As usual, Games Workshop showed up at the Las Vegas Open and opened up their big bag of new models. As they are compelled to release new products, so we are compelled to have Hot Takes about them. Regular as the tides and implacable as the march of years. Come and see.
Strike Force Agastus
Greg: The big robot with the big fists is insanely cool, but I instantly don’t care because it put the concept of Akimbo Redempto in my head and I want one with two big plasma guns instead. I do love that we have a robot capable of gripping and ripping, especially since it’s not locked to Blood Angels anymore, but if they make a Mortis Redempto I will lose my entire mind.
Yes, the missile launcher guys are stupid. I don’t care. They’re indescribably sick. They just show up to the rumble strapped up with like four different types of rocket launcher all stuck together. Is this Gundam-ass weapon too big? Wildly. They should all have a pistol grip on the front, in the sense that there should be a fully-intact pistol underneath, so they can fire both huge missiles and bolt shells (which are also a type of missile). It’s goofy and unbalanced in the most classic Warhamer Forty Thousand fashion and I hope they go for the real throwback and do the bodies in plastic and the weapons in metal, just so these guys eat dirt every time you try to set them up. I’m sure they will have infuriating rules and take ten minutes to shoot every time, but it doesn’t matter, I love them. They rule.
Summer: I’m going against the grain with the Desolation Squad. I love them – not for their intended design, that looks absurd. I love their conversion potential. There’s so much potential for those willing to look beyond the assembly guide. If you assemble them per the instructions, then you’re stuck with marines hefting incredibly top-heavy weapons. You’ve heard of power claws and power fists, now get ready for power wrists.
Lenoon: The rocket launcher marines are just…. I mean what is going on there? Unbalanced, lacking any sense of heft or weight, the ones held directly across the body look best, but just a weird swing and a miss here. It’s particularly odd to see when we’ve just had multiple boxes of heavy weapons for Space Marines that integrate incredibly well with a multi-part plastic kit and look great.
Thundercloud: I’m going to be positive about the multipart lieutenant and the Dreadnought, because swapping a sprue out on the Redemptor to create a variant is such an obvious thing that I’m assuming this was sculpted at the same time and for some reason they’ve kept it until it’s probably closer to tenth edition releasing than ninth.
Nerf marines I can take or leave. Missile launchers, despite being the signature heavy weapon of first edition, have for a lot of editions of the game been in that weird place of not being good enough against vehicles and not being good enough against infantry to justify getting them instead of specific anti-vehicle or anti-infantry heavy weapons. It looks very much like they started with the Primaris Intercessor kit and then didn’t make any big changes.
Josh: The Brutalis Dread is sick as hell, and posing it to be mid-sprint towards a Bad Dude is going to be fun as shit. I love claws on dreadnoughts, and would always opt to use them over those lil’ stubby sausage fingers.
Enzo: I am going to hug the Brutalis dreadnought and he will hug me back. I love this model. The best part is the lightning claw weapons, and I really might have to buy a second Brutalis just to give a Redemptor those arms. Both the claws and fists on this look much better than the sausage fingers on the Redemptor.
SRM: I don’t know why it took this long for a multipart Primaris Lieutenant, but I too am genuinely stoked about him. I hope he has a Captain to join him soon too. The Brutalis Redemptor is my thicc son and I love him. There’s not much more I can add about the Desolator Marines; I’m not wild about them and their missile launchers look like the spring-loaded jobbers I had on my GI Joes as a kid. On second thought, if they were spring loaded, they’d immediately jump to the top of my painting queue.
Wrath of the Soul Forge King
Greg: The most important reveal of our time, Big Azreal. I’m stoked beyond reasoning for this model, because rather than despite it being mostly a straight redux of the old metal gremlin model. If it ain’t broke, as they say. Azrael and his helmet freak are an iconic duo, and this is probably going to be the only model I paint in 2k23, because I have zero time for hobbying anymore and only Big Azrael is important enough that I’ll neglect my child to work on him. I’m glad they threw some Deathwing Terminators in here – even setting aside my biases, it’s one of the GOAT infantry kits for the sheer number of units it can build and the quality of the sculpts, the kind of thing that just juices your bitz box to Moon Base Klaisus and back. If these boxes start getting parted out on the secondary market it could be a good way to load up on Deathwing kits, but I’ll be honest: I’m 90% sure I will buy this for Big Azrael and never even assemble the rest of it.
I’m given to understand that other models are present in this box. I do not care about them.
Summer: I really like Vashtorr’s design. Ever since the Keeper of Secrets, the sculptors have shown extraordinary skill in creating daemons that break the muscled hulk aesthetic we’re so used to. I love the unsettling, gaunt Vashtorr. Disconcerting pale flesh clad in armor that’s a bit too large for its wearer. Hollow eyes. I don’t find Angron or Magnus unsettling – they’re built and posed as though we should be impressed with them. Vahstorr is unsettling and he gets better the more I examine him.
Josh: Vashtorr is phenomenal, he’s a truly masterful sculpted otherworldly thing that genuinely looks as if it has little care for adhering to the aesthetics of what humans consider ‘strong’. He’s an otherworldly, gaunt, menacing being with bolted-on machinery. I honestly wish more things from the Mechanicum had this vibe; gaunt once-humans seemingly supported by the vile machines they’ve attached to themselves.
Thundercloud: Well it’s nice to see Deathwing out for a jaunt again. Otherwise every kit in the box is fairly new and with completely new characters. This is going to be a must buy for Dark Angels players, giving them a new sculpt for their chapter master, and the Chaos side has a great demon prince that looks like a weird demon machine thing.
Enzo: As a Dark Angels player, I’m getting this box, simply because I cannot wait for Azrael to come out on his own. I already own more Deathwing terminators than I can legally field, but it’s an awesome kit and Terminators stand to be good for a little while, so that’s a fun buy. If these were Hellblasters, I’d buy two boxes. I’m going to need to learn some sick sword painting technique for the Sword of Secrets.
Warhammer Underworlds – Gryselle’s Arenai
Summer: I wanted to say I didn’t like their masks because I found them unsettling. Then I remembered the bit I wrote about Vashtorr’s design and why unsettling is a good thing for some model ranges. So I’ve flipped, and decided I like the masks.
Josh: Elves rock.
Thundercloud: More options for Underworlds inevitably means more options for Warcry, and a little gang of Dark Elf gladiators is nice, but I want weirder stuff.
Mugginns: I’m not sold entirely on the look of the masks, but it’s very cool that we’re seeing more types of DoK in the AoS universe. Having different Inspire conditions for each model is rough to me, as I’m used to playing the more straightforward warbands, but with some practice it’d be easy to remember.
The Flourish cards are very interesting and what differentiates this warband from others. Returning cards to your hand with the Gryselle upgrade to use them again when needed is super cool.
Bair: Here we go, some AoS universe stuff. These look pretty great really. They fit with current Daughters of Khaine models really well and will slot into a larger army/collection. It’s cool to see the acrobatic portion of their lore seep in really well here too, with a rule called: Acrobatic. They’re clearly not relying on armor for protection, so being able to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge is all that really saves them.
SRM: I like that they’re letting Daughters of Khaine wear pants now.
Thundercloud: After the barn-storming Chameleon Skinks for warcry, we’ve got three new kits including a new generic Slann to go with Lord Kroak and the promise of new kits. The Saurus, who are an old 6th edition kit sculpted to rank up rather than be dynamic, have now been resculpted, and new skinks riding dinos added. And more kits are promised.
This update makes lizardmen a modern range AoS is 100% committed to, likely to get future updates. I’m hoping new Kroxigors (possibly with more options than big club) are on the cards, and I’m hoping lots more new little creatures turn up like the pterodactyls from the Chameleon sprue turn up.
For the feet people out there, the Saurus move to dew claws, which is what we’ve seen with all of the newer sculpts.
Mugginns: my 10 year old plays Seraphon and absolutely loves the dinosaur aesthetic, predictably. He’s that age where he absolutely loves reading the background for each model and eats up all the super in-depth descriptions of everything. We bought a Lord Kroak model when that came out because he didn’t have a Slann, but I’m excited to see a plastic Slann with options so he can field one that doesn’t cost a million points.
I love that it comes with different heads and bodies – I am partial to the headdressed one but the other classic ‘I’m a frog, I don’t care’ look is amazing too. My only worry would be that I hope it’s stable – it doesn’t wobble like some of the taller, heavy body, small contact point to base models do. I absolutely adore the Raptadons. They’re a nice addition and are a throwback to the Skink cold one riders back in the day. I’m also glad to see their weapons, especially the Chargers, are cool relic weapons, not just rocks taped onto wood sticks. Skinks are worth the investment, say the Old Ones.
The new Saurus models are cool and good. We have some of the previous minis and I think we’ll just try to mix them in so they can still be used. It doesn’t seem like they’re particularly super huge, and the base size seems the same, so I think that’ll be doable.
Bair: Finally. Finally. Seraphon have been one of the few armies from old fantasy that has been transported straight across to Age of Sigmar (with a massive lore update, mind you) so it’s nice to see them get some new models. Those Saurus do look good but for the love of the Old Ones I hope that they replace those goofy as fuck Saurus Knight models. Please. They look bad now and will only look worse next to the new Saurus.
SRM: When I was playing Total Warhammer II as Lizardmen, I kept thinking “Man, I wish the models looked this good.” By gum, they delivered. The new Saurus look downright mean, their goofy grins and turtleshell shields long gone. I dig the Raptadons too; they’re a fun way of folding in what we’ve learned about dinosaurs over the last few decades while still playing to the classic Lizardmen aesthetic. They also look like they’ll be easy to paint in subassemblies, which is great. The floating Slann is a hell of a magic trick, even if looking at the thin joins of the model gives me some real agida. It’s a fantastic model, not quite as luxe as Lord Kroak, but absolutely an incredible centerpiece. He’s also got a li’l frog.
Warcry – Bloodhunt
Josh: Hell yeah. I adore the Soulblight Gravelords, my most beloved army for AoS. I love the crossed aesthetic between vampire and werewolf, and the Askurgan Trueblades slide right into that niche perfectly. I’m in love with the sculpts, and they might just be the thing that pushes me into giving Warcry a try. Mixing the once-noble, Shaolin, warrior-monk vibe in with the bestial, vampiric degeneration flatly owns. All their cool weapons rock, and I particularly love the poor monk whose already on their way to howling at the moon.
Speaking of dudes being on their way to howling at the moon, the Claws of Karanak are a pretty sick bunch as well. I’m a fan of these, not as in love as the Askurgan (but y’know, vampires are hard to beat) but that doesn’t mean they’re not great. I like the motif of human to beast, but I wish there was a little more of that. I love the dude who’s just abandoned himself and is running on all fours, and I think he needs a buddy. Or five.
Bair: The absolute best part of Warcry is that it’s a great space for chaos-loving weirdos in the AoS setting. Kind of like how we get the normal-ish human weirdos in Necromunda, these were just-dudes that ended up worshiping chaos gods. Cool to see. On the other side are the undead dudes. The mortal realms can add a lot of variance to armies and it’s cool to see a specific realm’s version of these vamps.
SRM: I’m mixed on the Khornedog Fanclub here. The dog hats don’t really do it for me, and the guy running on all fours is just doing what I do when I’m going up the stairs and nobody’s home. Relatable as that is, I’m not wild about their general aesthetic. I like the halfmasks a lot better, but these guys just have too much crap stapled to them for my liking. Those vampires, though, they’ve got a unique aesthetic that I really can’t place anywhere else. It reminds me of some of those drawings of weirdos around the Mortal Realms, who seem to always have huge shoulderpads and preposterous baubles hanging over them. They’re not my preferred aesthetic, but I’ve never really seen this kind of bestial vampire before. They’re neat and just a little horrifying, as they should be.
Horus Heresy – Cerberus
Greg: Tank big, so what.
Lenoon: We knew it was coming, and we got it. I’ll probably get one. Heresy players have a wishlist as long as their arms at the moment, so I think we were all hoping for something else in addition to the Cerberus, but wish in one hand and put FW resin in the other and see which one fills up first, eh?
Thundercloud: Bitter that the announcement is another Land Raider body plus different front piece sprue kit and not more infantry. However GW have been revealing new HH plastic kits regularly and we’ve got bikes coming and hopefully the assault infantry we desperately need will be announced soon.
Bair: I like it. It looks good. I just wish they weren’t nerfed so inexplicably horrifically from the 1st edition of HH to the current. Super Heavies went from having ask your buddy if it was OK to bring one to now being a handicap by fielding most of the time. But yeah the model is cool.
Kill Team – Soulshackle
Greg: I’m sick of dogs in these boxes. Everyone loses their mind over it every time, rushing to be the first of the hogs to reach the slop and Do A Meme about it. If I ever play a game with a dog model on the table I’m forced to decide if it’s worth shooting it to get the owner to shut up and stop telling me how good of a boy it is, at the cost of having to suffer through their eulogy for the heckin smol pupper. Warhammer Dogs are just playing to the cheap seats at this point and it’s boring. You don’t have to clap like a trained seal every time Air Bud is on screen, and GW please stop encouraging it, you’re better than this.
Beyond that, the game didn’t need another team of Regular Joes From The Imperium And Their Small Friends, we have Breachers and Guard and Other Guard at home. It’s unclear how this is going to be any different from those, though I will admit that the human models are very cool.
Elves also I am not a fan of.
Condit: Rejoice! Games Workshop has finally released a box laser targeted at me, specifically. Not only do I get even more fiddly bits that will instantly snap off the moment I take my Drukhari out of the display case for a game, but they’ve finally provided me with a faction more evil than the Iron Hands, Emperor’s Children, and the Dark Kin combined: the Feds, in space.
As for the terrain, I’ll be snap-buying two of this box, if only so that I can take Assault Centurions and Aggressors in a Boarding Activities game and spend an hour having them punch holes in walls rather than doing boring shit like “attacking enemies” or “securing the objective.” It is now well and truly Big Boy Season in the Arks of Omen.
Lupe: When I was a small child my first army was Genestealer Cults and my friend had Arbites, and so there’s absolutely no way I’m not buying these cops to go up against my new GSC army. It’s just a done deal. I just love everything about the Arbites: the shoulderpads, the weapon options, it’s all so good.
Thundercloud: Another Imperial weirdos unit that goes back to the 1st/2nd ed days and updates something with modern sculpting standards, which is exactly the sort of GW nostalgia gland tickling a hobbyist my age who started in 1st/2nd ed wants. Being able to build three units means that an Arbites Combat Patrol led by an Inquisitor (counts-as Judge) could be a viable thing to do. Maybe we’ll get that Imperial Weirdos Codex specifically to drop ally forces into Imperial faction armies, that people have been asking for since about 2005.
HappyRaccoon: I’m one of the unwashed masses complaining about yet another 10-ish operative, 7-ish wound team, with probably 4+ saves. Yet each time we get another reveal I’m still excited to see how the rules team creates unique team play patterns. We’ve got go-wide expendable Veteran Guard, wacky Rogue Striders, roided-out tanky Breachers, and elite-ish Kasrkin. Each playing in their own space within the new rules, so hopefully those leashes and cuffs are put to good use.
Meanwhile the Corsairs and Void-Dancers have the final Aeldari sibling enter the competition for fanciest elf bullshit. Which team’s bird will be the best? Who’s going to enjoy their free dash the most? Will the Hand of the Archon be able to distinguish themselves from Voidscarred Corsairs with only an upgrade sprue? Is that vial gun a medic or a bone liquifier? So many interesting questions abound, and I’m surprised I am excited for this one.
SRM: I’m firmly of the opinion that All Arbites Are Bastards, but these particular Bastards do look mean as hell. The gimp with the handcuffs, the robodog, the riot shield, the floating birb speaker, I’m here for all of it. I just hope these guys find their way to Necromunda, if nothing else but as an arbitration tool to take a top gang down a few pegs. I appreciate that they’re packing in upgrade sprues for older kits with the (admittedly still great) Dark Eldar Warriors, but I’m not an elf fan so it’s kinda lost on me. Glad they get a bird too. What really excites me are the breachable walls, which have some real playset energy. I wanna use them in Necromunda so my Goliath can chokeslam a dude through the wall before, somehow, one or both of them catch on fire. Hell yeah.
Thank god, we made it through all six or seven pictures of models.