It wouldn’t be a big event without a GW reveal and boy was this one a doozy, with the biggest announcement we’ve seen in years. As always with these things, we’re pretty excited for what comes next and ready to talk about it and/or just crack a bunch of jokes ruthlessly clowning on some model’s dumb haircut.
If you missed the reveals, we’ve got both a roundup of what was shown and our thoughts on everything, from “hilarious” “jokes” to grim-faced analysis of what it means for GW’s release strategy.
The biggest set of releases was for Warhammer 40k, where we were introduced both to a returning primarch – Lion El’Jonson – and a new edition of the game. Warhammer 40,000’s tenth edition introduces us to a new battle between Tyranids and the Imperium on the western fringe of the galaxy as the fourth Tyrannic War breaks out.
There was a bunch here, starting with a reveal of Lion El’Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, getting a model in the upcoming (and final book in the series), Arks of Omen: The Lion. This means both that he plays a huge part in the narrative and the finale of that series and also that he’s likely to release in the next two months, before 10th edition.
Oh also, there was a reveal of 10th edition. Viewers were treated to a new fully animated trailer showing off lots of new Space Marine and Tyranids units – in addition to Primaris Ultramarines with flamers and meltas, new terminators, a terminator librarian, and a Redemptor with twin lascannons and missile launcher, we also saw new Termagants and some kind of new psychic Tyranid creature (and also, we hope, a new Lictor who will be available in plastic). Tenth Edition offers a new, streamlined way to play with all-new datasheets and reduced numbers of Stratagems. The game will release this summer with a new set of free, digital indexes available online at launch.
Lion El’Jonson Returns
TheChirurgeon: Old man Jonson comes back to battle in the final installment of Arks of Omen just in time to prevent any changes to the status quo. The final Arks book sees the forces of the Imperium having a big climactic clash with the forces of Chaos. On one side you have a bunch of Imperium guys with new models and on the other side you have a bunch of Chaos guys who can be killed and still come back from the warp at a future date. Gee, I wonder which side is going to win?
On the whole, I’m less annoyed than I could be because the Lion model is really cool. His shield and backpack look great, and the multiple heads are a great touch. The bare head is definitely the worst of the bunch and I plan to use one of the hooded heads when I assemble him. This is a great model and thank god it’s arriving at a time when the Dark Angels are at their absolute peak in terms of grinding, insufferable play.
Greg: This was the funniest possible time to release this model. Giving a primarch to the Dark Angels, who are already tearing up the meta in a way that literally no one except me enjoys, is absolutely hilarious.
Liam: I am all for more loyalist Primarchs returning even if my boy Sanguinius is probably not re-emerging from his whole “being dead” deal, though that seems to be less permanent than it was since he’s hanging out in the Warp chatting to Mephiston now. Presumably the arrival of Angron and now the Lion in 9th means that we’ll see Fulgrim and like, Russ or somebody in 10th, and Xenos players will just have to die mad about it. Though hold that thought for the 10th ed launch stuff below.
John Lennon: It’s about damn time we got another loyalist primarch (someone else can make the joke), and they’ve absolutely done the model justice. I’m excited to find out about what woke the Lion up, because the rock has been invaded several times without so much as a whisper. Also, I’m excited for a Dark Angel nerf right before their primarch comes out so that we can have a new and exciting reason for Dark Angel players to be insufferable.
TheChirurgeon: Apparently he’s just been hanging out, not in stasis this entire time. So it’s unclear if he actually “woke up” or “just finally got off his ass.”
Lennon: I’m glad that I’m not the only one who needs ten thousand years to grow a beard.
TheChirurgeon: (Looks at Cypher’s weird, stubble-free chin) huh. I think I just figured out the Dark Angels’ genetic flaw. No wonder the space wolves hate these beardless dorks.
Liam: To the surprise of no-one, Art of War powergamer John Lennon has no idea that the Lion’s existing Primarch model for chill narrative game 30k also has a beard. Maybe if you quit chasing that meta you’d know a little of the lore, John.
Thundercloud: He got a silver fox look and a great old guy beard, he’s probably spent 10,000 years cleaning up on over 50s Space Tinder. The model looks great, it being very 30k is great, and the head choices are real nice. I can see it getting bought instead of the resin Lion in a lot of 30k forces. There’s also the possibility that he grew a beard, no one recognised him anymore, and he’s still been going to the canteen for meals and then hanging out in his room and everyone knows Lionel but no one’s put it together that it’s Lion space El.
Liam: Yeah, the relatively clean armour here is a nice contrast to Guilliman and his ostentatious bullshit.
TheChirurgeon: This guy straight up looks like Charles Dance in Game of Thrones and that part is pretty cool.
Greg: He manages to be both a dad and a daddy. Real ones know.
Warhammer 40,000 10th Edition
TheChirurgeon: There’s a ton to talk about here. The worst-kept secret in Warhammer fandom was that we were due for a new edition and with last night’s announcement, the cat is now officially out of the bag. Tenth edition takes us back to indexes (released free online in digital format) with a supposedly streamlined approach to the game’s rules.
Lennon: The cinematic video was a little less impressive than Necrons vs Sisters to me, but all is forgiven because it contains blessed new Tyranid models. I cannot possibly express how excited I am to play Tyranids when this new edition drops.
TheChirurgeon: One of the things I like the most about what we’ve seen is that they’ve changed the datasheets to be more like Kill Team, where the weapon profiles are embedded in the sheet and you can have different WS and BS values for different weapons and units. The Objective Control mechanic is also really cool and something I’ve wanted for a while. It’s also easy to see how dropping Objective Secured works here as well – just give those units bigger OC values.
Greg: Putting WS/BS on the weapon instead of the model is a great idea. It seems so obvious in retrospect, that “-1 to hit with this” was a kludge. I also like it because it gives them a more granular knob to turn when it comes to balancing unit options come dataslate time.
Rob: Yeah it opens up a lot of design space and helps them do things like “cost a model to include x wargear options” without having to put the universal value of a power fist at 10 points or some nonsense. The reality in 40k is that most wargear upgrades don’t matter enough to cost points and that’s why we’ve (rightly) seen a recent trend toward just making wargear free. This helps with that by letting you have variable weapon stats per unit.
Having unit abilities on the datasheets now instead of as Stratagems is also a welcome change.
Liam: The datasheet change is the biggest deal for me, and the surrounding commentary on making things simpler and getting rid of the mass of army rules and stratagems and so on that have defined 8th end especially 9th edition. The more that the core information about what a unit can do is on the datasheet the better; even as someone relatively highly-engaged with 40k it’s become overwhelming to keep up with what any individual unit can do in an unfamiliar army, and looking it up doesn’t help because you have to account for all the off-screen stuff that can fundamentally change its operation. Rules being exclusive rather than additive is huge, too – being able to do stuff like supplements for random Sisters orders or Forge Worlds or whatever and having it be a self-contained set of stuff instead of adding 30 new options on top of the 50 existing ones makes it much easier to comprehend for both participants in a game, and hopefully having fewer Stratagems per faction/subfaction means they can focus on making six that really matter rather than looking at 4 pages of a codex and thinking ah, shit, we gotta think of something to fill the space here.
Pendulin: “Simplified not simple” is a great goal to strive for in 10th edition. I love a good Kafkaesque labyrinth of rules as much as the next Ad Mech player, but I think it’s fairly easy to recognize the pains of 9th edition. “Use this book and this book, but not those books as they’re no longer legal, and remember these datasheets and that FAQ, but keep in mind the errata and the dataslate. Got it? Good, now grab this book for the mission and that PDF for points. Oh, you wanted a casual, narrative game? Just swap this book for that book, but keep these bits which the community has largely adopted as unwritten canon.” It’s a lot. Too much. Simplifying things, while keeping the game spiritually the same, is a fantastic goal to aim for and I’m excited to see where they’ll go.
Liam: On the accessibility point, making Combat Patrol a real one-box game mode and keeping Boarding Actions as a thing are both huge. The single biggest barrier to picking up a new faction, or getting into this game at all, is the time and money investment required before you can play the ‘real’ game – 40k at small points sizes has just never really been satisfying. Putting aside the issues around terrain, Boarding Actions seems to have been well-received as a way to play those smaller games in a way that works, and if Combat Patrol can do similar it will be a significant improvement in getting people into the game and keeping them there. It also makes entry routes much clearer since you can buy a single unit box to play Kill Team, then a Combat Patrol to play a real 40k game mode that functions at the smaller size, and then expand from there, rather than the current model of “pick up 2000pts of stuff and hope to god you picked the right units first time or you’re gonna have to buy more.”
TheChirurgeon: Despite its terrain-led price tag, I’m a big fan of Boarding Actions and have really enjoyed both the games I’ve played and the new missions they’ve put out in White Dwarf, which cover some really bonkers stuff like warp monsters in the bowels of a ship and boarding with drop pods and assault craft. I’m also hoping 10th incorporates some of the Boarding Actions rules.
And yeah, Combat Patrol is a great direction – 40k desperately needed a more reasonable starter level game mode and real support for smaller point levels. I’m interested to see if Combat Patrol is just “open terrain Boarding Actions” or its own game mode.
Thundercloud: I’m liking all the changes shown. The thinking behind it is very much accessibility, and the changes make sense – heavily scaling back stratagems, reducing barriers to entry, trimming a lot of rules fat, making everything available online so people can buy a box and then just play the game. Getting rid of the ‘to properly play this army you’ll need three books, two of which are out of print’ is great for the game.
People talk about ‘we want complexity’ but I think simplified is substantially better and I dare anyone moaning to go back to D100 equipment tables and having to work out the points for models based on their stats in the pre-army list/codex era. 9th as it is now is just too much.
Bair: I sat out most of 9th because of the complexity and number of games that I play, so this all sounds good. And really it sounds like it’s taking a lot of cues from recent Age of Sigmar game design which can only be a good thing! Individual weapons having their own to-hit profile, Battleline being a keyword, stratagems (like orders?) that are reactive in enemy player turn – all sounds like AoS.
TheChirurgeon: If there’s an area I’m apprehensive, it’s on the design philosophy for subfactions – if those look like Codex: World Eaters, I didn’t love that implementation, where only basic World Eaters get the Khorne deny stratagem and only Disciples of the Red Angel get the Smoke launchers Stratagem. Hopefully they take a bit smarter approach this time around and not put things that feel like universal abilities in subfaction strats and/or just put them on datasheets again. Also I’m not wild about going through another two-year Codex cycle of two books per month, no matter how good that is for page views.
On the whole there’s a lot to be excited about here – It sounds like they learned a lot from the mistakes of 9th edition, which had some real long-term balance issues despite having what I feel were some very strong bones. That said, this new edition is also being made by the same people as that last edition, so they’re bound to make some of the same mistakes again. My hope is that a robust strategy for online points and balance updates helps them mitigate the worst of it.
New Space Marine Terminators
On the inevitable “new models for Space Marines side” we were shown new plastic Terminators. These supposedly do away with the Primaris/Firstborn distinction – it could be either in the armor.
Greg: Basic. Cheugy. Ratchet. Huge. Much like the upgraded Ork Boyz or the Heresy Mk6 marines, this kit upgrades the actual models to match what you already thought they looked like in your head when they were just lumpy little weirdos. It’s fine, they’re genuinely nice, but I also don’t care because they have no drip whatsoever, so I’m withholding my excitement until or unless chapter-specific variants emerge.
TheChirurgeon: These look fine, but they’re boring. They’re crisp, they have good details. But they’re just Terminators and they don’t have a ton of details or anything. I honestly think the Space Marines Heroes Terminators are better models, but probably not as tall as these. And these run afoul of the usual issue I have with the newer range/Primaris stuff, which is that aside from Black Templars, they don’t do cool chapter-specific units any more.
On the “whiny chaos player” side of things, I look forward to these somehow being 10% taller than Chaos Terminators.
Pendulin: I’m a little disappointed here as well. I picked up a copy of Space Hulk 4th edition on Craigslist, and I’ve been casually painting the terminators when I can find a free minute or two. Despite those models being 9 years old, they have so much more character than these new ones. A lot of that is due to the Space Hulk terminators having Blood Angel iconography all over them, though. I’d love to see them extend their chapter-specific upgrade sprues to more of the marine range, as I think that’d be an easy way to spice these up. Some custom pauldrons, helmets, armor plates, tabards, and bits and bobs. Put it on a tiny sprue, enough to customize 5 terminators. Sold.
Thundercloud: These are obviously the starter set EZ build Terminators and we’ve been there before with Black Reach, so I’m fine with them being fairly plain (but then the first ed terminators aren’t exactly swarming with tchotchkes either, nor were the Black Reach or previous standard terminator kits. For a starter set squad to be used with any chapter I like them.
Bair: Indomitus Terminators are also available to Horus Heresy armies via the PDF download, so a brand new unit that actually matches the size of other more recent Marine kits is going to look great in those pre-40k colour schemes.
Thundercloud: I very specifically want them to stand next to my Beakies. After they come out the next thing I want is Beakie characters and updated mohican scouts.
Liam: The models are cool but yeah, they just kind of exist. They’re Terminators, they’re a bit bigger, the sculpts are slightly nicer than they were, that’s it. Tactical Terminators have also just not really been good for… ever? So it’s hard to get excited about them. Hopefully as well as new kits they’ve gotten a rules re-imagining in 10th to make them something you might want to put on the table. To Rob and Pendulin’s points, I am kind of hoping that what we get out of these is new Wolf Guard and Deathwing kits, and perhaps some love for the Blood Angels too who exist in a weird space of having a unique BA-specific Terminator box, but not actually having their own unique Terminators. Given World Eaters are in the same boat, this might just be how it goes for the red angry guys on each team.
New Plastic Termagants
For Tyranids the new kit we were shown is a new plastic Termagants kit, along with our first showing of the new datasheet(s?) for Termagants.
TheChirurgeon: Of all the things in the animated video, termagants were the thing I was least excited about. That said, the new model is cool and has a ton of detail, though don’t think I missed that they’re now on 28mm bases. That’s going to be a nightmare for existing Tyranids players.
Liam: I doubt anyone’s first thought is ever “show me the new Termagants” when there’s other options available, but it looks like there’s a lot more Nid stuff to come so I understand the incentive to hold some back for reveals in the build-up to 10th. In general the models are on the “modern GW plastics” pattern of sleeker, finer details, better proportions, more dynamic poses – whether that’s something you want in a model you might paint triple figures’ worth of is up to you, but I’m sure anyone who’s built the aging Termagants kit recently won’t miss it.
Lennon: I’m actually much more excited for the new datasheet than the Gant itself. Yes, I have to buy new ones. Yes, I’ll complain while I paint 300 more. But the datasheet appears to deliver on the “simplified, not simple” promise and honestly look more intuitive without introducing us to some godless game system where a mega-gargant is wounded on the same value as a squig. Why did we have a strength characteristic when every melee weapon was going to change it anyways? Why would the weapon’s profile for a unit ever be on a different page?
TheChirurgeon: Oddly, they showed two different datasheets for Termagants. I have no idea which one is the real one.
Thundercloud: Termagants go back to the 1st/2nd ed look, with spines down the back, spindlier arms and a leaner more predatory look. It replaces one of the oldest surviving 40k kits and I like where it’s going. I still don’t want to paint 200 of them in order to remove them in fistfuls when they get hit by anything more damaging than a laser pointer, but I really like the aesthetic.
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
A surprising amount of new AOS material revealed alongside the 40k-centric event, including the rest of the new Seraphon line in the form of new Kroxigors and a brand new Cavalry unit, two new death tomes for Soulblight Gravelords and Ossiarch Bonereapers and a sneak preview of the new Cities of Sigmar Dawnbringers.
GW gave us a great view of the release schedule for Age of Sigmar, mapping out the four books yet to release this spring and showing off three books for the summer – one of which is Seraphon, and two in the fall – one of which is Cities of Sigmar.
RagnarokAngel: Very excited for the new Seraphon, Kroxigors were yet another model that desperately needed an update and they look great! It’ll also be interesting to see how the new heavy cavalry fit into the army.
The two new death tomes are of course the highlight for me. My poor Ossiarch Bonereapers have been languishing with out of date rules. Not sure why Soulblight is getting a tome at this point, they seem to be doing fine while FEC languish.
Though on that note, the road map they showed at the end is very interesting. Not counting Cities of Sigmar, FEC are the only army left who need a new tome and yet there are two mystery books on the timeline. Wonder what that could mean?
Lennon: Oh hey, I’m in the Sigmar section now. These new Lizardmen models have broken me. I am a Sigmar player now. The new Saurus cavalry are genuinely mind blowing and reignite every drop of serotonin that Jurassic Park ever gave me. New Kroxigor absolutely bang, and I am going to play this army, Slaan help me.
Liam: I have made, I think, three attempts at a Lizardmen/Seraphon army over the years, and never succeeded in getting them off the ground. I have Daughters and Stormcast languishing unloved in the garage. And yet here I am, looking at the new Kroxigor and the previously-revealed Slann, thinking maybe this time it’s real. The new Death stuff is cool, and I have painted a few vampires recently just for the fun of it, but the big lizards are calling to me.
Bair: Good to see Lennon joining the right side of the site! Every Lizardmen/Seraphon player will be picking up new sculpts for sure whether it’s AoS or for older fantasy. Cavalry is something that’s often hit or miss in game terms in AoS though so I’m hoping they strike a good balance on the tabletop too so I can actually see them in use. Seraphon have a stupidly large roster, nearly as big as the Stormcast roster of units, and you normally only see the same handful of units. Hoping that the new book expands on what players can choose from to see more varied armies.
For Death, 2 more foot heroes fully fits in with the recent model of “new book = foot hero” that’ll been largely the case this edition. I do wish that Soulblight would get another generic hero instead of her another named Vyrkos vampire.
Great to see some full models too for the new Cities of Sigmar. At first look these looked a lot like new peasants for Bretonnians with a bit more armour. Keen to see more of the range however and just where they take the aesthetic across multiple units.
Liam: With how long it’s been going on, it feels like the Cities stuff is a Sisters of Battle-level full range refresh. The three previewed look great, but who knows what the end game is for a faction which exists as a mishmash of ‘every Order faction we didn’t split out’ at the moment.
Games Workshop revealed a new campaign book for Horus Heresy – the Siege of Cthonia gives us new rules and units for the siege of Horus’ home planet.
Magos Sockbert: On the surface, this just looks like a few new missions, some lore, and new models, but what it feels like is a whole new breath of fresh air into the Horus Heresy. New core missions emphasising objectives! Fleshed out Zone Mortalis rules! A whole new campaign system! New Consul types and a whole new unit in Inductii! This is exciting, and really going to flesh out how we can play the game. Eddie made a special point in the live event to call out incoming future plastic infantry as well, so stay tuned…
Bair: Just a book is a little disappointing but also not wholly surprising. New matched play missions are great, we’ve recently released a pack of missions but it’s nice to have more “official” ones too. The more interesting side is a new system for Zone Mortalis that you don’t have to go digging around for a White Dwarf Magazine to find. As a Fist player I’m very excited to see what we get in the way of characters and units/rules in this book, maybe in time for me to move things around for my army for Warhammer Fest….????
Lupe: Despite some folks being a little surprised at the reveal being “just a book”, the return of the black book style campaign books is one of the things I see people asking after most in the community at large. I think this will be a very popular move, especially as it’s giving us full Zone Mortalis rules! The new core book missions are interesting too, though we’ll see how they hold up given the uneven quality of the previous ones. More exciting, even than the tease of inductii (aspirants to the legions) and new characters, is that this informs our sense of where Heresy is headed. One of the big looming questions in the last six months has been “but what happens next?” and this gives us an answer. New releases tied to campaign books as the ranges and setting evolve and are fleshed out. It’s a great sign for the long term health of the game.
Liam: Coming from the world of 40k where this style of smorgasbord campaign book with a bunch of new narrative content + new matched play rules + a separate game mode + random datasheets and expansion rules for different factions has died a death largely at community insistence, it’s kind of weird to see it popping up again. That said, 30k is probably a more natural home for that release model, since the fanbase is more inclined to want all of that content. I was hoping for more model stuff – and in particular more infantry, since that’s my preferred Type of Guy in both the 31st and 41st millennia – but with the rolling Heresy Thursday previews there’s only so much that can be in the pipeline at once. I’ll be interested to see how the ‘matched play’ missions actually work, since mission design is probably the weakest part of the core 30k experience right now.
The final box of the Gallowdark season is here – Kill Team: Gallowfall gives us games that pit Beastmen against Votann, with a new team for the former and an upgrade sprue for the latter, plus new gallowdark terrain. Games in Gallowfall are meant to represent the last, desperate battles happening on a space hulk as teams make for the escape pods before the hulk collides with a planet.
TheChirurgeon: The Beastman team is great but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit confused by the fact that we got this instead of Terminators vs. Genestealers to coincide with the release of 10th edition. What we’ve got here is cool but I have to temper my enthusiasm against the idea of buying a fourth set of Gallowdark terrain.
Liam: I kind of assume that a Terminators vs. Genestealers box will drop in July, perhaps as a way to trail multipart kits to go with the (presumably) EZ-build Terminators in the 10th box.
In terms of what’s actually here, the Beastmen are great and it’s nice to see them get the same kind of sprucing up as their Blackstone Fortress compatriots the Traitor Guard did. Both those kits make me wonder if there’s any plans to fit them into 10th edition somehow in a Lost and the Damned style faction, but then we also have Arbites and Navy Breachers and the old Rogue Trader guys hanging around now so maybe they’re gonna continue to exist in that liminal space of having 40k rules but no actual wider faction to play a part in.
The Votann stuff is cool, particularly the hy-las wielding Hearthkyn, but it does feel a little odd to drop an upgrade sprue for a kit that’s < 9 months old.
Norman: Fuck yes inject the chaos weirdos directly into my brain. Love all these beasty boys especially the gas mask guy and Big Hands Man. I’m grabbing these as soon as I can trick some shitty Votann player to split it with me. The mission context is also really cool with the spaceship crashing to earth, it opens up some really interesting design space for missions.
Magos Sockbert: Oh hey, beastmen for 30k Militia!
Thundercloud: Votann get an upgrade sprue for Hearthkyn (which given the kits been out less than a year and you want to take them in your Votann army is actually fine with me) and Beastmen return after the little taste we got in Blackstone fortress. This means Chaos get another Kill Team (but they’re all different enough that’s a good thing) but this one has no shooting bigger than an autopistol or grenade and so looks very much like it’ll be melee and/or board control. Votann get a jump trooper (they had them in Rogue Trader and Space Marine 2nd ed though, and it’s great to see them back and I hope they get a full squad of them dual wielding pistols) but I’m wondering if their basic movement will be less than 6” due to little legs. New terrain variation sprue brings back the Kill Team:Rogue Trader escape pods and a medical bay, and looks interesting to paint up.
TheChirurgeon: Under-represented in these comments: The extra gallowdark terrain you get in here, which includes more desks and a bunch of escape pods. I absolutely love this stuff and how it can make a table feel much more real. I’m looking forward to how it’s incorporated into the missions.
Wyrdhollow is the next Underworlds set, and it takes us even deeper into the realm of beasts, introducing us to Stormcast Wizards (again) and Tzeentch summoners (again), but this time with a whole new set of extremely weird little guys to summon.
Magos Sockbert A new season of Underworlds approaches, giving us… a Tzeentch warband and Stormcast wizards. Wait, haven’t we had this before? Yes, back in 2018 with Underworlds: Nightvault, the Evocator warband and Eyes of the Nine gave us almost this exact matchup, but my God not this evocatively modelled.This is peak hero rock right here, and good Lord the Tzeentch warband is unnerving. Hats off to the designer who went with “starfish” as a monster though.
Liam: The new Stormcast guys sure do exist. The Tzeentch side is by far the best thing here, with clear licence given to put together some proper Chaos weirdos. Underworlds is a cool game I’ve never managed to get around to playing more than a handful of times, and its continuing support is welcome, though I am curious if repeating team concepts like this is indicative of anything – models from old seasons exist in a weird state of being playable, but not necessarily available for sale, and perhaps what we’re seeing here is an admission that yeah, there was a Tzeentch team three seasons ago, but we don’t make those any more so here’s the new one to replace it.
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