SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 30

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 week is leading into the wildest time for AoS content on Goonhammer in, well, ever, so thanks for reading this silly little corner of the website where I bash my dollies together. Even with a new edition, I will be over here, waxing poetic about a magazine that still encourages readers to get their parents’ help with cutting out objective markers.

The Narrative Materials

Khagra’s Ravagers. Credit: SRM

Slaves to Darkness get point of pride this month, with a Darkoath Warqueen on the cover and a Magic card-level amount of text supporting the faction. In unambiguous terms, they’re Bad Dudes and occasionally their rapacious rampaging results in ascension to daemonhood. The Chaos-worshipping tribes don’t have as much nuance as they’d later get, but when you only have a few sentences it can be hard to fit more than “nasty brutish and short” in a flavor text section. Other steps on the path to glory are also touched on briefly, from iron-clad warriors of Chaos, to gibbering spawn, to the final goal of daemonhood. It’s pretty basic stuff but tells you what you need to know about the faction.

The next section concerns forbidden magic, and is written again by our Collegiate Arcane narrator. He spends most of the article sneering at lazy Chaos worshippers for taking the easy path, recommending a bunch of perfectly good dark magics for those edgy types. Orruks are described as having an “infuriating aptitude for magic”, which as someone who’s lost several centerpiece models to a Wurrgog Prophet’s Wurrgog Mask, I get. I love these particular articles; it would be so much easier to write a more objective view of how magic works, but these perspectives ground these practices from a human perspective while also telling an awful lot of jokes per page.

Next is a remarkably short story called Stubborn Oaths, in which a soft city-born Duardin convinces a Kharadron Overlord and a Fyreslayer to put aside their squabbling and fight some Tzeentchian cultists. Each character is a mouthpiece for their faction’s philosophy, and the writing is not especially good. I know, I know, pot meet kettle on that point of criticism. It does make me hope we get proper Cities of Sigmar Duardin units in the future, as I can only imagine more of the loaners from Warhammer Fantasy will find their way back to The Old World.

In a sequel to December’s issue 6, we have received a second unit of Hobgrot Slittaz. The surprising fact about Hobgrots is that they’re fairly well organized for Grots or Orruks, using their musicians to coordinate their attacks. Otherwise, this section even has a big ol’ “SECOND UNIT” subtitle, so we’ll pick up where we left off 24 issues ago:

Jagga admired his handiwork, his predecessor now little more than a piece of abstract art on the surfaces of the ruin around him. Jagga got the idea for how to dispose of his former boss from an ancient tactical manual he’d nicked in a previous raid – he had no idea how to read, but there were some very helpful drawings to learn him some good strategy. Gitgetta excitedly danced up next to him, his array of bottles and mushrooms eccentric even for a Moonclan Grot such as himself. Gitgetta offered Jagga a flask with a grinning moon, congratulating Jagga on his kunnin’ assassination attempt. Jagga downed the potion in one swig before immediately keeling over dead, himself the victim of a second, even more kunnin’ plan.

The Hobby Materials

Hobgrot Slittas. Credit: Rich Nutter

You could copy and paste the majority of my previous review for these models, but I’ll sum it up thusly: These models are sharply detailed, quick to build, and generally pretty appealing. In the intervening issues I’ve gotten to grips with far more Gloomspite Gitz though, and I like that classic Goblin aesthetic far more than the Hobgrot one. The assembly instructions are more or less a reprint of last time, as it’s the same kit with no differing options. Painting is a bit more fleshed out as we’ve amassed several new paints since those first few issues, but it’s still basic. I’ll level my normal complaint of “don’t basecoat orcs/goblins/permutations thereof in green” and instead recommend using brown or black, but I have another quibble I only just thought of: Hobgrots are typically yellow, not green. I don’t think GW makes a close match for their skintone at the moment, but I only just noticed this now.

The Gaming Materials

Stormcast Eternals Lord Imperatant – Credit: Colin Ward

A smidge more of the core rules finds its way to us this week, teaching us how to use garrisons and demolish defensible terrain features. Here at the closing hour of the edition, I can admit I have never used either rule. More importantly is a section on objective markers, replete with some illustrations showing how they are controlled. A set of 6 is on the back page of this issue, waiting to be cut out and used for our games. Players are told to keep score on a separate piece of paper, and a non-comprehensive list of models we have (and will later receive) through Stormbringer describes various models that are better at holding objectives. The new Control score that units have is far more intuitive than this older system, where objective control was tied to what keyword or wound characteristic a model had.

This week’s mission is Caravan of Carnage, a deliciously alliterative title for what amounts to a fairly standard matched play mission. After last week’s scenario, the sneakiest Orruks and grots have successfully snuck behind the Stormcast line and raided a Sigmarite caravan. A Stormcast Eternal rearguard must drive the grot-heavy force off from the valuables left behind. A row of objectives lines the center of a standard Dawn of War-style deployment, each representing the caravan and its loot. A friendly unit near an objective you control can use a command ability without spending a command point, representing the oodles of magical and practical loot left behind. It’s a small twist, but I like contextualizing objectives with a tangible benefit.

Final Verdict:

Hobgrot Slittaz are $60 for 20 models, so getting 10 for this issue’s $13.99 cover price is a fantastic value if you’re looking for more of the buggers. With 3rd edition coming to a close, they won’t be quite as readily available as they’ve been the past few years, so that’s something to consider as well. On its own merits, the rules section is absolutely fine, but is now functionally obsolete. The hobby section is decent, and the lore section touched on a wide variety of topics with a similarly wide variety of writing styles. For an issue doing so many things, it still manages to feel middle of the road, and I for one am not complaining.

See you next issue, warhams.

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