SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 27

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.

I’m just gonna use my little preamble ramble space to let you know we’re doing some video stuff now! It won’t be affecting our written content, as it’s mostly just me and some weirdos doing it on the side. Go check out our announcement, and then come back and read this article. It’s okay, I can wait.

The Narrative Materials

Sorcerous Tzeentch Arcanites can find some interesting uses for Twist of Fate. Credit: Requizen

We open this week with an article titled The Arcanum Optimar. I double-dog-dare you to say the title of this article in anything but your best Dr. Orpheus impression. The Arcanum Optimar was an event within Nagash’s Necroquake where the magical seals holding Sigmar’s Stormvaults were broken, unleashing arcane energies now known as Endless Spells. Stormvaults range from tiny caches of magical doodads to giant underground prisons containing monsters too strange to kill. These vaults are so numerous that Sigmar himself has lost count, opening up a bounty of possibilities for stories and missions going forward. Will we have to recover Sigmar’s lost keys? Find out which Stormvault contains his 2023 tax returns? Tune in next edition to find out!

After a few weeks away, we return to Venom, an ongoing narrative series about Killaboss Golmrog City-Eata. When last we saw him, his own boss Skumdrekk had come to collect some debts. Golmrog gets to live despite coming up short, but only if he can capture the Stormcast warrior who scarred him and bring her back to Skumdrekk. Without enough boyz to hunt the Stormcast down, Golmrog goes out into the wilds to enlist the aid of some grots from the Gloomspite Gitz. After camouflaging his crew with mud, they find and surround a gobbo foraging for mushrooms, only to themselves be ambushed and surrounded by an even bigger pack of grots. It’s not an amazing story, but it’s fun reading about how happy these orruks are to lie, cheat, and insult each other as they embark on their quest for revenge. Honestly, the story doesn’t super matter to me as much as the insights into Kruleboy kulture, like their handshakes all being variations of mercy, or their respect for lying so long as it makes for a good story.

Closing out the narrative section is a Battle Record for our new friends, a pack of Gryph-Hounds. These critters are loyal, loving companions, equal parts war dog and emotional support animal.

Cordera raised her shield just in time to block an attack from the Kruleboy before her. Too pressured by the weight of the Gutrippa’s swings to retaliate, all she could do was stand behind her tower shield. From the corner of her eye she saw the rapid approach of her Gryph-Hound companion, Archibald. The beast had been her guardian side since it was but a whelp, proving itself on battlefield after battlefield. Archibald barreled into the Gutrippa, knocking the Orruk to the ground and freeing Cordera from his vicious attacks. As Archibald tore the throat from the prone Kruleboy, a hobgrot leapt from the bushes with the intent to kill the Gryph-Hound. Cordera hurled her spear into the grot, pinning it to a tree and killing it instantly. Standing side by side with her Gryph-Hound companion, she had to think: Who rescued who?

The Hobby Materials

Gryph-hounds. Credit: Rich Nutter

The models this week are a pack of six Gryph-Hounds, the goodest boys and girls a Stormcast Eternal could ask for. I do quite like these models, even if I was not able to get a set painted in time for this review. Instead, I’ve included Rich Nutter’s Gryph-Hounds from the Knight-Judicator, as they are largely similar. These critters are spread out over four sprues, with the option to build a Gryph-Hound Alpha. Each goes together in four pieces, with a somewhat prominent seam running down the middle. The models are larger than I expected, taking up a good amount of space on their 40mm bases. The painting instructions are simple but will get them tabletop ready in no time, relying on Contrast for color and shading, then a simple drybrush to get some highlights. Hobbyists are encouraged to paint them in multiple colors or have them match, and I appreciate the invitation to explore your creativity.

The Gaming Materials

Lord-Aquilor on Gryph-Charger. Credit: Michael Blatherwick

This week is all about attacking, with the full rules for the attack sequence in shooting and melee. Of course this is bolstered by the rules for the command abilities All-Out Attack and All-Out Defense, two of the simplest yet most useful commands in Age of Sigmar. You can give them a try in this week’s mission, Thunder Run, in which a fast moving spearhead containing the Lord-Aquilor, Stormstrike Chariot, and the Gryph Hounds are attempting to take ground from a Loonboss, Da Kunnin’ Krew, and a Marshcrawla Sloggoth. The mission at first seems simple until it turns into Calvinball. There’s a trio of terrain pieces to fight over, and whoever holds the most at the end wins. Easy. The twist is that, at the end of each player turn, they may set up a unit from their collection anywhere within 6″ of the table edge and more than 9″ from any enemy units, but you can’t set them up if they were destroyed this battle. Note how I said from their collection, not army list, meaning anything and everything you’ve gotten thus far in Stormbringer is fair game. I’ve played games like this as both a wilding out tween and a half-drunk adult, and it’s pure chaos. I don’t recommend this mechanic for every game, but there’s a “fuck it, we ball” energy here that’s hard to frown at.

Final Verdict:

A pack of six Gryph-Hounds is $33.50, which is far more than I remember them being. For the longest time they were in the limited selection of kits one could credibly impulse buy at a GW store, but even with the “$20 is an adult $5” mindset, it’s kinda steep for a group of cheap screening birbdogs. However, at this issue’s cover price of $13.99, they become far, far more viable a purchase, and they’re one of the easier units to fit into a Stormcast army list. The lore section gives some cool insight to Kruleboy society, and the game section contains a wild scenario for a casual, fun game. I don’t think it’s the best issue of Stormbringer thus far, but I enjoyed it.

See you next issue, warhams.

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