SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 19

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.

You know how the shower rod in your last shitty apartment was held together strictly through tension? About how constant, unwavering pressure was the only thing keeping it together and holding it up? Why do I ask? No reason, don’t worry about it.

The Narrative Materials

Ironjawz Weirdnob Shaman. Credit: Rich Nutter

Our first article is about Waaagh! magic (Waaaghic? whatever) and the weird/wyrd boys/boyz who utilize it. It’s a form of primal magic generated from each orruk or grot, manifesting more powerfully when more of these green lads gather together. Magic reflects its user, and the orruks who wield it can manifest powerful Foot Guy Energy by summoning the Foot of Gork to crush their enemies, or mirror my own personal experience and release torrents of magic barf. This unpredictable, wild magic confounds the more orderly and sophisticated wizards of Tzeentch and aelfdom, and anything that makes aelves/elves/eldar/aeldari mad is okay in my good.

We next get a history lesson on Sigmar’s Storm, the initial campaign of the Stormcast Eternals to liberate the mortal realms after the Age of Chaos. The goal was to open up supply lines by capturing realmgates and inspire the people of the realms to rise up against their Chaos oppressors. Many of the Cities of Sigmar were also established at this time, forming around these liberated realmgates. This is essentially where the fictional history of Age of Sigmar and the real world history of the game itself intersect, as this feels like the background from when the game launched in 2015, when things were far more loosely defined. Don’t quote me on that though.

“Don’t quote me on that though.”

– Campbell “SRM” Mclaughlin, Goonhammer.com, 2024

Dammit.

Veteran of the Sole Wars
Gorlagg Knight-Kicker, Gatebreaker Gargant. Credit: Raf Cordero

Our next article is on the Sons of Behemat, the expansion of the old Warhammer Giant kit into a whole dang faction. These tribes of gargantuan monsters stomp around the mortal realms, crushing towns, fighting other monsters, and generally ruining everyone’s day. A few different varietals of Mega-Gargants are detailed here, with art and a description of their general role. That role is typically “smash stuff” but it’s a matter of what stuff they prefer smashing.

Finally, we have a Battle Record for the Stormcast Eternal character Gardus Steel-Soul. This Hallowed Knight is incorruptible, and you can find anyone whose read one of his novels by shouting “Only the faithful!” at an Age of Sigmar tournament. But what’s he doing here in our little corner of the mortal realms? Let’s roll and find out:

The Kruleboyz were massing, spears at the ready and murder in their eyes. The citizen militia defenders of the Balsa Woods huddled behind their thin barricades, preparing to loose their meagre arrows when the attacking force got into range. Just then, a bolt of lighting split the sky and earth, blasting a crater in the soft loam of Garagevale. At its center knelt Gardus Steel Soul, Hallowed Knight, Lord-Celestant, and Stormcast Eternal. One fist was on the ground, a sword in its grip, the other held aloft with a lightning-enwreathed hammer between its fingers. Looking around, Gardus realized he had missed his mark. He was a solid 90 paces from the Orruk horde, who had largely ignored him as they beset upon the defenders of the Wood. The humans he’d been sent to protect hadn’t even noticed his extremely flashy entrance; all that showmanship for nothing. With a heavy sigh he shot back up to Azyr, hoping his next three point landing would find itself a more appreciating audience.

The Hobby Materials

Lord-Celestant of the Hallowed Knights, Gardus Steel Soul. Credit: Cronch

This week we get our first non-Thunderstrike Stormcast model, Gardus Steel Soul. Against all odds, he’s the only Games Workshop miniature at time of publication doing the three-point superhero landing. I think at least some of that is due to the physical constraints of “giant dudes in giant armor with giant weapons” getting in the way of that pose, but I applaud both the restraint and skill of the sculptors to make this model come to life. He’s only 15 chunky pieces and goes together easily, save for his finnicky hammer cape. He’s got a spare helmeted head option too, but I generally prefer the bareheaded look as it lends these models far more humanity. Painters are instructed to only attach him to his sculpted base using sticky tack, a product that I’m surprised Games Workshop doesn’t sell considering how often it is recommended. You can get a slab of the stuff at any office supply store for a few bucks. The problem with this particular subassembly is that painters will likely need to hold him by the spikes on his halo or said finnicky hammer cloak during painting, provided they don’t temporarily mount him to a scrap base or pill bottle or something. I would also recommend painting his head separately if you go the bareheaded route, as it has a large contact point and the collar of his armor is a pretty receptive bucket to place it in. The painting instructions get him to a respectable stopping point, identifiable in the colors of the Hallowed Knights but still missing a skintone, shades, and highlights. More shades and layer paints are to come in the future, so I assume we’ll revisit him later.

The Gaming Materials

Da Kunnin’ Krew. Credit: Rich Nutter

We appropriately get rules for Gardus, with the notion that his Hallowed Knights keyword will only be applying to him. This makes his Saintly Assault ability kinda crummy, but I’d recommend players go off script and use the Hallowed Knights keyword for all their Stormcast should they choose. We don’t have their allegiance abilities yet, but hopefully will eventually. Gardus is a fairly tanky and somewhat punchy character, though I don’t like the stupid insistence that the hammer cloaks Stormcast characters wear are ranged weapons. Their middling shooting profile seldom affect the game, and the notion that his cape is a gun is too silly, even for me. We get tutorials for how to use him, as well as an updated Beast-Skewer Killbow warscroll. More importantly, we learn about Battle Rounds and Priority Rolls. This also means we get to learn about the much-ballyhooed Double Turn, a rule every warham seems to have a differently vitriolic opinion on. Since this is my column, you’re getting mine: I wouldn’t be sad to see the Double Turn go. It occasionally lets a player on the backfoot get back in the game, but more often than not it means the game is over on turn 2, or the winning player gets to turn a slight lead into a blowout. It also means the other player can often be stuck waiting in a reactive state for like an hour, which I can’t imagine anyone really enjoys. However, new players can develop an opinion for themselves in this week’s mission, Soul of Steel. Gardus and a smattering of Stormcast Heroes face off against a horde of Kruleboyz in their best approximation of a video game horde mode circa 2010. The mission is simply to murder each other while you learn the ins and outs of the priority system. It should be a decent showcase of Gardus’ abilities, provided he doesn’t get sniped by the Killbow turn 1, which would at the very least be very funny.

Final Verdict:

Gardus is a cool model I’ve thought of picking up before, but I couldn’t justify the $40 price tag. This issue’s $13.99 cover price represents a neat 65% savings, placing him comfortably in that impulse buy zone. He’s also the only Stormcast model in this magazine locked to a subfaction beyond Hammers of Sigmar, so that might change how a player feels about him. The dense lore section this week has a load of fun material in it, and the included tutorials for the gameplay section should get new players thinking about how best to use the double turn mechanics. While we’re winding down this edition of Age of Sigmar, this is still a strong issue, and one of the denser ones thus far.

See you next issue, warhams.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.