The Games Workshop 11/21 Preview Roundtable

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Games Workshop continued their strategy of doing digital previews on Saturday with one of their meatiest previews, showing off new models and upcoming releases for 40k, Age of Sigmar, Lord of the Rings, Underworlds, and Necromunda. As unabashed fans of those games we’re pretty hype and today we’re talking about what has us excited in the new previews and what we want to see.

Today’s Roundtable

  • Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
  • SRM
  • Garrett “John Condit” Severson
  • Neon
  • Mike “Ellarr” Chadderton
  • Dan “the Sex Cannon” Boyd
  • Alice “RagnarokAngel” Lirette
  • Liam “Corrode” Royle
  • Raf “captainraffi” Cordero

Which of the previews are you most excited about and why?

SRM: Sigvald and his Hot Bois, without a doubt. I love reinterpretations of classic Warhammer Fantasy characters in AoS, and the accompanying fabulous dipshits with him are gorgeous. It’s the right balance of fantasy tropes turned up to 11 without being too stupidly over the top that I’m very much here for.

Condit: Even though I’m currently painting and playing Iron Hands, Drukhari (nee Dark Eldar) were my first love when I got my first game of 40k in 20 years ago, and the range refresh they got a few years ago made me love them even more. Plus, the new Incubi are some of my favorite models in the entire 40k range, so seeing them get some love warms my tiny, shrivelled heart.

TheChirurgeon: I mean, I love Chaos in all its forms, all the time. So I’m extremely here for basically every reveal except for Van Saar and the Ent. The new campaign sounds cool even if we don’t know anything about it, I’m down for a new Crusade book and interested in seeing if this is how they’ll split competitive and Crusade content related to campaigns moving forward, and I may finally be starting in on Age of Sigmar with a Hedonites of Slaanesh army. That Underworlds gang is gorgeous.

Neon: From the moment they announced the theme I was buzzing. And while I ended up buying into the forlorn hope it would be Fulgrim’s Fancy Fam (again, again), getting Sigvald’s Scintillating Squad is a pleasant, unexpected surprise. Seeing new Death Guard jobbers was up there as well, I’ve got 5000pts of them mouldering in a cabinet from the start of 8th and it would be nice to dust them off, so was a mite miffed when it ended up just being campaign book stuff rather than their new codex.

Ellarr: I mean it’s gotta be Slaanesh right? For understandable storyline reasons Slaanesh has taken somewhat of a back seat in Age of Sigmar, though it still made a big splash on the competitive scene thanks to its suite of Daemonic goodies. Sigvald and co bring with it a rounding out of their unit selection and brings them in line in terms of range depth to the other Chaos Gods. Plus did you see Sigvald? Sploosh.

Dan: Big surprise, but it’s the Necromunda stuff that has me all hot under the collar. We had thought that Orlocks had the craziest Prospects, but no, Van Saar had to go show them up with Juves on actual hoverboards. Their new champions look intimidating as hell, too, with at least two extra arms and creepy spider masks. Van Saar need an update more than just about anyone else, and I’m hoping the the House of Artifice book gives them what they need to be competitive.

RagnarokAngel: Slaanesh, easily. That Sigvald model is beautiful and one of the biggest complaints for Hedonites of Slaanesh is the lack of diversity in options for units that other chaos gods get, particularly mortals. They look lovely to boot and are tempting me to start a Hedonites of Slaanesh army.

Liam: CODEX DRUKHARI. REALSPACE RAIDS, WHATEVER THOSE ARE. NEW DRUKHARI THINGS. THE DRUKHARI CODEX. DRUKHARI. The other stuff was cool too but my space dark elves are getting the love they deserve and I am here for it.

Raf: I’m excited we’re getting another Beyond The Veil style Crusade book; I’ve got high hopes that they use those releases to get experimental with the Crusade mode. The big one for me though, is the new Khagra’s Ravagers. These are some of the coolest models we’ve seen yet for Underworlds. I’m digging the big shields and the more muted chaos aesthetic we get on some of these Slaves to Darkness. I have some reservations about the previewed inspiration ability but as we obviously know very little about this season those reservations don’t mean much.

 

How do you feel about a new 40k Campaign Book? What are you hoping to see out of that?

Condit: I’m honestly a bit conflicted here. On the one hand, more cool stuff to build lists around is great, but adding rules for specific factions outside their codex is somewhat concerning.

SRM: I share that same concern, it’s one of the reasons I windmill slammed the snooze button on Psychic Awakening. I want to see campaign rules more limited to Crusade and campaign play, not really spilling out into Matched Play. I don’t expect anything game breaking out of it if Vigilus is anything to go by, but the options out there make my head spin already.

TheChirurgeon: It’s definitely a lot to be releasing this early into the edition; we’re basically four months into 9th edition and they’ve already released three major supplements for 40k: Chapter Approved 2020/The GT Missions Pack (essential), Beyond the Veil (great), and Tactical Deployment (complete dud). If these come out by February that’ll give us five in 8 months, and that’s a lot to push out. I’m also not super wild about them pushing out supplemental Death Guard rules at the same time as the Codex – that feels like selling me DLC that should have been included in the base game.

Liam: Yeah this is my main thing. Announcing Death Guard and Drukhari codexes and then also announcing “supplementary rules” for them in a separate campaign book arriving at the same time has a real zero-day DLC feel to it. I’ve seen people claiming that for some reason these rules won’t be Matched Play legal but that seems like denialism to me – explicitly narrative content shows up in Crusade books now, the idea that there would be a separate campaign book with “supplementary rules” which are nevertheless not intended for matched play is an odd one. It was bad enough when you had stuff like Psychic Awakening including Marine rules that felt like they should have been in the codex – if this is a pattern we’re going to follow for the rest of 9th, it’s a really consumer-unfriendly move. It also raises the question of what exactly is going to happen to the Imperial Knights and Ad Mech rules that are in this book – do you get the opposite effect where they only matter for a few months until they get a 9th ed codex, or is the codex just going to leave those bits out so you’re required to buy it?

RagnarokAngel: Same concerns as above but I also don’t want to go into full on “sky is falling” mode over it. I’m willing to wait and see and hope it leans towards the less bad outcome (interesting options that see niche play but are no means mandatory).

Raf: Surprising no one, I’m all about the expansive lore drops we get with these books but I totally get where everyone is coming from. With 4 factions in the Plague Purge, should we expect more multi-book series for different blocks of factions? For all its ups and downs I’ve enjoyed seeing the full PA set on my bookshelf because it felt like a major event but if we’re getting a bunch of micro PAs over the next couple years then I wonder how special any of them will feel.

Thoughts on the Drukhari and Dark Angels previews?

SRM: Having special rules for capturing Fallen owns extremely hard given how it applies to two units in the game that nobody uses. Honestly, anything that owns Greg is good in my book.

TheChirurgeon: My exact immediate thought was “no one ever plays Fallen, a group that literally do not work with the rules of 40k, so this will never matter, even if it is very cool.” So far too many Crusade rules are like that — putting your guy in a dreadnought is cool but then you have to die literally dozens of times to even have a chance at making it happen. The Drukhari stuff looks cool – Incubi being actual serious melee threats is long overdue.

RagnarokAngel: I appreciated GW actively stating how the Drukhari haven’t seen a ton of play stemming from the idea that they don’t quite play on the table how people want. They have suffered an identity crisis through the years, particularly because the book paints them as these tiny skirmish forces who warp in, get what they need and leave which makes them pretty poor for a war game. The compromise seems to make them glass cannon skirmishers which is probably what  most people really want. I’d like to see where this goes.

Liam: The new Incubi datasheet looks very good. Something that I said about the new Marine and Necron codexes was that they seemed to be setting a trend for the edition where GW were finally ready to shake up the game and take a serious look at stat lines again – so much of 40k’s potential design space has been limited in the past because GW were married to stats first established for 3rd edition, often with a mentality still carried over from 2nd. That seems to be holding true, as we see Incubi weapon skill boosted to a 2+ and a flat 2 damage on their weapons – they’re now properly deadly in melee and if they get the points right they could finally live up to their fluff as merciless killers. If the rest of the codex gets the same critical eye, my hopes are high. The Drukhari codex has been showing its age for a while, with the limited unit lists for each sub-faction and the restrictive nature of army building making for very samey armies – if the suggested fix from the stream gives them a way to be a little more diverse and interesting, then great.

What do you want to see out of the new Crusade book?

TheChirurgeon: They crushed it with Beyond the Veil so I won’t be upset if this is just a version of that with a Chaos coat of paint. That said, I do want to see them start to stretch out a bit more with what they’re doing in the Crusade space and wouldn’t mind seeing Crusade missions that give you something to do with Fortifications or give you weirder battlefields to play on. I think the Crusade missions we’ve gotten so far have been fine but kind of safe and while I get that each of these could be someone’s first Crusade experience, I’m hoping they start really playing around with what’s possible in a 40k mission.

Condit: There hasn’t really been a “miss” yet in the Crusade rules, and I’m hoping that pattern keeps up with this release. I’d like to see something along the lines of the Investigation Points resource that lets you do something unique to this new expansion. I’m also curious to see what sort of Crusade relics they give us, and how they’ll interplay with whatever comes out in the new campaign book.

TheChirurgeon: Given that they’ve done a similar mechanic with the Argovon campaign in White Dwarf, I’m now worried they’re going to just copy Investigation Points in every Crusade release.

RagnarokAngel: I haven’t been as sold on Crusade as I’d like, I think mostly it’s not quite as deep as I’d hope. I’m a Tabletop RPG player though so I acknowledge you have to reach some middle ground between full character customization and what 40k is. I think the other problem is that the whole thing honestly doesn’t work very well if everyone isn’t getting their own rules for warband progression and we are a long way off from that. Anything to get us closer to that point is a win.

Raf: These books represent an opportunity to give your forces a reason to fight in certain sectors, time periods, and events. To Rob’s point however, I hope we actually get reasons to pick different campaigns that boil down to more than just wanting particular boons or relics. I hope they take some risks in these books.

(AoS Peeps) How amazing are the new Hedonites models? Do Hedonites need more help, though?

SRM: The models are absolutely killer, and fleshing out the mortal side of things is something I’m very much here for. Maybe this will see a rebalancing for Hedonites, but I think until we see the whole picture I can’t really say. I’m just excited we’re seeing more flavors of Chaos Warriors being represented, even if I’m not as into the sort of Possessed looking ones.

Neon: Please insert the classic “I want that Twink obliterated” tweet here.

For real however, one of the weirdest parts of the first Hedonite book (that was rather overshadowed by the brutality of its rules and the gorgeous new daemon models) was  the lack of anything mortal. They were mentioned in the fluff and had some token models, but you were pretty much forced to fall back on marked Daves to Darkness. These new weirdos are a right step to giving Slaanesh the balance other Chaos factions have and I only wish there was some more (maybe some more of those harem pants weirdos from Underworlds, or a ranged unit of some sort to give Slaanesh some differentiation?) but I’m generally happy. This might just drag me back to AoS as the resident Slaanesh Stan.

SRM: I’m hoping this isn’t everything and said harem-bepanted weirdos are included as the dumpster diving mortal jobbers à la Kairic Acolytes. You can see some blurry models in the background of some shots who might be Slaangors or what have you, but I’m not about to start making clickbait YouTube videos about it with thumbnails covered in red arrows. 

Ellarr: I absolutely love that this expansion of the range focuses on the ‘perfection seeking warriors’ aesthetic. I may be in the minority but I’ve never been a fan of the modern Slaanesh sculpts because they looked a little bit over the top to me. These new sculpts not only round out the range to give more balance between mortals and daemons, but they also help elaborate on some of the lesser known aspects of the Prince of Pleasure. If this is the extent of the release it’s looking a little light, but there’s enough vague blurs in the background of some of these shots that definitely don’t look like existing models that I think this is a lot deeper of an update than we initially thought.

Liam: I get to join in with the AoS stuff because I’m painting Daughters right now. That’s how it works. Sigvald owns and the voice in my head whispering “you should do a Slaanesh army” just got a whole lot louder because of him.

RagnarokAngelHave not been able to shut the fuck up about these since they came out. I mean Sigvald… look at him holy shit. One of the most beautiful models I’ve seen out of the line, which consistently puts out beautiful models. It’s not a controversial statement to say GW has struggled a bit with what Slaanesh’s “thing” needs to be, particularly with sex, sex and more sex being the predominant meme and fan canon of the god’s portfolio. I feel like they’re nailing this sort of aesthetic of “beauty but in a way that’s unnerving and otherworldly”, I love it and am glad that they’re doing more with it.

As for if Hedonites need help? Oh yeah, they have a notoriety of being a broken faction due to having months of the most powerful book in the game without being touched but once the nerfs hit they hit hard. The nerfs last year (Locus of Diversion, hiked point cost for summoning) kneecapped them pretty hard, and then it was followed up with point hikes on their best units in General’s Handbook 2020. I think this has been overlooked due to COVID-19 but it was a pretty unnecessary twisting of the knife. On top of all that, as Neon said, their lack of mortals always struck me as weird, I think they focused on Daemons in the initial release because synergy with 40k sells well, and this lets AOS have some love to itself. Overall, I am going to have to fight really hard to not go in on this.

(Necromunday scummers) Van Saar! How badly was this needed?

Fowler: Van Saar players – if you’re not recreating the sewer surfing level from Turtles in Time with these, we aren’t friends. I love the idea of a (theoretically beefy… because shield) mobile screening unit for Van Saar.

SRM: I’m extremely bummed that we have idiots on hoverboards without a shred of Dirtbag Energy. Like yeah, it’s cool these guys and gals are all on their own personal X Games Snowboarder arcade cabinets, but there’s no denim jackets or hi-tech vape rigs being represented. Highly mobile, suicidal child soldiers is peak Necromunda though, so I’m happy to see it. Van Saar have always had a mobility problem too, so these guys will fill that role nicely. How about those champions though? They sound tanky and short ranged in a way the rest of the gang isn’t usually.

Genghis Cohen: As with Orlocks in the last Necromunda release, the addition of high-mobility fighters will really switch things up, it’s a great thing to have in the game. With Van Saar specifically, it might make a gang which was stereotypically played as a boring gunline a bit more dynamic. The real question on many players’ minds will be whether, alongside new & interesting rules, the House of Artifice book tones down some of the Van Saar’s famously accurate, undercosted firepower. 

Dan: Van Saar need an update badly. Right now, if they’re not the weakest gang out there, then they’re definitely in the bottom 3. They can’t fight, are slow as hell, and all their unique weapons either suck or turbo-suck. People always accuse them of being overpowered, but they’ve only got one trick, and if someone can get around their good shooting, then they’re toast.  Hopefully these two new character will help Van Saar gangs surmount their disadvantages, and I can’t wait to see what other fun stuff comes in the House of Artifice.

(Necromunday) Also GW apparently hates Merton. I mean, same, but tough break. Care to comment?

Dan: Can we blame them?

Merton: Cries in Delaque

(Underworlds) How cool is the new warband? Anything you’re hoping to see from them on the tabletop?

SRM: Extremely fucking cool. I’m hoping to see a blend of aggressive, defensive, and magic play from them. It seems like they’ll be sort of a blend of Magore’s Fiends and the Eyes of the Nine that way. The notion of them corrupting objectives for their inspire condition sounds real cool, and gives them a unique board control angle as well. 

TheChirurgeon: I’m getting them just for the models.

SRM: That’s a good move. I don’t get to play as much Warhammer Underpants as I’d like, but these lads and lasses will make for some killer models in my AoS army. 

Ellarr: I love that these Daves evoke some of my favorite sculpts of the world-that-was, like Harry the Hammer and Slambo. I’m with Rob in that these are primarily of interest to me for the sculpts, as they would all make fantastic unit champions and/or characters for a full Daves army. Part of me thinks that Sorc is evoking the old games day muscle wizard now that I think about it…

SRM: Given how essential Sorcerer Lords are to Daves to Darkness armies, having a new available sculpt for one is more than welcome. I imagine their actual AoS warscroll will be in line with the other Underworlds warbands (IE: poop from a butt) but as alternative sculpts for heroes or regular unit jobbers, you can’t beat these guys.

Raf: We get our first peek at a new mechanism: Desecration. Beastgrave introduced a number of bespoke counters and effects keyed to specific warbands. Right now the assumption is that Desecration will apply only to this warband and not have any inherent abilities, but that may not necessarily be true.

From the previewed fighter cards it looks like these Chaos Buddies will inspire when you Desecrate objectives, an effect that occurs when you kill enemies standing on Objectives. I’m inherently suspicious of this ability for 2 reasons: 1) it requires careful placing of your fighters and your opponents and 2) it is a Reaction effect. I still consider the FAQ that makes End of Activation and End of Action reactions occur in the same timing window to be one of the most head-scratching timing related rulings in any board game I’ve ever played. Unless they make a structural change to this timing effect, it may be too easy to block the Desecration ability from firing.

 

What are your overall impressions of this reveal? Anything you’re looking forward to with the next Black Library-focused one?

SRM: I get that they’re trying to cover as many bases as possible here, but there were some parts that felt like padding. As cool as the new Treebeard model is, 10 minutes talking about him and a deleted scene from a nearly 20 year old movie felt a little thin. Talk about 40k campaign books also doesn’t really push my buttons the same way pictures of new models does, and I’m slightly bummed we didn’t see any new 40k models on display. The reveals for Underworlds, Necromunda, and AoS were all pretty stellar though, and I finished the stream feeling pretty stoked about those upcoming releases. I don’t think I’ll be tuning into the Black Library one, personally. The reveal stream format works for visual mediums, but hearing a brief summary of a book and maybe a cover image doesn’t sound too exciting. Maybe I’ll check out some of the author interviews after the fact.

TheChirurgeon: I thought the reveal overall had a lot of cool stuff but I’ll echo the desire for more detail. I’d have loved to see more detail on the campaign setting but I get it. I’m kind of interested to see what they want to do with the Black Library reveal, if only because it feels like the Siege of Terra is winding down and so far there hasn’t been nearly as much excitement for the new Indomitus series, in part because well, that series is already set 100 years in the past rather than on the cutting edge of the new 40k storyline. Whether I stick around for the interviews depends 1000% on who they are talking to. So if it’s like ADB or Josh Reynolds, sure. If it’s like Guy Haley, I think I’ll pass.

SRM: So you won’t be tuning into the Oops! All Ben Counter Power Hour then?

TheChirurgeon: Tragically, I think I’ll have to pass.

Liam: SRM got it right first time. I’m happy that there’s enough of a LotR scene that they’re still getting plastic releases 17 years after the last film came out (I have never watched the so-called Hobbit films and I will not be taking questions at this time) but they seem to feel obligated to include stuff for it in streams and it really does end up being like 2-3 models that are just variant #24 on a hobbit that’s had more new sculpts in the last decade than the entire Eldar range. I also totally agree that as much as I’m a rules and gaming guy these streams do very little for me in terms of showing off new books. It’s not like they go into any kind of depth on the rules, and I’m much more excited to see cool models as the focal point. In the moment it was way more exciting to see Sigvald and his mooks than it was to see Warzone: Whatever even if the latter is what will matter more to me in the long term. For the same reason I probably won’t bother with the Black Library one. I’ve come around on reading Warhammer fiction over the last couple of years – they put out some genuinely good sci-fi now – but I can’t imagine what they’re going to say on an hour-long stream that makes any difference to whether I do or don’t buy the book.

Neon: These streams are always an excuse to fire up Goontwitter and vomit out the first bad joke that comes to my head as I watch so I have no choice. I am but a slave to Posting.

Liam: Neon going into a fugue state and letting the spirit of posting take over is a genuine highlight of the streams.

Ellarr: As an AOS stan I am absolutely thrilled with this preview, as I am really excited to see what the return of Slaanesh and Sigvald means for the storyline right now. I had assumed we were going to be in a holding pattern of Broken Realms books and no new models until the eventual third edition, but it’s looking like the path to 3.0 is going to be an eventful and exciting one! Now then where’s my credit card…

TheChirurgeon: This is definitely going to be the push that gets me into AoS. Well played, GW.

SRM: I’m just happy that Rob is going to buy an AoS army so I don’t have to write all the Daves to Darkness content anymore.

TheChirurgeon: Bad news; it’s probably gonna be Hedonites to start. stares at Sigvald’s glorious, long locks

RagnarokAngel: I was nodding off for most of the preview attempting to feign excitement until the big drop at the end had me jumping up and down like an anime nerd when….I dunno what do anime nerds get excited about? Regardless my reaction was quite embarrassing and I can forgive the slow build up to end on that note.

Raf: As always I appreciate the time and work that goes into these and love the way GW uses them to engage with all of us. This one felt a little disjointed relative to some of the summer reveals, but that probably has as much to do with the way the release pipeline slows a bit every year at this time.

 

That wraps up our roundtable for this week but rest assured when this cool stuff actually releases we’ll be covering it in detail so stay tuned. In the meantime if you have any questions or feedback, drop a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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