SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 29

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.

Listen, I’ve had a week y’all. We put out a lengthy video in record time on the new 40k missions that involved no small amount of crunch, my cat Esmeralda got the last of her teeth removed and required plenty of medical care, and my wife was out of commission with what was probably everyone’s favorite coronavirus. You ever medicate a cat after going blind staring at the Premiere timeline for 12 hours? I don’t recommend it!

The Narrative Materials

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Realm of Chaos opens up this week’s narrative section, expounding upon that titular realm. It exists outside the Mortal Realms, which are themed after the colleges of magic from old Warhammer Fantasy. Instead, this realm is made up of the essences of the four Chaos Gods (we do not recognize The Horned Rat in this house) and each realm is appropriately suited to each God, kind of like a theme park in hell. Now, “a theme park in hell” does describe literally every theme park in Florida, but somehow, this is worse. The threat is that should the Chaos Gods actually win their war in the Mortal Realms, each will reflect the endless madness and bloodshed of this particular realm. It would be interesting to see the narrative develop to a point where Chaos wholly transforms another realm, but by the edict of Sigmar, we cannot allow Florida to expand.

Speaking of fetid swamps and burgeoning plagues, the next section recounts the Blight War. This box set/narrative involved a battle between Nurgle’s Daemons and the Stormcast Eternals in Ghyran, the Realm of Life. Most importantly, this story introduced Neave Blacktalon, who is now one of the faces of Age of Sigmar, with a lovely set of models and several pieces of tie-in fiction. Neave’s forces were able to flank Horticulous Slimux’s gaggle of Daemons early in the conflict, disrupting their rituals and gaining an early advantage. The Stormcast unfortunately overextended into a Dark Soulsian toxic swamp, losing many of their number before ultimately banishing Slimux and winning the conflict.

It’s time to go back to Ulgu, the Realm of Shadow, which gets a smidge of history this week. It seems like a tedious place to live, where everyone is one-upping each other on the sneakiness factor at all times. Oh, you’re a sneaky dude living in Misthavn, cutting purses and throats in equal measure? Well tough luck, pal, the Skaven Clans Eshin are right behind you, and are twice as clever. Oh, what’s that behind the sneaky ratmen? Well, Malerion and Morathi have been here the whole time. Oh! What’s that? Morathi is actually The Masque in disguise! Just as planned. Man, I don’t care how cheap the rent is, just move.

The Armies of Azyr get a centerfold, and it’s one so nice they gave me two of them. Maybe I’ll slide it under my neighbor’s door, but they’ll probably see me on their Ring and gun me down preemptively. The first thought I had whilst poring over the lovely photography in this centerfold was that more than half of the Stormcast pictured were Legends now. I get why it had to happen, but it bums me out. There’s also some lovely art of Azyrheim, the art deco golden city where Sigmar makes his home. It looks somewhere between Rapture and a wizard van and I would absolutely love to visit there. This is pretty much what Sigmar and his Stormcast Eternals are fighting for, and if the rest of the realms could look more like this and less like screaming pits of skulls and fire, things would probably be pretty okay. The meat of the article instead focuses on what this place means to the forces of Order. To the Stormcast, this is where they are forged and reforged again, where they train in the Gladitorium, and where the Lords of the Stormcast plan their wars. Regular humans, aelves, and duardin live and work here, and muster their own armies to wage war in the realms. The Seraphon have lived there as long as anyone can remember, and use Azyr as their base of operations. The only ne’er do-wells in the realm as far as we can tell were the Dragon Ogors, who Sigmar personally drove out long, long ago. They’d be seeking revenge if they weren’t also in the Legends-hole.

Our narrative selection this week closes out with some battle record tables you can roll on for Champions of Ghur. These are a way to generate more background for heroes, units, and creatures. I’ll roll up a trio for my cats, using the tables I find to be most appropriate:

Noomi was scarred (slightly frightened) in a territorial duel with a great beast (the vacuum cleaner), and now seeks revenge.
Esmeralda is not a simple creature of meat and bone like you or I – she is a pure manifestation of bestial magic (she is a black cat and is very hard to find when she hides in the closet, and somehow takes up half of the bed despite being 9 pounds)
BJ Blazcowhiskers is a great gargant-hunter (he will climb your leg) who has made his name slaying the greatest foes of the Mortal Realms (anyone who visits my house)

The Hobby Materials

Abraxia, Spear of the Everchosen. Credit: SRM

Above you’ll see Abraxia, Spear of the Everchosen. She’s not actually in this issue, but I used Barak-Nar Burgundy as a basecoat on her lizard so I can speak from some experience with one of this week’s included paints: Barak-Nar Burgundy. The Burgundy has solid coverage, and is just a pleasant reddish purple color. I used it as the base of the monster here, but the paint guides will instruct you to use it on the leather of various weapon hafts throughout your collection. It’s a nice way to add some color to what can so often just be a neutral. The other paint this week, Runelord Brass, is mostly used to vary up the coloration on the various Orruk weaponry. It’s a nice light brass/bronze color, I’d probably use it to highlight Balthasar Gold.

The Gaming Materials

Stormcast Vindictors. Credit: SRM

The gaming section this week does something very cute, with little tactics boxouts for all of the factions we’ll be collecting throughout Stormbringer. In addition to this, we have focuses on Vindictors and Gutrippaz with little positives and negatives about each unit. Honestly they’re pretty good advice, even if they won’t be enough to win a GT or whatever. I can imagine a newcomer to wargaming reading this and maybe getting some guidance on how to use their various units. We’ll probably see more of these going forward. From an objective standpoint, I get the notion that these are here to fill the gaming section out, as we’re pretty much at the end of AoS’ (soon to be outdated at time of this review) rulebook.

Our mission this week takes us back to Ulgu, with Fog of War. Kruleboyz have infiltrated behind the Stormcast lines to break an ongoing stalemate between the two forces, but they’ve run into an elite Stormcast patrol in the mountain pass. The objective of this mission is simple – just get more of your dudes into your enemy deployment zone than they get into yours. The kicker is the map, which is a Z-shaped combination of two of our mats from the magazine, with the borders of the mats blocking line of sight and movement. Playing with the shape of the game board is unusual in GW’s mainline games, and I’m so happy to see it here. It kind of reminds me of laying out D&D maps using K’nex as a tween.

Final Verdict:

Paint issues are always rough, as the $13.99 price point of this magazine comes up against like 10 bucks of paint. The paint section is fairly thorough in walking you through where to apply these new paints, but the lore section is an absolute smorgasbord of fun reading material, and the mission is creative and fun in a way that even the missions in the General’s Handbook aren’t. Listen, I know 4th edition is right around the corner, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having a grand ol’ time with this issue.

See you next issue, warhams.

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