Games Workshop dropped another great digital preview on us today, showing off new models and releases for games across their ranges, covering Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda, and Warhammer 40k. Our authors sat down to discuss the new releases, what they mean, and what they’re most excited for.
The Round table
- Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
- Alice “RagnarokAngel” Lirette
- Dan “The Sex Cannon” Boyd
- Andrew “Pendulin” Haywood
Aos: Let’s Talk about the Soulblight Gravelords. How hype are you for the AoS Vampire Counts update?
Thundercloud: I am exceedingly hype. When Cursed City was announced I dusted off my Skeleton Warband for Underworlds and repainted them to get some painted skeletons on hand, and I really enjoyed painting them. The new minis pretty universally look great (the only exception I feel is the Vampire character and bloodknights, both of which I feel would benefit from darker red for the armour as they are very bright and not as gothic as they could be at the moment).
The Wight King on horse is a great callback to old art and the new skeleton warriors are in the same vein, with armour and helmets that you can rust up and which mean your skeletons aren’t going into battle naked. The vampire bats are animated and get rid of the old falling over problem that plagued them throughout previous incarnations. The AoS range continues to show the additional modelling opportunities and dynamism that can be brought to minis by leaving rank and flank (and the necessity to rank up) behind. This range shows how good Oldhammer stuff can look in AoS, and I really hope we see more ‘old’ ranges revisited like this (as it looks likely Wood Elves will be). Zombies are nice but monopose, though in a game where the individual poses of Zombies are important are you going to be using more than 10-20? Now GW can finally retire the Zombie kit from 4th edition fantasy. They look good, very crawling from the grave, and are very characterful. The Vampire and bloodknights I’m more meh about, but I think this is a product of the paintjob, and with a different armour scheme they’ll look great.
Neon: Straight off the bat, this is so cool. While I’m a little disappointed it’s not the all Vampire army the leaks and speculation was leaning towards (I’m sure there’ll be options for a Vampire focused force in the book), a big old refresh of the long neglected Death line is absolutely welcome. New Vamp lords own, new Blood Knights FUCK, new Zombies are extremely characterful and the new Skeletons are rad, though part of me wants the current box to stick around, as it’s not a bad kit and an absolute treasure trove of bitz for adding a bit of boney flavour.
That said, it is a wonder of what exactly they’re gonna add to the old Vampire Counts roster to fill in the gaps all the Ghouls and Ghosts left when they ran off to become a bespoke faction. If this release ends up being JUST what they showed off, with the option to ally in from other Death factions like Legions of Nagash does, that’s gonna feel like a tiny bit of a let down. Refreshing old Fantasy Battles stuff is cool, but brand new stuff will always win out.
SRM: I’m so, so happy there’s a dedicated home for the old-school WHFB Vampire Counts armies again. It always felt to me like an army that would slot into AoS nicely and is so “Warhammer” that it had to find a decent place in the Mortal Realms. The new Blood Knights look exactly how I would hope they would, and it’s about damn time the zombies got a rework. I was a little perplexed that the skeletons were getting a new kit as the existing one is pretty dang good, but I like the adhesion to the Cursed City aesthetic.
Dan: I’ve been saying recently that if I were to start AoS, i’d jump in with Sylvaneth, because I love the idea of really mad trees. I truly don’t care much for tree-themed elves, though, so there has always been a bit of hesitation. But, I’m a longtime Von Carstein mark, and these new vampire models fuck. My first ever models in the mid-90s were Undead skeletons and zombies, and the classic, Old World, Sylvania motif is exactly my shit. There is a better than zero chance that cha boi dips a toe into AoS once these new Undead hit the shelves.
RagnarokAngel: Everyone saying this “slots in” nicely with Age of Sigmar are forgetting Legions of Nagash! Legions of Nagash were my first army that I really committed to in Age of Sigmar, hence my necromancer flair and I’ve been twiddling my thumbs wondering what they were going to do about it. After several leaks and teases through Cursed City it looks like Soulblight are going to be the successor to Legions of Nagash. As cool as Ossiarch Bonereapers have been, I missed the classic ghouls and ghosts of Legions. I’m excited to come back to this again and make my table look like a Spirit Halloween store yet again.
WHUW: What do we think of the Ossiarch Underworlds Warband?
I didn’t like the Bonereapers range on release, as it looked very Tyranid-y, but the models here look more dynamic than the AoS range and I can see myself painting these up to be agents of Nagash sent to keep an eye on the tricky Vampires that Nagash is ‘trusting’ to command his forces.
SRM: Aside from Big Bone Daddy, this set doesn’t do it for me. The regular jobbers aren’t too special, and while the sergeant-looking dude descending the stairs is alright, everything is overshadowed by the large lad.
RagnarokAngel: Since I dont play Underworlds myself, I continue to wish that Warbands get better in AoS, since these always seem like a way for the sculpters to flex their muscles with new ideas and cool poses. Love the commander, the other guys are kinda eh, just new poses for stuff we have. Except for that bow guy, wonder what thats about?
Necromunda: They obviously had to change some things with Redemptionists. Do the new models get there?
Thundercloud: To be fair they had to get rid of the capirotes (the hoods). In Catholicism they are a symbol of penance and go with the religious fanatics who scourge themselves and burn people for not being as fanatical as they are, but at this point Americans have taken over the symbolism and it’s entirely associated in the common understanding with racist terrorism. It’s like nazis and swastikas and anyone plastering their minis in swastikas and telling people it’s an ancient symbol of good luck, it’s just they’re using it with the exact same stylings used in 1930s and 40s Germany and that’s totally a coincidence wink wink is going to similarly be a disingenuous asshole. It also makes me hopeful ratskins are going to be done better and not a “Native Americans but in the Underhive” analog. Hopefully we’ll see Scavvies and Ash Nomads first and they’ll take some time to give Ratskins some proper thought and design time.
The minis look solid but don’t excite me too much. They’ll look great in inquisitor 28 and I can already hear people salivating about that, and I just really want to see some rules to include these in 40k forces with penitent crusades or retinues for priests. It’ll be interesting to see how much is possible from the sprues. I’m always going to like chainsaw flamethrowers though.
TheChirurgeon: I’m here for it but there were a lot of bad ideas in Outlanders that have been mostly folded into other gangs so far. It’ll be interesting to see what they do if they tackle Spyrers – Van Saar really feel like they’re occupying a lot of that design space. Anyways, these rip and I love what they’ve done to update the designs. That one guy with the cage helmet has very strong “Fire Man from Mega Man I” energy.
Neon: Honestly at this point if I see anyone decrying the removal of the hoods, I’m gonna just assume they’re not operating in good faith. The Specialist Games team have done a good job here, not just in removing the unfortunate allusions but tying the new designs in with 40k as a whole, between the masks and nooses they share with Cawdor and the low-rent aesthetics they’ve copied off the Blackstone Fortress/Szeras victim Imperial Priests.
Dan: I love, love, love these new Redemptionists! My first gang way back in the 90s was Redemptionist and I am 100% going to build a Cawdor/Redemptionist crusade. Necromunda models are generally awesome, and these new ones are no exception! They have completely nailed the flame-obsessed fanatic theme, and I am thrilled.
RagnarokAngel: I picked up a DeLaque gang for Necromunda, and it was a toss up between them and Cawdor. Ultimately while I am a sucker for the faux-Catholic aesthetic, I didn’t much care for the trash look. Love these guys and might consider a second gang as a result.
Thoughts on the Hive War starter set?
Thundercloud: Necromunda needed an entry level starter and now it has one. Two gangs, a little bit of Zone Mortalis terrain and all the templates and dice you need. From there you get the plastic tiles, some more terrain and start expanding your chosen gang. Eschers are one of the poster child gangs so not surprised to see them, and the minis are still good.
The Adeptus Titanicus starter set is great and actually worth buying more than once, though I don’t expect to sell people more than one of these each.
SRM: It’s kind of a mishmash of the Dark Uprising and Underhive starter sets and I’m not sure how I feel about it. The play surface looks positively tiny, but it’ll at least be dense. Delaque vs. Escher is a weird matchup for a starter set too, as they’re both fragile finesse gangs that rely heavily on midrange shooting and tricks like poison. There isn’t the contrast you’d get from Escher vs. Goliath or Enforcers vs. Corpse Grinders like in the other two box sets.
Dan: On the other hand, Goliath and Corpse Grinders can be a lot for new players to deal with, and Escher vs. Delaque might be a little more accessible. Either way, having an actual starter set can only be a good thing for Necromunda.
40K: Looks like AdMech are next up in April. How do we feel about that and the new Skitarii HQ?
Thundercloud: I was truthfully expecting Sisters due to the book tie in coming out in April, but with the new Lieutenant, Nundams and Nunator announced and promises of more minis it looks like it is Admech next. New Skitarii HQ looks good, and opens up the possibility of doing a techpriest free Skitarii combat patrol to go ranging around with no one there to pick up every piece of scrap and look at it for ten minutes before telling some servitor to carry it back to the ship. I’d have liked to see more Admech units, but with the additional release wave they got of birdmen and Skitarii horse dudes there is actually a decent amount of pure Skitarii to run.
I’d love to see more Admech or even just some of the FW stuff ported over to 40k (even if it’s just the Myrmidons, Thallax and Tech Thralls that would open up a bunch of different ways of building an army). I’m sure we are all full of faith that Forgeworld will finish Fires of Cyraxis after failing to write it during 7th and 8th edition due to no one being bothered to write it. Similarly the Custodes book they were meant to do for 8th edition.
TheChirurgeon: I’m surprised Admech are next up but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised given what’s in Charadon (note: Does this mean Knights are also coming up this year?). The new HQ looks great and I’m interested to see where they go with the book. Looks like more of a minor update similar to Death Guard where they incorporate all of the Engine War stuff but there’s a lot of work to be done with Admech from an internal balance standpoint – if they can make the Metalica trait better that’ll go a long way to making that subfaction playable.
Neon: New Skitarii dude is cool, it’s something people have wanted pretty much since the faction was released in 7th and I’m glad they got one at last. Biggest hope is that the book sits down and shakes up the army’s dynamics a little bit, there’s a lot of chaff options in the Ad Mech roster that really deserve a second chance.
Also goddamn seconding Thundercloud above. The main rules team needs to send Forgeworld to go play with some resin lumps in the corner and finish writing rules for all the Mechanicus toys they have scattered about.
That being said, the Skitarii Marshal is a fantastic looking model that will be jumping to the front of my painting queue on release day. As for it’s tabletop impact, I suspect we’ll be seeing pretty significant changes to the roboboys with their upcoming codex. It’s anyone’s guess as to what their strengths and weaknesses will be on the other side of that looking glass. But if the Marshal offers rerolls of 1’s to wound like a Lieutenent, then I’d be surprised if it doesn’t become a must-have unit.
How about that new Sororitas tank? Is Codex: Sororitas after admech?
Thundercloud: Predators are back baby, and in a slightly better version. I think not having a triple heavy flamer version is a missed opportunity, but it looks like this tank is there to chew up hordes using piles of heavy bolter dice. The tank looks great and fills another hole in the Sisters range.
TheChirurgeon: One of the cooler things they can do is slowly rotate the older marine gear into Adepta Sororitas. They aren’t going to do new sculpts for the Rhino or Predator for marines, but they can sure as hell give us Sororitas ones with all-new details and they don’t even have to scale them up. It’s win-win.
Also it’s looking like the Sisters book is more on the level of a full line expansion than just a “single new hero model” Codex release. Good for them.
Neon: Sisters just keep on winning. At the turn of the year when they announced the Palatine I was convinced it’d just be her and the new book. Then the Nundams came stomping in, and now we have the Predaher. I am absolutely over the moon and it’s legit nice that they seem to be really thinking about what the Sisters need to plug gaps in their roster (discount Sororitas HQ, frontline tank, tough melee brawlers).
Also goddamn, can I just gush about the Castigator? Not only does the Sisters’ typical filigree and shrines aesthetics look great as always, but just the basic design of the thing is really satisfying. Like goddamn, that turret looks like it could actually fit the crew and the firing mechanisms in. It’s an honestly believable Ham tank.
I think it’s a decent looking tank. I think it’s funny that, to reasonably accommodate crew and ammo, the turret is almost 1:1 with the size of the Rhino chassis underneath it. Hopefully the sponsons are more durable than the Space Marine Predator’s and don’t snap off at the slightest provocation. Rob’s point that Sisters can start taking Space Marine hand-me-downs and re-contextualize them is pretty good though – they’ve already got a way cooler Whirlwind and Razorback with the Exorcist and Immolator, so why not take more old Marine toys?
Holy shit Orks! Beast Snaggas! What?!
TheChirurgeon: They look pretty rad but I want to see some new cyboar models. My guess is also that the Ork they previewed earlier (for whom we just got a shot of their abs) Is also from this new line of Primaris Orks who will almost certainly be T5, 2W and have “Orkishly Resilient” that reduces incoming damage by 1 and when this gets published in a preview I will scream until blood runs out the holes on my head and I die. I’ll be happy for Ork players, though.
This is illustrative of the GW approach to the heavily established armies. I have Orks going back to Rogue Trader. I got three lots of the starter with Ork boyz when it came out. I do not need more Ork boyz as I already have more than a hundred. This is why GW release entirely new things like Primaris, and replaced Fantasy with AoS. There are more space marines sloshing around in people’s collections than exist in the background, and GW need to sell minis to keep going. So you slide back to through time to 1991 and the Rogue Trader supplement Ere We Go, which detailed the Snakebite clan and introduced Ork Boarboyz. Then you update this to take into account 30 years of background progress and model tech, and you end up with Snakebitez riding big squigs into battle. It gives you an entirely new way of playing Orks, tickles people’s nostalgia glands and provides a new range of Ork minis for Ork players to collect. It also promises to give people on the internet another Orktober to complain about.
TheChirurgeon: That all makes sense but you better believe that I am absolutely here for another Orktober meltdown about Orks. I particularly look forward to us publishing a review that’s like “watch out everyone, the new Ork book looks pretty strong” and seeing the wailing and gnashing of teeth from people who are desperate for their book to be bad. Do you know how much shit we catch when we dare to say that a new book/release is good?
Neon: But Rob! They’re only getting about 5-6 brand new kits!
Like, on one hand I really do understand that it sucks that your basic troop kit is a 3rd edition relic, but goddamn Ork players do go out of their way to disprove their own adage about being the chill part of the 40k community.
In actual seriousness, this release is completely unexpected and pretty damn cool. Feral Orks were a neat concept that really could benefit from a modern revamp, between getting rid of the unfortunate aspects that AoS’s Bonesplitterz insist on clinging onto, to giving them more of a place within the setting beyond “a neat thing you can do if you have some Fantasy boars laying around”. Also, Squig Mounts>Boars. I don’t wanna hear it, regular ass boars being a thing Orks just happen to find no matter the planet is really dumb.
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