The Northern Virginia (NOVA) convention is back this year and GW’s back at the event, hosting another big reveal to show off upcoming releases for many of its major game systems. As always we’ve Got Takes about the releases and you can’t stop us from publishing them.
Today’s Roundtable Participants
So it’s NOVA time, eh?
Thundercloud: Unfortunately this reveal is at some god awful time when normal people are asleep, so I’ve had to catch up in the morning when everyone on twitter is just repeatedly posting pictures of Horus like a Death Company marine’s fever dream.
Cronch: I’m very jealous of all of the people going to NOVA. It feels like we don’t really have much of a UK equivalent to these big combined events that happen in the US, except for some trade shows like Salute and a few big tournaments, so at some point in the future a pilgrimage to NOVA, Adepticon or LVO may be on the cards. In the meantime, I’ll have to cope with 1AM livestreams.
The 40k stuff is cool too; mostly I’m here for the cool models regardless of game system. Spoiler: There was some very cool stuff. Also yes, I too wish I was going to NOVA this year but I just couldn’t make 4 tournaments in 8 weeks work, and this was the easiest to drop.
What are your thoughts on the Leagues of Votann, now that the full launch range and army set have been revealed?
Thundercloud: It’s really interesting. I’m old enough to remember the Squats first time around, and while there is a lot of the classic Squats and the 2nd ed Codex Imperialis in the new range (like Berserkers) it’s good to see an aesthetic that builds on it and makes it less Dwarves in space and more a filled out culture that split off from baseline humans prior to the fall of the human empire and who are happy doing their own thing.
It also makes the Imperium more obviously dystopian by showing that no, what the Imperium is doing is unnecessary and counterproductive, while the Horus Heresy series shows that the failure of the Imperium is very much because the Emperor just can’t stop being a control freak trying to control the evolution of humanity instead of just letting it unfold naturally.
Stuff I liked – I like a nice solid looking troop choice and the Hearthkyn deliver on it. I like the army being one of miners and builders, and their adapted equipment being functional, based on an explorer look. I actually do like the Land Raider equivalent being a big industrial vehicle, and it’s not like it’s less impractical than something based on literally the first mass produced tank design in human history. Space Gandalf also looks great (as does the female version, Grandalf), as do the little hover robot buddies. Again we see a common aesthetic with pre-Imperial AI, and I look forward to seeing more robots turning up in 40k, as it’s the future and they should have more of them.
Stuff I felt meh about – Chtonian Berserks don’t grab me, but with a lot of GW models that don’t excite me it’s often the paint job. I’d like to see some other schemes. I also think weathering up the Votann models will really make them pop, and some industrial grime would be great.
Army box is a proper army starter with two troop choices and a HQ plus some extras, that I imagine will add up to 25PL.
Cronch: Although I’ve been impressed by the drips of Votann models we’ve been fed over the past few months, I’ve been wondering how they will fit into the 40K aesthetic as an army. Well this preview gave us our first sight of a big, well-laid out army shot featuring the whole range, and I’m pleased to report that, in my opinion at least, it works! They don’t look out of place, and there’s a great selection of different heights, profiles, and unit types across the range. Also I love the gigantic Hekaton Land Fortress (Arkhan Land really does get everywhere) *so* much, especially that the little doors are right at ground level for easy kin access.
The army set of Hernkyn Champion, Ûthar the Destined (also builds a generic Kâhl), 20 Hearthkyn Warriors and 3 Hernkyn Pioneers seems like a great intro to the army. I can’t say I’m not tempted, to be honest.
Bair: Anyone that knows me knows there’s one thing I’ll always collect: dwarfs. And these really are just space dwarfs. I think they’ve really nailed a modern squat army, using newer aesthetics and some weird looking tech to really make them fit. The massive tank is perfect, the mix of the AI bots alongside the normal dudes are great, the mix of male/female throughout is fantastic. And the beards are glorious. I’m not really in on 40k as a game at the moment (10th ed when?) but will be picking up the box simply to build and paint the models, they look so good.
Greg: I love these fucked up little guys and their spacesuit aesthetic. They’ll look great on Moon Base Klaisus. Votanns are not an army that I will ever paint or play, on account of I got enough problems already, but I will definitely enjoy looking at them on the table when someone else has them.
TheChirurgeon: They look amazing and I want them but I already know in my heart of hearts I won’t end up painting or playing with them. The tanks are particularly rad, and probably my favorite kit in the set.
Otherwise, I Have Concerns after watching today’s battle report of Votann vs. Astra Miltarum on Warhammer+. There’s some rules in there they’ve shown off that were absolutely bonkers.
GW revealed the new set of Khorne Berzerkers for the upcoming World Eaters spin-off faction. Are you surprised to be seeing World Eaters so soon?
Thundercloud: Not surprised to see them, and happy they’ve been revealed. I assume Angron was meant to be revealed at Nova and leaks have ruined that. I’m expecting a splash box as part of the faction’s release.
TheChirurgeon: These absolutely kick ass and I love how they’ve turned out. They’re simple and iconic, and they incorporate all the elements I wanted to see. They also aren’t too busy, something I was legitimately worried about – these both fit in well with the existing Chaos Space Marine legionaries and the Plague Marine/Rubric Marine kits we’ve gotten over the last six years, which is pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. They’ll be fun to paint without being Too Much.
Cronch: Not many feelings on the World Eaters as a whole, although I am surprised to see them being talked about already – I think I was expecting them to be a mid-next year release, potentially as a 10th-edition launch army. Either way, these new Berzerker sculpts are an excellent step up from the current plastics, faithful to the original design whilst also fitting in well with newer Chaos Marine design language. I am hoping for one of these in GW’s Mini of the Month rotation, so that I can paint one up!
Any hot takes on the Codex Road Map for the next few months?
TheChirurgeon: Maybe. That says “2022-2023” and “Winter” could be longer. If I had to guess, we’ll get World Eaters after Christmas. They tend to slow down the releases heading into December in order to focus on battleforce boxes and other deals rather than release new stuff. Though I wouldn’t complain if Astra Militarum and World Eaters both dropped in November. Or if just World Eaters dropped.
Cronch: They’ve certainly got a lot of plates spinning, and an interesting communications challenge. People love to complain when they don’t hear about what’s coming or get exact timelines, but in reality I don’t think weekly articles about business logistics would be particularly well received by fans (or a good use of the talented WarCom writers’ time). It feels like this might be it for 9th-edition Codexes, and if we’re locked into a three year cycle for mainline games now then summer 2023 would be the 10th-edition 40k launch. What do we think they fill that few months gap with? Some Psychic Awakening style narrative/top-up rules books?
Thundercloud: I’d read ‘Start Competing: Risk Registers’. But then I know the games industry is an industry, not some magical process where CAD designed HIPS kits and printed books turn up around the world on the same day every week for years with nothing going on in the background as oppose to the culmination of hundreds of years long projects.
I’d like them to fill the gap between 9th and 10th with something fun, but probably not something reliant on the 9th edition rules, because getting a book you can use for three weeks sucks. Campaign system?
King Brodd is back from the Realmgate Wars, in the form of an add-on sprue to the existing Mega-Gargant kit. He’s got a hammer, a hat, some horns, and some freaky little guys, and he looks mad. Will you pledge allegiance to the King?
Cronch: King! Brodd! King! Brodd! Sons of Behemat have been in a bit of a weird place in Age of Sigmar for a while now, with tournament lists often converging towards whatever the hivemind has decided is the most optimally-tuned way to push four models forwards this month. Brodd (and the new Battletome) hopefully offer some potential for some different list-building options and fresh ideas for the faction. Back on the model itself, this upgrade really wrings some extra character out of the existing kit! It’s laced with clever details and the height boost, savage regalia and hammer really do a lot to separate him from the existing three poses. The hammer itself is a sculpting and painting marvel – the haft is a tree shedding its papery bark, revealing an intricately-carved log where the bark has come away. Overall, probably not one for me any time soon, I already collect enough Destruction factions, but I’m very pleased to see GW pulling characters back out of the Realmgate Wars lore and turning them into excellent sculpts!
Andrew (Marchettus): He’s dope and a priest. I want to compare his little helpers to a standard squig herd and steal some extras for my gitz army. I have the utmost faith that a 3.0 pass on the SoB book will allow it to play a few different ways and look forward to all the new megas on the table.
A new crossbow-wielding foot hero, the Bloodpelt Hunter, joins the Mawtribes. Is this the faction refresh you hoped for?
Bair: Is a third Hunter really what the army needed? Absolutely not. Is it pretty cool anyway? Definitely. Age of Sigmar has done really well with this edition in making each book really feel like how the army should on the tabletop and I’m very excited to see what that’s going to mean for Ogors!
Cronch: To be honest I was a bit disappointed with this one – Mawtribes are not short on old metal (now Finecast) sculpts that could have done with a refresh, so at face value a new warscroll foot hero that doesn’t replace one of those is not something that fills me with joy. That said, the sculpt is absolutely wild, and marks a step towards slightly more realistic proportions when compared to the plastic Gluttons whilst still fitting in with the range. The thing that really stood out to me here is that the Eavy Metal painter has used a static grass snow flock on the base! It’s a thing that lots of people do, but it seems almost jarring to see it on the official GW model. Is this a stealth reveal of a new basing product? Probably not.
Andrew (Marchettus): The model is fine and I like the discipline he shows in not eating food. I always try to be positive and hold out hope that the new release will contain new battleline kits for Mawtribes. A single model release, after the Skaven were passed over for a refresh, was surprising given the age of the kits and the strong support from the community. Mawtribes is a beloved faction with many dedicated players, but I can’t recommend them to new players when so many core kits have 2004© on the sprue. If we are waiting for a 4.0 book for updated glutton sprues there will be players who were born after production started that can legally drink in the US. GW has shown that they can integrate new kits with older models (Sylvaneth/Soulblight/gitz) and the lack of replacement models is really disappointing. I wouldn’t judge anyone for including a 3-D printed or kitbashed glutton, frost sabre, yhetee, or butcher at an event.
The Slaves to Darkness are marching to war this Winter with new Chosen, a new Daemon Prince, and a brand new unit of Ogroid Theridons. Have you fallen to Chaos at the sight of these new releases?
Andrew (Marchettus): I would never paint these models and will continue to avoid chaos armies as long as they continue to require the level of technical skill on display. These are incredible kits and I look forward to playing against them on the table. I’m also OK with a battlebox full of new models and an early release book.
Cronch: I tend to prefer my Chaos to be obviously and excessively god-aligned, so I don’t think I’m in danger here. The new sculpts are all fantastic though, and I can’t wait to see what people do with them. The conversion potential of the Theridons for other armies is great as well, I can’t wait to see somebody turn them into Bullgors. It’s interesting to see these models coming in an army set, given that 2 of the kits are “only” refreshes of existing things. Hopefully 40k players yearning for the new Daemon Prince kit will be able to get hold of it separately ASAP after this box releases, otherwise I foresee a lot of complaining on the internet.
TheChirurgeon: These models are so incredibly sick. The only reason they aren’t convincing me to play Age of Sigmar and start with S2D is that I don’t need more Chaos Armor with gold trim in my life. The new Daemon Prince is sick and I wish he’d released with the Chaos Marines Codex earlier this year.
How about the roadmap for the next few Age of Sigmar Battletomes… is it everything you ever dreamed of?
Andrew (Marchettus): I’m a gitz player (say hi to me at Nova on Sunday) and I’ve seen a lot of disappointed players who expected a book. It might not be the best thing for Gitz, an army with some magic, to immediately follow two magically dominant books. I’m OK not getting a book this year as the rules team has continued to update rules and will likely buff Gitz over the next few balance patches. I’m not sure if I”m allowed to be pro-leaks, but GW should start to provide a roadmap of at least 6 months out for core games given how long it takes to build and paint models.
Cronch: As someone who owns Lumineth and Mawtribes armies, this roadmap looks great to me! Mawtribes are still fun to play but are struggling with win rates at the moment, so I’m hoping for some tweaks to bring it into line. I’d echo Bair above, in that I’m excited to see how the rules match the theme of the army. Honestly I don’t think the book needs much – the main thing it struggles with at the moment is having artifacts and command traits locked behind subfactions, as was the style in 2nd Edition books.
Lumineth has this issue as well, so hopefully that’s resolved for both. I’m hoping the third Lumineth book does some work to make more warscrolls viable, so that players don’t gravitate towards one or two oppressive builds at the expense of fun for both them and their opponent. We’ve already seen some fairly meaty changes to the Sentinels warscroll from Arcane Cataclysm, so I’m hopeful.
For the new Slaves to Darkness book I’m hoping for the updating of a lot of reroll-based abilities to align to the more recent battletomes, and perhaps the streamlining of some of the overlapping and stacking buffs and auras, just to make them a bit more engaging to play against.
Underworlds warbands keep rolling, and this time it’s the Gorechosen of Dromm, the third Khorne warband we’ve seen for the game. Excited?
Thundercloud: Looks like Khorne get a faction with Stormcast numbers. And rocking Dad bods. I actually really like these, as it takes the Bloodbound and fills in the gaps a little. While Underworlds bands normally aren’t great in AoS, they are a great way of having a characterful little unit.
Cronch: These are cool – it’s great to see some different body types on show, and the Priest and Skullgrinder should also be nice for players to use as alternate sculpts in their Age of Sigmar armies too. It looks like their main mechanic is Blood-tithe related, so might be looking to chip damage or kill models in order to inspire and power up fighters, but this wasn’t covered in the cards we were shown so we’ll have to wait and see! I like them.
Horus has ascended! A new resin Horus model, to match the Horus Ascended profile in the Liber Hereticus. Were you expecting that?
TheChirurgeon: Oh my fucking god. I need one of these so bad. I may not even paint the “loyalist” one I currently have. This model is just so goddamn good. What a great sculpt. I love the face and I love the talon.
I’m a little surprised they’ve talked about doing other Primarchs who are goated the Chaos sauce, especially since we’ve got plastic versions of Morty and Magnus that look great, but I wouldn’t complain if they wanted to do another Lorgar, even though I like the original.
Cronch: Given the profile in the book I think it was a foregone conclusion that we were going to see Big Horus at some point, although I’m genuinely surprised it was this soon. The model is amazing all-round, with incredible attention to detail. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that it’s resin and GW is throwing away sales because of this, but honestly 1) Games Workshop said up front that there were no plans for Primarchs and legion-specific releases to be plastic, so it shouldn’t be a surprise and 2) I really don’t think anybody who is serious about wanting this model is going to be put off by the material. Some slight disappointment from people who were hoping for plastic Breachers, Assault Squads, or other things, which I agree with, but there’s hardly been a lack of plastic Heresy releases recently.
If there’s one thing I didn’t love it’s that we didn’t see any campaign books or supplements for the 40k side of things. Not that I think there need to be more books, but more that I’m very, very curious about what comes after World Eaters – at that point we’ll have covered every faction in the game, plus two entirely new ones. What’s next?
Cronch: Overall this was a really good reveal, everything was exciting to see and there was no padding for time with video-game trailers and the like. A few things I’m personally looking forward to, and a lot that I know will make others happy – the perfect mix!
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