work, propped up by arcane magic and good old fashioned industry. The writing here predates the latest battletome, and there’s been a ton of great lore about the Cities of Sigmar since. That’s pretty much it for narrative this week, as we already rolled up a Battle Record for this week’s models in issue 5.

The Hobby Materials

Stormcast Praetors. Credit: SRM

We get a trio of Praetors this issue, backing up the Praetor-Prime we got in week 5. I like these models quite a bit, and find their sharp details and the flair of their capes to be striking. We’re advised to build them all as regular Praetors, and the construction is a little more complex than your average dude. Lining up their arms and applying pressure to build them without damaging the halberd hafts, heads, or banners will take some care. The big obvious cloaks they’re wearing can take some effort to line up as well, and the gaps between them can be a real problem. A brief tutorial shows how to fill gaps with plastic glue, letting the capillary action of the glue fill in the divide and melt the pieces together. Further instruction is given to paint over the area and let that finish the job. I’ve had mixed results with this means of gap filling, but it’s better than nothing. While I have my well-documented qualms about the hobby sections in these magazines (please let us use spray primer, my goblins are dying) I can’t blame them for keeping the gap filling conversation brief. If using transfers is outside the scope of this magazine, then green stuff sculpting, filing, and sanding certainly are.

The paint instructions are simple, encouraging painters to remove models from their bases if they have to get under the cloaks on these Praetors. By painting these cloak interiors white, it’s real hard to fudge the details by painting the interior a dark color and washing it down with a darker color, not that I’d know anything about that. The end results are some neat basecoats, with the choices to paint with light or dark skintones and get a simple finish. Painters are encouraged to reflect back on their Praetor-Prime from issue 5 and see if they’ve improved, which I appreciate. I had the inverse of this experience, painting the Praetor-Prime recently and the Praetors back in 2021. I’d encourage any painter to do the same, just to see how far they’ve come.

The Gaming Materials

Stormcast Eternals Praetors. Credit: Colin Ward

The gameplay focus this week is keywords. These little tags at the bottom of a Warscroll indicate things like the faction a unit belongs to, as well as some of the special rules that key off of them. A number of helpful examples are given to us, along with mini-tutorials and use cases for a few of them. It’s a smart way to introduce a system that a lot of people – even grown adults I play with – can either miss or take for granted. These rules accompany some updated Warscrolls, which are no longer simplified and are now the full-fat real game versions. The rules section here is hefty since it’s more or less updating every model we’ve received so far, and we get to play with the keyword system in this week’s mission: The Key to Victory. Do not think I didn’t notice the pun. Again, game recognize game. This mission keeps the scope narrow, pitting a Knight-Arcanum and her 4 Praetor protectors (Praetectors? Whatever.) against the Swampcalla Shaman, 10 Hobgrots, and 3 Man-skewer Boltboyz. If either hero dies, the game is over and the survivor wins. It’s a classic Caster Kill scenario, a phrase I haven’t thought about since 2010.

Final Verdict:

Praetors are a spendy unit, coming in at $55 for a trio. This issue’s $13.99 cover price represents a roughly 75% savings off that MSRP, which is genuinely pretty insane. I don’t know how many Praetors a player will reasonably run in a Stormcast army, but if they wanted to get a second issue to double up or bulk out their existing unit, that extra Praetor-Prime from issue 5 opens up some options. The narrative material was slight this week, but the hobby section was decent, and the rules were packed. The scenario didn’t blow my mind or anything, but I appreciate how they’re introducing all of the concepts of the game here, and they’re being thoughtful with the more nuanced ones like keywords.

See you next issue, warhams.

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