Warhammer Fest is fully online this year, but that means we all get to watch the reveals in real time, every day this week! Each day we’ll be having a round table to recap our very important hot takes. Yesterday’s reveal focused on Warhammer 40,000 related content; if you’re more interested in the Mortal Realms then we talked about day 1 here. Otherwise stick around for takes from all your favourite Plastic Spaceman Enthusiasts:
- Liam “Corrode” Royle
- Greg “Greg” Greg
- Colin Ward
- Ben “Thundercloud” Rubery
- Neon Mentor, or Them What Posts the Tweets
- Primaris Kevin Genson
- Rob “TheChirurgeon” Jones
If you missed the stream, you can find all the reveals here on the Warhammer Community site.
Sisters of Battle Previews
Sisters of Battle continue to build up to a huge second wave, matching the one they got back in early 2020. How are you feeling about the faction?
Thundercloud: I think Sisters are on seven (?) new kits now for this release? They aren’t on Space Marine numbers for their range but they’ve got a bunch of assault, close range firefight and heavy support they didn’t have before, almost like they looked at the first wave of Sisters releases and then at what would fill the gaps and allow more ways to play them as an army, and then gave them that.
This reveal was a little robbed of impact by the amount that had already been shown in other previews (including the Monday Miniature preview) that GW put on to get us through the lean months of the 1st quarter when GW had halved the release schedule and people weren’t getting as many regular injections of 40k content.
As a whole this is a great set of additions to the Sisters range, who now have more elite characters than Genestealer Cults (and indicates a big enthusiasm in the Studio for minor characters a couple of years ago).
We live in a world now where you have Nun piloted versions of Killa Kans (or Nundams as they’re called) and Sisters have got their own version of Predator tanks. You love to see it.
Greg: The Nundams absolutely whip. I need another army like I need a hole in the head, but between the mass production type Mobile Sisters and this new prototype commander unit whizzing around at three times speed, I think the range could drop a colony on my wallet.
The other models are cool too, but of the 5 hours since that stream ended, I’ve spent about 4 of them thinking about, or looking at pictures of, Paragon Warsuits.
SRM: I’m really not digging the Nundams. I don’t feel that any of the “power armor wearing power armor” models out there have really stuck the landing. Honestly, the only new Sisters units that really do it for me are the Celestian Sacresants. The sword and board Sister in the Triumph of St. Katherine is my favorite of the kit, and I like seeing that idea fleshed out. After that, I really dig Agathae Dolan. Imperial Weirdos are my favorite models of the setting, and she delivers.
From a fluff perspective I enjoy that Morvenn Vahl is a High Lord of Terra. We’ve never seen one on the tabletop before and it kicks ass that instead of pushing papers and running a bureaucracy she’s taking to the field with an Extremely Large Spear. I think the robot having a skirt and shoulder flappies is very silly though.
Colin: I think it’s great that GW didn’t wait too long after the initial Sisters release to go back and flesh out the model line. The first wave was mostly a re-sculpt of old units, whereas this line really takes a look at what the army was missing and fills some gaps. I love the Paragon Warsuits, and Morvenn Vahl is an incredible sculpt that is sure to stand out on the table. We’ll see if they emerge as a bully unit for a typically fragile faction.
From a purely painting and modeling standpoint, the new Sisters units are going to be an incredible source of inspiration (and bits) for a lot of people (especially the INQ28 crowd). Agathae Dolan is a great sculpt with a lot of potential for different builds.
Liam: Taking the models by themselves I’m psyched. Sisters are a great range, and even right now in the middle of Drukhari Fever I’m painting my Sisters too because I want to be able to actually put them on the table ever and the models are just amazing and a joy to work with. The range expanding is great news both in terms of cool new kits for the army and also just to see continuing support for them as a faction – after 20 years of hurt Sisters are back in a big way and it’s cool to see that playing out. That said, there’s a disturbing pattern emerging with releases like this where a new or significantly updated faction gets a couple of waves with complete replacement rules very quickly. The basic idea of doing a small initial release which was followed up later with a range expansion isn’t new to GW (it happened notably with Ad Mech and Genestealer Cults, which got small releases in 7th and then big updates in 8th) but what’s new is the pace of it; putting the Army Set splash release to one side, Sisters got their big range update in January-February 2020 and now here we are with what looks likely to be a new codex and a half-dozen new units in June or July 2021 – and it would have likely been earlier than that without Covid. The same has happened for Lumineth Realm-lords in Age of Sigmar (on an even shorter timescale) as well as Hedonites of Slaanesh, particularly egregious in the latter case where they got a new battletome with a bunch of new units within 18 months – and then another new model in a separate book afterwards. Space Marines were similar, but my working theory there is that some poor project management got us too many Marine kits for a single wave with the 9th codex and a gap in the 8th ed release schedule which was filled with what were essentially playtest rules pushed out the door (which frankly I think is also true for most of Psychic Awakening – an awful lot of that feels like things that were being workshopped for 9th ed codexes that got stuck into a book and published).
To some extent this is just the same as it ever was; GW rules have always been replaceable and have always been written and published to support model releases, and the shelf life of codexes and battletomes and even editions of the core rules has been trending shorter for years (mercifully, in some cases – ask Dark Eldar players how it felt playing into mid-5th edition with rules published in 1998). Multiple new battletomes and codexes with a lifecycle numbered in months is an acceleration of that trend though, and an unwelcome one in my view.
Neon: Holy shit I am so buzzing from this second injection of Sisters. Back at the start of 9th GW made a big deal about pushing Sisters as the big face of the edition alongside Marines and ‘Crons, and when the Palantine was seemingly the only thing they were getting it was a lil’ headscratching. But with all these new kits, I haven’t felt this excited for a faction’s update as I did with Genestealers back at the end of 8th.
One of the main things I appreciate here is the injection of brand new ideas into the faction, something I was sorely craving from the first wave. Besides the Triumph and Judith, everything from the Sisters refresh was an existing unit or a spin-off alt-build of an existing unit (Zephyrm, Mortifiers). These new units feel like they’re confident where the Sororitas stand as a faction now, and are willing to branch out with new concepts. Between that and the Necron refresh, I’m excited to see what they bring around next come the next big update.
Kevin: Overall GW continues to push the envelope with the quality of their plastic sculpts. The level of detail that they can produce on a mass market plastic injection molded product is incredible, and the latest offerings for the Adepta Sororitas emphasize that perfectly. Unfortunately the execution is a bit lackluster for me. I wasn’t a fan of baby carriers when they were introduced for Grey Knights or Space Marines, and the Sororitas version doesn’t do much for me either. On the other hand the Castigator looks fantastic, merging the iconic look of 40k Imperial vehicles with a lot of really nice heraldry and iconography.
I’m excited to see where Games Workshop takes the rules for Adepta Sororitas. We’ve seen GW take some novel approaches and mechanics with Necrons, Death Guard, and Drukhari, and Sisters already had a very solid core with the miracle dice system. I hope we see more innovation like that.
The Book of Fire
The Charadon campaign returns with a second act in the Book of Fire. We didn’t get much info on the content – what are you hoping for from this part 2?
Rob: Look the only thing that matters here is Be’lakor and his mixed-model Chaos army. It’s clear that GW is slooooooooooooowly closing the door on Chaos Soup, and when they finally get around to doing that with Codex: Chaos Daemons and Codex: Chaos Space Marines in 2023, we’ll need Be’lakor’s army of renown to make armies of mixed mortals and daemons really sing. I’m also just legitimately excited for new Chaos stuff that hits daemons and standard Chaos Marines. I’m also hoping we get a 2W update for the army but in my heart I know that won’t happen.
Thundercloud: I’m hoping for some cool stuff for Knights and Sisters, and a bit of a look at demons. With these sort of campaign books I just hope the narrative moves along a bit and we get some cool ideas for new armies.
Promised is stuff for Chaos, Ad-mech and Sisters.
New themed armies are always good, as even if it’s for something you don’t collect, it raises the odds of you running across a cool themed army in the future. Bel’akor allows mixing Chaos Marines and Demons, so we’ll see how that works out. Hopefully this means more themed lists for Admech that is built with their new book in mind, and Crusade themed lists for Sisters.
Greg: I’m holding off on being excited for this until we get a look at the Fallen content that’s coming up in White Dwarf. I’m sure Be’lakor is cool or whatever, but I know what I’m about and it’s not “competitive” “content”.
What I’m definitely excited about is the narrative rules. I wrote the Goonhammer review (https://www.goonhammer.com/war-zone-charadon-the-book-of-rust-review-the-narrative-play-rules/) of the campaign and Crusade content from Book of Rust, and it really surprised me how much I ended up enjoying them. The missions did suffer a bit from GW’s tendency to throw too many overlapping rules down, which just ends up with half of them being ignored all game, but I was overall very impressed and I’m curious to see what book 2 ends up looking like.
SRM: I don’t know how many people really have been able to get to grips with the previous book, what with the whole pandemic and all. I’m glad Be’Lakor is being brought into the fold though; that model whips ass and the idea of him running a combined Daemons and Mortals army is very cool to me.
Colin: I’m excited to see what’s in store for the Be’lakor rules, but I’d also be hesitant to build an army around them. GW’s track record supporting rules from Campaign Supplements has been….not great. It’s hard to embark on an army project if the rules may only be supported for a year (or less). While I think the rules will provide an opportunity for some very interesting Chaos army builds, I’d hold off on diving into an army project until I saw persistent rules in a Codex. That being said, if I were still playing Chaos I would find any means by which to get that model on the table. What an incredible sculpt.
Liam: It’s good to see a different mix of factions expected in the book (if you’re wondering why Ad Mech are doubling up, well, it is a campaign on their home turf). Opinions are mixed on the idea of having rules separated out from the ‘main’ codex and stuck in a campaign book, especially when they’re often only a couple of pages, but I broadly like them when they open up new ways to play the army but aren’t 100% required to run. Having a few smaller books is a better model than Vigilus, too.
I’m expecting something similar to the last book, and if I had to guess I would say Be’lakor’s thing is an Army of Renown and we’ll probably see a Skitarii-themed Army of Renown for Ad Mech too (the previous one was all about the servitors, and we’ve already seen a Skitarii character previewed, so it seems like a good guess we’ll get something along those lines!). Sisters could go either way or possibly get both, who knows? Mostly I’m just curious what, if anything, will be the surprise inclusion here – Drukhari were a bit of out of left field in the last book, so do we get Genestealer Cults or something in this one? Or is it just going to be Space Marines, as I would guess everyone is expecting.
… a terrain set, I guess?
Even the GW stream forgot about this thing. Are you gonna buy more Sector Mechanicus terrain or did you already get enough of it on the other ten occasions it’s been repackaged?
Rob: Oh cool a box filled with the same terrain they’ve had available for the last 6 years. It’s good terrain, but I don’t see what the value is here – it’s not a particularly strong battlefield with what they’ve put in there. Maybe we’ll get some Terrain Datasheet cards for Tactical Deployment, though?
Liam: When they suddenly jumped back to a terrain box they’d forgotten I was fully expecting something new, and nope, it’s just the same old Sector Mechanicus stuff repackaged again. Despite writing the snarky comment that introduced this section I actually don’t own much of that stuff (I think I just have the one bit that came in the old Renegade boxed set for Knights) so if the price is reasonable I might pick it up just to expand my terrain collection, but you do kind of have to wonder how many times GW can put the same terrain in a box and pretend like it’s something worth getting excited about. I kind of wonder how well their terrain actually sells in general, and if this constant repackaging thing is just reflective of them trying yet another angle to actually move some units.
Thundercloud: I’m giving it a miss. I think as a battlefield it’s pretty sparse (though that could be me and my love of dense terrain for things like Kill Team) and needed a couple of gantry sprues to replace one of the big tubs, and then that could be a large central LOS blocking piece with multi levels going on. At the moment it looks like there’s a couple of sniper nests and then not much there to obstruct their fire arcs. I’d hoped that these terrain packs would truly be battlefields in a box, but they need just a smidge more terrain in them to use.
I’m noticing they also didn’t announce terrain cards, indicating that they might have scrapped the Terrain Datasheet Cards idea that came with the Battlezone Manufactorum launch, and which didn’t really make any impact on how events run.
Rob: Lol yeah I know they aren’t actually gonna put out terrain datasheet cards. No one has ever played Tactical Deployment and no one ever will.
SRM: Looks like a cool set of stuff. I like bundles like this since they usually save you a few bucks, and terrain is pretty evergreen. I personally don’t need it as I have my own unbuilt casket of terrain sprues, but if I was building up a new table it would be a pretty decent place to start.
I’d say the 40k side of things today really didn’t measure up to the AoS reveals yesterday. A lot of that comes down to seeing most of the Sisters stuff already, knowing Be’Lakor was coming to 40k what with the dead Marine on his base, and assuming that Warzone: Charadon Book 1 would be followed by a Book 2.
Colin: This is the kind of box I’m always on the lookout for, if I can get it at a good discount. It’s definitely not enough to make a functional 40k board, but if you have some MDF or homemade terrain, this could supplement it nicely. With production issues being what they are, if you need a passel of terrain for your board, you could do worse than this box.
Kevin: Depending on the price it might be worth getting, but if it’s $150 that’s a hard pass. Retail for all of those items is around $260 but you can get it for a lot cheaper depending on the secondary market. As Rob and Thundercloud said, the terrain itself isn’t really good as a foundation for the board. There are no major LOS blockers which we’ve seen a key component to good 40k play. Had they tossed in a few walls like the Derelict Factorum it would have been a lot more viable.
Greg: *coughing loudly*
That’s it for the first 40k preview! There’ll be another on Friday, hopefully with a bit more meat than this one – later today though (6 BST) is the Black Library preview and our round table will follow on Thursday! See you then!
In the mean time, let us know what you thought of the first 40k preview. What were your favorite reveals? Let us know below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.