SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 26

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.

If you told teenage me that, in the future, two professional wrestlers would be at a Warhammer tournament playing a live game to an audience around the world, I would have told you “wrestling is fake”. Shortly thereafter, an era-appropriate kid wearing a pair of knockoff Oakleys from K-Mart and a shirt for a motorcycle he could not legally own would punch me in the stomach and call me a slur. Far, far later in life would I realize wrestling isn’t fake: it’s scripted, and there is an important distinction between the two.

The Narrative Materials

Lumineth Realm-Lords army. Credit: Rich Nutter

It’s an aelf aextravaganza this week, as we’ll be learning about not one, not two, not four, but three different factions of the haughty knife-ears. First are the Lumineth Realm-Lords, inheritors of the classic “high elf” archetype defined by grace and wisdom. They live orderly, disciplined lives dedicated to knowledge and balance with their environment. Elemental spirits, magically-enhanced weaponry, and a smug sense of superiority are just a few of the arrows in their particularly well-crafted quiver. They worship Tyrion and Teclis, two ascended elves of The Old World, and carry the magic of Hysh along with them in crystals of aetherquartz. After working up a good charge in these JO crystals, they can unleash their power to temporarily boost their already powerful abilities. I hate playing against them.

Next are the Daughters of Khaine, who took on some of the old Dark Elf models and spun them off into a faction of gladiatrixes and medusae. They’re a blood-crazed warrior cult devoted to wiping out the forces of Chaos, and proof that just because your faction says “Order” on the tin, it doesn’t necessarily equate with “good guys.” Much like the Lumineth, they too follow an Old World luminary – Morathi, ascended now to Morathi-Khaine. The Daughters of Khaine are formed of souls stolen back from Slaanesh, and this magic takesies-backsies means they get an awful lot of mutation. Instead of Chaos mutations that make you ugly and gross, they get mutations that make them look cool, like bat wings and snake bodies. There’s more to the faction post-Dawnbringers V, but that was clearly written after this.

Last in our triptych of aelfdom are the Idoneth Deepkin. These were former followers of Mathlann from the World-That-Was, and were essentially Teclis’ discarded (yet much cooler) first draft of the Lumineth. They’re cursed with withering souls, and their place in the social order of Idoneth culture is based on how strong said soul is. The only way to keep their souls from completely fading away are by stealing them from other living beings in soul raids. 40k fans will find some commonality with Dark Eldar/Drukhari here, but Idoneth get a leg up on those bondage elves by riding flying sharks and sea turtles into battle.

That’s the last bit of pointy-ear talk for this issue, as it’s time to learn about Gorkamorka. No, not the classic 40k skirmish game we wrote an excellent two part article about, but the conglomerated name given to Gork and Mork, the Orc/Orruk/Ork gods. In Age of Sigmar, Gorkamorka is a two-headed god, representing Gork (brutal but kunnin) and Mork (kunnin but brutal). At times, they fight each other and split into their constituent parts, but like many fighting couples, they wind up back together in the end. They’re worshipped by the forces of Destruction, from the weediest grot to the stompiest gargant. In the Age of Myth, Sigmar fought alongside Gorkamorka to take on the Chaos gods, but that alliance didn’t last, because there wouldn’t be much of a game if they did. Worship of Gorkamorka isn’t complex; there’s no holy tomes or rituals involved in caving a guy’s head in or knocking over a castle.

While we have no new models this week, we do get a pair of Battle Records for our forces – one for our Dawnbringer Crusade, and another for our Gathering Waaagh!

The Dawners of the Vaultgate Crusade had a secret mission, made less secret by their conspicuous name: They were to strike out and found their city over one of Sigmar’s ancient Stormvaults – would it be one of his repositories of glittering treasures or the equivalent of building a city on a magical active volcano? Time would tell, but the Azyrite-born crusade hopefully had enough prophecy and foresight in its back pocket to avoid disaster.

Boss Skrubguts Numbtoof’s brain was on fire. Neurons he had never fired before were now lighting up off like fireworks. The bolt of green lightning that struck him filled his previously-empty skull with visions of war, conquest, and the sight of himself bigger, stompier, and even killier than he already was. His personal retinue, the Stonefists, were devoted utterly to his cause, hoping some of his greatness was trickle down to them. In their honor, Skrubguts named his Waaagh! Brutalfist, largely because he couldn’t think of any word more fist-y than “brutal”.

The Hobby Materials

Stormcast Eternals Knight-Incantor. Credit: SRM

This week’s a paint issue, which means I don’t need to paint a goblin in record time on top of a dozen other responsibilities, professional and otherwise. The two paints this issue are Khorne Red, a deep red Base paint, and Gryph-Hound Orange, a somewhat desaturated midtone orange. Khorne Red is a mainstay of my hobby, finding its way into the base reds of many of the Stormcast Eternals you see in these articles, the one above included. It covers nicely, provides a rich base color to work from, and doesn’t look too muddy. I’ll admit, I haven’t used Gryph-Hound Orange, but I see ample opportunity for its use on Fyreslayer beards, the fletching on arrows, or, indeed, even Gryph-Hounds. Instructions for the use of our paints are slight; picking out a couple Stormcast details and Kruleboyz ropes as good places to use Khorne Red. Gryph-Hound Orange will have to wait until we get some Gryph-Hounds, it seems.

The Gaming Materials

Grotz and Bolt-Skewers – Credit: RichyP

This week we get to play with a few more Command Abilities: Forward to Victory and Unleash Hell. The former lets you reroll a failed charge, while the latter is a defensive shooting ability akin to 40k’s Overwatch or Warhammer Fantasy’s Stand and Shoot. In addition to these are a few more pages of rules detailing the Shooting and Combat Phases in full, as well as some basic tutorials illustrating the aforementioned Command Abilities.

Our orders this week are to Hold or Die. I was always more of a Skate or Die guy myself, but until Age of Sigmar gets as cool as Necromunda, I’m afraid that’s going to remain an activity for scummers and cool teens. This mission has a force of Kruleboyz forming a classic Warhammer battle pile in the center of the table, with a surrounding force of Stormcast closing in for the kill. If a single Kruleboy is left alive at the end of the game, they win. This means their one truly sacrificial pawn is the Gloomspite Gitz Loonboss, which is an extremely goblinoid thing to have happen to you. The twist is that whenever a Stormcast unit is destroyed, it goes into reserves and can deep strike the next turn, making the prospect of Kruleboyz survival pretty dire. I’ve played plenty of these “relentless assault”-style missions throughout my life, from The Alamo to Helm’s Deep, and they’re usually good fun.

Final Verdict:

You’re getting $12.15 of paint for $13.99 this issue, which is always a pretty rough prospect. One of these paints is a mainstay of mine, so I can’t ding it too harshly. I enjoyed reading the meaty lore section this week, and the mission is even a pretty fun one. How much mileage you’ll get there will vary though, and unless you’re interested in a crash course in Aelfdom, this might be a pass for you.

See you next issue, warhams.

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